Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Being Where We Are

March 12, 2011

What a journey God has us on. The thoughts, prayers and theology that have gone through my mind, besides all of the events of the past three weeks, has my mind trying to nicely tie everything together in a pretty little package so I can sit down one day and just sort everything out. The God who I didn't realize I had in a nice little box of my own has revealed Himself to be more than I could have ever imagined Him to be. His promises have been more real than they have ever been before and His peace has been beyond anything I could ever imagine. The words that He has whispered in my ears, or shouted from billboards, or spoke through friends and strangers have been a balm to soothe my pain to the point that I wonder if I should be sadder that Trent is in heaven. I am not in denial, I know Trent is gone and I miss him like crazy, but the overwhelming knowledge of God being in control is my constant compass to point me heavenward in everything that tries to take away this joy. Yes, joy. Joy that goes beyond anything this world has to offer and joy deeper than any sorrow. My delight is in the Lord and His plans. He has allowed complete surrender to my own ways in this and has replaced it with peace. Where else do I have to turn but the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth? Just because He is kind to His children He has lead me to several verses that have brought, again, the reassurance that God is good and is definitely in control of all of this. And without a doubt He loves me through out it and in it. From Isaiah 42
Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him... I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you.... I am the Lord; that is my name! From Isaiah 48, 49:1-2, and 57:1-2
My own hand laid the foundations of the earth, and my right hand spread out the heavens; when I summon them, they all stand together. (If we serve a God who could simply form the earth and the heavens by speaking, then we have to believe that this God also ordained the day of the accident perfectly as well, and all for His glory.)

This is what the Lord says~ your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea. (You have allowed me to pay attention to your commands, Oh Lord, and my peace is like a river!)

For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this {declares the Lord}. How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield my glory to another. Listen to me, you islands; hear this, you distant nations: Before I was born the Lord called me; from my birth he has made mention of my name. He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver.

The righteous perish, and no one ponders it in his heart; devout men are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil. Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death. Isaiah 59:1 Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.


Obviously I have been pondering suffering lately. God has notched up the word a degree or two on my spiritual radar and as much as I thought I knew about suffering I have realized I haven't even scratched the surface on the gift God has given me. As fat lazy wealthy arrogant entitled American Christians we have created for ourselves a God foreign to the God of the Bible when we discredit suffering as part of God's plan to sanctify us. Just this morning I read in scripture how God loves us, cherishes us, has predestined us, but also how He has granted to us the privilege of not only believing in Christ, but also to suffer for Him. It has been granted as a gift to suffer for Christ. Trying to wrap my brain around that thought on a deeper level has caused me to wonder how suffering can be a gift.

One of my first clues was found in Galatians 3: 22a~ But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin. Christian brother and sister listen to me: this world is not our home. We have made ourselves so comfortable here in this foreign land, gotten so use to her gods, rituals, customs, foods and beliefs that we ourselves have forgotten our first love. God never intended for us to be comfortable here and He will not share His glory with anyone or anything, not even the blinking little lights of Hollywood that we welcome into our homes.

A study on the Israelites reveals a people who continued to go astray and a God who graciously continued to bring them back through hard times. Just as a parent who continually disciplines their spoiled little child in order to train them up to be a joy, God continually disciplines his children to resemble Him. Suffering wakes us up to the sinfulness of this fallen world and reminds us that this is not our home. It makes us long for our eternal home when God will make things right forever.

Suffering pries our hands off of the treasures we hold so dear and makes us look deeper at what God holds dear. We can't take any of this stuff with us. All of Trent's belongings are here~ his guns, his prized possessions, his trophy bass, his pictures, his socks. All that mattered was what he had done with and for Jesus Christ.

Paul tells us in Philippians 1:12 that because of suffering the gospel will be advanced. Rarely does the gospel go out with so much success without suffering preceding it. Deep down we are all looking for a way to make sense of this world, and deep down we all know that there is a God, but rarely do we take the time to consider this God until we are forced to stop entertaining ourselves long enough and look at the hard things of life. Death is a hard thing in this life. Looking at your own son's death is even harder and has a way to wake you up a bit. God has allowed me to embrace this as His perfect plan which He says He rejoices in.

