Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Thank You

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has been so loving and supportive during this difficult season. Michael passed from this life to the next knowing he was loved by so many. What more could any of us ask for, right?

Today's memorial service was befitting Michael's spirit in so many ways. From the group of musicians who shared their talents to honor his memory, to the hundreds of friends and family members who attended and offered their condolences. When I began to plan Michael's memorial service, it was my intention that we honor him for who he was - and he was so wonderful - and give glory to God for what he had done in Michael's life. Because if Michael hadn't asked Jesus into his heart, we wouldn't have been able to celebrate much of anything today. It just would have been a sad occasion for a nice guy who died too young.

We're all going to leave this earth one day. Some of us will learn that we have a terminal illness like Michael did, and we'll have time to reevaluate our lives and perhaps choose to embrace the gift of life that Christ offers us. Others will die unexpectedly without the time to contemplate the pages of the Bible and the claims of Christ. But one way or the other, we are all going to have to stand on the choice we made or didn't make in this lifetime. So, I'll advise you as I advised my dear husband on a late summer day last year when we first came to understand how aggressive his cancer was - don't leave this world without Jesus. I praise God he listened to me for in doing so he not only assured his salvation, but he also gave me the gift of comfort and peace I could only have in knowing he believed.

This blog began as my marriage did. It was a new season of life full of hopes and dreams for a long, happy marriage and lots of babies. I know that God will still make all things new, but I'm going to need a new space for my blogging to continue in a more private way. I have already invited most of my blogging friends to join me at my new site, but if you would like to be invited, please email me. I will consider each request carefully. And know that if I don't give you the link, it's not personal. I just need a space where I can be honest about being a young widow and living through this season of grief.

With love to you all,
Joannah

47 comments:

Sniffles and Smiles said...

I don't want to intrude, Joannah...but if you would like me to follow your blog, I would be honored...I will continue to pray for you no matter what. You should have my email. God bless you. With much love, Janine XO

Alex and Jill said...

I have thought about you all day. Prayed each time you came to mind. This post brought me to tears, once again. I'm so happy that Michael is with the Lord and yet so sad that you had to say goodbye way too soon.

Love you, sweet friend.

Donna said...

Joannah, I cried big fat tears reading this. What you said is so beautiful. Especially this part:

"...if Michael hadn't asked Jesus into his heart, we wouldn't have been able to celebrate much of anything today. It just would have been a sad occasion for a nice guy who died too young."

That is so true and I often wonder how anyone who doesn't believe in eternal life can have any peace when loved ones die.

I was so happy to start following this blog because of the new hope of a long happy marriage and lots of babies. I remember that you closed one door when you opened this one and it really SHOULD have worked just the way you planned.

I'm praying with all of my heart that you have many rich and beautiful blessings to share with your friends on your new blog and I'm really honored to be allowed to witness the next chapter in your life. I wish we didn't live 400 miles away!

Lots of love,

Donna
Our Blog: Double Happiness!

AprilMay said...

More tears from this reader as well, and a new conviction and determination to bring my dear father to Christ! He is always heavy on my heart.
I agree with Donna. Your life should be so different right now. But, God's plan was for your marriage to give Him glory, which it did, and for you to share Jesus with your beloved, which you did faithfully. I know Jesus is saying, "Well done, good and faithful servant!"
I am so happy the service was beautiful and meaningful and something you can wrap up in your memories and pull out later.
One more thing...you have such a gift with words, and as a young Christian widow and someone who has struggled with infertility, I think you have so much to offer others. Have you ever though about writing a devotional book about your journey? Just a thought. ;)

Jan said...

Dear Joannah,
Dear Joannah,

You and Michael have been our thoughts and prayers today. It does my heart good that Michael's life and passing was celebrated today.

We, too, would consider it an honour to follow along in the next chapter in your life and all the future holds for you, and we certainly understand if this is not to be.

Please know that thoughts and prayers will always be with you. We wish you happiness and peace.

Sending lots of love and ((hugs)) your way.
Jan

Michele said...

