Tuesday, December 23, 2014


A guest post by Mark:

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13:13

Love is easy.  At least it's easy to grasp why this is the greatest.  God loves us.  He sent his Son Jesus who loves us.  I love Jenny, Vienne and Ivy in ways that I don't fully comprehend; with a fierceness and dedication that defies explanation.

I grew up learning about faith.  Believe, believe, believe.  For awhile I believed because I was supposed to and then when I got a little older I had the opportunity to challenge my beliefs.  I chose to continue believing in Jesus and his message.  I learned to pray.  I practiced praying. I believed I was a good Christian if I was continually communing with God.  I believed in prayer and that God heard me.  I still believe he hears me.  

Hope.  This word, spoken in a soft, fierce whisper.  This word, echoing in my car as I shout it while hurtling down the highway.  This word, hope, brings tears to my eyes.  I never knew.  I never really knew what it was to hope until Vienne died.  I hope so much now that my body aches.  I hope so deeply my bones vibrate with longing.  

Here is the raw truth - for me faith & believe used to equal knowing.  I can't say that anymore.  Heaven always had this mythical quality that seemed like the setting for a fantasy novel.  I hope in heaven now.  And truly I say, my hope is drastically stronger than my belief ever was.  What does that mean?  It means that I can't speak with the same confidence I used to about . . . well, pretty much anything.  Vienne is gone.  My daughter.  No reasons.  No explanations.  Just gone.  How can I possibly speak with confidence about anything but my hope, this new iron kernel of desire lodged in my throat that makes it nearly impossible to talk about.

So there it is.  Love is the greatest but hope is what I live for.  Hope is the smile on my face (as I am notorious for always smiling).

Hope for seeing Vienne again.  Hope for Jenny and Ivy as well.  Each day I hope for their peace, love and joy but each day is also a question mark.  Each day is filled with doubt, wondering and some fear.  So many times I look at my phone and am thankful it's not ringing because no news is good news.  Hope is that I never have to live through a moment like losing Vienne again.  And yet this is the life we live, this is the world we live in.  Awful shit happens.  Tragedy happens.  If not directly to us there is our world of loved ones, there is always someone enduring.  Not to oversimplify but it seems like every time I hear of something awful I believe less and am forced to hope more.  

Here is the greatest hope of all: Jesus, please be true.  I don't need answers if you are true.

I hope this Christmas is full of meaning for you.  Caleb, our 8-year old godson, and one of Vienne's best friends, drew this just the other day and I think it sums things up pretty well:


  1. Thank you for sharing your heart, Mark. You're such an amazing writer. And I am so glad you still believe God hears you. As it seemed He did not answer our cries to intervene in the way we would want when Vienne passed from this life into life eternal, the knowledge that He hears us can be hard to believe...or to believe He cares when He hears. I believe He hears and cares and is Lord of all, Mighty God, the One Who is and was and is to come. And I believe He sees the bigger picture that we cannot and that He has an eternal plan - one that can effect us with sorrow on this earth, but one that, I believe, will bring us ultimate joy in the everlasting. There is our Hope. I appreciate your take on Faith and Hope. Truly, my once-strong faith was shattered, but it is being restored, little by little, because of the Hope I have...a bit of a round-about! But that shattered faith is being made even stronger for it's "shatteredness"...not faith in the here-and-now. No. Faith in the there-and-then...ultimate life eternal with the Father.

    Most certainly, this life is full of uncertainties and experiencing the losses that we have in our family, our days can lean toward fear at the "what next?" My heart grieves for your pain, you and Jenny. As Grammy, I can only know a portion of that pain. You lived and breathed Vienne daily for a precious 4 1/2 years. My prayer is that our faith and joy continue to be restored, little by little, and more fully in time as the days march forward, closer to the time of our sweet reunion with our loved ones that are waiting for us on the other side. May our faith grow and our hope hold strong as we learn to once again trust the One Who holds our very souls...even when we don't understand His ways. Who would He be if we understood Him fully? Certainly not an eternal God. This mom loves you.

  2. Very powerful and moving words! Thank you for sharing your inspirational perspective on Hope. Now I'm crying all over my phone...Lisa

  3. Mark, Chris and I often talk of this very thing...we used to feel like we knew and had perfect faith, now it is very hard to actaully know where our children are, we sure HOPE it is all true and that God is what He is. I hope with all my heart we can see our children again. Sending love to you, Jenny, Vienne, and Ivy

  4. Pondering much on this subject of Hope. Today I read in Hebrews 10:23:
    "Let us hold unswervingly to the HOPE we profess, for He who promised is faithful". My faith may be weak, but my hope is strong and I am thankful that HE is faithful. "I believe Lord...Help my unbelief" (Mark 9:24).
    Streams in the Desert today, 2/17, wrapped this issue of faith and hope together.
    And..."I am confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living" (Psalm 27:13).
    Missing Vienne so very much. Anxious for the day we are all together in the Land we were meant to be, in the presence of the One on whom our Hope hinges.
    "Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see" (Hebrews 11:1). May we hold to this hope and at least have faith in His faithfulness.