Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Refiner's Fire...

Chloe Grace

Chloe and I spent the weekend at my parent's lake house outside of Austin, TX. It was a relaxing time, and I was able to spend a lot of time reflecting and digesting what just happened in my life. Life is starting to "slow down" which is nice, but the reality of "the situation" is setting in more each day.

Friday was a tough day on me, as the reality of Sara's departure from Earth became more real. My mom has lots of pictures around the house, and seeing Sara and I at our wedding and during our time in Japan brought back a FLOOD of happy memories, quickly followed by sadness about her being gone.

After spending some time reading and praying, it is clear that there are going to be tough days ahead, but things will get better. A good friend told me, "It is okay to allow yourself to go into the pit (of grief), but you cannot stay there!" As I began going through the 100s of comments left on the blog, I was pulled back out of the pit by reading about the lives being changed!

Music has continued to minister to me and the song "If You Want Me To" by Ginny Owens speaks some truth about where I am at right now. I'm not going to write the words to the song, but click here to listen to and read the lyrics. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtNzOpKvPfw

Chloe's First Trip to the Lake

Nannie (my mom)

Aunt Camille and Uncle Jason
(Family Friends)

Unhappy Chloe

I am so glad that Sara and I decided to come back to Texas for her treatment. Being close to family has been such a blessing during the past few months...and is even more so now!

As I spent time reading at the lake, I continued to come across references to a refiner's fire.

He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver... --Malachi 3:3a

I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, "They are my people," and they will say, "The LORD is our God." --Zechariah 13:9b

Some of you may have heard the story about the lady who was interested in the refinement process and went to the silversmith to get a first hand look at the process. Here is a quick recap...

As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities. She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.

A refiner's fire is used to purify. A refiner's fire is VERY HOT! A refiner has to pay utmost attention to what he is doing, lest the fine metal being purified will be destroyed.

I feel that the journey from February 23 (mammogram) to September 22 (Sara's death) was the Lord preparing to do some refinement. Before the metal can be refined, it takes a long journey from the mine in the ground to the refinery. Sara's death was the spark that ignited the flame, and since that day, God has been and is "refining" lots of peoples lives!

John Piper preached a sermon on the different types of fires. He says, "A forest fire is devastating and destroys indiscriminately. An incinerator consumes completely ... A refiner's fire refines. It purifies. It melts down the bar of gold or silver, separates out the impurities that ruin it's value, burns them up, and leaves the gold or silver intact." http://www.worshipmap.com/sermons/piper-mal3,1.html

After watching the refinement process, the lady visiting the silversmith had one more question...

...The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, "How do you know when the silver is fully refined?" He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's easy -- when I see my image in it."

Typically, change is neither comfortable nor pleasant. However, when the change is due to a purifying or refining process, we can rest assured that the outcome of the process will better in the end.

The refinement process is complete once the refiner can see his REFLECTION in the precious metal.

As stated previously, the pastor at Sara's service encouraged people to not just remember Sara, but to be different because of knowing Sara. I will take it a step farther. Sara was the AMAZING WOMAN that she was because of who Christ was in her. So, don't be different because of knowing Sara, but be different by knowing the Christ that Sara knew.

Thanks for continuing to check on us.

123 comments:

Jessica Willis said...

I do not know you personally, but have been following your blog since being led here by friends asking for prayers for your family. I wanted to tell you what an inspiration your wife has been to many MANY people who did not know her. The way she lived every moment for Christ... the way that she loved you and Chloe, wholeheartedly... Her story has truly impacted me in a way I can't describe. And I have to say: Chloe is truly blessed to have you - such a Godly, humble, loving father. Thank you for sharing your heartbreaking story with so many people - and know that Sara would be proud of you and the witness that you are giving in her death.

The Future Mrs. Etten said...

My heart aches for you, but knowing that your beloved wife is looking down on you and prescious little Chloe is comforting.

My prayers and thoughts are with you!

Quincy said...

Brad, brother... well as many others on your blog I also do not know you personally but was sent your blog link in a request to pray... and I too have been extremely and personally challenged, encouraged and humbled as I have followed your families trials and "walked" with you in prayer... Thank you for your transparency thru this all, and for allowing others to worship and rejoice in our great Comforter along with you as we've been able to join with you thru this... that is the blessing of the Body of Christ after all, isn't it? God is so Kind! And thank you for your final words in this post... what humility (and wisdom) to take the focus from just following your amazing wife's example to following her as she has followed her Perfect Savior! I pray that you will continue to maintain that worshipful perspective... and I pray that God will prepare me to live and react likewise when the day of my trials will come... Press on, brother! And I look forward to the day I get to meet you AND your lovely wife in Heaven! -Quincy- Jude 24,25

Tiffany said...

Precious pictures of you and Chloe this weekend. What a wonderful father you are to her! The Lord put her in such capable hands.

We will continue to pray for you as you face difficult days without Sara. Thank you for sharing such encouraging words.

shannon said...

thank you for continuing to write. i know hundreds of people want to know how you and Chloe are doing. also, thank you for sharing your family's story. although what has happened is painful, your story is also inspirational.

Blueangels said...

You, your wife, and your faith has inspired so many.
My husband, a Naval Aviator, has just been sent to Iraq on an I.A. In my moments of sadness my heart has been quick to remember you, Sarah, and Chloe. Your strength in the refinement. Thank you for your courage and wisdom today.

Ann said...

Thank you for these words of reflection...you continue to inspire me with your faith and love of the Lord!

Kara said...

You and your family continue to amaze me in your ability to see only Christ in this situation. "The world" doesn't do that and I am so thankful there are still positive role models that can point to him no matter what, and I would say that losing your beautiful wife is definately a "no matter what" situation! You will be (and are!) a great dad that is doing it the right way, leading your family by his word. Praise God for your little blessing and your piece of Sara that has remained here with you during his refinement! You will remain in our thoughts and prayers.