Romans 1 says to deny the God of the Bible and turn Him into a God of our liking causes us to be turned over to our own sinfulness. The God that is revealed in Scripture says that He has a plan for suffering and it will always bring Him glory, and somehow, us joy. Suffering is the way that God chose to bring salvation to the world and suffering is the way that the gospel goes forth. May we learn to move on from the elementary teachings and long for the deeper things of God my friends.

The Alien Planet

March 4, 2011

As Traci would say "Day 14 on the Alien Planet" (Cheaper by the Dozen sound familiar anybody?). That's about how it feels~ like we are walking around in a different zone than anybody else. We had to make a Walmart trip tonight because my contacts where (ahem) 6 months overdue and I couldn't put off any longer waiting to get a new pair. I was doing pretty good until we were waiting in line to check in and saw the doctors name. What are the odds that his name would be Trent, too? Then the poor (young) doctor made some comment about bringing all the kids with and next thing you know he has a crying lady on his hands. At home it's one thing to be able to wander around trying to figure out just how to keep putting one foot in front of the other, but going out in the real world again baffles me. I just watch people and think "don't you know my son just died? don't you know it could be your son, or you, next? does eternity not matter more than what's on sale at Walmart?" and then I have to make a choice between rootbeer or orange pop/bottles or cans to take on a trip to spread my sons ashes next week. Bizarre. And that's about all I have to say about that. I'm going to go finish off the cheese puffs and see if I can make it through one more Star Wars movie in the Great Star Wars Movie Fest in honor of Trent.

Just Some Encouragement

For the past year or so the book by my bedside has been "Filling up the Afflictions of Christ: The Cost of Bringing the Gospel to the Nations in the Lives of William Tyndale, Adoniram Judson, and John Paton" by John Piper. For some reason I have struggled to get into the meat of the book~ maybe because I really did not want to know the cost of bringing the gospel to the nations??? Yet every time I saw it lying there I felt it's calling to learn the cost. This morning as I was longing for encouragement in what God is doing I picked up the book, my Bible, a big cup of coffee and crawled into the recliner. I re-read the story of John Paton, reading a bit more carefully the part about when he had first gone to the island of Tanna and within the first 4 months of being there both his wife and his newborn son died of a sudden illness.

Describing his loss he says: "I felt her loss beyond all conception or description, in that dark land. It was very difficult to be resigned, left alone, and in sorrowful circumstances; but feeling immovably assured that my God and father was too wise and loving to err in anything that He does or permits, I looked up to the Lord for help, and struggle on in His work."

He goes on to say, when talking 15 years later after another child had died : "Whatever trials have befallen me in my Earthly Pilgrimage, I have never had the trial of doubting that perhaps, after all, Jesus had made some mistake. No! my blessed Lord Jesus makes no mistakes! When we see all His meaning, we shall then understand, what now we can only trustfully believe that all is well- best for us, best for the cause most dear to us, best for the good of others and the glory of God."

And to top it all off (as if that wasn't enough encouragement) God sent a friend to visit to greatly encourage us, cards and emails and phone calls continued all day to remind us of the good work that God is doing, and being able to share at AWANA with friends who are walking beside us have kept our eyes on the cross. And besides all that, Trent is still in heaven. May the name of the Lord be praised for His good and perfect ways!

