Wednesday, December 31, 2014


This year we decided not to exchange gifts.  We were understandably needing to simplify and that was one of the ways it took expression.  We did do stockings.  We have always loved stockings and for many years have all taken great joy in buying or making surprises for one another - everyone for everyone else.

This year we were away from the 18th - 25th at a hotel (another change in our traditions) and returned midday on the 25th to make a turkey dinner and do our stockings by the fire in the evening.  It was a sweet time and we slowly took turns pulling one thing at a time out of our stockings.  There were the typical ¨practical¨ things such as toothbrushes and gum and joke gifts like a green apple from the kitchen but also special chocolates and massage oils and new drawing utensils.  But as we were finishing, the most surreal surprise of all appeared...

Bruce drew a packet of sugar from his stocking.  It was from Starbucks - which IS special since we only have one at the airport - but still, he thought it was one of our joke gifts.  But as we all looked at each other, no one claimed to have given it to him.  He handed the sugar to me as he reached again into his stocking, into the very tip.  Dani said, ¨Does it have Arabic on it?¨  As I was turning over the packet of sugar in my hand, still half laughing, I saw that the other side of the packet was indeed in Arabic.  Dani said, ¨Jenna gave us some sugar last year...¨ and as that was sinking in, Bruce simultaneously pulled out a small keychain from the tip of his stocking with a Cedar of Lebanon hanging from it. Silence descended over us as we all realized these were gifts from Jenna from the previous Christmas that had not been found.  In Christmas 2013, she had just returned from her time in Beirut and so gifts from there were predominant at Christmas last year.

Was there ever a trinket so precious to a father?  Was sugar ever so sweet?  Last year he would have appreciated it but this year it took on a whole new was almost sacred.  The packet of sugar is now tucked in his wallet (to be carried for years, I suppose - or until it spills sugar everywhere) and his house keys dangle from the beautiful, symbolic and yes, sacred, Cedar of Lebanon.

Jenna was present this Christmas after all.

1st photo by: Hades2k

Monday, December 29, 2014


I remember the heavy woolen blankets we slept under in a Berber village years ago during our year in Morocco.  They were so heavy - and we needed so many layers to stay warm - that we could barely breathe!  The floor was hard beneath us and we huddled together for warmth.  Eventually we warmed up under the layers of the sheep's wool, woven, rug-like blankets, only to wake up intermittently throughout the night at the unfamiliar sounds.

That memory came to mind recently as I was struggling to breathe under the heaviness of my mourning.  It is almost physical, this weight on my chest, and I find myself struggling to get air.  I want to throw off the blankets but am unable to - as if in a dream when you try to fight back and can´t move.  All my movements are slow and labored.  This sorrow is now part of the weaving of my life.

Sometimes the weight lifts for a time - I don´t know why or how - and there is a certain clarity and lightness and energy.  Those are times to be enjoyed and to take advantage of.  Soon, though, the blankety weight returns and my movement slows, the light recedes, my thinking clouds and the heavy sadness sits down again with all its weight.

I am trying to last the night under this weight.  Thankfully, God sits here with me.  He doesn´t say much but I know He´s there.  We are waiting together for the day to dawn.  We are waiting for morning under these wooly & woven blankets of mourning.  He breathes for me.  He waits with me.  He sits.  And we wait under wool mourning, for the morning.

Photo by:  Ellen, Moroccan Textures

Sunday, December 28, 2014


We were gifted at Christmas with a week away at a hotel by some friends. 
 It was just an hour down the coast but such a good change for us.  
 This poem reflects one of my big take-aways.

The other day I walked on the beach
where a little stone pine told me his story...
I hope it will be my story, too.

The little stone pine bowed low in the wind.
It leaned with its gusty opponent in struggle.
It strained, labored, twisted in resistance.
Day after day after day, the wind did not let up.
The stone pine, in spite of its name, was worn low and weary,
bearing the marks of a heavy and long battle.

The wind let up for a while but the tree retained its low position.
It vividly reflected its difficult life journey.
But in the lull, the pine reflected on its hardship,
contemplated its reactions & possibilities.
It realized it could not control the wind...
It could only hope to move with it -
but not be broken.

As the wind returned and blasted away at the pine,
That very struggle began to engage the deep capacity of the tree.
Previously untapped potential seeped forth, filling its veins,
infusing its life-giving sap that ran its deep course.
The tree bowed - but did not touch the ground.
The tree bent & reflected its struggle - but did not break.
The tree arched - but did not fracture.
The tree...was.
And that was its victory.

