Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Lord Gives, The Lord Takes Away, Blessed Be The Name Of The Lord

The following "thoughts and message" was posted at the comment section when we first started this blog. I was reviewing the posts and comments tonight and this one stood out. Maybe this bring comfort today as it brought comfort that day it was posted. And I know that the encouragement which this post brings about will last and carry us through...

Only a few weeks ago Kay and I were enjoying a mini Bible Study reunion dinner at the Englert home; McMahons, Pattersons, Englerts, Whites and Johnsons, bantering about Study stories from 30 years ago. I sat across from Karen and Joe, who sat facing the wall so that Kay and I could enjoy a marvelous Maui sunset. Even in shadow their faces glowed. An unmistakable walk of joy and peace with the Lord: loving, selfless and sacrificial servants of His. Their capacity for reflecting Christ is amazing, both seen and unseen.

Discussions then centered on stories of the children. When Karen and Joe filled us in on Joey, my mind took me back so many years ago when the Johnsons lived nearby and we were able to enjoy seeing Joanne, Jamie and Joey grow.

Upon returning to California, I was prodded by the Lord to watch our old movies converted to video of those Bible Study years. There they were. Movie clips of Joey’s birth at the Berman’s birthing center. I haven’t watched our movies of the 70’s since they were converted more than 10 years ago. Well that’s easy to burn to a DVD for our friends. So a variety of clips from 1975 through 1979 filled up a DVD and off went copies to the “sunset dinner” families.

There was no way for me to know there was a heavenly purpose in that duty fulfilled. Karen and Joe sent a heartfelt thanks to me that the DVD was going to be so much fun to view with Joey when he returned to Maui for Joanne’s graduation and the Johnson family reunion. Karen reported that Joey saw the old sound movies of friends and family cheering his birth. Then the news. Tears. Heartache. More tears.

Why Joey? Why now? Why the Johnson’s?

Children are His, that in His love he grants us some days with them in our arms, loaning them to us that we might enjoy His gifts, learn about being parents and come to understand Him more wholly as our Father. His message is clear: His love is not to be confused with what we expect, or how we might grieve for what we could have had. It is ours. It is unconditional. And it is complete.

Now we weep and celebrate. We surrender to the pain of this loss. We love Christ back for Joey’s place in our hearts and his life on Earth. And love Him also for the assurance of Joey’s new home in paradise.

May God and His faithful carry you gently through this time, dear Johnson family.

We love you,
Roger and Kay White
Auburn, CA


Joe and Karen said...

I never saw this post by Kay and Roger. I don't know how we missed it originally, but I am so glad I got to read it today. We needed to be reminded of God's compassion for us. It's so beautifully illustrated in that video clip of Joey's birth, not seen in 26 years, but sent to us a month before Joey died. A treasure to us now. But also a reminder that he was lent to us by the Lord, but actually belongs to God.

We had a difficult time being at church today...made it thru worship and oommunion, then had to leave. The last time we were in church, 2 months ago, Joey was with us, standing between us, singing worship. He will never be beside us again, but I do believe he is right at this moment singing Worship. Our loss is profound and deep. It won't cure quickly or easily. We are broken right now, and we are simply relying on the Lord to restore our souls. In the meantime, we appreciate the prayers and the love, and little reminders of God's grace in our lives. Thanks Kay and Roger... and thanks Liza. We love you.

Liza's Eyeview said...

I had a feeling this "first time back to church" would be difficult. That's why I waited for you at the door and gave you a hug...

I'm not sure if you remember, but that last Sunday that Joey was here worshiping with you, I was sitting right in from of Joey. I was there first so I didn't know. After the worship and when Curt said turn around and greet one another, that's when I saw you guys. That's when I got my "tall hug" from your Joey. Interestingly, I don't usually come at the 10:30 AM service. I usually come at the 8:30. I don't know why that Sunday I came at 10:30, but I am glad I did. Almost like "God is making sure Joey and I connect" before he leaves.

I'm glad I re-posted Kay and Roger's comments. Must be from the Holy Spirit because I wasn't exactly sure why I did it...

Love you too.

Bill and Lu said...

The observations by Roger and Kay are exquisite. What an amazing thing for them to have done. How lovely that you now have that DVD.
Lu and I were at first service today. We expected that you would arrive late for second service, and leave early. We waited for you, but missed you. Each little "baby step to the new normal" must be so painful for you. How I wish we could help to fill your shoes on these early steps.
In about 2 weeks I will stand next to Joe as we do worship together. That won't be easy for you, Joe. I am looking forward to helping you with that.
It was good to see you at Josh's. I had a chance to talk to him about Joey. That was honoring to them for you to be there. Joey's absence seemed obvious when I looked at pictures of the wedding. Heidi seems like such a lovely girl. It's nice to know that she knew Joey so well.
I'm sorry you had trouble at church today. I hope next week is easier.
We love you.
Bill and Lu

Anonymous said...

Dear Joe & Karen,

"We will be like Him!"
by J. R. Miller(1890)

1 John 3:2 "We know that when He appears--we will be like Him!"

"As the beauty of Christ's life & character glows before us in the light of the Gospels.

We should know & say, "That is what I am to be some day! I am now very far from it--but I am to reach it. Heaven is my assured destiny!" forever...

Such a hope - cherished in our hearts & lives, has a wondrous
uplifting power in our daily lives...eapecially when we are broken & hurting...

I know what it is like to be broken & hurting. I know what it is like to lose an infant (Jennifer) and a son-in-law (Jim) at age his sleep...just like Joey.

Unless, you have experienced death like Joe & Karen Joey death & Delores death - you can only imagine the "immense" pain & agony & brokeness that they are walking & working through...

At times it can be hard to breathe.

However !! GOD is Faithful through HIS Word and his people !!

Joel 2:25 "I will restore you for the years that the locusts have eaten"

Joe & Karen's "broken" wings and hearts will mend "slowly" in the Lord's timing and at their pace.

Please - do not be in a hurry to "push or rush" them back too quickly to their "new normal" life.

Let them go at their "own pace".

Psalm 27:14 "Wait for the LORD, be of good courage, and HE shall strengthen your heart, wait for the Lord"

God's Love & Comfort & Healing,

Kevin Cox (TN)

Liza's Eyeview said...

Thank you for your loving comments Uncle Bill and Auntie Lu - very much appreciated.

Kevin, thank you for the reminder. Because of your experience, you have a far better understanding of what Joe and Karen are going through. It does help to hear from you and others who had gone through the same path. This will be a long. We will rejoice when baby steps to a new normal is taken but we will be here when they step back and feel they are not ready yet. Your words of comfort, support and encouragement to the Johnsons throughout this whole ordeal is incredible. I know you will continue to be with them as they go through this grieving journey. Your support of this blog is also very much appreciated. I know you are regularly reading and you always make an effort to comment. Very much appreciated.


Anonymous said...

Each new day brings new memories and new hurts and reminders for Joe and Karen that they will never be able to share with Joey again.

While I have shared this verse is new every morning.
The steadfast love of the Lord never changes. Great is the Lord's faithfulness.

The Lord's love never ends; his mercies never stop. They are new every morning; Lord, your loyalty is great. I say to myself, "The Lord is mine, so I hope in him." the Lord is good to those who hope in him, to those who seek him.

Lamentations 3:22-25

Each new morning and each new experience - Jesus is with you every step of the way.

I know there are many friends and family who are with you in prayer each step of the way as well.

Love you so much -

Love - Viv