joy and sadness

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Christmas 2011 will most likely never be forgotten in our family’s memory.

I have sat here staring at the screen in a mess of emotions trying to figure out how to share it…

the fun of having my girlfriends gather around to meet Joshua…

the joy of having all your children and grandchildren wake up together on Christmas morning…

the life that little boys infuse into our family…

the joyful anticipation of Baby Girl’s soon arrival…

the birthday celebration of one amazing woman and the emotions that we all felt as we read through 80 memories from family and friends that were tucked inside a treasure box…

how do you share your gratitude for the gift God gave us on Christmas…

But how do I express the joy and at the same time express the deep sadness in my heart. We have had two and a half years to prepare ourselves for such a time as this. There have been plenty of talks with God about why the delay, why the suffering. But now… it’s so hard to let go. Dad is sleeping all the time now and has not taken food or fluids for at least 5 days.

He slept through meeting his great-grandson Joshua for the first time. But I have to believe that as Mom held Joshua up to Dad, he knew.

 And as Jaxson sat on his lap… he knew.

And as each of us expressed our love and respect for him… he knew.

And so it seems that Dad will soon be stepping on shore and finding it heaven. He will touch a hand and find it Jesus’. He will breathe new air and find it celestial. It won’t be long now and he will wake up in glory and find it home.

Our sweet little friend Kate’s dance class performed for Dad and the residents at the nursing home on Dec 12th. From what I can remember this is the last time that Dad and I made a connection. I will treasure this photo.

I don’t need to ask you to pray because I know you are. You know what to pray for and when to pray and how to pray. Your love, concern and prayers poured out on us over the past two and a half years means more to us than I could ever begin to express. May God be glorified.

20 responses »

  1. Ruth,
    I am praying for you and all of your family. Give your Dad a BIG KISS for me…It is so hard seeing him like that, but like you said he will be with Jesus and all the glory and singing, dancing on the streets of Godl!

    Love you!!!
    April

  2. Oh, Ruthi! I wish I could give you a hug. But since i can’t, I will remind you of a Scripture that is too often over-used, but has such great truth when you are in the midst of the shadow:

    Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of lthe shadow of death, I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me. ESV

    In this terrible valley you find yourself in right now, HE is with you even there. For such a time as this, you have Jesus.

    Love you and will be praying!
    Trish

  3. Thank you, Ruthi, for taking the time to update us. We are grieving with you for the loss you are continuing to experience as Uncle Art’s earthly journey is coming to an end. We will continue to uphold you all in our prayers.

    Lovingly in our faithful Lord,
    Tricia, and family

  4. Oh Ruthi, my heart aches for you, Evy and the rest of your family, knowing you are all on an emotional roller coaster. The entire family will be in my prayers. Thanks for keeping us updated.
    Love,
    Nancy

  5. Ruthi dear, you and your Mom and Dad have meant a great deal to Donna and me over the years, even though your Dad touched our lives only briefly on a couple of occasions. We have prayed for him and the family often since then.

    Yes, it will be glory when your Dad meets Jesus, but just think about how wide his eyes will open when he is greeted by a looooong line of people whose lives he has touched, including many who he didn’t even know about. What a legacy! What a man! What a heart for God!

    With love, John and Donna Gary

  6. O Ruthi. It seems we all want to respond this way, to say what words can’t during this transitioning time. May you and your dear family rest in the shadow of His wing during this difficult, precious time.

