I continue to be surprised by God. Although, I would think by now I might not be surprised as he so often sends along the perfect word of encouragement, Bible verse or even quiet affirmation at exactly the right moment.
I have to admit, God has quite the clever communications strategy.
Since we are homebound on Sundays, I’ve been watching church services from a few places but most often from a church in the Dallas area that we grew to love during our time there, Irving Bible. So many times, God has spoke to my heart through this church and it is one that is still dear to me.
After considering a few options of online church this week, I opted to again return to IBC’s Live Stream. Expecting to hear from a familiar pastor that Josh also had as a professor and advisor in seminary, I was surprised to see someone I didn’t know up to share the message. I admit, for a moment simply because I didn’t know the speaker, I considered bailing (I know it’s a terrible thing but it’s easy to be persnickety when watching church online) but opted to trust the process and continue. (Listen to the message).
It wasn’t long before God completely floored me in the series aptly named The Unexpected Jesus. The message centered on the passage in Luke 8:26-39 featuring Jesus, a demon-possessed man and a lot of pigs running off the cliff into the sea. It was quite the chaotic scene!
Briefly I thought, “how is this going to relate to my life?” But “Surprise!” It totally did. The big idea:
Jesus rules with compassionate power over the chaos of our lives and renews us with peace.”
Life feels a bit chaotic right now, and has for months. No matter how much I try to fix, simplify, change or rest in God’s sovereignty, life still feels out of control.
As we continue to wade through this part of our story (five months post brain cancer diagnosis and two months into hospice care), there are times when it feels like we’re stuck in quicksand or trying to move through a big sticky bog.
Yet still God’s love and mercy continues to pour out, reminding me that not only does God see the chaos but he sees me, Josh, and our family and friends who are each part of this journey too.
But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me,
and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life. – Psalm 42:8 (NLT)
God not only sees us but sees us through. I actually love how the imagery of the passage is captured in The Message.
When my soul is in the dumps,
I rehearse everything I know of you,
From Jordan depths to Hermon heights, including Mount Mizar.
Chaos calls to chaos,
to the tune of whitewater rapids.
Your breaking surf, your thundering breakers
crash and crush me.
Then God promises to love me all day,
sing songs all through the night!
My life is God’s prayer.
– Psalm 42:6-8 (The Message)
What a visual. Whitewater rapids, breaking surfs and a soul in the dumps. Sounds like an adventure for sure.
Returning to Luke, as Jesus sits with the healed demon-possessed man, he urges him to share his story.
“. . . tell how much God has done for you” –Luke 39a.
In our story, God is doing a lot. There are days when it’s hard to see past hurts and heartaches (the rapids and waves) and times when I stand by Josh and sigh, wishing and praying for something different. Somedays I wonder if I should share our story, if it is too much. But over and over in God's word I see the reminders to keep sharing.
Sharing truth like, it is possible to feel "in the dumps" and still have hope, that God is still good in the easy and hard moments of life, and that even when we feel like we are all alone, we are not. God sees our heart and heartache.
In our story, God has been so good. And he IS so good! Even if this is hard to say or sing at times without a heap of kleenex and tears, I know it's true.
Lately, I find myself looking at old photos and reflecting on a lot of good memories. As I reflect, I hope to also remember what I've learned about God's goodness along the way – not just the fun we've had. It takes a bit of practice or rehearsing to look beyond the great photos, or my outfit choice, but in doing so, I find traction for today's sticky situation.
"When my soul is in the dumps, I rehearse everything I know of you."
Here's what I'm rehearsing today:
God is good.
God is faithful .
He sees us in the chaos.
He cares for us greatly
He loves us deeply
He has orchestrated each Josh & Jenn adventure.
And is still so, so good.
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.