One Day at a Time

God’s provision looks different depending on the circumstances, but it is always fitting. And it is always timely.

Last night, I stayed up late writing an update about the last three weeks. I wanted to share about our good days in the middle of this hard journey.  I wanted (and still want) for everybody to be encouraged as we have been encouraged by the good gifts that the Lord has given to us these days. I wrote it. I didn’t post it. God knew what today would bring and He was providing for what I would need today.

This morning was very rough, but before you read about it, be encouraged by the ways God has orchestrated everything.

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God’s mercies are new every morning.  I’ll say it again. God’s mercies are TRULY new every morning.

A lot has happened in almost three weeks since the last post. We celebrated Jonathan’s 43rd birthday on August 13th. His whole family was here and it felt like a glorious day.  Jonathan pushed himself as much as he could and ate better than he had in weeks -meaning three or four spoonfuls of food, plus a bite of cake, as opposed to only one or two spoonfuls per meal. Next day, he felt so bad that he made the decision not to eat solid food again.  It was very difficult. In my mind, food is nutrition and nutrition sustains our physical bodies. We would rely only on protein shakes. By August 18th he was feeling very weak averaging only one or two shakes a day. That day, a friend let us borrow a juicer and Jonathan drank about half a cup. Over the next days, we had some good and other not so good days, but his general interaction began to improve, his nausea and acid reflux also got better and his juice intake slowly increased. By August 24th, normal body functions were still a constant torture to Jonathan’s body.  At that point, we had a hard conversation when he clearly expressed feeling like he was having more days, but not better days. He decided not to have shakes anymore. He would only do juice. Perhaps the juice would be better tolerated by his stomach.  This was a last try. He was very tired.

But God’s grace is vast beyond compare.

Not only God gives us strength and sustenance each day, but He also showers us with unexpected, beautiful, undeserved gifts. On Saturday the 26th, our small group and our soccer friends teamed up to allow Jonathan the opportunity to watch our youngest play. It was wonderful. Jonathan felt well enough to make it to the soccer field. The joy of being surrounded by the kids he has couched for years by far outweighed the effort it took to be there. The 28th Jonathan had the opportunity to visit with several of his closest friends who came from different parts of the country, and even from overseas, only to chat with him for a couple of hours. It was an irreproducible moment of honesty and true everlasting brotherly love. This past weekend, we spent Labor Day with Jonathan’s parents and siblings as well as my mom. Jonathan talked, laughed, cried, played. Despite his limitations, he enjoyed his family.  During these days,  Jonathan has continued drinking natural juices as his only source of nutrition. The benefit his body has received is obvious and simply incredible. Jonathan’s GI track is working a lot better. His discomforts have decreased, he is awake most of the day, and his interaction has improved significantly. We can only see God’s merciful hand in all of these gifts. We keep asking for a miraculous and complete healing for Jonathan. But God’s love for us is so big that as we wait for Him to show the way He will provide for that complete healing, whether on this world or in heaven, He is granting us many smaller yet incredible miracles. He is granting us better days, and not only more days. One day at a time is a gift to enjoy and to celebrate.

Recently, I have thought about and better understood the words that first our doctor, and later nurses and social workers kept repeating when they explained hospice care to us: our goal is to take one day at a time. That goal is very real to us right now. It is not just what we say when we feel tired after a long day of work, or when we are overwhelmed trying to finalize a project, or when our children get the best of our otherwise normal personality.  In those moments, the phrase is valid, don’t get me wrong. But under hospice care, that phrase is different because it is totally deprived of the possibility of switching gears. There is no further plan, there is no break. One day at a time has a very literal meaning these days. It is not easy, but surprisingly, it is helping us appreciate God’s new mercies in a deeper way every morning. We get our manna for today. There are no left overs. But fresh manna for tomorrow is guaranteed.

We celebrate these good gifts knowing that you celebrate with us. Thank you for your relentless prayers and constant demonstrations of love.

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And God provided manna for today.

Around 3:20am,  Jonathan woke up saying he needed help and immediately began to gasp for air.  The episode was unexpected, long, scary. By the time the hospice nurse arrived, his breathing was still very labored, but not as distressed. The nurse put him on oxygen and gave him morphine and Jonathan was able to relax.

