Oceans

November 1, 2014 by  
Filed under Our Hope

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Another month has come and gone.

Can you believe it’s been 5 months in a couple of days (November 4th) since my Mark went Home to be with the lord? He has been in the presence of Jesus for almost half a year!

That means 5 months of learning to be a widow. Wow. At times it’s like a tidal wave of tears that hit me at the most inconvenient times. I could be at the grocery store, changing a diaper, driving, instructing my children, around people that never got to know Mark. It makes me sad to think that any new friends I make may have never had the opportunity to know Mark and somehow I am to explain his life and now his absence to them. Deep breath. That is heart-breaking.

Grief is unique and nothing I have ever experienced before. This has been the hardest trial personally, yet I would not want to hold back to explain how the Lord is meeting with me in this unknown and pain. He is walking with me. He has proven to be “a friend that sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24). The journey of suffering often feels isolating. There is comfort in knowing that my Jesus has walked the lonely road of suffering perfectly for my behalf. When my faith fails at times, my Savior’s perfect record counts for me!

Learning through trial and error of single parenting. It’s rough people. I never knew about this single parenting thing before. And wow. Thankful that this is not a new road for many! There are countless who have walked this particular suffering. And I want to learn from their example of perseverance. It’s so hard I am at times finding myself perplexed at the Lord and how I am supposed to do this job He has called me to. These 3 littles are tricky and oh how I need wisdom from the Lord to teach and train them!  Please pray!  It has made me more prayerful then I have ever been in my entire life, that’s a gift!

My need for the Lord is big. Yet, when we know we are needy and not self-sufficient that is when the Lord shows Himself powerful. Each day He is providing the new ‘manna’ that is necessary for each parenting moment. He is being the strength that I need.  Truthfully, I like things to be easy and comfortable. I like it when I feel ‘confident’ and not so needy. God is showing me that it’s okay to embrace this needy state. To relax into more of my need for Jesus! Leaning into His promises that do not fail. Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29). Jesus actually promises to walk with us by accepting and yielding to the Father’s will. Jesus did bear the burden upon His back for us and so can cause us to walk and persevere because we are with Him. Submitting under His will and learning to go at His pace to wherever He calls us to. The heavy lifting is in His hands and we are to walk with Him out of faith that He knows the end of the story. And He will be glorified and that will bring so much joy to see Him lifted high!!  This suffering is producing glory that is unspeakable.  All suffering points to a Day when there will be no more suffering or tears.  Are you ready for this Day?  Consider Jesus.  “There is only this day and that Day.”  Am I living in eagerness for the Day of Christ?!  Are you?

In submission to God’s will there is deep rest. There is joy. There is peace. There are tears, but there is an underlining rejoicing in your soul because you desire more than your comfort, you desire for the Lord to be glorified! Your aim and direction changes at the foot of the Cross. You see that this life is not about comfort. Not about setting up your own little kingdom. In fact there is no life there. My little life is about advancing His Kingdom and in doing that there will be loss, yet in that loss there is great gain to be found in Jesus Christ! Isn’t that what I was created for? Isn’t that Jesus’ example? He loss everything for my sake so that I may be found in Him! His plans and story for my life are meant to be a picture of His faithfulness for His glory! Yielding to Him is worth it. Eternity is at hand!  The Day of the Lord can be here in a blink of an eye!  Are you resting in Jesus’ perfect submission? Am I?

Thank you for your prayers as I learn through this trial all the Lord is teaching and preparing me as I desire to help and serve others in their day of trouble. God’s promises are true. He is providing in an amazing ways though tears aren’t often far away! One day I would love to share in detail the little miracles I am witnessing from His kind hand. Friends, it would make your jaw drop! Hope to write more on this blog to magnify the Lord’s work and faithfulness to me!

He is with me and I am learning that is enough!

This song called, Oceans has been on repeat so much in my little home. Praying these truths of submission would be true in my heart increasingly!

 

“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

I will call upon Your name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine”

~OCEANS by Hillsongs United

“tune my heart to sing Thy grace”

September 26, 2014 by  
Filed under Our Hope

It’s been a while since I’ve updated this blog. It is a joy for me to write and it some ways it’s how I process everything that is going on around me! I write so that I may remember and learn from the providence of God. I have been keeping a journal since the early age of 10!! Yet, writing has always been a way I process and I’ve missed writing here on this blog!

Honestly, in this new season it’s hard to find the time to write my thoughts out. Right now my kids are out back playing and I can see them running around and for this moment enjoying each other. Though I don’t know how long that means I have to actually finish this post. But in this moment, Praise the LORD that they are playing with each other and from the window I can see them having fun with dirt, side walk chalk, sand bucket and a bunch of random toys that end up outside in our toy box!