The pine was, by now,  horizontal to the ground.
The trunk was bent but sturdy & of a rich color.
The lovely green needles turned to face the sun and the vast sea.
In thankfulness, in need, in receptivity to its strength.
And there it remained.
So that I could see it.
So that others could see & read its life lesson.

Life will leave its mark on us.
There is no doubt in that.
I want to be like that tree -
I want to have a mark that says I have struggled...
but with a flowering noble strength
which reflects my desire to be better, deeper.
I want my face to face the sun no matter which way I must lean...
and to also have courage to face the vast, mysterious sea...
The sea over which the wind blows -
but which also holds treasure, surprise and unexplored territory.
Surely it holds unfathomed depths and an unbelievable array of colors & untold stories.

I may be bowed down low right now,
But my needles face the life-giving sun.
It will only be a matter of time
before I live untold adventures yet to come.
Because these very struggles tap previously unengaged capacities
to feel, to grow, to love, to persevere, to live...
I will continue like the little stone pine
who told me his story
on a day I walked the beach.

1st photo by:  me  :)

2nd photo by:  Dennis Murczak

Wednesday, December 24, 2014


The beauty of this season
Holds joyful hues of
Family & friends, traditions & love.
But most of all, a Savior.

The melodies of this season
Hang lightly in the air in
Homes & hearts, steeples & stores,
But most of all resounds, of a Savior.

The symbolism of this season
Is reflected in forms,
In patterns & shapes, designs & styles
But most of all, in a Savior.

The meaning of this season
Both cloaked & revealed,
Sacred & secular, cherished & ignored
But in spite of them all, a Savior.

The melancholy of this season
Wistfully clinging to a
Brother & sister, mother & father
But most of all they cling, to a Savior.

The promise of this season
Hopefully whispering to
Souls & minds, hearts & bodies
That there is most of all, a Savior.

In spite of our soulful carol this year and missing Jenna so very much,
we join you in celebrating the promise of a SAVIOR who is a
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace.

Much love to you all!

The Siders

Monday, December 22, 2014


¨Measure thy life by loss and not by gain,
Not by the wine drunk,
but by the wine poured forth,
For love´s strength standeth in love´s sacrifice,
And he who suffers most has most to give.¨

- Lilias Trotter

There were 3 distinct prophetic words that came right around the time of Jenna´s passing that I wanted to share.  They are such an encouragement to us and the fact that they were each confirmed by others make them more certain.

The first came through a letter received from our dear friend Amy.  She shared how she had gone out to pray for Jenna in the countryside among some olive trees.  As she prayed for Jenna, a full-orbed dandelion was blowing in the wind and kept returning to her.  She felt the Lord speak to her heart that the seeds of Jenna´s life would be spread in the offering up of her life.  She remembered a painting of an artist Lilian Trotter who lived 40 years in Algeria and the sense that Jenna´s life was to be offered up for something greater was very strong.  She wept and wrote and prayed and later gave us a letter and  lent us the book A Blossom in the Desert where many of Lilias´ paintings and writings are compiled.  (Amy´s presentation at the Memorial Service can be viewed below on the video.)

Amy later had another experience with the Lord while at a weekend retreat in the famous monastery Montserrat in Barcelona.  Again, she was outside praying and she was given the strong impression that Jenna was to receive a crown of honor of some sort.  As she looked up, she saw a bay laurel tree, full of it´s dark green leaves used by the Romans in their crowns of victory.  Even it´s scientific name, Laurus Nobilis rings of nobility.  It is also the source for the word  baccalaureate and we now know that she was to receive that on the 19th!  (Not only that, but the title Honoris Causa is on her diploma, meaning in Latin ¨for the sake of honor¨. )  When she returned to Málaga, Amy came to pray for Jenna and ask that this crown of honor would be bestowed on her.  I share this because it has to do with the following vision...

A dear friend from our downtown church, Loli, is very special to us and has experienced many prophetic visions from God since she was little.  When she called us after the memorial service to tell us that she had seen something during the service, Bruce drove up to her place to hear firsthand...

