Body aches. Heart full.

I just said goodbye to Gigi and Lincoln and Scott as they leave to take Gigi to the airport. Uncle Hite and Aunt CC left earlier this morning. And the Washingtons are already home. As I said goodbye and laid alone poolside overlooking absolutely gorgeous beach I found my heart and eyes fill. I am so very blessed. So very blessed. I love these people I just went on vacation with. I love this place that Id never visited before (and though I will resist the 30A stickers I’ve found slightly obnoxious I now understand the obsession!). I loved hearing Linc tell me I’m the ‘best mom ever’ because ‘this was the funnest day ever.’ I love celebrating Gods grace and kindness to him because I am definitely not the best mom ever. In fact the 3 aunts that were here spent more time taking care of him than I did. I marvel at the ocean. How big and how wide and how deep and what a picture of the vastness of God I can’t understand.

Somehow throwing up my medicine (again yesterday but keeping it down the other days) and skipping dinners because my back hurt too badly (silly tired weary bones) and missing most morning activities because I was trying to recover from the night (terrible night sweats with temps up to 101.9) don’t really matter when you are surrounded by the glory of creation and even more so when surrounded by people you dearly love.

On the way to the beach this morning, Lincoln said ‘God is good because he lets everyone go to the beach…’ and I explained that yes God would love for everyone to see His beaches but not all can afford it (‘what does afford mean?’) so that’s all the more reason that we are thankful that He let us come (thanks to the Harrells) and be with our friends. Needless to say, this girl doesn’t take this vacation for granted. I am grateful. 

I don’t like our trip being truncated by the necessity of tomorrow’s doctor’s appointments but even while I’ve been here I’ve felt loved by our medical team.

In Bible study (that I missed on Tuesday) we were reading the rawness of feelings from Ps 77. And the antidote for despair and depression was his choosing to remember and meditate on the works of the Lord. He then makes several water references that seem to be flashbacks to Exodus 15 and the parting of the Red Sea.

I was thinking of this as I lay by the ocean yesterday and couldn’t imagine how the Israelites ran headlong toward the sea not knowing if it would open – but yet trusting the Lord to deliver them. I thought about how if the Sea had parted 200 yards before they arrived it wouldn’t require the same faith. I admire them. And I thought of how I feel like people give me too much credit for joy and peace and grace in this season but that it’s truly HIM that has opened the seas and provided a smooth path in the face of death. And I’ve seen Him provide supernatural peace and grace. And until I was willing to step all the way up to the waters edge (or He walked me to the edge in my case)  I couldn’t experience the sweetness of this ‘deliverance’ into joy that completely overwhelms me. 

I feel as ‘sick’ as I’ve ever felt – my bones are letting me know, my bowels don’t like all the pain meds, my body is fickle about the pills, the boob that was so badly inflamed seems to show signs of a recurrence and I’m on  continual pain meds (the pain patch … ooh la la!). But my heart is full. I feel loved and secure and hopeful (in Lord regardless of outcome). And, trust me, this isn’t me anymore than it was Moses that parted the Red Sea. It is me in awe of a God who knows all things and does all things and loves all people. And I am finding myself even more willing and desiring to trust Him because of the joy of watching Him do ‘abundantly above all that I could ask or imagine.’

And, lastly, can’t go to the beach without a few obligatory fun beach pics. Here are just a few of my favs… 




31 thoughts on “Body aches. Heart full.

  1. I love the pictures! I am always encouraged by you as you continue to walk faithfully with Him through all of this. We are praying for you many times a day.

  2. Love seeing you enjoy this time, the ocean, and getting away with special people who love you so much! Praying for the treatment this week.

    Sent from my iPhone

  3. You should check out the book, “The Red Sea Rules” by Robert Morgan. It is a short easy read but so rich with practical rules for living through crisis following the example of the Children of Israel as they fled Egypt and came face to face with the Red Sea. I am a caregiver to my husband of 35 years. In May, he fell from 12 feet head first onto concrete and suffered a traumatic brain injury. We are experiencing a journey that is miraculous and difficult all at the same time. A friend gave me this book and reading your entry today brought it to mind. Thank you for the breath of fresh air you bring to facing trials! I am following you and praying for you!

  4. I am a good friend of Jamie’s and childhood friend of Kay’s and have been a part of your study. While you don’t know me personalmy- I wept as I read your post today. You are the most unbelievably transparent person, gifted writer, humble follower, bubbly sister in Christ, & messenger for those, seemingly weaker than you, even at this stage. You’re a rockstar example and teacher to those that sit at your feet waiting to soak in your radiance. Our Jesus is so sweet that through your teachings and friendship with Kay & Jamie, I am able to draft off or your brilliant observations. Thank you! I think it all of the time and just wanted to tell you. (I don’t sport a 30 A sticker either, but that place is magical.) Hugs prayer and gratitude, Debbie Milton

  5. Jennifer your comments bless and encourage me! Your precious mom, Jane, is in our SS Class and we pray for you daily! So happy you could enjoy the beach. Your pictures reflect the love of God in your heart and life. Continued prayers for you and your family. God bless you!

