Saturday, February 14, 2009

blessed be your name.

"My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."
Psalm 139:15-16

Cora's memorial service was amazing. Completely heartwrenching... but amazing. I've heard several describe it as very God-honoring. It was. Truly.

This verse was printed on the back of the program:

"The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away;
blessed be the name of the LORD." Job 1:21

I pointed at it, and through my tears, said to my friend, "This just about kills me."

To read that verse. To think about Jess and Joel's unwavering faith. To know that despite all they have been through... despite the fact that we were there that day to say good-bye to their baby girl... they could still say "blessed be the name of the LORD."

Our pastor read letters that all of Cora's family members had written to her. In one letter, she was referred to as "a little missionary." Her uncle wrote that in the past 3 weeks, Cora changed the lives of more people than he will ever be able to. And she has. The number of comments on their blog has been overwhelming. Comments like this:

"...I don't see any good in this. But, I want you to know, that I am a questioner, a skeptic, when it comes to faith. My life is so good, with healthy children, and a healthy marriage and I cannot have faith like you. I wish I could, and I want to learn from you. If you can still have faith, after the worst thing possible to happen to parents happened to you, I really do believe God's hand is upon you. Please continue with your blog to inspire people like myself, who need these hard, hard lessons to open my eyes. Thank you for sharing Cora with the world, so I could have the chance to learn more about Jesus. I will never forget about your special baby."

Pastor Dave also shared a story about a recent conversation he had had with Joel and Jess. Joel is a farmer. Jess quit teaching to stay home with Cora. They live in the country, miles away from any other houses. There were times they would go a few days without seeing anyone but each other. They wondered about their "isolated life" and questioned how God could use them to influence others.

God knew that Cora could influence the lives of others. God knew that Cora could change the lives of complete strangers. God knew the plans He had for Cora and He knew that Joel and Jess were the parents He needed to entrust her to for that short time. Parents who would love her more than anything. Parents who would trust in Him and trust in His plan, even though it would never have been their plan. Parents who would share their story with the world and share Christ's Love in every blog entry that they made. Parents who could endure the worst thing possible and still be able to say blessed be the name of the LORD.

Every blessing You pour out, I'll turn back to praise.
And 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.

I love this song. I've always loved this song.
But I cried all through it.
I will always think of Cora when I hear this song.
I will always think of Joel and Jess.
And I will always admire the fact that they could walk this road and still choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name.


Amanda said...

that was beautiful Amy...seriously, you said it SO well. It's never been so painful to say "blessed be your name"...but it's the ONLY thing that gives us even just a little bit of peace.

Beki - TheRustedChain said...

Amy, I got goosebumps reading that.

And I will never sing that song the same way again. Now I truly understand the words that I'd glossed over before.

I told my husband that suddenly my eyes are drawn to hot pink now, and every time I see it I think of Jess and pray for her.

Christine said...

Thanks for your post. I am moved beyond words for Jess and Joel and cried for them tonight as I rocked my baby before bed. This loss just doesn't make sense and I am in awe of this couple. Would I have the same strength in this situation? Would I allow Christ to work through me in such a profound way? I just don't know. Perhaps that is why the Lord chose them for this tremendous purpose. His ways are not our own.

Love on your sweet friends and encourage them. I'll be praying both for them and for their support group in the days and weeks to come. God is using you too. Remember that. The love that is poured out for Joel and Jess is a bold statement of Christ's love for us and an example for how the body is to be.

May God shower you with his most precious blessings and uphold you.
With love from Texas.

Anonymous said...

Hi Amy - I'm Sharley, Jess' "first cousin once removed" (I think) Don is my first cousin. The Bev family lived in SoCal when Jess and Anne were tiny girls, they were my "first" grandchildren" Your comments were beautiful, I had just listened to the service. Please continue to love them, encourage and support them as they heal. Their testimony will continue to bless and bring folks to our Lord. I ache for both of them - such a void how can they still give Praise?? Such a blessing to all just hug them for those of us who aren't close enough.
Blessings, Sharley in Manhattan Beach, CA

Anonymous said...

great post

the story of my life... said...

You don't know me but I have stumbled upon your blog...following Cora...all the way from Washington State...I cried at your post..I love that it means more. Thanks

Anonymous said...

Wow. Jess and Joel are truly amazing people. While we are so sad for them. God gave his only son as Jess and Joel "gave" their only daughter. Although I am sure they would take her back in a heartbeat, I am truly amazed that they knew she had a purpose on this earth. She did. She gave God back to me. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Anonymous said...

THIS post changed me. YOUR post! I am following Cora's story, and it has changed me, as well. But THIS, what YOU wrote...the way you wrote it...has opened my heart. I have been a believer for years, and two years ago I had someone ripped from my life. It has been the hardest and most painful, trying time of my life...I live with that hole in my heart that Joel and Jess speak of. I live with the pure devastation and loss of someone who was a part of me...and I have NEVER been able to see God in my loss...EVER! Oh, I've tried, I've screamed, cried, ranted, raved, prayed, got down on my knees, begged, wondered why...but there's been no solace for me.

But something about what you said and the way you said it gave me a small peace that just washed over my heart. I will continue to come back and read and reread what you've said because there is something there that eases my pain, even if for the moment.

As for Joel and Jess, I feel their ache every day, their loss, their devastation...I pulled away from God, and have been distanced since. I pray now and again, I get on my knees now and again, but since Cora's passing, I committed myself to pray for her parents daily. I put Cora's b/w photo up as my screen saver on my computer to remind me to do so!

I am beginning to look at things differently. IF what you wrote (on top of Cora's testimony) is what is helping me move that direction, then there was a HUGE reason I was searching the celebrity baby section six months ago and stumbled upon 'BRING THE RAIN,' and was led to follow that all these Cora.

Somewhere deep inside myself, I KNEW that day I found "Bring the Rain's" site it was God seeking me, pulling me back. And even though her story moved me beyond tears...I just wasn't there yet.

Julie said...

Thanks for your comment and encouragement on my blog. I came and looked at your and am so glad that i did. This was beautifully written and captures everything I have felt and couldn't put into words. When we were working on the program and Jess called and said she wanted THAT verse on the back, I just about lost it. "Blessed be your name" will never mean the same thing to me either. I wept through that entire song at the funeral and then heard it on the radio on my way to work the next morning. I too, will always relate that song to Jess, Joel, and Cora. And I too, will be challenged and changed by their faith to say "blessed be your name" in the midst of deep, deep pain.

Alexa said...

hi.. i found your blog through Cora... I just wanted to comment on the song "blessed be your name"- I love this song. I was widowed at such a young age- 21- and was pregnant with my 2nd baby... I remember those first few months after my Jeff passed away singing this song so very often and keeping on telling my self the lyrics- it helped so much. Anyway, I am thinking of you all and praying for you day in and day out. I can't imagine the heart ache of your "family." May you truly be blessed.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing how you have processed through all of this. I read Julie J's comment of how Jess wanted that verse "blessed be the Lord" on the program. Wow. I, too, will pray that I never gloss over those words. It is so much easier to focus on the positives in that song, but to see Joel and Jess through this has been challenging. Thanks for this post, Amy. Beautiful words.