In spite of this separation from Jenna, there is thankfulness:
God is with us.
We have said innumerable times this year, ¨How do people without God do it?¨
We have a Rock, an Anchor, a Refuge, a ¨very present Help in time of trouble¨.
This whole year is crammed full of His sustaining grace & evident love.
In our brokenness, there is still blessing...
We got to say good-bye well.
We all had an amazing relationship with her.
We were all together with her until the very end.
In the last couple weeks, there was both a flow of forgiveness & appreciation.
There were blessings said to one another.
Nothing was left unsaid.
God took her quietly & peacefully in her sleep.
She was able to be at home.
We had great support here to care for her.
There was grace, so much grace.
The hospital is only 10 min away.
Special people came alongside of us to give of their expertise -
a nurse, a psychologist, a spiritual director, friends, our precious team.
Jenna was so thankful for the rich life she had in 23 years.
We are, too.
She lived a beautiful, love-filled, adventurous life.
She was fulfilling her dreams, not waiting around for them.
Her life was rich in spirituality, family, friends and love of all things ethnic.
She lived to develop her gifts, passions & growing sense of justice.
She would have loved to continue...she fought to continue.
But she recognized a whisper that came to her -
It came to beckon her to her next adventure.
God made the way for us to be together -
The leave of absence granted for Dani,
The flexibility & support of Jordan´s school for him,
Even the timing of Bruce´s sabbatical which although not ideal,
gave him more flexibility to be at home.
When I stepped back from various responsibilities to care for Jenna,
God gave me amazing opportunities through the blog to touch others -
even in a time of personal ¨hiddenness¨.
We are grateful for new windows into Spanish culture this year;
We experienced a compassion, interest and support like never before.
In our need they showed themselves to be faithful friends & neighbors,
They encouraged us in practical and verbal ways.
And in the end, at her death, they showed us how to grieve in community;
they showed up, they cried, they sat with us, they showed love & sadness...
And they always ask, every day they ask.
We thank God for the many who prayed & accompanied us -
The young people of Málaga who gathered multiple times in our home,
Many other friends who came to pray for Jenna.
Special people who had a burden for healing prayed for her.
Friends around the world who prayed - some even strangers.
People passed the word on & groups & families & individuals we didn´t even know
Were banging on heaven´s door for Jenna.
Some people pass through great pain alone.
We were surrounded.
We are thankful for financial provision during this time -
Our insurance company and others who gave for the many holistic expenses.
The churches who helped us fly Dani home or help a couple of Jenna´s friends
fly out here to see her one more time.
For the two friends who developed the donation site so people could give easily online.
Individuals who gave generously just so we ¨could get away¨ or for any need.
God has provided for all our needs.
Everyone has blown us away.
He has blown us away.
We are full of gratefulness that He spoke to us all year,
That He sustained Jenna through such suffering with various verses and visions.
We are indebted to the kindnesses of so many who rallied practical help & who gave help.
We are overflowing with thanks for His presence, His nearness, which has been our good.
I am thankful for strength to remain positive & thankful.
We are thankful for the spiritual encouragement of those who came to sit with us
& just listen to God.
Thankful for His grace over our children and our marriage,
Thankful for crazy friends who came to the hospital and made us laugh,
Thankful we have God on our side, for Him as our Shepherd, that He is in charge.
There is peace in that.
This year as we enter this season of Thanksgiving, we acknowledge with melancholy - no, with an ache that won´t go away - that she won´t be sitting at our table. But we also acknowledge the many other things we have which are causing our hearts to overflow with gratitude. So, in spite of subdued emotions, we offer our Psalm of Thanksgiving...
¨Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever...¨
Photo by: Tjololo Photo