Friday, February 06, 2009

A Gift


Andrew is still here. Perhaps he is waiting for his sister to arrive, who has been driving with her husband through the night from New Jersey. They should be here in less than an hour.

Even though his eyes have been closed the whole time, he usually is not sedated, so he seems to hear what we are saying to him. I think he has terrible bleeds when he gets emotional, then begins to hyperventilate, and then we sedate him. Please pray that would not happen when his sister arrives or ever again. It is really terrible that he has to suffer during those moments, and I don't think I can take another bleed. But what has kept coming to mind in those moments is that he looks like Jesus to me as he suffers. And I feel reassured that his suffering is not inconsistent with him being favored by God, because Jesus preceded Andrew in all his suffering. Jesus blazed the trail of suffering and went before us so that we could follow in His footsteps.

Thank you all so much for your prayers and words of encouragement. I am sorry that you all have to cry for him. Please pray that I would be ready for what is to come and that his family would be too.

I love him more than ever now. These 24 hours, everything reminds me of memories with him. Even the faded memories are vivid now. It is like our time together is flashing before my eyes over several hours, the way they say your life flashes before your eyes in the instant before you die. And yet, somehow, the Lord has shielded me from the grief that could completely overwhelm. I am so fearful of future grief, fearful that it will strangle me. But so far it has not come yet.

Andrew had said to me recently that we could be thankful at least for the time we did have together. I said I wanted more time and it wasn't enough. But as it all flashes before me, I just feel so thankful. So privileged to have loved so deeply and to be loved by someone so extraordinary that he could love me in spite of all my sin and despite how unworthy I was of him. He was such a picture of the gospel to me and taught me so much about Jesus' gospel love through the way he loved me. When we fell in love, I thought we might be the happiest people on earth. That is a gift. And I'm thankful to have ever tasted of it.


  1. Thank you so much, Grace, for your selfless thinking of others even in such trying times. You don't have to post updates for those of us who are praying from afar, but you do and that is such a blessing to us. How beautiful to see Jesus in you both and while our hearts are so heavy, "we do not grieve as those who have no hope." You continue to remind us to celebrate how glorious it will be when Andrew can see Him face to face. Praying that we all would endure for greater joy...

    Much love, Paul and Audrea Fuller

  2. Grace,
    I just want you to know I am praying for you and my heart is so heavy for you and your family today. I do not know you, but was led to your blog via Amanda Thompson on Facebook. I stayed up last night reading the blog, and went to bed with such a different perspective than most other recent nights, so thankful for my family, and realizing my "trials" are not really trials at all. The Lord has given you such strength, and you are a beautiful woman of God. Thank you for being such an encouragment to us who are weeping with you and praying for you. The Lord is showing Himself strong to you and in you.
    Praying for you in Corona,CA,
    Amy Holmes

  3. Thank you for the update. What a beautiful gift you have. The Lord has truly blessed you two. I can understand your fear of the grief that is going to come to you but remember the Lord will be there to carry you and comfort you.

  4. Dear Grace,

    You are just precious. Thank you for the update and sharing your life with us. The LORD is so kind. You and Andrew continue to be such a great encouragement to us. Thank you for your love and trust in HIM.

    Praying for your continued strength and courage. And that the God of all comfort would keep you tight in His care as He is glorified through you.

    Lots of love,
    Selena Porter

  5. Grace, know that our Lord God is gracious and good. remember that He has loved you best, and gave you Andrew to show you His love for you, as Christ loves the church. Know that you are not alone, that the Holy Spirit in you is fighting for you for trust and faith in our good God. Know that He has never left you, nor has He ever left Andrew, but called each of you to Himself, and has granted Andrew the privilege of seeing His face first. "Dangerous Journey", originally by by Bunyan, encouraged me to remember in my grief for you and the kids, that this life is not meant to be it- that God intends for us so much more after the River Death- that a Celestial City awaits us. I prayed for you that you might remember Ps 18- For You will light my lamp; the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness. For by You I can run against a troop, By my God, I can leap over a wall. As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. For you is God, except the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God? It is God who arms me with strength, And makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of deer, And sets me on my high places. He teaches my hands to make war, So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have also given me the shield of Your salvation; Your right hand has held me up, Your gentleness has made me great. You enlarged my path under me, So my feet did not slip.

    Grace, we will continue to pray, but take comfort that He Himself will comfort you, and He Himself has loved you best, and will continue to do so, by the promise of His name.

    love, stella (and jay ho)

  6. Praise God for His great grace to you (and us!) through Andrew. Been thinking and praying much about you guys and continuing to do so. Love you both and although sorrowful over this, rejoicing at the same time for Andrew's salvation and God's glory ultimately to shine through in this difficult circumstance.

