Yesterday, I decided it was time to begin the fall decor switch – adding just a few pumpkin cottages to the living room mantle. Typically, Josh teases me about it being too early to add pumpkins around the house and often asks, "Are you sure?" in a silly tone. We have a good laugh about it and debate what the appropriate date for pumpkin decorations is – September 1, 23 or even October 1? We sometimes compromise and agree that pumpkin decorating should wait until the first day of fall. So, maybe I am having a little fun this year as I opted for some early pumpkin decorating (even though it doesn't really feel like fall yet).
Sadly, rebelliously redecorating didn't fill me with glee. Instead, it became a sad evening as I thought about how much I miss our silly debates about fall and pumpkins. Even as a typically optimistic person, there are times when it all just feels a bit overwhelming and stupid sad – yep stupid sad.
Waking up after a sorrowful evening, I had a photo memory of Josh from three years ago today appear. The photo was him sharing a message during LifePoint's Blockbusters sermon series about an all-time family-favorite movie, The Goonies. I figured I might as well re-listen to the message and once again, was surprised and astounded by God's creative use of time and truth. After a bit too much time describing the movie, Josh eventually lands in 1 Peter 1:6-9 and I'm captivated with encouragement as I'm reminded to not quit but to keep going.
"So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world." – 1 Peter 1:6-7 (NIV)
As the message continues, my heart fills up once again hearing Josh read verses 8 and 9.
"You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls." –1 Peter 1:8-9 (NIV)
Then, to top it off, Josh connects the verse to the idea of hope, and suddenly a message from three years ago provides unexpected encouragement for me today in a whole new way as he shares . . .
We have hope that this pain or this challenge, this hurt, these tears, this struggle will not always be that way. There will be a time when we won't have to endure these things, there will be a time when everything will be made right. Everything will be good and in that time we will be face to face with Jesus.
Through this message, God finds a way to etch truth into my aching heart. With this treasure, I take a deep breath, smile at the pumpkins on the mantle, cue up The Goonies and yet again thank God for today and many Goonie/Josh & Jenn adventures.
Here's a link to the full Goonies message and a link to Josh's page featuring many of his messages over the past several years. I hope they will be encouragement to you as they are to me.
In April of 2019, we learned that Josh had a large brain tumor, a glioblastoma, in the middle of his brain. At the age of 41, this was quite the surprise. Josh sadly passed away after a short battle on September 30, 2019.
View his obituary
These past months, we've navigated the complexities of treatment, and hospice care and learned that there wasn't really treatment and that in Josh's case, the tumor was inoperable.
We're sharing our hearts and experience as we navigate this unexpected turn and God's goodness in the middle of it. We hope to encourage others by sharing our story.
Thank you for following along with our journey even in grief.
Feel free to message us.
If you'd like to donate to medical expenses, here's a link or you can email us questions
More about Josh & Jenn
Jenn Brown is the author of this site, a loving wife and communications guru.
Josh Brown most recently served on staff at Fellowship Bible Church in NWA as a Springdale Community Pastor. We've served in ministry in Missouri, Texas, Virginia and Nevada.
Cancer has been big part of our story. Josh has battled cancer three times already with the first to being non-Hodgkins lymphoma at ages 15 and 25 and the third thyroid cancer last year and a GBM, brain tumor this year.
Jenn's mom, Carol passed away from breast cancer 21 years ago and her father also went through treatments for Chronic Leukemia (CLL) in 2017 and is doing well now.
Friends & Family
We have been so encouraged by friends and family. Thank you for the practical ways you are caring for us! We love you all! This is just few photo highlights of some meaningful moments.