Monthly Archives: February 2008

February 28

I’m sure many of you are wondering how we are doing. We are still so aware of being surrounded by God’s grace and your prayers.

 

The memorial service was precious and many found it a blessing. It was really hard for me to go to the flower and balloon shop the day before. I couldn’t help but visualise Jenna skipping through the store, smelling the flowers and enjoying all the pretty ribbons and beads and girly stuff. We were told that it is virtually impossible to buy or rent helium gas cannisters here in SA and that the company did not deliver on Sundays. But when we spoke to the manager and told him our story he volunteered to personally deliver the balloons for us the next day. They were a gorgeous pink and we tied string made from organza ribbons around them instead of plastic.

 

People told us it was a wonderful and very meaningful metaphor, watching the balloons go up, up, up ever so slowly until they faded from view high up in the clouds. I told them that I liked to imagine that Jesus would collect them and read the messages on them to Jenna.

The theme of the service was that Jesus is alive, and therefore so is Jenna. I know it to be true. I will see her again some day, although it seems like a very long time to wait right now.

I miss her and I see her everywhere.We went out for the first time yesterday, other than to run errands. We took the boys to a touristy mall (built in the style of old Europe, both inside and out) nearby. The middle one wished we had brought a camera so we could fool his friends into thinking that we had gone to Europe. 🙂 We went to a bird sanctuary, and knowing how much Jenna would have enjoyed the bird show and the lemurs and the ducks made me miss her more acutely than ever.

On the return to the car the middle boy saw a little girl dressed in similar clothes to Jenna’s favorite outfit, with the same blonde hair tied into a ponytail. It shook him up a bit. But today he told me he realised that they have been having some good times also since Jenna passed away. It hasn’t all been sad, we have had moments of joy and laughter, as incongruous as that may sound. The boys, in particular, have really enjoyed getting to know their cousins and they all get on so well. The boy shared his little revelation to me with a sense of wonder, that even though Jenna is gone,  life still holds some pleasant times.

I told him that I am sure we are in for a very up-and-down journey.There will be some good days, and there will be some bad ones. I trust that I will be able to cling to Jesus on the bad days, and praise him on the good ones.

 We will be leaving SA on Monday evening, and arriving in the States on Tuesday.  I am a little apprehensive of walking into my house and seeing all Jenna’s stuff, and walking into church/school/homeschool group and being the focus of everyone’s attention. I know it will be hard. But I also know that even there, God will carry me.  

 I’ll end off with another letter by hubby, sent to our church sometime last week. I always thought I was the one who could express myself in the written word but I have had little taste for it, whereas hubby has been doing so well in that area:

 People around us tell us our faith is so strong. But this not so much faith, as it is trust. The bible says in Psalm 9:10 “And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee”. The “know thy name” as we have learnt means to know His character, his very essence, knowing in the deepest sense who God is, knowing Him as a merciful, faithful, loving good God, and more – all that we have learnt at bible school, precept upon precept, and walked out in little ways in our lives. 

So, we can honestly say, we are at peace. And we are at peace because we trust Him. And we trust Him, because we know Him.

To you Sam, thank you for so faithfully teaching us.  To you all, pray for our pastor Sam, every day, it is a biblical command, and it is so important to hold him up before the Lord. Do not forget the price he himself has paid to bring us what God has wrought into his life. 

It is hard, and we are sad, not having Jenna physically with us, but Jesus has been so precious, so comforting, such a sweet fragrance of his presence. At times, we are so uncertain of the future, but he bids us take only one step at a time, and each step we take, we find that Jesus is already there, and has prepared the way for us. And his preparation is with such careful attention to detail, everything is taken care of. When we look back how carefully He took care of everything before and after Jenna’s passing, we are so encouraged. For example, the last three weeks she spent with her extended family here, building precious memories, and the fact that Sumi and I were not alone when it happened – Sumi with her Mom and family, and I there at church with all of you and your love and comfort. It was God. 

And, His preparation includes little gifts, nuggets, of his mercy grace and love. For example; I was quietly worshiping one morning this week, when there came upon me such a sweet sweet sense of His presence, and I had the sense that just for a while, heaven was worshipping with me, and then, just like that, I saw Jenna dancing before the throne for Jesus, in her little Jenna way, and the more I sang, the more she danced, and the more powerful and sweet His presence all over me became. I went and told Sumi, and she told me that at the exact same time, she was sitting reflecting on how she used to dance at church while pregnant with Jenna, and Jesus telling her that Jenna dances with her in the womb, and that she would be a dancer for Jesus, and then she realized that Jenna would be dancing in heaven. So God confirmed for us both, that what I saw, and Sumi thought, were real. 

Surely, this is a road He has ordained for us to walk. And Jesus has become more precious to us, even in just these few days, and this place we now find ourselves in Him, we jealously guard. So while we are sad and mourn, yet we quietly rejoice in a Jesus so much more precious to us. 

So be encouraged, there is not a road He would lead you to walk on, that he would not give you the grace, and more, to walk it, and come out the other side, with a greater measure of His glory. 

2Co 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory… 

We love you all so much 

R. and Sumi and the boys”

  

 

Small Mercies

I am not sure how long I will be able to write, we are expecting a friend in 20 minutes and i am a sloooooow typist.

 I just wanted to update all of my friends who have visited this blog in the last few days to see how we are doing.As I write this, I am so aware of God’s peace. I can honestly quote the verse that says He will keep those in perfect peace, whose minds are stayed upon him. That does not mean that there is no sadness, at times I miss Jenna terribly and the tears flow, but I am so aware of my Jesus’s sweet presence surrounding me.  

