Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Jinnie -- to them that love God

If not Jinnie's life verse, then certainly the one that themed her time with the tumor... Romans 8:28: "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose."

How many times have we read that verse, heard it tossed into a conversation with a struggling friend, been beaten over the head with it... and wondered do all things really work together for good? To those that are called by Him, the answer is simply "Yes."

I said to Hubby on the way home from her funeral this afternoon, it must be a rare privilege for a pastor to preach the funeral of one whose life was really dedicated to Christ. The genuine article--all week, not just on Sunday morning. Faith unfeigned. Evidential love for the Lord in her daily walk at work, at home, at church. You couldn't spend any appreciable amount of time with her without knowing her relationship with the Lord was the one she cherished above all others. Trust me. I worked with her for almost 5 years, 5 days a week. In an office full of women. :-D Calm, steady, unflappable, never *ever* in a hurry (even sometimes when you wanted her to be ;-) ). Always ready with a smile, a wink, "how ya doing?", a hug. Conscientious worker, steady friend.

She had worked there 12 years before the Lord took her. She worked full-time all the way through the second round of chemo/radiation--daily doses that *had* to have been exhausting. But still she went to work, smiling. Seriously, the joy of the Lord was her strength. There is no way there was any of her own strength left. No way. But, see, it never was about her. From the very first e-mail announcing her tumor, all she wanted was for this to be used by Him and for Him.

August 31, '07 (I have a tumor) ~ My Lord knows just what He's up to........and what He wants. I just need to rest in His loving care!

Sept.1 (re: the tumor's discovery) ~ It was the Lord's perfect revealing time.........He is a faithful, loving Father!! ... Our Lord is so good!

Sept. 17 (the day she got her results-aggressive tumor, stage IV) ~ We just need to pray that the Lord will have His way- He can choose to heal, or choose not focus is going to be on those I begin coming in contact with. That's where He wants me next. We need to keep His purposes in our prayers! My desire is to keep following each path- and be able to give Him glory as I travel along. I thank you for praying with me!

Sept. 21 (a schedule for treatment)~ There are so many of you praying! I'm so thankful for your prayers and the Lord's grace and direction- He is good! ... The Lord has opened this door, and I am following His direction as each day goes by. Any healing is as safely in the Lord's hands as it ever has been- He will give just what He has planned! I've been so thankful to see witnessing opportunities arise already in this situation. I know that's the Lord's purpose for where I am, and I'm praying that I will faithfully witness for Him through each step. Thank you all for your faithful prayers- our Lord will as faithfully answer!

Sept. 25 (major change in treatment plan) ~ The Lord has faithfully directed to this path rather than... I just need to be where the Lord wants me! I'm so thankful for the Lord's direction- and His wonderful plan!

Oct. 4 (radiation mask ready) ~ Thank you all for your continued prayers! The Lord provides so faithfully!

Oct. 11 (radiation mask needed re-doing to protect optic nerves, which of course meant rescheduling everything) ~ Our Lord is in control of each detail- time and treatment! He's a wonderful Lord! I thank you all for your continued prayers! He hears and answers according to His wonderful plan!

Oct. 18 (new mask ready) ~ I know its the Lord's provision- and His timing! He's so faithful every day! I thank you again for your continued prayers! He's continuing to hear and answer!

Oct. 25 (re: the start date for treatment) ~ Most of all, the Lord knows when the beginning needs to be- and He will bring it to pass! I am thankful for your faithful prayers as the Lord continues to answer!

Oct. 29 (first treatment day) ~ Thank you for your prayers! The Lord is providing - as He faithfully does! I'm thankful for your prayers to our wonderful Lord!

Dec. 10 (at the end of radiation) ~ I'm thankful for those that I've met during this treatment time, and the things I've had opportunity to share with them. We can pray that the Lord will continue His work there! He is a faithful Lord! Again, thank you for your prayers to our wonderful Lord!

Jan. 5, '08 (a personal note re: hubby's impending job hunt) ~ I'm praying the Lord will direct you in this- He has a purpose for His plan! We can trust Him to lead!

