The Macs » Blog

IMG_8222newFor months there had been plans for a new building to go up at the farm. The boys were super excited because that meant a crane would be coming. They told me it was going to be the best day ever.

IMG_8224newThey waited and waited and were always asking dad when he thought the crane would come. He really didn’t know. And then one evening Joel told me that the crane would be there the next day. Of course it was our Bible study day and everything within me wanted to not tell the boys about the crane and hope they forgot about it. Haha. Anyway, it was a little break that I looked forward to every week and, don’t tell the boys, but I could think of a million other things I’d rather do than watch a crane all morning.

IMG_8229newBut I knew I would crush their sweet little boy hearts and I just couldn’t do it. Instead the morning came and I announced that we were skipping Bible study because it was Crane Day! We went and picked up donuts, took them to the farm and watched the crane all morning. Because if you are going to spend your morning watching a crane you definitely should eat donuts too.

IMG_8231newIn between watching, we wandered around the farm together and we actually had a lot of fun that day.

IMG_8243newIsn’t that how it usually goes? When we take time to just stop and enjoy the ordinary things, those are the moments we end up cherishing the most.

IMG_8245newI never want to forget these little boy years of watching cranes and tractors for hours.

IMG_8249newWhen seeing their daddy brings such excitement. Always the biggest smiles and the cutest waves.

IMG_8253newWhen just being together watching a crane is better than anything else we could have planned that day.

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IMG_8234newGriffin wears his cowboy boots tucked into his jeans every single day. He is coming out of his shell and growing in confidence. Seeing that cute dimpled grin is my favorite.


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This is so Levi. I think the whole day was worth it just for this picture. His first tooth gone and the biggest grin. This boy loves life.

crane day

IMG_8269newAnd Jakey. He found everything possible that he could get into. He loves the farm. Probably the most out of all three boys (which is hard to believe because they all love it!). He gets so excited when we drive into the farm and would spend all day with his dad if we would let him.

IMG_8278new IMG_8279newBoys are so much fun.

 

IMG_8287newThese boys are growing so fast. I know someday I am going to wish that I could just spend the morning hanging out at the farm with these three cuties. I’m going to wish that I could go back to ordinary moments like these.

And to think, I almost skipped Crane Day.

(Crane Day was back in March, but these photos were too cute not to share!)

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  • Michelle - The photo of the three of them peeking through the bars is so, so cute. All the photos are gorgeous but that one is just perfect. Great post Jess!ReplyCancel

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    Jess Reply:

    Thanks, Michelle! Can’t wait to show you around the farm in person!

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  • Toni :0) - That is SO awesome! Perfect photos!!ReplyCancel

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    Jess Reply:

    Thank you, Toni!

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  • Kimberly Oyler - i thought that pic of grif was levi!! griffin is getting so big!ReplyCancel

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    Jess Reply:

    Kimberly! I know! You will hardly recognize them!!

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  • Muriel Siadak - Jess. I love to hear about these great moments. I have 2 sons and although older still so much fun. This crane day reminds me to again savor every day with them.
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    Jess Reply:

    Hi Muriel! Boys are so much fun, aren’t they! Yes, savor each day!!

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March 5, 2016. Cora would have been eight. I can hardly even imagine eight.

IMG_8210newHow do you celebrate the birthday of a loved one who isn’t here anymore? We struggle with this question every year as Cora’s birthday approaches. Thankfully the day is no longer accompanied by the gut wrenching pain that left us feeling paralyzed, but eight years later and we still often find ourselves stumbling around, not knowing what to do. Do we celebrate? Reminisce? Look through old photos? Cancel everything that day? Fund raise for a good cause? Do random acts of kindness? Eat cupcakes and cry? The last one always seems like a good option.

