Following on

Two years ago today we said good-bye to our sweet Rissa.

Since January I have been reliving that last battle, remembering and crying and praying. Though each memory brings fresh pain, she is in every part of my living. I could not forget her beauty, her laughter, her love, her courage, her faith.

But today we remember her good-bye.

My oldest daughter was due with her first child this week. We wondered if maybe God would bring her little son on March 6, the anniversary of Marissa’s home-going. We thought it might bring a happy remembrance to this week of sober reflection. Instead, her pregnancy has been filled with difficulty–cord anomalies, excess amniotic fluid, preterm labor at 22 weeks, complete bed rest, a c-section on March 3 because of labor that failed to progress, and a life-threatening birth defect detected just a few hours after the baby’s birth. Ambulance rides and NICU and medical tests for possible related issues. Invasive surgery at 2 days old, intubation, and lots of uncertainty. A world of unknowns.

This is not what we thought God was doing. This is not what we thought He would do.

There was some middle-of-the-night faith struggle. Some wrestling.

But mostly I have felt peace and the nearness of God. My faith stretching. This beautiful, tiny boy is ours. And my daughter and son-in-law have been gifted with a radiant grace. I weep to think of it.

Not long ago, after an ordination service at our church, I had a picture come to my mind. A picture of each trial coming to us in solemn ceremony. A parcel handed over. A charge given. Prayer and laying on of hands.

Each trial a responsibility. A burden. But also a privilege. A trust.

And I think of my Rissa Bean, accepting her package with joy. Faithfully fulfilling her charge. Walking her path with courage.

Maintaining a real and gritty faith through all of it.

How can I do less?

So I am reaching out for all my packages. I am accepting all of the ways God will use them. I am considering it joy and a privilege to do the work He created for me. The work for which I was created.

I am following on.

So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away, too?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” John 6:67-68

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2

March 6, 2017:

March 6, 2018:



7 thoughts on “Following on

  1. Colleen, of all the writings you have posted on this blog, your post today is the most gripping for me. I can’t describe adequately how it speaks to me. These parcels you describe….how very true! I will print out your post and read it many times in the days to come. I appreciate you so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We, too, were wondering if the baby would arrive on the anniversary of Marissa’s homegoing. We’ve been praying for all of you and will continue to do so. For those of us who have been observing your journey for many years, it sometimes seems that your family has faced more than anyone can be expected to bear. And yet, God’s hand can be traced through your trials, your burdens, your lowest moments, and through your happy times, your celebrations, and new life. Words are inadequate to express to you how uplifting, convicting, and comforting your blog has been for me– and so many other people. I think it comforts us to see God’s grace proving itself sufficient no matter the challenge or heartache. You are so precious to the Lord. He obviously enjoys sweet fellowship with you and you with Him. We love you and pray that you will continue to find joy in the midst of your heartache. How amazing to realize Marissa is free from all this…and enjoying her Savior face-to-face.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Tho she is no longer with us her ministry continues through you and your beautiful family. We see Christ in you. You are helping us so much as many, many of us attempt to go through our God-ordained trials in a God honoring way. Thank you for coaching us along the way.
    We love you and thank God for you


  4. Some time has passed since you posted, I had looked at it first on Marlita’s birthday. I pray by this time, the baby has gained in recovering from the surgery. Your post gave me much food for thought as you normally do. Written from one who walks a similar journey makes me read carefully. Your testimony of God in the midst of all our trials makes me think deep within. Those places, I might try to set aside, and just not go there. God wants us to consider His ways. Thanks for helping me do that.
    I also pause and consider your loss and know you had many deep thoughts as you passed through and remembered the journey of Marissa. She too had much courage, and fought her battle well, and ended strong, and faithful. That’s what matters most. Being left behind does have its pain. God bless you as you journey on, with the empty chair, and empty spot in your heart.

    much love

    Liked by 1 person

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