Parker's Paradise said...

SO BEAUTIFUL!!! Thinking and praying for you and your family!!
April from Dallas

Ryon & Rachel said...

Thank you for sharing your life with us. While I've never met you, I have love for you in my heart...the love a sister gives a brother. And I have love for Chloe in my heart...and for Sara. I pray that God blesses you and your precious daughter with comfort and peace during this time in the Refiner's fire. I've been through many refining processes myself and the thing that I clung to most during those time (after reading that same story) was that the Refiner must stay right there with the silver, holding on to it, not letting go or looking away from it until the refining process was complete. Take comfort in knowing that the Refiner, God your Father, is right there...watching you, holding you, not letting you go until He can see His image in you. You are not alone...ever...He is there. When you can't feel Him or see Him...it's not because he's not there...it may just be because the flames are too hot to be able to look out and see Him...but He's there.

God bless you and your family!!!

Courtney Coker Causey said...

My heart breaks for you but I am encouraged and strengthened by your faith. Thank you for sharing such personal things during this difficult season of change. Your family is in our thoughts and prayers. All glory...

parks said...

your words in this blog spoke straight into my heart. thank you for sharing your life with us-- you are as amazing as sara and are doing a fantastic job carrying on sara's legacy by just being you in such a transparent way. y'alls story is touching the masses!! praise God!

to God be the glory,
kristen parks

Diana...aka...MeMe said...

Brad, I just read the post Sara wrote about her father and about her dreams of you as a father to her baby. So very beautiful and can I say, I see just what she describes, in your face , while you hold Chloe. May God bless you and your precious baby girl. Thinking of you and praying for all your family and friends at this time of loss.

Michelle said...

Christ thru you continues to amaze me! I'm sure you will go thru many stages for a while to come but it is so comforting to know God has his arms wrapped around you and will hold you thru it all! I am so glad you continue to update us all because I think and pray for you and Chloe everyday. Kristen Parks is right...you are as amazing as Sara and I want to thank you for sharing with us your faith and your family! Know that no matter what you are going thru there are A LOT of us here praying for you and I know many good things are in your future!

The Tietz Family! said...

Brad, as I'm sure you have read my post before I've known Sara for many years. You continue to ahh me over your relationship with Christ. I myself love the Lord deeply and during these times of grief you are trusting in him and he will comfort you and give you peace. No matter how dark the day might get remember he IS with you and will NEVER leave your side. Its okay to have those days, but don't fall into them bc that is where the destroyer lays. Be strong as much as you can for that sweet lil' girl of yours.I'm a photographer and if you come back down to Houston soon let me know and I will take her pictures for free for you and any time you need them taken its on me :) Would be my pleasure to photograph her growing up. Your in me and my families every prayers.
info@sharatietz.com
Shara Tietz

Melissa's Thoughts said...

Purify my heart,
let me be as gold and precious silver.
Purify my heart,
let me be as gold, pure gold.

(Chorus)
Refiner's fire,
my heart's one desire
is to be?holy;
set apart for You, Lord.
I choose to be?holy;
set apart for You, my Master,
ready to do Your will.

Purify my heart,
cleanse me from within
and make me holy.
Purify my heart,
cleanse me from my sin, deep within.

Burtons Blessings said...

God Bless you and your family! I have been following your blog from a prayer request I received through another blog and have been blown away by your story. With each blog entry you publish, I am reminded of how short life is and not to take any day for granted. You, Sara, and Chloe are such an inspiration to so many. I continue to pray for you and your family and look forward to reading about your journey as a Man of God and Father to precious baby Chloe.

christina said...

amen amen! With you in sorrow and joy..our faith unites us! As do our prayers for you and with you. In this process, i feel our grief unites us too.

I have a tendency to repeat myself but God's biggest life lesson this past year to my heart has been:
obedience + suffering = glory!

I am praying that thru your obedience and suffering, you may experience the glory...daily! We already know Sara is living the glory now, for she was obedient in her suffering as well.

peace brother.
c.

Waters, Inc. said...

Hang in there! You are keeping an awesome perspective in realizing that God has His hand upon you and your daughter every step of this journey. God bless you!

jennielle9 said...

Brady,
Thank you for sharing such a deep piece of you and your family's journey in the last year. You've all been in my heart.

Though I never knew Sara, hearing about her grace under fire is especially inspiring to me as a new mom; I hope I can bless my son's life and my husband's life as much as she has already blessed you and Chloe's.

Peace,
Jenny Veres-Schrecengost

Kelly said...

Thank you for continuing to blog. Our family truly has fallen more in love with Jesus through following you family's journey.

MPeacock said...

I continue to pray for you and Chloe.
MP

Anna said...

What beautiful pictures of you and your family! And, what a great analogy of what God is doing in so many lives because of Sara and ultimately, because of HIM!

I'm so glad that you have lots of people that are loving you and surrounding you and helping you during this difficult time. Chloe is blessed to have you and your family in her life! And what a blessing she is to all of you!

Thanks for sharing.

Natika said...

Sara's in that sunset!
She's smiling on what a great daddy you are becoming.

devro said...

I love your blog page. I have it saved now on my own! I am so very proud of you. Keep us ALL posted. It seems you have tons of followers. May God Bless.

GardnerJanet said...

Thank you for reminding us that God is continually at work in our lives "refining" us into His image. Your family is a great testimony of the ONE TRUE LIVING GOD! We serve a wonderful Savior. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Ashley and Matt Sheehan said...

I am a friend of Hope, Sara's cousin. Together we are putting together care packages for you and sending them your way. I can't tell you how MUCH of an impact you have had on my life in just the short few weeks of following your blog and story. Please know you have so so many people praying for you. Thank you for being so strong through all of this and being such a great father to Chloe. You are such a role model. I am a new mother of a 7 month old baby girl, so your story hits home for me especially. I admire your strength and faith and wish you NOTHING but blessings upon blessings! He will never give you more than you can handle. I know that seems hard to believe in such trying times, but please keep your strength and rest during these times

Shari U said...

