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" Mum, when I grow up I want to be just like Julie."
Bethany 2010

BE Remembered

This week, another beautiful soul flew from the confines of her cancer-ridden body and soared into the arms of her Beloved Saviour. She entered her rest after years of struggle and finally began the joy of new life in her eternal Home.

Julie Elizabeth Leitch was a dear friend to our Bethany in her days of trial and became a true friend to me – a refreshing breeze God used to help usher in a new season of healing.

She will be remembered.

Julie lived on the edge of our world, known to us only through mutual friends until 2010 when she entered our lives with a big, bright bang! She too was living with cancer and when she heard of Bethany’s situation she asked for permission to come for a visit.

This first visit turned into many more and Bethany loved her times with Julie and came to adore her new friend and highly respect her.

“Mum when I grow up, I want to be just like Julie.”

They were kindred spirits indeed – both larger than life and chosen, it seems, for a similar life journey and testimony. When Julie was present in our home, we could not help but feel the life, love and joy (and increased volume) that flowed freely from her. The death sentences that hung over both their lives seemed totally defeated and forgotten in the light of Julie.

I heard many giggles coming from Bethany’s room whenever Julie was visiting. They chatted about the hard stuff while at the same time painted their nails, put on some lippy, placed bows on their bald heads and above all, took delight in swapping their wigs and trying out different, crazy styles with them.

Julie captured Beth’s attention and heart as she shared stories of her hilarious antics with the radiologists and the different ways she would conspire to make the medical staff laugh. Julie delighted in lightening the load for us and making fun of the cancer. We always felt uplifted after her visits and the room felt empty when she left.

How empty her home must feel and our love and prayers continue to flow for her dear family whose hearts must feel bereft without her presence right now.

As far as I could see, Julie never considered herself a victim of cancer and helped Bethy to feel the same. Rather than letting the cancer use them, they used the cancer to bring glory to God and bless people. Julie not only taught Bethy to laugh through severe trials, she reinforced her faith and strengthened it like no one else could. Apart from other children in the hospital, Julie was the only other person Bethy knew at the time who could relate to her and know what she was going through. This was a priceless gift and I am forever grateful for all Julie poured on our daughter who became precious to her.

They formed a bond that went beyond cancer. You see, Julie got it! She understood her purpose in life. She understood the big picture. She lived beyond herself and exemplified the Christ- life in a powerful way that gave Bethany a tangible example to follow as she too suffered in her body. It was a gift I could not give my daughter. It was a gift Julie’s beloved daughters could not give to her. It was unique and it was a God-ordained mutual blessing to them both, of that I am certain.

The two of them used to talk quite openly about the time they would be freed of their cancer. They knew without a shadow of a doubt that their God could heal them in an instant and they boldly asked Him to do just that. But then they would laugh and say, “Well if He says no then it is because He needs up us there. We are fun, party girls and He might need us to liven things up for Him!”

In the year after Bethany went Home, Julie would often text me to check up on how I was traveling.  We would often go for a long power-walk and talk together in those early days of grief.  God seemed to bring her along just at the right time when I was falling into despair, the trauma and heartbreak too hard to bear alone.

Julie would cheer me up – reminding me of God’s promises and was not afraid, like some, to fondly chat away about my girl. It became more obvious to me that they really did share some sacred moments in that room and that they loved each other deeply.

One day, I texted Julie to say, “I’m in need of a good Julie laugh – can we go for a walk today?” She replied straight away and came over. But just as she arrived, it began to team with rain. She laughed and dared me to go out anyway. We were absolutely drenched within a minute and laughed and laughed as rain pelted us hard in the face all along the way. The wind swept up our useless umbrellas and we just kept laughing in the face of this storm. She was such good medicine for my soul.

Oh yes, she will be remembered.

The next day I received an amusing message from her about how her wet shoes were stinking out her entire house – and we laughed again.

Walking with Julie lasted for a sweet season. In the last days of her illness, Julie could not walk well. She became fragile and during my last visit with her, I massaged those dear legs that had walked many miles with me and were now failing her.

“Look at the poor darlings. They are just like little chicken legs the poor things!”

Right until the end I saw something in Julie I desperately wanted. The ability to truly see and grasp truth, even through the darkness of suffering and death. She saw things with the eyes of Jesus and sought to hold fast to His perspective – while continuing to be real and laugh about it all!

Julie loved to share with people how much Bethany’s life and legacy meant to her. Right until the end she was thrilled with me to see the glimpses of the beauty the Lord is bringing from ashes of our story. She would often encourage me that God has ALL under control and it will ALL be good! I know she believed these promises for herself and lived them out fully. What an incredible legacy she has left for those of us left to still to travail the valley of the shadow of death.

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise and call her blessed; her husband also praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works be praised at the city gate. Proverbs 31:25-31

My heart feels Julie’s loss keenly, but this precious woman has made a unique and indelible mark. Our personal encounter with this ‘one-in-a-million’ woman is just one of many that I look forward to hearing about across eternity. I know this big-hearted, crazy, loveable woman made her mark on countless hearts and will always be remembered for so many beautiful things. It will take eternity to count them all!

Like Bethany, Julie will be remembered as one who poured out her life unto death for her Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. She lived out the BE Blessings principle in sickness and in health. She was the Light of Christ in our dark world and will shine forever.  Like Mary of Bethany, another kindred spirit, I believe these words ring out in her honor…

“Throughout the world what this woman has done will be remembered and discussed.” (Jesus, Matthew 26:13)

In coming days you will hear many say, “This woman was an inspiration.” But what does that mean? What has Julie Leitch inspired us to do? What has she inspired us to BE? I think this one little word sums it up… love.

Julie has inspired us to love Jesus more. To love people more, especially those in need. She has helped us to love ourselves more and to love the life God has given us. Because of Julie, we are inspired to live lightly and to love laughter.

Her last conversation with me in person included her heart felt desire to go on ministering to her students at Plenty Valley Christian College. In spite of her pain and desire to be with the Lord, she wanted to continue to help others to come to know Him – especially young people in the midst of their life struggles.

