Sunday, May 11, 2008


Julie, here:

My sweet mother…

I cried this morning as I read my mom's blog and the comments that have been posted. Pam Meyers posted the following song. And that IS how it feels here.

Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place
I can feel His mighty power and His grace
I can hear the brush of angels' wings
I see glory on each face
Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place

Thank you to all of you for your love, support, and prayers. Your love and concern mean more to me than you'll ever know. My sister expressed what your prayers feel like perfectly- like a sweet wave of quiet peace.

My heart is aching and is so filled with emotion, like it's going to burst.

All I can think of is how sweet my mother is. I can't bear the thought of not having her here. She has always been the most loving and giving wife, mother, and Nana. I've always described her as the most talented woman on earth. She can paint, sew, write, sing, speak, cook, you name it- she can do it. And I mean do it expertly.

I don't understand why God is taking her so early, but I am SO thankful that she is my mom. I'm so thankful that this did not happen to her when I was younger. I am so thankful I've had some adult years with her. She has taught me so many things. She has touched me and has made such a huge impact on my life. I am going to miss her so much. I want more time with her. How blessed I am to be a part of this family. She is so sweet.

The things that have been written about my mother and father are all so true. I know. I've seen them in public and behind closed doors. Our family is not perfect. But my mom and dad's story is the truest example of real love. It's all about choice. They choose each other every day. They choose to love and to forgive. They've been strong for my sister and me. They've supported me in the toughest of times. They've given wise advice. They've modeled love, grace, faithfulness, and commitment.

My mom is young. I want her here so badly. I want more time to cook with her, to shop with her, to have lunch and laugh with her. More time to spend on vacation with her and my father, sister, and our four kids. She's been the best nana in the world! She's so thoughtful and has done so many things for Alexander, Nicholas, Claudia, and Lorenzo. I can't imagine her not being here. Even in her busy world, where she was accomplishing so much, she took the time to come and work with me- in my classroom, in my home… I could write forever on how special she is and on all she has done for me. She is amazing.

These past months have been so hard. I've felt so empty. It's difficult trying to make sense of this. For the first time this past week, I felt a little bit of strength… a little bit of joy… a little bit of hope for the future… The way I used to feel, before she became sick. Like my sister said before. It's time to rise up, and to follow in her footsteps. What a wonderful model and example she has been. I never dreamed in a million years something would ever happen like this to my mom. She's so strong and healthy.

Even though my heart feels like it's being ripped out, somehow her words still play in my mind…"It's going to be all right…" That's what my sister heard the night we found out about my mom. That's what my mom said to my boys last weekend. I know she will be so happy in heaven. But we will miss her here so much. There will be a hole left when she's gone. Her special touches on everything will be so greatly missed by us.

I'm trying to decide what to do today. About going home to my boys- this is their weekend with him. About my work, etc… And I just feel like I don't want to leave her. I can't describe her sweetness and the peace that flows around and from her.

Her sweetness is radiating in our home. Oh mom, thank you for who you are and for all you've done. Happy Mother's Day. I love you so much. ---Julie


At 7:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Julie, I wish I could hold you right now and comfort you somehow. We are strangers but I have been following your family's story for months now and encouraged that there are real love stories with real christians who follow Christ's example. Until finding your mother's story I had been discouraged with life and how people claim to be devoted to God but act otherwise. Watching your mother's and father's ordeal unfold opened my eyes to a lot of things. There is hope and there are real leaders who are a beacon in this world.

Your mother's sweet personality can be seen and felt from her blog. She amazes me with her positive outlook and her love for people, never negative, only positive.

I know that today is Mother's Day and it has to be hard on you; I have been praying for you and your sister.

God's blessings,
Teresa from Alabama

At 7:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was so touched by your writing today. I know you're hurting desperately, from deep within your heart. I know that you and Jennifer are going to be the strongest and most courageous women, having gone through as much as you have. Having such a Godly example teaching you HIS ways is worth all of this world's gold. You are very blessed.
I've had all of you on my heart and in my prayers today. You've all touched my life in such great magnitude. The decision you have to make is not an easy one, about leaving or staying there in Jacksonville. I'm praying for you as you decide which route you'll go.
I care so deeply about all of you. May God guide you, as the angels encamp about you.

In His Love,

At 7:59 PM, Anonymous Katy McKenna said...

I prayed for you girls and the whole family in church this morning, as well. If there was ever a case of children rising up to call their mother blessed, this is it! Thanks to both of you girls for beautiful tributes to your mom on Mother's Day.....

At 8:11 PM, Blogger Ane Mulligan said...