    May you continue cling to Christ and the cross as He holds you near.

    Philippians 4:4-9
    "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

    Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."

  7. Grace,

    It is a privilege to cry and pray for a man like Andrew. You are also in our prayers constantly. We praise the Lord for the Mark family and their courage and testimony of faith.


    the Lewis family

  8. i am still praying. praise God for your courage.

  9. Grace, I am praying for you and your family. What a blessing you have been to me. Your testimoney of God's grace is so amazing and speaks volumes. Love in Christ, Jocelyn Pagano

  10. Grace, thank you for the updates. You are on our mind continually today and we are praying.

    Love, Kim

  11. I am praying for you guys. My parents, who met Andrew a few times, are praying as well.
    - Michelle Eng

  12. Grace, your words are so beautiful. Tawny and I have both been up through the night praying that peace be with you, Andrew, and the whole family.

  13. Oh, Grace . . .I've been there! Please know that my tears are with you today . . .May God wrap his arms around you especially in the hours to come.

  14. I just wanted you to know that I am praying for you and that I will continue to pray for you!

  15. I admit, I know we should be rejoicing in the amazing pastures of Heaven that await any follower of Christ--- and i do rejoice in that. But this is still tremendously difficult to deal with. Grace and Andrew, your strength throughout all of this is incredibly admirable. We need to rejoice in the love of God in this time-- He is so amazing. Will be praying for healing. God bless you Andrew

  16. Though I don't know you or your family personally (I'm a friend of Tawny Pham-Aye), I am also a follower of Jesus Christ, I trust I will meet you someday. I'm praying for you all and trust the Lord will meet you and your family where you are and where you need Him. Your such an incredible encrouagement and He is surely using you as a huge witness and testimony of His grace, mercy and hope. May you always seek Him. Much grace to you, Nicole Wise (Tennessee)

  17. Your family has been lifted up in prayer this morning by all the women at our LBS; there was not a dry eye. Our entire church family has also been praying fervently.
    May God's grace continue to uphold and sustain you.
    Calvary Baptist Church
    E.Millstone, NJ

  18. Hi Grace. We continue to pray fervently. Cameron's small group last night prayed as well. We are so blessed and encouraged by your family and we trust that the Lord will CARRY you through this day and the days ahead. I have a picture in my mind of Jesus carrying His precious little lamb over his shoulders... may you know His love and His comfort in a very real and powerful way.

  19. You are in our prayers. I have been following your blog since it was posted on many months ago.

    You all are an example of God's grace and His extrodinary strength He is providing in you that only comes from our Lord above.

    May God continue to shield you from the overwhelming grief and continue to give you pictures of Jesus or Andrew dancing in heaven and looking down on you.

    The picture of the gospel that was shown through Andrew is an amazing picture that God has given you. May that picture stay vivid in your mind.

    In His Name,
    Colleen W, Pasadena, CA

  20. Grace and Andrew, your relationship and love for one another are such a great testimony and reflection of Christ and the church -- God's primary intent for your union. As a newlywed, I have been so encouraged and blessed by your openness in sharing about your relationship with one another, and I hope that my marriage will mirror yours, and in so doing mirror Christ's relationship with the church. God continues to use you now, even in the most difficult trial yet. Still praying for you! :)

  21. Dear Sweet Grace,
    I just want you to be comforted by the words of this beautiful hymn titled, "It Is Not Death To Die". I've heard it recently on a CD by Sovereign Grace Music, "Come Weary Saints". Each time I hear it I think of you and Andrew.

    "It is not Death to die, to leave this weary road,
    and join the saints who dwell on high,
    who’ve found their home with God.
    It is not death to close the eyes long dimmed by tears,
    and wake in joy before your throne,
    delivered from our fears.

    O Jesus, conquering the grave,
    your precious blood has power to save.
    Those who trust in you will in your mercy find
    that it is not death to die.

    It is not death to fling aside this earthly dust,
    and rise with strong and noble wing
    to live among the just.
    It is not death to hear the key unlock the door
    that sets us free from mortal years
    to praise forever more.

    O Jesus, conquering the grave,
    your precious blood has power to save.
    Those who trust in you will in your mercy find
    that it is not death to die."

    Praying God's grace, peace, and strength are surrounding you!