¨During the first song at the Memorial Service, Oceans, I saw a vision of Jenna,¨ she told him.  ¨ I was seated near the coffin covered in flowers and I saw many hands around the coffin above it, in the air.  Coming up out of the middle of them was Jenna.  I could only see her from the waist up and she was beautiful and happy and radiant.  She was filled with joy!  She had a beautiful white blouse on and a flowing turquoise-colored veil wrapped around her head.  Her hair was loose & beautiful, cascading down and was full of bay leaves.  Then she started rising upwards and as she rose, the veil shifted and fell off her head to her shoulders.  As that happened, little seeds fell from it and went everywhere.  They were really tiny, like little grains of couscous and they were spread all around.¨

At the memorial service, Amy shared the visions she had had but Loli´s vision was before she had spoken and before Doralicia shared about Jenna´s legacy.  Loli got so excited when she heard Amy and Dora share because it was very evident to her that God was confirming the symbolism of what she had seen!

You can read more specifically about what Dora shared about Jenna´s Legacy in the post called Legacy.  But what relates here is the clear sense that Jenna left a legacy and that God desires for her generation to take it up.  Her death is not a waste but an investment in the future of the Kingdom of God.  Dora made specific reference to the the truth found in John 12:24.  ¨Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed.  But if it dies, it produces many seeds.¨ 

May Jenna´s life, and now her death, produce much fruit as spiritual seeds are scattered...

Cool, huh?

May it be so...

If you would like to listen to what Amy shared at the Memorial Service for Jenna,  you can listen here in English with Spanish translation:

Amy Galloway
Translator, Doralicia Cajina-Gonzales

1st Dandelion Photo by:  Whitney Rae Hurst, friend and colleague of Jenna´s from APU
Laurel tree: mtgf93
2nd Dandelion Photo by:  Hartwig HKD

Sunday, December 14, 2014


One of our dear friends who has walked alongside our family this year and has served us in multiple ways, spoke at Jenna's memorial service.  As a friend and Spiritual Director, she met with Jenna in the last few months and in the last few weeks she was sometimes here daily, speaking blessings over her, praying in her room and playing soft music to soothe her spirit.  She is one of my very best friends here and has become dear to my entire family.

One of the things Doralicia did in Jenna's last week was to "bless her legacy".  We thought that was an amazing thing to do and asked her to share a version of it at the memorial service.  We feel there is great significance spoken here for Jenna´s friends and her generation.  You can watch and listen to the video version of it here or it is in writing below in both Spanish and English.

¨It is my privilege today to speak to you about the legacy and influence of Jenna in this world and in our lives.

Jenna was a young woman with vision for a life with purpose. Her principal purpose was to honor God and from there sprung her decisions, strengths, studies, the risks she took and a whole lifestyle that made her one of the most interesting young people that I have met in my life!  Today I am going to tell you a bit about her experiences.

A few years ago Jenna travelled to France and experienced great spiritual growth in her life and returned with a new passion for God and with many teachings about the supernatural things of God.  She began to teach her family and to share with other youth in Málaga about spiritual warfare and  things about that spiritual world we don't see but which is yet a reality.

Jenna possessed a passion that came from the heart of God for people who were the most vulnerable and oppressed.  She recognized that her studies and experience with a personal God who restores were an excellent combination for an holistic work because social justice alone is not the answer for us as spiritual beings. 

Last year she travelled to and lived in Lebanon.  She worked with an NGO focused on human rights.  Her work there was dedicated to supporting in a variety of ways the immigrants and refugees doing domestic work in the country.  This included refugees from Syria.  She loved this region.  When a friend from her university recently asked her about her dreams she said: To see Syria restored & rebuilt.  I still remember getting together with Pam and asking for God´s protection for Jenna when the conflict in that region got more complex and we were more alert to the dangers present there.

Yesterday we heard that one of her university professors had travelled from the US to present her with her degree.  She read a letter from another professor  and in her own words as well, spoke of Jenna as a woman who loved to learn.  The professors described her as an exceptional student in whom they saw not just a keen interest to learn but in whom they recognized a life of faith, a faith in a God interested in the healing, restoration and needs of the most vulnerable.

Jenna also worked with international students and as a third culture kid, had experienced the US, Argentina, Morocco, Spain, France and Lebanon...a little bit of all of those places made her who she was and is for all of us.

Her friends recognize her legacy of spirituality, honesty, integrity, humor, loyal passion, creativity and leadership.  Jenna was an independent woman but dependent on God and a woman with an adventurous spirit which got her the nickname Miss Courageous.

Her family experienced all these qualities and many more.  Her love for her siblings; she was a beautiful big sister.  Her love for her parents and her influence on them.  Jenna, you taught them and they taught you, too.  Much of what this precious woman is, is the inheritance from her parents and from her Heavenly Father. 

Today we want to bless all these relationships, conversations and all the efforts and contributions that Jenna participated in and we want to bless them so that they bear much fruit and multiply.  Our investment in the kingdom of heaven here on earth is never in vain and that reminds me of the passage where Jesus describes the Kingdom of God:

¨Then Jesus asked, ´What is the kingdom of God like?  What shall I compare it to?  It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden.  It grew and became a tree, and the birds perched in its branches.´¨ Luke 13: 18, 19

God gave Jenna various mustard seeds and she used them in many creative ways, with devotion, determination and dedication.  She used her talents and gifts given to her by God.

Jesus also reminded us as He described investment in the Kingdom of God:

¨Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed.  But if it dies, it produces many seeds.¨ John 12:24

Today we celebrate the legacy of Jenna and today I feel that what we should do is to remember that her life and even her death can bring life and fruit.  Today I would like to pray a prayer of blessing over all the young people present here and the ones who aren´t here.  So if you are an adolescent or young adult I want to ask you to open your hands as a sign of receiving:

Father, Son and Holy Spirit, today we ask that Jenna´s life and death would plant life and fruit in the life of these young people in Málaga.  Jesus, guide these youth to find seeds of the kingdom that You have planted in their lives and call them to use them.  Those who don´t yet know You as a personal God, call them to an intimate relationship with You.

I bless their lives and  I call them to gain inspiration from Jenna´s life to live lives with integrity and honesty.  Lives with purpose.  Help them to use their time well and to cooperate with the Holy Spirit. Help them to make wise decisions.  Help them to live with courage against values and lifestyles which don´t produce life.  May they remember today that You love them and that You are a God interested in the restoration of their lives so that they can be channels of restoration for others.  Put passion in them for the most vulnerable, for other cultures, for the oppressed.   Place in them their own expressions of redemption in accordance with how You have designed them.  Help us to receive by the Holy Spirit some characteristics of this precious daughter of Yours whom we celebrate today.  In Your name, Jesus.  Amen.¨

The original version in Spanish:

¨Es mi privilegio hoy hablarles del legado y la influencia de Jenna en este mundo y en nuestras vidas.

Jenna fue una joven mujer con una visión de la vida con propósito. Su principal propósito fue honrar a Dios, pero de ahí se desprendieron decisiones, esfuerzos, un estudios, riesgos y todo un estilo de vida que la hicieron una de las jóvenes mas interesantes! que he conocido en mi vida. Hoy les contare parte de sus experiencias.

Hace unos años Jenna viajo a Francia y al regresar de su tiempo allá hubo un crecimiento espiritual en su vida, regreso con una nueva pasión por Dios y con muchas enseñanzas a cerca del lo sobrenatural de Dios.  Comenzó a enseñar a su familia y a compartir con algunos jóvenes de Málaga a cerca de guerra espiritual y enseñanzas de  un mundo espiritual que no veamos pero que no deja de ser una realidad. 

Jenna poseía una pasión que salía del corazón de Dios por las personas mas vulnerables y por las personas oprimidas. Ella reconocía que sus estudios y su experiencia con un Dios personal y que restaura, eran una excelente combinación para un trabajo mas integral, pues solamente justicia social no es la respuesta para nosotros como seres humanos espirituales.

El año pasado viajó y vivo en el Líbano. Ahí trabajo con una ONG que trabaja en pro de los derechos humanos. Su trabajo ahí estaba dedicado a apoyar de diversas maneras a refugiados que este país está recibiendo de Siria. Ella amaba esta región. Una amiga de universidad le pregunto sobre sus sueños y ella dijo: Ver a Siria restaurada, edificada. Todavía recuerdo reunirme con Pamela y pedirle a Dios protección para Jenna cuando el conflicto en esa región se ponía mas complejo y estábamos mas alertas de los peligros que habían en esa zona.

Ayer escuchamos a una de sus profesoras de universidad que viajó para entregarle su titulo y ella leyó una carta de un profesor y aun en sus propias palabras y experiencia, hablaba de Jenna como una mujer a quien le encantaba aprender. Los profesores la describieron como una estudiante excepcional y veían en ella no solo su interés por aprender y su esfuerzo sino también reconocían su vida de fe, una fe en un Dios interesado en la sanidad, la restauración y las necesidades de los mas vulnerables.

Ella trabajo también en con los estudiantes internaciones, como una chica de tercera cultura norteamericana, años en argentina,  España, Marruecos y Líbanoun poco de todo esto la hicieron quien fue y quien es ella para nosotros.

Sus  amistades reconocen su legado de espiritualidad, su honestidad, su integridad, su humor, pasión lealtad,  creatividad y liderazgo. Jenna fue una mujer independiente pero dependiente de Su Dios y una mujer con un espíritu aventurero a la que algunos llamaron Miss Valiente.

Su familia experimento todas estas cualidades y muchas otras más. Su amor para sus hermanos, ella fue una muy bella hermana mayor. Su amor por sus padres y la influencia que ella tuvo en ellos. Jenna tu les enseñaste a ellos y ellos te enseñaron también a ti. Mucho de lo que esta mujer preciosa es, es  la herencia de sus padres y la herencia de Su Padre celestial.

Hoy queremos bendecir todas estas relaciones, conversaciones, todas esos esfuerzos y contribuciones en las que Jenna participó, y queremos bendecirlas para que lleven mucho fruto y se multipliquen. Nuestra inversión en el reino de Dios aquí en la tierra nunca es en vano y eso me recuerda este texto que describe en palabras de Jesus el Reino de Dios:

 Entonces Jesús dijo: «¿A qué se parece el reino de Dios? ¿Cómo puedo ilustrarlo? 19 Es como una pequeña semilla de mostaza que un hombre sembró en un jardín; crece y se convierte en un árbol, y los pájaros hacen nidos en las ramas».

Dios le dio a Jenna varias semillas de mostaza y ella las uso de maneras creativas, con devoción, con empeño y dedicación.  Ella uso sus talentos y dones dados por Dios.

También Jesus describiendo la inversión del Reino de Dios nos recordó:

 Les digo la verdad, el grano de trigo, a menos que sea sembrado en la tierra y muera, queda solo. Sin embargo, su muerte producirá muchos granos nuevos, una abundante cosecha de nuevas vidas. Juan 12:24

Hoy celebramos el legado de Jenna, y hoy siento que lo que debemos de hacer es recordar que su vida y aun su muerte puede traer vida y fruto. Hoy quiero hacer una oración de bendición para todos los jóvenes aquí presentes y aun lo que no están aquí, así que si eres un adolescente o joven adulto quiero pedirte que pongas tus manos abiertas en señal de recibir:

Padre, Hijo y Espíritu Santo, hoy te pedimos que la vida de Jenna y su muerte siembre vida y fruto en la vida de estos jóvenes de Málaga. Jesus, guía a estos jóvenes a encontrar las semillas del reino que tu has plantado en sus vidas y llámalos a usarlas.  A los que todavía no te conocen como un Dios personal llámalos a una relación intima contigo.

Yo bendigo sus vidas y les llamo a ganar inspiración de la vida de Jenna para vivir vidas con integridad y honestidad. Vidas con propósito, ayudarles a usar bien su tiempo y a cooperar con Tu Espirito Santo. Ayúdales a  hacer decisiones sabias. Ayúdales a vivir con valentía en contra de valores y estilos de vidas que no producen vida. Que hoy les recuerdes que Tu les amas y que Tu eres un Dios interesado en la restauración de Sus vidas para que ellos sean canales de restauración para otros. Pon pasión en ellos por los más vulnerables, por otras culturas, por los oprimidos. Pon en ellos sus propias expresiones de redención de acuerdo con cómo Tu les has diseñado. Ayudamos a todos a recibir por medio de tu Espíritu Santo algunas características de esta preciosa hija tuya que celebramos hoy. En tu nombre Jesus. Amen.¨

Sunday, December 7, 2014


Most of you knew that Jenna was one semester away from graduating from Azusa Pacific University with a BA in Global Studies and minors in International Relations and Leadership.  (You may have read the post when she missed graduating with her class:  ¨Supposed To¨  We fought all year to get her well enough to be able to go back to school and finish that dream.  She often talked about being able to go back to was one of the things that kept her motivated under duress these ten months.  And she was so close!  But as she grew weaker and sicker in September and finally graduated to heaven instead on October the 19th, it became clear that it was not to be.

However, in that last week in the hospital we received an incredible surprise.  I am so glad she was able to watch this video that was sent to her and receive this beautiful news.  Bruce and I both broke down and cried when we heard/saw it.  What a gift from APU to our family...

Shortly after receiving this video, we received an email from one of Jenna´s favorite professors, her anthropology  professor.  She wrote asking if a visit from someone from APU for just an hour would be a blessing to us as a family.  Of course!  Especially if it was her!  (Dr. Wu had written to me several times throughout this year asking about Jenna, encouraging me as a Mom and followed the blog closely.)  We couldn´t believe someone would come all the way to Spain just to be with Jenna for an hour!  She was so sensitive and insistent that she not cut in on any of our family time with her in what looked like her last days.  Dr. Frances Wu confirmed her travel plans with me to arrive on October 19th at 1pm.  She hand carried Jenna´s diploma with her all the way with every intention of handing it to her personally.

(This honorary degree, ¨Honoris Causa¨, means in Latin
 ¨for the sake of the honor¨.  It was indeed an honor! 
 We are sure that Jenna received her reward -
 her honor, if you will - in heaven that same day.) 

We know now that Jenna graduated to heaven that very morning, just a little over 2 hours before Dr. Wu arrived.  She was soooo disappointed and we were, too.  We fell in love with her immediately and there is no wonder why Jenna loved and respected her so.  Our team here decided to stage a mini graduation ceremony anyway that afternoon at the Parque Cementerio where we were to receive people.  You can see how special it was to us here:

Part 1:

Part 2:

We feel so blessed as parents to have received this incredibly special diploma, granted in an amazing gesture of generosity by her university.  We are grateful to APU and the staff there who made this remarkable honor possible.

How many of us get to graduate twice in the same day??!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


Last night we were reading a short passage for advent in front of the fire.  I wasn´t at all sure I wanted to even think about advent or Christmas.  My heart is heavy and this season typically holds so much joy and celebration that it feels foreign and out of grasp.  It has been a symbol of togetherness at our house. Jenna and Dani have always been home for Christmas no matter how far away they were during the year.  Receiving them was one of the funnest moments of the whole year.  Every year I had to ask the Lord for that same kind of anticipation about His birth as I did about welcoming them home!  Somehow,  I knew He understood.  

Yesterday I found myself thinking about Steven Curtis Chapman´s poignant song ¨Heaven is the Face¨, written after the loss of his precious daughter.  My heart resonated with his deep longing for his daughter and for his impossible task of seeing beyond her.  Christmas for us is lost in the face of Jenna this year.  We all love God & celebrate His coming to earth as Messiah this time of year - but she is overshadowing so much of our thinking and emotions right now.  Somehow, I think He understands...

                                                  "Heaven Is The Face"

Heaven is the Face
Heaven is the face of a little girl
With dark brown eyes
That disappear when she smiles
Heaven is the place
Where she calls my name
Says, "Daddy please come play with me for awhile"

God, I know, it's all of this and so much more
But God, You know, that this is what I'm aching for
God, you know, I just can't see beyond the door
So right now

Heaven is the sound of her breathing deep
Lying on my chest, falling fast asleep while I sing
And Heaven is the weight of her in my arms
Being there to keep her safe from harm while she dreams

And God, I know, it's all of this and so much more
But God, You know, that this is what I'm longing for
God, you know, I just can't see beyond the door

But in my mind's eye I can see a place
Where Your glory fills every empty space

All the cancer is gone
Every mouth is fed
And there's no one left in the orphans' bed
Every lonely heart finds their one true love
And there's no more goodbye
And no more not enough
And there's no more enemy
No more

Heaven is a sweet, maple syrup kiss
And a thousand other little things I miss with her gone
Heaven is the place where she takes my hand
And leads me to You
And we both run into Your arms

Oh God, I know, it's so much more than I can dream
It's far beyond anything I can conceive
So God, You know, I'm trusting You until I see
Heaven in the face of my little girl
Heaven in the face of my little girl

Last night as we read the familiar Isaiah 61:1-3, I was stopped in my tracks.  How much of why He came revolved around comfort!  Wow!  Out of 19 phrases in these 3 verses, 11 of them had something to do with comfort! All of a sudden Christmas changed for me.  It is alright for Christmas to be about comfort this year.  He Himself is all about comfort...  

Isaiah 61:1-3

¨The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord´s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion -
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.¨

I am going to get busy celebrating His comfort this Christmas!  And I pray I can become more each day like that strong "oak of righteousness" talked about at the end of vs. 3.  May His splendor be displayed in the comfort He gives us this season, as well as freedom,, light, a crown of beauty, the oil of joy and that garment of praise mentioned here.  I am so glad I have reason to find joy in this season in spite of missing Jenna so very much....

¨For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, 
and the government will be on his shoulders. 
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, 
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.¨ 
Is. 9:6

Here is Steven Curtis Chapman´s song if you´d like to listen (it´s beautiful!):

Heaven in the Face

Photo by:  allthecolor