Mary Anaya — August 26, 1967 – October 21, 2009
(Going with this Mama to Heaven: an unborn baby, 19 weeks old)
“But for them it was only the beginning
of the real story.
All their life in this world and their adventures …
had only been the cover and the title page;
Now at last they were beginning
Chapter One of the Great Story,
which no one on earth has read
which goes on forever,
in which every chapter
is better than the one before.”
— C.S. LewisChronicles of Narnia
in The Last Battle, from his
We prayed for the miracle. We Believed Big for the miracle.
And this is The Miracle of Mary: On Wednesday, Mary and her unborn baby stepped out of earthly bodies and into Chapter One of the Great Story of Forever.
Mary Anaya — mother of 10 with one more baby on the way — died Wednesday at age 42 after a short battle with advanced lung cancer. Her unborn baby, 19 weeks old in the womb, died, too.
The part of us with feet planted on this spinning rock, hurtling through space, cries out: Why, God, why?
Lord. Don’t you see? Look at her there in that picture with those children clutching her neck — ages 2 to 21? Don’t you see them? Some of them are still toddlers, drinking from sippy cups and learning how to use the big-boy potty. Some haven’t learned yet how to ride a bike, or tie their shoes or learn the songs their mama wanted to teach them.
And Lord, we cry out, look at that ministry she started. Didn’t you see what she was doing for humanity? Didn’t you know that she operated the largest food pantry in a 93-county area of Nebraska and Iowa? Didn’t you notice how she was feeding the hungry and clothing the naked, just like you told her to do?
And don’t you see her husband there? How will he cope with 10 kids and no mama to care for them?
But the other part of us — the Forever part — gets it. We understand the Real Miracle of Mary. She made it! We know that Mary didn’t cling to the temporal, and neither should we. We know that she was prepared to exchange the temporary for the eternal.
And we know that miracles don’t always come in the flesh — but in the Resurrection Truth that carries us into the storyline of Forever, in which every chapter is better than the one before.
But we’re stuck in the in-between — where our flesh cries out, NO, and our Spirit rejoices in the YES of forever.
So we Get Down with Jesus.
We get down with God, like Jacob did, and we wrestle with Him and with our questions until daybreak. When daylight comes, we’re limping with pain in our hip sockets, but we get down with Him again. Only this time, we’re on our knees, thanking Him for the path to Forever.
Father, we don’t understand. Your ways are not our ways. We often have more questions than answers, and all we know to do is tell you: We don’t get it. So we wrestle with our questions, and we wrestle with You, and we give you our sorrow and our joy. We pray now for Mary’s family — that they feel You near them now, and that you unveil a bit more of this Mystery of our faith to their weary hearts. … Amen.
PHOTO CREDIT: Mary, surrounded by her children. The photo was taken in October 2007 and is being used here at GDWJ with permission from the editors of the Omaha World-Herald.
To read more about Mary and her legacy, visit these places today:
Erin Grace of the Omaha World-Herald writes about Mary, a woman who left behind “a long record of loving her neighbor as herself.” You can find the story here at the World-Herald.
You can find Mary’s World-Herald obituary and sign her guestbook here, or at the Braman Mortuary site here.
Below is a statement from the Board of Directors of Mission for All Nations, the Anaya’s food and clothing ministry in Omaha:
To all the friends, family, supporters, donors and volunteers of Mission For All Nations, it is with great sadness that we announce the untimely passing away of our beloved Executive Director, Pastor Mary Elaine Anaya and the passing away of her unborn child. Pastor Mary and her baby went home to be with her Lord, after her recent battle with lung cancer on October 21st 2009, at approximately 12:45 a.m.
Pastor Mary’s loss from our lives will not soon be overcome because she impacted all of us in such a powerful and special way. So many prayed and fought with her during her final days.
Difficult situations such as this create many questions and fears for all who loved her and stood with her. Let this be a time when we all lean upon our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who is our peace and refuge, and whose loving promises are unfailing.
Pastor Mary dedicated her life to the Lord Jesus Christ as her personal Savior. We find solace knowing that she and her unborn child are in the presence of her Lord, where she is eternally rejoicing with Him. This is the wonderful promise to all who have also made Jesus Christ their personal Savior.
Pastor Mary was known and dearly beloved for her strong character and commitment to the work of helping those in need. She dedicated her life to the Lord and the spreading of the Gospel by demonstrating love in action. Her heart was always to show Jesus’ love to everyone she met. She was wonderful example of a Christian who trusted the Lord for every step of her life.
Our prayers, love and continual support are with her husband Pastor Josué Anaya and their wonderful children during this time of painful loss. We would like to encourage all who are involved with the mission to focus your prayers and support with us during the next several days as we minister to her surviving family members.
In the days to come, the Board of Directors will be taking all the necessary steps to under gird the future work of the mission so that its vision can continue onto a successful future. We appreciate your encouraging support during this time of transition. While we face the challenging loss of someone with such a unique talent and ability, we also know that God will help us march forward and continue this outreach with strength and solidarity.
This is the time when we must all work together for the help and common good and continue the vision of Pastors Mary and Josué, which is to extend love in action to those in need.