March 5, 2008 was one of the most memorable days of my life. I still remember the incredible nervousness we had as we called the hospital in the darkness of that early morning after suddenly being awoken by my water breaking. We couldn’t get to the hospital fast enough. I remember being greeted by my sweet nurse friend who happened to be working that night and checked us into our room. She was only there for about an hour but it was such a gift to see her face as I was preparing to be ushered into motherhood. In other words, I had no idea what I was doing and needed her to reassure me that everything was going to be okay. I remember finally hearing “girl” after two hours of pushing and not believing that I actually had a daughter. I thought boy for sure! I remember hearing my family recount the story of Joel going out into the waiting room to tell everyone that we had a daughter. They said he had tears in his eyes as he proudly introduced his girl, Cora Paige. He was so proud of her. I remember Cora’s dark hair and how absolutely perfect she was. I remember how many visitors we had and feeling so exhausted yet my heart was so full. I remember how well our family and friends loved us as they rejoiced over the miracle of sweet Baby Cora. I couldn’t believe that we actually got to take home that beautiful baby girl. She was the most precious gift and she was ours.

So as you can imagine, everything within us wants to celebrate that beautiful day. We long to celebrate Cora’s life. And we do so in the best way we know how. But the celebrating is mixed with the painful reality that the one we celebrate is no longer here. The life that was so precious to us, ended way too soon in death–at least that is what our limited perspective tells us. There is no one to blow out candles or open presents and well, the emotions of that day often feel very conflicted.

IMG_8214newI have noticed a pattern over the past eight years of birthdays. Not the kind of pattern that leaves me prepared to face the day with a battle plan. The truth is I never really know what to expect because that is just how grief is…unexpected. But I have noticed something about myself. As March 5th approaches each year, I begin questioning if I am enough.

Am I doing enough to make this day perfect for Cora?

Am I doing enough to show people how much we still love and miss her?

Am I doing enough to celebrate how significant her little life was?

Am I doing enough to keep her memory alive? For my boys? For other people?

Am I doing enough to make an impact in the lives of others who are hurting?

As a mom, I naturally want to create a beautiful birthday for my daughter. And I think that is okay. Cora’s life…any life…is precious and worth celebrating. But no matter what I do, how I celebrate, or how big I plan, in my own strength it will never be enough. I don’t have to try to do enough for Cora because Jesus has already done enough for me–enough for both of us. Every year as I’m trying to seek satisfaction…and maybe even find comfort…in doing enough or being enough, I am reminded that the satisfaction I’m looking for is found only in Jesus.

He is enough.

He is enough to experience peace in my daughter’s absence.

He is enough to comfort my broken heart.

He is enough to bring joy in the midst of sorrow.

He is enough to complete the good plan He has for Cora’s life and for my life.

He is enough to graciously allow me to comfort others with the comfort I have received from Him.

Jesus is enough.

IMG_8215newSo we celebrate March 5th in the best way we know how. We eat donuts, send balloons up to heaven and spend time together. We talk about Cora, laugh, cry and usually go about our day pretty much like normal. One year we hosted a book drive to benefit Cora’s hospital and one year we went bowling as a family. Every year seems to be different. Every year I have to release myself from the expectation that I have to do enough and preach to myself that the satisfaction my heart seeks is found in Jesus alone.

IMG_8216newThis year as we were driving home with our van full of pink balloons, Levi looked at me and said, “You really miss her, don’t you mom.” I told him that I did really miss his sister and that it made me so sad that he and his brothers didn’t get to know her. He was quiet for a minute and then a huge grin came across his face as he exclaimed, “But we will get to know her in heaven!”.

Yes we will. What a precious gift to know that in Jesus life doesn’t end at the grave.

He is more than enough.

corasbdayLet them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.

Psalm 107:8-9

Cora’s Birthday | one, two, three (and here), four, five, six, seven

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  • Lea - Oh, you just spoke from a Mother’s heart and it was so beautiful. And, thankfully, He is enough, no matter what HE is, but the love and support of others during our time of grief sure makes the way easier as well. Blessings abundant!ReplyCancel

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    Jess Reply:

    Thank you, Lea!

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  • Toni :0) - Shocks me it’s been that long already, seems like just yesterday….I still pray for her and your family. She’s never far from my thoughts as I make sure to appreciate every moment with my children-in her honor. Hugs (( )) (( )) for strength and support. 💜😊ReplyCancel

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    Jess Reply:

    Toni-Thanks so much for continuing to pray for us. I am so humbled by that…and so grateful!