Julie had discovered ‘the secret’ and wanted the world to know! I am confident that this part of her legacy will live on in the lives of the many students she has already influenced for eternity. Like Bethany and countless other saints who have gone before her, the enemy called ‘death’ cannot possibly stop the life-giving legacy of those who have put their trust in Jesus Christ in life and in death.

‘Death ‘has been swallowed up in victory and a new chapter in Julie’s life is just beginning! (Isaiah 25:8-9) She will be forever remembered by the Lord.

I will treasure the last words I received from her, just days prior to her passing, which simply said, “Thanks my dear friend.” (With loads of emoji love hearts to finish off what would be her final text message to me.)

I don’t know if she really had much to thank me for compared to what she gave me. Oh Julie, how I will miss you until we meet again. You will always be remembered and cherished in my heart of hearts.

Your life and the love you gave us challenges me to be remembered for all the right, eternal things that matter. Thanks my dear friend!

Through my tears, as I sit and try to recall our precious shared memories, I think I can hear the echo of Julie’s words to Bethany those years ago…

“Let the party begin!”

Oh you still make me laugh Jules!  Just weeks ago you promised me that you would give my Bethy a huge hug from her mummy and I am sure you have already fulfilled that promise.

“She will probably be angry at me for making her wait so long! I told her I would be following close behind, not nearly five years later!”

I don’t think she will be angry dear one but absolutely delighted to be with you again. I can imagine you hugging, jumping up and down, running and dancing together. I imagine Jesus swinging you both around and together you are throwing your heads back and laughing – yes, definitely laughing.

Let There BE Light!


Have you see the new Star Wars movie yet? If not, you may be in the minority according to the latest stats. The seventh instalment of this epic science fiction saga looks set to break all box office records and whether you love it or hate it, you can’t deny it possesses a powerful magnetic force that draws in millions of fans.

After watching The Force Awakens I have found myself thinking about a few things, particularly as I get ready to enter into a brand new year. There is something about the universal battle the whole series portrays that intrigues me. You know what I mean…  ‘good vs. evil’; ‘beauty vs. ugliness’; ‘justice vs. injustice’ and  ‘light vs. darkness’ – that kind of stuff. While I think that most of us are aware that Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knights, Darth Vader and his dark cohorts don’t really exist, the truth is the battle they enact really does!

Whether we realize it or not friends, we are involved in an all-consuming, all-encompassing life vs. death battle that overarches all time and space. We are at war against spiritual forces that do not simply lie in the minds of the Star Wars creators in a galaxy far, far away, a long time ago. Whether we comprehend the ongoing war or not, according to the Bible we are either surrendering to or engaging in spiritual battles every moment of every day right here and now on planet earth!

I don’t know about you, but the last few years have seemed pretty dark to me. Personally and globally things have gone on that are so unjust, so ugly and definitely belong in the category of the dark side.

When I focus in on these dark things, I feel myself being pulled into a vortex of despair. It often seems like the dark nature is a force that is winning and there is nothing I can do about it. But here is some Good News… there is a Winner! The dark side has lost and the Light has defeated it! The main battle has actually been won by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

I declare these things in faith while facing the sobering reality that there is still a mission to be completed in me and through me before I can fully enjoy the spoils of His victory. God’s massive rescue plan, a huge clean up job and desperate ongoing struggles are still in progress while we breath the earth’s oxygen – and it is getting harder to breathe the toxic waste and see through the hazy poison.

OK, that being said, because I live with an awareness of the dark side swarming around me with, bombarding me with its incessant whispers of subtle enticements that seek to destroy me and lure my soul into its murky depths, I have to guard the cracks of my mind and heart and regularly sure them up. I have to make sure I am listening to the right voice and seeing with eyes that have been opened to the Light. I do this by keeping Jesus, my Light and Salvation (Psalm 27:1), intentionally before me. I listen, I watch and hold fast to His promises in the midst of darkness. His Word is the light to my path and helps me to navigate my way home in the dark of the night as I take each step forward (Psalm 119:105).

Yes, I desperately need to know how to live life right now in this dark place and I want to share with you this one little thing that has become a habit each New Year and helped me, and may help you too.


On New Year’s Day I ask God for a personal word-of-the-year. I need a simple truth I can hold onto, grow into and allow to transform me in the darkness. In 2015, God gave me the word HOPE and it has been extraordinary journey learning about what it means to have true hope in this dark world. So I am not surprised that for this year the word He has given me leads directly on. You guessed it – my word for this year is… LIGHT!

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said. “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw the light was good…  (Genesis 1:2-4)

We have just celebrated Christmas together and I love these verses spoken out from the prophet Isaiah thousands of years ago…

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned… For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”  (Isaiah 9:2 & 6)

This prophecy was fulfilled as Jesus Christ came into the world. He came as light. True hope had awakened and the match was struck…

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. (John 1:1-5)

Not only has Jesus, the Light of the World, entered the world, but He has come into my world too and pierced through my darkness and despair. All I can see right now is a shard of light but I believe with my whole heart there is more. All I am is a candle alight with His love, but I believe one day I will be more. I believe that one day I will see His face and the full light of His glory and eternity spread out before me will dawn. What a day that will be!

So yes, darkness still overshadows me and tempts me at times and I feel it keenly. Darkness still swirls around me as I walk through this life with my feet planted on the earth, and it appears that my little candlelight flickers near point of extinction at times in the face of stormy winds. But you know what? Jesus’ life and light IN me is sealed and protected and makes all the difference!

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

Friends, I hope that you too choose to follow Him this year and beyond. If we belong to Jesus Christ, we are now Children of the Day! The darkness may attempt to overtake us, threaten us, pull us in and scare us – BUT WE NO LONGER BELONG TO THE DARKNESS  (1Thessalonians 5:5).

