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Published on October 25, 2013, by Rich Johnson in Update.

“How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.”  

Ephesians  1:3-6  Msg

 

As many of you know by now, the past several weeks have been some of the most difficult days and weeks we have ever been through in our lives physically, spiritually and emotionally.  Not only for Robin and me, but our entire family has known a depth of suffering we had not had to travel in our journey up to this point.  I have not written or entered any new blog entries simply, because our lives have been inundated with Robin’s illness and care.  The battle raged for a number of weeks in her body with fevers, pain and overall suffering with the culmination coming on a Friday afternoon two weeks ago with her experiencing unbearable pain and having to be transported to the ER.  To make a long story short, she was given pain killing medicines which helped alleviate the pain, but did not seem to completely bring relief to her.  She was admitted, but for the next three days was just made comfortable by the administration of medicines that would help her endure the pain the cancer in her liver was causing her.  As many friends, pastors and family gathered in her room to pray, Robin remained unresponsive.  On Monday night, October 14 our sons, Rich and Jason, our daughter Heather and myself were gathered around her bed to enjoy a series of worship songs Robin loved.  We prayed as a family one last time with Robin present, and at 1:55 am on Tuesday, October 15, the love of my life and the finest mother this side of heaven to our children, peacefully went home as Jesus led her to the place He’s been preparing for her since He ascended to heaven more than two-thousand years ago. Our hearts and lives dramatically changed in an instant.  Time seemingly stood still for us, as my Robin was now in the tender care of her savior.  The One she has been serving since her salvation at a very early age was now a reality for her, as Jesus came to usher her home.  Her earthly journey had come to an end, and she finished well.  The impact of Robin’s life was evident as more than two hundred people came to express their love for Robin and our family at the visitation and funeral.

The last week and a half have been extremely busy with details of the funeral, family and friends coming and going, etc.  But now, the busyness of this season has come to an end leaving our family to quietly grieve.  It’s been a difficult transition for us, but one filled with God’s grace and strength.   This week, I felt as if I should get up, and attend our Wednesday night prayer service.  It was a difficult emotional day for me.  I cried out to the Lord most of the day and prayed He would come to me in a special way.  My heart was torn with memories of Robin, and I could not seem to find relief.  I knew I had to get in His presence.  I went to church with a deep longing to be close to Jesus.  I needed to sense His love for me once again, for the loneliness in losing my Robin was weighing heavy on me.  As I sat enjoying the worship and entering His presence, the above verse of scripture (Eph. 1:3-6) appeared on the screen before me. As I read this passage,  His unfailing love had became apparent to me once again, as I read how we were the focus of His love since before the foundations of the earth were laid.  These verses became life to me, and I sensed His marvelous embrace once again that caused me to become a tearful and grateful man.  His love and assurance once again permeated my spirit and lifted me to new heights.  I came away from that service knowing my Lord had met me personally, and I was a focal point of His love in my grief.  He cared for us long ago to die for us, but He continues to love us in any and all situations we go through in this life, and brings comfort in our hour of need.  Surrounding myself with friends after the service that night only confirmed this love through the Body.  I’m so very thankful for the support of our friends.  I came home Wednesday night refreshed and lighter, as the Spirit of God had met me there.  I was getting ready to go to sleep, and I recieved a text message from a friend in another state who had told me I was heavy on her heart all day.  She went on to say, as she prayed for me, the Lord simply said to her in her spirit, that “I am his, and he is mine!”  For the second time that night, the Lord was confirming His love and care for me in a personal way.  It never ceases to amaze me how He loves us and cares. One lesson to be learned from this encounter with the Lord… When we are in need, don’t sit and wait to think God is just going to show up at our beckoned call.  We must place ourselves in a position to receive from Him.  We must draw near to Him, and He will draw near to us!  I could have wallowed at home in my grief, but the answer for me was moving forward and going to church.  He met me there.  I know, as I avail myself of opportunities to be in His presence my heart will heal from Robin’s loss.  I will always miss her, as I now have  to deal with the largest void in my life I’ve ever had to deal with.  But He will continue to uphold me and help our family in these days ahead, as we depend on Him.

 

My health update:   I have been obviously dealing with ongoing issues myself for which there is little resolve barring a miracle.  The past two weeks I have been vomiting several times a week, which is a clear indication I am now becoming obstructed in my duodenum. I do have two stents in my duodenum, but the tumors are pressing in to close off  the opening to my small intestine.  I’m losing weight at an alarming rate and my strength is not good, as it’s difficult for me to get the nutrition I need.  I’ve spoken to my gastroenterologist about this growing development, and they tell me it’s simply going to get worse with no resolve in sight.  It will cause me to succumb at some point, as I will have to stop eating.  A feeding tube will not be an option for me nor will surgery since I have several tumors in my digestive system.  Friends this is disheartening for me, as I don’t want to leave my family so soon after Robin’s passing.  It would be devastating for them to lose us both within a close time period.  Healing is the only option for me, and I’m praying to that end.  Please, please take us to the  Lord about this.  We appreciate it so very much!

 

Thank you!  We have received an amazing outpouring of love, prayers, cards, food and kind expressions from an untold number of people these past several weeks.  Our family is more than grateful for this love being shown to us.  We are humbled and blessed beyond description!  We appreciate the love and all that continues to come our way.  Many of you came from Colorado, PA, NJ, MN, Iowa,DE and many other places to support us, and we’ll always hold the memories of your honor close to our hearts.  You are all very special to us.  Thank you, and may God richly pour out His blessing on you!  

 

Don’t forget our book, “Through the Valley”  As our journey’s in this life come to an end, I feel it’s even more important to share our message of hope and encouragement through our story.  If you know of someone dealing with a “Valley Experience” or not, our book will encourage them to look to the Lord.  It’s our story of suffering and victory in the midst of difficult days.  Buy several copies as gifts, as Christmas is just around the corner, and I’ll sign every copy for you.   You can secure your copy(ies) through the book tab on this site, and we’ll get them out to you promptly.  The testimonies I’ve begun to hear by people reading our book have been very encouraging.  It’s not about us, but about the God we serve.  

 

Thanks again for your continued prayers, and  thank you to all who have prayed for Robin over the years.  She is ultimately healed now, and that trademark smile will radiantly shine throughout eternity, as she is fully realizing the presence of the Lord!

I will continue to write and keep you informed of my situation in the days ahead.  Thank you for praying for me!

 

In His Love,

Rich