Through it all

Today was the wedding anniversary of Doug + Melissa. I remember how beautiful that day was. A gorgeous fall day in Virginia. Perfect.

Fast forward to today.  No one...I mean NO ONE ever thought that a few short years later the Lord would call Doug home, to live with him in Heaven. Who on their wedding day thinks that you won't have a lifetime together, having a family, traveling the world together, growing old together with this person you love more than anything? But here we are. Wishing we had more time with our husband, son and brother. Making memories and growing old together as a family.

This morning, I was listening to Bethel and one of my favorite songs came on called It is Well. I have to believe and trust that God knows better than me his perfect plan. I am so happy that Doug knew the love of Jesus and trusted him.

 

Listen to this song. Continue to pray for our family.


It's a Celebration

It's been a few days and finding the words are proving to be difficult. The viewing and service celebrating Doug's life took place Thursday and Friday. Traveled Saturday. Decompressing. Learning what it means to live life without Doug. Overwhelmed.

We are so blessed at how many people came to pay their respects. We saw people from years past. We saw and heard from people we went to school with. We saw people who didn't even know him but came to support me. I love to hear the stories.

I want to tell you a little bit about who Doug was. My parents talk about how he was a wonderful son and the bond that each of them had with him. He was a faithful and loving husband to Melissa. She loves her "Shnooks!" He was an awesome brother who taught me a lot about how to be strong and how relying on God is the only way to get through life.

He was raised to love the Lord. He was a prodigal for a time. Who hasn't been? He found Christ again and wanted to follow Him. He wanted to be the person God made him to be. God kept perfecting him. He wanted all of what God had for him. Doug's faith was strong. He lived out his faith. He was passionate and caring for others.

When Doug was diagnosed with Stage 4 Esophageal Cancer, Doug and Melissa made a covenant decision that through this trial if one person came to know Christ it would be worth it. We have read and heard stories of people publicly recounting stories of their own faith journey because of Doug's example. One great story is one of their friends reached out to Melissa and asked where she could get a bible. Doug was still able to communicate so Melissa told him she was going to give her one of his bibles. This friend told my mother that she will never be the same because of Doug.

My brother had a lot of things. I wanted the afghan mom made him for his birthday this past January. He loved that thing and used it all the time. But more importantly I wanted one of his bibles. Melissa gave me the bible he liked to take to church. I was looking through it to see if there were any markings. I found a few that were dated around the time of his diagnoses. A passage from Psalm 119:153-156 was highlighted. He prayed this to the Lord just 10 hours before he found out the cancer was stage 4. His faith never wavered.

photo credit: lauradake

photo credit: lauradake

Doug clung to Jesus. He knew that he was going to see Jesus! He is living in Heaven. He is perfect. No pain! His prayer was answered...he is at peace resting in the arms of Jesus.

We shared some great times these last few weeks. He made us laugh and smile despite the extreme pain he was in. I will treasure these moments for a lifetime. I miss him! There is a void left in this family. I love you Doug, with all my heart!

So we celebrate this life of Douglas Edward Hale III
A son, brother, husband, a child of God.

January 19, 1971 - April 8, 2014

photo credit: I Do Photography Inc.

photo credit: I Do Photography Inc.

Overcome

I don't have adequate words today to describe the emotions that fill my heart. It seems we are in the last hours or day of what would be Doug's earthly stay on this earth. God is preparing Doug's new home.

I said to a friend today, as stubborn as Doug has been to Nurse Pam about what he wanted or didn't want, she started to tear up. He has touched so many peoples lives. He will never know. My friend said, "He is a living testimony and will always be remembered for his strength and his faith and his stubbornness." She said she believed it's that stubbornness has in fact renewed my faith. And that because of that, my change has touched other people too, especially her.

She also said that soon Doug will be an angel. In my eyes, he already is.

The Hospice Chaplin came today to offer prayer and she read John 16:33 to Doug.


It made me think of the Jeremy Camp song, Overcome. I've actually been singing it for weeks now.

Seated above, enthroned in the Father's love
Destined to die, poured out for all mankind
God's only Son, perfect and spotless one
He never sinned but suffered as if He did

All authority
Every victory is Yours
All authority
Every victory is Yours

Savior, worthy of honor and glory
Worthy of all our praise, You overcame
Jesus, awesome in power forever
Awesome and great is Your name, You overcame

Power in hand speaking the Father's plan
You're sending us out, light in this broken land

We will overcome by the blood of the Lamb
And the word of our testimony, everyone overcome

Come to Me

Thank you Marty for your words of encouragement and for reminding me of the song Come to Me by Jenn Johnson. I've heard it many of times before. It's in my "worship" playlist. So powerful! Yesterday Melissa asked if I could put text on a picture for her. She wanted to post it to Doug's Facebook wall. It was a verse to this song.

Coincidence?

I think not.

God you are so good to us. This is the hardest experience our family has ever faced. It's not right. A parent should not have to lose a child. A wife, her husband. A sister, her brother. God's ways are not our ways. It's figuring out how to deal with the loss. I pray that our faith will be strengthened. That God will show up and walk us through the valley.

So we wait on the Lord and our prayer is still peace.

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I am the Lord your God, I go before you now
I stand beside you, I'm all around you
Though you feel I'm far away, I'm closer than your breath
I am with you, more than you know

I am the Lord your peace, no evil will conquer you
Steady now your heart and mind, come into My rest
Oh, let your faith arise, lift up your weary head
I am with you wherever you go

Come to Me, I'm all you need.
Come to Me, I'm everything
Come to Me, I'm all you need.
Come to Me, I'm your everything

I am your anchor, in the wind and the waves
I am your steadfast, so don't be afraid
Though your heart and flesh may fail you, I'm your faithful strength
I am with you wherever you go

Come to Me, I'm all you need.
Come to Me, I'm your everything
Come to Me, I'm all you need.
Come to Me, I'm your everything

Don't look to the right or to the left but keep your eyes on Me
You will not be shaken, you will not be moved ooh
I am the hand to hold, I am the truth, I am the way
Just come to Me, come to Me, cause I'm all that you need

Bethel Music- “Come to Me” featuring Jenn Johnson


When The Waters Are At Flood Stage

I opened Facebook this morning and my friend, Wendy had posted a picture of this verse from Isaiah as encouragement.  

With everything that has been going on in our life, there are days when I feel the waters are at flood stage. The water is up around my ears, it gets harder and harder to breathe, panic sets in and soon you have lost control.  

Even though I have these feelings, I am reminded in God's word, that He promises that He will be with me and I will not drown.

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photo: laurajdake | stone mountain

Faith Is Taking The First Step

"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."

Martin Luther King

 

Lamentations 3 says:

But there’s one other thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on hope:

God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.

They’re created new every morning.

How great your faithfulness!

I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over).

He’s all I’ve got left.

God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits,

to the woman who diligently seeks.

It’s a good thing to quietly hope,

quietly hope for help from God.

 

I am desperately looking for confirmation that God is hearing the prayers of his people. I want to feel his presence. I don't understand why cancer has invaded my brother's body. I struggle everyday wondering why...God you are the creator of the universe, creator of man and the God of healing. Why are you not choosing to heal his body?

Claiming hope was a big undertaking and maybe I wasn't truly ready to live that out. God help me to claim hope and that requires me to seek you diligently! To remember you are faithful and your mercies are new every morning. 

 

Source: Photo from Pinterest

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