Facets of Broken

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I sat in the chair across the small room from this young man I have begun to know, a man who lives much of life in retreat, in self-shelter, and who was speaking of his immense fear.  As I have been granted entrance, each footstep is placed with care as I walk into the space of sacred ground, of places tender and vulnerable.  Here, where I have been allowed in to catch a glimpse behind the veil of one beating heart, of one life…flashes of beauty, wells of dark, flutters of fear, and wounds.  Wounds upon wounds.  Wounds echoing in life after life.  Wounds of loss, of abandonment, of rejection, of being cast off, of not being counted worth it.

We talk of fears, of “what ifs?”  What if you went another way?  What if you looked down at those two rutted out tracks you’ve traveled a hundred thousand times and decided this time, this time you will go another way?  Inertia would be of essence, that force to get up and out and travel a new path.  What if there were a way to see your fear before you, to look it in the eye, to walk forward and through?  What if this time you didn’t try to run away, to deflect, to distract, to drug the senses so you just don’t have to feel?

“So conquer my fear?” he ventures.  He describes a decimation, an assault, a radical diminishing of power of that fear, a destruction, an attempt to remove, crush and do away with the fear.  This word conquer doesn’t feel quite right, for what do we do with fears that are as real as anything we know? Not fears simply imagined, or fears exaggerated and inflated, but fears real and concrete?  What if that fear should be full of power and might and tower before you?  There are whole spectrums and realms of fears, but what of those fears that in their terror actually reflect things of immense value?  We wrestle with our thoughts, with our words, turning them over this way and that, trying to get a gauge on them, trying to make out our approach to these unwieldy monoliths.

I have a handful of fears.  No, no really far, far more, but of the whole bunch there are some whose dark shadows cast the most terror.  Fears whose fruition can never be undone, whose aftershocks quake endlessly underfoot.  Despite all my might, the entirety of my intellect, all the great force of my will, despite the swell of my fierce love, I have known the fulfillment of two of my greatest fears.  There seems to be no motion in the thousands of moments in each of my days, that I do not feel the barbs dragging sharp across the tender raw flesh of my heart.  There is no getting away from these vast sorrows who penetrate and saturate nearly every action, every thought, every time of day, every place and interaction.  Sometimes I am engulfed, find myself swamped, going down, going under, the flailing and fight to stay with my mouth straining for air above the waves.  And sometimes the quiet longing of no more, just be done, just gone.

When the last wave of devastation finally came for Job, he sat in silence with his friends for seven long days, unable to speak, no words remotely sufficient to even begin to form some perimeter to define the loss, to take stock of what was left.  Just silence, just mouth gaping, just horrified awe and a terrible lack.  Over a year has passed and still my jaw lies slack.  Little fits of words, a cluster of sentences here and there. How to begin?  Where?  The questions too numerous, too vast, so daunting.  The ravaging of the storm so great that seemingly little remains, even the scaffolding torn, ripped up from its footings.  Questions as big as the vast blue Montana sky, no equation to measure the diameter, much less the means to traverse.

But there was a prologue to the woes that would come, nearly a year of stirrings, of invisible and radical rearrangement.  Months of wrestling that would eventually flow into these day: On Labor Day weekend of 2011, after a long evening at a friend’s house, like some broiling infection desperate for the lancing, my husband finally let loose with the reality that he was no longer a Christian, no longer a believer in God.  I found myself going down, down into the vast darkness of a crevasse of the unknown, of uncertainty, of radical sorrow, of assailing questions.  We were only days away from going to Hawaii in celebration of our 10 year anniversary.  I had no idea how to celebrate, no idea how to orient myself to this fundamental shift of trajectory, one that had been shared, been a binding between us, now severed.  The next wave brought buoyant hope that we would at long last be able to move to Montana with the offer of a great job in Bozeman.  And that wave came crashing down, slamming our limbs into the rocks the very next morning on December 1st, 2011, when the word “leukemia,” was first uttered in conjunction with our little beloved Allistaire, then only 21 months old.

But before all this, in that year that preceded, I think the Lord began to make evident His answer to my prayer, prayed in times past.  After what felt like years of stagnation, I told the Lord one New Year’s Eve, “I want to grow.  I want to be like those plants whose leaves are dark and sturdy with age but who also have those tender, delicate, bright green leaves of new growth.”  I could never have imagined what growth would look like, what growth would require, what radical pruning would be necessary.  I had no idea that what growth I really needed went down to the root.

The wrestling of that near year is summed up by my rage and fury that I was finite, that I could not seem to change myself nor my circumstances and that God wasn’t fulfilling what I thought was His end of this being a Christian bargain.  The deal goes something like this: I’m jacked up so You/God will fix me, make me all better and pretty and nice and I go on my way, and while you’re at it, cause You’re all-powerful and all, make my life look like I want it, what I deem as “good.” I sort of got that I was finite and that I needed God since He’s a whole lot bigger and stuff, but the part I didn’t get, the part where God absolutely cut me at my knees and knocked me to the ground was this: that my need for God was of far vaster proportions than I could have ever guessed nor ever wanted to accept and God gets to decide, God gets to determine what is good and I don’t get to boss Him around to do my bidding.  He is God and on one spring day in 2011, I fell to my face in radical submission to Him, to His will and to His declaration of what is good and what my life should look like.  And by the way, I had thought I was okay with needing God, but what I discovered was that I was not at all okay being utterly dependent on Him; that thought was revolting to my finite, western American, 21st Century mind.  But flat on my face before God, I think I had my first real glimpse of His utter “otherness,” His holiness, His Godhood.  It was my first real taste of the “fear of The Lord.”

I had no idea what was coming, nor how much would be stripped away from me.  But in God’s gentle and profound grace to me, He had already brought about a radical transformation in my heart in which I had begun to find delight, goodness and life in the yielding to Him, in the saying “Yes, You are God and You get to choose.” As I look back over the long treacherous road stretching out behind me, I can see how over and over, He went before me.  He cashed provision for me around the bend, long before I could see the “how” of His care.

I stood on the shore of that California beach with Matt, tall and lanky, giving me instructions on how to make my way into the ocean.  “You swim through the waves,” he told me.  Determined I strode forward and attempted to re-enact in my body the words he had offered.  Before I knew it, I had been slammed down with the force of the wave, body twisting in the churning water, a sense of desperation to get my footing, a gasp of air and another wave knocking me back down.  Wave after wave hit, never enough time or sense of direction to get myself upright before the next one came.  Eventually I sat exhausted, spent, shaking in the sand.

It has been five and a half years, wave after relentless wave crashing down, scouring grit and sand against my skin, being beaten against the rocks, ceaseless gasping for air, the sensation of going down, being sucked under now common place.  Disorientation, baffled, bewilderment, mouth gaping, eyes wide with terror, utter exhaustion, and tears burning, salt stinging in ragged cuts, abrasions.  Wounds upon wounds.  I am still here, though sometimes I’d desperately like not to be.