Jan. 12 (after an MRI showed the tumor was growing after radiation) ~ I'm thankful that we don't need to know the "results"- they're in the Lord's hands from the beginning! I'm just praying that I'll keep my focus on the right things, and take the opportunities the Lord sends my way. His ways are always perfect! Again, thank you for your all your prayers and encouragement!

Feb. 5 (getting 2nd round of stronger chemo) ~ I'm thankful that the Lord already knows- they're in His hands from the beginning! I'm just praying that I'll keep my focus on the right things- the Lord Himself. He's our wonderful Lord! Again, thank you for your all your prayers and encouragement!

Feb 21 ~ Hi Ladies, Its so good to see the Lord at work each week! I thank you so much for your prayers! I was able to write the text for a testimony (to make into a tract) this week. Its already been able to be used - to people who don't even know who I am =). That's what's wonderful about seeing the Lord at work! I know your faithful prayers are one of the things that the Lord uses to spread His name! I've attached the text (I posted it yesterday)- pray that it will continue to be used! Love, Jinnie

Feb. 28 (on the possibility of another study/treatment at MUSC) ~ I'm thankful that the Lord already knows! I thank you all for your faithful prayers! The Lord provides in so many wonderful ways!

Mar. 7 (she was accepted into that study program) ~ Another little step in the process, I do want to thank all of you for your faithful prayers! ... We can pray together that the Lord's plans will be the focus! We serve a wonderful Lord!

Mar. 8 ~ the Lord will do as He sees fit =).

Mar. 13 (on a date being set for beginning screening at MUSC) ~ Its so good to follow the Lord's steps- just as He lays them out! His care is wonderful! Thank you all for your faithful prayers!

Mar. 18 (screening delayed) ~ We know this is the Lord's path- His care is always right! He's so good- all the time!

Mar. 21 (new screening date) ~ The Lord is setting up His time for us to see! We have our Lord's wonderful death and resurrection to celebrate this Sunday- all that He has done for us!


Y'all see a pattern here?? Susan, another of our co-workers, read this old hymn-text at the end of her eulogy. I about lost it, but this really does sum up Jinnie's attitude.

Not I, But Christ

Not I but Christ be honored, loved, exalted;
Not I but Christ be seen, be known, be heard;
Not I but Christ in ev'ry look and action;
Not I but Christ in ev'ry tho't and word.

Not I but Christ to gently soothe in sorrow;
Not I but Christ to wipe the falling tear;
Not I but Christ to lift the heavy burden;
Not I but Christ to hush away all fear.

Christ, only Christ, ere long will fill my vision;
Glory excelling soon, full soon I'll see—
Christ, only Christ my ev'ry wish fulfilling—
Christ, only Christ my all in all to be.

Oh, to be saved from myself, dear Lord!
Oh, to be lost in Thee!
Oh, that it may be no more I, dear Lord,
but Christ that lives in me.

~A. A. Whiddington, 19th Century

As Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 7:1-4,
A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one's birth. It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart. Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Jinnie -- co-worker, friend

This doesn't do her justice. But then obituaries never do. So here, have this picture instead.

She loved puns and cooking. She took a week off work every year to coordinate her church's missionary conference. That was her *vacation*--and no, it really wasn't a vacation. She'd come back exhausted and glad it was over but already planning for the next year's. She was a crack shot with a rubber band. Did I mention she had a sense of humor? Last August 31st, I received an e-mail from her. It said, in part:

"Hi gal, I thought I'd best let you know what's happening. I've been having some struggles for several months (pre-seizure "surges", constant stuff!). On Monday I had an MRI - and they found a tumor in my temporal lobe." Just like that. Hey, got news... brain tumor! No drama, just Jinnie. :-)

I made a crack back to her about being in her right mind, to which she replied: "I would never claim to be in my right know better than that...... I just say "its all in my head" =). This has been wonderful news for me (as strange as that sounds). I've been having intense pre/post seizure "surges" (as I call them) since the last time I saw [the doctor] he decided we needed to have the MRI to make sure nothing was there............and then found there was."

Two weeks later: "It appears my head contains some rather complicated stuff............and I never would have guessed it =). I do have an aggressive tumor (Glioblastoma Multiforme (Astrocytoma, Grade IV)- basically, it isn't located in a place that can be removed, and it is highly "unknown" as far as treatments definitely known to control it."

Seven months later, she's Home!

More than her sense of humor, though, she'll be remembered for her love of our Lord and her concern for others. She was one of those friends that was always ready with a smile, a hug, and a "Hey gal, how's it going?" then she would wait 'til she got an honest answer out of you. (What is it about silence that compels us to talk to fill it?) In every update e-mail she sent out through her time with the tumor, she reminded us to be praying--not for her healing, but for the Lord to be glorified, for witnessing opportunities, for the Lord's will to be done. And it has been.

To borrow her sister's words from last Thursday: "Today was Jinnie's time to go home as the Lord took her there, and we are so glad she has no more suffering here on this earth. The Lord has truly been faithful and gracious to have taken her to Himself at this time."

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. Psalm 116:15.

What follows is the text of Jinnie's testimony that she e-mailed to co-workers and friends February 21st of this year. (She wrote out her testimony for the purpose of it being made into a tract, which can now be found on-line here.)

More than Enough!

Each of us has a life story. No two are just the same. Some have striking events while some are more of the daily grind. We know we live on this earth and our lives are heading somewhere. There’s a God who has given each of us a life to live here. What has He given us to live our days? What I’ve found in my life is that He’s given us more than enough for every need! He tells us about them all in the words He’s provided in our Bibles!

In the summer of 2007 my life took a unique turn. I had been having unusual feelings and headaches which lead the doctor to schedule an MRI. They discovered a brain tumor in the Front Temporal Lobe. I knew that this was a new experience for me! As I considered this new path, I knew that God knew just where it was going to lead. I found that I could choose to trust Him each step of the way. When we trust He gives us more than enough strength to take the next step, and peaceful confidence in our hearts! “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee.” (Isaiah 26:3)

Surgery came next- not hard to remember the date of 9/11! It revealed that the tumor was a malignant GBM and could not be removed. I would be able to have radiation and chemo therapy to attempt to slow down the growth of the tumor, but humanly speaking, this tumor does not have removal treatments available. I knew that I just needed to thank our God for what He had given! He does nothing random for any of us! His purpose is always more than enough! “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

During this time I began to hear some of the amazing things that God was doing! I began to hear from people all over the country saying, “we’re praying for you!” It struck me that I was just a piece in this event. The Lord was using this story to encourage people all over! He was giving more than enough joy and encouragement to so many people- including me! I didn’t need to have this tumor removed to have joy in my heart. I needed to see God’s love for me more- to know Him better! “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” (Romans 15:3)

Radiation and chemo treatments came next. A 30 day process designed to slow down the tumor’s growth. Now many might expect that God would heal completely during such a time. He is certainly able to do so! He may yet choose to, but there’s even more than physical healing in His plans for us! He has more than enough life available for us all!

We all look at our lives here on this earth. I know I looked at everything! So many things to see and do- so many things to experience. Our God created this earth and life here, but it is a temporary time. There’s another life after this one on earth, and it will never end! We will live it in one of two places. With God Himself, or without Him in punishment. Our God has told us everything. As people, we aren’t the same as God. He’s perfect, we aren’t! He tells us that all of us have lives full of disobedience to Him. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) That was eye-opening fact to me. Was there any way that I could fill that gap? Not on my own! God provided more than enough to meet our need! He knew that only He could pay for the sin in our lives. Our God came to this earth, as Jesus Christ. He lived here, taught here and died here to offer us a way to gain that new life! “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) When Jesus Christ died, he paid for all of our wrong doing. We can come to Him now and humbly ask for that payment. He will give it to us! If we will trust what our God has done for us- we will have more than enough life! That’s the best gift of all from our God! I trusted God for that gift many years ago, and I know today that the best thing I can do is share that gift with you.

I have some future possible options for this tumor. There are research programs that can be entered. I plan to follow each of the Lord’s steps along this path. I have more than enough of His joy and strength here in this life, but I have even more than enough coming in the next!

Friday, April 4, 2008


I've been enjoying reading Jessie's posts about their latest trip to Ethiopia. Then tonight some one's blog sent me here, reading about an Indian who goes home once a year to give out the Gospel. Read his story. It's worth it.