Your wife was a beautiful woman and the most perfect example of a mother. You are blessed to have your precious Chloe who will always be a reminder of Sara. I don't know you, but I think of you often and remember you and Chloe in my prayers. May God bless you and walk with you as you raise your daughter, may your unbearable grief become bearable and may you fondly recall the years and all the adventures you and Sarah had together.

Melanie said...

I have never commented on your blog before but have been following it for the past few weeks. Your families strength and love for God during this hard time has helped me to become a stronger and more faithful person and for that I am grateful. Sara was a remarkable woman and she has touched my life! May God bless you and your beautiful Chloe!

gems4me said...

Chloe is a beautiful baby.

K.K.'s Korner said...

Brady, my husband and I are continuing to pray for you and little Chloe through this difficult time.
"Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold onto you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10

Natalie said...

Found your family's blog through another requesting prayer. I started reading and realized my husband and I must have been at Sheppard at the same time as y'all were (class 06-01). We've been praying and continue to do so.

Vicki said...

I don't know you, but like so many others was led to your blog by another blog. All I can really say is WOW. Obviously your wife was an amazing woman who lived her life for Christ and set such an example for other women. You are a very lucky man for the years God gave you with her and she was a very lucky woman to have you for a husband. I check back almost everyday to see how you are and how Chloe is doing. I am so impressed by your strength and God must have made you one strong person to give you a beautiful daughter knowing that her mother was on her way to live with Him. Thank you for keeping up the blog, I know that in one way, it must be very hard for you, but in another, I'm sure it is an outlet. I know God and Sara are very proud of you!!

Kelly said...

Chloe is beautiful. I wish for peace and happiness for the both of you. From reading your blog, from the diagnosis all the way to the fight for life in the end, you were always there with all the knowledge, support and love that I could only hope my hubby would have for me. It is apparent that you are a wonderful husand, man and father. I know you are going to do such a great job raising Chloe. Your faith is absolutely inspiring.

Theresa said...

Your strength during this journey is nothing short of inspiring. I know it comes from God. The reflection of Christ in Sara's life continues to lead people towards Him, as does His reflection in your strength during this journey. Thank you for sharing with all of us!

Christian Carroll Stewart said...

Thank you for sharing your life with so many people. I have been reading your blog since the week your precious Chloe was born. I can't imagine how much you must miss Sara. I know that both her life and her passing have touched so many people, myself included. I can tell Sara was a remarkable woman with a beautiful testimony. What an amazing gift to still have a piece of Sara in your little girl. You are in my prayers during this difficult time.

Lisa said...

What a beautiful song. thank you for sharing it. I know that you are unsure of where your path is going to lead you, but know that you are on the right path. your unwaivering faith and spirit and love for Christ will keep you strong and guide you. You and Chloe make a beautiful family! The love absolutely resonates!
Be well,
Lisa :)

misty w. said...

Brady-
I don't know you, but Angie and I taught together in Deer Park for a while until she and Josh moved away. She kept us updated on her sister throughout the diagnosis and pregnancy. We prayed and prayed and prayed that God would heal her. I'm so very sorry for your loss, but so very happy that you know without a shadow of a doubt that you and Chloe will see her again in Heaven. Such precious reassurance. Until then, my family is praying for you and Chloe and the rest of your family. Let Him be your strength on the difficult days. So many are interceding on your behalf to the Father. You are loved.

Kel said...

I am so glad you have the family and friends support that you have. And look at the gorgeous backdrop of yalls pictures. God bless you on this new chapter and continue to bring comfort on those days that aren't so easy. If you want me to is an awesome song of faith..glad you found it. HE never promised it would be easy ... hugs love and prayers your sister in Him Kelly

In Faith Photography said...

Thank you so much for continuing to write on this blog. I also do not know yall personally but was led here to pray for you and your daughter. I check daily for new posts just to make sure yall are doing ok. As I clicked on your blog today I was humming a song...I was humming "purify my heart" and as I was reviewing your pictures of this weekend I was singing in my head the part that says "refiners fire...my hearts one desire" I thought to myself I don't know if I really know what that means....so I continued reading your post today and I got to the part where you said "As I spent time reading at the lake, I continued to come across references to a refiner's fire" I thought Ok Lord...You got my attention...I'm listening!!! He is amazing at how he speaks to us...I can only hope that He uses all of us to speak to you as much as He has used you to speak to us. Thankyou for taking the time to write from your heart to bless me today. God is preparing to use you in Chloe's life like you never imagined....Chloe is going to be raised seeing Christ through her father and seeing how Christ used her mother to touch many lives as well...May the Lord bless you and your beautiful daughter today and everyday! Greetings from China Spring Texas...jen

mommynoodles said...

WOW!Awesome post! Cute pics.! I will continue to pray for strength for you.And know that yes,it is ok to mourn,like your friend said about the pit!!
Natalie,

Mimi said...

You are an awesome man, an awesome dad and an awesome husband. Sara is smiling down at you from heaven. You are doing a great job and there are so many here following your journey. We are praying for you. For the good days and the bad. Hugs to you and to your sweet baby girl.

Kami

Krista said...

Like so many others, I was led to your blog as a prayer request. I then forwarded the request to so many others... and ALL of us have been so humbled and blessed by reading about both your family's experiences and your incredible faith. More than anything, music is what seems to bring me to my most worshipful state of mind, and your blog has led me to some of the most uplifting, inspirational lyrics I've ever heard. I think I listen to "Bring the Rain" about 10 times a day, and I am literally drawn to lift my hands in praise each time. Your story has made me cry AND smile, because I know of your sadness, yet I feel your happiness with little Chloe. She is so precious, and you two are truly "a match made in heaven" as father and daughter. I know you will have a relationship that is incredible with that little girl.

