Last year, pastor Tim Maynard felt like he “stole Easter” from Fruit Cove Baptist Church by announcing his wife Pam would undergo surgery for an advanced-stage brain tumor the following day. He also shared he would take an indefinite leave from pastoral ministry to care for her.
That leave ended up being four months and culminated in Pam’s death.
A year later, Maynard, 63, observed his first Easter without Pam by presenting their Jacksonville, Fla., church with a book about his experience: “I Bear Witness: A Memoir of Love, Loss and the Goodness of God.”
“I really wanted this Easter to be different,” Maynard told Baptist Press. “I wanted this to be a celebration of resurrection and of God’s bringing good out of bad.”
The self-published book, released Easter Sunday, “is an expression of the resurrection of Jesus Christ,” said Maynard, a member of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee and a former Florida Baptist Convention president. “And the fact we got through this [trial] is proof that He is risen.”
The Maynards’ journey with cancer began in late winter 2017. What they thought was carpal tunnel syndrome gave way to an impaired gait and eventually led neurologists to discover an aggressive three-centimeter tumor in Pam’s brain.
A six-hour surgery the day after Easter initially seemed to have gone well. But bleeding necessitated a follow-up surgery, which left Pam with a measure of paralysis and speech impairment for the remaining four months of her life.
The cancer spread, and she succumbed to it at home Aug. 5, surrounded by her family.
Tim Maynard had begun to write about the experience in late spring and completed his book several months later — partly as an act of personal healing, partly as a ministry to Fruit Cove and partly as a way to help their 1-year-old granddaughter McCail know her “Mamaw.”
In a preface addressed to McCail, Maynard wrote, “I am writing this with tears flowing because I remember [Pam] making me promise that I wouldn’t let you forget who she was and how much she loved you. I told her this: Every time your granddaughter looks into the mirror, she will see your eyes looking back at her!”
This Easter at Fruit Cove, where Maynard has served 25 years, he signed copies of his book. He told BP the memoir was “almost an accountability report to the church” on his leave of absence as well as an expression of gratitude for their kindness through the trial.
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Source: Baptist Press