on life and death, trust and fear

My sweet motherest is here.
And we are waiting.
Not sitting around twiddling our thumbs (is anyone capable of that with four children?)
But trying to cover all the baby bases.
Think evening primrose oil, black cohosh, and jumping on trampolines...
My babies like to stay put.
And get really fat and really, really big.
They've got it backwards.
I would prefer they do all their growing post partum, thankyouverymuch my little womb baby.

On the more emotional note (everything is emotional at this stage and be forewarned this is A LOT of emotions I'm throwing out there),

I've struggled with losing my peace during this pregnancy.
There are still some stormy emotional experiences I've had to work through, but I've felt the gentle healing hands of my God re-binding old wounds and walking me through forgiveness.  
Over and over again. 
It's the only thing that truly frees us, isn't it.
Forgiving.  And being forgiven.
I've wanted to understand, thinking that would make forgiveness easier.
I've wanted those I've forgiven to understand as well.
But I'm learning that love covers over all wrongs.
It overlooks.
Not ignores.
Just chooses to focus OVER the offense and LOOK into the face of Jesus.

And then there was the phone call last night.
My dear, sweet Uncle Johnny passed away.
My mother has been caring for her mentally handicapped brother and her 90 year old mother for the past few years.
Only two days ago, we found out that his body was completely infected with cancer.  
He was sick for the past two weeks and when they had tests done, they were taken aback by how quickly cancer had spread.
My mom was here with me and I know it broke her heart not to have been there when he breathed his last breath.
It happened peacefully.
In his sleep.
On the way to the cancer treatment center.
It's hard to explain just how special my Uncle Johnny was.
He loved Jesus with all his heart and with the purity and intensity of a little child.
Johnny was an eleven year old boy in a 65 year old man's body.
And in many ways, I believe that was a gift.
He knew Jesus and trusted him absolutely.
And I believe that God, in his mercy, spared my Uncle Johnny the worst possible pain, and gently led him home in his dreams.
I'll never forget his shy hugs or his loud, exuberant voice as he would sing along to his favorite gospel songs.
Even with all the medical problems he faced, he never wavered in his belief that Jesus loved him and was taking care of him.
He's an inspiration to me.
The greatest thing in life really is to love God and to be loved by Him.

Somewhere amid all the hurt and pain that gets so intense it robs the breath of life, I can lose my focus.
I get afraid.
Hurt can do that.
We wonder where God was when the blow landed hard.
Fear inhibits trust.
And love can't flourish without trust.

I have to trust my God's heart towards me.
And the more I trust Him, the more His love can fill me.
It's his perfect love that casts out fear.

I can look up into the skies of tomorrow with joyful expectation, not fearfulness or despair,
because I'm looking into the eyes of my Savior, the Love of my Life, my Soul Maker, who is completely worthy of all my trust.

And even as I was typing this, my two year old woke up screaming...again.
He has night terrors almost every night.  Sometimes two or three times a night.
He cries and screams inconsolably.  I try everything.
But mostly all I can do is pray.  And usually cry along with him.
I feel worry sink into my exhausted brain and with it comes the fear of having a newborn and a toddler both keeping me up all hours of the night and somehow still be a patient mom to my oldest three.

I get afraid that my mother won't get to meet Story before she has to leave on a plane for the funeral.
So many worries.  So many concerns.

But then I hear Johnny's sweet voice, feel his pat on my back and his shy, boyish smile and the words he would tell me when he was going through yet another surgery,
"It's ok, Joye, God's taking care of your Uncle Johnny."
And it's that kind of trust I want.
It's that kind of trust that I need.

This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength..."  Isaiah 30:15

In quietness and trust in my God is where I will find my strength.


Heidi said...

What a wonderful testimony! Sweet trust, why is it so hard sometimes?

I will be praying for your little man, that his night terrors will subside and also that sweet Story will arrive soon :) Looking forward to pictures of the new babe!

Cynthia said...

Joye, this is a beautiful post in every way. So many things happen each day to steal the peace that Christ desires to give you at this time of your life...

What a blessed description of your uncle. He sounded like a wonderful person that every one should have had the chance to know. I will pray for him and your family during this difficult time.

Also, you and your pregnancy! I remember reading your blog not too long ago when you announced this little one! How fast time has flown! Prayers for you as well. May the Lord wrap you in His arms during all of this...as I have no doubts He will.

