December 15, 2010
As this long day draws to a close, I can’t help but reflect on how incredibly blessed we are as a family. We are so grateful for all of you contributing in different ways making this day, mixed with heartache and sorrow, one that was special and to be treasured for a long time.
Some of you were unable to attend Bonnie’s memorial service due to various reasons, but were still with us in spirit praying fervently that God would be glorified through the remembrance of how He used Bonnie for His will. Thank you for those prayers and for continued prayer for our family. Based on the number of comments shared following the service, this prayer was answered tenfold.
Those of you who could attend, thank you for being a part of our rejoicing and celebration of Bonnie’s life. Thank you for your encouraging words, offer of support and continued prayer.
Thank you to Trinity Church and all the many volunteers who donated of their time and talent to assist with coordinating everything from A/V, ushering, food preparation, and overall coordination. What a blessing it was to all of us to be able to spend more time with family and friends during this difficult time.
Today was the essence of who Bonnie was and how God challenged her and used her. Through the tears we had smiles in our hearts. God has healed Bonnie and that in and of itself is an answer to the prayers of thousands. You may say though, but God didn’t heal how we wanted Him to heal her. God is mysterious and unfathomable and we cannot even being to fully grasp His purpos in a situation like this, but we trust him that he knows best.
And now we move forward attempting to learn a new normal of life without mom. Bonnie will be missed, but the seeds she planted and the seedlings she has been nurturing in our kids have been watered by your prayers. If you are looking for a tangible answer to your prayers here is one. I know many of you, including myself; have been praying for the spiritual strength of our children. Back during the week of Thanksgiving, my mother brought to my attention that my 15 year old (Callie) had a blog. So like all responsible parents who don’t know their child has a blog, I searched for it and found it and was stunned by some of her posts I read.
As I read Callie’s blog, tears of joy were running down my face because of God’s mercy in answering our prayer that our kids were persevering throughout this trial and were willing to accept one of the most challenging emotionally painful events a teenager probably has to endure. With Callie’s permission, I have pasted one of her blog posts. I do this not as a proud father, but as evidence of answered prayer. The depth of thought in this post is nothing Bonnie or I can take credit for. As I said in the previous paragraph, seeds were planted, but were watered and fertilized with your prayers and the fruit of those prayers is one example from a November 12th blog entry from Callie’s site:
Friday, November 12, 2010
Recently, I had a friend ask me how I could stay a Christian and still love God, even through my circumstances. This came as a huge shock to me, especially from a Christian Homeschooler that would ask me this. I continued on to tell this friend that it's not my choice what circumstances come my way, and that it’s ALL up to God. The conversation continued on and went down a path that I didn't expect. Basically to sum up what went on without mentioning names, this friend said to me: "I just can't imagine how anyone could not be angry at God for making life so terrible..I can't even do it and my life isn't as half as bad as yours." I realized that this was the PERFECT opportunity for me to share one of the closest things to my heart.
I started to explain that God will never give us more than we can handle. Sure, it’s extremely hard having cancer in your family but that doesn't mean we just forget about God, put him in a drawer and only open it if life is going great. We have to take the good with the bad and THANK God constantly for whatever he is doing in our lives. It's for his ultimate good and purpose. I know sometimes a lot of people don't seem to understand this topic. I have found that you truly don't understand the idea of fully relying and trusting the Lord until you go through trials. Before any of our family trials happened, I used to always think "Oh I get the whole idea of relying on the Lord." But I didn't fully realize until my parents got cancer, how much God wants us to trust Him. It’s amazing to see. I've learned so much through this situation.
The other day I was reading this book by Elisabeth Elliot about suffering. One of my favorite quotes by her was this: "He is not all that we would ask for (if we were honest), but it is precisely when we do not have what we ask for, and only then, that we can clearly perceive His all-sufficiency. It is when the sea is moonless that the Lord has become my light." I have that quote taped on my mirror. It daily reminds me that at times we might want something more, but the only thing we really need is God and his all sufficient self.
The basic name to label this is Faith. If we don't have faith, we don't have God in our lives. If we don't trust him no matter what comes our way, we don't have God. He is the ULTIMATE way, truth and life. A really important Bible verse that puts faith into perspective for me is Matthew 17:20: "I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this to this mountain: 'Move from here to there.' And it will move."
Basically to sum up this post, never stop trusting God, no matter what comes your way. He sustains you and holds you up through the hardest times. He is our ultimate hope, and King.
Posted by Callie Marie
Thank you for the many ways of expressing love to our family during this very difficult period in our lives. Today’s service was like a dissipating storm cloud with the bold rays of the sun shining brightly through. We will be forever grateful for your care and concern.
Steve, Cassandra, Caleb and Callie