Just wanted to share those thoughts with you...

In Him,
Krista

Team Buckwalter said...

Brady, continual thanks for sharing the journey Jesus is bringing you through with the loss of our much loved Sara...she is very much missed. Sara would be so proud of you again...as she always was. You, Chloe and the family are daily lifted up in prayer. Love you guys...

Candicenichole said...

It is amazing how much strength you have within yourself. Sarah's story is amazing and she seemed to be an amazing person as well. I don't personally know either of you but I was sent here asking to pray as well. I lost my bestfriend about 5 months ago in an ATV accident. She was lucky enough to donate all her organs and saved alot of people. She has an 11 month old baby girl as well. Lylah her daughter may not necissarily grow up remembering her mother, but she will always know about her and how great her mother was. Chloe will also grow and get to know how wonderful her mother was and how lucky she was to have her as a mother. I wish you all the strength in the world. We are all praying for you guys. Sarah was an amazing person and everyone she hear about her story.

"P" said...

I do not know you, but starting following your blog about a week ago, you are wise far beyond your years. You have been through so much in such a short time, it will take time to absorb, but you are truly blessed with such a sweet baby girl, but that does not take away the pain. I know you have heard these same words from probably every one. Know that you as well as your wife are touching lives through your testament and the strength you have from Jesus. I am praying for you from my little corner of Ky.
P

Carrie @ Cottage Cozy said...

We MUST be different because of the sacrifice of our Savior. We cannot just blend in and coast through our Christian lives...I am excited to be a small part of your refinement. Sara has already touched so many and will continue to do so through you and Chloe. I will pray about the refinement that might be done in me because of your lives and journey!

Thank you, Carrie

blogreader17 said...

My heart goes out to you and your family for your loss. I have been following your blog since someone posted it on FB to pray for your family in September. I wanted to give you a link to another blog that I saw quite some time ago on Oprah of a man that lost his wife at or around the birth of their daughter quite unexpectedly. Someone may have already shared it with you, but I thought I would post it anyway. I know he has found a great deal of support through blogging and from others that have lost their spouses unexpectedly. I wish you all the best in this new journey that lays before you and your daughter.

Here is the link to the blog: http://www.mattlogelin.com/

Emily said...

Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability in sharing your family's journey. It has deeply impacted me and been instrumental in a time in my life where I am bombarded by the world's definition of love and shallow christianity. By sharing your deep love for your wife and family and also for a sovereign God in the midst of all of the trials and sadness I feel like THIS is the real deal and I am greatly encouraged by it. I know that you are hurting deeply right now and that there are days that are harder than others. We will continue to pray for you and your family.

"From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the Rock that is higher than I." Psalm 61:2

Kyle said...

Your story is so touching! Please know you and your family are being prayed for, and thought of, by people all over the world. How beautiful you and your precious family are! How blessed your Sara was to have such a Godly husband like you. I am certain she is smiling down from heaven knowing her little girl is in such great hands. Your faith is infectious and uplifting.
God bless from Australia!

Dawn said...

"If you want me to" is such a lovely song, thank you for sharing yet again...and for reminding us to not just fall in love with Sara (which we all have) but the God she so truly loved with all of her heart and being!

Heather said...

Continuing to pray for you and Chloe. May the Lord comfort each day and guide your steps. Praying for you, asking for mercy and peace and blessings upon your family.

Shelli said...

I don't know you personally, but have been praying for you and your family for a cpl weeks now after a friend shared your blog with me. I went to college with Ginny Owens and I shared your mention of her in your posting today on her personal facebook page tonight. I wanted her to know how one of her songs really spoke to you during this trying time in your life. Isn't music amazing how it transcends? God is really speaking to others through you just as he has spoken to you through Ginny's music. Your faith is astounding and inspiring. God bless, Shelli

Sheridith...Mom to Peeps said...

I am so overwhelmed with how you have gone on... with love.. and it's just something I really admire.

My Chloe is just about to turn 1.. and I look at her.. differently, since your chloe was born. I don't take her being here...for granted. Mine either, for that matter.

Chloe's beautiful Mommy.. is in heaven.. not sick.. not in pain. she's the angel that has her arms wrapped around you both.

The texas lakes are awesome, aren't they?

May God be with you...both!

sheridith

Kristen said...

Sara's story is such an inspiration and she will continue to be an inspiration to many others. I don't know you but I'm inspired to have a faith more like yours. Thank you for continuing to tell your story. I pray that God continues to provide you strength. You have a beautiful daughter.

milissa said...

I am one of the many who comment that doesn't know you or your family personally. I read a blog that led me to your blog that I have been consumed by ever since. I feel like I know you. I look at life differnt now because of the way Christ lived in Sara. Thank you for opening up your life to be a testimony to me and so many others. I am going though a little bit of refining now. Nothing like yours, but nonetheless...its refining. God is amazing and I am so thankful for this refining, because in the end...He sees Him in me...what better gift is there than that? Praying for you
milissa garcia

mommyof2sons said...

What a beautiful post!! I am praying for you and Chloe! Thanks for continuing to blog.

Queen of Quite-a-Lot said...

I'm so glad you got some time away to think, reflect and pray. You're amazing. Your friend is right-allow yourself to feel whatever comes in to your heart. Our thoughts and prayers will continue to be with you, Chloe and the rest of the family during this difficult time.

Debbie Tribble said...

Thank you for continuing to share with all of us who love Sara. I continue to pray for you & Chloe & your families & ask the Lord for sweet memories to sustain you now and His strength to get you through each day. Sara would be so proud of you.

Denise said...

Brady,

I love reading your posts. You have a way of writing that I've never seen before. You are very up front with your thoughts, yet very peaceful at the same time. Please continue to update!