Dear Joannah,
You speak so well from your heart and touch my heart with your words. I understand your need to continue blogging in a more private way. I would like to continue being inspired by your words by following along on this next chapter of your life. I totally understand if you would prefer to limit your audience. Talk time to soak in Jesus' love for you and Michael. I pray that you are gentle and patient with yourself and that others are as well as you celebrate Michael's life and grieve his death.
Michele
emilyhope7702@optonline.net
(For some reason I can't send you a private email from your email link on your blog)

Sandra said...

Once again I am in awe of your strength and grace. I have been thinking about you today. Thank you for inviting me to follow along on your new blog.
Big hugs to you....

dbb said...

Joannah,

I am so sorry for your loss.
I have been a reader of your blog for a year or so. I am also a widow, my husband died in a car accident in 2003. He was 42. I wish I knew more widows in this cyber-world, as I haven't come across many young widows in real life either.
I would be honored if I could also follow your new blog. If not, I completely understand.
Diane (dhanson_bryant@hotmail.com)

Kim said...

I am sitting here crying of joy and of sadness. you are an AMAZING lady and so glad to have met you through blogging.
Love you girly..
Stay strong..
Hugs..

Diana said...

You have been in my prayers since I have started reading your blog a few weeks ago. I read your post today through tears. My mom pasted away 2 years ago with Cancer and my dad 9 months later..readying your words brought so much back and I could not agree more.
You are a amazing women and I would love to follow along with you in your new blog but I understand as I really do not know you at all..
I just want to say you will be in my prayers.
Hugs
Diana

Tamara said...

Love, peace and grace my Sister in Christ. You were in my thoughts and prayers today. You (and Michael) have blessed and enriched my life so very much. Thank you for sharing Her-Story, your story with all of us.

I do suggest you keep all of the blogs you wrote here and someday consider a book - one that could very possibly minister to other young widows.

...because we're His,
Tamara

Selima said...

Joannah, I have followed your blogs for years now. I would love to follow you on your new blog. But I understand that if you don't want to give me the link. I have been praying for you and Michael. I wept that God decided to take him home. I am so sorry for your loss.What a glorious gift that he went home to be with Jesus. I pray that God will comfort your heart in the days to come. I will keep praying for you. I know that days to come will be difficult.
Selima Garris
lovechrist92@gmail.com

Karye Luppen said...

Hi Joannah,
I have followed your blogs for a couple of years or more- from Just for Jillian to All things new. I have only been a lurker until now, but have really appreciated reading your well written blogs. I am also a teacher in Southern California, and still single at age 38, and identified with a lot of what you have written about. Anyways, you don't know me at all, and I totally will understand if you don't decide to give me the link, but if you did, I would be very interested in continuing to follow your blog. Anyways, I will keep sending you my good wishes and thoughts, no matter what. Karye Luppen (kluppen@stmatthewsschool.com)

Corazon Abierto said...

Joannah,
I’m glad that you’ve been able to find peace and comfort in Michael’s decision in his final days. Please do remember that for many years he brought joy, laughter, love, gentleness and music into hundreds of people’s hearts. There is so much in his life to celebrate, in addition to his spiritual journey.
-Corazon Abierto

Jacquie said...

I would be honoured to be allowed to continue following your journey. I also understand if that's not possible at this time.
I don't comment often but I read faithfully, and I have to say your love and trust in Jesus has left me in awe of you, truly in awe...

(bjmkcollins@hotmail.com)

Tracee said...

Joannah, I've been following your blog since you were waiting for Jillian. My husband and I adopted our daughter in 2002 from China and when I found your blog, I was touched by your faith. When you made the decision to pull your dossier and marry Michael, I rejoiced with you and also grieved with you for pulling your dossier. We also pulled our dossier for a 2nd daughter at about the same time.

You won't know me from Adam, but I would be honored to follow your new journey. You and Michael have been at the top of our prayer list for weeks because I was convicted to offer up prayers for peace for you and your dear Michael. I will understand and honor whatever decision you make regarding who will join you in your new season...but please know that you are still in our prayers and we only pray and wish for you peace and understanding.

Blessings to you...

Tracee Moore
www.vintagelilliput.blogspot.com

hearts2home said...

