Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Our Story's not Wasted

Our whole family went up to Hume Lake to speak at a High School Winter retreat this past weekend. Jerrod actually got a call at noon on Friday that the speaker for the weekend had been snowed in in Washington, DC, and they needed a speaker pronto. So, needless to say, we headed up around 4:00 and Jerrod was speaking at the first chapel at 7:00ish.

Hume Lake Christian Camp is an amazing place. It is absolutely beautiful and nestled in the gorgeous mountains of the Giant Sequoia National park and sits right on a lake. The snow dumped out several feet over the last few weeks, so we were a little prepared for some cold weather and some fun sledding (pictures to post later).

Jerrod did an amazing job of communicating to over 1,000 high school students and we were thankful for the opportunity to be there this past weekend. God used it in so many ways, but little did we know how the Lord would orchestrate yesterday morning's events.

Yesterday (Monday) was the last time Jerrod was supposed to teach. We were packing up in our room so we could leave right after chapel to beat the buses down the mountain when we got a knock on our door. Our sweet friend, Lenny, who is one of the directors, came to our room and called Jerrod outside. I knew something was going on and seemed kind of serious, but I just kept packing up and thinking that maybe something had happened with one of the students.

Jerrod came back in the room and told me something I will never forget. A sweet family that is on staff at Hume had put their sweet little girl down the night before who was sick and went in to check on her Monday morning and she was gone. She had gone to be with the Lord sometime in the middle of night.

While I didn't know much more detail than that, all I could do was just sob and cry out to the Lord for this precious family. The nightmare that we endured in losing Tyler was happening to another family. I knew there would come a day, not knowing when or how or who, that we would get a phone call (or a knock on the door) letting us know that we were needed.

So many emotions welled up inside of me. I hated so much that another family was having to grieve the loss of a child, especially so unexpectedly as we did. Nothing can describe the ache and the pressing of your entire spirit that will never let up. It is relentless. You feel as if you are suffocating and you feel like you are in a dream all at the same time.

We had the amazing privilege to sit with this family yesterday. They are so surrounded by people that love them, yet I'm sure they are feeling so alone all at the same time. I found myself not having any words to say. Most of all I could muster out was just, "I'm so sorry...." I sobbed and cried with this Mommy, fully understanding the deep longing in her heart.

I felt so unworthy to even be in their home. I felt like my words hardly offered any sort of advice or hope or help. It's weird having been though losing a child, it seems like I should have some glorious thing to say or some wonderful encouragement to make it all better. But the truth is, grieving the loss of the child is the most horrific thing you could imagine. Nothing can make it go away and the loss is forever.

As much as I loathed the fact that that precious baby girl was taken from her mommy, daddy, brother and extended family and friends, there was a piece of me that felt so honored to be with them yesterday. Somehow in the midst of it, as much as I wished it would all go away, it gave worth and value to Tyler's life and death. God was using our story to somehow encourage and bring comfort to another family that is hurting.

I know that the Lord does not waste our pain and He does not allow circumstances to happen for no good reason I got to be a witness to His sovereignty yesterday. We were not "supposed to be there" this weekend, but God had other plans. He uses ALL things for good and for HIS glory. As much as I knew this about the Lord, I got to actually be a part of it and it felt good.

I'm so grateful that Tyler's story, our story, is being redeemed. Please pray for this family as they have a very difficult road ahead in the days and weeks to come.

Loving God more today because of WHO He is.....


  1. Dear Jen and Jerrod,

    What a faithful and compassion comforter our God is to those of us who grieve. I am grateful He gave you a glimpse of how He redeems even the most painful events of this fallen world.

    To think of all God did to bring you to Hume at that very moment, to be His comfort to others. Thank you for being willing to share your tears and your story of sweet Tyler with the Carey family as they begin this journey of loss.

    May He continue to bring value to your loss and may the comfort you have received be a comfort to others - II Cor. 1.

    Praying with you for another mommy and daddy who now must wait a lifetime for their blessed reunion with their sweet child.

    Grace and Peace,

    Bonnie Redfern

  2. Praying for the family who gave their sweet daughter back to the Lord.

  3. what a sweet story. I am so glad that you are finding yourself in a place to serve the Lord and others through your loss. I think of you often.

  4. What an amazing God we serve.... He knew just who was needed to be at Hume this weekend and I am so glad it was your family.

  5. Oh Jen! I think your story has been "not wasted" more times than you will ever know. Thank you for sharing and reminding me how He works and loves us.

  6. love you so much. i'm so glad you were there this weekend. Praying for you and this sweet family. it's amazing to watch Tyler's ministry unfold.

  7. Jen ~ Wow wow wow. Amazing. Sweet Tyler's life has so many purposes, and I'm SO grateful GOD allowed you and Jerrod to see this one close up. Love you.

  8. I love how God orchestrates divine meetings like your experience with this family. Even in the midst of the pain it just helps knowing someone is there that understands the same kind of grief. I'm sorry for your loss as well as this family. May God continue to be near and give peace that can't be explained.

  9. Praying for you! Thanks for sharing your story!!!

    Please know your in my thoughts and prayers and I am an email away if you need to talk.


  10. I just hopped over from Kelly's Korner. It is a testimony to your strength in Christ that you were able to serve another family when your own loss is so fresh. God bless you as you continue to grieve your son.

  11. Jerrod and Jen... Tears flow as I read your post. April and I love you both so much. Your words to us Monday were of the Holy Spirit and His power in your lives. Saturday was a beautiful day that we will never forget and we will forever cherish that God has placed you here for such a time as this. We love and appreciate you and will never be the same.

  12. Thank you Jen, tears also roll down my face as I read your post. We were so glad to have you here on Monday, you did have words and understanding eyes that told even more than your words. I am sorry that we have met in this circumstance, but so happy to know you and Jerrod. He did such an amazing job on Saturday, we have both been incredibly blessed by the two of you. As I've been reading more of your story tonight, more tears have fallen for you and yet my heart is both encouraged and challenged by your faith. I'm looking forward to talking soon.

    Oh...I have the same background on my blog...weird!

  13. Ahhh Jen you are able to word things so well, I read this entry and kept shaking my head in agreement. I wasn't sure why I hadn't seen you at Tiff's wedding, now I know why. The family you are talking about is a dear friend of mine's sister, so I knew the story. And of course I thought of how God was going to use your loss to bring comfort to them..somehow. I remember when we lost our Shanna I was with 2 other families within a year go through the same loss, so I do understand even when you think you have nothing to offer, God does through you. And through our faithfulness He brings healing to us somehow too.
    But when you said you had no words to speak...it is so true. People think we have some insight to share on how to get through this, what to say to the family, but the reality is we understand all to well what these people will now have to face and we know no words will change it. It is only God's grace that carries when we can't walk anymore and the hope that someday we will all be together again, never to have to say goodbye with aching hearts. Thanks so much for all your wisdom and the gift you have sharing your feelings.