Saturday, July 13, 2013

77 Days

Christina was in Hospice care for 77 days.

Eleven weeks. 

So many wonderful days. 

Several very hard days.
It felt like a marathon.

I knew it would have an ending but we could not see the finish line.  There were a few times that I felt I could not do one more day.  And then I found myself moving through the next day.
I was told that ‘each day has a purpose.’  I believed that.  But I could not see the purpose in some days.  This is where faith directs the path.  These things I reviewed in my heart over and over. 

  •  God had numbered each of Christina’s days before she had lived even one of them. (Psalm 139:16) 
  •  God is not capricious.  He knows what He is doing.  (Jer. 29:11)
  •  God is good.  (Psalm 100:5)   
  • The death of one of His saints is a precious time for Him.  (Psalm 116:15)
  •  The Lord is near as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death. (Psalm 23:4)
  • We are never forsaken.  (Hebrews 13:5) 

These truths and many others were my lifeline through difficult days.

As the days wore on, I learned some things. 
  • Some of life’s best lessons are learned in the fire.  I learned a new compassion for those walking a hard journey—and there are so many journeys much harder than the one I walked.  
  • I needed to know that God cared intimately for my heart—not just Christina’s.  Many times, in many ways, God met very personal needs of my own heart.  Needs that were not spoken aloud and that no one else could have possibly known. 
  •  God is a God of mercy.   On May 30th, Christina said, “God keeps sustaining me.  He sustains all of us.”  His power was evident.  No more seizures. No more trauma. No loss of personality.  
  • His joy really is available for us at all times—no circumstance can thwart it.

And then there was the truth that capped it all off.  Doug told me after her memorial that every one of those 77 days were for him.  He and Christina used those 77 days to pray together, mourn together, cry together, and worship together.  They spent precious days talking about raising Isaiah, enjoying their love, taking walks in the evening, and laughing together.  He said, “I don’t know how I would be making it today if we had not had those days together.”  When I cannot see the purpose of today, I can trust that God knows the purpose and is working it out in His great and merciful ways.  He is good.  He is sovereign.  He loves us more than we can imagine.

Psalm 138:8  The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; your mercy, O Lord, endures forever.


  1. Thank you, Jo Dee, for serving Jesus by proclaiming His lovingkindness to all who will hear. Alive in you and exemplified in her precious boy, Christina's legacy of obedient surrender and authentic joy will never be lost. Thank you for allowing us to share in your journey. I am so proud of you, and pray that each of you will continue to sense His nearness moment by moment. I love you dearly.

    1. Melissa, thanks for entering in so fully. I love you!

  2. I am always amazed and uplifted, always.



  3. I am so grateful for each one of those 77 days. God is so good to continue to reveal and teach. I'm so glad you're writing.


    1. Well, Loralee, you were a huge and wonderful part of those 77 days. I think I will write about it:)

    2. and I look forward to that one ( as well as every word that comes from this journey) :) I love that Jesus brought us sisters closer still... I love you both and am thankful every moment for His Love flowing through... Jen

  4. From across the USA (in Virginia)....I have been following yours and Christina's blog for a while now. I am a good friend of Neil Penso's and I was introduced to your "story" from Neil's wife, Mandy. I have been so moved by your love for the Lord and your testimony and all that you have shared with all of us - friends and strangers. Thank you for your words, your actions and your trust in HIS care and love. God bless you and your family!

    1. Thank you, Ann. Thanks for reading and writing. Please give Mandy and Neil big hugs for me. Love to you.

  5. Once again you have blessed my heart with your insights from your family's journey into the presence of God. Your family's story is touching people around the world. Love to all of you! Mary R

  6. Thank you, Mary. Your comments bring courage to my heart to share more. Love you!

  7. Hi Jo Dee, I'm a friend of your nephew Chris N. over here in the Tri-Cities. Chris has shared with me of your sweet Christina and the journey you've all been on. I'm so sorry for your loss. But I'm grateful for you to have had the time together, each and every day to celebrate life intentionally. Her life was full of meaning and her story shared to inspire many who never met her in person. Cherish life, trust in God and His plan, live each day to glorify Him. ....Romans 8:28.....
    Blessings, Diane

  8. Thanks, Diane. We have also been very, very grateful for the time we've had. Those 5 1/2 years of the cancer journey were a rich time of processing, praying, living, laughing, and so many adventures. We feel wealthy in the things that matter. Love to you.