  6. Hugs to u Jen. Praying continuously. Great to hear about your trip to watercolor/seaside. That is our family’s special place! In fact we stuck a 30a sticker on Brian’s car as a joke because he loves it so much. He left it there and we later asked him why. He replied that it reminds him of his happy place. Prayers for pain and for God to answer our prayers for your healing. 🙂

  7. Jennifer, I’m so glad that you got to go to the beach at Watercolor. Isn’t it fantastic. And October is the best time to go there. That area is known to have some of the best beaches in the world. The vastness does envelop you and being there just makes one feel closer to God. Enjoy every minute! So jealous. Praying that you feel better and can begin to tolerate those pills!
    Sarah Hightower Bryan

  8. What a blessing to see you and play with “Linc-up” yesterday! (Cross’ nickname for him) The boys have talked about him today…saying “Lincoln said he is going to be a chef someday” and “Lincoln told us he was a master shovel-er.” What a day. Love to you and yours.

  9. Jenn…thank you for sharing with vulnerability and authenticity. Unless there is a miracle…I hate saying that because there already has been a miracle…the miracle of Jesus, His obedience, His willing death and the greatest miracle of all…His resurrection but unless there is something that curtails the growth of the cancer in my lungs I believe I am not far behind you on this journey. Keep teaching, keep preaching, keep sharing because it heartens me and provides hope where there actually should be despair. Your friend & fan, Greg Murtha

  10. Thought about you all week—love seeing these pictures and hate to know you feeling bad. 😢 I love to marvel at our Lord through you. You perfectly draw all that know and love you to Him– reminding us of where our hope lies and how much we can trust Him. I love you so much friend.

  11. Well said my beautiful and faithful friend. Loved that you mentioned God giving you peace within and that’s it’s not of you- just as much as Moses had influence over parting those waters. Beautiful picture. I continue to marvel at the peace u have. Precious pics! Love the one of cc and you! Framer!

  12. I love these pictures and love that y’all were able to go to the beach! So encouraged by the peace the Lord is giving you during this crazy season. Praying for the pain and other symptoms and for the new trial drug to be effective. Love y’all so much!

  13. Jen, This was the most beautiful & heart felt post! Thanks for posting some pics of your special trip. For some reason, I thought of the movie, Beaches after seeing you & C….maybe it was your sunglasses and hat…well and the fact y’all were at the beach. Jen, you radiate HIS love & goodness. Thank you for allowing us to walk with, pray for, cry, laugh and cheer for you as you keep going on this journey. I, along with many others are amazed at your outlook, humor, and perseverance during this season. I’m filled with awe and excitement & humbled in thinking how Abba loves on, provides for our needs. A few years ago, I went through a rough time and in the midst of shock, numbness & sadness, He was there loving, growing & healing me. I look back on that time & see His fingerprints and amazed how He provided. After reading your message above, I know you are grateful for all of His blessings. Much love to you,

  14. Thank you once again Sweet Jen for your unfailing trust and love on and for our Heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. Prayers continue for you and your sweet precious family and friends. God is good all the time!!

  15. Pingback: And it's already Thursday - Big Mama

  16. Jen, Jodi Neitzel commented at Bible Study on Tuesday that it’s through the trial and times where all you can do is trust and hang on, barely able to breathe, that we get to know God in a way we’ll never experience in Heaven. We won’t have to trust in the midst of pain and uncertainty in Heaven. Experiencing comfort and peace in the midst of such pain is supernatural. That’s the blessing. So glad you got such a fantastic vacation, but too, that you are experiencing the blessing of God. Love you, friend, and many prayers for those blood counts to stay high and pain to be low.

  17. Love you my friend! Thankful for what you share with us so we too can be in awe of how the Lord is sustaining your heart and soul through this! Praying for continued peace and less physical pain! XO

  18. I don’t know you, but God bless you richly for your journey, your heart, your passion for God and being able to see all of the blessings in this life amidst pain, illness, and weariness. I pray for healing on your body like only our great Incredible Healer can do.

  19. love the pics! Y’all are gorgeous!! Thank you so much for continuing to share your heart and your journey with us all.
    Much love,
    Susan Lewis

  20. Hi Jen, I’m a friend of Melanie’s and when she shared a bit of your blog today in church I knew I had to get to my computer so I could read the whole thing. You see, I was in your shoes 13 years ago with advanced cancer and two little boys who didn’t understand why their mama was bald and sick all the time. At that time, I so wanted to be at peace with what was happening to me, but I guess I just kept stopping 200 ft from the edge. It wasn’t until about seven years ago, that I finally decided to accept that this was just part of God’s master plan for my life. I stopped letting every little ache or pain paralyze me with the fear that “IT” was coming back and have since experienced that overwhelming peace that only our Creator can provide. God bless you and thank you for sharing your story.

    PS: Hope you enjoyed 30A. It’s my boys’ favorite place on earth!

  21. Your family is precious but I’d expect nothing less from such an amazing woman. Our family; Mom, David, and I keep up with you through your blog so our prayers for you can be focused on what you’re asking Our Lord for help with that day. Your faith in Jesus was so much a part of you in the ’90s that it inspirational but the faith you are leaning on and the life lessons you’re now facing with gratitude have taken your testimony of The Lord to a whole new level. We love you and are included in the legions of friends that raise you up to Jesus for His Grace, His Peace, and pain free days.

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