At multiple points in these years, Sten declared his un-love to me, his not-love, his I no longer love you.  I have felt so desperately alone, fear thick, heavy, both hot and cold tightening around my throat.  That deeply rutted road of my mind and heart, neural pathways laid down thick ensuring speed, ensuring unwavering direction, the pulsing cells of my heart contracting in unison, a relentless chanting of FIGHT!  The structure of my brain stem oriented utterly toward not flight, not freeze but Fight!  With every fiber of my being, every exertion of my intellect, every coursing hot throb of love, with all my great might I could gather and bring to bear, I fought for Allistaire.  I held nothing back and I set everything aside with one singular aim, one white-hot center point of target, I fought for her life.

And it was not enough.

I could not determine the outcome.

It was out of my hands…out of my finite grasp.

And I have struggled and gasped and gagged trying to sit “God is good,” next to “my child is dead.”

Her foot hit the door of her bedroom as Sten carried her stiff body out of the house that dark April night, and they zipped her into the bag with the fancy fabric, and the van drove out of sight down our driveway, Solveig wailing into the darkness, I knew.  I knew it was “game on.”  One fight had come utterly to its end after so very long, after so many twists and turns, highs and lows, there was nothing left to fight for.  And rushing into that vacuum, that space left behind as she left our lives, came crushing the fight for my husband, for my marriage, for another cornerstone of my life, my identity, my place in the world.  In all those long years, “we” had to take second with the vast majority of our attention fixated on caring for Allistaire.

But it was not enough.

I could not determine the outcome.

His heart had already departed from me.

On September 5th, 2016, Sten made known there was no more “us.”  After fifteen years of marriage, his pursuit of his own happiness meant for him walking out of the threshold, of severing the hundreds of thousands of cells that had grown between us.  On May 22, 2017, our divorce was final and with his permission I took his face in my hands one last time, and with a kiss on his forehead I declared to him the great intention and longing of my heart, “I leave you with a blessing and not a curse.”

He once slammed into a tree while snowboarding.  There was forever a dent there, and indentation where the cells never grew back and filled in.  I used to like to put my hand there, to cup that place of lack, the tree unseeable but its impact never to be undone, forever seen.  There are great caverns, places hollowed out in me where once dwelt he and Allistaire, beings so precious and dear to me, flesh of my flesh.  Gone.  You look at me and you cannot see them, but their absence will never by undone, gouged out for all my days.

I remember days in the hospital with Allistaire, nights I would go to sleep crying, waking with the morning and still crying, lying there in the couch that turns into a bed, terrified to set my foot to the floor, terrified to begin the day, so well acquainted with the reality that the entire earth could tilt on its axis before day’s end.  There has been no let up, no ceasing from the striving, no option to stop, just a constant harried insistent demand that I put one foot in front of the other, a willing to move through each day.  Relief when night comes and I no longer have to live through that day.

I no longer walk through a mine field, never knowing what step might be one more reason for Sten to walk away.  I no longer walk with the high-pitched sizzle of terror saturating my blood, the fear of test results, of lab results, of flow cytometry, and PET scans, ASTs and ALTs declaring the state of the liver, of creatinin in kidneys and the ejection fraction and shortening fraction of the heart, of the sound of fluid in the lungs or the poisoning of ovaries and scraping away of IQ from radiation like Hiroshima.  My iPhone no longer auto corrects “and” to “ANC.”  Most people with whom I interact daily have never met Allistaire or Sten.  Those radical indentations, those places of lack, lie barely concealed behind my every day tasks.

Now my days are filled with 30 hours a week at Thrive as the Parent Educator and 16 hours a week as an Integrated Behavioral Health Therapist Intern at Community Health Partners, as I attempt to amass the 3,000 supervised hours required to obtain my Clinical Social Work License.  In the evenings I go home to an empty house, the cookbooks lie untouched on the shelf and there is no sound but that of the wind and birds outside.  I lost one child and have had half of the other taken away.  I live in a house and drive a car intended for four. I have been whittled down to one and a half.  For fifteen years I lived and moved in the realm of couples and families and now, now I don’t know what I am.  I have been radically ejected from the reality of families.  Nebulous, ambiguous, extraneous, that left over part of a fraction.  I am disoriented, bewildered, baffled, radically exhausted, saturated with sorrow, deeply bruised, bloodied, cheeks tear streaked.  I have become so radically sober.  I don’t know who has been left behind after all this tattering, this relentless erosion of my being.  Everything has been impacted.  The tsunami washes away in every direction, present, future, past, nothing left untouched, nothing left unchanged, everything tilted and swung off its axis.  I look back and wonder in confusion, “when did it all begin?”  I crane my neck to see all the way back, all the way to those first days and months and years with him, all the way back to my womb where cell was joining to cell and perhaps even further back than that, something went radically wrong.

If you look at me now you might be mislead to think I have not moved much.  The tenets of my faith look mostly unchanged.  I sit on that spectrum of ideology and philosophy and spirituality in just about the same spot.  What you see before you may not allow your eyes to perceive the vast distances my heart has traveled, the tender places worn down from ceaseless wrestling, the radical rearrangement of the scaffolding of my being, the sights I cannot unseen, the weeping that seems to have no end.

One thing I know amongst all the overwhelming unknown – I turn my face to God, to Jesus my Christ.

For facing my fears I have.  I have sat across another table from Sten, this time signing legal documents that end my union with him.  I have sat at a table and signed a document to have the flesh of my beloved child incinerated, reduced to ashes, now housed in a bag.  But this is not the end of facing them.  Like the mountains of my youth, those Cascades that appear to be a long line on the horizon, they extend outward behind that illusionary silhouette, how far I do not know.  There are mountains beyond mountains, endless dark valleys and valleys bright, mountains jagged and threatening calamity and mountains upon whose tops I might just see the whole wide world.  They go on and on into the distance.  I feel the darkness closing my vision, the sounds growing faint and my strength slipping away as I stand too fast to take in the view.  There is a thrill in the sensation, the wondering if I might actually finally just be done, no longer required to keep moving along this rugged path.

But the darkness subsides and sound returns and I find I can stand.  There are mornings I want to despise another wakening, another day before me.  But the Lord continues to add day to day to day and to cause my lungs to expand once again, my heart to beat on.  Part of the struggle to move forward is the not knowing where to go, much less how to get there.  There is no landmark before me.  I have passed by those columns, the markers of an adult life of school and marriage and children.  I know only that I must work to provide for my life and I will continue to be a mother as long Solveig or I dwell in this land of the living.