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    • Jess - Toni-Thanks so much for continuing to pray for us. I am so humbled by that…and so grateful!ReplyCancel

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  • Meggie - Jesus is enough. Praise God. Thanks for sharing from your heart. Love reading here.ReplyCancel

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    Jess Reply:

    Thanks, Meggie!

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  • Brittany Price - Loved this! Jesus is so precious to be enough. My sweet husband just suddenly passed away leaving me a widow with three boys under three. It’s a pain filled journey but a Jesus filled one too. So thankful for the hope of Christ! Thank you for writing!ReplyCancel

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    Jess Reply:

    Oh, Brittany. I am so, so sorry. I can’t imagine. I just got done reading through some of your blog and I am so encouraged by your words! You are right. It is a pain filled journey but definitely a Jesus filled one. Keep clinging to Jesus! Also, your boys are precious!

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    • Jess - Oh, Brittany. I am so, so sorry. I can’t imagine. I just got done reading through some of your blog and I am so encouraged by your words! You are right. It is a pain filled journey but definitely a Jesus filled one. Keep clinging to Jesus! Also, your boys are precious!ReplyCancel

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  • Paige Roberson - My daughter was born on March 7, 2008 so it is easy for me to remember Cora’s birthday. I’ve been reading for ages and rarely post but just wanted you to know that people you don’t know pray for you and your family.

    More than enough rings so strong in one of my favorite songs, Healer:
    https://youtu.be/6U0sDKqNJ8gReplyCancel

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    Jess Reply:

    Hi Paige! Yay for March babies! Thanks so much for continuing to pray. That means so, so much to me. And yes, such a good song! Thanks for sharing.

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    • Jess - Hi Paige! Yay for March babies! Thanks so much for continuing to pray. That means so, so much to me. And yes, such a good song! Thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

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  • Caitlin Allison - Levi! Oh, that made me teary. What a sweet boy to speak truth to his momma.ReplyCancel

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    Jess Reply:

    Caitlin- Yes! I can’t tell you how many times God has used him to speak Truth to me. So thankful for that boy!

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    • Jess - Caitlin- Yes! I can’t tell you how many times God has used him to speak Truth to me. So thankful for that boy!ReplyCancel

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  • Leah - What a sweet post.ReplyCancel

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  • Kimberly - You are such a good mama– and you are enough and you’re doing enough. And Levi– such a perfect thing to say on a hard day! You will have a wonderful reunion in heaven!!ReplyCancel

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    Jess Reply:

    Thanks for your sweet words, Kimberly!

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  • Ali - Happy Birthday sweet angel Cora.ReplyCancel

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    Jess Reply:

    Thank you, Ali!

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IMG_0256newTwo years ago, DaySpring came out with the Daily Grace Collection. I loved it so much that I decided to use the sugar bowl and creamer set as teacher gifts that year. I bought the $3 succulents from Home Depot, plopped them in and added cute little fabric flags.

IMG_0373newIt was so easy and I thought they turned out so great. I still give these as gifts all the time!

IMG_0338newI posted a few other teacher gift ideas that year too. You can find those here. Fill the creamer with coffee beans and stick a coffee shop gift card inside. Such a perfect little gift if your child’s teacher is a coffee lover. You can give these individually if you need lots of teacher gifts or give them as a set! I love that your teacher will have something to keep once the succulent and coffee are gone. And the sweet message of “blessed & grateful” seems like the perfect way to say thank you to the teachers who pour so much of themselves into our kiddos.

daily grace 3DaySpring is marking down the Daily Grace Sugar Bowl and Creamer Set just for my readers. So great! Use the code JESS15 to get the sugar bowl and creamer set for just $15. Stock up on gifts and get a set for yourself too!

AND…

DaySpring is also generously giving away THREE sugar bowl and creamer sets. Yay!! You guys are going to love these. Here is how you can enter to win:

Giveaway Details:

3 Daily Grace – Sugar Bowl and Creamer Sets

THREE winners chosen at random

One entry per person

Valid for US residents only

Giveaway ends Friday, May 13th at 8pm (CST)

To enter visit DaySpring

then come back to this post and leave a comment telling me what you would love to give as a gift…for a teacher or anyone else!