Kiss that baby all the time.

We're praying for you.
THE JOINERS
(Angie's friend)

Carri said...

Praying for you and precious Chloe. I am so so sorry for your loss. You are an amazing witness of faithfulness...I know I am growing by knowing your story. Since first reading your blog on Friday, I have not been able to stop thinking of you and Chloe...I pray for you often and know that God has great great things in store for you and your beautiful little girl. I will continue praying!

Stephanie said...

What an amazing man you are and how blessed Chloe is to have you as her father! I just know that you will keep Sara alive through Chloe and the love that the two of you shared is so evident! May God Bless you!!!!!

Ashley McWhorter said...

I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I was led to your blog from a friend of friend. I cannot imagine what you have gone through. You are truly an inspiration to so many. How blessed that sweet Chloe is able to have you as a father.

I came across this blog a while back, and thought that maybe he could be a mentor of sort to you...
http://wendysfriends.wordpress.com/

Have a blessed week.

Ashley McWhorter

Lori said...

I will hold you and your family in my heart as my sister and neice and I walk the Komen in October. I am so encouraged and touched by your story of your precious beloved and sweet little Chloe. I will be walking for those who have been changed by the effects of breast cancer and for the hope of a cure.

Please know that you have touched many with your ability to explain your very real relationship with our Christ.
Thank you...thank you...

Our Journey began with a Single Step said...

Praying for you, I know your beautiful wife is SO amazed at your dedication to your daughter and to God's grace- praying for you!
Kenneth & Lida Mathews

Cami said...

Brad, Thanks for sharing your life with us, the ups and the downs. I have wrote this to you before, but will say it again. Cory and I were and are blessed because we knew you and Sara, even if only for a little while.

Anne said...

So glad you're with family now. Austin is indeed wonderful. Love your writing and the way your heart shines through. Thanks.

Christy said...

Just wanted you to know that you and Chloe are in our prayers.

Shay said...

God is Good.
I love that song by Ginny Owen's. I heard it for the first time two weeks ago.
You and little Chloe are still in my prayers, I am absolutely amazed by your faith and trust in God.

FSD said...

What a beautiful post, and what great perspective the Lord is giving you as you take this new and painful journey. I'm so glad you have family nearby to help you. I admire your strength. As your friend said, it's okay to go to the pit sometimes. That's only natural. Even the Word of God contemplates that we'll grieve, but we're just told not to grieve as those with no hope. Although I don't know you personally, Chloe and you remain heavy on my heart. I smile when I see the new pics you're posting of Chloe, but I also feel sadness because I wish Sara was in the picture too. You both will continue to be in my prayers.

May the Lord bless and keep you and Chloe, may He cause His face to shine upon the two of you, and may He give you both (continued) peace. Shalom.

Janell said...

Thanks for sharing your journey with us. Your reference to the Ginny Owens song reminded me of another Ginny Owens song that has helped through some times of grief and sorrow. Hope it encourages you today.

"This Road"

A million miles away from anything familiar
A thousand places I would rather be
So I choke back the tears and try to find the bright side
Though I find it hard to see beyond my suffering

In my heart I know your plan is so much bigger
But this small part is all that I can see
And I believe you haven't left me here to wander
Still I can't help but ponder where you're leading me

(chorus)
And I ask why this road?
Why this way and this load?
Tell me how far must I go
'Til I see, 'til I know
Why this road

A million miles away from anything familiar
What was it like to be so far from home?
Though you came in love
The world misunderstood you
There must have been some days when you felt so alone
But you endured, cause there was joy before you
Joy that came because you sacrificed
Since you gave yourself just to spend forever with me
Surely I can trust you'll lead me through my darkest times
When I ask why....

(chorus)

From here I can not see
Why you'd choose this path for me
But I don't have to understand to believe
That you know why
You know why this road
Why this way and this load
You know how far I must go
'Til I see, 'til I know
Why this road

Kelli said...

Though the circumstances of this song, are slightly different, it continues to be a song of comfort.(Lost my brother 4 yrs ago) God will continue to "hold" you through this, as you will "hold" Chloe through her life. He will never forsake you.........

Natalie Grant - Held

Two months is too little.
They let him go.
They had no sudden healing.
To think that providence would
Take a child from his mother while she prays
Is appalling.

Who told us we'd be rescued?
What has changed and why should we be saved from nightmares?
We're asking why this happens
To us who have died to live?
It's unfair.

Chorus:
This is what it means to be held.
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive.
This is what it is to be loved.
And to know that the promise was
When everything fell we'd be held.

This hand is bitterness.
We want to taste it, let the hatred know our sorrow.
The wise hands opens slowly to lilies of the valley and tomorrow.

(Chorus)
This is what it means to be held.
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive.
This is what it is to be loved.
And to know that the promise was
When everything fell we'd be held.

Bridge:
If hope is born of suffering.
If this is only the beginning.
Can we not wait for one hour watching for our Savior?

(Chorus)
This is what it means to be held.
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive.
This is what it is to be loved.
And to know that the promise was
When everything fell we'd be held.

SouthernGalsBoutique said...

Inspirational... I've heard several sermons on the refining fire, and it's always a touching story to hear. I've shared your story with several people, and am still praying for you and sweet Chloe.

Jeff said...

I do not know you but have been following your story. It's amazing to see how your story has touched so many people. It has defn changed my life. You are a remarkable father for sweet Chloe. You will get through this tough time. It's not easy but over time things will be easier. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your journey. We look forward to seeing up dates on sweet Chloe as well as how you are doing. Just take it one day at a time and look at that sweet gift God has given you.

6p00e3982818f18833 said...

Beautiful....not only Chloe, but your words and your strength and the message that He is sending us. I am a firm believer that God brings us to places in our lives for a reason. He brought you back to Texas for Sara's treatment because He knew you would need your family. Chloe was born early because He knew you needed her and Sara was not going to be with you....and all of that is the beauty in Him....

servantsheart said...

