The Ultimate Sacrifice

Naturally, after the passing of Jane, my mind has been running non stop with questions, battling with what has happened, and constantly reminding myself that God’s plan never returns void (Romans 8:28). I was also reminded of the story in Daniel where Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were tested but in the end they proclaimed that no matter what the outcome was they would never bow down to the gods and idols, they would only worship and give glory to the one true God (Daniel 3:16-18).

So, as I ponder these truths and work them in my mind over and over again I still feel the deepest pain imagineable with Jane not being here by my side. I dream about life with her, how wonderful it was, and how peaceful I felt. Life with Jane was simpler. I realized what was important and how many things didn’t even matter. I mean, Daniel and I took cold showers for a month in Stanford because the water never got hot. We asked them to fix it, but it never happened. I wore the same 3 pants and shirts over and over. Now I’m not saying we all haven’t been there. In fact I’m sure all mothers and fathers can vouch for the sacrifices they make for their children- ours weren’t any greater…my point that I’m coming to is that we all make sacrifices and I just finally realized that my life was so much better when I started focusing on the Lord; that a life for Christ is so much more fulfilling. Paul writes in Romans 12: I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

With the Passover approaching I cant help but think about God sacrificing His own Son and me having to give up Jane to the Lord. In no way am I comparing the sacrifices because giving up Jane doesnt even come close….God willingly sacrificed His son and, quite frankly, I would never have willingly gave up Jane. What I do know, though, is that God willingly gave up His son for me, to gift me with salvation and because of this I cant help but fall on the Lord and know that He loves me so much and will not forsake me. So now, Lord, I ask that if you would only take away a part of this pain that pierces my heart I would be grateful.

Psalm 40

I read this Psalm to Jane very often….

I waited patiently for the Lord;
And He inclined to me,
And heard my cry.
He also brought me up out of a horrible pit,
Out of the miry clay,
And set my feet upon a rock,
And established my steps.
He has put a new song in my mouth—
Praise to our God;
Many will see it and fear,
And will trust in the Lord.

Blessed is that man who makes the Lord his trust,
And does not respect the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.
Many, O Lord my God, are Your wonderful works
Which You have done;
And Your thoughts toward us
Cannot be recounted to You in order;
If I would declare and speak of them,
They are more than can be numbered.

Sacrifice and offering You did not desire;
My ears You have opened.
Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require.
Then I said, “Behold, I come;
In the scroll of the book it is written of me.
I delight to do Your will, O my God,
And Your law is within my heart.”

I have proclaimed the good news of righteousness
In the great assembly;
Indeed, I do not restrain my lips,
O Lord, You Yourself know.
10 I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart;
I have declared Your faithfulness and Your salvation;
I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth
From the great assembly.

11 Do not withhold Your tender mercies from me, O Lord;
Let Your lovingkindness and Your truth continually preserve me.
12 For innumerable evils have surrounded me;
My iniquities have overtaken me, so that I am not able to look up;
They are more than the hairs of my head;
Therefore my heart fails me.

13 Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me;
O Lord, make haste to help me!
14 Let them be ashamed and brought to mutual confusion
Who seek to destroy my life;
Let them be driven backward and brought to dishonor
Who wish me evil.
15 Let them be confounded because of their shame,
Who say to me, “Aha, aha!”

16 Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You;
Let such as love Your salvation say continually,
“The Lord be magnified!”
17 But I am poor and needy;
Yet the Lord thinks upon me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
Do not delay, O my God.

The Promised Land

Well, here we are in the Promised Land… and our troubles are still with us. Many people told us to enjoy ourselves on our trip and for some crazy reason I thought we would get away and actually enjoy ourselves, that being away from “it” all would be the ticket away from pain. Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Grieving is grieving no matter where you are!!! Nonetheless, we are trying very hard to just be and soak up the culture and take-in the experience before us.

So far we haven’t seen much. We wandered through the old city and wailed at the western wall. We went to the Holy Sepulchre Church where, supposedly is the place, Christ was crucified. I’ve formed a few opinions so far and they may change over time, but so far I don’t get the whole thing about people feeling Gods presence here… More than other places in the world. I’m not taking away from the fact that this is REAL stuff and it’s the Bible land… It’s just that so far all of the holy sites have been turned into shrines and I just don’t get it. It doesn’t remind me of our Shepherd, Jesus Christ. But, again, that’s just my opinion and anyone can disagree.

Anyhow, it’s tough being on this trip but we are powering through and hoping something good comes from it. Our prayer is that God makes us feel like His beloved children, that He reminds us that He loves us and will not forsake us. Of course we know what the scriptures say, but we want to “feel” it. ***on a side note, and I’m just throwing this out there for anyone who may still read our blog- Please don’t feel the need to apologize if you bring tears to our eyes when talking with us. We cry on our own in private, in public and in talking with others. Honestly, it is relieving and feels good!!! So, in all love, don’t apologize and please don’t tell us not to cry. (just putting that out there)

Holy, Holy, Holy

Tomorrow is the last day of Passover for the Jews, the beginning of Easter for the Greek Orthodox, a huge prayer day for Muslims ( as is every Friday), AND it’s Friday the 13th!!! Jerusalem is going to be a maze!!!