What should I say?

Should I describe how the Lord is daily making a way for us? How He is showing Himself to be tender to me in my grief? How He continues to be faithful when often at times I am not? His grace truly is my standing place? Even when my circumstance is not what I was hoping for, He is giving me grace to take one day at a time, even one moment at a time. It doesn’t always look pretty, but by His grace He is Keeping me.

I am seeking to train my heart in thankfulness! We are not born with this, if you haven’t noticed!  Oh and I have a journey ahead of me to learn the art of gratefullness!  This “tune my heart to sing Thy grace” is a plead for the Lord to work in our hearts and teach us! He is willing and promises to lead the humble in His way!  And Jesus example of humility with joy is amazing!   “Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2).

“Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,

Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;

Streams of mercy, never ceasing,

Call for songs of loudest praise.”

 

He is providing fellowship for me, two Bible studies to be a part of, help with my children, and even some evenings off to go run at my favorite park (thanks to my sis in law!)! He is providing. I don’t know how it will look in the future. Yet RIGHT NOW, God is providing. And I am even now reminding myself this truth right now as I type.  He even led a family in our church to want to pay someone to come and clean my home twice a month!  Friends, this shows the heart of God towards those who suffer.  Though He has bruised me, He promises not to crush me!  Praise Him for His mercy!

God truly gives me reason to rejoice! My greatest need has been met in Christ! I have been forgiven!

Thank you for ALL your prayers for me and my 3 littles! Please continue to pray! I know the Lord is using the prayers to sustain and strengthen us in this sorrowful time of missing my beloved Marky and my dear Momma. Thankful they are in Glory with Jesus! 

Here’s a couple of pictures of the kids near the end of Summer! So very thankful for these three!

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Brokenness and Gratefulness.

July 25, 2014 by  
Filed under Family Life, Our Hope

Hello Dear Friends,

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First, I wanted to say THANK YOU for ALL the kind letters, cards, generous gifts, and prayers y’all have given to me and my precious children upon the passing of our dear Mark!  We see the Lord’s kindness through y’alls love you have shown us!  Thank you for not forgetting us in your prayers and seeking to encourage our family!  It has been super hard and sorrowful to process the reality that  Mark is in Heaven.  I have never felt this raw before.  Yet, I have never seen the grace of God flood me in my moments of breaking down as He has been kind to do so during my ‘ugly cries’.  I believe He is hearing your prayers and is showing His love to us by sustaining us and helping me to take each day one at a time, like my dear Mark was so eager to teach us all.  It has not been easy, but thank you for tracking with us through your prayers.  We have felt loved.  And we are so grateful in the midst of such raw brokenness & loss.

It has been a long time since I’ve given a family update.  We are back in our home city of Louisville; after visiting with Texas family for almost 5weeks! What gifts our family has been to us each!  My 3 littles LOVED their time with their Texas family and cousins!  We were loved on so richly and cared for so well!!   I see the Lord’s provision in allowing us to have a ‘break’ as we adjust to this new season and for me into widowhood.  I can say that I have never felt this sorrow in all my life and with same breath I can see the way the Lord is showing His love that brings a new level of gratefulness to Him; what mercy! 

I can’t believe my sweet Mark is not here in our home.  Can you believe that it has been 7 weeks since he went to be with the Lord?   The ‘ugly cry’ is not far from me.  I feel so tossed by my sorrow at times yet again Christ is my solid rock and has not left me.    It’s like it’s a whole new level of neediness & dependence upon my God that I have never known before.  It’s not like I was not in need before, but I am seeing how profoundly I am in need of my dear loving Father to uphold me and my children in the midst of the most dramatic life change I have ever experienced.

Thank you for keeping us in your prayers.  Pray that I would deeply “Trust Jesus!”  This is not a small task but actually has to be supernaturally done in my heart by His Spirit!  I am so weak yet when I fix my eyes upon Jesus my reality doesn’t seem so impossible.  I don’t feel so alone.  I am reminded that this story is not my story but it was meant to show the glory of God  in His story of Redemption.  Christ came to redeem a people that were not His people.  He came for those who are weak.  And I pray His plan for me in this new season of widowhood would be used to draw many to trust in Jesus for their salvation.

I’m tearfully grateful to be a part of God’s bigger Story!  So yes…Broken and Grateful describes me best right now.  And for now that is where God has me.  I am just thankful that He has me.  And that He will never forsake me, even in this heart-ache! 

Isaiah 26:3-4

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you,

because he trusts in you.

