Welcome to Jessica's Hope. This blog is designed to keep friends and family up to date on Jessica's journey with cancer. In all of this we have to always remember, just as Jessica is doing, that Christ is our ultimate hope. He is the sole reason that we live. To Him belong all glory and honor.

Friday, April 22, 2011

God's Grace

I apologize for not updating this blog more often. When there is little to no change (except in weight) in Little Jessi's condition, then there is not much left to say. Postings on Facebook may be more frequent, but they can't truthfully say much more on the Baby's condition than is said here. Jessi is still on the ventillator and continues to fight various infections. Thank you for your steady and consistent prayers.
A pro-life organization requested an interview recently, and a women's clinic asked if I would be willing to do as-needed counseling to help women face the decision of saving her own life while taking her unborn baby's. These opportunities feel, for lack of a better term, "weird." Here would be some male telling a very afraid female that she's supposed to just buck up and face the facts that even if she dies, her child will get the chance to live and she should be happy with that. (No, I would not phrase it like that!) But I'm just the husband of a Woman who made the difficult choice to do right. And I'm afraid some type of deification occurs when people make decisions to do right. A lot of missionary "biographies" tend to exalt the person rather than the God s/he represents. Jessica's case has been similar. I want to do justice to the realities of fear and the reality of an incredibly loving God who gives grace beyond measure to the hurting and fearful.
Jessica and I grew up in religious circles that forced conformity through the fear of man. When we got married we struggled to throw off this yoke and "be real" with people, especially at church. Jessica was one of the most honest people I have ever known. She would want me to reveal our humanness and the difficulties of the decisions she and I made. She would want me to help others by being real and saying the hard things that the "more spiritual" would cringe to hear. To be clear, Jessica was at first very afraid. She did not wear some spiritual "No Fear" t-shirt on her heart. She spent the first three days in the hospital making certain she understood the Gospel of Jesus clearly. Then she began to struggle with the treatment options. Jessica was stronger than I; I was about to lose the one person in this world that I loved more than myself, and I was hitting the panic point. In the end, she overcame her fear better than I. So many well-meaning people, churches, organizations, pastors, etc. view everything in life as black and white. But this attitude completely leaves out the god-given element of human emotions. Whether or not to abort the baby was the "easy" choice -- no, absolutely not. But whether or not to accept treatments that might harm the baby was much more difficult; the colors melded into gray hues.
We wrestled with these issues. With no one else around, she would write notes to me reflecting her fight with herself. I watched God grow my Wife's spiritual maturity right in front of my eyes. One day Jessica's brother downloaded a song by Philips, Craig, and Dean entitled "Your Grace Still Amazes Me." This song helped settled all issues for her. She decided she would accept God's grace to face whatever came her way even if it meant death and never being able to raise her child -- which is exactly what happened.
Cancer may have taken Jessica's body, but God's grace took Jessica's mind captive and enabled her to do what she could not have done on her own. Jessica would want any mother-to-be or even husband, fiance, boyfriend or parents to know that it's normal to struggle with fear, or like Job, to struggle with feelings of aloneness or betrayal. But in the end, God gives abundant grace. And in the final end, for those who have Jesus as their Lord, death is a mercy in leaving this world and a grace in entering His visible presence. May God's grace and peace rest on you all. -Clint-

8 comments:

  1. that was so honest and beautiful. i cannot imagine her struggle. praise God that you stood by her side. all the Glory to God for holding her close to Him during all this and now on the other side of glory.
    i will be praying for little Jess.

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  2. I just learned of this amazing story today, I am praying for you and your family. I read the previous posts and wanted to say that I really appreciated what you had to say, especially about being able to ask God questions and that compassion is an action. I believe that God is big enough and strong enough that He can handle when we are mad at him. I think you are right that it is a sign of intimacy with God, He wants all our hopes and fears. Also, I read that many people at the hospital were being witnessed to through this trial and I hope that you can have some peace in knowing that this story is touching lives and God is working miracles through you and Jessica still to this day.

    May the Holy Spirit give you a comfort beyond all understanding in this time of sorrow.