    With love,
    Dave and Cynthia Hildebrand

  22. Dear Grace,

    You don't know me. I'm from Grace Bible in Marysville, WA. I have been following your blog and gotten updates from the Lights. I am learning so much from you. I cannot imagine everything you're going through but I know that our God is so faithful and caring. I pray for you constantly. May our wonderful Savior lead you through this in His arms.
    With Love for you,
    Liesy Turnbull

  23. Dear Grace,
    We love you and are praying for you. The Lord loves you so much and He loves His precious Andrew. Thank you for praising the Lord as you and Andrew suffer.

  24. I am very touched by the words that you wrote. I know that God has laid those thoughts upon your heart for a reason! I continue to pray for you and your family! I pray that God's comfort is there for you when you need it most.

  25. Hey, I'm Josh Chen, for those who might know me. I became a believer sophomore year at UCLA by God's grace and sovereignty and became involved with GOC.

    Words could not describe how I have been incredibly challenged to see the faith and humility in dealing with cancer. I have never seen such faith in the past from others I know who have dealt with similar circumstances. Often I complain about adverse circumstances and feel so much self-pity, yet nothing that I complain about could even come close to all that has happened, so I am very much challenged and convicted. Ultimately, none of our sufferings on this earth could compare to Christ's sacrifice for us on the cross; all that we rightfully deserve is punishment for our sins, but yet we have been declared righteous by the blood and cross of our Savior.

    I'll be praying for you guys; stay strong and keep trusting the Lord in such trying circumstances :)

  26. I do not know you, but am glad I happened on this blog. We are praying for you!

    What a glorious time it will soon be for Andrew! Praise God for your faithfulness!

    I wish I were in the cities. I would love to come pray with you. May God bless and keep you.

  27. My heart and prayers are with you! Tears come as I am familiar with an ailing loved one. May the Lord continue to sustain you now and in the years to come. Thank you for remaining faithful to the Lord and being a testimony to all who know you and your family. Andrew has been the greatest recipient
    michelle (mah) yang

  28. Dear Grace,

    Your faith and supernatural peace are such a beautiful testimony to our Lord's sustaining grace. My heart aches and grieves with you and for you, and yet I'm also filled with joy for Andrew's salvation and his seeing our savior face to face. Your openness in sharing this past year has been a huge encouragement to my heart and to that of countless of others.
    Continuing to pray for you, dear sister!

    Jane Kim

  29. You don't know me or my husband either :) But many of our friends know you and everyone's facebook status has had your blog linked to it, requesting that we pray. And our household has read your blog, you've been in our thoughts and prayers a lot these past few hours. Thank you soo much for your godly example. You're such an encouragement to us and we are praying for you guys so much!!

  30. Unbelievable. You're generosity is so admirable. What a precious treasure you have. Take care. Hang in there. And God bless you!

  31. Our whole family is upholding you in prayer. We showed the kids your family portrait so they would have faces to put with the names, we consider it a privilege to bring you before our Lord. Thank you for your example, it will be passed down for generations to come like all the saints of old. God is doing an amazing work through your lives.

  32. To the most beautiful and faithful family,

    Your testimony, a precious love story centered by our Heavenly Father's grace and faithfulness, is evidence that He loves more than humanly possible. I pray that I love Christ as much as your family does and hope that I am able to love my husband as much as you do yours. You are so beautiful in every way, Grace. You are a gift, truly heaven-sent.

    In Christ Alone,
    Ashley Wong

  33. Hi, Andrew, Grace,

    It's Lydia, Michelle's roommate when we were at 424 Kelton. My prayers and thoughts go out to you and your family. I hope for God's comfort to be real and powerful to you; you have so many, including me, who grieve with you. Thank you for your example of love and commitment to each other, and for allowing others to walk with you during this journey.

    Lydia Eng

  34. Grace -- I re-read the lyrics to the old hymn "One Day At a Time, Sweet Jesus" yesterday as I prepared my heart to lift you up in prayer. Our hearts are broken along with yours at this painful situation. We love you.

    Lee Ann

  35. Hi Grace! I got to see your beautiful children riding down the street with Sam today. They are smiling and doing well. I was reading some of your blog entries and it truly is a gift to cry with you and to pray for you.

    I love you so much Grace.

    Last night I told Tom some of the phenomenal things you were saying about Andrew, and about being his wife. We were brought to tears as we realized how much we take each other for granted. I apologized for not being the best wife I could be. He reassured me I am, but I know in my heart I have so much growing to do- and you have convicted me to act and take up my own cross in so many areas.

    You are glorifying God in my marriage right now and have been for quite some time.

