Wednesday, November 16, 2016

"It's Easy to Praise Jesus"

I leaned in close - I struggled to read his lips and understanding his whisper was difficult. The disease had taken so much from him- now his ability to communicate.

it's easy to praise Jesus

I don't remember the very first time I met him, he was just always there. Rex is his uncle, but Brad and Keith were more like his brothers. The three of them together - well, it was usually like this.

Rex, Keith and Brad
March 2012
Brad, Rex, Iris & Keith
July 2011 

When I first met Brad I was intimidated by him. He seemed to have it all together. So confident. So smart and determined. It would take me a while, but not too long, to figure out that he had one of the biggest hearts of anyone I know. He invested time into my husband and my kids, without fanfare. He'd just show up and shower with attention and then go. He stood on the side of right. Always. A man of integrity.

Brad loved family- and the Allen family is nothing if it isn't amazing.

Insert thirty years family stuff. Our babies grew into adults. Some of them married and had their own babies. Oh, how Brad loved the babies. Plans for the future and dreams of retirement danced in our heads. We said goodbye to Hersey and Iris, Lillian and others, but that's expected, as we grew older, so did they. And life wasn't without disappointment, the Allen's have faced some trials but nothing we couldn't overcome.
Brad and Rex, March 2012

it's easy to praise Jesus
The diagnosis caught us off-guard. ALS. ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. To date, it is 100% fatal.
We prayed for a miracle. And life continued. Sense of humor intact.

Rex, Keith and Brad acting up at Delaney's Birthday party April 2015

Steve, Ona, Brad, Olivia & Missy
Celebrating Brad's birthday 5/21/16 
Brad & me at his birthday dinner 5/21/16

Brad never complained about ALS even tho all who knew him or spent time with him could see the extreme pain and imagine his frustration with a fully capable brain trapped inside a completely non-responsive and pain filled body.

A few weeks ago, I spent a few hours with Brad and Missy. It was a sweet day.

I was bragging to him about Missy. She set the bar high for us Allen women on what it looks like to love in sickness and in health. I can't think of a more difficult "sickness" to love someone through. But she was ever present, ever faithful and ever loving.

We talked about hard things. Brad was concerned about us. The family. Was Rex okay? Was I okay? I told him that I was sad, but I knew it was temporary goodbye. I told him I was a bit jealous he got to go home first but I hated seeing him hurt. I told him he was leaving quiet a legacy- a wonderful testimony showing us how to trust God in the hard.

That's when he looked me in the eye and whispered, 
it's easy to praise Jesus
I know that day was a gift from God- what I meant to encourage him and instead he encouraged me.

Our family has watched ALS take everything from Brad- everything except the two things most important to him. His family and his faith.

Our lives came to a screeching halt on Saturday, November 5 - nothing mattered except being present with him knowing it would most likely be his last hours here. It was a beautiful day to go home.

When we pray desperately for healing for those we love, and they die it might feel like God didn't hear. Didn't answer. That our faith wasn't enough. We might be tempted to complain.

That's when we have to remind ourselves, almost scream it into our hearts that God is sovereign. His ways are not ours and we can trust Him in all things. Even when trusting Him hurts our hearts.

We, along with hundreds of you have prayed that Brad would be healed from a disease that has a 100% fatality rate. We wanted a miracle.

And now, our family is adjusting to the huge loss of a husband, father, son, brother, nephew, son and brother-in-law. But we do not grieve like those without hope. Brad is completely whole and in the presence of his Savior.

In the midst of our grief, well

it's easy to praise Jesus!

Happy Wednesday y'all!

1 comment:

  1. Praise God! This was so beautiful! I praised Jesus as I read this! Peace and Blessings to your wonderful family! Heaven has truly gained an angel! Lakesha Smith


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