Praying for you and Chloe as you travel this road. Thank you for pointing others to Christ in the midst of your grief.

manuelsmommy said...

I am another stranger who has followed your blog, since I heard of Sara's passing, and your heart continues to amaze me. I've prayed for you and your family and will continue to do so. Chloe is SO lucky to have you as her father. I've said this in another comment I've left before, and I'll say it again, I'm sure Sara is SO proud of you!!!!! :)

Love and prayers,
Christina Gomez

Texas AKM said...

Beautiful post Brady!!! Please know that my family continues to pray for you.

Kel said...

The blessings your blog has brought to so many of us who didn't know you personally but were just asked to pray for yall is amazing. I see all the comments being left and I can't help but think Sara is smiling down saying wow... we serve an AWESOME God.. and the story of hope that is in your blog is a relief to so many who just thought they were going through some hard times. I pray that ones reading this blog that are having marital issues or relationship troubles stop and see how blessed they are that their husband is there to leave the seat up.. lol.. you know what I mean though. And those who want to complain their kids are making them crazy..to remember how blessed they are to have their kids and to be here getting to raise them. I have never lost a spouse ( went through chemo with one at wilford hall) but have lost a daughter at birth. We just have to keep that faith HE has a plan for us.. have a blessed week and we will patiently wait for a new update... love hugs and prayers to all of you

Tiffany said...

Thank you for letting us know how you are doing. We'll continue to lift you, Chloe, and all your family in prayer. We appreciate your willingness to share your life with us! Chloe is beautiful and she is lucky to have shuch a great dad. God's plan was perfect. But what else should we expect? :)He's got big plans for both you and Chloe. I hope you continue to let us know what He's doing in your life! God bless you and comfort you.

Toni :O) said...

So sorry for your loss..I wasn't able to comment earlier because I hadn't set up an account, now I have one and I'll keep checking in on you both and leaving encouraging words and comments. I hope each day gets easier for you and thank you for allowing us in to check on you. My thoughts and prayers go out to you both. Take care and your daughter is just gorgeous!

bearsmom said...

I do not know you, but (like so many others) was asked to pray for your family and was sent here. I read back from the very beginning of blog and was amazed at your wife's spirit throughout her journey, she was a woman of God. What an incredible thing you can tell your daughter someday when she will understand. There is nothing more powerful and inspiring than knowing your mom followed Christ in the days of her life on Earth and there was nothing she loved more than Him. I cannot imagine what you are going through, I know it cannot be easy. WE ARE SUPPOSED TO GRIEVE. I pray for comfort and a peace that surpasses all understanding. Your baby is beautiful and the greatest gift from God on this Earth. Your wife was an INCREDIBLE woman who has touched and still continues to touch my life as a woman and mother and so many others!

Patti Parks said...

Amen Brady!!
Preach it!!

Amanda said...

I am so glad you have family there to help you! The picture of you and Chloe at the lake is so precious! You can see the Lord through you! Keep up the good work with your sweet baby girl! She needs her daddy!

June said...

Brad, You and Chloe are still in our prayers. As you said, there will be sad days ahead but "Joy comes in Morning." Hope to see you and Chloe in San Antonio when the girls run the 1/2 marathon in Nov.

Love you both,

June said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Donna said...

Your story continues to bless me and challenge me to live every day for Christ! May God comfort you and lead you during this refining time. Praying for you.

Sunny said...

Wow. I love reading your blog. I feel so encouraged after reading...even though most of the content is really hard to process. The Holy Spirit is evident in you and I'm thankful for your witness.

Kelley said...

The Refiner's fire...such a powerful thing. I've watched some dear friends, this past year, be held in that fire and have been both honored and humbled to learn through and from them, encourage them and pray for them. And though it is often difficult, I have also seen God at work in such a mighty way. He has drawn them nearer and nearer to him and, alas, look forward to the day when His reflection He will see. After all, He does bring beauty from the ashes.

I prayed for you and Chloe today and I thank you for sharing Sara with us in such a special way.

Megsy said...

I found your blog through a friend. I am praying for you and your sweet baby daughter and I know the years ahead will be painful and joyous. There is so much love out there for you and your family. God Bless.

Kyle said...

Brad,

Although I only had the privilege to spend one day with Sara, I felt the love of Christ that poured through her to all with whom she came in contact. She will not be forgotten, and her life convicts me to examine the way that God's love does or does not show through me to those around me.

Here is the link to a Sara Groves song ("He's Always Been Faithful") that I listened to constantly when I was facing a major life change that seemed daunting, scary, and sad (although not nearly to the extent of your experience): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHFK94QH5sU

Please know that you, too, are an inspiration in the way that you are responding to the fire that you find yourself in.

You and Chloe are continually in my prayers.

Kyle Boyes (Beast's sister)

Justin and Tauna said...

I do not know you but found out about you blog on a friends, I am from Utah, and I read you entire blog the other day, I just wanted to let you know that I look at life totally different, your story has really made me think about how I treat others. YOur wife sounded like an amazing person, a coworker read your blog with me and we cried and smiled while reading your blog and we both said that your wife was bueatiful. I just wanted to let you know that you and Chloe are in my prayers. Hang in there, and I love your scriptures at the end of you posts!

Brandee said...

I am incredibly inspired and changed because of this story! Your wife's smile in each photo tells of strength and true love and happiness. I will remember that always. Your personal strength is equally encouraging. Thank you for sharing.

Jamie said...

your story has touched so many people. God is using your strong faith and the love you have for your wife to further His kingdom. may you find His peace and comfort each day. praying for you and your precious chloe!

Mrs. C said...