I Miss Him

March 2, 2011
I have found myself missing Trent so much the last couple of days. I miss his smile. I miss how he came up and rubbed my lower back with his fist. I miss how he was always there as my protector, whether I was talking with somebody or just trying to do something, he sensed it and was right there. I miss how he crawled in bed and snuggled in the morning. I miss how he always said goodnight, love you. I miss seeing him laying in his bed, waiting for his blessing, asking to snuggle. I miss how he always wanted to stay up late to watch Star Wars, and especially wanted me to stay up late with him. I miss how he loved to cook and was always whipping up something extra special, even if I didn't always like the extra seasonings or the wild game of the day. I miss his help in the barn, how he jumped in to do the heavy work. I miss him being here when the goats are born. I miss not seeing him roam the woods. I miss not seeing him ride his bike, or the 4-wheeler, or the snowmobile, or the short horses. I miss his giggle. I miss him not being here to clean the kitchen or do the dishes on Monday. I miss how he hated schoolwork and would only work hard on it so he could earn computer time or go outside. I miss his Bible questions. I miss his spiky hair-do and his long Ken-doll locks. I miss how he would be forced to shower only to have to go back and wash his hair in the sink because he "forgot" to wash it in the shower. I miss his long fingernails that he hated to trim. I miss all the holy shirts that he chose to wear over anything nice. I miss him coming down the steps in the morning in his PJ's. I miss him fighting with his brothers and sisters. I miss him talking with Lexi at night after he was supposed to be tucked in bed. I miss his horrible printing and spelling. I miss him teasing me about wearing his socks. I miss him running down to the barn in his underwear with Cole because they wanted to beat the guys in 8 Below. I miss him taking pictures. I miss him having fun with Thomas and Samuel. I miss him working for Russell and asking for a raise. I miss him looking at his hunting magazines and browsing the bait and tackle rows at Walmart. I miss him playing football and working so hard for his coaches. I just plain old miss him and eternity is seeming farther away. But I know where he is, and I still wouldn't want him back for a day. Lord, haste the day that I see my son again~ be my comforter as you promised to be. I do trust you in this and love that your ways are perfect.

Struggling in the Garden

March 1, 2011
There has been just a bit of respite from the events of the past week and a half and I have found that I am exhausted. My joy is still found in the Lord, and knowing that Trent is in heaven only causes smiles, but my human body is wore out. Graciously God allowed a couple of nights with solid sleep, plus a long nap yesterday. Everything seems to take extra effort just to accomplish at this point. The gifts of meals, paper plates, pizza, coffee and friends who came to sweep my floors and fold my laundry have been all the more appreciated. At this point we are gearing up to handle more details. Bills are waiting to get paid, arrangements for releasing Trent's ashes over his birthday next week have to be planned, and eventually the x-box vacation needs to end for the younger kids. I have deliberately been looking up passages in scripture that refer to God's will and heaven, affirming again that God's plan is perfect and what He is bringing forth from Trent's death is perfect. The book of Job has been especially comforting, to think that Satan intended this for evil but God is using it for His good, and has already brought salvation. My struggle is not with God or his plan for Friday, my struggle at this point is how do I go on living the same after Friday? God had been convicting us that we were too caught up in this world before He took Trent home, but now we are all the more convinced that nothing matters except what is done for Christ. As Rob said at the celebration~ all of Trent's guns and everything he loved is still here, the only thing in heaven is his soul. I look around at all the things that mattered so much, and have a hard time making them look so valuable now. On the contrary, I look around and see all the foolishness and false living that people are so caught up in and find myself begging God even more to open their eyes, along with mine. I find myself torn between asking God to leave us here to minister to all those around us that He has given us to be a light to, to asking Him to allow us to give up all these earthly possessions and take us into full time ministry with no earthly ties. I am tired of spending all my energy and putting all my emotions into paying the mortgage when there are souls that are perishing all around me. I long to build with precious stone and jewels that my life may stand the test of God's refining fire. "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:19-21

I Realized When

February 26, 2011

I realized tonight just when this is going to get hard~ it is going to be when I take my eyes off of the cross. That is when I will start to think that this is our final home. That is when I will forget where Trent is, and what it cost for Jesus himself to bring him there. I will start to forget that God himself gave up a son for my son to enter His glory. I will start to forget about God's perfect plan that He called good. I will forget about the grace poured out on us on every step of this journey so far because Trent was saved and is now in heaven. There were 11 other boys with him, several who have admitted to us that they are not saved and would have been in hell right now had God taken them last Friday.

When my eyes stray from the cross my apathy returns and I forget the souls surrounding me that have an eternal destination. I will then seek my comforts here and expect again that this world will offer me what only God can. I will forget that my life is only as a shadow, that my eternity will be in heaven, and that only what is done for Christ will last. I can say with Paul: Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14) May God never take my eyes off of the cross in all of this. May He keep me faithful to the high calling He has brought in my life. May it all be for His glory. And may many souls be woken up to ask the question~ What if it had been you that died on that slope on Friday? Where would you be? Where would your children be? Christian parent, what are you raising your children for? For the glory of God, or the glory of the world?

Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends! Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

Philippians 3:17-21, and 4:1&4 taken from http://www.biblegateway.com/

Looking back I found these posts very interesting in light of God's sovereignty~ click here and here and here to read more

The Morning After

February 25, 2011

Everybody has told me that it will be the day after the funeral, and the weeks, months, and years after that will be hard. So, given this is the dreaded "morning after", I have found since last night that for their sake I (because I tend to be a people pleaser at my core) think it is only appropriate to crash now. Since Friday I have only determined to do one thing at a time, finish one detail before I move on to the next good work that God has ordained. His grace is sufficient for today, tomorrow has enough worries of it's own. We have watched God be with us and give us strength every step of the way so far and we are determined to realize that it is only by his grace that we will take every other step as well for the rest of our lives.

My thoughts over the last couple of days, and especially this morning, have been about being refined by God's fire. When the day comes to write the whole story I will rejoice in the twenty years that God has been preparing me for this, but for now I need to remember His abundant mercy, love, tenderness, and promises that will sustain me until I enter glory. I am so much the more living eternally minded because of what God did Friday. Looking ahead to the day when all things will be tested by God's fire. What was built with precious gold and stone will be revealed, and what was built with hay and stubble will also be revealed.

Trent's life was precious gold and stone to his mother's heart. His loss will always stand the fire as it is just as scripture has said, that the gospel will go forth with much sorrow and heartache. What I find myself being aware of right now is how I go about building the rest. Will I choose to believe what God has promised~ that this is His good work, that He is sovereign, that He really does have every day planned, even Friday? Will I build this to be a poor Terri pity party so I get the glory? Or, with everything that is within me and with all the strength that God gives me, will I hold onto knowing and somehow extolling that this is all about God and him being glorified? Will other's souls be of higher importance to me at this time?

I know that Trent is in heaven, I watched God work in his life. God has revealed and proven enough other scriptures to me that it is a simple equation in my brain to see that God did what scripture says in how he saved Trent (He allowed us to see Trent's hard heart, revealing to us clearly that he was dead in sin. God then saved him, not by our coaxing at the time, etc., but clearly at a time that God changed his heart.), to believe that Trent is now in heaven.

So this "morning after" I have determined to be where God wants me, not where everybody else thinks I should be. I have begged God to never let me want Trent back here. There is nothing here that I would want him for if it denies him being with God. I want to always praise God for His perfect plan of salvation. Those who love salvation love God's ways (Psalm 40).

God has also graciously brought several examples from scripture to mind. When the baby died was when King David rose up from his mourning clothes, washed, anointed himself with oil and called for food. Those around him were baffled, as many are around us, but his response was that the baby died. David knew that he would go to the baby, but the baby would never return to him. God has chosen Trent to go home at this time; God has chosen us to live at this time. May we always be faithful to God in the days left we have to live and do His work.

Another example is Jesus Christ himself, who Hebrews says suffered in many the same ways as we have. He fully knew the consequences of sin and that God's plan for salvation would include death, even his own death. I have been recalling His reaction, and can not recall ever when he was angry about it. He struggled in the garden, but in the end it was God's will that He longed for over his own. God also reminded me of Lazarus, and how scripture says that Jesus wept. It is okay to weep.

But my thoughts of Jesus also go to his resurrected body, and give me yet again the hope of one day gladly giving up this body, as Trent has just given up his body, and look forward all the more to the day that God calls me home. I would not want to be wished back.

Paul's life has also been on my mind over the last few days. God for now has especially brought us the book of Philippians to affirm again His good plans in this. Paul was in prison facing his own death at the time, yet his only thought was to glorify God in it and to see many saved, which he did. Even in those circumstances, Paul says several times "rejoice~ and again rejoice". As the passage in Isaiah 65:17-25 was so sweetly given to us from God, I will hold on tightly to the verses that tell me this was God's good and perfect plan and it is okay to rejoice in it forever because that is what God is doing.

We are being poured out like a drink offering, and like Paul, we can't choose which is better: to be with Christ or to remain here for the sake of God's work, but being that God has us here, we can only choose to storm forth and battle for lost souls with a vengeance and energy that we have never had before. We will continue to fight the good fight all the days God allows us to. When and if the hard days come, I will worry about them then. Today God's grace is more than sufficient, and again today He has allowed me great rejoicing that my son is in heaven.