Holy Pilgrimage

So we’ve been here a little over a week in Israel, and are coming to an end in a couple days. We are in Galilee right now, having visited Peter’s house, Mt. of Beatitudes, and driven by several other historical landmarks including where Jesus fed 5000 with just a few loaves of bread and some fish (Matt 14, Mark 6, Luke 9, John 6), but this site, along with nearly all sites written about Jesus in the Bible have overly adorned monuments that take away from the history. After visiting the Garden of Gethsemane, Mount of Olives, the cross site, and the tomb of Yeshua Messiah (what the Christians here call Jesus Christ), and dozens of other biblical sites, you really have to use your imagination to get the picture.

The first few days of this trip were very difficult, so much that we changed our flights back home to make the trip shorter. It’s hard to enjoy ourselves right now, and ultimately we’d both prefer to be at home. But we’re here, and we’re gong to make the best out of it. Our original intent, which is still important, is to connect to eachother, and connect with God, and try to understand our life, if just a little bit.

We had the chance to meet up and get coffee in Jerusalem with a couple (a friend of a friend of a friend) that we didn’t know at all! They turned out to be a very nice couple, and invited us to go to worship with them, and since we weren’t doing anything else, we went. A 5 minute walk took us to the basement of a 14 story office building, and opened up to a giant underground amphitheater filled with Christians: locals, messianic Jews, immigrants, and visitors touring the Holy Land. It was definitely not what I’m used to for church, but very very neat. Everything was in English. After singing several pretty worship songs, they got ready for a sermon, but abruptly interrupted themselves to sing ONE MORE song. They sang in Hebrew directly out of Isaiah 61:1-3, with words in English to understand:

“1 “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
Because the Lord has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
3 To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes.”

I don’t know why, but I immediately grew uneasy, knowing that an entire congregation of a few hundred people was singing a song to Elisabeth and me — and they didn’t even know it! Although God didn’t heal Jane, He is still letting us know He’s here?!?! I cannot fathom God’s mind.

There was a last minute guest speaker, who was from a huge church in South Carolina, and the theme of his sermon was, of course, dealing with loss! It was kinda comical how much that speaker was talking right to us and had no idea.

Well, a picture is worth a thousand words, so instead of me blabbering on, here are a couple pictures of breath-taking moments we’ve had here.

Wailing Wall with Dome on the Rock behind:
Wailing Wall – Remnants from the Second Temple, extremely holy for Jews
Dome on the Rock – a base rock inside is widely accepted where God first began the creation of Earth. The gold dome is real gold, pure solid gold.
The most ironic part about this is that Jews and Moslems are worshipping just feet from eachother.
Wailing Wall


I think it is safe to say that this trip has been, hmmm, eye-opening…interesting…chaotic..necessary….let’s just say it has been many things!!! Here are just a few of the funny highlights that go to prove I am a complete wreck! Lol!!! (I have to laugh about it, I have no other choice, well, besides to cry).

1. Somehow I got our arrival date to israel wrong (even though I booked the tickets). So, when we arrived on the 19th at 2:30am instead of on the 20th we had no place to stay. We were both over tired, Daniel was starving, nothing was open and we were lost in an unknown city. (and for the record they might as well post a CLOSED sign in Israel during Passover).

2. In a matter of a week we managed to change hotels 4 times in the same city. That was chaotic and I can’t quite figure out how that was planned either.

3. We managed to make it out of Israel and into Rome after arguing with the Israeli rental car company over 1/4 of a gallon of gas or less. Apparently we didn’t overfill the car with gas… I dunno??!!

4. Since we decided to come home early I needed to change our hotel reservations in Italy. We showed up at this little old Italian lady’s house in Rome. She hosts a small B&B. She buzzes us into the building and I tell her that we are staying with her. She looks totally confused…so we go up to her apartment and she has nothing on her books. After a while I realize that I changed our arrival for may 20th instead of April 20th. Ahhh!!! We laugh, she laughs, and then tells us that she had worked with the reservation company for 13 years and nothing like this has ever happened. Lol!!! She kindly called her friend who has a vacant apartment and we have been able to stay there.

5. We rented bikes one day and during a leisurely bike ride I managed to run into a piece of rebar and tear a perfectly round hole in my sweatshirt.

6. Daniel dragged me all over Rome today trying to find tickets for the soccer game. We finally find the place, get our tickets and head to the game. After half time we decided to move up a few rows because something was blocking our view… I had just finished telling Daniel that it is so gross how everybody smokes here. It seemed like right after that everybody around me decided to light up. I had at least 4 cigarettes blowing right into my face. Needless to say, Daniel and I have become second hand smokers. (ok, so not really.., but it feels like it)

7. I walk into the women’s bathroom at the stadium but I was so confused that men kept walking out of the stalls. I double checked.., I was in the women’s restroom. I dunno??! Oh and apparently it’s a BYOtoiletpaper. Who woulda known?! Lol!!

These are just some of the adventurous things we have experienced…what a vacation. At least we’ve had some laughs!!!

8. Daniel just reminded me of #8… So we are on the mt. of beatitudes, overlooking the galilee and reading the sermon on the mount from Matthew 5. It was very peaceful and beautiful.., as soon as Daniel finished reading a bird pooped on his leg. This was just confirmation to us that a life for God means we will get pooped on. Perfect timing right??!! Haha!