So let us live out the rest of these God ordained days in the light of His grace. Let us BE the light. Let us grab our ‘light-sabers’ (His Word described as the ‘Sword of the Spirit’ in Ephesians 6:17) this year with the authority He has bestowed upon us as His royal children. Let us allow His light to illuminate in and through us in a way that will cut through darkness and create a magnetic light force that compels others into the light. Let us BE a lighthouse pointing the way to THE Lighthouse!

“God is light and in him is no darkness. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” (1John 1:5b-7)

You can be assured that this New Year is going to bring fresh battles and that the pull toward the dark side will be a strong whirlpool. But the LIGHT IN US is stronger! We need each other and as we band together , perhaps we can re-write the title of our epic battle to read…


Have a blessed New Year in Jesus Christ. May you enjoy Him and walk in the light of His love more and more.  LET THERE BE LIGHT! I can’t wait to see you shine!

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on a stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)



Week 52 – BE Glorified in Jesus Christ!


“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18

Well, we have arrived at the end of the journey – the point in the story where Beth’s life here on earth ended and her real life with Jesus began. On 5 March 2011 Bethany Joy was delivered from her mortal, diseased and broken body and set free to immortality in Christ!  This week is her earthly birthday week. 31 March 2014 marks 19 years since we were granted the great pleasure of bringing our Brown Eyed Beauty into the world! Oh what a joy she has brought us! What a gift to us all. We miss her intensely but are so grateful for such a treasure from the heart of God.

Our sincere thanks for being willing to go the hard miles with us throughout this year-long pilgrimage. Yes, it took us to dark places as we sojourned the Valley of the Shadow of Death, but we hope you have also seen glimpses of glorious light along the way, like we have.

I am going to miss writing these weekly blogs, but it is time to let Beth’s story go out into the big wide world and to release her testimony into God’s hands in a fresh way. Friends, the purpose of a Christian testimony is to encourage those of us still on the pilgrimage Home and to give God glory! The appropriate response of those who hear a faith-filled story and witness a life well lived in Christ is to bow and worship the living God, giving Him all the honor and thanks. (See Galatians 1:22-24.)

It is no good if you leave us now with just admiration for an inspiration girl. No! That was not what Beth’s life and suffering was about. Remember her desire that her life would be all about Jesus and point others to Him – giving God MUCH glory? Please bear with me for a moment longer as I leave just a few more things with you that I hope will encourage you to keep moving forward into ALL God’s promises and purposes for you and your family, no matter what your circumstance…

Around 18 months after Beth’s passing into glory, the Lord gave me the gift of a retreat where He did some deep healing in my life. There, Jesus gave me an image of the way He walked so closely with Beth throughout her ordeal. His gaze was fixed on her, just as her eyes were fixed on Him. They actually laughed together and they were totally enamored with each other. At the diagnosis He held out His hand and said, “Come with Me beloved and let’s show others how to do this journey well! You’ve said you will follow Me wherever I will lead so let’s go!  I’ve already paved the way for you and I will be with you every single step of the way like no one else can.” And so she took His hand and trusted Him like never before. When she could walk no longer, He held her and carried her Home.

I came home from the retreat with fresh faith to believe that while on the surface it looks like Beth’s life was robbed and stolen, in fact her life was given, not taken. Bethany was called by Jesus to walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death with Him and thus paving the way for others to follow behind. Her story shows us that even in the direst circumstances, when we are in Christ, there is nothing to fear.

In the same kind of spirit as John the Baptist, God is using Bethany Joy to ‘preparing the way of the Lord’ in the hearts of those following close behind. We used to live in Papua New Guinea and several times have had to cut through dense jungle. I was always so grateful for the guide who with machete in hand, slashed through the thick tangle of vines and grass that impeded our progress. It was hot and hard work. On a shared spiritual journey, it seems that some are given the arduous task of paving the way in a similar fashion. The first one guiding the rest takes on responsibility, carries an extra load and experiences added pain in order to alleviate some of the burden for others following their footsteps. Jesus Christ has ultimately paved the way Home for us but the path can be pretty rocky, unclear and difficult to follow at times. Thankfully, He has raised up other tangible examples for us to follow – Beth being one of them! Beth followed Jesus with abandon and if we follow her example of faith along the path she has forged, it will lead to life! The first one through gains the extra reward of arriving Home first! Battered and weary but gloriously Home! Please follow her Home friends and BE Glorified in Jesus!

So here is how this story ends – or begins! Will you choose with us in your time of loss and suffering to…

BE BELIEVERS – not doubters?

BE WORSHIPPERS– not worriers?

BE FRUITFUL – not barren?

BE BETTER– not bitter?

BE INHERITORS of ALL of God’s promises – or miss out?

BE FULL OF LIFE – not death?

BE BRIMMING WITH– not hopelessness?


BE BLESSINGS to others and glorify God in absolutely everything?

BE GLORIFIED with and in and through Jesus Christ – the One who will make ALL things new – forever!

AMEN– let it be so!

Songs to Encourage You:

Would You Dare to Believe by Josh Wilson

You’re Already There by Casting Crowns

Blessed Assurance Fanny Crosby*

It is Well with my Soul by Horatio Spafford*

* Check out the stories of these amazing people who have also been used by God to pave the way Home for us!

Books to build you up:

This week’s Bible passage gives us a wonderful description of Heaven and helps to get us excited about our new eternal Home! Both David and I took delight in reading several books about Heaven to Beth during the last stages of her illness. Here are some of the ones we discovered that greatly blessed us and increased our longing to BE Glorified in Jesus

90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper

Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo and Lyn Vincent

Poetry and Images to Inspire: Akiane Kramarik

Week 51 – BE Held!


This week’s chapter in Heartbreakingly Beautiful came from a place deep within me that I had no desire to share. I still feel very raw about this particular period of the journey and it all feels intensely personal. I am trusting God to use this vulnerability to help at least one more soul going through the same kind of torture.

This was the day in my life when sheer darkness enveloped my soul and only by the grace of God did I come through it. I could hold onto God no longer, and for a time didn’t even want to. But I know now that He was still holding onto me and as I accepted His loving embrace, oh the rays of light He has shed to reveal what was really going on during this time!