Trust in the LORD forever,

for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The God of all grace

June 12, 2014 by  
Filed under Our Hope

“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace,

who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ,

will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

~ 1 Peter 5:10-11

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These verses in 1 Peter were a promised hope to my husband when he first became a Christian over 10 years ago. I was looking just now through one of his old journals and he referenced these verses in how he prayed for the Lord would be faithful through the early stages of his santification . Oh how he was fighting hard against sin with the strength of the Lord provided! And now it encourages my heart to see the Lord answered these prayers to my sweet husband, as he is in Glory with His Savior right now!

Fully restored.  Fully confirmed.  Fully strengthen.  Fully established.  By The God of all grace!

Indeed, this encourages my hope in Jesus.   I pray these verses over my family and myself as we wait upon the Lord to provide through these darker days as we grieve & miss our dear Mark.   God truly is the God of all grace!  His grace is that amazing!  May the Lord answer these prayers soon for me/us!

To God be the glory!

Mark is at Home. And I am here.

June 6, 2014 by  
Filed under Our Hope

 

Mark has been in Heaven for over 48 hours as of right now.  Two days in Glory with His beloved Jesus, our Savior.

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Can you believe it? I’m still trying to catch my breath and believe this is best. This little life is so short in comparison to what’s to come. It truly is for the Christian not our best life now, but later. When we are face to face with the One who loves us the most.

It’s been 17 long months of fighting the fight of his life with brain cancer. I type this with mixed & strong emotions. My love can not be seen with my eyes anymore nor can I hold his hand any longer. Or see his precious smile and laugh that I have grown to love more and more over the 5 years God gave to us in marriage. These were the best & hardest 5 years of my life. Yet I would not trade these 5 years that provided growth in my faith in Jesus and more intimacy with Jesus then we could ever ask for. Through the joys and trials we shared, we have seen the Lord’s faithfulness. And for that there is much gratefulness to our Lord.

The One who made him for His glory, he can see with an unveiled face. We see dimly here on earth but now my Marky sees fully the eyes of His risen Savior. He is beholding Jesus and in His glory for eternity with no pain, no cancer, no tears, no more struggle or sin. He is actually sitting with Jesus right now full of joy and rest. He is healthy. He is free from all his sorrows and he no longer has to fight the good fight of faith. For his faith is now sight at the moment he took his last breath early Wednesday morning at 4:10am. He then immediately opened his eyes to Jesus who welcomed him into His embrace and the safety of His arms. He now is at perfect rest and peace with clear vision of His Savior who loves him and bought him and gave him freedom by the perfect blood that was shed on the Cross.

Mark could not wait to be with His Jesus. He knew that there would be a day where he no longer had to ask the question like in Psalm 13, “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?”.  He now can say with no hesitation what this Psalmist said in the last two verses of Psalm 13:5-6,

 

“But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me.

 

Indeed, the Lord has dealt bountifully with my Marky. With me too.

He has given us much to be thankful in the midst of such loss. I sit here with confidence in my God whose promises to me are always, “Yes and Amen!” I am sorrowful but not one who sorrows with out hope. For by the grace of God, I have seen how fragile this life is and how I desperately long to follow my Savior on the narrow road that He has planned for me all the way to glory. Just like the way my sweet Marky walked. He walked with the grace that Lord gave him to declare to the world that the Lord is good in the face of cancer. And that our God will deliver us from the domain of darkness and has transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Colossians 1:13-14).

 

The Lord gave me these verses a few days before my Marky passed to be with Jesus in Isaiah 43:18-21:

“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. The wild beasts will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches, for I will give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people, the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise.”

 

The Lord has promised to do a new thing. He has promised to make a way in the wilderness and give me a drink in the desert, so that I may declare praise to my God. I never thought I would be seeing my dear momma pass away just 2 and half months before my dear husband passed away. For both are in glory declaring praise to God! And I am to remain here to declare praise to God on earth. To declare to the world that the One who promises such things is trustworthy and worthy to be trusted. Jesus is worthy of any suffering for He leads us on paths of righteousness for His name sake.

We are in the wilderness and desert right now. Yet, I believe that my Lord will deliver me and my children and family through this wilderness so that we can declare His glory that He is worthy of worship because of His kindness in giving eternity with His Son. My momma and husband would desire many to run to Jesus for forgiveness of sins and eternal life. They are experiencing this reality right now.

Consider Jesus. Consider what the little life is all about. And if you do not know, please ask. Please seek out and find. For the door will be open to any who knock and you will find what your heart has been longing for. Jesus is the treasure. He truly is the King. And He will make a way for us in this wilderness by His mercy and love. Even with the loss of my dear husband, Jesus is still with me forever and always.

Thank you for your continued prayers and love to all of us as we grieve with hope in our Savior.