Hi, want to tell you that I know Sara's family. Her sister and my son played soccer at Deer Park and at A&M. My daughter went to cheerleading camp with Sara in 8th Grade. I didn't know Sara as much as Angie; however, I did watch Sara at football games and she was always smiling. Your love story was and is very moving. My daughter walked last week with members of the Pink Ponies on behalf of Sara. I hope you will continue to use this Blog to show us the powerful message of Christ through your life. I hope somehow you find comfort in these messages.

r said...

Hello my name is Connie Salamanca I live in Misawa, Japan. I knew Sara from the gym and spoke to each often not on the phone but at gym or if we would run into each. We were able to have private converstations. I meet her when you two first moved to Japan. She shared with me that she was a believer in Christ but she did not have to tell you just knew it by her walk. When I found out Sara was sick I came home and stared to pray for her. By the time I found out you guy's had left to Hawaii. I did not know how to get in touch I asked around and got no answer. I really wanted to email her, send a card or even speak to her. I thought of her as a friend or a sister in christ. My heart is sad that Sarh has left this earth at a young age , young wife, and young mother. I know that she is in heaven and that one day we will all meet up with her. Thank you for posting your lives. I will keep you and your baby in my prayers.
I also wanted to ask if you think it would be ok if I run on Oct 18 in Sara memory? I am running the half marathon in San franciso it's a women's nike marathon benefit's the leukemia, lymphoma society. I would like to wear something on my shirt with her name and maybe a pink scraf on my head. If it's not ok I understand and respect that. Thank you once again for keeping us updated.
V/R Connie My email address
Connieescovedo@hotmail.com

stmurattler said...

Brady and Chloe, I have posted before, but I really truly wanted to thank you and Sara for renewing my faith in the Lord and stregnthening it. I was raised Catholic, but I do not attend church anymore. I should, but I feel that God is everywhere, and I can worship Him everywhere. I consider my time reading and re-reading your blogs my time with the Lord. And it is His and His alone. I know your sister-in-law Therese. I grew up with her from the time we were around 5 or 6 all the way through high school. And Therese and I have been through testing times too. But as I look back to when I was sick and had too been given a terminal diagnosis, I promise you I was nowhere NEAR as courageous and faithful as you and Sara. I have shared your story with anyone and everyone who will listen. And believe me, just showing people the beautiful heart birthmark, I can see the faith in the Lord in people's eyes as they look at it. Thank you SO much! God bless you! And I hope someday, you will realize your whole FAMILY is FULL of saints and angels! And to know you, is to know the Lord. Love, Lauren

C. said...

There are no words to express the sorrow we share with you. I don't know your family personally, but visited your blog after friends in our Sunday school class asked us to pray for your family. Your journey has touched countless people and continues to do so. Please know that prayers warriors stand vigilant for you and your sweet Chloe. Your path may arduous, but you do not walk alone. Thank you for continuing to chronicle your journey and allowing us to be touched your amazing faith.

bass family said...

Thank you for sharing your heart. You remind me very much of someone I know and love dearly... my husband. He lost his first wife several years ago and was left with a sweet baby girl to raise on his own. I wish you could sit and talk with him. He would understand you like few would. My heart aches for you, and for Chloe, in a very special way. I know, I know, I know, with everything in me, that the Lord will take care of both of you. I am encouraged to see you turning to the Lord. I am praying for you and your sweet Chloe.

Summer said...

Thank you for your encouraging words and for continually sharing your heart in the midst of all you are going through. Not only has Sarah touched many lives but you have are doing so too through your gift of writing your thoughts.

You and Chloe are in my prayers each day as you are being refined.

Paige said...

Still praying for you and your sweet family! What a beautiful post and one that spoke to my own heart tonight.

Michelle Aune said...

Wow Brady you are such a Godly example to all of us! Thank you so much for sharing His word with us! Sara's amazing example to us of a Christian life is definitly refining me and many others! Thank you for the incredible blessing you share with your story and your strong faith! What a inspiration you are!!! I can't wait to meet little miracle Chloe!!! Praise God for you and your beautiful family!I pray for you all the time!!!

Jen said...

Your whole family is an inspiration that is traveling far and wide. I continue to pray for you and to be moved by your words and writing. What strong faith you have. It is awesome to see! Chloe is such a blessed and lucky little girl. I wish you all the best and continued strength and comfort during this difficult time. I feel certain that Sara's hands are holding your heart and her light will lead the way!

Maddy said...

I've been reading but never commented. I love this post and you askingi people to know Christ.

I can't imagine your pain or how you put one foot in front of another, but please know your daughter and your faith is beautiful.

I'm so deeply sorry for your loss. We too are an Air Force family and I know all too well how much strength you can draw from your AF family, especially the since the fighter world is so tight knit. I hope that helps at least a little.

I'm sorry for the hard times that are headed your way, but please know I will keep you and yours in my prayers.

Maddy
Shaw AFB, Sc

Tammi said...

Hi Brad! I think of you daily and pray for you, Chloe and all of your family! I must say I asked God why He took Sara home? Why her? It was the first time I really felt the need to question God. He didn't tell me why but I felt like He said the true tragedy is when someone dies and they don't know Him as Savior. Praise His name we know that Sara did know Him as Savior! Thank you for keeping your blog updated!
In Christ, Tammi Edwards

adele said...

Brady,
You continue to inspire me daily. The pictures of you, Chloe and your family are beautiful. I will continue to pray for you. What an amazing person you are because of Jesus, your parents, friends, and Sara....
God Bless you.
:-) Adele

Karin and Thomas Werner said...

Like some people I have never met you or Sara ... but I have some good friends at the 34FS in Utah that have had the distinct pleasure to interact with you both (Monica Bailey and Stacey Christopherson). I learned of your blog shortly after Sara gave birth to Chloe and then learned of her departure to be with God. I am currently in Iraq and was going through some tough times and by reading your blog about your courage strength and resilency I know a better way to deal with my struggles that are nothing compared to yours. May God continue to provide you and Chloe the strength each day ... and for you both to continue to shed God's grace upon others ... God Bless you both.

