Reality

 

The last couple of days have been a reality check for me.  It’s not that have denying Josh’s passing into heaven.  However, I’ve been keeping my grief in check by not dwelling on the sorrow too much.  While this can be so helpful in keeping life going for our little family, yet it may also keep me from grieving in a healthy way.  So, I have been opening up to the Lord about my disappointments and taking time in prayer to talk to him about my grief and allowing myself to have sorrow in order to lay it before him.  Recently, I received in the mail a pleasant surprise– a package from Clackamas Bible Church with part one of four booklets on grieving and included a note reminding me that our little family will remain in their prayers.  They plan on mailing the rest throughout the next couple of months.  That means a lot to me. The Lord is using his Chuch body to care for us in many ways. Thank you, CBC!

Our hearts are heavy with sorrow for how things for our family can’t go back to how they were.  The lovely country home we are currently renting is still peaceful, yet feels lonely.  Simple things Josh used to do can sometimes be a challenge, like starting the lawn mower. Lol. Although, God’s Word assures us even this is all for our good, during tragic blows it’s hard to humanly understand this truth. It’s only by faith that we can hold on to God’s promises and cling to his unfailing love. His love was demonstrated in how he freely gave up his only son to die on the cross for people who never deserved it at all. Since we have all sinned and fall short of God’s standard none of us deserves to enter heaven. Yet, God is rich in love and mercy made a way for us to enter his courts above.  “Jesus is the way, the truth and the life” John 14:6  In his death our sins can be atoned for, and in his resurrection, we can live eternally by faith in Jesus. This faith is real and it withstands the testing of trials and adverse waves through the empowerment of walking by faith through his Spirit!

Despite my faith, this still hurts… The pain is real and as I ponder all our hopes and dreams for our family, it breaks my heart that we will not be able to fulfill them together.  Yet, I also realize that through this storm God will work powerfully in pulling me closer to Christ and depending on him and his people.  He wants to renew my strength and change my desires to want him above all earthly things. He will also grant me joy and hope for the unknown future. God promises to comfort the broken-hearted in Matthew 5:3 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

Our church family has been so supportive in many ways! We’ve been keeping busy enjoying fellowship with our church family. Yesterday, we got to spend the day at Lake of the Woods on Tahiti boats! The boys loved it! Even Nathan wanted to stay in the water and fearlessly climbed the boats! Today we went out to the Indian Mary Park with a few other families for a BBQ and games.  It helps the kids cope to get out of the house.  The boys are still struggling, each in his own ways.  Nathan gets sad and misses daddy frequently. Noah tries to be tough.  Many have surrounded us and continue to pour out much love on the boys.  I’m so thankful for each of you! The Church never quite had such a sweet fragrance to me till this season of my life. As a pastors wife engulfed in a life of ministry, sometimes the church didn’t always look so pretty. I now have a deeper appreciation for religion in its purest described in James 1:26 as visiting orphans and widows in their affliction and keeping ourselves unstained by the world.

We are all still a work in progress till we reach glory.  Josh is now enjoying this awesome glory unhindered by his earthly body. We’ve been very interested in reading books about heaven. We got some kids books on heaven like Randy Alcorn’s Heaven for Kids which helped the boys get a better picture of where Daddy is now.  Thank you for your prayers support and encouragement!  We still need prayer, so please keep it coming! 🙂

Bitter-Sweet

 

The memorial service at Merlin Church was beautiful! I’m so thankful for the leadership from Pastor Mike and for the help of our secretaries LaGina and Linda, and Yolanda at COC who helped with the PowerPoint from CA! The church really filled up and the gospel was proclaimed! We were happy to see our neighbor who doesn’t usually come to church come and share about how he’ll miss Josh’s crazy fishing out by our ponds in the rain and snow! Lol.  Also, I made it through the eulogy without crying. Thanks for your prayers! Josh’s parents were here and that was a sweet blessing! Thanks for being there Don & Kim!

Sunday service for the first time at our church without Josh was difficult! Noah was withdrawn and I was just kinda lost in memories.  I was so used to bringing Josh a power smoothie and sitting up in the front to support him and pray for his message.  Now the church is not the same. Yet, it is still a sweet place because it’s filled with God’s Spirit-filled people who have become family.  Our church and community has embraced us and poured out their love on us! We’ve been getting meals delivered to our house every day.  Two older men from our church took Noah out fished on a boat at the lake the other day. So many have reached out to us in different ways.  It is pretty amazing! Praise the Lord!

Today, our dear friends Ralph and Becky took Katelynn, Noah and I to an exciting boat ride down the Rouge River here in town. Becky stayed at our house and cared for Nathan, while Ralph took us on the excursion. It was breath-taking! God creation is just stunning! We saw a bald eagle and several different birds. It was the hottest day thus far at 93 degrees. Noah wanted to get wet so he encouraged the driver to do spins and got himself drenched! Thanks, Ralph & Becky!

