Heavy Hearts

Hi friends...It's been awhile since I've been able to check in and update you on our whereabouts this week.  We just got home from Family Camp and we are so glad to be home!  It was a wonderful week and we had a great time.  Ava was a trooper and handled the week beautifully.    I will post this weekend about our camp adventure and show you some of our pictures, but tonight I want to share with you some situations that are so heavy on our hearts.  

It's been a very emotional week as we watch several friends walk through some very, very difficult things.  Our hearts ache and we have spent much time in prayer for each of them.  I want to share their stories briefly with you and link you to their blogs and websites, so you can read their own words.  I am amazed at the grace and faith they are each displaying in the darkest of hours...It is a testimony to the power of Christ in each of their lives that they are able to trust Him with their greatest of hurts and believe the promises in His word.  In a week when we've seen the passing of many celebrities, here are some ordinary people, with extraordinary faith...

The first family that we are burdened for is a couple that we knew from our days in Naples, FL.  Jordan is a Pastor and his wife Maggie has been battling cancer for the last 3 years.  They have 4 children, Sophie, Jack, Jonas and Owen.  Maggie has walked an incredibly hard road with cancer, battling all the way as she dealt with multiple recurrences and countless setbacks.  We got a message this week that she is in her last days, facing the end of this road.  We are heartbroken for their family.  Her kids are so young, so impressionable and innocent.  We ache for her husband Jordan, who is now facing the daunting task of losing his darling wife and raising his 4 kids alone.  Maggie's sister was one of my friends in Naples, and my heart is so sad for Maureen.  What a wonderful older sister Maggie has been, a mother in many ways.  We are rejoicing that Maggie's suffering will soon be over and she will be in the arms of our Savior, healed and whole again.  We believe wholeheartedly that Jordan and her kids will one day get to be with their Mom when God calls them home as well, so although there is hope in death, there is much pain here now.  Will you please pray for these faces as they say goodbye and grieve for their wife, Mom and sister?  We honestly don't know the is what we received this week via email...

Maggie’s condition continues to weaken.  She’s no longer able to talk, to eat or drink, or sit up on her own.  Her breathing is becoming more and more labored.  Her kidneys are shutting down and is clearly in the last days of her earthly life. But the amazing thing is that she seems more at peace than ever.  She’s wonderfully confident in the arms of Christ, and eagerly anticipating being with Him.  Please continue to pray for her...that she would enter His rest as graciously as she has lived for Him.

Karen and I, last April
Travis, Daniel, Forrest, and Ben.
Jonathan and I. Jonathan was just a baby when Travis first lived with the Heads :) 

We have also been praying for another dear, dear friend of ours, Karen Head.  Karen and her husband Forrest have been like mentors to Travis and I.  Travis lived with the Heads for awhile in Naples and they have become like family to both of us.  Forrest married us and all three of their boys were in our wedding.  Almost 2 years ago, Karen was diagnosed with colon cancer and also fought it successfully.  On Monday of this past week, she found out that it was back.  This time it was isolated and they were able to remove it completely in surgery on Wednesday.  Although that is good news, she is looking at more chemo and radiation, as well as more time on this cancer road.  We wanted so badly for her tests on Monday to be clear, but they weren't.  It makes us hurt to know that Karen will probably face this same struggle over the coming years....wondering if the cancer will come back and hoping that it will remain treatable.  We LOVE the Heads and it kills us to be so far away while they go through these days.  I would do anything to be at their house, making a meal, cleaning their bathrooms, hugging their boys, whatever they needed.  But, we know that our Father hears all our prayers for them and we are believing and trusting Him to meet every need.  All of their updates so far indicate a successful surgery and a good recovery, but the second leg of Karen's journey is really just beginning.  Please pray for her with us.  


This past week was also a devastating one for some friends of ours, Charlie and Amanda.  After a miscarriage in the fall, they recently announced they were pregnant!  18 weeks along.  We were thrilled for them and I was so glad to hear that Amanda was through those early weeks, past the "danger zone"  of so many miscarriages.  What I didn't know, and neither did they, was that the Lord had other plans for their little one.  Over the weekend Amanda wound up in the hospital, only to discover that there was no amniotic fluid for the baby.  After some agonizing decisions and hours, she delivered little Bennett on Tuesday after he had already gone to be with Jesus.  There are many details about their story on their blog, but I can't tell you how my heart broke at their news.  I cannot understand why the Lord would choose to take that baby home, but I can only trust that He knows better than I do.  They are in the middle of intense suffering and now facing a return to "life" without the baby they had been praying, planning and waiting for.  I could just cry every time I think about it.  Life will never be the same for them after this.  I have been praying constantly for them, asking the Lord to just wash them with His peace and His love.  They have been giving Him such praise in the midst of their storm, I am amazed at the strength they have displayed.  Please pray for Charlie and Amanda as they walk this new road with empty arms and broken dreams. 


