God’s harder providence-Part 2

April 15, 2014 by 23 Comments

“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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Comments

23 Responses to “God’s harder providence-Part 2”
  1. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. II Corinthians 12:9

    Anna…such a beautiful tribute to your sweet Momma! This is also such beautiful picture of God choosing our extreme weakness to display just how strong and gracious Our Savior really is! I remember thinking when I heard
    about your Momma, that she had probably already heard those words out of her Jesus mouth, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.”

    We continue to lift you and Mark and your dad and sisters and all your families to the One who
    plans with love all of our days. We love you!❤️

  2. Carol McDermott says:

    Anna,

    What a beautiful post about your mother and Salvation. Thank you for being such a wonderful Sister in Christ. Many blessings for your beautiful family.

  3. Bethany T says:

    I AM SO VERY SORRY FOR THE LOSS OF YOUR MOTHER, AND I PRAY EVERY DAY FOR YOUR FAMILY AS YOU REMAIN IN MY THOUGHTS. THANK YOU FOR BEING SUCH AN INSPIRATION IN YOUR STRONG FAITH. YOUR FAMILY IS SO BEAUTIFUL.

  4. Anne Kirsten DeVasto says:

    Mark & Anna, we are overcome with grief with you, dear friends. You are so often in our prayers to be upheld & filled with grace for each day. We love you & rejoice with you in our Savior’s love. For all eternity we will rejoice together!

    Much love, Anne & David

  5. Cheryl Pruitt says:

    Sweet Anna, such a beautiful, godly heart you have. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of you, Mark and the children. The night I read your mom passed, I woke up in the middle of the night and you immediately came to mind. My heart was heavy for all you all were going through with Mark’s illness. Since I couldn’t sleep, I opened up Facebook and saw Ryan’s post with the news of your mom. My heart just ached for you. Yet you persevere. You press on to acknowledge the Lord. Oh, how your faith & trust in Jesus has strengthened mine. You are influencing others, through your constant love and affection towards the Lord during such tremendous struggles, so much more than you can probably realize. So often a joyful testimony comes after there has been relief of fear/pain/sorrow. But yours comes in the midst of it. Your words humble me, inspire me, break me and lead me to the feet of Jesus. Thank you for sharing your soul with us. Praying God continues to sustain you and gives you peace, hope, strength and a voice for Him always. Love you.

  6. Ali says:

    Thank you Anna for writing straight from your heart ! Our Momma was so amazing ! You described her perfectly ! I love you so much !

    Love, Ali

  7. tom giampaolo says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. You sound sad(as you should be) however you also appear to be very strong!!
    how is Mark?

    many blessing to all of you

    Tom (Bonnie’s uncle in Orlando)

  8. Alisha says:

    I met your mom at Moms Connection at Christ Fellowship while living there for one year. She was very kind and you could immediately see her love for the Lord. I was thankful she was there to reassure and offer advice ….. as I am a mother of three girls and she knew something about that! She talked very lovingly about her daughters. You could see how proud she was of all of you and her grandchildren! Your post was beautiful! Praying for peace only our Lord can provide!

  9. Bethany says:

    Anna, I have been wondering how you are and often pray for you guys – usually when you are asleep. Thank you for sharing your heart, your Mom’s legacy, and the gift of faith the Father pours out in your life. Your words make me long for heaven, Sister.

  10. Caffy Whitney says:

    Anna,
    I am new to Immanuel. I have been hearing about your journey through this intense trial. God will use
    this in ways we will never fathom for His Kingdom and Glory. Your life is a strength to all of us. I hope to meet you at church. I am praying for you!

  11. Dear Anna, My heart goes out to you and your family … praying God will continue to comfort you during this difficult time.

  12. Mindy says:

    Anna, this is beautiful. Thank you for sharing your heart and for sharing your mom and your Savior with all who read this. I loved your mom so much, and I know your grief is deep, yet I’m grateful for the hope we have in Jesus. Rest in His amazing love for you. May His grace overflow to you every minute.
    Prayers and love, sweet sister in Christ.
    Mindy Christensen

  13. Jennifer Hewett says:

    Anna,
    I am so sorry for your families loss. Your post is such a good picture of where our hope comes from, in Christ. Thank you for sharing with all your love for your precious mom, family, and The Lord! While reading I thiught about your mom and when I would hang out with you and your sweet sisters at their house in McKinney. She was always there, willing to serve you all and me whenever I came over. She had a sweet and loving spirit and cared so much for you all and what was going on in your every day lives. You have such a precious family, as you know:-). I love you and will pray for your family and Mark.
    Love in Christ,
    Jen

  14. John Pearson says:

    Hi Anna, John here. We`ve not stopped praying for your family. We pray individually and corporately as a family for all of you.
    After you mother died, as I was praying for you, Anna, I got a picture of God painting a beautiful picture on a canvass. It was full of bright colors. He told me it was your life, Anna. God is painting a beautiful life. This picture he’s painting is going to bless so many people.
    Thanks for your devotion to God in spite of the trials. Thanks for your example to us here in Germany.
    I’ll not stop praying for Mark.
    God bless you guys.
    John

  15. Ashley mason says:

    You bring God such glory in suffering! Your writings are such an encouragement to me and point us all to Christ! Praying for you and Mark often, Anna!

  16. Amarilys says:

    Just heard this in a sermon by Mark Driscoll, “God won’t answer all your questions in this life, but His answer to your questions is His presence.” I continue praying that for you all.

  17. Stephenie says:

    Thank you for sharing. We pray for you and Mark. Your openness and hope through the pain encourages me.
    Love you!
    Stephenie

  18. Hannah says:

    Dear Anna,

    I don’t know you “in real-life”, but I just want you to know that I am praying for and think of y’all often. I can’t begin to imagine all that you are enduring. Please know that you have brothers and sisters in Christ who are consistently going to the Father on your behalf.

    Much Love,
    Hannah

  19. Rhoda Baginski says:

    Dear Anna and Mark,
    What a sweet and well said post about your sweet mom. She was so dear it pains my heart to see you all going through this. I know the cry how long Oh Lord, but His Grace is there for you. I continue to pray for you and Mark. May our Lord carry you through. So glad your having a little get away.
    Love you all so much,
    In our Living and Loving Savior
    Rhoda

  20. Nici says:

    Beautiful tribute to your mom, Anna. She was such a warm, kind soul…always cheerful, always welcoming, always serving. I love all the truth you packed into this post from God’s Word. Even in your darkest days, know that He is with you and will never leave you! We continue to lift you and your sweet family up in prayer.
    Blessings,
    Nici

  21. Bob S says:

    Dear Anna,

    Our daughter shared your beautiful post with us. Whether we live 30, 60, 90 or even 100 years, that is a blink in eternity. Our bodies were not made for this life. With the gift of Faith we realize that we were made for Heaven…for Eternity with our Lord and Savior! You’ll be with your Mom…in a blink!
    God Bless you, Mark, your father and your sisters. God be with you!

    PEACE! Bob S

  22. Tara says:

    I lost my dad at age 64 on April 20, 2008. This blog and your trust in Christ is a testimony to the world. He is lifted up!! I am praying for you now.

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