    Love, Mel

  36. Remember, the Holy Spirit will convey in groanings what your grieving heart is unable to convey.

    We are praying.

  37. Again I am so encouraged to see such faith in the midst of such difficult situations.

    "For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison" -2 Cor 4:17

  38. I, too, am praying for you. God is good, even today. I am glad He is reminding you of all the good you have had together, you and Andrew. I am asking for you to have blessings beyond all you can ask or think.

    Dawn Shultz

  39. Grace,
    You are an amazing example of truly trusting God in even the most difficult of circumstances. I praise God for that, and I am thankful that you are part of our congregation. Cory and I are praying for you and Andrew, the kids, and the rest of your family.
    We love you,

  40. dear grace - you don't know me either but grace jan sent me your blog about a year ago and i've been reading ever since. i am praying for you, andrew, and your family - thank you so much for so openly sharing your experiences with us. your testimony calls forth much worship, and i'm so convinced He loves andrew so dearly as a son. what a privilege that he's been called to endure such suffering and yet remain faithful to His glory. God be with you tonight.

  41. Grace,

    I can't emphasize how much Andrew and your lives have impacted me, although I have not met either of you.

    It is amazing that despite all of the horrible things that cancer has done to Andrew that you see Jesus all the more clearly.

    I've been struggling with cancer as well, but without that clear vision of my Savior.

    But thank you so much for sharing the pain, the joy, your fear and sorrow. And thank you so much for sharing your strength. I think I see Christ just a little better from it.

  42. Thank you for sharing. I have never met you but I have been deeply encouraged by your attitude of trust and praise. Praying that you may experience the nearness of the Father of mercy and God of comfort in this time.

  43. im a newbie here on this blog. and just reading your posts has not only been gut wrenching but also encouraging that you guys are holding on to Jesus even through this time of trouble. Im lost for words but theres much to hope for because i bet andrew's life and story has blessed so many people (if no one, then at least me), and that you will see him again in the future in a perfect body.

  44. Thank you for your transparency. I have five kids, and they all saw pictures of your family today and heard the story of your faithfulness through this fiery trial. May the Lord bless you as you faithfully endure, trusting Him. Our kids have learned an invaluable lesson, and will continue to learn with yours. Praying for you all, Julie

  45. Hi Grace,

    Still praying and thinking of you and your family.

    "Be still, and know that I am God"

    Angelina from the Bay Area

  46. Grace --
    Our family has been blessed by Andrew... his life and yours, by your love for your husband and for the LORD. May the LORD continue to be all your hope and stay. with love from the spurling family

  47. Our family is continuing to pray for all of you Grace. We love you guys so much and are amazed and excited for Andrew that he will shortly be passing into glory where he will see the Savior of the world face to face.

    Mark Suchta

  48. Praying for Andrew and your whole family.

  49. You probably don't remember me, but I was in Aimee Fagent's small group your senior (and my freshman) year. I'm praying for your family.

  50. Grace, Andrew & family,

    I can't really add to what's already been so eloquently spoken by everyone before me - but just wanted you to know that you've been on my heart and in my prayers. My heart is heavy with sorrow, but also rejoices for the joy that's soon to come for Andrew. You both have been such an incredible example to me - thank-you for sharing your lives and your journey with us. God is being glorified through it all.

    With love & prayers,
    Liz J. (Pasadena, CA)

  51. Grace and Andrew
    I love you guys and have learned soooo much from your lives, your love from one another, for your AJ and Gracie, and your love for God. You have made an impact on me and I had the chance to share your story with my co-worker last night. I'm praying for you.
    Jamie K.

  52. Grace and Andrew,

    May the peace of our Lord be with you always. Praying with you in spirit here in Chicago.


  53. Dear Grace,

    Our prayers have been going up for you throughout the past few days. We're praying that the Lord will wrap his arms around your family and hold you close to Him throughout this entire trial. Your testimony and encouragement through your lives are far-reaching and powerful.

  54. The greatest encouragement to me as a believer is knowing of the hand of God in the lives of believers. This pain is obviously immense for both of you...but He has given you great, nearly unbelievable strength. Praise God, praise God. Thank you for this testimony. You are in my prayers

  55. still aching with you Grace. I'll call you tomorrow a.m.- its 11:00 pm Friday night- so I am hoping you are resting. Love, mel

  56. Grace,
    Thank you for your faith and trust in the Holy One. What an inspiration your life has been to me ever since I met you. I praise God for the strength he has given you and Andrew during this time in your young lives. I pray that God refreshes you day by day!
    In His Hands,
    Ginny P.
    (Grace Bible Church,Marysville,WA)

  57. Dear Grace,

    We have never met, but I grew up with Andrew. Thank you so much for your posts. I've been praying for you all, and I'm so thankful for the blessing you have been to me and others. Thank you for seeing Christ in all of this and for sharing that with us.