Finally, many of you may know the urgent request for little Kate, if you read Kelly's blog.  My mom called me on Wednesday of this week to let me know what was happening.  Kate's Mom Holly, is a friend of mine from my growing up days.  Her sister was one of my closest friends and we all played sports together.  Holly's husband Aaron is a Pastor and went to the same seminary that Travis did.  Holly and her husband took their 5 year old Kate to the doctor on Monday because they noticed some tremors...sadly they never left the hospital after that appointment.  On Monday, the doctors discovered a large, malignant, and aggressive brain tumor that no one knew she had.  The pet scan and all other tests have revealed devestating news.  Because of the size and location, the prognosis is not favorable.  However, as I type this, she is in surgery or just coming out of it.  We are all believing God and asking Him for a miracle.  She needs a touch from the Lord in order to make it through this new journey and the long road ahead.  As a parent, I don't know how they are holding up against the stress, except to say that they are also clinging to the Lord through these incredibly difficult hours.  You can hear their story and their plea for prayer on this video and see their blue-eyed beauty, who is now in the fight of her life.  Please, please pray for little Kate.  

Sad, isn't it?  It's been a really heavy week, full of crying out to the Lord on behalf of all these people we know and love.  It's hard to find the words and I really don't know what to say, except that our God is big and able to do anything.  He is present in even the darkest of hours and He knows what He is doing, even when it seems He is absent.  Three of these stories are about Pastors and their families, but all four are about people who love the Lord with all their hearts and who are doing their best to bring Him glory in the midst of great struggle and pain.  I was thinking about all of this on the drive home today and something that we heard on Sunday struck me.  

While we attended a class for parents who are participating in a dedication ceremony at our Church, our Children's minister Julie, shared three things that she and her husband constantly remind their girls. Three foundations about the Lord that they want to make sure they know...

God is Sovereign (all-powerful, able to do anything).
God is Wise (He know what He is doing and He has a plan for everyone). 
God is Loving (He cares deeply about every single person and loves them.  We can trust Him).

He cannot be any one of those things, without being another.  

If He were Sovereign and Loving, but not wise; He could do anything, He could love us, but He wouldn't know what He was doing.  

If He were Wise and Loving, but not Sovereign; He would know what He was doing, He would love us, but He would lack the power to do anything about it.  

And finally, if He were Sovereign and Wise, but not loving; He would be able to do anything, He would have a plan for us, but He wouldn't love us and we couldn't trust Him.   

He has to be all three or nothing at all.  

We happen to believe that He is all three.  We choose to remember who is in control and what we know about Him.  He is Sovereign, He is Wise and He is loving, NO MATTER WHAT.  Our hearts break for these friends and we long to see Him move in mighty ways for each of them, but regardless of what happens, we are dwelling on what we know and not what we feel.  

Our God is in control.  He can do anything, He has a plan, and He is trustworthy.  

"I lift my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and Earth.  He will not let your foot slip-he who watches over you will not slumber..."

Psalm 121:1-3

Thank you for praying with us.


sheltonfamily said...

so sad.... and such battles that these people are fighting... I saw Kate's picture on Kelly's blog. She is a beautiful little girl and now with 3 girls I cannot imagine. I just prayed for these people and know that God is sovereign.

petrii said...

My heart aches for each request on your blog today. I am so sorry for each of these. I will be praying for them, and will add each to my prayer journal after this comment.

Hope you have a Blessed 4th of July,

Faith said...

My goodness, these are some very heavy situations. My heart goes out to each one of these families and all that they are facing. I pray that God would bring healing to each one of them and that His peace would reign in their hearts.

Anonymous said...

Wow! That's alot in one week to get thru. So sorry to hear about them all and my prayers are with them and you and Travis as you minister to them long distance. Love you, Peggy

Anonymous said...

All these precious families are in my prayers today. How fortunate they are to have you and Trav to encourage them through their difficult journeys. God Bless you as you minister to them.

Jennifer said...

Thank you for sharing...what an honor to be able to pray for all of these people and their family.


Charity said...

Thank you for more information and the link for Kate's video and CarePage. I hope you don't mind.. I copied and pasted some of the things you wrote onto my blog as well.