Saturday, April 5, 2014

It Was a Year Ago...

One of many worship nights.

This time last year, Christina had just had her one and only grand mal seizure which marked the beginning of hospice care.  Memories are flooding my heart and I spend much time thinking, reading journals, remembering and contemplating what this year has brought. 

This morning, I reread her last journal which began January 25, 2013.

She began, “I love this journal!  Thanks, Lord, for finishing my other journal at the perfect time so I would be ready to start completely fresh in this huge new chapter in my life!  I’m ready to dive in with you, Jesus.  I sense brand new challenges coming—beyond just health, beyond even marriage and motherhood although these will always be in the obvious mix every day.  Some days they will be the focus, but some days you will call me to plunge so much deeper into the scary areas of the heart…
So, please help me, speak to me, and have mercy on me, Father, as I walk through this with you.  I will fail, on a consistent basis, but I ask always for strength and prompting to confess my failures, not take for granted your forgiveness, and have the faith to put my faith and your lessons into action.  Help me know also, Lord, always, that your strength truly is made known and perfect in my weakness.  When I surrender my weaknesses, which feel miles long, to you and let you walk me into them teaching me to say “NO” to fear, that is when your glory can be made known through me.

And that is my biggest desire for my life lived on this earth…

I need you, Jesus, every moment.  I can’t wait for this next journey with you.  Difficult, sweet, and rich!!”

Time with Isaiah.
Reading back, it seems prophetic.  She knew something big was coming.  Maybe she knew she was facing the end of her days on earth.  Her pain was intense and her brain was acting up on a daily basis.  Maybe she knew these struggles were leading to her transfer to the presence of Jesus.

A few weeks after being placed on hospice care, Christina’s journal reflected her strong desire to spend time with Jesus.

April 16th, 2013
“Lord, thank you for today, thank you for the sunshine.  Thank you for getting to go to Isaiah’s little check up, and thank you for the BEAUTIFUL sunny day once again.  Feels like a special gift just for me, although I know what a beautiful gift it is for others as well. 

I just need time with you Jesus.  Craving it, starving without it.  Please, Lord, teach me how to take time to just sit with you—not worried about entertaining, visiting, or missing out on anything.  I love people and value the time they are choosing to spend with me more than anything!  But NOT over time with you, Lord.  Help me to do that…
Oh Lord, I need you, every second, every day.  Teach me to do this—quiet and writing, sitting in solitude at your feet.  It’s my absolute favorite thing.  Teach me how to do it in its own special way as this new schedule, life flow develops.  It feeds my soul.  Teach me how to enter in again.  In any environment it can and does happen, but there’s something about me deciding to STOP and separate myself to you.  Sit alone with you because I want to and need to.  I love you, Lord.”

I am astonished that someone who knew she was about to meet Jesus face to face is still solely focused on spending intimate time with Him—every day, all day. 

How much more do we, who might have many more days, need to saturate ourselves in His presence.  Christina was battling fear and despair and knew that both were dealt with in the presence of Jesus.  The source of Christina’s joy was Jesus.  The evidence of her life with Jesus was the joy that was present in her words, her countenance, and her conversations.  The very end of this entry in her journal was,
Jesus, thank you for your joy. 
I never expected or even knew that I could experience it now
and in this powerful way. 
You are so kind my Jesus.  So kind.
I love you.”

Always laughing with Linsey.
Christina’s life continues to instruct me—to focus on Jesus, to spend time with Him.  It is true that He is the answer to fear and despair. 
He is joy.  

He is truth. 

He is hope.

 He is life.

I hope in this sampling of pictures taken in Christina's final weeks that you can see evidence of the beautiful joy of Jesus radiating from her.  I know that these pictures always make me smile.
Nothing like a latte and a husband:)
Special walks with Doug and Isaiah.
Playing with Isaiah.
A hug for her brother.


  1. Oh, I think I need to read and re-read this and absorb what Christina learned. She found the Source and He gave her exactly what she needed. All it required was choosing well. Choosing Jesus--and choosing Him every day, every hour.

    1. This is a huge lesson for me, Karen. Even today, in moving into the big picture of what Jesus is doing and what He is about, my thinking has shifted in a profound way. It reminds me of Proverbs 31:25--She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.

  2. Oh...this is so pure and beautiful. I am so grateful to have watched this journey from afar and the lessons I have learned from Christina!

    1. Janice, thank you. Watching Christina move through cancer was to watch her become more pure and more beautiful. There is nothing like watching Jesus transform a life through difficulty. Nothing wasted.

    2. You inspire me to see Jesus in all things. Thank you.

    3. Janice, I am learning (very slowly) that He is in all things and I can trust Him. I think your beautiful life is a reflection of that trust that He is in ALL things:)

  3. JoDee, What you and Christina wrote touches my soul. I want to write to you and say something from my soul. I can't now. You and Christina both said such beautiful things about God. I need to think and pray about this. I know you have gone through so many things, all traveled with God. You need to know that God is always with all of us. He loves you, JoDee. These difficult times your family has gone through are all for a purpose, that only God knows. God is taking care of your Christina, she is very blessed. Christina is with the God, Jesus and The Holy Spirit. She is so very loved. Christina is with you every day, she has not forgotten you, she loves you with all of her soul. Christina is so very proud to have you and your husband as parent. She cherished the time she had with you and waits for the time when her family joins her. Christina is happy. Christina is alive. Christina is love. JoDee I am proud that you have shared your story with me. We didn't have much time in school together, I think, 6th grade. We did have time together, there is always a purpose for everything. JoDee I love you and your entire family. God bless you Christina and the rest of your amazing family.

    1. Thanks, Jim. What you talk about is what keeps me going. We are to look not at what is seen but what is unseen. So...I spend time thinking about heaven and Christina's joy at being fully alive. She said she was being swallowed up into life. That is the truth.
      And I truly believe that God has great purpose in all of this. Some I can see and some I cannot even imagine. He has shown me enough of His purposes to build my faith for the times I can't see purpose. Thank you so much for writing.