Joannah,

What an inspiring and awesome post. Your quote, "don't leave this world without Christ" will reach out and touch more lives than you will likely ever know. More than that your strong beliefs and convictions will inspire so many, as they already have, to seek out the love and understanding of Christ. I will keep you in my heart and prayers. I realize that you do not know me personally, but I have followed your blog for over a year. I don't have my own blog and
I created my account specifically so I could write to you a little while back in this comment section. I was super nervous to write any comment, since you don't know me, but Christ was pressing on my heart to reach out to you. I shared with you how so many things you were going through were similar to what I walked through....being an elementary teacher, a husband with cancer after being newly married, and being a Christian. Having been a young widow myself at the age of 25 I completely and totally respect the fact that you need to do what is right for you. No one else can make decisions for you or tell you how to feel. YOU alone will know. It may mean crying or screaming or being silent. Each person's grief is so individual and unique and mostly needs the understanding and prayers of others. I remember being judged and criticized for just not "being over it already." Seriously. Those were not the supportive people I kept in my life. Just as the seasons in nature change, the walk through grief changes as you go. The heart never, ever stops loving. Being a Christian is the greatest joy because, as you know, on that walk Christ is with you. I find your faith to be so inspiring and I would be honored to be invited to follow along on your new blog. I support you and your raw emotions without judgement, only with prayer. I also understand that this might not be best for you. Please take gentle care of you and please know that I will continue to pray for you. ~Sarah
smklein@new.rr.com

Jodi said...

Joannah

I have followed your blogs for over three years.My sister has adopted two children from China (I write a lot of her blog for her www.journey-back-to-china.blogspot.com - no time)and I enjoyed your blog form the first time I read it. I was so happy for you when you married and have prayed so for you for the last year. I am so, so sorry for your loss and hope that in time you will find happiness again. I would love to be privileged to follow your incredible journey

Jodi

Leigh said...

Tears flowing, heart aching, speachless! Trying so hard to find the words to encourage you yet I am constantly amazed at how your words encourage and inspire me and everyone else whose been fortunate enough to be touched by you. I thank God Michael had you in his life. You are such a blessing to everyone! I'm sorry I have no words to encourage you ... right this moment, my heart hurts more than it ever has ... I'm sure it's because we share such a similar journey - newly married, kidney cancer diagnosis ........

I wish we lived close to one another. I feel so connected with you. Love you like a sister! Thank you so much for including me in your journey!

Joannah said...

@ Jodi

Please email your address to me. Thanks! :)

Jboo said...

Joannah -- Have been reading your blog for some time while you were in the China program as I have a daughter from China. Thinking of you and keeping you in my prayers. I would be honored to follow along your new blog if you so decide. Take care.

Janet
rjmboo@gmail.com

Ginny said...

Somehow I found your adoption blog a long time ago and as a single adoptive Mom I usually try to "look after" others through their process (albeit without comment most of the time)so I've stopped by yours every once in awhile and caught up.
I would feel intrusive asking for a chance to view the private blog during this difficult time but I do hope that every once in awhile you update this blog or another somewhere and let us know your okay and/or what God has planned for you in the future.
Much blessings and prayers of comfort during your difficult days ahead.
Ginny

Kelly and Todd said...

Joannah --

I would very much like to follow your new blog but understand if it's not meant to be. If this should be the end please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers, and I wish you peace and comfort as you begin this new chapter in your life.

-- kelly

Mary said...

Hi Joannah

My name is Mary, I found your blog years ago when I was following my friends blog and her journey to adopt her daughter. At the time I was waiting to adopt my second child from Russia. I rejoiced at the fork in the road, prayed for IVF to work (been there), and have been praying for you and Michael this last year. I can never say I know how you feel but I do know how much cancer stinks! During my wait to adopt both my parents were diagnosed with agressive terminal cancer and died one month a part. My Mom had a brain tumor melanoma and my Dad had stage four tongue cancer (never smoked). I was a caregiver and could relate to the lack of control, too many visitors, calls etc. I recently signed up with google so I could post to you. You inspire me, make me a better Christian and I even try to clean the clutter. From the bottom of my heart- thank you for sharing with us! I would love to continue following but if not please know you will always be in my prayers. God bless you my sister in Christ.

