unwavering hope, even in the loss of a child

On Tuesday, my sweet nephew Jacob was in athletics at his high school and collapsed as he was playing. They tried to revive him, but they couldn't. 

And just like that, a healthy 15-year-old boy went to meet Jesus. 

I don't understand it. Not even a little bit. But God does.

My heart is hurting for his mama, my sister-in-law Christy. She is one of the sweetest people I know- and one who loves Jesus like crazy. I do not exaggerate when I say He is her world. She LOVES Jesus. He pours out of her.

sweet Christy, and her youngest, Mia on Christmas Eve
I remember reading her family blog several years ago, and I distinctly remember saying to myself, "I want to love Jesus that much."

All these years later, I look at her and I am still saying it: I want to love Jesus that much.

On January 11, she posted on her blog about her youngest having a seizure, and in response to the scare she said it stirred up something else deep inside of her. She wrote this:
None of us are guaranteed health.  None of us are guaranteed life this day or the next.  None of us.  We do not control what comes into our lives on a grand scale.  We can only choose how to respond when things come up.  I want to respond with full out trust of my God.  I want to wholeheartedly respond with worship.  Because, I also know that He has every right to take any of my children home with Him at any time.  They are all on loan to me from Him.  It is my job to raise them, protect them from harm, and teach them to honor Him with their lives.  But, I have no control.  I do not get to choose which battles they will have to fight in this life, and I certainly can't control the choices they make as those battles come.  I simply have the privilege to teach them what His Word says is best.  I have the honor of relaying His faithfulness to them each day, whatever may come.  I trust Him. 
Hear me when I say I trust Him.  With all of our lives, with everything in our lives.  He will not fail us.  He will not let us down.  He works everything together for our good.  Everything.
25 days later, she lost her firstborn, and still she trusts in Him. He is still her Rock.

On Tuesday night, this is what she wrote:
"Precious friends. Your words of comfort are so sweet to my heart. "Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed." Isaiah 54:10. Even in this I will bless the Name of my God who is worthy of all honor and glory and praise for now and forevermore."
Oh friends, I want to love Jesus that much. 

I pray that I will have faith like hers. That I will be able to praise God when that time comes.

I am amazed at His goodness. I don't understand it, but I've seen over and over that He supernaturally draws near to the brokenhearted. He will not forsake us. He won't. I've seen Him uphold the hurting, and it makes me fall to my knees in worship, because it's too great for me to comprehend. It gives me such hope.

He is Holy. And He is good. He will never leave or forsake us.

When husbands are taken unexpectedly, when children pass away- our God is still God. And He still loves us.

Even when our hearts are hurting, He does not abandon us.

That is the GOD we serve. Holy and righteous, and full of love and mercy.

There is no other god like ours.

Psalm 34:

17 When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears
and delivers them out of all their troubles.
18 The LORD is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit.
19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
but the LORD delivers him out of them all.
20 He keeps all his bones;
not one of them is broken.

Sweet friends, will you please pray hard for her, and for her husband and family? That the Lord would continue to uphold them and be near to them? And for the extended family, and his friends, and for the other teenagers and the coaches that saw this happen at school- that they might come to know Jesus because of the life sweet Jacob lived, and because of the unwavering hope of His family? 

Oh, thank you so much again for being the body of Christ- for bearing the burdens of others and lifting them up in prayer. I can't tell you how much all of your kind words and prayers for them mean to me. Thank you. 

our family, 2011

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 

2 Corinthians 1:3-4


  1. I too want to love Jesus like that. I have an older friend that years and years back lost a newborn baby and yet she still continued to have a passion that far exceeded mine for Christ. How she could leave that hospital and say that her baby is with Jesus now and continue on was beyond me. As a baby Christian I couldn't comprehend that. Now I can. Bless your sweet sister inlaw. ♥

  2. I am humbled by women like your sister-in-law. I know one, as well. Her family lost their 8 year old son in December as a result of an accidental shooting and she has continued to live out the love of Christ through it all. She continues to try to help others cope when it was HER son that was lost.