***Giveaway closed. Winners will be contacted by email.***

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  • Kristina Watt - I like the “He fills my life with good things” cosmetic pouch…maybe for a teacher.ReplyCancel

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  • MurdocksMama - I would get the adorable canvas pouches!ReplyCancel

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  • Cindi - I would love to give the sugar/candy bowl with some candy & a gift card stuck inside. I also love all the tote bags.ReplyCancel

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  • Danielle - i LOVE several of the necklaces especially the Be Thou My Vision one. i have also loved the sugar and creamer set for a long time and putting the flowers in them is so cute.ReplyCancel

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  • Cassie M - I love the sugar bowl and creamer set-what a wonderful gift idea! I also really like the ‘Be Grateful’ wrapped canvas print. Dayspring is such a great place to shop for gifts, I’ve gotten several great things for people over the years and they always go over so well:) Thanks for the fun giveaway Jess!ReplyCancel

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  • Jennifer Roehl - I have looked at this set about 10 times contemplating buying it so I would choose it to give as a gift. I just love what you did with the succulents and little flags!ReplyCancel

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  • Megan - These are so cute! I would give the grace for today bowls to our teachers at our little school, who work so hard to teach our kids to be good people, sacrificing so much of themselves each and everyday.ReplyCancel

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  • Rachel E. - I would love to give the sugar bowl as a gift!ReplyCancel

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  • Angela N. - As a former teacher, I would have loved this! What a great idea!ReplyCancel

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  • Jill Stansell - Wow. DaySpring has some inspiring products! I love the “Your Story Matters” necklace. That would be an awesome gift for a friend that has been a Godly counselor to me!ReplyCancel

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  • Megan Jasperson - I love, love, love the journal with the perfect saying: Let your Smile Change the World!
    Perfect gift for a friend changing jobs.ReplyCancel

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  • Ranee Brokaw - I love the HOPE pennant, but so many many cute things! 🙂ReplyCancel

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  • Michol - I would love to give my daughters teacher the sugar / creamer set as a gift. Her class is small, only 4 students. She didn’t get near as many treats as the other teachers in the preschool last week for teacher appreciation week. I would love to be able to give her a little extra something.ReplyCancel

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  • Amy - I think the Father I Pray – Sticky Prayers would be a nice gift as well as any of the Illustrated Faith items.ReplyCancel

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  • Rachel Newswanger - I think the wooden cutting boards are wonderful. Would be great gifts for my mom & sisters.ReplyCancel

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  • Anne - I love the be strong and courageous chevron necklace!!ReplyCancel

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  • Jennifer Christians - I think that I would enjoy ANYTHING from DaySpring. A daily dose of God’s love and grace get me through my day with my 28 3rd graders. I love that I get to show them my love each day. I am always grateful for their hugs and handwritten notes.ReplyCancel

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  • Beth - I love giving Willow Tree figures as gifts – they are simple, but beautiful and meaningful. And I love the idea of using the creamer and sugar bowls as planters to give as gifts!ReplyCancel

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  • Marisa - I love the sugar bowl and creamer set. I want to stock up on these as gifts and maybe one for myself! 😉 As a teacher I love your gift ideas!!ReplyCancel

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  • Emily - I love the coffee mug that reads: “strong courageous beautiful” it would be perfect for my son’s preschool teacher. She has been through so much and her positive attitude and general outlook on life is so encouraging!ReplyCancel

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  • Danielle Albini - I’d love the set you’re giving away!!! Perfect intentional gifts for sweet friends and neighbors!ReplyCancel

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  • CHRISTINE ROJAS - I would def. get the creamer and sugar bowl. Love the idea!!ReplyCancel

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  • Tracy - I have given the Daily Grace cake stand as a gift, as well as purchased one for myself! Love it!ReplyCancel

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  • K - I would love to give the cream & sugar set or the my hope pendant as a gift!ReplyCancel

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  • Kello - Love the idea of the succulent in the cream and sugar bowls..ReplyCancel

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  • Ellen - I would actually buy the amazing grace coloring book. I think that would a fun way to reflect and have some down time.ReplyCancel

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  • Pam - That is a precious teacher gift! I’m so gonna steal that idea! And thanks to you and Dayspring for a chance to win!ReplyCancel

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  • Debbie welch - I love the Lisa Leonard courage necklace!ReplyCancel