But as you read through this week’s devotional, please know that at the time, I did not feel God holding me. In fact, I felt utterly cold and abandoned that horrible day. I had a great need to BE Held, but just sat in the corner pushing every form of physical, emotional and spiritual comfort away.

There are times in your life when nothing else will do but a great big hug! Psychologists tell us that we actually need hugs to survive and thrive in life. When the pain is so intense and words do not suffice, our human being (made up of body, soul and spirit) has a desperate craving to BE Held. We may have the blessing of people in our lives who can hold us for a while, protecting like a father or comforting like a mother as we weep, rock and moan in our suffering. But much more than this, our very spirits need to BE Held and there is only One who has the right to hold and can actually fulfill this need properly. The Word of God clearly tells us that God, our Creator, is holding us as Father, Mother, Brother, Rescuer and Friend throughout all our trials. Here is just one gem and perhaps you can find some more…

“The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms!” Deut 33:27

Thank you Lord that in spite of, and through all my dark feelings, you were with us – You are with us!  Your hold is tender, firm, secure and never-ending!

There is a great difference between someone carrying a sack of potatoes and carrying a precious child. I am so grateful that our Father not only carries us, but that He also holds us close to His heart. When we think of being carried by the Father or being carried Home by Jesus, we need to imagine ourselves being held very close to His chest, not at arms length. Babies and children who trust their parents will nestle in, relax in the carrying and allow the whole embrace and presence of the parent to envelop them.

This week, yet another family connected to ours has had to say ‘goodbye for now’ to a precious loved one. While they have full assurance that Mum is with God now and that her suffering is over, they are hurting bad – as you may be too. Yes, they too are being held and carried by Jesus through this dark valley, just as we were. But it is often very hard to have a sense of His arms around us when the pain is so intense. My prayer for them is that they will be aware that they are held in His love and grace. May they choose to nestle into His strong arms and cry on His broad shoulders through their days of sorrow.

At the end of the road, there is One who desires and is able to carry us through. His loving arms are open.  Receive His embrace, hop on His lap and BE Held dear ones, just BE Held.

Songs to encourage you:

Be Held by Casting Crowns

Held by Natalie Grant

He Will Carry Me by Mark Schultz

I Was Carried by Roma Waterman


Footprints in the Sand:

One night I had a dream…

I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord, and
 across the sky flashed scenes from my life. 
For each scene I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand; 
 One belonged to me, and the other to the Lord. 
When the last scene of my life flashed before us, 
 I looked back at the footprints in the sand. 
 I noticed that many times along the path of my life, 
 there was only one set of footprints. 
 I also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in my life. 
This really bothered me, and I questioned the Lord about it. “Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you, 
 You would walk with me all the way; 
 but I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, 
 there is only one set of footprints. 
 I don’t understand why in times when I
 needed you the most, you should leave me.”
 The Lord replied, “My precious, precious
 child. I love you, and I would never, 
 never leave you during your times of 
trial and suffering. 
 When you saw only one set of footprints, 
 it was then that I carried you.” Author unknown

Week 50 – BE a Pure, Radiant and Joyful Bride!

“I delight greatly in the Lord, my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” Isaiah 61:10

This week’s chapter in Heartbreakingly Beautiful belongs to Beth’s Daddy. He was able to lead her to the threshold of her Eternal Home and take her down the aisle to hand her to her Bridegroom Jesus.

Our wonderful son is recently engaged to be married and so weddings are on my mind quite a bit at the moment. Oh how our Beth dreamed of being a bride one day! I grieve that I will not see the fulfillment of this dream here on earth. But the Lord has comforted my heart through His Word, yet again, in this matter too. Our Beth is not going to miss out on being a bride – no way! Bible teacher Beth Moore teaches us more about what it means to be the Bride of Christ in her powerful Bible Study, Breaking Free. She comments that every little girl has at least four dreams and I tend to agree with her because they are the same dreams I had as a little girl, and they are the same dreams that Beth and my other girls share:

(1) To be a bride; (2) To be beautiful; (3) To be fruitful (which we usually define as having children); (4) To live happily ever after. Pretty basic hey! (The dreams little boys have tend to be more along the lines of being warriors and saving the princesses – but you get the picture J)

If we capture the truth in our imaginations that we are eternally youthful, beautiful, fresh, fruitful brides in Christ’s eyes, everything changes! This is the very thing the enemy of our souls does not want us to understand. If we grasp this fact, then we will live life differently. We will live our lives with great expectation and spend it in preparing ourselves to be ready to meet the One our hearts truly long for: Jesus Christ face-to-face, embrace-to-embrace.

This week’s Bible passage in Revelation is one that shows us that all these bridal dreams will be met in Christ. And what amazing things our Bridegroom has in store for His beloved bride! He even comes to rescue us on a white horse! (See Revelation 19:11.) Hey, where do you think they get the raw material from for all those fairy tales if not from the resounding echo of the true story and the aching eternity in our hearts? Friends, it is planted deep within us – ALL of us long for ‘happily ever after’ and to live in the realm of great beauty and perfection – loved, cherished and fruitful forever! Yes, thank you Lord that all of Bethany Joy’s dreams, and mine, will be fulfilled in greater measure than we can currently see.

David and I have just celebrated 25 years of marriage and we are so grateful for the rich blessing of our union. We are fortunate to say that we have a ‘good’ marriage. Not perfect, but very good. But through all that has happened, even our very good marriage is not enough to satisfy and take away all the pain. I am not being ungrateful here. I am just saying that if you currently desire to be in a marriage relationship, or are living with a difficult one, it is easy to think that all of life’s problems will be solved through a good marriage. However, if you do venture down that path, then you are in for a disappointment.  Remember, all good marriages are a mere reflection of the real one – that between Christ and all who love Him.