Aaron said...

Good morning friend,
I think that your continued journey will not only continue to minister to me and others, but will also carry your lover's foot prints further down the path that will influence many toward the Lord Christ. As I read I listen to what you are going through and helps me to realize the importance of faith, hope, and love, how important these things are to life. I am encouraged through your strengths, I am reminded of what is really important in life. I hope you continue to post and then turn it into a book that will for sure influence many toward Christ. The refiner's fire is like the proverb that says as Iron sharpens iron, so shall one man sharpen another. I love that Scripture and find relevance in your story helping to sharpen me to go higher, live greater, and moving closer to God. I write to let you know I am thinking of you and pray blessings, peace and love into you and your families life.

My father past away 10 years ago today and I watched my mother go through an incredible grieving process over the course of the first 3 years. I went through it myself and had the good fortune and blessing to be able to process my feelings, of hurt, loss, anger, and the simple question of why through an incredible outlet that was introduced into my life at that time. I have since realized my journey had to go through what I went through to be the man of God I am today. I can actually praise God for the difficulty, struggle, and pain I went through.

I share this to tell you that God is number one the ultimate healer but time is the second healer, and finding your outlet is the third. The blog or your book may be that outlet, I don't know but that I would encourage you as you have encouraged so many through your writings.

May God Bless You!!! May He keep you and hold you tight!!! I am excited to watch your journey.

GrammaB said...

My heart is with you, my prayers are with you and Chloe. I know these trials cannot be avoided like one day is next to another one of beauty while the next one not so beautiful but we cannot skip even though we pray we could. We got through them and never alone...Father is there behind us , with us and before! I pray you sense His presence and comfort as you and Chloe move through the coming days. Blessings, love, grace and peace to you.

Bear Cub Mama said...

Your daughter is beautiful and so precious. What a gift knowing that you'll always have part of your wife with you in her. Best wishes to you and your family during this difficult time .

Kayla said...

got to your blog through (Army) Dr Chris Elliott at Tripler. have been reading for a couple of weeks and have been touched with your story. i am so happy that you were blessed to be near family during this time. speaking as a fellow AF wife - being near family is often times a luxury. it was God's blessing for you and Chloe will be in Texas. praising God that He continues the refining process. he will never leave nor forsake...

Robin said...

Dearest Brady,
Your spirit is remarkable. I remember reading the Left Behind series and in one book christians had a "mark" that could only be seen by other believers.
Brady, it is so evident that you are a child of God. You have been dealt the worst blow any of us can experience in this world; the death of our most loved. It is so obvious though that you have set your view on eternity and that you will have peace and joy in this world until you meet again.
My favorite pictures of Sara are those with her head shaved as she was so outwardly and inwardly beautiful it allowed her to radiate that beauty. A piece of my heart is broken for your loss, but I am so inspired by the hope you choose to have.
Chloe is a precious gift and I know she will bring you so much happiness. I rejoice with you that she is strong and healthy and beautiful!
I am praying for you both.

Your sister in Christ,
Robin

kimberly t. bowling said...

Wonderfully uplifting words, Sara is smiling at these thoughts you speak.

Jennifer said...

I love what you said about not being different b/c of knowing Sara (especially since many of your readers never knew her), but be different by knowing the Christ that Sara knew. I'm glad you recognize there will still be hard times. Grief will surprise you, even sneak up on you sometimes. Since you said music speaks do you, consider listening to "There will come a day, Jeremey Camp". Remember when you are weak, He is strong. There are lots of people who know you personally who are there for you and many, many others who are praying for you. May God continue to be glorified in life and in death.

kellie said...

I cannot seem to get throughout a post without a few tears. Tears of sadness but also of joy. How lucky Chloe is to have such an awesome dad. You will do fine, no you will do great. The days ahead may be dark are hard, but the light that beams from you when you hold chloe will show you the way

Kelly said...

I have never seen such strength, love and determination before, and all in the name of Jesus Christ. As I read your blog entries I could not help but think you might be in the wrong profession. You have preached the Word of the Lord in such a way that it made me feel the Spirit moving. Your Sara is an inspiration to me. I feel joy that she was able to be home with you and Chloe for that short time, because she was able to see that her baby was safe at home in your loving hands. It breaks my heart to think that you and Chloe have lost your Sara, but I know that isnt true at all...she is looking down at you both, proud of your witness. Only the good die young. She was so good. You allowed me to get to know her..even though I am a stranger. Thank you for that. I am a better person, mother, wife and above all, Christian because of knowing your story. God bless you.

Heather said...

May God continue to lift you up in spirit and bless you, baby Chloe, and your family. I happened to come across your blog from a link a friend posted and I read from beginning to end and I am so humbled by your courage and strength. You will be (I'm sure already are) a great father and I'm sure your wife would be so proud. Your strength is truly inspiring. Sending thoughts and prayers your way. God Bless.

Kelli said...

Lifting you and Chloe up in prayer

Coleson's Blog said...

Wow. Thank you for your reminders. You are amazing and brave. Thank you for loving Jesus and speaking of His word, what an example Chloe has. My heart breaks for you both but also rejoices in your love and comfort found in Christ.

Michael & Kristina said...

I don't know you personally, I was lead to your blog by a friend who just happened upon it, but found myself unable to stop reading your story once I started. You are such a true testament to real faith in the Lord, and reading your posts is such a good reminder of the faith we all should have...every day. Thank you for sharing your story... you are changing more lives than you know by your example alone. You and your precious little Chloe are in my prayers.

Montgomery said...

Amen, Brad. And Praise God!

Beth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrew said...

I was just passing by. I'm sorry for your loss. I was looking to see if anyone had prayed for God to refine them by fire. I feel that I need God to refine me.