Where I Unsuccessfully Try to Fake Not Being Sad

I think one of the hardest things about blogging – aside from writing regularly which I obviously stink at – is holding sacred those things that just aren’t appropriate to share in a public forum while at the same time not appearing as if I am not deeply grieved and affected by them.  I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve felt like a fake for writing about something as trivial as the size of my laundry pile when people I love are experiencing the unimaginable and wishing the only thing they had to worry about was there being no clean underwear in the house.  This is one of those times except today I’m just going to put it out there.  The truth, not the underwear.

You know, I’m not sure we realize what people are requesting when they ask, “Will you pray for _________ ?”  I used to think that people believed God would relent and bend to our will if enough individuals asked it of Him.  That He would give us what we wanted based on the quantity of the pray-ers.  But I’ve changed my mind about that.  Not that the first option isn’t viable or biblical because we are invited into the process of God’s deliverances through intercession.  But, in addition to this I’ve concluded that when I ask people to pray it isn’t because I believe I need “x” number of people or the Lord will not act.  There are some things for which I need prayer that cannot be fixed by anything but time.  What I’m really asking is for someone to care.  Like mine, I wonder if your “prayer requests” are really “care requests”?

In addition to the grief upon grief our own family has experienced recently, there are many people I love who are in great despair, who are suffering greatly, and are doing all they can to find sure ground because their earth has been moved from its axis.  They are asking for prayer as evidence that someone will give them the second thought that calling out their names to God demands. And as much as I wanted to write some light-hearted follow-up to disinfecting the house after Syd’s bout with the stomach virus, the truth is I’m just too sad and I don’t have the energy to pretend I’m not.  Profound concern demands that we push “pause” on the trivial and hit our faces on behalf of those whose battles are anything but.  C.S. Lewis said of prayer, “The position of their bodies affects their souls”.  Time out, face down prayer marks us.  It marks us.

I feel compelled today to provide a forum for “care requests”.  You can post anonymously if you wish but the question to answer is:  “What thing in my life do I want someone to care about enough to mention it to the God of the Universe?”  And if you feel so led, you may reply to those entries where the Lord moves you to respond.  Consider this a blog altar call.*slight grin*

I will begin:

Today, I ask that you care about our Uncle Dave who is dearly loved and suffering complications from chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer and heart disease.  He is a brilliant, interesting, gentle, lively, energetic Georgia Bulldog fan who loves his family and whose family adores him.  It pains us to see him so sick and our great desire is to see him take up his mat and walk out of that hospital.   I also ask for three matters that are either private or I have no permission to share but are the source of many, many tears. 

Friendships That Transcend            ~  Urgent Prayer for Joanne

Today when I logged in to my Facebook there was News in the Feed that I did not want.  One of my first blog friends and subsequently In Real Life friend, Joanne at The Simple Wife, has suffered a stroke and undergone surgery today.  I can’t tell you how this has just shaken me and so many others to the core.  She’s 38, takes excellent care of herself, has a terrific family.  She’s the kind of friend you can talk to about everything or nothing.  I’ll never forget first meeting her in San Antonio and my being amazed at how tall she is and her at how short I am.  We had great fun with it.  Okay, maybe her more than me.  The look on my face is my response to her heckling me over my height.  (Great. Sydney just saw this picture and said, “Man, mom.  You’re a shrimp.”)  Thanks.

I’m fully believing God for complete healing and that  in a short time we’ll be having great fun with Joanne again.    

Would you please, please join me in intercession for her, husband Toben, and daughters Audrey and Emma?

UPDATE:  Joanne’s friend Janna has posted an update and a request on a way we can help on her blog.  Please visit!

An Update from Jenni Black

Those of you who have been around awhile remember our friend Jenni Black and the heart-wrenching loss of her husband, Randall,last November.   I believe that a measure of grace is reserved for those who are suffering the unimaginable.  If I didn’t believe that before, I certainly would now as I see Jenni and her girls living smack in the middle of a dowpour of peace that only God can give in times like these.   I want to personally thank this blog community for holding this family in their hearts.  I could tell you more but Jenni has sent a letter to update all of you who have been praying for her family.   Here she is….