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  • Vicki bluhm - If be a copy cat and choose the creamer and sugar bowl. Such a cute idea.ReplyCancel

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  • katherine - Love this set or the 3 piece place setting!ReplyCancel

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  • Laura Carter - I would love to give the
    DAILY GRACE – LIVE A GRATEFUL LIFE – TEACUP & SAUCER filled with teaReplyCancel

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  • Diane Taylor - I just love this collection – last year for the holidays I bought this set as a gift and it was so pretty, I would love one for myself!ReplyCancel

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  • Donita - I love, love, love the All By Grace dishes!ReplyCancel

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  • Tina - I’d love to give the blessed and grateful vase, so cute!ReplyCancel

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  • Katie D - I also like the Daily Grace collection.ReplyCancel

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  • andrea - I would love to give away any of your daily grace sugar bowl collection!!ReplyCancel

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  • LaVonne - I have always loved giving the “God’s Heart for You” necklace. But lately I have been loving the new pouches (cosmetic, pencil, etc.) and plan to give some of those away soon. Thank you.ReplyCancel

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  • Beth - I love all the magnets!ReplyCancel

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  • Amy G - I love so much of it! I think I will get the Names of God mug for one of my dearest friends. She and I were recently talking about the many names of God and possibly studying them so it would be perfect 🙂 And I love the creamer idea for my daughter’s teacher! I think I’ll do that too!ReplyCancel

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  • Krista Kanode - I would love to give the “Amazimg Grace” coloring book and/or the My Hope necklace. They are both calming in a way and from teaching experience, that’s a huge bonus. 🙂ReplyCancel

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  • Joni - I love the heart sculptures for gifts.ReplyCancel

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  • Amanda - I adore this set! I’ve had my eye on them (well, EVERYTHING) for awhile!

    I would love to give the “Be Still” wall art to my best friend who lives over 1,000 miles away!ReplyCancel

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  • Mary Ann - I would probably buy one of the lovely Artisan jewelry pieces for a friend’s birthday.ReplyCancel

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  • Erin Young - i follow dayspring on instagram and love everything! love their mugs, wow God pouch and the coloring books 🙂ReplyCancel

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  • Cat Kotaka - I love what you did. I would do the same! I also love the cosmetic pouch!ReplyCancel

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  • Karen H - I think the Love Bears All Things – Musical Jewelry Box is cute. Their jewelry and the canvas pouches are cute as well.ReplyCancel

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  • Bridge - I have been eyeing the REDEEMED letters for what feels like a lifetime, and then the wood press letters came out… my heart is conflicted 🙂ReplyCancel

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  • Amy Anderson - I would give the “Be still and know that I am God” bird mug as a gift.ReplyCancel

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  • Lori G. - I’ve loved this sugar bowl and creamer set for a long gone time and just never seem to get around to ordering them! They would be awesome as a teacher gift!ReplyCancel

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  • leah - What an adorable idea!ReplyCancel

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  • AJ - I think the” Created To Be Beautiful” journal is pretty.ReplyCancel

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  • Carisa - I would give the Serenity Prayer – Plank Wall Art. I like that it’s rustic and colorful.ReplyCancel

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  • Lois - I’m fond of the Be Strong and Courageous-Wooden Cross – I have it in mind for a graduate.ReplyCancel

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Well, somehow two whole months have almost slipped by. Those three adorable boys of mine are keeping me on my toes and although they sure can wear me out, there is nothing I love more than chasing them around. There are so many things I could update you on but thinking about where to start is too much for my brain to handle right now. Ha! So, lets just start with this past weekend. Sunday was our annual trip out to the Flint Hills with Joel’s family. Per usual, it did not disappoint.

IMG_8413newOur first stop every year is at this sycamore tree for the cousin photo. Joel and his siblings took family photos here too! I always say this, but I need to get my hands on one of those photos to show you.

IMG_8430newEvery year we all look forward to Bammy’s (my mother-in-law’s) fried chicken. I mean, who makes fried chicken for a picnic lunch? I scored big when I married into this family!

IMG_8445newThe only bad part about having so much good food is you barely have time to inhale it before the kids are begging to head out into the water.