Here is the link to the Obituary that was written for my beloved. All glory to our King. For He alone is faithful!

 

 

 

I Have a Shelter

May 28, 2014 by  
Filed under Our Hope

Thankful in days like these that we do have a Shelter to hide in. This song speaks great truth about our Lord. Hope it encourages the down casted, as it has me.

Wanted to give a little update.

Mark had his first seizure yesterday morning. He was safe in bed and his dad was there to support him. I can see the way the Lord governed all the details and arranged even for me to see him afterwards through friends coming over to stay with our children last minute! It shouldn’t be surprising to see seizures because of his kind of cancer and that Mark is wanting to tapper down from his steroids. However it’s very common in brain cancer patients. This was Mark’s first. And for that we can be grateful because of the Lord’s kindness he didn’t have to have seizures in front of his children. Or even at home. He was able to be in a safe place, in his bed. His dad took care of him like a hero. I am so grateful for my in-laws and my sister in law, Becca. The Lord’s care for all of us has been seen through their sacrificial love and service to Mark and me and the kids. Praise the Lord for His provision. Even in these hard days.


If I didn’t fully understand God’s sovereign reign and control in all things before; He is now allowing me to see it first-hand how He is governing each day and by His love is sovereignly controlling every detail.

God has numbered our days (Psalm 90; 12). And that truth brings much hope. Not one thing that comes upon our path is a surprise or shock to our all-knowing and wise and merciful God! I reminded Mark of that truth the other day. The Lord is with my husband even now and has a specific day’s accounted for him. God is even in the middle of protecting him from further injury as he had his seizure yesterday. Only a kind God can take care of us each and every day. God’s love for us can’t ever run dry or be limited. He sovereignly loves all of us in this sorrow. And even if I cry myself to sleep; He is right there with me as I cry out to Him in my pain. And because I know He is the One who holds all things and promises to work out every detail.

For Jesus, himself, was our perfect suffering Savior. He knew suffering far greater than we will ever know. Yet, He graciously attends to us in our moments of weakness and has so become the perfect High Priest that makes intercession for us! Even now, He is praying for Mark, keeping Mark, and soon will be inviting Mark into glory with Him forever.

If I could recall all the ways we have seen the Lord’s hand provide-you would NOT believe me! It’s unreal! God truly has been behind each day, giving us new mercies to count on moment by moment!

From child care -to- mercy meals from our church family going on almost 17months off and on -to-countless gift cards that our oldest thinks that is how you pay for food -to- friends praying for our behalf fervently -to- friends being willing to pray and cry with us -to- our lawn being mowed by brothers who own a lawn serving business on the side and wanted to provide service for us -to- even ‘Sneaky Secret Admirers’ for our kids to be loved on! These sneaky friends have given regularly for months now little surprise gifts at our door step from people all over our church body to love our children through these hard months & shine forth God’s love to our children! The list goes on…

Why is this big deal? These mercies are reminding us of the Lord’s ultimate love for us. Our beloved church & family and so many more have been motivated out of a love for Jesus to want to be a clear picture to us of the Lord’s love to our family. We have received gifts and messages and letters from all over the globe!

For all those who have been led to love on usTHANK YOU! (I am way behind on thank you cards-if you haven’t notice!)

We give the Lord the glory behind all these mercies! These mercies point to a gracious Father. Who loves us and won’t leave or forsake His children. Even in the valley of a shadow of death-we will fear no evil.

I have known the importance of growing in thankfulness to the Lord. Now I see absolutely how necessary it is for me to actively grow in gratitude to the Lord, right now! This is how I can fight off depression and fix my eyes on Jesus-through being thankful! And by God’s mercy He is helping me and pointing out to me His love in these small ways that strengthen me as I wait upon Him for mercy in the big ways of bringing Mark home to Heaven soon. Again, thank you for praying on behalf of our family! To God be the Glory!

“Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;

his understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
30 Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.” -Isaiah 40:28-31

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“pain is no measure of his faithfulness”

May 22, 2014 by  
Filed under Family Life, Our Hope

“I believe in a peace that flows deeper than pain
That broken find healing in love
Pain is no measure of his faithfulness
He withholds no good thing from us
No good thing from us, no good thing from us.” 

~’Open my Hands’ by Sara Groves

I want to be real honest here. This is the painful part. We knew this day would come. We knew that this cancer would ultimately take over my husband’s body and that He would enter Heaven & see His Savior’s face, at the end of this cancer journey. However, as much I prepared for this, we are never really ready.

We are in this in-between-part.