Mary
cmphil@aol.com

Kudo said...

Joannah

My heart greaves right along with you. I never had the pleasure of meeting Michael but I do remember the light in your eyes that summer afternoon when you shared with me that there was love in your life. You have had to make so many difficult choices but your faith continued to sand strong though it all. God had you right where he wanted you to be. Where he needed you most. With Michael in his arms bringing him closer to his final savior. You never gave up you continued to shine a light in Michael’s life even when he rejected it. Knowing that the right time in the right way he would welcome God into his life and you both would live in eternity together someday. You are a good and faithful servant my friend and you have truly blessed my life just knowing you and getting to experience your faith. I can’t wait to watch how God blesses your life in the future.

Love
Paulette and Annalise

Jaclyn said...

Dear Joannah,

I am so sorry for your terrible loss, and hope that your friends and family are there to help support you during this time.

There is something else I wanted to tell you - I genuinely believe that you will be a wonderful mother. And I hope that when you are ready, a child will come into your life.

All the best to you in the future.

Jaclyn

Kim said...

Joannah,

While I recently came across your blog and have only been following you for a short time, I would love to continue to follwo you, but of course understand and respect whatever you decide to do.

You have been an inspiration to me, your beauty and Grace through such a difficult time, when it would have been easy to turn away from God, you turned to Him. I hope to continue to learn from you.

Thank you for sharing your journey thus far.

Love,
Kim

leroenza said...

Dear Joannah,

I've been reading your blog for the past few months...you have been an amazing encouragement to me as you fought this battle with Michael together all the way to the end.

may the Lord continue to help you find the strength and peace to live life abundantly for His glory. may you wake each day and truely know that each day is new in Christ's love. your tears are wiped by God.

God bless,
Leroenza

Kris said...

my heart still aches for you, and i have been remembering you in my prayers each day joannah.

god bless you on this next road.

if you'll have me, i'd love to come along but understand of course if you'd rather i didn't.

all the very best to you. how i wish i could hug you.

Lilly said...

Please accept my deepest condolences for you and your family. I don't know what's like to loose a husband and your best friend but know that you are in my prayers. I know that God is very pleased with you for talking with Michael about Jesus. It takes just a grain of sand to built a mountain.

It will be an honor to continue reading about your life. I started a while back when you applied to adopt a Chinese girl from China. I guess that’s how I found your blog. I myself, adopted a Chinese baby girl in 2007 and just came back from china again with a 3 years old boy.

Life changes so rapidly and we have to take the time and effort to enjoy it and pause a little. God knows that you have a strong and beautiful heart and will continue leading you in his way.

Many hugs and know that we are here for you!

Joannah said...

@ Lilly

Please email me your address.

mrslabrador at verizon dot net

Thanks! :)

antigone1022 said...

Please may I keep reading, I would understand if this is not what you want but I am asking as I feel so very involved and don't want to walk away.

antigone1022@aol.com

Quinns'mom said...

Joannah,
FIrst please accept my heartfelt condoelnces, I have felt your loss all the way in New Jersey. I have been a lurker since the Just Jillian days. I started reading your blog when I had just became a Mom after adopting my lovely daughter from China in 2005. I, too am an elementary teacher. I hope to continue reading your blog as you inspire me.

all my best!
christine

Rjayjkay said...

Joannah: I went to high school with Michael and I see he was the boy who became the man you called your husband. I am sure you have already considered this, that your blog would make a wonderful book to help others in like situations and a wondeful legacy to leave describing your relationship with Michael. I experienced a very similar situation some years ago and never completely finished grieving but with the help of your blog, I am about there. Our time was very short as well. He had brain cancer. One difference was that he had money so he was able to "buy" more quality time (2.5 yrs). I believe I was the luckiest girl in the world to have found the "one" in my lifetime, as you did because I don't believe this is true for everyone. And, I wanted to tell you that having found him & having him in my life for even short a time has been fulfilling in a way no words can describe. Coupled with your faith, I know it will for you as well. Much happiness to you today and always. Janet S.

Rjayjkay said...

