Thursday, September 7, 2006

Well, we are home from our extended camping weekend. I have so much to update you on that I’m not sure where to begin. It may take me three days to get it all done, so I hope you will bear with me. I’m having a hard time sorting through all the thoughts running through my mind. We haven’t been on such a roller coaster ride since Jonathan was in the hospital. And yet I can’t help but look back on how faithful God was to bring us through that most difficult time of our lives; I am confident that He will do it yet again.
Almost two weeks ago on Saturday, August 26, we attended the funeral for our wonderful Mom and Grandma Cooper. It was one of the saddest and yet most uplifting moments for us. I can’t tell you how blessed and awed I was to see so many people who were touched by Mom’s life, who took the time to come and honor her. I have never seen so many flowers in my entire life that surrounded the front of that beautiful sanctuary. It was an awesome site. Lamar’s Dad did a beautiful job of speaking for the family. He read letters from each of the 4 children including a poem that Lamar wrote to our Mom’s several years ago. There were three other men who spoke at the service. They honored Mom’s life each in their own beautiful way, but they also turned our attention to the reason we have hope – Because Jesus Christ died and rose again, because the tomb is empty, we know that someday we will see her again and live with her in the presence of our Saviour forever. Even in death we are able to rejoice. The hardest part of the service was at the very end. Everyone was asked to leave and allow our family one last moment with Mom’s body. Being their very first funeral, the kids did very well. Elizabeth and Sarah cried during the service but were able to handle it without getting sick. It was such an uplifting service that I think they were both pleasantly surprised and how easy it was to get through. As we were taking our turns as families, saying our last good-bye, Jonathan kept telling me he couldn’t look at her again. We knew it would be hard for him, but we wanted him to try. Up to this point, he had not cried since I told him that she had died three days before. He was so very brave and he stood with us one last time by her casket and cried his little heart out. Everyone else lost it at that point as well, but his Grandpa stood strong by his side, and we all made it through that very emotional good-bye. That day was an extremely long day for our families. We left for the funeral at 8:15 am and got back home after 5:00 pm. After resting for a couple of hours, we went to Dad’s house and ate dinner and visited for a while. We talked and laughed and had such a great time talking and reminiscing. Dad shared with us that they had gone through Mom’s purse the night before and he found a piece of paper that had several things written on it. After reading it, he realized that these were things she had been praying about. He was afraid that she had known that some things were wrong with her physically that she had not shared with him and it seemed to really bother him. He showed us the piece of paper. It read: Lose weight and eat healthier; Make walking perfect; Learn and understand schoolwork; Heal sleeping and restfully sleep all night; Heal diabetes completely; Heal brain completely; and Heal vision completely. I took one look at that paper and said, “Whose prayer list does this sound like?” It was Jonathan’s list of things that he desires for God to heal in his life. She had been praying for her little man. I could see where Dad would think that she was praying about these things for herself. Each one of these things, with the exception of the healing of the brain, were things that she could relate to as she prayed for Jonathan. Grandma loved Jonathan and told everyone she met, including someone the day before she died, about the miracle that God has done in his life. She is our ambassador in heaven right now praising the Father for His mighty healing work in Jonathan’s life. I can’t wait for the chance to thank the Lord myself for His work in our lives through this experience. Well, it didn’t take long for the first of the first to hit our family – Our first Sunday morning at church without Mom. It’s amazing how this emotional roller coaster doesn’t just happen day by day; it can come hour by hour or even minute by minute. It took me several days before I felt like I turned the corner and was able to wake up without this sadness surrounding me. On the day that Mom died, I answered the phone call from Dad in the middle of a Bible study that I had just begun about thirty minutes earlier. The study is Believing God by Beth Moore. I never finished that first part. While I continued to Believe God for the things I new to be true about Him, I really struggled with understanding His will in allowing this painful event to hit our family. I decided to begin again, one week after Mom’s death. The first thing I noticed this time that I didn’t pay attention to the first time was the first Scripture she read: Joshua 1:2-3 Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them-- to the Israelites. 3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. God spoke to me immediately. He knew we were about to deal with death in our family when I started this study the week before. He also knew that this week I would need those words to help me continue to Believe Him for the promised land that He has waiting for me to possess. I know that there is something significant awaiting me in this study because within just the first week, my faith has been challenged again and again. I am looking forward to being able to share with you what God reveals to me in the days ahead. For now, I’m Believing God.
Well, I know I said this was going to be a long update, but I think I will stop here and share more with you tomorrow about our weekend. Thank you for letting me share our journey through the valley of the shadow of death with you. Many of you know exactly where we have walked and where we are going. Your prayers, cards, gifts, food and encouragement have blessed our family in such an enormous way. You are such treasured friends and we are so thankful for each of you. I hope you will continue to pray for us as we journey through the changes that lie ahead for our family. Please pray especially for Lamar’s Dad. Petition God, on his behalf, for all the things that he needs but doesn’t know how to ask for. The one thing that has been burned forever in my memory is hearing Dad cry. Each time he would see someone for the first time, he would hug them and cry in a way that I will never forget. I would listen to him cry and groan with such a great pain that you knew came from deep within his heart and soul. As difficult as it was to hear this over and over again, the Lord used it to remind me that He was doing just that very thing on our behalf before the Father. What a comfort to know that Jesus knows exactly what we are going through, He knows exactly what we need, and He knows exactly what to say to God, especially when we do not. May God bless each of you for your faithful prayers for us. We love you all.

Romans 8:26- 28 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will. 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

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