This past week has brought light to another place of darkness, to another great fear now realized.  I see now that I am ensnared, caught in a tangle.  I see that I am not just the mother who has lost her child, nor the woman whose husband has cast her off, but there is blood on my hands.  Somehow in the swell of my sorrow, the tears that constantly fill my eyes and blur my vision, the deafening wail of my own hurting heart, I had not really seen how much I too have been perpetrator, doer of harm.  Oh I have always been well aware that I am not perfect, that I sin and fail along with everyone else, but this week in conversation with a number of people, I have had to face that I have also thrown the dagger, my whirling fury and fear has inflicted harm and brought pain to others.  I too am to blame.

On Tuesday night and on Wednesday night and on Thursday night I wailed out into the dark night sky with sorrow and horror that I have brought harm I cannot undo.  I have no ability to go back, flying over the surface of all those long gone days, scanning for the moment when the devastation began, to know the place to go back to and intercede, to rewind and redo.  The universe does not work this way, there is no reversal of what has occurred and I gag and my heart roams, rushing to and fro, aghast and uncertain, what now to do with all this ravaging, ravaging added to ravaging, loss to loss, wound to wound.  We are all a bloodied mess.

I don’t know what to do or how to proceed.  I want there to be some “clean-up” protocol for this toxic spill.  The way forward is uncertain, but the Lord has made at least a few steps clear, coalescing out of the muddied fog.  I must take stock. Like the explore Clark, like Lewis, I need to travel through this land and make note of what is here, to walk down into those frightening valleys, to walk the plains and scrabble up the mountains to see the view from there, I must look at the landscape of my heart, of my life, of my interactions with those with whom I dwell.  And then I will begin to know the contours of the harm I have inflicted, I will start to see how one connects to another, how self pain intertwines with the pain of others and loops back again to intersect and bring about more pain.

I don’t know the way forward but I know that owning the harm I have done and asking forgiveness from both the people I’ve harmed and from God, is the place to begin.  Inviting the eyes and ears of others to help me see and to hear where I have been blind and deaf is a place to begin.  Asking wise guides to tenderly and courageously lead me to help make sense of it all is essential.  I don’t know where this road leads, but I never really have anyway.  It is terrifying to face the real fact that I have lost Sten and my marriage and my life in significant ways because of my own failings and my own sin.  He and I, we both have blood on our hands.  And I cannot undo it.  I can only ask the Lord of the Universe for forgiveness for the ways I hurt Sten and failed him and seek His provision and guidance for the road before me.  I must ask Solveig my child, and Solveig the woman, to forgive me for the way my sin undid what should have been hers, a home with two parents committed to loving one another.  I have to ask my parents and my in-laws and my brother and my brother-in-laws and my sister-in-laws for forgiveness for the part I have had in all this ravaging and its far reaching impacts on our family.  I have to ask forgiveness of the on-lookers who just shake their heads as they pass by this messy tragedy.

So much of the time it all just feels like too much.  Too much.  And I should like to just slip away, to cease existing, to vanish.  After Sten told me he no longer wanted to be married to me, I could hardly eat for two weeks.  I whispered to myself, I don’t want to exist.  I far prefer to no longer be.  I wanted desperately to waste away.  I sit across from the man who mourns his life and despairs his existence and I know that woe, that radical inability to go back, the incapacity to change what is true, the appeal of no longer having to endure the turmoil.  Can I not just lay this burden down and never ever have to raise it up again?

This is what my dear brother Patrick wrote to me as I expressed my undoing grief:  “I know this may sound like a platitude, but I sincerely believe this: no matter how bleak life may seem, no matter how broken your mind, heart and spirit may be – life and love and joy will creep back in.  All is entropy, yet life continues to find a way.”

And I believe this is truth.  All around me the creation exclaims it, in the voice of the rustling, flitting aspen leaves, in the deep thunder in those steel gray clouds, in the incessant vibrato of the crickets, in the water that makes way through rock, in the unweighable girth of the snow flake who one by one by one amass to form the glacier that gouges out the mountain wall, in the rush of the wind through the fir boughs.  There is a force that overcomes another.  “You know that moment?  That moment when the plane is rushing down the runway, and the whole frame of metal riveted to metal shudders at the attempt, and then there is that glorious, mysterious, terrifying moment when the force of gravity is finally overtaken, overcome by the law of thermodynamics?”  You get lift, you rise.  I doesn’t seem like it should be possible.  It is illogical that a great mass of metal should dwell far above where your neck cranes to see.  And yet it is, it is.  One force overcomes another.

Yes sin and death are powerful foes, seemingly unstoppable, absolute and concrete, permanent.  Yet there is another force at work.  There is a power that overcomes their power.  There is a life that overcomes their death.  My hope is in Christ.  I’m banking everything on Jesus.  I open my eyes to another day rather than finding a way to extinguish my existence because I have hope.  I am looking for the redemption and resurrection that has already been secured in Jesus.  Yes, I have sinned deeply and vastly and there are real and brutal consequences that I have to live with as do many others who have been impacted by my harm.  I have to live with those gouged out places in my being where once dwelt a man I loved named Sten Karl and a little bright love named Allistaire Kieron.  I can never get them back in this life.  I have to live with these scars.  But my hope is in Christ Jesus, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  I fix my eyes on Him.  I lift my eyes.  I take in the full view.  My sins are forgiven in Christ.  He can redeem all this brokenness.  This is His promise to me, to all who believe in Him.  I will see Allistaire again.  Death will not have the last word.  There is a river that flows from the temple of God, from the altar where Jesus laid down his life as the perfect lamb.  This river brings healing and life and one day I will sit in the shade of trees along that river and I will know bounty beyond my imagining.

How to get there?  Where to go?  What is the path?  Jesus said it so simply and clearly and profoundly.  Jesus answers, “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”  Jesus is my way, He is my truth, He is my life.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

The honest truth is I have finally made myself face this blog and attempt to put some words to all this immenseness because I still need your support and I am utterly aware of how wretchedly tacky this is, but the earth has once again swung around its orbit to summer, to August, to Obliteride in less than a month.  For the fifth time, yet again in weariness, with tears, I will ride my bike.  I will try to push through 5o miles to raise money for cancer research at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle where so much of Allistaire’s treatment options came.  Whatever difficulty this is for me only binds me closer to Allistaire who endured so much as a little girl and who ultimately had her life ravaged and extinguished by the relentless onslaught of cancer.