We are somewhere near the end of Mark’ journey here on earth and he is that much closer to Heaven. We are in the part of the movie where we know that the good guys will win, but haven’t seen the resolution yet. We are in the ‘already but not yet’ part of the story where our tears are constantly flowing because we can’t wait for him to be released from his physical discomforts & pain.

Maybe others are in that particular spot too? The spot we all secretly want to avoid at all costs, but in the providence of the Lord, we can’t. He knows that it’s in these places where we are waiting; we see our need to trust Him more, despite our pain. I am finding it a lot harder than I ever thought.

My heart is breaking.

I hate seeing my sweet Marky suffer. He is not able to walk and living now with his parent’s because of the peace of quite it brings in a house with no small children and no stairs needed to climb. The kindness of the Lord is not far; his parents only live a mile away. So frequent visits are possible. Yet, still there is the aspect I am facing of not seeing him 24/7. I see him about an hour at the most a-day. We are hoping to change that so that I can have more hours. Juggling the 3 kids is tricky. It’s not like I can take them with me for visits. It’s just too much for Mark to be around children.

Even his own children.

I took our oldest there yesterday for about 15minutes. She is a typical 4 year old girl. Who is busy and really into wearing her ballerina leotard everywhere we go. Lately, when she sees me crying at the house, she tries to offer encouragement by singing to me songs about Jesus or even having these profound one-liners that I have told her previously. Yet somehow when she tells them to me back, they are exactly what I need to hear in the moment. “Mommy! Don’t worry, daddy is almost going to be with Jesus forever and will not be sick anymore. Everything is going to be okay. Jesus loves us.” Those little phrases from our girl melt away at my heart and remind me of the promises of our Lord! It’s still very abstract to her with everything that is going on, yet she seems very much at peace with everything at the same time. This must be a form of some answered prayers we’ve been praying. Please keep praying for our precious children.

And for Mark, would you pray that the Lord would give the desires of His heart and allow him soon be released from his body to be in Heaven forever with His Savior, Jesus Christ. Would you pray that Lord to take him before more and more sufferings occur in his body. His communication is limited and his tears are quick to be shed when we read verses to him or pray. The other night, I read a simple verse that was shared by our preaching pastor Ryan Fullerton last week. And I can’t get it out of my head.

“And the angel said to me, “Write this:

Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.”

And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”

~Revelation19:9

This is where my broken heart can rest. I can rest that the Healer of broken hearts has been truly kind. He in so much has invited me, a weak sinner, to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb! For those who don’t know what that is. It’s the Big & final feast when all of the saints who have been forgiven through the blood of Christ and have been given faith will feast with their King in Heaven. Every tear will be wiped away and every sorrow replaced with joy at the seeing of our King on His throne! And friends, those who are invited to this feast are truly blessed. This is where my sweet Marky will be. He has been invited to this Supper of the Lamb. He is closer to this reality than ever before. And friends, this is true peace. Peace that my Marky will not have to continue on in pain and suffering from his cancer. Peace that his former sins have been completely washed away. Peace that the Lord has invited him to be with Him forever, and that truly is peace with God.

Do you have peace with God? Consider Jesus. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one can have peace with God or can be invited to His heaven without repenting of their sins and trusting in Jesus for salvation-full forgiveness and made new!

Please pray for the Lord’s love to be evident to Mark at his bedside. That he would be filled with peace, joy, and greater faith that the Lord even now sings loudly over him with great delight (Zephaniah 3:17) and that soon the Lord will embrace him in His arms and have peace for eternity. And every wrong will be made right.

Mark and I may not get to share long life of marriage together here on earth. But one things for certain, we were both invited to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, and for that we are blessed to share eternity together in worship of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Truly, we are blessed.

 

Phil-1-6

We Delight in The Lord

May 7, 2014 by  
Filed under Family Life, Our Hope

We had a very nice vacation in Florida – thanks so much to all of you who helped make this possible and for praying for us during our travels.  God sustained us the entire time.  Mark was most comfortable in the pool, so we did some swimming and that will always be a sweet memory.  We also went to Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios and saw a lot of the attractions we saw when we honeymooned in Florida almost five years ago.  Mark’s body is weak so I pushed him through the park in a wheelchair.  There was a constant reminder that the cancer was still there, but Mark reminded me that for most people, Disney was the happiest place on earth, but Praise God, Heaven awaits us all and that is where we will rejoice forever with Jesus, no more pain, no more sorrow!

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Mark’s parents and sister, Rebecca were so great with the kids while we were away.  Also, our dear Mike and Patti Withers & Kristy Fletcher loved on our children and helped my in laws.   Such generous family and friends!  We even came home to a clean house and car.  We are so appreciative of their love for our kids!   I’ve been catching up on giggles with these three cuties and now that the weather is warming up, we’re spending a lot of time in our backyard enjoying the sunshine (and bubbles, of course).