I haven't commented in so long, but really broke out the novel on this one ;) Glad to see you so at peace even when it may not feel like it. Blessings to you!

Southern Gal said...

Oh, Joye. I'm reading this after a phone call from my mother telling me her 78-year-old aunt, who is mentally handicapped from a high fever at age 5, is not doing well. Her caretakers have died one by one and now her nephew cares for her and he has cancer. I think she knows what's going on and is just tired of fighting while watching loved ones die one after the other. We are so thankful for her sweet spirit. Your Uncle Johnny sounds like an amazing man. Thank you for sharing this. It was something I really needed to hear today.

Praying Story will decide to make an appearance soon.

Farmgirl Paints said...

sweet joye...HE knows just what you need and who you need. it will all be okay. you are adorable by the way.

Rachel~Wildflower Photography Studio and a little bit vintage said...

lovely post. so very sorry for your loss. prayers and hugs for you and your family.

looking forward to photos of your new little one...whenever she decides to make her appearance. :)

Linda said...

Sorry about Johnny! I am so glad he loved the Lord! ((Hugs))

I hope Story will arrive soon. (:>) I pray that you will get through all of this by the wonderful grace of Jesus!

Linda @ Truthful Tidbits

Leslie @ top of the page said...

you are processing so much in your heart right now! wow. it's clear Jesus is still helping you fix your eyes on Him and His goodness. isn't it funny how the opposite of fear is not security, but love? "perfect love casts out all fear." it's taken me quite some years to understand what this even means. but its the love that drives away our fears. and the more we understand the depths of His love for us, the more consistently we can hold up our shields of faith to extinguish the flaming arrows of the enemy. praying peace over you and a fresh understanding of how loved you are. :)

vintage grey said...

beautiful and truthful post. so sorry for your loss. such a blessing your uncle johnny was! keeping you and your sweet family in my prayers. God is so good and faithful! hugs to you, xo heather

Serena said...

What a lovely blog and a lovely honest post.

Lynnette Kraft said...

My heart went out to you when I read this post this morning. So much to have to cope with right now. I'm sorry for your heartaches and your burdens.

As you know, a new baby in the house will make things busier and you will be tired, but the love for that precious one will cover it all with joy and gladness.

Don't fret, just pray.
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your request be made known unto God, and the peace that passes all understanding will keep your heart and mind through Christ Jesus."

Praying for you... that God's peace will flood you, that Story will come when your momma is still with you, that your heart will be comforted over the loss of your adored uncle, and that your momma's heart will be satisfied in the simple joys of life.

And I cannot leave without saying, I've been in very similar places many times (having birthed 9 children). It is just part of the journey of mothering. On the days when the tasks and the burdens seem to great, just lean on the one who has called you to be right where you are. Go easy on yourself and bask in these precious days of motherhood. They are beautiful and you are your kids hero - every day.


Mary said...

oh, Joye.
i will be praying for you and your family.
i cannot imagine this life without forgiveness. the kind that HE gave me so that i can learn to pass it on to others.
i don't know quite how i could move on with out it.
some things sting so deep, yet He knows and calls us to love.
you have been on my heart so much lately and i'm pretty sure i know why now. :)
love you.

Kelly said...

I am praying for you and your family during this time of sadness and expectation! May God give peace that passes understanding!

christa jean said...

These words:

"But I'm learning that love covers over all wrongs.
It overlooks.
Not ignores.
Just chooses to focus OVER the offense and LOOK into the face of Jesus."

SOOO good, I may have to quote you!

Your little peanut having night terrors makes me super sad. I know well the fear that tries to crush when an answer seems elusive. Praying for answers and an insight as to what is causing this.

There was a time when my second daughter (she was 6) had a real fear of blood, and I couldn't figure out why. I don't think I was even praying about it. Probably, instead, was worrying about it! Then, out of the blue, I remembered a traumatic experience that had happened to her when she was two years old, regarding some blood tests and being strapped to a board (terrible and awful).
I prayed the fear and trauma out of her mind/body and asked her to forgive me for not protecting her better. After that, she was so interested in everything medical. It was so amazing the change! She wanted to put everyone's band-aids on and bought her own first-aid kit, hahaha.
Truly, fear is a tormentor. Hope this helps. I am praying for freedom from fear!


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