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On Loss and Pain

Lizette Williams-Marlow
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Recorded

  • February 21, 2020
    5:30 PM
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Dear Heavenly Father thank you so much because. We're not here just by chance today we're here because you brought us here. God I ask that you remove from us anything that may be hindering your holy spirit and your presence from abiding with us here tonight. Lord empty as of ourselves and tears of our own righteousness and fill us with your righteousness. Fill this place with your spirit. Lord God My my words. This is not your this is not my story it's your story your thank you for this opportunity in me your name be magnified Amen. It was exactly today there were 21st. 993. That I said I do. Oh I was marrying the guy who had changed my life. He helped me understand more about life and about God. He hold me see how special I was. Him that day I believed I was going to grow old together with the one that I loved I did not know that God had other plans for me. Previous to my marriage to John my 1st husband I had experienced a few losses and. Losses that have impacted me greatly. I had lost my aunt my mom sister in a fatal car crash and my grandmother my mom's mother to diabetes my grandmother had lived with us since I could remember until she died during my 1st year in college. She had been like a 2nd mom to me both of these losses our losses offered me affected me greatly physically and spiritually and mentally but through them both I had the comfort of knowing that it wasn't the end it wasn't a final goodbye and that we would see each other again. And I grew up Adventist I was a daughter to a pastor and nice to a pastor sister to a pastor so I embraced my parents faith and at the age of 9 I had given my young heart to Jesus I remember the earnest desire to be his I begged my father for baptism I wanted to be part of the church I wanted to be part of God's family but as we all know about baptism doesn't mean that struggles with sin go away or doubt goes away. During my sophomore year in college I had the privilege to go to school C's 4 year. Being away from home makes you grow up and think about who you are I started feeling ashamed of my Christian walk I thought I had nothing special to offer or to speak of. I didn't have a conversion story and I didn't have a miraculous story to share or to give a testimony of all I had was a walk with God since. I was a little girl. And I felt that that was not special enough God to support you the ologies student to help me realize that that was special enough and that God didn't need to have a broken person to witness and to work for him that an innocent child of God didn't have to be trampled out in the world to be counted as special. After John and I got married in 1903 we moved to Maryland My parents love to travel they would come visit us often in between their adventures and it was during one of these travels abroad that we received a call John and I had taken a long weekend there was no cell phones back then and for 3 days my family had been trying to contact us. There had been an accident a fatal accident in a freak accident and my father my beloved father had passed away I hadn't seen him in nearly a year and I didn't get say goodbye I didn't get to hug him one last time my world just crumbled I had no father I was fatherless another loss. Several years later we moved back to California to be closer to family my husband's aunt and uncle were very frail and we wanted to go move near them and to be able to help them. But by the time we made our move to California both of them passed away. More losses now that we were back in California we decided it was time to start a family. We had been married long enough to enjoy a professional life and some travel it was time to do the family thing but it proved to be a lot more challenging than we expected and after failed attempts with fertility drugs we gave up. And then the Americal happened we were pregnant we were expecting our 1st child the excitement and the expectation was extraordinary I remember the day it was a Friday afternoon and I was the last patient on the list and we were going to find out the gender of our baby. I made sure that my husband had brought the video camera so that we could capture the moment I had been watching programmes on t.v. with you know the filming the moment and I wanted to do the same thing. And then it happened the ultrasound technician told us we'd better wait the doctor needed to speak with us. That day we found out that I was carrying a boy but that day we also found out that our precious baby boy had a rare trisomy that would never allowed him to live. We would have to wait to see him grow up in heaven. The inevitable loss was just too much and too great for us. It was on another Friday. Several weeks later that we met her sweet little baby Ian. He was just under a pear and. He died in my womb. While my mom and I sang songs that I had hoped to sing to him one day. That day my brother and my sister in law came to be with us. My brother reminded us of the day our great heavenly father saw his son die. It was also on a Friday. That pain that the father hearts must have felt in turn I knew that he knew the pain that it was I was in that we were feeling he too had seen his son die. The pain that I experienced with the loss of my son was in Men's I thought I would lose my mind for days I woke up crying and went to sleep crying I thought I would go crazy one morning I woke up thinking if I don't get ahold of myself I'm going to lose my mind and my husband. A close friend of the family a retired pastor called to lend his condolences. In our conversation he mentioned that I may be questioning