Julie, my mom went to Heaven a few years ago, so I know of what you're feeling. What helped me the most was thinking of where she was and what she would be doing ... organizing Heaven. ;)

Think on the fun times, the funny things your mom has done throughout the years. And laugh. That's one thing Kristy did a lot of.

I'll continue to lift you all up in prayer. Remember to post once in a while. We love you in Jesus.

At 8:28 PM, Blogger Blissful said...

Yesterday we celebrated my son's graduation from high school (we home schooled him throughout his life). It made me think today of the wonderful graduation we as Christians are eagerly awaiting - that glorious graduation, marching to a heavenly Pomp and Circumstances, adorned in our robes of righteousness, into God's
realm. And there He stands our proud Father, watching us come forward, welcoming us with open arms and a proud look on His face, ready to bestow the diploma of eternity. It is so comforting that He is SO eager to say - Well done, good and faithful servant.

May God be with you as graduation draws near. Love you

Lauralee Bliss
Fellow Heartsong Author

At 8:34 PM, Blogger Pam Meyers said...

I am so blessed that the Lord reminded me of that song yesterday when I read about the angels gathering around your mom.

How hard it must be to decide what to do. I also know that this time of year it's so hard for teachers to be out of the classroom. But this is a time that if at all possible you want to be with your mom and dad.

Pray about it and do what your spirit tells you to do. You will never ever have this moment again.

I'm praying for all of you.

At 8:41 PM, Anonymous Mimi said...

God Bless you Julie, like the other comment was made, i wish i was thee with you to hold you and pray . I lost my Mom when i was 32 yrs old, i still miss her ,, so many times over and over i ache for her. Just knowing she's in heaven and in no more pain helps. I will be praying for you all. I beleive God will give you the direction you need to go right now and have peace about it. i do not know you all in person, but it Spirit , i have sensed sadness, joy, peace and humor from reading the blogs. All of this has encouraged me so much. I love you all in the Lord .
God Bless

At 9:08 PM, Anonymous Michele Washam said...

Dear Kristy, Milton, Jennifer and Julie. I received the link to your blog via a writers group message board and have spent this entire day reading. I have rejoiced at your victories and have cried for the pain you have felt. You will never know how much your lives and the sharing of your story has effected me. I have yet to meet any one person who has inspired me the way Kristy has. I thank God every day for the gift of my husband and my children but reading your story has made me realize how much harder I need to trust, appreciate and believe our Heavenly Father. Today... my life changed forever. Thank you Kristy and my you dance with the angels always. All of my love and prayers to your family. - Michele

At 9:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Julie, my heart breaks for you. I lost my mom without warning four years ago. Even though I knew she was with her Savior, and with friends and family who had gone on before, I longed for a goodbye. Instead, it felt like she had been taken in mid-conversation. We weren't done talking yet. It was so very hard.

Your precious tribute to your mother brought tears. You said the things I wish I could have said to my mother. I'm so glad you were able to spend this time with her...yet I know it would never be enough.

I can say firsthand that God will carry you through the weeks ahead. Nothing compares to parting with the one who nurtured us even before we drew our first breath. I understand. I am praying for your family as you face this temporary goodbye, knowing that our God will be with you every step of the way.

At 9:48 PM, Blogger Karen Eve said...

Thank you for sharing. I lost my mom when I was 27, my dad when I was 19. Like you, I have the comfort of knowing I will see them again some day. I can only imagine what your mom has gone through, not so much from the cancer, but preparing to say goodbye. I'm the same age as your mom, with 2 children (son and daughter who are are little older than you) and 4 grandchildren. I know that I would be so proud if my children were able to handle it as well you two are, and I know that my Daddy God is big enough to take them through it, just as he is taking you through it, and he took me through it when my parents went on ahead of me. I'm still praying for healing. I won't give up until your mom's in heaven.
Blessings on you and your family,and also on your dad, sister, etc.

At 9:50 PM, Blogger Nathansma said...


Thank you for sharing your pain with us. We are crying with you. Stay with your mom as long as you possibly can and hold her for as long as you can. I too, believe you and Jennifer are prime examples of rising up and calling your mom blessed. You and Jennifer will make your mom proud of how you are handling this situation and even though hers are big shoes to fill, I have no doubt that the two of you will fully fill them.

Carla Blount Hood

At 10:03 PM, Anonymous Carrie Turansky said...

Dear Julie,

Thanks for sharing these precious thoughts with us. I will be lifting you and Jennifer up along with your sweet Mom and Dad.