Molly, 4 years.

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Henry, 2 years.

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Oakley, 1 year.

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Mark’s body is continuing to decline.  He is feeling more pain and weakness.  As hard as it is to see him hurting, the permanence of him leaving this earth is equally painful.  I know that feeling too well as this will be my first Mother’s Day without my momma.  I’m so thankful that the Lord is sustaining Mark and I both and that even in this season of deep sorrow, I can see Him caring for the details of life in such a personal way.  Thank you so much for your continued prayers, I am thankful for the large Body of Believers that are supporting our family.  “But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.  I cried aloud to the LORD, and he answered me from his holy hill.” Psalm 3:3-4

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We called Hospice to help manage Mark’s pain and discomfort level.  It was clear to all of us that it was time to call for them to start helping my Marky.  It is super sobering to have to call them in for your own husband!  I never thought this would be what the Lord had planned for me, my man, my family.  Yet His ways are way higher and wiser than our ways.  We read Psalm 119 on our honeymoon 5 years ago when we were in Disney.  This time when we looked at it, 5 years later, how much more precious it was!  And clearly the Lord has drawn us near to Him and giving us a Hope that only is secure in Christ Jesus!  This verse is so fitting for me.  If His Word had not been my delight, I would perish in my affliction.  For the floods feel like they are rising over my head!  Yet, nonetheless, the Lord has poured out His grace and has made His word my hope because on every page of the Bible points me to my beautiful, suffering Savior.  For Jesus loves me.  He loves Mark.  He loves our children.  And He is soon calling my husband home to be with Him forever!  Now that is lavish love from the Lord!  Mark is asking the Lord to take him home.  Please continue to pray with us, our 3 children!   Pray we will finish well together, for God’s great glory!  We are continually grateful for every prayer prayed in faith!  For surely, God is the lifter of my head!  And He will continue to remember His covenant to His children forever.

 

God’s harder providence-Part 2

April 15, 2014 by  
Filed under Family Life, Our Hope

“For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief,

he will have compassion

according to the abundance of his steadfast love.”  -Lamentations 3:31

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Minutes after the adoption of our Henry…

to our surprise (but in the Lord’s sovereignty) my dear momma became very sick right after the adoption took place. She came down the elevators of the court house after cheering and taking pictures during our son’s adoption to the opposite and was shivering and was not able to be in the big group picture we took at the end. She told me she needed to sit down and that she felt very bad. My dad took her home quickly for her to rest because she was having ‘flu-like’ symptoms, so we assumed. She rested that whole day. Throughout that day, our son Henry would go up to Nana and Poppy’s bedroom door and say, “Nana, Nana??” He was eager to see his grandma! He even knew something was up! Early in the morning she and dad knew it would be wise to go to the ER for further testing since she was feeling extremely sick. My father in law drove them around 5am the next day to the local hospital. I thought it was due to dehydration and figured ‘the bug’ would be gone in 24 hours. None of us knew what the Lord had in store for our beloved momma the next 48hours.

After further testing in the ER she was sent to the ICU for more testing because her kidneys were failing her. My 3 sisters from Texas got word and flew in to be with us all at the hospital. The doctors told us it was a very serious infection that seems to have gotten in her blood. She did not have a spleen so that was why it became so serious so fast. Her body was not able to fight off the infection. The doctors ran many tests and we were able to be with her often by her hospital bed. I was still not aware fully of all the implications of her sickness. We were talking with her and she reminded me that my birthday gift should be coming in the mail soon and not to forget to open it. We had causal talk about the UK game on later that night and that she wanted to watch it. I got to tell her we love her so dearly and so very thankful for her love she has always shown us. I told her that how grateful I was for her time serving my family with Mark’s cancer. We chatted off and on and then it became more and more apparent that her time was limited to be with us and that there was nothing further any doctors could do for her. Her body was shutting down. This is not just some distant relative this happening to, this was my dear momma, who has been with me my whole life. Through every trial or joy, she had always been here for me. She has been used as an amazing cheerleader and encouragement to me all my life. She was safe and comforting to me and my family this past 15months as we have walked this cancer road with Mark. She and dad were there and cried and prayed with us. She has been a ear for me like none other in my life. My heart and mind are still having a hard time to even understand that this is God’s timing for my mom. She has completed the good work the Lord had for her on earth and that He has prepared a home for her in Heaven. Unreal. Sobering.

So this is what “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” feels like. I was seeing the sorrow before my eyes as her body was fading and not able to fight against her infection. Her days were already numbered. The day after the adoption was her 64th birthday. Yet, she was in the hospital fighting for her life. My mind was pondering all the little and big ways my dear momma had been serving us; recently and all my life.