God and perhaps even doubting him. It was then that I realize that I wasn't doubting God at all and I wasn't even questioning God my mind to get me back to life at home as a child with my parents I had learned that God loved us no matter what that he we can rely on God for everything that God has great plans for us I had learned that at home as a child that was my not so special at all experience I had doubted as a college student I didn't know it then but God had plans for me and I think back now and I see how he was preparing me for bigger challenges. I knew that it wasn't in God's plan for us to suffer or experience loss. The pain we were feeling was because God didn't create us for experiencing death or sickness or pain that's why I hurt so much I would not wish the loss of a child on anyone in my mind as a matter of fact I thought me going through this great loss was one less person out there experiencing that in somehow I found comfort in that a few months later we moved to the east coast again God had opened doors something different a new adventure was before us. By the time we made our move to college till I was pregnant again and it was in the late spring of 2002 that our 2nd miracle happened we were the proud parents of our son saying. A year later came our daughter Sophia. Work was challenging being a parent was super challenging but we did everything by the grace of God taking one day at a time. It was towards the end of the school year in 2007 that my mother in law came to me with an unusual request she was the only family we had living in the area we were getting ready to go on a family vacation with her to the ocean she told me the doctors had found a mass in her colon and asked me not to tell my husband until after our vacation and never thought that that was going to be our last vacation with John's mother on July 11th 2007 my mother in law died after having had surgery to remove a large cancerous mass. This was my husband's only relative his only parent the loss affected us and now our small children as well how do you explain to a 4 and a 5 year old that they will not see their loving grandmother again. Another loss. And that August my husband went in for a follow up appointment with his doctor 2 years prior he had been diagnosed with a chronic hepatitis b. that he had contracted from his mother at birth. That August Chronos could hepatitis b. claimed my husband's health it had caused him to develop liver crowns are. My 42 year old husband and father to my babies was now sick and I was pregnant with our 3rd child we were now facing the greatest challenge of our lives neither of us were ready for this. With the fresh news in my mind I found myself driving home one afternoon when I heard a song that spoke just how I felt. I was sure by now God you would have reached down and wiped our tears away. Stepped in and saved the day but once again I say amen and it's too racy. And the phone rolls and I barely hear you whisper through the rain I'm with you and your mercy falls I raise my hands in praise the God who gives them to you so where. Are remember when I stumbled in the wind and you heard my cry to you and you raised me up again my strength is almost gone how can I carry on if I can't find you. But as the thunder rolls I barely hear you whisper through the rain I'm with you and as your mercy falls I raise my hands and praise to God who gives and takes away I lived my eyes into the hills where does my help come from my help comes from the Lord the Maker of heaven and earth. I knew in my heart that no matter what I needed to stand firm like the young men the Hebrew boys in the fiery furnace God only asked us to have faith that's all so I was going to have faith that my God would heal my husband and even if my god didn't deliver him I would still praise him. Our baby was born one month after my husband's diagnosis part of the treatment plan included a liver transplant when our little Isabella was just 6 weeks old we got the call there was a donor the thought of what had to have been in order for there to be a liver available was daunting someone had to die so another could live what Christ did for us took on a deeper meaning for us. And the transplant was perfect after several weeks of isolation John was able to come home he was healthy there was no signs of cancer in the scans but the pathology report showed the tumor in the liver they had removed was a lot larger than they expected and it was wrapped around one of the major blood vessels going through his liver but God is able and that's what we held on to the next 12 months were the best spiritually we were on a high relying on God for strength we made time to spend with each other we had been given a new life. A new lease on life. With celebrated Christmas and New Years in the New Year's Day 2008 John chopped down a large dead tree in our backyard he was so strong the kids and I watched as he worked hard to bring the giant down and we rejoiced when it finally fell it was a good day a few days later that January John left on a recruiting trip with the university to the west coast. When he landed in California he called to say that it had been a very uncomfortable trip and his back was aching from it a few days later the pain came and became more intense by the time he came home we decided to go see the chiropractor and the doctor worked on his back for a few days with no improvement John went to see his primary physician tests were ordered. The cancer was back and this time it was in his bones his cancer has had metastasized. He stopped working in April of 2009 prayer words came to our aid we spent 6 weeks in Florida with a group that had seen many miracles they prayed over him spiritually spiritually we went places we had never gone before we were holding on to God for our lives