    Love in Christ,
    Regina

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  3. I have started this comment about 25 times so now I'm just going to keep writting. I know the grief death brings all to well. For me it was not a spouse, but our baby girl. In our situation it was my child's life that was sacrificed for my own. It was sudden and no one had time to think, it just was. Five and a half years later I can testify to God's complete healing and grace as my heart and head understand the roll death plays in a believer's world. But what really brought my attention to your journey was that a dear family we know is literally 2 steps ahead on their journey of the same kind. You see the day your sweet little Jessi was born was a little over a month after another precious boy, Curren, was born as his mom joined our awesome Father in heaven. Brie died several hours after being in a horrible car accident December 26th of last year. Her friend started a caring bridge page for Curren, here's the address: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/currangomez .
    I hope in some way this might encourage you to see Curren who is now out of the hospital and thriving. Also, seeing you are not alone in your thoughts or on your journey may bring some comfort. I will be praying for you and all your heart is seeking and will not stop until the day we are all rejoicing together in heaven.

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  4. "Cancer may have taken Jessica's body, but God's grace took Jessica's mind captive and enabled her to do what she could not have done on her own."

    I love this. Thank you for being transparent. It has been amazing to watch your testimony circulate on the internet. My friends in Canada who have no idea who you are and begin a dialogue about life with their friends. Love spreads.

    --Julie Byers

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  5. Hi Clint! I live in Ga and just heard about your story through Allen Hunt's Facebook page. I'm so sorry for your family's loss and at the same time deeply moved by your and Jessica's faith. I just read your blogs about being real, Job's questions, etc. and I agree with you 500% - to be anything other than real is to hide part of your light under a basket. When people see the very real struggles you both went through & that you are still facing, it shows the genuineness of your faith & it gives glory to God as we see that your faith is truly a gift from Him in answer to your gut-wrenched cries. It also gives tremendous encouragement to others who are wrestling with doubts and questions, to know that it is totally ok to be honest with Our Father about the stuff we don't yet understand. I love your analogy of the jilted wife in your explanation of Job's story, and I believe you are right on (not that God jilted him, but he felt jilted by God since he couldn't yet understand why God had allowed all that). One day we will understand, but as you wrote, for now, we must praise, adore, trust, love & hope in Him while at the same time never hesitating to be honest with Him about our emotions and questions ---- these can lead us closer to Him if we are honest with Him. God bless you and know you and your family are in my prayers!

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  6. For the LORD God [is] a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good [thing] will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. O LORD of hosts, blessed [is] the man that trusteth in thee. -Psalms 84.11-2

    Here is a quote from one of my favorite authors that correlates with the creative power of God's word shared previously. Interestingly enough this quote has comforted me many-a-time. However in context it is dealing with bereavement.

    Jesus ascended to the Father as a representative of the human race, and God will bring those who reflect His image to behold and share with Him His glory. There are homes for the pilgrims of earth. There are robes for the righteous, with crowns of glory and palms of victory. All that perplexed us in the providences of God will then be made plain. The things hard to be understood will then find an explanation. The mysteries of grace will unfold before us. Where our finite minds discovered only confusion and broken purposes, we shall see the most perfect and beautiful harmony. We shall know that infinite love ordered the experiences that seemed most trying and hard to bear. As we realize the tender care of Him who makes all things work together for our good, we shall rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. Upward Look pg. 46.2

    Courage Brother - can be sung to the tune of Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

    Courage, brother, do not stumble,
    Though thy path be dark as night;
    There’s a star to guide the humble:
    Trust in God and do the right.
    Let the road be rough and dreary,
    And its end far out of sight,
    Foot it bravely; strong or weary,

    Refrain
    Trust in God and do the right.

    Perish policy and cunning,
    Perish all that fears the light!
    Whether losing, whether winning,
    Trust in God and do the right,
    Trust no party, sect or faction;
    Trust no leaders in the fight;
    Put in every word or action,

    Refrain
    Trust in God and do the right.

    Some will hate thee, some will love thee,
    Some will flatter, some will slight;
    Cease from man, and look above thee:
    Trust in God and do the right.
    Simple rule, and safest guiding,
    Inward peace and inward might,
    Star upon our path abiding,

    Refrain
    Trust in God and do the right.

    Trust no lovely forms of passion—
    Fiends may look like angels bright;
    Trust no custom, school or fashion:
    Trust in God, and do the right.
    Simple rule, and safest guiding,
    Inward peace, and inward might,
    Star upon our path abiding,

    Trust in God and LOVE the right.

    Alternate tune:
    http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/c/o/courageb.htm

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  7. Our prayers are with you and your family, Clint. Thank you for your openness, it is a strong witness. God bless you and your little ones, and remember that by loving them, you continue to love her.

    Josh Canning

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  8. Hi Clint this is Nate Dow I just heard about Jesse and the baby and about the beginning of February. I'm praying for you

    Love you

    Nate

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