Recently, it was the way she quickly took charge with the kids when I would start weeping when a thought about losing Mark came to my mind. She would say to me, “I’ve got this, Anna. Go take a break. Go shower or spend time with the Lord.” She was quick to give me moments throughout the day to run to Jesus for help! She would pray for me and with me regularly. She was the fastest dishwasher and clean up person I have ever seen. She maintained my home. We had cleaned clothes because my mom was washing them and folding them. I would often go to bed and see mom folding and ironing for us. She had an eye to serve that many do not, myself included. She would venture with me on any errand and was always up for buying a Starbucks for me. :) And oh how loved our children (all her grandchildren!) The Lord had uniquely gifted her to serve, but to do in such the hidden ways that many would never know. She didn’t need to be recognized for her service. She was content in the way the Lord made her and was happy and willingly served by her actions, through her example. She loved people. She loved her husband. I learned so much about the way to love my husband, by her example of loving hers. She and dad often said to us, go out and grab a date! She encouraged Mark and I to spend as much time together as we wanted, even if that met long hours of them caring for our 3 little ones! Mom and dad would do dates too! They made sure they were spending quality time together, as well. Yet she would sacrifice more for us then she & dad let on! Their example of loving each other influenced my husband and I and how we learned from their godly marriage. She loved her daughters! She talked of all the sisters very often. She would update me with the latest happenings and the way she talked of her children was beautiful. She poured herself out for all our good. She was proud of each sister. I can’t recall an unkind thing come from her tongue, by the Lord’s grace in her life! Sadly, often it’s not till someone is taken, when you realize how much they were being used to hold yourself and your family together. She has been described as the ‘glue’ for our family. She was able to keep up with her four daughters and the twelve grandchildren! She never missed a birthday, anniversary, or memorable events in our lives! She had a card mailed to us each, if she were going to absent. I loved how she was herself. She was free to be the way the Lord made her. She had a soft heart towards Jesus and was a servant to her King Jesus. She loved well. She pointed me, all of us, to Jesus.  And all this fruit in her life was the Lord’s good grace to her!

All I could keep on thinking in the hospital was this. Here my parents came to serve us through my husband’s fight for his life with brain cancer. She and dad poured themselves out for our good and for our children. They were consistently encouraging, helpful, generous, and full of grace towards us on this cancer road.  Hidden to us, the Lord had allowed my mom to get an infection that would shorten her days abruptly! Mark’s suffering was a shock to us, but has been a long 15months and counting. My momma’s suffering was a shock and took her home to be with the Lord quickly, 48hours later.

How am I doing? Well, for starters. Friends, our days are numbered by the Lord. It’s clear in Scripture (Psalm 90:12) and now in this example of my momma. She had fulfilled all that the Lord had for her to do on earth. God designed her for His glory. God bought her with a price. He gave His Son, Jesus. She repented and believed upon Jesus. She knew full forgiveness of all her sins. Now and forever more, my momma is Home with her King. She is no longer suffering in this world. She is at perfect peace and in the presence of our Lord and Savior.  This reality is more than we can comprehend! Our minds can’t even grasp the fact that she is more alive today, than we are right now!

And she would want me to say something here, in this post. She would want any and all to come to Jesus for salvation. She knows better than we do now, this life we live right now is very small. It’s so small in comparison to eternity. If you are reading this post, you have breath right now. This is a gift from the Lord. Please stop and consider. Consider that you are really not good enough (Romans 3:23). In fact, deep down, you know you have done some pretty bad things. These bad things the Bible calls sin. We are all accountable for our sin. We all will stand before a Holy God and He will only demand perfect righteousness in order to go to Heaven. The sad part is that we do not have this perfect righteousness on our own. Even the most ‘good’ person you know on this earth is not good enough in comparison to enter a holy Heaven and with a Holy God. The penalty for sin is death (Romans 6:23). The Bible explains this very clear. We need the righteousness of God. And on our own, we will never enter Heaven. My mom knows that fully now. And she trusted the Jesus is that He would be her righteousness that covers her and now freely opens Heaven’s door to her (Romans 5:8)! She would want you to know this. She would want many to repent of their sins and believe in Jesus (Romans 10:9-10,13). Please consider Jesus. Consider eternity. God so loved the world that He gave His Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

 