I said goodbye to my mom when I was thirty-one, and I still miss her today, 23 years later. But I look forward to seeing her and my Dad again. I loved that earlier comment from one of the blog readers who said time is different in Heaven. We will turn around and our loved ones will be there with us.

Have you read Randy Alcorn's book about Heaven? It helped me so much. Also I enjoyed the book 90 Minutes in Heaven, with the beautiful descriptions of Heaven, the music and the colors we don't even have here on earth. It sounds so awesome.

Your mom is a dear friend who always took time to encourage me with my writing. I am a pastor's wife too, and an artist, and have grown kids. We have so much in common. Even after her diagnosis she tried to connect me with another author for a writing project her agent had suggested she do. She was facing so much, but she was still looking for ways to help me. That touched me so much.

You are blessed to have such great parents, and you will always have your mom'slove in your heart to encourage you.

I am praying for you and Jennifer and your mom and dad.

Love and prayers,
Carrie in NJ, co-author of two books with your mom

At 10:07 PM, Blogger Lynette Sowell said...

My BIL left us too soon this past November at 42. He came to the Lord a mere one month before he left us. I can't imagine my husband's ache and the hole in his life, remembering the 2 little boys so close in age who used to play together. God is a hole-filler. Despite how we feel, He is more than enough. There are so many questions I know we long to have answered. Change comes but HE is always the same...yesterday, today, forever...

At 11:21 PM, Anonymous Patti said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us- - how wonderful you've had a special relationship with your precious mother. My sweet Mama went to Heaven 3 years ago, and I still miss her terribly, but rejoice at the thought of seeing her again one day! ~ You all will continue to be in my prayers, Patti from Georgia
Psalms 61:2

At 11:37 PM, Anonymous sandra "hope"s neices said...

sweet dreams and keep fighting.
I got more than just my family praying for you, I got friends and their families praying for you. So as always, God is good all the time.

At 12:44 AM, Blogger DayleShockley said...

Julie, thank you for this moving tribute to your mother. It brought tears to my eyes and an ache to my heart. How blessed you and Jennifer are to have parents who love you, and love each other. I know they are both as proud of you and your sister as you are of them. I continue to ask the Lord to warp His arms around you all. His comfort is like no other.

At 1:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All I can just say is God Bless You All. ~~~ Lori in California

At 6:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pray about it, but this is one of the reason's they passed the FMLA. (Family Medical Leave Act.) I can tell you that, I wish I had climbed up in bed with my father and just held him as long as I could. Your family is so inspirational. God will bless you for all you have done for his Glory!

At 7:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I meant Julie above, but maybe this was meant for Jennifer as well.

At 7:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sweet Holy Spirit, Sweet Heavenly Dove. Stay right here with us, filling us with your love....

There a sweet, sweet presence in this place, and I know that it's the Spirit of the Lord....

This reminded me of this old hymn.

At 7:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's a Sweet, Sweet Spirit in this place;
And I know that it's the spirit of the Lord.
There are sweet expressions on each face;
And I know that it's the presence of the Lord.

Sweet Holy Spirit
Sweet heavenly dove
Stay right here with us
Filling us with your love
And for these blessings
We lift our hearts in praise (hearts in praise)
Without a doubt we'll know that we have been revived
When we shall leave this place

At 8:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dearest Julie and Jennifer,

Your tributes to your beautiful mom are touching so many lives. I read Kristy's blog and want to be a better wife, mother, Nana. I want to praise God during the tough times and stop asking, "Why, Lord?" Surely your parents have passed their great love of the Lord onto both of you.

Thank you for these love letters to the Lord and to one another. The Lord has great blessings in store for all of you.

Love & prayers,

At 10:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Milton, Kristy and girls. Yesterday in our church was so special. God's presence was so real. Our pastor had us all come forward and pray prior to the message. The presence of the Holy Spirit was so thick. Some came forward and spoke about what God was doing in their life. One young man confessed that he finally said yes to going into the ministry. Remember "spiritual emphasis" week at SEBC? That's what it reminded me of. My pastor began asking the P & W team to sing old chorouses and the one mentioned above was one of them. I looked down and it dawned on me that I was wearing a "teal" and white dress. In the midst of all of the spiritual things going on around me. God layed it on my heart to ask Milton if we could have a "teal" day to have anyone on this blog to wear teal and pray hard for Kristy. My vision was a whole group of saints from all over the world [raying for Kristy and the family ==all wearing teal. I know this sounds unspiritual, but somehow I believe it could be.

I love and pray for you all the time. You are on my heart and mind all the time. God has raised you up to minister and that you have done, even now when you hurt.

Annette (barr) grahl


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