Jonathan is more stable right now, but this episode has initiated a process in which closing his physical eyes here to open them in the presence of His Savior is the imminent reality. A reality that is hours or maybe days away rather than weeks. It hurts deeply to face it, but God ministers to our hearts in a special way. He reminds us that HE will remain our anchor no matter what.

Our day has been uncertain, but we have not been alone. Our family and close friends have been with us. We feel loved, surrounded, cared for. But we hurt, our kids hurt, our families hurt. Continue to pray with us as the Spirit leads. He receives the glory.

40 thoughts on “One Day at a Time”

  1. May God strengthen you and help you and as always uphold you in His righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10 Much love and many prayers for you!

  2. Precious Friends, we are praying with the deepest groans for comfort and for His great glory to shine brighter than you could ever imagine. You all are deeply loved by the Lloyds.

    1. Sweet, precious Beans. My heart is heavy. I’m praying continually, as I wear the visual reminder that Jesus is our hope, our anchor. Praying for peace, comfort, and strength. Many Prayers, Big Hugs, and Much Love.

  3. My eyes are leaking and my heart is aching as I read these words. Jonathan has fought valiantly for his earthly life, and God had sustained you all faithfully. The inevitable next step appears to be into heaven, where Jonathan will enter God’s eternal rest. How gracefully and beautifully you both have navigated this “valley of the shadow,” and how inspiring it has been to experience your faith and trust in the Lord through it all. Your lives have testified to the goodness of God in each stage of this journey, and I can already imagine Jonathan receiving the affirmation of our Lord, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” How grateful I am for the privilege of having known both of you and having the example of your courage and love. I am blessed and “thank my God upon every remembrance of you” both. Love and continuing prayers, my dear friends.

    1. Jonathan Bean, my friend…thanking God for you. For your heart for Him and His work you completed on this earth. For all the laughter you brought to us. Praying that our Gracious Lord will surround you, Carla, and the kids with comfort and love ❤️.

  4. The Sherpa family is praying for you. The deep groans of our heart hurting with yours. The blessings you find in the Lord are such a blessing to us. May our Abba father, bring you comfort and steady your feet as you endure. Blessings Michael and Jen

  5. Praying for you all as you wait yet again, on the Lord of all today’s, and tomorrow’s.
    His Promises are forever true, and His steady Hand always in each of yours.
    I walked my husband home, holding his hand in mine.
    There was an immediacy when he drew his last breath in this world. And at that same time, an immediacy of knowing he was face to face with his Redeemer.
    Thank you for the ever needed reminder to live each given day as it comes to us.
    And God bless you and your husband on your journey into each next hour or day.
    You are loved by many.
    Karen Luster

  6. Been praying for you guys. Although I left Birmingham over 4 years ago, I have tired to keep track.

    It’s hard to read the blog, hard because life is very hard for each of you. I pray that God will grant peace

    Shalom, peace from God

    Steve

  7. Praying you feel and know that you are held in His presence! Our hope in Christ is certain and will never fail us.

  8. As we have watched your story unfold from afar at Brook Hills, we find ourselves thankful for your willingness to share this story! Thank you for the encouragement it has been to us to seek the Lord in the face of immense pain. We are praying for big things from God and for his hand to be evident to you and your family right now.

  9. After reading your post I feel as though I have been walking in a field of beautiful flowers called grace & mercy. Thank you for sharing those tender moments. It is evident the Lord is with you all and giving you what you need for every moment. Still praying for a miracle.

  10. Carla, our hearts are hurting with you, tears flowing as we read your post. Thank you for sharing do beautifully your heart, the joy and the pain you are experiencing. We are praying for you and all the family. May the Lord continue to sustain you hold you in His loving arms of comfort.

  11. A wonderful essay on his journey from here to there. It is my firm belief his wonderful wife will have the God-given streinght to carry on which as he looks down will make Jonathan very happy and proud!

  12. The Great I AM walks with your precious family. Our hearts ache for you. Still, we pray, trusting in GOD and HIS tender mercies.
    For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, – 2 Corinthians 4:17
    Love, Paul, Alesia, & Grant

  13. The Casolaros too have a heavy heart. We know the love you all have for the Savior and pray that God’s strength and comfort will sustain you each day.