IMG_8461newThe rest of the day is spent playing in the creek with occasional snack breaks of course.

IMG_8452newThis is my oldest nephew, Henry. He is such a great kid and cracks me up all the time. By next year he will probably be taller than his sweet mama. I don’t know how that happened so fast.

IMG_8449newAnd these are the littlest three cousins. I’m sure I will blink and they will be outgrowing their mamas too.

IMG_8458newBut for now, they dig away and require constant supervision. You’d better believe I am going to soak it up as long as I can!

IMG_8503newJake was a big fan of the creek.

flinthills3

IMG_8489newThrowing rocks was his favorite.

IMG_8509newEverywhere I turned, the kids were on some kind of adventure…

IMG_8514newcatching crawdads…

IMG_8521newsneaking off to drink way to many cans of pop…

IMG_8528newand swimming.

IMG_8533new flinthillsThis kid. He is getting so funny. He has the best facial expressions and does not hide how he feels. I forgot how much I like this almost 2-year old stage.

IMG_8537new flinthills2Last years excitement was a snake in the water, this year Uncle Ben caught a big fish with the kids’ net. They were all very impressed with his skills.

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Chatting with Bammy.

IMG_8481newHere are all the Mac cousins lined up…we were just missing sweet baby Lenore who is in China. This whole growing up with your cousins as your best friends thing is so foreign to me, but it is so wonderful. What a precious gift these kids have in each other. It was such a good day together.

IMG_8557newBye-Bye (said in his loudest voice)! See you next year, Flint Hills.

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  • Marsha Kern - My cousins were my best friends growing up-my Mom came from a family of 9 and we all lived pretty close so it was wonderful, so happy for your kids!ReplyCancel

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  • Melinda - I can’t believe how big Jake is! I remember seeing posts of one of your older boys wearing the cycle shirt when they were his age. It’s amazing how fast time goes!ReplyCancel

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  • Ashley - Oh this makes me so jealous! I love this! So “free range!” lol. I love that the boys all are just able to go off without parents hovering, letting them play, and get wet and get dirty! How lucky they all are to grow up together. I never had that, but am blessed that my boys get to grow up with my sister’s boys. Between us we have 6 boys, ages 9, 7, 6.5, 6, 3, and 3 🙂 It’s crazy, but wonderful!ReplyCancel

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  • Michelle L - I had to Google ‘crawdad’. It’s something I call a crayfish. I love the translations between American and Australian English. Beautiful pictures Jess. Thank you for sharing.ReplyCancel

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  • Meggie - Love reading updates about your family! Such a fun tradition!!ReplyCancel

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  • Toni :0) - What a beautiful family!! Such special memories you are making. How wonderful.ReplyCancel

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  • Mary Ann - I look forward to your Flint Hills adventure every year. Those yearly memories mean so much to kids…and parents. It’s a beautiful thing. Your boys are so precious.ReplyCancel

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  • Gin - Family is the best. Wonderful pictures. I admire “Bammy” for her big family. I know she enjoys every moment.ReplyCancel

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  • Pam - I grew up as one of 13 1st cousins. 12 of us lived within a 1/2 mile of each other on and around my grandparents farm. It was the most glorious childhood! I have grieved that my children (19 & 13) have no clue what it was like. Town kids 🙁 It makes my heart happy to stop in and visit your blog and know that there are still families like yours (and mine) around. Thank you for sharing!ReplyCancel

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    Jess Reply:

    Oh, how great! Thanks for sharing that with me, Pam. I am so thankful that my kids get to grow up around family. It is such a gift!

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    • Jess - Oh, how great! Thanks for sharing that with me, Pam. I am so thankful that my kids get to grow up around family. It is such a gift!ReplyCancel

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Three weeks ago today I found myself once again painting rocks with the boys and preparing to take a little trip to the cemetery as a family to visit Cora’s stone. Our trips there are less frequent these days and as you probably can guess by the promptness of my blog post, life is full and busy and that is a good thing. That same day three weeks ago, the wind blew like crazy. If you are not familiar with Kansas weather, let me clue you in. It is windy here. But there are some days in Kansas that the wind is particularly horrible. My husband always says this kind of wind makes him angry. It just makes me want to relocate the farm…like to Hawaii. But seriously, on these days you stay inside if at all possible. If you must go outside you can hardly keep the door from flinging off its hinges or slamming shut on one of your sweet children. You feel like you might actually blow away, you can forget about having a good hair day, there is dust flying everywhere, and even in the safety of your home you can’t escape the howling sound coming from outside. I may be exaggerating slightly but out here in the country the wind can be intense.