I am trying to be very careful to let God handle all of the details at this point as well. I tend to have my own ideas of how God should work even in this, and I need to remind myself over and over again that God will do the rest, not me. My part is to be faithful to what and who He calls me to, not to manage the numbers and times and depth that He will take people. It is God that I need to glorify, not my own ego.

I long to stay in this hiding place of God, where I am being carried by so many prayers and an abundance of grace. Where nothing else matters but the gospel going forth. The worldly things of jobs, money, schedules, etc., etc., are soon going to creep back in and I don't want to get caught up in this world again.

My other morning thoughts are the ones of the amazing celebration we enjoyed yesterday. Of the many, many ministering opportunities that we had personally, and I am sure others had as well. Of the gospel going forth several times, personally and publicly. We were told that 400 people attended the funeral. I think of the people who came to surround us. I tried to drink in every single part of the day, but at the same time let it go and not hold on to the yesterdays so we can do the work God would have for us in the tomorrows.

The finality is not Trent's body in the coffin, it is the work of God being done. No matter what God chooses to do with his death, Trent is still in heaven, and that will be enough, although I long for God to do more and to save many, because that is what He promised to do. And He also promised to never leave me or forsake me in doing it. What a mighty God we serve!

This is The Day

Thursday, February 24, 2011

This is the day that the Lord has made, and we are rejoicing in it. This is the day to celebrate Trent's short life here in this world and worship the God who has ordained the steps to bring him home and use his life for so much. The anticipation in our house is so high right now as we look forward to being used, yet again, to be a witness and a testimony to the work and hope of God at the funeral/celebration service this afternoon. Please continue your prayers that God would work in a mighty way today, in both believers and non-believers. Already we are seeing the fruit of salvation that God promised would come from our afflictions; the gospel has gone forth just as He promised it would, and we have seen the beginning of the elect that God will call through this.

Christians and non-Christians alike are baffled by what God is doing in our lives. We are smiling fools to many! God has granted us the peace and the joy in His plan. He has pried our fingers off of this world even more, and given us the heart for all the lost souls around us. He has made us bold. He has made us strong. He has made us to be full of rejoicing in His perfect plan. Our son is in heaven, how could we not rejoice if we believe what the Bible says?

Know that we are so grateful for the prayers that have been offered up on our behalf, as we credit none of this to ourselves. God has placed each one of you in our lives to be the support that hold us up, just as Aaron held up Moses' arms that the battle would be won. This is a battle for souls, souls that will live forever in eternity. God has called so many to have to decide to choose this day whom they will serve. He may not let you have another opportunity to decide. We have prayed for the walls to be built high and thick around us right now as we boldly proclaim what God is doing that His will may be done. I can just imagine Trent in heaven right now as he watches God's work and rejoices with us. Just a few of God's promises to us, His children.

From Psalms 40


1 I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. 3 He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in him. 4 Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods. 5 Many, LORD my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare. 7 Then I said, “Here I am, I have come— it is written about me in the scroll.8 I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart.”9 I proclaim your saving acts in the great assembly; I do not seal my lips, LORD, as you know. 10 I do not hide your righteousness in my heart; I speak of your faithfulness and your saving help. I do not conceal your love and your faithfulness from the great assembly.11 Do not withhold your mercy from me, LORD; may your love and faithfulness always protect me. 12 For troubles without number surround me; 13 Be pleased to save me, LORD; come quickly, LORD, to help me. 16 But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who long for your saving help always say, “The LORD is great!”


And from Isaiah 8 & 9


11 This is what the LORD says to me with his strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow the way of this people: 12 “Do not call conspiracy everything this people calls a conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. 13 The LORD Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread. 14 He will be a holy place;


16 Bind up this testimony of warning and seal up God’s instruction among my disciples. 17 I will wait for the LORD, who is hiding his face from the descendants of Jacob. I will put my trust in him. 18 Here am I, and the children the LORD has given me. We are signs and symbols in Israel from the LORD Almighty, who dwells on Mount Zion.


20 Consult God’s instruction and the testimony of warning. If anyone does not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn. 21 Distressed and hungry, they will roam through the land; when they are famished, they will become enraged and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God. 22 Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness.


2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. 3 You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest,


6 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. 7 Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.