    We love you,
    Lynn

  7. Thank you, Ruthi, for sharing your heart through words and pictures for us to experience with all of you. As I think of your dad and mom a passage from 1Thes 1:3 comes to mind. Paul is sharing about “works produced by faith, labor prompted by love, and endurance inspired by hope”, this is what we know about your parents and it is very evident that this also speaks of you as you have traveled over these last years. Our prayers are with you and for you in these nearing days.
    Love, Fred and Jan

  8. Dear Ruthi,
    My heart goes out to you and your family, and especially to Evy in these days. We had 4 years of watching my dad slowly decline. They call it the “long goodbye”. Yes, it is. But I, frankly was surprised how unprepared I was to actually see him go- after having so long to deal with the coming loss. I think whenever/however we lose them, it is just plain sad for us. Though it is mixed with unspeakable joy, as we try to imagine their final healing and freedom in the presence of Jesus!
    We are strong in the Lord. But we are so sad to watch them go. Our prayers are with you.
    I think back to the great blessing your parents were to us, in our churches, throughout many years. And through our years of fellowship in Worldteam.
    One can only imagine the scene when His Savior gives him a face to face ” Well done, thou good and faithful servant!”
    How we have loved and appreciated both of your parents through the years. I know that my many dear friends from Orlando and Seminole, who knew and respected them, will join with me in prayers now.
    You are loved,
    Carolyn Sherman

  9. Oh, Ruthi, I’m so sad to learn about your dad but so glad to know that one day I, too, will see him again at the feet of Jesus. I’m praying for you all, especially your mom, in these last days…it is so difficult emotionally because you don’t’ want your loved ones to suffer or linger in that awful state
    between life and death but how our hearts hurt when they are gone. But, thank goodness for Jesus and our knowledge of the path that lies ahead for all of us. We have hope and a future to look forward to. Blessings, dear Ruthi, for your beautiful post and faithfulness to serve your mom and dad as well as your darling growing family.

    Love, Barb

    • Thanks for your sharing Ruthi. I hope your father Art will be with his Lord soon so he can be full of life for ever.
      I’ll pray that you will feel the comforting presence of the Lord these days,

      With my prayers with you and your mother Evy,

      Anneke Kempers

  10. Ruthi it was so hard to see these pictures of your dad, but such an incredible testimony from you & your family of LOVE, caring & God’s amazing LOVE to those who minister to your father daily their in the home. I just lost my prayer warrior Rosalie 2 wks ago, but I know she was reunited w/ her husband & joined her Savior whom she was longing to be w/ for eternity, what a reunion. You, your Mom & family are in our prayers, thank you for your words & sharing the talent God has given you my dear friend. You are truly BLESSED w/ an incredible Godly heritage. Love, Diana Adams Carpenter

  11. Thank you Ruthi for allowing us (friends of your Mom and Dad) be part of your walk through this tough time. I’ve so appreciated your heart so evident in your writings. We have been and will continue to pray for you all!

  12. Ruthi – I am so sad for the news of Uncle Art’s recent decline. How difficult this must be for you, your mom, and your girls. As I read your words my heart aches, but as always I am struck by the way you face everything as a humble servant of the Lord. It is not only your mother who has that inner strength… you have it too! I am praying that God will be merciful for Art if these are his final days; and praying that you & your family will find comfort & peace. I love you! Kelly Fulp

  13. Beautiful image of love and family,Praying for each one of you at this “moments” of joy and sadness,that the wonder of God’s love and comfort will make you see thru and beyond
    i love you Ruthi and love your sweet family

  14. Dearest Ruthi, we are praying for Evy, you and your family. Saying goodbye is so hard. God is very present with you all and surrounds you with his love, comfort, strength and grace for the moment. We will be leaving in a few hours and anticipate the gathering of family in GA. We’ll be in touch later. We love you. Dad and Mom De Jong

  15. Ruthi and Evy, Grandchildren and Great-grandchildren,

    We are so blessed that you have shared your journey with us. We have wonderful memories of Pastor Art, Evy and little Ruthi. How bittersweet this time is for all of you. I know you feel the Lord’s presence in this time of transition, sorrow and even joy at this time. We love you and admire your sweetness, patience, love and strenghth for Pastor Art and the loving support you have given your mother and each other. God has used you to strengthen others through this journey of yours. May God keep blessing you and keeping you until we all get home!

    Love, Diane and Audrey (Ryan)

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