So in the midst of all life situations, we would be wise to keep our hearts pure, waiting in wonder for the consummation of our eternal union with Jesus Christ. It is only by placing ourselves under His cleansing blood that all our filth can be covered. In Him, we can indeed BE Pure, Radiant and Joyful Brides – a reality we can live in right now, even while we wait.

To finish, here is a bit more biblical bridal imagery for you to ponder this week…

“The bride, a princess, looks glorious in her golden gown. In her beautiful robes, she is led to the king, accompanied by her bridesmaids. What a joyful and enthusiastic procession as they enter the king’s palace!” Psalm 45:13-15

The Parable of the Ten Virgins:

Songs to encourage you:

Come Away With Me by Jesus Culture

Coming To Take You Away by Kerrie Roberts

Beloved by Kari Jobe

Walking Her Home by Mark Schultz

As a young teenager, Bethany came to love the songs of Mark Schultz, a talented American songwriter. Mark’s songs weave poignant, inspirational stories that tend to bring a lump to the throat of even the bravest warrior!  Beth’s favorite song was called Walking Her Home.  It speaks of the beauty of an earthly marriage and much more. I realized that Beth understood the song’s significance when we were traveling in the car one day, just before she fell ill. I turned around to see her sitting in the back seat listening to this song with tears streaming down her face. Little did she know then that she would soon meet her beloved Jesus and need Daddy to walk her Home.

A book to build you up:

His Princess Bride by Sheri Rose Shepherd

A little more inspiration:

In the weeks after the Christmas of 2010, we read aloud to Beth from her ‘life journal’. This was a little notebook where I had recorded all of her significant life events, including lots of funny things she had said and done. I had intended to give her this keepsake on the day she left home to start her own family. Now instead, David and I read it to her to help prepare her for her real departing and Homecoming.  It was a painful experience, but the exercise also brought a lot of laughs as we remembered our funny, outgoing ‘Bethy to the Max’!

The other children were usually with us as we read and we are so grateful that we had the opportunity to remember the good times together in this way. After advice from the doctors that her hearing was not yet affected by the disease and by witnessing small responses from her, we were confident that Beth heard all the love we spoke into her life during this time.  She was loved and knew she was loved – what a gift! Maybe you could think about recording significant life events for you and your loved ones in some way. Journaling works well for me, but maybe music, photos, video or arts and crafts are your thing?  Ask the Lord to help you create records of special memories in ways that are not burdensome to you. It is important to be able to recall and enjoy all He has done while blessing others in the process!

Week 49 – BE Quenched with Living Water!


We are drawing to the end of our journey together in Heartbreakingly Beautiful. Over those last weeks of her life, Beth lost all ability to move any part of her body. So in order to change her clothing, we needed at least three people to roll her, hold her and care for her needs. As her mum, I could no longer bear changing her ‘nappies’ and hearing her painful moaning during the process. It was around that time that a couple of close friends came to my rescue and took over for me. David managed Beth’s personal care with the help of those treasured friends, and I am forever grateful for the care they gave my girl at a time when I no longer could. Those girlfriends who helped were deeply affected seeing Beth in her miserable plight, yet I know they cherished her and wanted to care for her while protecting me at the same time. Girls, the Lord saw all you did and your reward is great!

While we were living through Beth’s horrendous ordeal, the concept of any kind of  ‘good’ coming from that miserable time seemed absolutely impossible!  However, in the time that has followed since her suffering and death, David & I have come to recognize that God is using aspects of Beth’s life as a kind of metaphor to teach other seeking people some eternal, Kingdom of Heaven principles.

For instance, this week’s lesson on what it means to spiritually thirst. Have you enjoyed the sea theme of the book? The theme is not just for visual affect. It has been our hope and prayer that going deeper into Beth’s story has made you thirsty for much more than this temporary life can offer. Many have prayed over Heartbreakingly Beautiful that it would be ‘salty’ and make people thirsty for the righteousness of God and the abundant life He offers. Beth’s life ‘tasted’ different. She did not follow the flavor of the world in the way she lived and died. Indeed, in and through all her imperfections and trials, she was the ‘salt and light’ Jesus asked her to be and because of her testimony, many are praising God. (See Matthew 5:13-16.)  Yes, many thirsty souls are learning what it means to BE Quenched with Living Water.

Jesus says this in Matthew 5:6… “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled.” What are you thirsty for at the moment? I have learned that not all of my thirst needs to be quenched in the way I think it does. Maybe what we think we are thirsty for is not really what we actually need. Jesus Christ, the Living Water of God, offers to quench our deep, inner thirst like nothing else can. He invites us to come and drink from His well of life that flows like a never-ending fountain!

But sadly, I still take visits to other wells, other places of temporary refreshment in order to try to quench my inner thirst. Going to the Living Water takes discipline and the route to get to the well of Jesus usually involves such work as forgiveness, repentance, swallowing pride and moving through the cloud of negative feelings, etc. So, sometimes I try to take short cuts and drink from the ‘stagnant pools’ and ‘dirty cups’ I find along the way. Sources of ‘dead water’ that are readily found without me doing the hard miles. I get lazy and tired. Oh Lord help me learn once and for all that there is only one true Fount that can satisfy and that You are worth crawling over the hot, dry, rocky dessert to get to. You Lord are worth every single, painstaking step to the Source at the top of the mountain – please help me!

It seems from scripture that God’s people have always had the tendency to try to take short cuts in the dessert. We seem to be born with the inclination to be drawn to lesser things to satisfy our thirst. The prophet Jeremiah addressed these matters of the heart…

“My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” Jeremiah 2:13

“Those who turn away from you LORD will be written in the dust because they have forsaken you, the spring of living water.” Jeremiah 17:13b

Why do we keep drinking in the wrong places? I believe the answer is not too far away but alludes many. Those of us who have by faith embraced Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour have received eternal life as a free gift – wow! But as Bible teacher Beth Moore puts it, “We freely receive salvation, but we have to seek satisfaction.” The gift of salvation in Christ does not mean that all our needs are automatically satisfied in Him. Yes, the salvation is totally free, but the working out of that salvation and finding true satisfaction in Christ will cost us absolutely everything!