literally all along trying to keep life as normal as possible for our 3 children. Back in Tennessee life became increasingly difficult John wasn't getting up to talk to walk anymore the pain became more cancer was taking my husband and it wasn't supposed to be this way we were supposed to grow old together remember. We're supposed to raise her children together. What was I going to do. But there was so many helping hands and God was providing providing every step of the way I one point to remember John saying this couldn't have happened in a better place the support we had from the university community and from our church family and prayers from my family far away they were all evidence of God providing and leading We didn't have any immediate family here to rely on but God had his helpers. It was difficult watching my strong husband become so weak he grew old before my eyes. Helplessly watching someone I love in pain is one of the hardest things I have ever experienced. But all along I was holding on to the simple faith I had learned from my parents. God had a plan in all I had to do was to have faith in God's promises of healing and even if God didn't heal my beloved I would stand for. By September of that year my strong husband started fading away soon he wasn't getting out of bed anymore he stopped talking he stopped eating he stopped opening his eyes. I couldn't leave his side he didn't want to be alone he held on to me like a child holds on to his mother for safety I sang to him I read to him I prayed over him it was just God John and I when of those many times I lay in bed singing to him. When peace like a river attend of my way when sorrows like see bills roll whatever my lot that has taught me to say it is well it is well with my soul. My sin of the joy of this glorious thought my sin not in part but the whole is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more praise the Lord praise the Lord Oh my soul and the Lord has the day when my faith shall be site the clouds be rolled back as a scroll the Trump shall resound in the Lord shall descend even so it is swell with my soul. It was as I sang this last verse that my husband opened his eyes and saw wide with all the strength he had left in him and he said you know Hugh now. In October 7th I realize my husband may be leaving soon I remember his words if we part it's only going to be for a little while just for a little while he had peace everything was going to be all right on October 9 he breathed no more my gentle night had given it all. God had chosen not to answer a plea for healing. God had other plans I had to trust him that all would be well I brought my children to the room we prayed family had come to be with us for a few days but them their world gone back to their busy world far away and just like that I became a single mom in a with. No family near us just me and my 3 little kids was I to do trust. Just trust. After months of taking care of John and not leaving the house I started going out again taking the kids everywhere trying to stay busy trying not to think. One morning I felt so angry the thought of John checking out early didn't seem fair he had left at the prime of his life. He would never have to experience growing No he would have to change any diapers take out the trash get up for work deal with crime babies deal with sin that was it he was done dealing with sin but me I was stuck in the strain by myself and it just did not seem fair. But I resolved the by the grace of God was going to go on and I would do whatever we had set out to do made his name be magnified and so I did I kept going on in after a few months of trying to do it all and after months of plain superwoman and supermom I realized I couldn't do it I needed a partner and even someone to help me raise my kids for eternity. I asked God if this was part of his plan and he showed me in many ways that it was but how was I supposed to find a husband in a small city attending a small church and with 3 kids well that was God's problem so I started praying and I started looking and then I start checking out some single websites including one in 4 out of an It singles and I prayed God please help me make room for a new man in my life. I don't know what I was asking God I was about to answer my prayer in a very unusual way. One night as I was proofing the names of new individuals on the website I came across one that seemed very interesting and I clicked for a chat but no response and I thought to myself while his busy perhaps chatting with a tall blue eyed blonde so I left the side and went on to do something else but I have left the chatting window open a few minutes later my now husband chimed in he wanted to chat with me unbeknownst to me he had been hurriedly setting up his profile and paying the fee needed to on lock the chatting option so that he could join me in a conversation so we started talking and next thing we knew it was 2 hours later or was it 33 hours later. And so I wish I could say that we lived happily ever after but no there's more to the story. A week exactly after we met online and only 3 days after we had met personally something big happened very big. The day started as any other day did in our household feeding kids cleaning after kids feeding kids again it was right after lunch that we left in a hurry we were late for a tutoring lesson for exams of fear the weather did not look good and a friend where I would usually hang out during their tutoring sessions texted saying not to come I ignored her text something in me did not want to be home I gathered the kids in the car I put the dog in her crate in the garage and left the house. All the dirty dishes in the sink clutter everywhere no time for anything we were in a hurry to get into our appointment excuse me. I dropped Zain off for his