    Much love in Him,

  58. Grace words escape me. I have spent the day in prayer for you and Andrew. Even the smallest tasks of my day remind me to lift you both up in prayer. May God's grace and strength continue to hold you through the night.
    Love, Pam
    Grace Bible Church
    Marysville WA

  59. What a precious gift and thank you for sharing it with us. We are so thankful that the Lord is sustaining you and are still praying for Andrew's comfort and peace. We love you both. Remember that perfect love casts out all fear. Rest in God's grace He's given you for today. Let tomorrow worry about itself. You are greatly loved.

    In His Grace,
    Rick and Julie & Family

  60. I am in awe of our God and how He is sustaining you through this unimaginable time in your lives.

    Our family has experienced the blessed presence of God in the midst of the deepest valley. I can relate to your comments about feeling like God is shielding you from a grief that could completely overwhelm you.

    Our son died just over two and a half years ago. I look back and see that God put a bubble around me, enabling me to get through each day so that I could gradually deal with his death. It was the most merciful and loving feeling I have ever experienced in my life.

    I will pray for you and your husband. Your example is inspiring - not only you personally - but in the testimony it is of our Almighty Lord who is giving you the strength and ability to walk through this trial and reflect Christ's image on this dark earth.

    Bless you.

  61. Grace,

    I am praying for you and your family. You don't know me but I found your blog through facebook and livejournal. I have been married for a few weeks and can not imagine what you are going through. Praise God that you guys know Christ and that Heaven is perfect with no suffering. I've heard someone say once that the suffering you ever had will be quickly be forgotten the minute you get to Heaven. I know that God will never forsake you or your family. He will provide. :)

  62. What a beautiful testimony you both are. May the Lord be glorified in everything!

  63. Grace,

    We were so blessed to know you and Andrew even for the short span of those 3 weeks we were in Washington at the same time. Your family is such an example of enduring hardship while clinging to the Lord. You have been in our prayers throughout this last year and especially in the last few days. Thank you for living a life worthy of the gospel in the midst of greater difficulty than most people can ever imagine. The way you and Andrew have been a light to the world through this is having an eternal impact on many, many lives. May the Lord grant you strength, peace, and comfort beyond measure.

    With tears and prayers,

    Joe & Julie White

  64. Dear Grace:

    I don't know either of you personally, but I was directed to your blog through another blog (teampyro) when it was down for a month in October. Reading your posts has been so moving--so humbling--as I would only hope that I might have a fraction of the faith and joy you are displaying, amidst the greatest challenge imaginable, if I ever find myself in such circumstances. Andrew's love for Christ expressed in his posts, as displayed both before and after the diagnosis, is heartening and so very encouraging to every believer reading this blog. Indeed, when Andrew sees his savior, in all His glory, he will hear the words "well done, my good and faithful servant. Enter into your rest".

    Praying for you in Long Beach, CA--that our God will supply you with all you need to keep your faith strong and your joy full in these difficult times, both now and in the future. I pray that your children will live all their days with the model of faith and perseverence displayed by their father.

  65. Yes, the Lord is able and does shield us through the most difficult times. Thank you for sharing your beautiful faith in Christ our beautiful Savior.


  66. Hi Grace-

    We are following your blog every few hours, and continue to pray without ceasing. You are always on our hearts and we trust He will give you the strength for all He is bringing you through.

    Love, Nancy- for the Hacking family in Snohomish

  67. Grace, thank you for posting and sharing in the midst of such trial in your life. I am so encouraged by you and Andrew, how you are persevering by the grace of God, how steadfast and immovable your faith is. I am still praying & thinking of you guys so much. Even though I only lived with you for 3 short months, during that time I was so blessed by your example & devotion to Christ, and your desire to honor Him through loving Andrew in marriage. Grace, my thoughts are with you and I pray earnestly that the Lord would be your strength. Much love, Hyo.

  68. Dear Grace, I just heard Todd Friel read some of your message on Wretched Radio. Thank you so much for so generously sharing in this Godly time. I will pray for you and yours during this time of grieving and will share this opportunity to lift you up and to honor and praise God this Sunday at church, Panton Community Baptist Church in Panton, Vermont. Praise Jesus for His suffering for us all.