Thursday, December 29, 2011

Book of Remembrance

Malachi 3:16 KJV - Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.

Friends, I am so thankful to report that Randi is feeling great and that we were able to celebrate Christmas with relatively little pain and yet so much joy.  Amidst all these trials we still have so much to be thankful for.  A family tradition that Randi and I started in 2010 was that we created a Wideman Family Book of Remembrance so that we would not forget what the Almighty had done in our lives over the past year. At the end of every year we add to this book in hopes that it will serve to encourage us at future times and perhaps be continued long after we are gone. It was such a blessing for Randi and I to read that book last night together and to think on how good Our Father is to us, even in the darkest of days. Without a doubt, these have been the most trying times of our lives and yet the most fruitful in faith unto our Redeemer. He has never left us; His grace is as evident as it has ever been to us. When the clouds have grown darker, when the storm is ever raging around us, He is the peace in the eye of the hurricane, the calm in the storm. His hope breaks the gloominess like the sun's rays break the clouds and helps us to see things that the storm itself had concealed. Oh, His goodness is everlasting for He Himself is from everlasting to everlasting! How can we not "Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock." (Isaiah 26:4 ESV) He has undoubtedly been our strength when we are weak, our hope amidst the fear, our anchor in the stormy seas, our peace in the chaos, and our foundation stone upon which we stand. He has been our meaning in this mess, our purpose in this pain, and our Healer in the hurt. Thank you Lord for giving us so many things to look upon and to remember how good You are! Our hope in this post is that we may share with you just a glimpse of all that could be written and that you, yourself might then reflect upon the goodness that you have also seen in your own life.

As we have mentioned in prior posts, we got to share this truth of His goodness with YL kids shortly after the diagnosis. I am still blown away that God gave us such strength to share when everything was so fresh. Below is a video taken during that time. We apologize in advance that some of the words are hard to make out, but I believe that you may be blessed by listening to it. Just as we said to these high school students prior to all of the doctors appointments and surgeries then, this truth still rings true today: that God is good.

Below is a picture of my beautiful bride being her silly self just moments prior to her bilateral mastectomy on November 29th as she flashes the YL (Young Life) sign. One might wonder as the nurses, doctors, and family members often and quite audibly did, how can she smile like that before a life altering surgery? Where does that peace come from? John 14:27 ESV - Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. How can one have joy like that? James 1:2 ESV - Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds... That is pure joy, my friends, only given by the One who has unspeakable joy. Praise God.

We had asked that friends be praying for us and over us Philippians 4:6-7 NIV - Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Below are two pictures of Randi in recovery just after this surgery. Although many would say, myself included, that it's not fair that she looks so beautiful just after that ordeal, likewise, it is an uncanny thing that she might be so peaceful. To serve as a reminder of God's goodness, the card from the hospital that came with our breakfast actually had Philippians 4:7 written on it (a picture of it is below). As we have heard said, coincidences are just God's way of remaining anonymous. He was there the whole time...

After a rough night of little sleep, lots of pain and much vomiting, we were awakened by Dr. Wideman who had been called in to lighten the mood. She had just the medicine that was needed! The moment reminded me of Luke 5:31 NIV - Jesus answered them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. Seeing my sweet bride smile at the unexpected sight of our little sweetheart dressed as a doctor brought to my attention that physical medicine can only go so far. So, although, we have been blessed with some amazing doctors, including Dr. McKinley Wideman nonetheless, we know and hold firm to the reality that our greatest and ultimate healing comes only from the Great Physician. Only He can meet our every need.

The following picture was taken just a few short days out of the hospital. It is an amazing thing to me to think that my sweet bride could be singing Christmas carols with our darling daughter so quickly after a major surgery. Nehemiah 12:43 NIV - And on that day they offered great sacrifices, rejoicing because God had given them great joy. The women and children also rejoiced. The sound of rejoicing in Jerusalem could be heard far away. It refreshed my heart so to hear my wife sing with joy unto Our Father; I can only imagine how He feels when His loved ones sing loudly out to Him.

Oh, when I see my daughter smile it brings such sweet joy to my heart! I do not know how one could see the smile of a child and not smile themselves. The following was taken a week after surgery when my darling wife was supposed to be resting. Our daughter did not like that idea, of course, so she cried out for her mommy, and Randi immediately popped out of bed to comfort her. As soon as McKinley saw her mommy, she smiled bright and big as comfort came over her. Isaiah 66:13 NIV - As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you... What a wonderful reminder that just as a mommy comforts her child, God comforts us. He knows every tear we cry, and is just waiting for us to cry out to him; what are you waiting for? We have felt God's comfort in these past months like never before.

The final picture below is that of McKinley baking Jesus a birthday cake for Christmas. What a blessing it was to see my wife and daughter dancing around the house to Christmas music and singing praises to the King and to get to tell our sweet daughter about the One of whom we were celebrating, Jesus. Then the day after Christmas, McKinley said the name 'Jesus' for the first time! It was perhaps the sweetest word we have ever heard her say. Of course, we got so excited after she said it that now she claps after every time she enunciates the name Jesus. What a precious thing this is. Friends, I pray that would be my heart, that I would want to celebrate every time I hear the name of Jesus. Oh, that I would have the faith of a child, that really Jesus is the answer to everything and He is worth celebrating. He is over everything, in everything and in Him all things hold together. Colossians 1:15-17 NIV - He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. How can one not celebrate that? To think, that in that manger on Christmas morn, Mary held Jesus in her arms, while Jesus held the universe in His. Have you beheld this child? He is the only One holding it all together. He is holding us together.

Beloved, when looking back on this year, how can we not rejoice even in the difficulties that we face? Our Family Book of Remembrance is filled, not because of what we have done, but because of what He has done for us, in us, and through us. What does your book say? Even if you do not have a family tradition as ours, God is recording all that He has done in His Book. What a glorious day it will be to have that Book opened and read for those that feared Him and thought upon His name! Would you take a moment to think back on all the blessings that have been bestowed upon you these past 12 months? I bet that if you do count your blessings, then your count of presents from the Holidays won't matter as much anymore...Romans 15:13 NLT - I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

We are continually humbled and honored by the number of people that have told us that they are keeping up with our journey and praying for us.  We ask that this would continue as the road gets tougher when Chemotherapy starts on January 10th. Thank you for your love! Happy New Year!



  1. We love you, Widemans!

    We have a very similar tradition that we started last year at Thanksgiving - where we compile a list of all of the things we are thankful for from the past year and put it in a scrapbook. It's such a great way to practice gratitude! It's very cool to hear about your book of remembrance =).

    Anyway, what a great post. You guys are our heros. Keep going strong and we'll keep praying hard.

    Love love love,
    Teresa and Jason

  2. Thank you for sharing your journey. Your faith and love for Gods will
    Is an inspiration. I pray your trust in Him will continue to grow
    And that you find peace. This disease is a blessing in disguise.
    Thank you again for sharing.

  3. Sweet friends, so excited that she is saying Jesus! Cant wait to hear myself!