February 8th was one of those days this year.

IMG_1856As I went about my day, feeling the gravity of what the date marked in my life and the little girl that I continue to miss more than I can even try to explain here, I couldn’t block out that howling sound seeping through my windows. Seven years ago I was living my happy, “blessed” life. Things were going just like I had planned for the most part. Life was really good and really safe. I felt like I had Christianity and life, for that matter, all figured out. And then out of nowhere I got shoved out my front door, the door slamming shut behind me before I even had a chance to catch my breath. Gone was my safe, comfortable life. Without any warning my life was turned upside down and I found myself in the middle of a wind storm. It knocked me flat on my face and I felt like even if I tried to get up, the grief, like the wind, was just going to knock me over again. Everything felt scary and unfamiliar. I was confused about what God was doing in my life. I wondered how He could allow my daughter to have cancer…how He could allow her to die. I wondered why He didn’t show up for me when I had seen Him show up for so many others. The questions and confusion were almost as intense as the storm itself.

image5I didn’t know any other way to anchor myself except to Jesus. My feelings were telling me that I would never experience joy again but I knew if there was any chance…any chance to get through the storm…it would be with Jesus. HE was my hope. I was still hurting and confused and I didn’t understand what He was doing, but I knew He held the answers. So right in the middle of that storm I brought my unable to stand, hair in my face, dust in my eyes, tears streaming down my cheeks, beat-up self to Him. I was a mess, you guys. But do you know what I found? I found that Jesus didn’t forget to show up for me, He had been there the whole time. He met me in the middle of that windy mess. He met me in my sorrow. He wasn’t caught off guard by my confusion or my questions. He was compassionate and comforting. He just kept drawing me in closer. I found as I continued to choose Jesus, soaking in His Word each day, He didn’t give me all the answers but He showed me more of Himself. And He was more than enough.

image4Slowly, He gave me the strength to stand again. With His hand in mine, we began walking back towards that house. The months went by and the winds seemed less severe. I never thought I would get out of that storm, but one day I realized that I was once again in the calm of my house. The battle scars were still there, the grief still resurfaced from time to time, and there was a hole from a precious little girl that would never fully go away. Things would never be the same. But do you know what the amazing thing is? Most days I’m okay with that. I know that the peace and confidence in His good and perfect plan is only because of Jesus. The pain is still so very real and there will always be a longing to have Cora in my arms, but I don’t want to go back to those days because through the intensity of that storm, He changed me.

IMG_1857So three weeks ago, as the wind howled, I was reminded of a storm. But more importantly, I was reminded of my faithful God who never left my side through it all. He is the only reason I am standing today. Those little painted rocks started out as something we could make together as we remembered Cora, but now they represent so much more. As the rock pile grows so does my confidence in His character. He is who He says He is. I’ve read about it in His Word and seen it proven over and over again in my own life.

image3The winds are going to blow. Even here in my small town the storms are raging in the lives of people all around me. Where will you find the stability and strength to navigate through the storms? Our lives can change in an instant, can’t they? But God never does. He is consistent with His character, trustworthy in His promises, and so very faithful. It is easy to get consumed by the chaos and confusion that the wind brings all around us. Let us fix our eyes on WHO He is and anchor ourselves in the firm hope we have in Jesus. Even the wind obeys Him.

Even the wind and the sea obey Him.

Mark 4:41

I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
    out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
    and gave me a firm place to stand.
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.

Psalm 40:1-3

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.