Joannah: I went to high school with Michael and I see he was the boy who became the man you called your husband. I am sure you have already considered this, that your blog would make a wonderful book to help others in like situations and would be a wondeful legacy to leave describing your relationship with Michael. I experienced a very similar situation some years ago and never completely finished grieving but with the help of your blog, I am about there. Our time was very short as well. He had brain cancer. One difference was that he had money so he was able to "buy" more quality time (2.5 yrs). I believe I was the luckiest girl in the world to have found the "one" in my lifetime, as you did because I don't believe this is true for everyone. And, I wanted to tell you that having found him & having him in my life for even short a time has been fulfilling in a way no words can describe. Coupled with your faith, I know it will for you as well. Much happiness to you today and always. Janet S.

Joannah said...

@ Janet S.

Thank you for your sweet comments and for taking the time to encourage me. I am open to writing and speaking about my experience in the future if that's where the Lord leads me. I would be honored to do so, but only time will tell if that's my purpose, or not.

Be well. :)

my3 kids said...

Dear Joannah,

I would love to follow along..we lost my dad when he was only 40 years old to cancer. It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to go through. We have one bio son and 2 daughters, one born in Vietnam and one who was born in China. I wish you all the best. If you don't mind me following along my email address is sjolson@tbaytel.net Janice

Ty's Parents said...

Dear Joannah,

I am so sorry for your loss. You and your family have been in my thoughts and prayers throughout the years. I came across your blog for Jillian when my husband and I started the adoption process to China in 2006. I too am a teacher and found common threads in your posts. You have a way with words. Your determination and faith are inspiring. May God grant you his comfort and peace as you begin a new chapter in your life. I would be honored to follow your new blog so I can continue to pray for you and your family.

In Due Time said...

Joannah,

Thank you for this post. It touched home as I believe in God, but my spouse does not.

I would love to continue following your journey. My email is on my blog page under the contact tab.

Still praying for you...

Kim said...

Count me as a follower if you feel comfortable in doing so...

Ethel said...

Dear Joannah,
From the moment we "met" in 2008, once in a while I came accross your blog again and loved to read your words. You and Michael have always been in our thoughts, even though I never left a comment.
Would love to continue following your journey Joannah, the one who knew our little Jing way before we did.

Ethel
t.vandervlies@upcmail.nl

Sherry Mc said...

Dear Joannah, I've been following your blog from adoption days on. My daughter Jenny was waiting the same time as a single mom. We brought her Abby home in January 2008.I've kept you in my prayers all along, your needs were changing and my prayers changed with them and continue now. I'd love to follow you along and see what the lord has in mind for you now. Sherry McCormick xoslm@cox.net

cmendo09 said...

Joannah,

I have been silently following your blog for about two years now. I felt a connection to your journey since the day god graced me with finding your blog. I am also a teacher and have struggled with infertility. My prayers are with you as I know the upcoming days and months will be very difficult. I would love to continue following your journey.
God Bless,
Carol
cmendo09@yahoo.com

Gail said...

Dear Johanna,
First and foremost my deepest deepest sympathy to you and yours.
I have followed your blog since its beginning, so happy for you when you posted about marriage and changing direction in your plans.
Being a single parent I have prayed for that special someone, but I guess it just hasn't been the right time.
Even though I have posted few times I laughed and cried with you.
And so many prayers.
I would be honored to follow your blog. I have gotten so much strength from your faith.
If you choose to include me my email is gebea@comcast.net
If you click on my blog you will understand why your faith has helped me in dealing with sickness, not only my scare with cancer but my nieces fight as well.
Blessings,
Gail

KHM said...

Dear Johanna

Whether you realize it or not you have been extraordinarily generous with your thoughts and struggles.

It has been a pleasure to pray for you and for Michael.

Whatever time you need to rest recoup and heal you surely deserve.

Praying for peace and healing and rest for you.

Kim

佐漢 said...

I do like ur article~!!! ........................................

Kim said...

Hi Joannah-

I have followed your blog since I began my adoption journey a few years ago and would love to continue to do so if you'll allow me.

I think of you often and wonder and care about how you are doing. My prayers are with you each day and I know that God is helping you to find the strength to get through this dark time in your life.

Many hugs...
Kim
buckeye1213 at yahoo.com