Sweet, Sweet Words

February 23, 2011

God is good! He has allowed us more rejoicing again and we have seen Him move in mightier ways than we could have imagined. The details are becoming a bit overwhelming at this point, and coupled with very little sleep, no appetite, and ministering to all who walk through our door we are getting tired. But overall we are rejoicing still! God will take care of those little details and as long as He gives us the strength and the clarity we will press on, we will rest when He gives us that as well.

We were able to take a trip to buy new celebration clothes yesterday. As most of you all know I am so frugal so this was a big part of our rejoicing and celebrating in preparation for tomorrow. The details are coming together, it is like planning a wedding for our son in less than a week. Numerous people have stepped in and blessed us and I have allowed them to.

The details God has given us to handle He has also been faithful to give us the strength to do. We are being diligent to continue to find our strength only in the Lord and hold tightly to His word, prayer, and worship. As a family we are watching out closely for each other, and so far God has allowed us all to be like minded and long for God's glory in all of this; feeling honored to be a part of His work. God lead me to Philippians this morning and it was oh-so sweet.
3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
12 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14 And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.
Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. 20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.
29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, 30 since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.
17 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18 So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.
 1 Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you.
3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— 4 though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more:{enter here anything that I could take confidence in other than the Lord~ my knowledge, my faith, my trust, my strength, my church, my family, etc., etc.,}
 7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
 12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
 17 Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do.
 1 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!
 4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
 10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
 20 To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
 And just a few more of God's whispers to me over the past few days~ This has been granted to me as a gift. It is allright to rejoice over this good work of God forever. I can take Christ as my example when He considered God's plan for salvation~ It would be done through death, and he never got angry or questioned God, but rather submitted and praised Him for His wisdom. God's will be done, not mine. I am free to do the same and trust my heavenly Father in this as well. We can praise God for this, even if we watch others around us struggle with God through it

God's Grace is More Than Sufficient

February 22, 2011

It has amazed me again and again in the last four days how God moves in His children. To allow us to rejoice in the midst of this suffering has baffled many, but the power of God's love has sustained us and caused us to only love Him more and trust his hand more. To be able to walk into the hospital room and see my sons dead body and praise God; to be able to wake up the next morning and still rejoice that my son was in heaven; to quietly and peacefully, and with clarity, decide with Rob how to best honor God's plan for Trent's life at the funeral; to then go sit and discuss with the funeral director how we wanted the celebration planned; to be used as a testimony to what God's word says and proclaim His perfect plan in this and still be smiling. Then this morning as God gave me the words to write my son's obituary and articles for the papers has only caused me to believe all over again that God's grace is sufficient in all things. Praise the Lord! Feel free to share our message where you would like. From all of this we long to have the gospel spread, and the question asked "What if it had been you? Where would you be?" We know where our son is, and are rejoicing in God for it. Please pray intensely for us as we celebrate what God has done with Trent's life on Thursday, February 25, 2011, from the hours of 2:00-11:00 as many will hear the gospel for the first time and will have to see death first hand and the finality of it all. Please continue to keep our family upheld in prayer as well, as it is only by God's grace that we are able to rejoice in all of His good works and long to be used by Him in this.

Our son, Trent, was born on March 10, 1998. God granted us 12 years with this precious boy before He chose to bring him home to heaven through a skiing accident on February 18, 2011.Trent was a child that lived his life fully, with somewhat reckless abandon. He found great joy in hunting, fishing, building, playing football and sliding down mud hills. But overall his joy was found in his King and Savior, Jesus Christ, of whom he would confidently proclaim. Trent will be remembered with many tears of joy for his life lived by his parents Rob and Terri, siblings Alexis, Cole, Grace and Micah, his grandparents Janice, and Duane and Nancy, many aunts, uncles, pancake eating cousins, and friends. He is preceded in death by his grandfather, Donald.It is with great rejoicing that we release our son, Trent, age 12, to our Heavenly Father. Dance before your King my son.

The article for the paper:

Everybody dies, but not everybody lives.

On Friday February 18, 2011, God did the unthinkable in our life~ He chose to take our 12 year old son, Trent, home in a skiing accident. It is only considered the unthinkable because our plans are not Gods plans, and our ways are not Gods ways. Before Trent was born we have entrusted the Lord with his life and have asked Him above all else to bring salvation to our son, to use him in a mighty way for God's glory, and to let him dwell in heaven for eternity. God only answered our prayers last Friday in a mightier way than we could have imagined, and we have been rejoicing in His good works and His mercies ever since.