My hubby and the two boys arrived here on Tuesday afternoon. They were flown to Washington via a charter flight the day before (thanks to my sweet sister in law) and managed to get temporary passports within 30 minutes of arriving at the consulate. 

Hubby was anxious to see Jenna and we went the very next morning. They showed her to us through a window but hubby begged to be able to go in to her. We were told that since it was a forensics morgue where criminal investigations were being made (law requires a post-mortem on drowning victims here) it would not be allowed. When the inspector saw how desperately he wanted to see her he made a very rare exception. I have a picture of Jenna’s very beautiful, peaceful face, and her daddy stroking her hair and kissing her cheek. 

We have seen countless small mercies these last few days. I cannot mention them all, though I wish I could write them down at some point so I’ll remember them. We are grateful that  my family had 3 whole weeks in which to come to know and enjoy Jenna. It was a blessing to have my family’s support when she died and Richard happened to be at church when he got the phone call so he had plenty of people around to pray for us and comfort him.

Hubby came out of the shower this morning with the most tender expression on his face and tears in his eyes. He said he was worshipping the Lord when he experienced such a sweet sense of God’s presence. He knew that he was worshipping with the angels, and he saw a brief vision of Jenna dancing before the throne of Jesus like she always used to do here. The more he sang, the more she danced. What hubby didn’t know was that at exactly the same time I was reminiscing about Jenna and remembering how I would dance before the Lord in worship when I was heavily pregnant with her. A lady at our church admonished me that I might harm my baby by doing that but the Lord whispered to me that when I danced, Jenna was dancing in the womb with me. He went on to say that she would grow up to dance before him in worship more than I ever did. I always thought she might become a ballerina or something but at that point I realised she was dancing and worshipping Jesus in heaven.

When hubby told me his vision it was a confirmation to us both that we weren’t just imagining it in our minds. 

The last day we spent with Jenna we were sitting outside on the lawn and we watched a pink balloon which must have escaped from a birthday party nearby, floating ever so slowly up to the sky.  The Lord reminded me of this afterwards and we will be doing a pink balloon release during her memorial service, allowing people to write a message to Jenna on their baloons if they wish. 

The memorial service will be held on Sunday at 4pm SA time (9 am ET)  A dear friend will do the worship and the service will be led by a man who had lost his own son a few years ago. We will have a time for everyone to say something if they wish and end the service with the song I quoted in my previous post. We told everyone to dress informally since we want it to be a celebration and not a time of sadness. (Though I am sure we will all shed a few tears) We will be playing a slide show of pictures of Jenna while people come up to share. We will stay here in SA a few more days and fly back with Jenna towards the end of next week. 

I need to go now but first I want to post excerpts of an email I sent to friends, as well as hubby’s letter to our church body. 

I am so aware of the grace of the Lord carrying us

Hubby has arrived here with us and he is such a comfort to me. He says he was in the aeroplane and had to go to the bathroom to cry. He was sobbing and asking God what it was like for Jenna to be in that pool all alone and the Lord said: “Shhh…I will show you something.” He gave hubby a picture of the angel that went to fetch Jenna…and it looked just like me! I had agonised over Jenna being in there and wondering why her mommy wasn’t coming to rescue her and this was such a huge comfort to me.

I can tell you this: God is good. I am not going to go the ‘what if’ route. I trust Him. I know he allowed something in his wisdom that he could prevent in his power. Already there is such a bittersweet blessing, and so many people are being touched by this.

“Unless a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone, if it dies, it will bring forth much fruit”

I believe that much fruit will come out of this for the sake of the kingdom of God.

Much love,
Sumi

Hubby’s letter: 

Words can not possibly express how much I appreciate all of your care, prayers, and especially love. The tangible warmth of your love has been ,and is, a great strength and encouragement. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

And yes, in all honesty, it is hard, and we are sorely sad, but we are holding onto Jesus, and can honestly say we trust Him, believe Him, and know Him to be a good good God.

So join me and lift up your hearts and hands, letting your precious faith rise up and let’s together declare “blessed be the name of the Lord, you give and take away, and still my heart will say, BLESSED BLESSED BLESSED be the name of the Lord!!

The awesome peace he anointed me with when Sumi first called me yesterday,has not left me, and continually I find myself singing praises to Jesus, and my precious God whose Father heart knows the pain of loss all too well.

So let me encourage you all. Don’t draw back, don’t give way to all those questions and doubts, don’t let your faith and trust fail, I don’t know why either, but Jesus does, and nothing he ever does is for evil, because in Him dwells every good thing, and everything he does is good, because He is good.

Let Jesus come, and in coming to us as a body, let Him find faith in us. Draw ever closer to God who surely loves us deeply and passionately whose plans are always for good. 

I have to go now, bless you all. 
Richard

 Please excuse the lack of paragraphs. WordPress is messing with my head tonight.

My muffin

For those few of you who do not know, I wanted to say that our precious little muffin Jenna went to be with Jesus this week. We were blessed to have her for 3 and a half years.

I am so aware of all your prayers and the grace of my Lord Jesus at this time.  Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the emails and well-wishes. They have been a source of constant support.

I expect a long and difficult road ahead for me and my family, but if there is one thing I know, it is that my Jesus will be with us all the way.

This is my song to him at the moment:

Blessed Be Your Name

Blessed be your name
In the land that is plentiful
Where the streams of abundance flow
Blessed be your name

Blessed be your name
When I’m found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed be your name

Every blessing you pour out,
I turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say…
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your glorious name

Blessed be your name
When the sun’s shining down on me
When the world’s all as it should be
Blessed be your name

Blessed be your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there’s pain in the offering
Blessed be your name

Every blessing you pour out,
I turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say…
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your glorious name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, Blessed be your name