To all of our dear praying and caring friends in our community and so many other places,

I apologize for taking so long  to give you all an update on our family since God took Randall to be with Him in November.  The Lord has been extremely good to us and ever present in every aspect of our lives.  This has obviously been the hardest thing we have ever gone through.  Although I still wake up most days feeling crippled by the loss of half of me, I do catch myself smiling now.  I can feel great joy and satisfaction in knowing that Randall is singing around the eternal throne of grace.  It is what he had worked for since he was twelve years old. 

The girls are doing very well.  Lindsey, the six year old has had some problems, mostly behavioral and some anger.  There have been many prayers for her and I am thankful to say that she is doing much better.  She still has a way to go but things are very much more manageable now. 

Wow….what can I say about my two teenagers.  Alicia is now 17 and she is really a help to me.  While she has always been very responsible and concientious, she has really stepped up to help me when I am having my moments (which sometimes come from out of the clear blue!) and she takes care of Lindsey when I need some time. She has always been a good friend to here mama. She helps with so much and she works and still manages to keep a 4.0 grade point average. (yes I just took the opportunity to brag!) Allison just turned 14 and she has totally amazed me these past few months.  I really was worried about her before her dad passed away because she tended to internalize her feelings and not share very much.  The Lord has really been healing her.  She hangs out with me a lot and we talk more now than ever.  She has turned to her music as a creative and emotional outlet and has even been composing some really beautiful piano pieces with both music and lyrics. 

I really want to express my sincere appreciation for every single prayer for Randall and our family through his illness and passing and up until now.  I really have been so overwhelmed through all of it.  There were so many people that contributed to helping our family through that time.  It was so amazing how whatever was needed was just there whether it was a meal or a group from one of many churches to come and have prayer or our lawn to be mowed. 

Our Father is alive and working.  He has proven that to me.  Although I knew that before, I am so much more aware now of His working in the details of our lives. The horrible things that were supposed to happen to my sweet husband just never did.  You know they said he would forget everyone and he never forgot anyone.  The doc at the Mayo Clinic said his brain waves showed he should be having seizures.  Awful seizures come with this dreadful disease.  But not for Randall.  Angry, agitated and violent is what it changes people into.  However, my husband through God’s grace was as gentle and kind and happy as he had ever been as long as I have known him.   He repeatedly told me and the girls “live or die, healed or taken, I will be just fine.”  He never complained even one time.  He kept his awesome sense of humor even when he was falling down or me dropping him.  One day after his speech was getting very slurred he said “Heaven….. I’m going there”. After that he stared for a long time and we couldn’t get him to talk any more.  Later he told my dad that he saw Heaven that day.   

I am very sad and empty to be without Randall but really can you imagine losing someone in death that you were not completely sure was ready to meet Jesus?  I cannot imagine.  Just the other night I asked Lindsey what made her happy to think about Daddy.  She said that her Daddy told her that he loved EVERYONE.  Isn’t that how our Father wants us to be.  All of you have shown us that love. 

I want to say now that I have truly felt your prayers as if you were right here with me praying with me.  I have felt myself being held up through everyone’s prayers like I did not know was possible.  Thank you all so much.  I love you all whether we know each other or not.  I remember one night when Randall was sick I was sitting up reading Lisa’s blog and ran across a comment from a woman from several states away that said she was awakened during the night with a burden to pray for us.  That touched my heart and gave me strength. 

As I wrap this up I also want to add my thanks to everyone that has been supporting our upcoming trip to Washington DC. Any of you away from our area may not know that Allison recently won the state spelling bee and won a trip to the Scripps National Spelling Bee. She won a trip for 2 but obviously I must take my other 2 girls.  They have been selling candy and doing anything they can to get cash for the trip and once again our community has been amazing.  Anyone need a Hershey bar? Allison recently recorded a few of the songs she has written and is planning to sell some copies to raise a little money.  And really Randall’s family has been trying to get the money raised to also go.  It really makes me feel good that so many of them want to go and support Allison and they are all so willing to get out and sell doughnuts and whatever it takes.  Our friends, families, local churches and business, have all been so kind and willing to help.

I think you all can tell I have been really overwhelmed at all of the prayers and support from all of you, our friends in Christ. 

Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.
Jenni Black 

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