Hebrews 6:19

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  • Lauren - Your faith is a beautiful testament and your words are powerful to my soul today.ReplyCancel

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  • Mary Ann - In our church, there is a song we sing that says: The winds and the waves obey His will; Peace Peace be Still. It is a beautiful reminder of all the Savior did for us and that we can always find hope and faith in His almighty hand. Maybe one day for you, the wind will be a gentle breeze and it will tickle the back of your neck and mess your hair a bit….but in that gentle breeze, perhaps the wind will be the whisper of your precious daughter. She loves you!! She is aware of you!! She will never be forgotten. I will pray for you that you will continue to find hope and trust in the Lord. We don’t know the reasons things happen the way they do but I continue to trust that it is part of the plan He has for us and that someday, we will all have our perfect day when we are together with all our loved ones again. Thank you for sharing the cute pics of your boys and their wonderful rocks.ReplyCancel

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  • babykatesmom - What a beautiful reminder to read today, Jess thank you for sharing your heart. Your family is never out of my prayers. Thinking of you all as you celebrate Cora’s birthday soon. I don’t remember seeing that side of Cora’s stone before, so nice to see those pics of your boys visiting. Continued prayers from Florida.ReplyCancel

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  • Brittany Price - Loved this post so much! I love it because I know it to be true! I’m in the thick of grief right now after my world got forever changed with my husband passing away, leaving me a widow with three under three. Jesus is good, faithful and Hope. He is true through the pain & remains trustworthy as our sweet Savior. Thank you for proclaiming Jesus! So thankful a friend sent me this post.ReplyCancel

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  • Kristin - Beautifully written and inspirational. Please write a book.ReplyCancel

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  • Marsha Hinkle - Hugs to you! Jesus is faithful….I have followed your story for 8 years. Your story had made me cling tighter to the truth – found in Jesus.ReplyCancel

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  • Jayne - You have such a wonderful gift of sharing your heart in a very eloquent way. I started reading your blog when your precious Cora was just sick with the ear ache. What followed broke my heart for you and your husband and my tears flowed for a couple I did not know. I continue to read your blog and I so enjoy your heartfelt posts and your family pictures. Your faith is awesome and your love for family is outstanding. May Jesus continue to wrap you in his arms until you can hold your precious Cora in your arms again. Thank you for sharing with your readers.ReplyCancel

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  • Jennifer Tucker - Beautifully written and so true. He is always faithful. Thank you for sharing with us.ReplyCancel

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  • amber - Just beautiful. Your story & sweet Cora still bring tears to my eyes. As someone who found you at the beginning of this journey, I am truly in awe & inspired by the way the Lord has worked in you & used you since those early, dark days. It is so very, truly, bittersweet & radiates Jesus. Thank you for the way you humbly share the way the Lord is working in you with the world. It’s life giving!ReplyCancel

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  • Toni :0) - So very sorry for your loss. Thoughts and prayers for peace and comfort during this tragic time.ReplyCancel

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  • Toni :0) - My comment was for Brittany above. I thought it would plug in under hers.

    Jess, it amazes me how long it’s been. I still pray often for your family. Cora is never far from my thoughts as I always think of her in our intentions at mass. Continued thoughts and prayers as her birthday approaches. Loved the timely scripture as we have suffered a sudden job loss (again) and my daughter who is a dancer injured her ankle and is now in a cast for three weeks. I know we can weather this storm just as we have in the past as long as I keep the faith. God bless you for sharing this.ReplyCancel

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  • Heather - Oh Jessica, this is so well said! We have a faithful faithful King! I’ll be praying for your hearts this week! Love you guys! HeatherReplyCancel

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  • Amie - Oh dear sweet Jess, thank you once again even seven years later putting everything that is precious in perspective for me! You are an amazing friend and mom! Thank you for reminding me even through the storms to have faith in Jesus! I love you dearly! Hugs and prayers always!❤️??ReplyCancel

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  • House Stuff | Small Town Nebraska - […] We also went to look at where my grandparents had their farm. I remember my grandma taking care of her chickens in this chicken house. It must be a sign that I need chickens.They augered their grain into the window at the top of this building. My 92 year old grandpa remembers tining the roof of that building with my cousin and noticed that some of the nails were starting to come out of it. Wish we could’ve jumped out and fixed it for him. Such a good reminder that our things will fall apart and we will fall apart. Let us hope in the God who doesn’t change, the One who even this fierce, spring, midwest wind obeys. […]ReplyCancel

  • Baby Bottle - Beautifully written and inspirational.ReplyCancel

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