    I can only pray that I have the faith and strength to deal with whatever life holds for me, and God has given me examples to follow; like these two women.

    Thank you for sharing this.

  3. This is so awful but God be praised that your family loves God and has his comfort.

  4. So sorry to hear about your families loss. Praying for your family.

  5. I am in awe of your sister in-law and your family. The pain must be unbearable, but putting Him first will provide more comfort than any earthy 'thing' may provide. I will keep your family and their friends in my prayers.

  6. I have no words, other than how terribly, terribly sad I am for your family. I wish I had the same kind of strength to deal with this sort of thing, but I don't and never could. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you. May you continue to find peace and comfort in God.

  7. Thanks for your words of hope in the midst of what must be a very dark time. There is nothing like heart-wrenching trials to prove that we mean the words we sing and speak about Jesus.

    I find comfort in knowing that God gives grace as we need it. It is my prayer that you and your family are finding that to be true.

  8. praying for them and y'all and the whole family! i hope to get able to have faith like hers one day. praying for luv, strength, comfort and continued peace.

  9. My heart just breaks thinking about your family's loss. I am so sorry to hear about your nephew. At the same time, I am extremely encouraged by the faith and unwavering love Your sister-in-law has for God. I will be praying for your family during this difficult time.

  10. Mandy, My deepest condolences and prayers are with you and your family. What a wonderful witness you and your family are for the Kingdom.

  11. This is beautifully written. Praying for your whole family!

  12. Such a beautiful post though I wish it did not have to be written. Can't believe she wrote that on her last blog post. WOW.

  13. My prayers are with your entire family as you mourn the loss of Jacob. Your sister in law is such a strong, amazing woman in Christ.

    Mandie, you DO love Jesus as much as your sister in law does. It's because of your love for Christ that I have run back into His arms without hesitation, finally accepting His love and knowing that while I don't believe I am worthy of such amazing, unconditional love, He does.

  14. You and your family have been in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you for sharing such a private personal matter with all of us. It makes all realize in sisterhood/brotherhood in Christ.

  15. Mandy, thank you so much for sharing these stories. It is just as important that we are encouraged by people with strong faith in hard times as in good times. I will be praying for your sister-in-law and you and your entire family!

  16. Sending up a prayer for your family......my deepest condolences. Blessings

  17. So incredibly sorry. Prayers going up for your family.

  18. I can only imagine... That is also my prayer, however. I know times will get tough and we will all go through things that are very unexpected, but God's promise of peace and comfort always remains. I'm praying for God's peace and presence to surround all of you through this time.

  19. I can only desire to love Jesus like that. I cannot imagine the pain and devastation I would feel at the loss of a child. Praying for you and your family.

  20. I saw this on the news this week! I am so sorry for each of you and your loss. I thank God for people who praise Him in the storm.

  21. I lost my son 2 months before he turned 10 and at his memorial service I was talking to a dear friend who lost her teenage daughter in a car accident 3 years earlier. I cried more when her daughter passed and she cried more over my son. We both commented on how God gives the grace when you need it! Only in Him can we find the peace that passes understanding.

  22. Still praying for all of you. So thankful you have each other. May God bring you an abundance of comfort.

  23. Thank you for sharing these very personal moments with us through your blog. God is so good to us and even though we don't know the reasons for what seem to be the worst possible tragedies He is still the one who is ruler over everything and He works everything for good to those who love Him. I am praying for your family.

  24. What an amazing woman of God. I tremble as I hope and pray that I too can love and trust God in that way if/when that day comes for me. I have tears as I pray for this amazing woman, her family and for you and yours as you deal with this time of loss. May God bless you all and keep you in His arms at this time.

  25. I lost my daughter Taylor almost a tear ago. She was 12. It was due to a horrible accident. It does my heart Good to read this. To read of someone else trusting God during this terrible battle that unless you are facing you can't understand. I will keep this family in my prayers. God's strength is the only thing that will get us through.


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