  14. I saw the boys throwing the ball to each other a little earlier today. My mind drifted as I watched them play to how things were with you all. I felt something had happened last night or this morning. Christ’s love is evidenced in your face every time I see you, and I don’t have adequate words to describe the faithfulness of your family. God’s provision seems written over every thing that happens, and you are always steadfast. What an unimaginable gift to live next door and be blessed by your day-to-day, Godly walk. Thank you for this beautiful display of obedience to Christ and love for Him. I continue to pray for a divine miracle, and I thank God for every moment you all spend together. What a beautiful example you teach of living each day. May God continue to provide for each of you, and our prayers will continue for your beautiful family.

  15. Karla,
    What a testimony you are for the goodness of God! Your never ending love and devotion are a testimony to me. This week I had to say goodbye to two friends who needed God to rescue them. Your faith is God’s greatness in spite of unending struggle is a great testimony to me and to your children. What an amazing exanple for them. You will all need many prayers as the days pass and you await God’s great love which is shown to each of you daily. I know Steph & Kim and Kim’s husband, Tim, want to spend a little time talking to and singing for Jonathan, which I know you both will love. I’ll also be there with them. You’re always in my prayers and often tears just flow. I love you all!

  16. Karla,
    Thank you for sharing these private and difficult moments your family is passing through. Your faith is an inspiration to me, and I am sure, to many. My heart is heavy for each of you. In my mind’s eye I often see your children–as we have children almost the same age–and I think about the hurt their little hearts are carrying. Love each of you. We are praying for you all throughout each day. ♥️ Heidi wells

  17. We are praying for you with heavy and hurting hearts. Your army is huge and your God is even bigger. Thank you for reminding us of His goodness in the midst of our circumstances for the last 6 years of this journey with Jonathan. We praise Him for every sweet moment and beg him for more. We love you, our heroes. You and Jonathan are heroes of the faith. Not a moment wasted. Love you all.

  18. We are incredibly grateful that you find the time to update those near and far. We love you guys and are praying for your family often.

  19. It’s almost midnight – though I am exhausted I cannot imagine the exhaustion and the heart ache you all must feel. I am moved towards our Savior as you testify to His goodness, faithfulness, and great mercies. Your heart journey magnifies Him! Oh how I love you guys, pray for you and weep for you. I am so sorry for the battle, but I praise Him for all the strength and courage you carry. I pray for all of your hearts and minds- to be granted rest and peace as well as the greatest comfort from our Father. XXOO

  20. Continually praying for all of you. Thank you for the constant reminders of God’s love and provision in the midst of your deep pain. Love you all. 💗 The Godfrey Family

  21. I don’t know you personally, but I know Jack and Shari Thomas very well. They have faithfully shared your prayer needs to our Sunday School class and on Facebook. I have been following your blog and praying for you, Jonathan, Karla, and family. 43 years old is too young to be taken from this life, but we know God is sovereign, and he has numbered our days down to the very minute, young or old. (The scripture is somewhere in Job, I think.) I pray and weep for you, my brother and sister in Christ. One day at a time is true. Continue to live each day for the glory of God. No regrets. See you in Heaven once we all depart our earthly tents.

  22. The Pickerings pray for you all. Tim and Betsy remind us often that their friends are hurting. In the hard times, my prayers tend to get very short – “Lord, your will be done.”

    I know there are no words that will help now, but I want to share this thought from a former pastor, in the hope that someday it will come back to you: “There really is a place where joy and sorrow meet.”

    Much love for all of you.

  23. Yes continuing to pray and lift up your family!!! God has used your story of his faithfulness to build my faith,and I thank you for sharing, even in these hard days!! I am so sorry for the hard times that y’all are walking in but am thankful for the moments of love and beauty that you are having,and most of all for the hope in Christ alone that we have, with knowing and trusting him!!!!

  24. Karla, we continue to pray for God’s miracles in each of your lives, and we thank our Father for faithfully and lovingly and generously delivering them. We thank Him for His protection of your hearts and spirits during these heartbreaking days and hours. And we thank Him for tender mercies, fresh each new day. I find myself singing this song as I pray for all of you.

    He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
    He sendeth more strength when the labors increase;
    To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
    To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.

    His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
    His power no boundary known unto men;
    For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
    He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.

    When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
    When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
    When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
    Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

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