Trent was a boy who truelly lived. From the very beginning he did what he loved and enjoyed the gifts and skills that God gave him to the full. In his short life he saw much of this world, traveling as far as India, the Bahamas, and Missouri to his favorite destination of Bass Pro Shop for his golden birthday, as well as many camping trips. God instilled a love of hunting and fishing into Trent and a joy of the great outdoors. Since he was little all he wanted was to turn 12 to be able to go hunting. During his 12th year God allowed him to shoot 2 deer. Trent loved to cook, to pick on his siblings Alexis, Cole, Grace and Micah, to protect his mother, to snuggle with his father, to be with his friends, especially his best friends Thomas and Samuel. Everything he was interested in he tried, even carving his own long bow and succeeding in taxidermy. In his short years he truelly lived.

But as we are all destined to, Trent also died. On Friday February 18, 2011, we said goodbye to our son as he left for a skiing trip with his friends, not knowing he would not be coming back home. God says he knows the number of our days, that He has created each one, and that He will do what He pleases. Trent struggled with his own sinfulness before God for most of his life. He knew that he was not right before God, and nothing he could do would ever make up for the sins he committed to make him worthy to enter heaven. In the summer of 2010 God graciously chose to bring salvation to Trent through repentence and the saving grace of Christ Jesus. Trent's life was transformed and we enjoyed the young fruit in his life as we watched God work.

It was with great peace and much rejoicing that we as his family have sent him off before us and accepted Gods perfect plan for Trent's life. Our longing is that God would be glorified in what He has done to wake up many to the realization that we are not guaranteed any number of years in this world. On Friday morning we had our son, on Friday afternoon he was gone. God's standards to enter his kingdom are high, He expects perfection. Trent was not perfect, not even close. God graciously provided His perfect son, Jesus Christ, as an atonement for our sinfulness and requires that we simply believe and acknowledge Him for it. God does the rest.

What we have asked nearly every person we have seen since Friday is "What if it had been you? Where would you be right now?" We diligently raised Trent up to know his sinful state and taught him what the word of God says because we know the implications of denying Christ now, and God was gracious to answer our prayers and to save Him. Scripture says that the gospel will go forth with much sorrow and heartache. Please let Trent's short life be a wake up call to you. We are rejoicing in the sorrow because we know where our son is and that we will one day be with him again for eternity because of our own salvation.

God's mercies are new everyday, and His peace does surpass all understanding. God has been so gracious to us in these few days by blessing us first of all with His peace. The family and friends that have surrounded us and have lifted us up in prayer are amazing and another testimony to God's goodness. It is with great rejoicing that we release our son, Trent, age 12, to our Heavenly Father. Dance before your King my son.

His Mercies are New Everyday

February 21, 2011

Thank you for sharing this walk with us! Know that God's plans and God's grace are greater than ours. We have been rejoicing since Friday for the good work that God has done! We have prayed for over 12 years for Trent to go to heaven one day and to be used by God in a mighty way~ and God has honored that. Who are we to complain when and how?? Trent died in a skiing accident with his youth group in Duluth, MN. In God's sovereignty he went just the way he would have wanted to go, in the woods, instantly. God's mercies have been many and amazing! We are praising him for them! Feel free to share the photo and our message on facebook (I understand it is already on there) or your blog as we are trusting God to use this for salvation for many and long for the real story of God's glory to be known through it. I love you all and will share more soon. Your words of encouragement mean so much to me, and your prayers are felt immensely. Terri

A New Home

February 19, 2011

On Friday February 18th our twelve year old son Trent went home to heaven. God's peace that surpasses all understanding is at this point being poured out on our household and we are rejoicing in His goodness. God granted Trent salvation last summer and we all enjoyed the fruit in his young life. Already we are seeing God move in mighty ways and desire to see Him glorified in it. Dance before your king my son.

17 “See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.

18 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy.

19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more.

20 “Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; the one who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere child; the one who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed.

21 They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.

22 No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat. For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the work of their hands.

23 They will not labor in vain, nor will they bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the LORD, they and their descendants with them.

24 Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.

25 The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, and dust will be the serpent’s food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,” says the LORD.