The truth is, we want the satisfaction part for free too, but it does not work that way. Jesus Christ, the Living Water of God wants to come and fill every single crevice of our parched lives. He invites us to dive down deep into Him where we can be completely satisfied and have our thirst totally extinguished. But all of this does not just happen. There are daily choices to make here. There will be some work to do. In order to BE Quenched with Living Water, you and I are going to have to make some tough decisions. Choosing the high road to travel to the living well, the fountain of Jesus, takes a truckload of courage and some determined intentionality! Let’s lock arms and take the journey together – it will be so worth it!

“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters… “ Isaiah 55:1

Are you not thirsty? said the Lion.

I am dying of thirst, said Jill.

Then drink, said the Lion.

I could but would you mind going away while I do? said Jill.

The Lion answered this only by a look and a very low growl. And as Jill gazed at its motionless bulk, she realized that she might as well have asked the whole mountain to move aside for her convenience.

The delicious rippling noise of the stream was driving her nearly frantic.

Will you promise not to do anything to me, if I do come? said Jill.

I make no promise, said the Lion.

Jill was so thirsty now that, without noticing it, she had come a step nearer.

Do you eat girls? she said.

I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms, said the Lion. It didn’t say this as if it were boasting, nor as if it were sorry, nor as if it were angry. It just said it.

I dare not come and drink, said Jill

Then you will die of thirst, said the Lion.

Oh dear, said Jill, coming another step nearer. I suppose I must go and look for another stream then.

There is no other stream, said the Lion.

C.S. Lewis, The Silver Chair

Songs to encourage you:

Come to The Well by Casting Crowns

Hurt and the Healer by MercyMe

A book to build you up:

Come Thirsty by Max Lucado

Week 48 – BE Patient!


While it seems apparent that waiting is a given in this shadowland life, by the grace of God we do have a choice in the midst of all our waiting. We wait for lots of things in life don’t we… the little problems and frustrations, the massive, life-changing matters and for everything else in-between. So if we have to wait, the big question is: “How will we wait?” Will we wait with fear, anger, doubt and impatience or learn from God Himself how to wait well? Will we choose to BE Patient and therefore grow in character in our all our waiting?

Learning how to wait well has been one of the key lessons God keeps teaching me as I grieve for Beth and one day I hope to share with you in more detail.  But this week, please join me in delving further into our verse of the week. It comes from one of my very favorite chapters in the Bible – Romans 8:24b-25

“Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”

I am waiting on God for some pretty big stuff – as I suspect you are too. I don’t know about you, but the patience required to wait faithfully for all God has promised has often alluded me. So where does all this patience that is commanded come from? (Remember the command in Psalm 37? “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him.”)

Years ago, I remember a joke about patience and prayer that was going around. Do you recall the woman who supposedly said; “I earnestly prayed and sought God for patience – and He gave me twins!”  The expression ‘The patience of Job’ is often used when describing someone who has a great deal of patience throughout a trial. Our family uses another expression – ‘The patience of Valerie’. (Valerie is a lady who showed our family extreme kindness and patience, a dear lady who has nursed her severely disabled daughter for 22 years.)

From what we could observe, Bethany waited well and was very patient throughout her ordeal. As her mum I know that this was not a natural trait she was born with, but one granted to her supernaturally and developed in her by the Holy Spirit of the Living God.

I am sure you have already guessed the common link that ties these people together – the secret of their virtue of enduring patience.

Our brother, the Apostle Paul, says it best…

“…but we rejoice in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance (patience), and perseverance (patience) produces character, and character hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” Romans 5:3-5

How did all these people attain the patience they needed not only to endure their trials, but also grow in Christ-like character? They waited on God in the very midst of all their suffering for His very power and the gifts they needed in order to wait well. They even rejoiced in their sufferings and let suffering do its work because they knew eventually these trials were going to lead to amazing good!

Patience is a gift of the Holy Spirit, one of the fruits of the Spirit that our loving Father has poured into our hearts when we are united with Jesus Christ. (See Galatians 5:22.) But like any spiritual gift, the gift of patience needs to be exercised and put into practice. Friends, being patient and waiting on God to fulfill His promises cannot be done without His enabling. Yes, it is our choice whether or not to wait on the Lord, trust His character and thus open up the way for Him to give us what we need. But never forget that it is all initiated and fulfilled by Him. Our waiting draws out in us the kind of faith that is pleasing to Him. This then leads to a transformation of our character to become just like His Son. But it all begins with the unconditional, everlasting love of God that we are invited to partake in. If your head is spinning around with these concepts, it helps me to think of it like a circular equation…


When we are SO tired of waiting and our hope is waning, may God in His love and mercy empower us to BE Patient through all kind of suffering. May He help us to join with His waiting heart in the shadowlands. Remember that He came to us physically and experienced the depths of the shadowlands so that He could take us by the hand and lead us safely Home! Let the ache in our hearts for Him (the ‘godly impatience’ we now experience, which is an echo of His ache for us) beckon us Home. Hear Jesus whisper to your broken heart today, “I have come for you, now hurry up and come to me My precious one – I can’t wait!”

A quote to inspire you:

“Why love if losing hurts so much? I have no answers any more. Only the life I have lived. Twice in that life I’ve been given the choice: as a boy and as a man. The boy chose safety, the man chooses suffering. The pain now is part of the happiness then. That’s the deal.”

C.S. Lewis Shadowlands

Songs to encourage you:

Soon and Very Soon by Brooke Fraser

Wait by Sons of Korah

A book to build you up:

Shadowlands by C.S. Lewis

Week 47 – BE Helped and Ministered To!


This week in Heartbreakingly Beautiful I share some stories of a few of the special visitors Beth received in the last weeks of her life here with us. The story of the angelic visitor is something I contemplate often. Wow – it sure would have been great to see that angel in my girl’s room! But the Lord instead entrusted these glimpses to others. Other trusted people were eyewitnesses to these events and others. The Lord has given me the job to ponder these things in my heart and record them for you.