So many of you have already given so much, and I haven’t even thanked you in the entirety of this past year for how generously you gave in her honor, not only last year in the wake of her death, but each year.  I ask your forgiveness for my lack of articulated thanks and I ask your grace to trust that there is much I have simply been unable to do this past year.  I am often quoted the statistic that 70-something percent of marriages end when a child dies, and while I refuse to give credit for all this devastation of my marriage to our girl’s death, it is indeed true that cancer not only took my Allistaire, but it also extracted a great price in my marriage with what amounted to years of separation and more stress and strain than I can rightly begin to describe.  The ravages of cancer are still cutting into my life, as it is for so many far and wide.  If you are willing, I ask that you would consider supporting me again this year in Obliteride, to support an accelerated pace of cancer research that will yield better and hopefully, curative, treatment options for both children and adults with cancer.

If you would like to donate in support of cancer research, please click HERE to be linked to my Obliteride page.

I feel compelled to make one last point.  The single biggest reason I have not found the ability to write this past year is that I have not known how to be real and honest and do so in a way that gives as little attention to Sten as possible.  I love him and I will never turn away my heart from him.  I sincerely want good for him and I kept quiet for so many years in an attempt to protect him from criticism, to give him as much space and time as possible to sort through his own difficult wrestlings.  I have no desire to bring harm to him in my heart or with my words and simultaneously I am trying to find a way forward to be real about my own heart and to voice my own story.  Please know that I will not allow any comments that cut him down; they will be blocked or removed as quickly as possible.  I cry out to God all the time to remind Him that I do not deserve Him any more than Sten does.  On June 16, 2001, I made a covenant before men and God to always love Sten, until death do us part.  I have no allusions about any future relationship with him, but I intend to keep my covenant of unconditional love, with the great aid of the Holy Spirit.

 

44 responses »

  1. You don’t know me and I don’t know you, except that I followed your blog for about 3 years before your precious Allistaire died. I have lived and watched many sorrows in my own life and the lives of friends and those to whom my husband and I have pastored for many years. So much pain; without Jesus how would we keep going? My daughter, too, is divorced from her husband and has 3 sons 1/2 time. Your writing is poignant and I would encourage you to continue to share with us. My prayers and sympathy for you as you traverse these deep mountains and valleys. I will pray that your faith does not fail, but holds you up as you journey on.

  2. ;Thank you, Jai, for sharing your heart. I have not, and will not, stop praying for you. Love in Him, Niki

  3. Oh Jai,
    My heart is aching so much for all of you guys right now. I’ll never be able to begin to fathom your pain and I am sure Sten is heartbroken as well. I’m so sorry to hear all of this. I want you to know I think of you all the time, I miss your baby girl so much. I always loved seeing your posts and all the pictures. I miss her face. My heart aches for Solveig, too.
    Always in my heart and thoughts, I’m so so sorry Jai.
    With love, from Minnesota

  4. There is no other way, …none….except HIS. He never said that we would always know why, He wants us to be satisfied that HE knows why, and that is enough! It hurts, we are confused…but as a child trusts her father to catch her when she jumps…..we trust, blindly, lovingly, and full of hope in the one with nail scarred hands. We were made for eternity not this place, but while we are here, we ARE His hands and feet to shine a light in the darkest places. He will lead us to the ones that need our story most. We go, we obey, He does the impossible…just watch and see

  5. Jai, I think of you often. I met you just once – last year at Obliteride where we were able to talk over breakfast. You and the memory of Allistaire inspired me to recruit my family, and fly up to Seattle from the Midwest to ride on the Baldy Tops. My sweet Sawyer and your Allistaire were one day apart in age. Sawyer made it through his two brain surgeries for seizures, and another surgery this February. This year he had his 7th birthday party, and I thought of you and remembered Allistaire. I want you to know again, how much your writing about God and spirituality and wrestling with it all and praising Him has touched me to the core and most importantly, lifted me up in very dark times when Sawyer was having a hundred of seizures a day and people were telling me to pray. I didn’t know how. I just didn’t. Most of my prayers were “Thy will be done.” 12 years of Catholic school and weekly church services, and I still didn’t know how to pray. You helped to teach me or show me. From the absolute bottom of my heart – thank you for putting your faith and love and strength and weaknesses out here for us to read. You did change lives in doing so.

    In your future, please give yourself grace. Extend it to those around you, but be sure to include yourself. You are an amazing human being.

    Do you listen to Good Life Project podcast? There is an episode interviewing a therapist who lost her love tragically and it is on grief. I have listened to 3 times now – trying to learn how to be there for those walking in grief and also steel myself with knowledge for when it comes my way. I absolutely love it. Passing on with love to you,

    http://www.goodlifeproject.com/megan-devine/

  6. Oh I just love you and your words. You inspire me and I will think of you often. I don’t know if you know how inspiring you are to me and the many others who read your words, you write them with strength, courage, and resolve. Thank you for opening your heart, I am so humbled to happen upon it.

  7. Your words are precious, Jai. Though our paths crossed many times in our early years of parenting at church, I know you mainly in this space. As I read this post, I imagine myself coming to visit, just to sit with you quietly in your deep pain and loss. I pray that you have people near you who are able to do just that- and even more so, I pray that God would send his Spirit to comfort you and Sten and Solveig and your families in ways unexplainable.
    I will keep praying.

  8. Love you dear friend. Longing for the day when Jesus will wipe every tear from your eye and you will never experience a shred of pain or sadness again. And be reunited with your precious one. Praying for you.

  9. I love your brother’s words – hope of future joy and love. I pray the same for you, that the Lord’s supernatural power and strength would allow you to experience His joy and His peace and His strength. Just like Job experienced blessing after tragedies, I pray that you continue to cling to the Lord just like Job did. Your testimony of faithfulness is making a huge impact for the kingdom. You are so beautiful, inside and out. An excellent mama, a wonderful friend to so many. Praying for you, for future joy, for your laugh, for your smile. For your mommy & daughter times with Solveig.

  10. Praying for you and please know that your words are impacting….your sorrow is deep and the way you express it through writing is profound. I thank God that he has kept you in his hands. Your relentless faith incur creator is a daily reminder to me that He is in control no matter what. I listened to your mom give bsf lectures and update us on allistaire. You are in my prayers and you and your family is not forgotten.

  11. Arghhhh nooo – this is not how it should be, I don’t know you but I have to let you know how very, very sorry I am. We live in London, I have followed your blog for a long time and I wept when your sweet Allistaire died. I understood it all from here. My beautiful baby boy was also fighting AML, it was all so familiar, he was treated, he relapsed, we got to transplant, 9 months post transplant he relapsed again, we tried the same drugs, we tried and tried and he did everything that was asked of him, everything; but on September 6th 2016 at 5 years, 5 months, and 5 days old my beautiful strong and resilient sweet boy died at home lying on my chest, I held him for so long, I did not want to let go. Your words about Allistaire ran around my head leading up to my son dying and gave me a level of preparation, please know that, thank you. You write so beautifully and I had such hopes for our extraordinary children. I dont know what I will ever have to offer you but if there is anything in this world that I can do more than understand please know that there is someone here. Please be kind to yourself – With much love Xx

  12. I am so very sorry for what you are having to endure. It’s unbelievable that one person should have such heartbreak. I know we serve a loving God and I know he has unimaginable plans for you!! I am amazed at your faith and courage and I know when you hold steadfast to your beliefs, love and joy will prevail. Please know that you remain in my prayers. We love you very much!!! Thank you for sharing you deepest pain and fears. Remember Psalm34:18. “The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit”. I know you will outshine the darkness.

  13. Jai, thank you for sharing- it would have been easier not to. At first, when you were no longer posting, I thought she is grieving privately. How true that thought was. God has not taken you off my heart. I’ve prayed often for you, Sten, and Solveig. God has given you such a gift with writing, your words are to be savored. As God leads, please continue to write and trust He is always with you. I will continue to pray.

  14. I know we’re complete strangers, but in the strange way of the internet, I’ve read your words all these years and come to think of you as long-distance friend. I pray for you every time I think of you. Someday I’ll find you in Heaven and hug your neck and tell you in person how much your honesty and deep faith challenged me and made me seek God in new ways. Until then, know that I mourn with you as you mourn, and I hope you will keep us posted as the joy seeps back in (your brother is right–it will). It will be a blessing to rejoice with you when you rejoice. Thank you for your voice.

  15. So much love to you Jai. I think of you often still and of Allistaire. I miss your writing but I understand your need for space. I’m sorry for the loss upon loss you have experienced this past year; my heart breaks for yours but your faith continues to inspire. I hope you have a great ride. ❤

  16. It seems that resurrection and transformation must be proceeded by a dying to self, and that there is no other way. This becomes so painfully real when tragedy and heartbreak strike us down. It is good to see that you are resolving in your heart all that you have suffered in faith and love.
    Your reflections remind be so much of the wisdom and truth I find tn the teachings of Richard Rohr. He is a Franciscan priest and heads the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Center publishes his daily meditations. Here is a link to a recent meditation that echoes your sharing: http://ow.ly/tlT530dXS3D. I pray for you, Sten and Solveig often, as do so many others. We are all wounded healers.

  17. Don’t be too hard on yourself, Jai. As I have found in my own life, we often come into a deeper relationship with our compassionate God and become more so with others when we suffer loss, disappointment, and tragic life circumstances. I don’t mean to be preachy, and God only knows how much you have been through that I don’t know that I could endure, but I share with you the following Rohr meditation to confirm you in your faith journey:

    Jesus’ story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32) and his story of the Pharisee and the tax collector (Luke 18:9-14) are both wonderful illustrations of how Jesus turns a spirituality of climbing, achieving, and perfection upside down. In both stories, the ones who have done it wrong and are humble about it (the younger son and the tax collector) are the ones who are forgiven, transformed, and rewarded. Those who are proud of how they have done everything right—but also feel superior to others, or feel they are now entitled—are not open to God’s blessing. This is Jesus’ Great Reversal theme. He turns religion on its head. We thought we came to God by doing it right, and lo and behold, surprise of surprises, we come to God by doing it wrong—and growing because of it! The only things strong enough to break open our heart are things like pain, mistakes, unjust suffering, tragedy, failure, and the general absurdity of life. I wish it were not so, but it clearly is.

    Fortunately, life will lead us to the edge of our own resources through such events. We must be led to an experience or situation that we cannot fix or control or understand. That’s where faith begins. Up to that moment it has just been religion! Only on the other side do you know that everything has been preparation.

    When Jesus called out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” he himself had to face the darkness and absurdity of life (Matthew 27:46). On the cross, Jesus’ human mind had no reason to believe that God was his Father, that God loved him, or that this death had any transformative, redemptive meaning. At this moment Jesus fully and totally fell into the hands of the living God. And that is called resurrection. This is the mystery of faith.

  18. Jai
    I heard about your blog through Megan Bryant who we consider to be like a daughter to us. I cannot begin to tell you how radically you and your blog have impacted me. When I was going through the deepest, darkest, longest valley I have ever encountered, I was spurred on to persevere as I read about your faith and trust in Jesus. The fact that you have not let go is so very encouraging to me. I pray for you and your mother-in-law (JoMarie) every day. I dont even know how to pray, but i know I am to pray for you and Jomarie. Knowing that God can sustain you in the midst of your pain gives me great confidence in His ability and inclination to sustain me. It may sound trite, but as death worked in you, God has used it to bring life and strength to coutless others. My daughter is in awe of your faith and so am I.

  19. If I may be so bold, Jai, once again. You are making this great leap:
    Let me describe God’s universal love as best I can: love is recognizing oneself in the other by realizing they are not other! We are all in this together. We normally have to start with little others—beloved, friend, child, parents—to be ready for the great leap into the Great Other. This is a continuous mirroring process from both sides, and God does it first of all in us, so we can learn to pass it on. Paul says it well: “At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then we shall see face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12).

    In some form of wordless, contemplative prayer, you are letting yourself be known nakedly by God, with no pretense, no perfect words, no performance principle whatsoever. Like a mirror, you just allow yourself to be seen exactly as you are. All God can love is who you really are, your True Self, because that’s the only thing that exists anyway. If you have to make yourself better or judge yourself to be worse, you are not allowing the perfect and unconditional gaze of God.

    The false self that you think you are or need to be is just an idea in your head. During quiet prayer, little by little, you become more naked and more vulnerable. It’s like love-making. You slowly disrobe and become mirrored perfectly in the safety and gentleness of God’s intimate presence.

    In prayer, you are allowing God to love you and to complete the circuit of love, which is the way all electricity must work—in a circuit. God sees the Christ in you and cannot not love you. That part of you—your True Self—has always loved God and has always said yes to God. Contemplative prayer is recognizing yourself in God and letting God recognize God’s very self in you. Now the circuit is complete, and the power called grace can flow freely.

    Richard Rohr O.F.M.

    • Wow, thank you for reminding all of us of that precious truth. It is amazing to me how the Holy Spirit reveals this kind of truth to our hearts! Now we just need Him to keep reminding us of the unconditional and perfect love that He has for us….it’s a crazy world that we live in, fast paced and full of distractions. I know the enemy would like nothing more than for us to stay so occupied that we never slow down long enough to HEAR that still small voice. And then of course, with the horrible pain and afflictions that we go through, it is difficult without the Spirit to see past our own selves…. In Job, it says that the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends..(Job 42:10) if we focus on lifting others up in their afflictions, it takes the focus off of ourselves.

      Thanks again!
      Beverly

  20. Dear Jai,
    It was great seeing you today. You can google Stephen Ministries International, if you are interested. Frankly, I think the Lord will be leading you into your own unique ministry. I will pray for you as He guides you gently into the works He has planned.

    Much love,
    Susan Werner (Mimi)

  21. I have not checked your blog for many many months. I read your blog and prayed for Allistaire. My heart broke for you and your family This weekend I was going to my brother’s house and I saw someone taking down the signs for the Obliteride and I said a prayer for you and your family Today I checked your blog and saw your last two posts. My prayers are with you. I don’t know if you have ever heard of the organization – Compassionate Friends. They are a support group for parents who have children who have passed. I don’t know if they would give you any help – but thought I would put it out there. They have been an amazing support for my cousin whose daughter passed and my good friend whose daughter passed away.

  22. Jai: I hope that you can forgive yourself for all that is troubling you, and I so hope that each day is a little easier. You and yours have been through so many impossibly difficult times, I hope you have peace and rest. I hope the same for Sten and Solveig and all who are important in your world.

    You are so strong and try so hard, I hope you can forgive yourself as you forgive others.

  23. First the fall, and then the recovery from the fall, and both are the mercy of God. —Julian of Norwich (c. 1343­­–c. 1416) [1]

    It is in falling down that we learn almost everything that matters spiritually. As many of the parables seem to say, you have to lose it (or know that you don’t have it) before you will really seek it, then find it, and fittingly celebrate (see all three parables of Luke 15). The message is sort of hard to miss.
    It seems that we must fail, and even “transgress,” and then need mercy, forgiveness, and love because of that very transgression. Up to then, all God talk is largely academic and formal. We don’t really know love until we need love. Until then we have no way of knowing that the long, lonely distance between God/Reality and ourselves is overcome and fully spanned from the other side.
    The common “myth of transgression” found in universal literature operates on many levels. (By myth I mean an archetypal message, expressed in story, that has many layers of meaning beyond the literal.) Both the Hebrew and the Christian Scriptures reveal transgression to be the most common pattern of human transformation (consider Adam and Eve, Moses, Jacob, Jesus, Paul, and Peter). The old must always be revealed as inadequate or even wrong for the new to be born. Our first attempt to love God by following rules is eventually revealed to be much more love of self and love of some kind of order—but we can’t know that yet! (See Philippians 3:6+.) It is our failure to live up to these egoic attempts at love that drives us toward an ever-higher love, where we are not in charge but actually in love!

    The actor here is what some call the trickster, the clown, the anti-hero and, in biblical literature, “the sinner” who is again and again shown to be the hero, especially in the stories of Jesus. “Her many sins have been forgiven her or she would not have shown such great love,” says Jesus of “the woman who was a sinner” (Luke 7:47). The law-abiding Pharisee is deemed ridiculous while the grasping tax collector, with no spiritual resume whatsoever, goes home “justified” (Luke 18:9-14). We must deal with this. It is indeed shocking, but only to the self-satisfied ego.

    Do you realize how counterintuitive this is? Do you realize how hopeful this is? The playing field is now utterly leveled. It is our mistakes that lead us to God. We come to divine union not by doing it right but by doing it wrong, as we all most surely do anyway….Richard Rohr O.F.M

    Stay on the path, Jai, for your sake and the sake of those you love and who love you.

  24. Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons and daughters of God. —Matthew 5:9

    The Spirit within us creates an unrelenting desire toward forgiveness and reconciliation. The entire Gospel reveals the unfolding mystery of forgiveness; it is the beginning, the middle, and the end of the Gospel’s transformative message. The energy of being forgiven—in our unworthiness of it—first breaks us out of our merit-badge mentality. The ongoing experience of being forgiven (when we don’t even think we need it) is necessary to renew our flagging spirit and keep us in the infinite ocean of grace. Toward the end of life a universal forgiveness of everything for being what it is becomes the only way we can see and understand reality and finally live at peace.

    Zechariah said that God would “give God’s people knowledge of salvation through forgiveness of sin” (Luke 1:77). Only when we experience undeserved love does this inward and outward flow begin to happen. Before that we are a dry, dead cistern. Before that, we are into “religion” perhaps, but not really any dynamic notion of God or even our self. Forgiveness given and forgiveness received are always the pure work of uncreated grace. Such unearned and undeserved forgiveness is necessary to break down the quid pro quo world that I call meritocracy.

    Grace re-creates all things. Nothing new happens without forgiveness. We just keep repeating the same old patterns, illusions, and half-truths.

    Sometimes grace does not come immediately, but like Job we “sit in the ashes scraping our sores” (Job 2:8). Sometimes neither the desire nor the decision to forgive is present. Then we must grieve and wait. We must sit in our poverty, perhaps even admitting our inability to forgive the offender. That is when we learn how to pray and how to “long and thirst for righteousness” (Matthew 5:6).

    True Spirit-led forgiveness always frees and heals at least one of the parties involved, and hopefully both. If it only preserves my moral high ground—as a magnanimous “Christian” person—I doubt if it is true forgiveness at all. It must also quicken and invite the hearts of others, especially the offender. True forgiveness does not leave the offender feeling small and judged, but liberated and loved…Richard Rohr O.F.M

    Peace be with you, Jai.

  25. Don’t mean to hog your blog, Jai, but this one is too good not to share and is so redeeming!

    When we human beings “admit” to one another “the exact nature of our wrongs,” we invariably have a human and humanizing encounter that deeply enriches both sides—and even changes lives! It is no longer an exercise to achieve moral purity or regain God’s love, but in fact, a direct encounter with God’s love. It is not about punishing one side, but liberating both sides.
    If you are still inside the economy of merit—a quid pro quo universe—you will undoubtedly not understand this at all. In fact, you will find it abhorrent. Forgiveness is not a popular or easy path, but some wise ones have shown us how. Desmond Tutu’s “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” in South Africa exemplified the economy of grace after the fall of apartheid. All had to take proper and public responsibility for their mistakes, not for the sake of any punishment, but for the sake of truth and healing. In fact, the healing was the baring—and the bearing—of the truth publicly.
    This is revolutionary and almost unheard of in human history but it is biblical, starting with the prophet Ezekiel during and after the Exile and dramatically lived out by Jesus.
    Ezekiel lays the biblical groundwork for truth-speaking, accountability, and restorative justice. For him, the cement that holds the whole thing together is YHWH being true to YHWH’s Self, and not merely reacting to human failure (or God would not be free). For Ezekiel, God always acts with total freedom—from divine integrity and unilateral faithfulness to the covenant with Israel, whether they keep their side or not—without this foundational message, “grace would not be grace at all” (Romans 11:6).
    God resists our evil and conquers it with good, or how could God ask the same of us? Think about that. God shocks and stuns us into love. God does not love us if we change; God loves us so that we can change. Only love—not duress, guilt, any form of shunning, or social pressure—effects true inner transformation.
    The ego expects this pattern: sin à punishment à repentance à transformation.
    Ezekiel recalibrates this process after experiencing YHWH’s purifying love for Israel. The pattern becomes: sin à unconditional love and forgiveness à transformation à repentance.
    If this is indeed God’s pattern, as I believe it surely is, this is a very different universe that God is creating. Jesus called it “the Realm [or Kingdom] of God.” ….Richard Rohr

  26. Forgiving Reality for Being What It Is

    The story of Noah and the flood is filled with insight. (Although I do not really believe God killed all the people on the earth and saved only one family!) God tells Noah to bring into the ark all the opposites: the wild and the domestic, the crawling and the flying, the clean and the unclean, the male and the female of each animal (Genesis 7:2-15).
    Then God does a most amazing thing. God locks them together inside the ark (Genesis 7:16). Check it out.
    Most people never note that God actually closed them in! God puts all the natural animosities, all the opposites together, and holds them in one place. I used to think it was about balancing all the opposites within me, but slowly I have learned that it is actually “holding” things in their seemingly unreconciled state that widens and deepens the soul. We must allow things to be only partly resolved, without perfect closure or explanation. Christians have not been taught how to live in hope. The ego always wants to settle the dust quickly and have answers right now. But Paul rightly says, “In hope we are saved, yet hope is not hope if its object is seen” (Romans 8:24). The virtue of hope widens and deepens our foundation.

    Noah’s ark is not meant to be a cute children’s story; it is a mature metaphor for the People of God on the waves of time, carrying the contradictions, the opposites, the tensions, and the paradoxes of humanity—preserving and protecting diversity inside of a safe unity created by God. (Thinking of it merely as punishing “bad” people only appeals to our lowest instincts and puts us back into meritocracy.) It is no accident that animals are deemed worth saving and that the covenant YHWH proclaims after the flood is “with every living creature,” not just humans as we presume. (Read Genesis 9:10, 13, 15, where it is said three times!) This is no small point, although it has been largely ignored.

    God’s gathering of contraries is, in fact, the very school of salvation, the school of love. That’s where growth happens: in honest community and committed relationships. Love is learned in the encounter with “otherness” as both Martin Buber and Emmanuel Levinas taught. Not coincidentally, they both were Jewish philosophers whose worldview was formed by the Hebrew scriptures.
    Forgiveness becomes central to Jesus’ teaching, because to receive reality is always to “bear it,” to bear with reality for not meeting all of our needs. To accept reality is to forgive reality for being what it is, almost day by day and sometimes even hour by hour. Such a practice creates patient and humble people.

    Forgiveness reveals three goodnesses simultaneously. When we forgive, we choose the goodness of the other over their faults, we experience God’s goodness flowing through ourselves, and we also experience our own capacity for goodness in a way that almost surprises us. We are finally in touch with a much Higher Power, and we slowly learn how to draw upon this Infinite Source…Richard Rohr O.F.M.

    Jai, when I think of Allistaire and all she went though and what your family endured during her long illness, and what you are going through now,” forgiving reality for being what it is” resonates. In my experience, I have found it to be the only way through life’s disappointments and sorrows, to finally be at peace with those experiences and ourselves. The painful memories remain but the heartache diminishes….may Peace be with you,

  27. The theme of forgiveness continues in a larger frame:

    In the deeps are the violence and terror of which psychology has warned us. But if you ride these monsters deeper down, if you drop with them farther over the world’s rim, you find what our sciences cannot locate or name, the substrate, the ocean or matrix or ether which buoys the rest, which gives goodness its power for good, and evil its power for evil, the unified field: our complex and inexplicable caring for each other, and for our life together here. This is given. It is not learned. —Annie Dillard

    The Gospel accepts that life is tragic, but it graciously adds that we can survive and will even grow from this tragedy. This is the great turnaround! It all depends on whether we are willing to see down as up and learn to draw upon the Infinite Source.

    We should have been prepared for this pattern, given that the whole drama was set in motion by a seeming “transgression” of Adam and Eve, and then the whole world was redeemed, say many Christians, by an act of violent murder! The problem is part of the solution. The genius of the biblical revelation is that it refuses to deny the dark side of things, but forgives failure and integrates falling to achieve wholeness.

    Jesus is never upset at “sinners”; he is only upset with people who do not think they are sinners! Jesus was fully at home with a tragic sense of life. He lived, died, and rose inside it. Jesus’ ability to find a higher order inside constant disorder is the very heart of his message—and why true Gospel, as rare as it might be, still heals and renews all that it touches.

    Jesus found and named the unified field beneath all the contradictions, which Annie Dillard speaks of. If we do not find that unified field, “our complex and inexplicable caring for each other,” or what Buddhists call the Great Compassion, there is no healing to life’s inconsistencies and contradictions. Paul would call the unified field love: “It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7). Mature spirituality is about getting you back and down into the unified field, where you started anyway.

    The forgiveness we truly need goes beyond forgiveness for this or that transgression. Ultimately, we each need universal, cosmic forgiveness for being who I am and for reality being what it is. The struggle to forgive this simultaneously broken and unified field of reality breaks us through to nondual consciousness. This is key! And, remember, in that inspired story of Adam and Eve, it is God who “made tunics of skins to clothe them” and takes away their shame and sense of separateness (Genesis 3:21). God reminds them of the unified field, or “the house of belonging” as poet David Whyte loves to call it, even as they depart the garden of innocence and naivety.

    Richard Rohr O.F.M

  28. Jai, this is what I believe you have embraced a this moment in your life journey in faith:

    Through darkness and doubt often come the greatest creativity and faith. Our faith is strengthened every time we go through a period of questioning: “Why do I believe this? Do I believe this at all? What do I base my life on?” When we are at rock bottom, everything becomes clearer: self-image, God-image, worldview.

    It takes a long time to purify the experience of dysfunctional family life, abuse, manipulation, shaming, negativity, or judgmental attitudes. As St. John of the Cross (1542-1591) described, our gods must each die till we find the true God. Or as Meister Eckhart (c. 1260-1327) put it, “Let us pray to God that we may be free of God.”

    To allow and fully experience the darkness is an immense act of courage (from cor-agere, “an act of the heart”). Our natural instinct is to pull back from others, to move into a self-chosen exile. But when we are cut off or alienated from others, wounds are exacerbated rather than healed.

    In the darkness, it’s hard to feel courageous. We resist love. “I will prove that I’m unworthy. I will not let you get to me.” Yet we must turn toward the very people we are pushing away, those who love us and who see meaning in our life when we can’t. It sounds naïve and simplistic, but love is the greatest healer.

    In the darkness, we usually look for someone to blame, to absolve ourselves from the problem. I think we’ve been led into a period of exile again, both as a culture and as a Church, as evidenced by increased hostility and blame of the “other.”

    The shame-and-blame game is all about projecting our inner state elsewhere. That’s why Jesus taught that, for the sake of our soul, we must love our enemy. The enemy—or whomever we resent, dislike, or are annoyed by—carries our dark side. “Why do you try to take the speck out of your brother’s or sister’s eye, when you cannot see the log in your own?” (Matthew 7:5).

    Not all criticism is blind negativity. Healthy critique offers hope and vision when we own our complicity in the problem. People who love something have earned the right to make it better and keep it true to its deepest vision. We must first recognize that God has something to teach us personally, not just the group or institution.

    The way through is always much more difficult than the way around. Cheap religion gives us the way around, avoiding darkness. True religion gives us the way through, stepping right into the mystery.
    Darkness is sacred ground. The God who calls us into darkness will also sustain us and lead us through it. “God . . . brings the dead to life and calls into being what does not yet exist” (Romans 4:17). Resurrection is the one and only pattern…..Richard Rohr O.F.M.

    Like our risen Savior we will still bear the scars of our trials and suffering, but will also have found new life, hope and love.

  29. I came out of the seminary in 1970 thinking that my job was to have an answer for every question. What I’ve learned is that not-knowing and often not even needing to know is—surprise of surprises—a deeper way of knowing and a deeper falling into compassion. This is surely what the mystics mean by “death” and why they talk of it with so many metaphors. It is the essential transitioning. Maybe that is why Jesus praised faith even more than love; maybe that is why St. John of the Cross called faith “luminous darkness.” Yes, love is the final goal but ever deeper trust inside of darkness is the path for getting there.

    My good friend Gerald May shed fresh light on the meaning of John of the Cross’ phrase “the dark night of the soul.” He said that God has to work in the soul in secret and in darkness, because if we fully knew what was happening, and what Mystery/transformation/God/grace will eventually ask of us, we would either try to take charge or stop the whole process. No one oversees his or her own demise willingly, even when it is the false self that is dying. God has to undo our illusions secretly, as it were, when we are not watching and not in perfect control, say the mystics. We move forward in ways that we do not even understand and through the quiet workings of time and grace, as “Deep calls unto deep” (Psalm 42:8). In other words, Spirit initiates deep resonance and intimacy with our spirit, as the Endless Divine Yes evokes an ever-deeper yes in us.

    As James Finley says, “The mystic is not someone who says, ‘Look what I have done!’ The mystic is one who says, ‘Look what love has done to me. There’s nothing left but God’s intimate love giving itself to me as me.’ That’s the blessedness in poverty: when all in us that is not God dissolves, and we finally realize that we are already as beautiful as God is beautiful, because God gave the infinite beauty of God as who we are.”

    Finley describes God as “the infinity of the unforeseeable; so we know that [the unforeseeable] is trustworthy, because in everything, God is trying to move us into Christ consciousness. If we are absolutely grounded in the absolute love of God that protects us from nothing even as it sustains us in all things, then we can face all things with courage and tenderness and touch the hurting places in others and in ourselves with love.”…Richard Rohr O.F.M.

    Jai, this is where I see you grounded “in the absolute love of God that protects us from nothing even as it sustains us in all things.”

  30. I am so sorry. I feel like Job’s friends. I don’t know what to say… You do not know me. I just happened to find your blog. We took a great interest in Allistaire’s fight with cancer and often prayed for her and your whole family. My little girls especially took an interest. I thought about you again this morning when I was reading my Bible and read Revelation 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. You are making the right choice to look to Jesus. I like Helen Steiner Rice’s poem, “God has not promised skies always blue… but He has promised strength for the day…” Another song that has been an encouragement to me is:

    Not now, but in the coming years,
    It may be in the better land,
    We’ll read the meaning of our tears,
    And there, sometime, we’ll understand.

    Refrain:
    Then trust in God through all the days;
    Fear not, for He doth hold thy hand;
    Though dark thy way, still sing and praise,
    Sometime, sometime we’ll understand.

    We’ll catch the broken thread again,
    And finish what we here began;
    Heav’n will the mysteries explain,
    And then, ah then, we’ll understand.

    We’ll know why clouds instead of sun
    Were over many a cherished plan;
    Why song has ceased when scarce begun;
    ’Tis there, sometime, we’ll understand.

    Why what we long for most of all,
    Eludes so oft our eager hand;
    Why hopes are crushed and castles fall,
    Up there, sometime, we’ll understand.

    God knows the way, He holds the key,
    He guides us with unerring hand;
    Sometime with tearless eyes we’ll see;
    Yes, there, up there, we’ll understand.

    Meanwhile..Jude 1:21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

  31. Dear Jai,

    I have read your words and prayed for your family for the past several years. My heart aches for you all. I so admire your commitment to keep getting back up and looking to Christ, your Savior. I am praying now that as you process yet another tremendous blow, you will own no more guilt, shame or lies of the enemy. We are all wretched and in the same need of the Savior. I am so sorry that you’ve had to bear such a disproportionate amount of sorrow; I know your heavenly reward is great. You’ve shared your heart in such a transparent and edifying way to Sten & your family. Thank you. You could have indulged bitterness, as I’m sure I would, but you’ve fought that off. You are overcoming by your faith and I’m humbled by His tenacity in you. May God give you a disproportionately grand dose of grace to fill up all those great indentations of loss.

    In His love, Nellie

  32. Jai
    You are a beautiful precious soul. I admire you and I care for you even though we haven’t ever physically met.
    I am fervently praying for you and asking God through my tears to give you continued strength and to bring you peace and joy.

  33. Oh jai, it is good to hear your voice on the blog again. So raw. So true. We are heartbroken to see the aftermath of what was already horrific. Know your names continue to be on the top of our prayer board in our dinning room. That we pray daily for you all. Your brothers words are wisdom friend and Christ will always shine light even amongst the darkest circumstances. I wish I could wave a magic wand and make it all better as I am sure you have prayed you would wake from the nightmare a million times over. Why you each have been given this cross to bear I do not understand entirely, but if anything it is to show the world the hope that stands despite our circumstances. How sweet the other side of eternity will be for those who have suffered the bitterness this world has to offer. Please friend take one step in front of the other, one minute, one hour, one day, one month, one year and surely you will look back and see the footsteps of Christ beside you. Love to you sweet friend. You are an inspiration to us – that may or may not be a comfort. your weakness havs been a shred of strength for others during their bleakest of moments.

  34. Jai, You don’t know me, I went to Master’s and I knew Peder. We prayed for all of you over the years and still think and pray for you often. I am sooooo sorry to hear of the vast devastation you have lived through in this life. I am praying for God’s healing and joy for your life.

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