lesson and went to my friend's house we waited there for a little while when the tutor showed up with Zayn the storm was getting worse he came for shelter there was a potential for tornadoes so we all huddled in my friend's house was in the late evening when I received several texts from friends concerned about our safety are you home there's a strong coming your way then I received the call a college student living with us at the time was back at the house and she was trying to get to the basement for safety when the unthinkable happened that tornado hit her house God's hand had protected her from harm but the house my house the house my husband had left us all our things all my husband's things all our memories our only plays our safety gone. Don't come home it's gone or her last words to me on the phone and then we had to hang up I whispered to my friend what had just happened I couldn't say anything out loud I didn't want to frighten my children. We were in a hurry to take cover the trader was heading. To my friend's house so we squeeze into a tiny space under the stairs was 9 or 10 of us I had to sit very very quiet in a very dark place and images raced through my mind my home was gone my husband was gone now I was literally just me and the kids and we were homeless. My God please help me I'm all alone in I can't do this on my own. After the storm passed I called my new friend Wayne after the tornado had passed. I have no house I said it's gone his immediate response was to drive out to help but it was late in the roads were dangerous with trees and electrical lines down so he waited until the morning. In the morning when my friend's husband drove me out to what was left of my house my heart sank the scenery was like a war scene from a movie it was difficult to get through the roads but we arrived there how the house was. Blown away. Things were scattered everywhere it was a mess but my friends my husband my late husband's old colleagues from work from the university students his students church members. There were so many people there I was not alone so many helping hands and then my new knight drove up in a Penske truck ready to help me move what remained. He was coming to take care of me and the kids God was providing someone to help me. It was then in the pool blur of my despair that God provided a new love someone to have in to hold someone to grow old with someone to love my children I was not alone we were not alone God had indeed helped me make room for a new man in my life. And the next few months were filled with newness new friendship plans for a new house and God led every step of the way going and I married on September for that year 2011 we spent the next year and I have building a house a lot of bonding took place we moved 5 times until we could have our own rooms at one point it was all of us to the newlyweds 3 children under the age of 12 a young man that was helping us build the house and I can't forget our dog all of us sleeping in one room with one bathroom and more doors it was a tight squeeze but we bonded. It's been nearly 9 years in a lot of adjustments and challenges have taken place. God has blessed. We're back to family work home school sports church. Summer of 2018 was coming up to a close and I knew homeschooling was becoming more of a challenge for me I was feeling tired it dawned on me that Suzanne and Sophia would have to go to school regular school and in no time Isabella would too I would have to decide what to do next so I started praying Lord what would you have me do should I go back to work should I go back to school should I change careers what would you have me do Lord please open the doors or close them please lead me. To what came next. I was not prepared for after 6 years of not visiting my family in California we had made plans to go during the Christmas break in 2018 I bought tickets months before leaving of Ember. I felt something odd on my left breast I went in for a mammogram more tests were done a biopsy was performed in 2 days before California trip the doctor said I should cancel my plans I had breast cancer. I needed to start treatments right away. We send the children on a short vacation with my family in California that Monday a port was put in Wednesday December 19th 2018 was my 1st of many chemo treatments the children came back a few days later we spent New Year's thanking God family we were together the next 12 months were filled with chemo treatments surgery trials and victories hair loss. Trying to get adjusted. To a new body today I'm cancer free. I made it to the other side by the grace of God I'm certain that he has a plan it's not my time yet. What I have endured is nothing in comparison to what he did for me that I may have life eternal life. The suffering we may have here on earth is temporary This too shall pass what remains is our character in our relationships what remains is that not so special it all kind of experience I doubted and thought was not good enough. I remain faithful to God not because there's strength in me but because in my weakness he has been my string. He has held me in his hand he never left my side I raise my hands and I praise the guy who gives and takes away. I lift my eyes into the hills where does my help come from my help comes from the Lord the Maker of heaven and earth. I love this quote from Whitley Phipps. It's in the quiet Crucible. Of your personal private sufferings. Thank your novelist dreams are born and God scrape his skin if I give in. In compensation for what you've been through. Me The Lord be magnified. This media was brought to you by audio verse a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse if you would like to listen to more service leader visit w.w.w. audio verse or.

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