The usual visitors including family, friends and medical staff were constantly with us, but I was amazed at the new visitors God brought into our midst during the last stages. Although Beth could no longer communicate with us in words or by signs, her eyes sparkled with a knock on the door and we knew that she was still very keen for visitors. Taking the lead from her spirit of forgiveness, when friends came to visit her in these last stages (even friends who had not been there for her during the year) we welcomed them into our home. I admit this was not an easy thing for me to do. But as people came, I saw incredible healing happen in people’s hearts as they gathered around our girl. Some visitors came simply through curiosity and we had to closely guard Beth during those times. But most of the new visitors were those who had been afraid to come previously, especially if they had experienced the loss of a dear one in a similar fashion.

Such a variety of visitors graced our home – the very young and very old, families, orphans, widows, school staff and friends, distant relatives and even a group of God’s Squad bikers! To help protect Beth, a couple of dear friends acted as ‘guards’ to shield us from too many visitors.  (I am sure that guardian angel seen in her room was constantly hovering and shielding too!) We also set up ‘visiting hours’ to try to help control the influx. As far as I am aware, we only had to say no to one family who were living interstate and could not make it during the times we had set. To some of us in the house, the amount of visitors was totally overwhelming, but again God strengthened us. I am sure this time would have looked very different if Beth had been a shy introvert!

Beth had often prayed throughout the year that each visitor that came to bless her would be ‘doubly- blessed’ by God. We have no doubt that ‘double -blessings’ were poured all over the place as Beth’s room and very life became a sacred place. God used her like a magnet to draw hearts to Him, especially toward the end, and He continues to do so.

We have talked a lot about ‘pouring out’ and ‘giving offerings’ to the Lord lately, but the lesson I want us to take away this week is that while all this pouring out of blessing is wonderful, the Lord also wants us to be open to receiving the help we need. If we do indeed want to pour out our lives as a fragrant offering like we talked about last week, we need to be filled up by Him – again and again! Sometimes for a person who is a giver, it is very hard to ask for help. It is a difficult thing to BE Helped and Ministered To. Yet, we all need the very help of God Himself, through His Spirit within us, to be able to pour out love and give to anyone else.

I have said it before but it is worth repeating. I believe that the key to Beth’s fragrant offering – poured out for many – was her soft, surrendered heart. Yes, she had the desire to love, give and to bless the Lord and others in His name, but she knew that she was utterly powerless to do so on her own.  She asked the Lord for help and accepted all He had to offer her in her time of great distress.  Some of the help did not come as she had hoped, but her willingness to BE Helped and Ministered To by Him – in whatever way He chose to give her – is another marker of her life and one I am attempting to learn from. In her cry for help from the Lord, she accepted the help He offered her. She received all her visitors with love – the practical ones, the medical ones, the pastoral ones and the supernatural ones. Most of all, she received the visitation of God Himself deep into her being.

Friends, may our eyes be opened to all the ways the Lord wants to help us and minister to us right now. I know first hand that pain in its various forms can block us from seeing the help on offer. I also know that when anger and pride has hardened my heart, I am unable to receive His ministry. If you also have those kinds of blockages to receiving God’s visitation, turn back to Him and cry out again. Ask Him to open your eyes and soften your heart. Help is certainly there and He longs to bless your socks off!  BE Helped and Ministered To in everyway the Lord is offering you – this very moment!

David’s Email:

Gaylyn just shared with us quite an experience she had while looking after Bethy on Saturday night. As she was watching over Beth, she felt a presence of peace enter the room and when she looked up, there in the doorway was a very large and very bright angel. The angel’s head nearly touched the ceiling and the face was like a kind mother. Gaylyn says she has never seen the like of it before. She only saw this angel for a short time but was filled with such happiness and peace afterwards. It is a reminder to us that God is here and watching over us and helping us each step of the way. Thank you for your prayer for us all. David, February 2011

Songs to encourage you:

I Was Carried by Roma Waterman

Psalm 91 on your Heartbreakingly Beautiful CD

Books to build you up:

Heaven by Randy Alcorn

Heaven for Kids by Randy Alcorn

Week 46 BE A Fragrant Offering to God!


“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:1-2

What does your life smell like at the moment? Can people around you ‘smell’ something unpleasant, or can they sense a beauty emanating from your being? We certainly can cover nasty smells for a while by applying some deodorizing spray. But eventually, the cover fades and if the cause of the smell is not dealt with at the core, the odor eventually comes back in full force. What good news we have that in Christ, our rotten sin-stench has been dealt with right at the heart. Our transformed life in Him can now be like a fragrant perfume – an offering that pleases the Lord and invites others around us to participate in this abundant life as we imitate Him!

In practical terms, how can we  BE A Fragrant Offering to God?

You know, any offering we make to Jesus is a reflection of His offering poured out for us. If we are clean and smell good it is only because the stench of our sin has all been totally covered and absorbed by His precious blood, poured out as fragrant offering to God. So the secret to becoming a fragrant offering ourselves is to copy Christ in ever increasing ways. Like today’s verse tells us, LOVE is the key here – loving Him, others and ourselves in His name is the essence of our perfume! What matters most is faith expressing itself through love! (Galatians 5:6)

What if my offering is misunderstood or seems to go unnoticed?

Mary of Bethany, whom we refer to in this week’s devotion, has given us one of the most profound examples of what it looks like to pour out a fragrant offering to Christ. But to many people who witnessed Mary’s extravagant act of worship, her offering seemed like a complete waste. In the same way, some looking at Beth’s offering to Jesus could not see any beauty but only tragedy. I love this gem of a verse that I have discovered in the Old Testament. It illuminates for us what God plans to do with offerings poured out to him…

“All of us must eventually die. Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God does not just sweep life away; instead, he devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from him” (2 Samuel 14:14).