Sadly, we had to say goodbye to Katelynn.  She was instrumental in allowing me to be by Josh’s side during his last days and in giving the boys structure. Thank you, Katelynn! You’ll be missed bunches! When Nathan had to say goodbye, he just didn’t want to. He kept saying “No, you’re not going. You have to stay here.” Noah said he was sad Katelynn had to go. The boys will miss her!

The boys miss their daddy too! Nathan has nights like tonight where he especially misses Daddy before bed.  He finds comfort in me holding him, sometimes crying together, and talking about things in his 3-year-olds vocabulary kind if way.  Noah misses having a father figure here.  Thank you for keeping them in your constant prayers! The other day a sweet friend told me the biblical meaning of being comforted means to be with strength. The Lord comforts me with the promises of his abounding love for the fatherless and the widow.

While I can’t fully and tangibly see with my physical eyes God’s arms wrapping us, I can by faith see God doing good and unexpected things as he works to comfort and provides for us.  Please pray for wisdom for me as I seek the Lord’s will and am called to make decisions for our little family now.

 

Whirlwind Days

IMG_0226The last few days have been a whirlwind.  We arrived safely home on Sunday evening. The Lord gave us clear skies and we made great timing! We had church family waiting for us at home to help us unload and make the transition smoother.  Thank you Gene and Linda Slade and Tammei Brown! After unloading all our stuff (which we barely fit back into our SVU) we jetted out to the Bolan’s house for a lovely dinner.  We arrived just in time to Live Stream The Master’s Seminary’s graduation ceremony at Grace Community Church and catch the short tribute that John MacArthur did to Josh.  Thanks Ray, Pastor John and GCC!

It really made a difference to have our friends and church family surround us as we walked through the doors of our home.  The hardest part for me was walking into our bedroom where at the head of our bed we had framed a family life ‘Marriage Covenant’ certificate in the middle of two frames; one with an engagement picture of Josh and I dressed in cowboy/cowgirl attire, and the other being the most recent family photo taken out by the pond Josh loved to fish.  The Lord has really been answering your prayers for peace for me though.  I have my moments where I cry and just yearn for Josh to be here still;  but more often, I’ve been able to cherish the memories and not dwell on the sorrow of his loss.  I have so much to be thankful for and so much I learned for our four years of marriage.  Honestly, I mourn more when I see the boys hurting for their daddy.  I also feel like I have seen other people ache for me more than me! I can’t even really understand it, so it has to be from the Lord. Thank you to everyone who is helping me carry this burden. I don’t feel I bear it alone. It’s first Christ that carries me, but then he uses his people in tangible ways.

The next day was Nathan’s 3rd birthday.  We still had much to unpack and settle in and Nathan had a nasty cold.  The poor little guy was miserable most of the day.  He was very sad and just wanted to lay in bed and cried for daddy.  Noah at the end of the day I baked him a gluten and dairy free cake (Nate is allergic to dairy and mommy is to gluten), put several different pizza’s in the over (one dairy free, one GF and one regular) and had two sets of church family grandparents join us for dinner and cake.  It really cheered him up! We made it into a little birthday family gathering.  Thanks Ralph & Becky and Gene & Linda! Our friend has organized a little birthday party with his little friends this Friday at a local park, and a meal train for our family.  Thank you Allison! The Lord is pouring out his love and arms around us through his body, the church!

Our church is busy preparing for Josh’s memorial service this Saturday. at 10AM at Merlin Community Baptist church.  The church will be having a time for fellowship and lunch following the service.  Our church submitted an obituary column for Josh in the Daily Courtier.  I was asked to do the eulogy and I am thankful for that opportunity, but appreciate your prayers on this.  I witnessed the 10 year old daughter of a fellow home school mom who died last year give a eulogy for her mom; so I figure if she could do it, so should I.  Don and Kim Seibert will be traveling out to Oregon for the service in the next few days, please pray for their safely.  Thanks mom and dad, we love you and look forward to seeing you! Many of our family and friends will not be able to make the service here in Oregon so we are glad to have another service scheduled for June 24th at 10AM at Church of the Canyons, in Santa Clarita, CA.

Thanks again for all your prayers, love and support.  Thank you to everyone who has donated to our family fund!  It fills me with joy and Hope to see the Lord already provide in tangible ways as it is my heart’s desire to be stay at home for the boys during this abrupt and life-changing transition and their childhood years to follow .

Picking up the Pieces

We have been so blessed with prayers, love, compassion, and support from the church body! The Lord has answered many prayers for peace and strength for our family.   Many have sent flowers, loving messages and cards.  We’ve even had several send meals. One of Josh’s best friend’s growing up–another Josh (Simpson) brought the kids over some snacks and cards for us.  Our friends Linda and Doug came over yesterday evening and brought us dinner.  We’ve enjoyed fellowship with loved ones and sharing memories of Josh.  Pastor Ken took Noah on a hike today to site Noah’s been eager to see!

Although, this has been the most difficult thing I’ve ever been called to bear, God’s grace and mercy are carrying us through. Yesterday I picked up Josh’s ashes and death certificates and it was a sobering reminder of our great loss.  Yet, I also sensed not only God’s presence, but in some way Josh’s as well. It was an difficult day–bitter-sweet.  Nathan and Noah woke up in the middle of the night.  Nathan was so sad and scared that I might not be there.  I came in his room to assure him I was there.  I held him and prayed with him. He went back to sleep joyful remembering being outside our Grants Pass home with the BBQ grilling hamburgers with daddy. He kept saying, “I loved that!”  We miss him immensely! I have dreams of seeing him again. Please continue to pray for the boys and I as we mourn the loss of such a godly father who was so committed to the lives of his children, family and church flock.  Josh did not go without a fight.  Till the last day, he fought with all his might for his life, because of his great love for us.  The BMT was his only chance at saving his life. However, he knew the risk of complications involved. The last way he would have chose to go is at a hospital.  Yet, he risked it all and endured suffering and lay down his will before God.  This reminds me of so much of Christ and his great love for us that drove him to the cross. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13.  I rest in God’s sovereignty over the length of Josh’s life.  Psalm 139 is a continual comfort to me when I’m tempted with doubts.  God knew every single day Josh would live, before he was even born!  Most people with FA only love to age 33, so we were blessed with the four sweet years we did get to be with Josh! Our comfort comes from knowing that God is good and loves us and knows the answers to our “why’s?”  God is all-knowing, always good, and always faithful; and he is with us till the end through Jesus and his spirit that indwells believers.  It is the Holy Spirit that moves the church to respond with such love as it has with us.  It is a wonderful testament to the authenticity of our faith through Christ.

We are looking forward to going home to Grants Pass with our church family there to cherish sweet memories and mourn together. They have so kind and faithful to pray for our little family practically without ceasing! Thank you Merlin Church! However, we will miss our new friends and family in Christ here. Thank you Clackamas Bible Church for all you’ve done for us!! Noah will get to go out skating with the T&T boys before we head out.  Also, we will get to attend church one last time here.  Please pray for travel mercies.

We are also preparing for Josh’s memorial services,  The first will be on May 20th at 10AM at Merlin Community Baptist Church in Merlin, OR. Thank you Merlin Church for all your support! A second memorial service will be held in Santa Clarita, CA on June 24th at 10AM at Church of the Canyons. Thank you to COC for all your support too!

“O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
    and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
    behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
    and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    it is high; I cannot attain it.

Where shall I go from your Spirit?
    Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
    If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
    and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
    and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
    the night is bright as the day,
    for darkness is as light with you.

13 For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.[a]
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them.”

Psalm 139:1-16

Day +6 in Heaven

It has been almost a week since Josh went home to the Lord.  The last couple of days have had their ups and downs.  There have been lots of tears shed, many cries of prayers heard, and cherished memories replayed over and over again.  We are trying to take it day by day, and give us time to process, pray and grieve through many things.  We grieve for the loss of a loving father, godly husband, faithful friend, gentle shepherd, solid pastor, wise teacher, full provider, and sweet daily companion.  We think and talk often about Josh in the heavenly places.  Yet, we also try to enjoy the relationships we still have here on earth, especially with the boys.  I have been blessed to have both my mom and Katelynn with me this week! Thank you, mom, and thank you, Katelynn! I couldn’t do this without you! Also, thank you all who are praying earnestly for us! I can’t do this without God’s grace to sustain me and to give me strong faith, courageous hope, and agape love to pass on to the boys.

Today was a day marked with peace.  Praise the Lord! We all went out to the Portland Zoo for the day.  It was not the same without Josh, but I can say that we enjoyed each other and the beautiful animals God created.  Some of my favorite moments were watching Nathan crawl around the floor and pretend he was an elephant or to watch Noah excited to be able to hold his breath through the long tunnel at the end of the train ride.  We talked about how one day in the new heaven animals like the bear or the lion will be able to play with us and even cuddle. Heaven is a sweet comfort for us.

We are trying to wrap things up here in Portland.  If the Lord wills, we will head south to Grants Pass this weekend to move back home. Home will be a nice place for us to go back to; yet, it will be a sad place to return without Josh.  Then, we will prepare for Josh’s memorial service at Merlin Church on May 20 at 10A.M. It has been a particular challenge to try to plan two memorial services in two different states… nonetheless, we pray fully hope to have the second service take place in Santa Clarita, CA in the next month or two.

There is much to think about and try to take care of.  Many have asked what ways they can help.  I think the best way to help right now is through your faithful prayers, encouragement, and financial support.  We are raising money for our family as I am left as a widow with two young children.  https://www.youcaring.com/joshseibert-713499. We appreciate any help you are able to provide.  I can’t say what the future holds for our little family, but I am comforted to know God who holds it perfectly.

Day +4 for Josh in Heaven

The past four days have been full of tears, headaches, and nausea from missing my beloved and closest friend and the man I called my husband.  It breaks my heart! Part of me can not believe what has actually happened… On the other hand, my senses and painful memories of the hospital sober me to reality of his passing… yet my Hope comes from him going into the arms of Jesus!  Josh is in heaven because of his unwavering faith in Christ, not because he was a “good” person or performed enough good deeds to save himself, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.” Romans 3:23-25.  

It comforts me to know Josh is enjoying the splendor of God and being free from sin and from his physically ill body; while it still hurts to loose him here on this earth. The boys too miss their daddy! At night before bed or before naps, Nathan says in a faint voice out loud, “I want my Daddy!”  He sits on my lap and I tell him it’s OK to cry.  I also tell him about what a wonderful place heaven is.  Nathan now will ask me if we can cry together.  Yesterday, he said he wanted to go to heaven so he can see Daddy and asked if he would be able to hug him and play cars with him there.  In these difficult movements, I have the privilege of sharing with my children the Way God has made for us to get to heaven through Jesus who died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins.  Noah wanted to see Daddy so he looked through pictures of him.  Please pray for the boys to be convinced of the love of God despite his seeming absence.  God is ever present and cares so much for our tears and fears.  So many people have come along side of us an helped carry the burden of our loss.  Please continue to pray for the Noah and Nathan.  Ultimately pray for their salvation, that they would have the Hope of being reunited again in heaven one day through the perfect life of Jesus.

Today, someone from the church here took Noah and a group of boys Noah’s age to play laser tag! Thank you Clackamas Bible Church for all your love and support! We will be staying here for at least the end of the week.  May 20th we will be having Josh’s memorial service at Merlin Community Baptist Church  in Merlin, OR.  Thank you Merlin Church for all your love, cards, and support!  Prayers for the preparations that must be made in the near future, as well as for direction, wisdom, guidance and provision for us going forward.  The Santa Clarita, CA memorial service is to be announced soon! Thank you for all your prayers, loving messages, and support!

Click here if you’d like to support our family fund: https://www.youcaring.com/joshseibert-713499

Josh Now with the Lord

 

The doctors had told us Josh may not make it through the night. So I stayed up all night in his ICU room (very uncomfortable small rooms) and tried to comfort him. It was very sad and stressful to see him having a harder and harder time breathing… My heart began to race to the roof and get so anxious I feared having a panic attack. I hadn’t slept all night.  It was 5a.m.  The doctor took me outside and asked if I was taking care of myself: he was concerned. My mom had just flown into town and was at home with the boys sleeping; yet I haven’t seen her.  So I ended up deciding to make a it back home briefly to pick up my mom and try to nap for an hour or so, then return with my mom before the doctors got there at 7a.m.  Before I left the hospital I prayed with Josh knowing it may be the last time. On my way home I called a friend who’s gone through a BMT transplant with her husband and we prayed for God’s will to be made clear because I didn’t know what to do.  I was in agony watching Josh suffer and his whole body begin to shut down. When I got home, the hospital called and asked me how long it would take me to get back. Then, a minute later, they said Josh had went home with the Lord for full healing at about 5:20am just as the sun was rising.

My mom and I drove back to the hospital where Josh’s body looked so different, but in a good way! He had a little smile on his face and glow about him that just looked so peaceful. The nurse said that right after I prayed with him and left, his heart rate and blood pressure got worst until his heart stopped beating.  I was actually glad to see him free from his frail body and knowing he is now with the Lord! Yet, my heart still aches and can’t stop beating fast. I have not been able to really rest or eat at all. I feel sick to my stomach. Please pray for the peace that surpasses all understanding in Christ for our family. Pray for the boys to not doubt God’s love and be filled with comfort.  May we all be comforted with the promises in Scripture of eternal life that is free to all who believe in in the Son. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

Yesterday one of our elders Larry “happen” to be in town. He had wanted to drop off a banner the church signed for Josh. When I asked him to come ASAP last night, he dropped everything and rushed over and spent four hours with Josh reading Scripture and encouraging him. Since Larry stayed serval hours, I got to go home and tuck the boys in at night. We still need all your prayers for help lifting the weight of our grief through prayer. I will post more updates regarding memorial services. Josh wanted two–one in our church in Merlin and one in CA with family and friends there. Thank you!