James 4:6

Friends, this is so painful and I am still in grief and sorrow. However, I am not one who sorrows without hope.  The verse above in James 4:6 has been so helpful to me the past days. I keep asking the Lord for help. I keep wondering His purpose in all that He is allowing in my life, in my husbands, and now even in my sisters and dad. Why all the sorrow? How long O God, how long? (Psalm 13 on repeat in my head). Yet, in the Lord’s compassion, he is showing me still that there is plentiful grace for such a weak person, like me. He used my mother, yes. He used her for all my 31 years of life and so much in these last and hardest 15months of my life as my dear Mark has been fighting his cancer. God provided in abundance through the good work He had planned for my mother to walk in. He planned for her to be in Louisville, Kentucky. She was so excited for this adoption. He allowed her in His compassion on her and the rest of us, to be present at his adoption. She was there! The Lord’s grace is abounding and so real. God so planned too that her final days would be here locally for me during the hardest time of my life. She has walked with me and listened and cried with me and sweetly pointed me back to Jesus; even if it was through the tears she shed with me! I know there is no way of really knowing all the ways the Lord is working. However, I do get to see this glimpse of His grace to me! He knew I would not be able to leave Louisville with my sweet husband being so sick. So He ordered the timing of my mom’s passing to be here (and not in Texas) and arranged for my sisters to be able to fly in. How compassionate is that?! He knows all our days. Surely, He is kind to His children. Surely, He is merciful.  He will continue to provide for all our needs!  Hasn’t He always provided?  His faithfulnes is my standing place!

Now even, He promises to give more grace to me, even now with my mom ‘absent from her body, but present with the Lord.’ God has promised through His Son, to give MORE GRACE to me! A weak sinner who deserves nothing! He promises here in James 4:6 to give me more grace. The verse continues and says, God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” He is placing me in a humble place. In His sovereignty He is allowing me to see my neediness more clearly. Friends, this is His grace to me! I must see more of my needy state in order that I may know Jesus and treasure Him above all else. The Lord knows what is best. And though there is sorrow, there is a compassionate Savior who loves me and gave Himself up for me, that I too may have eternal life. Not so that I can boast, but so that I can boast in the LORD, for it is all His doing-His grace! God has ordained all this for my good.  For my dad and sisters good.  Even, this cancer for my husband and children’s good.  He is working out holiness in us and using our suffering, so that many would see Jesus and how He alone is our refuge and hope.  For my family and I, we are thankful to our Faithful Lord and King!  And we long for MANY to run and to Jesus and see Him as the Great Comforter and kind Savior!  Please God, draw many to yourself through your Son!  Use my little life to make much of Christ!

I am so very thankful and honored to have a legacy of my mother (and my 3 older sisters feel the same) who loved Jesus and spent her life for His glory. I pray I (we) can follow in her footsteps, and leave this legacy for my (our) children. And that friends, is a life that is well spent. To be known by and make known the Love of God, through the face of Jesus Christ! To God be the glory! Amen!

 

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Adoption -Part 1

April 14, 2014 by  
Filed under Family Life, Our Hope

A lot has happened this past month!  This was both a joyful and sorrowful month.   However, regretfully more sorrow than I have ever known.  Yet, in the same breath I can say we have experienced more strength & dependence on the Lord than we have ever known!  And not to mention – seen God’s incredible mercy in allowing the adoption of Henry to be finalized!!!

last family pic with mom and dad

My sweet husband reminded me that though God may take gifts or blessings away, He always is faithful to give more of Himself.   I truly believe this is happening in my Marky and to me!  What we all need is more of Jesus!  And we see His kindness and compassion in the midst of these recent trials and sorrows!  I have experienced Lamentations 3 and echo these verses in my heart.

“For the Lord will not cast off forever, but though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love, for he does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men.”  -Lamentations 3:31-33

“Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it?  Is it not from the mouth of the most high that good and bad come?”                      -Lamentations 3:37-38

“I called on your name, O Lord, from the depths of the pit, you heard my plea, “Do no close your ear to my cry for help!” You came near when I called on you, you said, “Do not fear!” You have taken up my cause, O Lord, you have redeemed my life.”  -Lamentations 3:55-58

Praise to the LORD, we officially ADOPTED our precious little 2-year old that we have had in our home through fostering since he was 5-weeks old! It was a joyous occasion and the Lord’s hand was upon it all! Both sets of grandparents and Aunt Becca were there along with our sweet church family! We packed the place out with close to 30 people and had even friends filming the event!! Answered prayers were seen as my husband was also here at his oldest son’s adoption! There was much joy that morning and anticipation as we were approaching March 20th, 2014! We do know this is answered prayer from the past 2 years and counting and we praise the Lord for this gift of our precious Henry Mark Gronotte!  I’m still processing and want to share more about this journey God’s leading us through — to be continued!

Adoption Picture Mom Sent to Girls in TX

(All Five of Us with the Judge – It’s Official!)

Praise God from Whom ALL blessings Flow!

 

 

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