Rest assured that any life poured out as an offering to God is not going to be wasted and it is certainly not unnoticed by the only One who really matters. The pouring out will be costly and may not make sense to you or to anyone else at the time. It may even seem like a total waste. But be at peace. El Roi – the God who sees – will gather it up, spreading more blessing than you can imagine! (See our brother Paul’s example in 2 Timothy 4:6-8.)

Friends, in due time, others who are attuned to the sweet fragrance of Christ will get to ‘smell’ Him on you and be totally blessed. You know, the love (or lack of it) that we share around will be the ‘smell’ we will leave behind after we have departed this world – and it can linger for generations to come. So let us be filled with love, imitators of Christ in every way and follow the example of the many others who have left behind a lasting ‘Christ perfume’. If we do this, we will indeed BE A Fragrant Offering to God and to the world! And this stinky world sure needs it!

Inspiration for the journey:

Hey, if you are willing to ‘sniff around’ a bit, you can get a whiff of the perfume of the saints that still abides on the earth today. Many amazing testimonies serve as a sweet offering to the Saviour and a blessed example to us who are still on our way Home, still slogging through the smelly stuff. One perfume that still lingers strongly is that of Dr. David Livingstone, the great missionary to Africa. He once made this statement when asked about what he had sacrificed by following Christ and surrendering all to Him… “I have not sacrificed a thing!” To him, following Jesus did not seem like a sacrifice at all for the satisfaction and joy of fellowship with Jesus.

But there is even more we can smell out. In Mark 10:28-30 we read the account where Peter tells the Lord Jesus that they have left everything behind, giving up all to follow Him. He and the first disciples were wondering if it was all going to be worth it. Take a look at the Lord’s reply and I wonder if you can imagine the gleam in Jesus’ eyes like I can and smell the fresh air… “Yes Peter, it sure is going to be worth it!” Yes, one day Beth’s surrender and perfumed offering through such a heartbreaking trial will seem like no sacrifice at all! One day my surrendering through grief and the taking up of my cross will seem like nothing when I look upon the face of the One I love most and receive my reward. Yes, one day the pain of your poured-out, fragrant life will be worth it too. Take a deep breath and imagine… all injustices made right and made new. Reconciliation with our Heavenly Father and reunion with the precious ones who are with Him now. Ultimate joy, peace, purpose and rich love overflowing in abundant life that will extend throughout eternity. Imagine what it will be like to share our glorious inheritance together with Jesus Christ!  YES! It will be worth it in every possible way! Breathe it all in again… mmm… now that smells good!

Songs to encourage you:

Pour My Love on You By Phillips, Craig and Dean

At Your Feet by Casting Crowns

This is My Offering by Third Day

A book to build you up:

Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

Week 45 – BE Confident in the Sufficiency of Jesus Christ!


We are pondering questions this week and considering not only our own questions, but also the questions the Lord is asking of us. One question that continues to plague me is one I don’t voice out loud but my thoughts and actions seem to be forever asking this question … “Is Jesus Christ really enough to get me through this?” Amidst all the unanswerable questions we may be in the middle of asking, one thing I am certain of is this: we can indeed BE Confident in the Sufficiency of Jesus Christ!

There are still so many questions in regard to suffering that I do not have an answer for yet. But while my questions are real, I am choosing to trust in an overarching truth that surrounds all my questions and uncertainties. The truth that Jesus us enough is one that our Beth discovered and is one I am seeking to understand further as I entrust each moment to Jesus through the joy and pain. Friends, while God may not give us all the answers to our questions right now, He has given us a solution! It is up to us as to whether we will trust God’s solution (our Lord Jesus Christ) in the swirl of our questions  – or not!

These days, I find myself asking some different questions than I did at the beginning of the trial… “Could it be that Jesus did not respond to my cry to immediately heal Beth in this life because He wanted to enlarge my request for the greater good and greater glory of His name? Could it be that this is not about me or about Beth at all, but all about Him? Has He, in fact, delivered my girl and answered my cry in a far more glorious way than I ever dared imagine? Did Jesus meet Beth’s actual need rather that just her temporary, immediate needs in this life? Is she now experiencing the healing she needed and the relationship with Christ she desired?   I sense that the answers to these questions are a resounding YES! – but only because of His sufficiency.

Although the whole thing is still a mystery to me and I still have my unanswered questions, what I do know is that my desire to see more of God and His glory have grown through our trials– exponentially! Beth’s desire to know God and see more of His glory also grew in leaps and bound the more desperate she became. My prayer life has matured through this whole process. For instance, the requests I had of God at the beginning of the journey all centered on my pain and the pain of my loved ones. But while my cries to God are still tainted with my own pain, I find they are much more centered on God – His will and His glory. My heart, with all its imperfections, is more aligned with God’s heart than before. It is more accepting and desiring of His agenda rather than my own personal comfort. Only He could do that work within me, within any of us.

Now that’s not to say that the ‘personal comfort prayers’ don’t keep popping up and are not important to God. But as I battle this life, filled with the blessing of His grace, there is a greater understanding that has come through believing in Jesus and watching Beth’s mature response to her suffering.

Fellow sojourners, in light of the promises of Jesus and the examples before us, let us rest and BE Confident in Jesus our Messiah. He is sufficient, more than enough. He can deliver you through each and every situation and offers you every kind of resource you need. One day, the questions that need to be answered will be and those that don’t won’t matter any more!  So let us be open to accepting that we have questions but we don’t have to get stuck in confusion of them. Let us move on to know the sufficient Christ more and more because of them! Will you entrust the all-sufficient One with every question and uncertainty you have? Will you believe with me right now that His grace is truly enough?  For you, for me, for everyone forever and ever, Amen!

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

Songs to encourage you:

New Song by Jordan Worner

Right In Front of Me by Josh Wilson

Questions by Steven Curtis Chapman

I Believe in Love by Barlow Girl

Psalm 42 by Sons of Korah

Quote to inspire:

“Some people pray just to pray and some people pray to know God.” Andrew Murray

Books to build you up:

Prayer by Andrew Murray

Where is God When it Hurts? By Philip Yancy

The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis