Episode 9 - Anchored by the Gospel after Losing My Baby to Cancer with Jess McClenahan



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Join us for a conversation with Jess McClenahan about how the Gospel anchored her to hope after the loss of her 11-month-old daughter, Cora. Jess shares Cora's story of being diagnosed with neuroblastoma cancer and how she clung to her faith after Cora's passing to Heaven.


In her heartbreak, Jess discovered God's character and learned to trust Him in a new and deeper way. Jess shares how she found abundant life in Christ and redefined what blessing looked like. She encourages grieving mothers to study God's Word and anchor their hearts to the hope of Jesus. In this episode, we discussed:

  • How can you trust God with the death of your child?

  • What does abundant life look like as a believer?

  • Why God's wrath and our sin matters in the story of the Gospel

  • Salvation and why it's our greatest need

  • Jesus is the only way to Heaven and to see our babies again

  • Why does God allow suffering?

  • Putting God in a box and why that affects our ability to trust Him

  • An analogy of an Earthly vs. Heavenly perspective

  • Symbolic traditions in memory of your baby to bring healing

  • The power of God's Word as a lifeline to survive grief

  • Why sharing your story matters and can plant seeds of faith for others

Each episode has a special Hope Guide that you can download by clicking the button below. It is packed with hope-filled resources and extra information from the episode!


Discussion / Application Questions (leave your answers below in the comments!)

  1. After losing her baby to cancer, Jess realized that God's blessings and an abundant life in Christ looked very different than what she expected. She realized that salvation was her greatest need and that the Gospel was the anchor that gave her hope. How did Jess' testimony impact your view of the Gospel or life as a Christian, especially through suffering?

  2. In this episode, Jess shares that the Bible became her lifeline in the middle of her deepest grief. And, we talk about the importance of studying Scripture in its entirety to understand the full context of the Gospel. Are you in His Word daily? What is God teaching you through your time with Him? If not, brainstorm some ways you can make Bible-reading a daily habit.

  3. Jess reads Isaiah 26:3-4 which says that God keeps us in perfect peace when our minds are steadfast and trust in the Lord. He is our Rock eternal. How does this verse change the way you face your day to day? How can it impact your grief journey? List some ways you can keep your mind fixed on Jesus.

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CONNECT WITH OUR GUEST


Jess McClenahan is an unlikely farmer’s wife and mama to five. Her 11-month-old daughter, Cora, went home to Jesus after being diagnosed with cancer.


Since that day, Jess has experienced that God is truly close to the brokenhearted and has faithfully anchored her through the biggest storm of her life. Through writing and speaking, Jess seeks to authentically share her journey through grief and live abundantly in all circumstances.


Connect with Jess:

Instagram @jessmcclenahan

www.jessmcclenahan.com

 

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Ashley Opliger is the Executive Director of Bridget's Cradles, a nonprofit organization based in Wichita, Kansas that donates cradles to over 1,090 hospitals in all 50 states and comforts over 26,000 bereaved families a year.


Ashley is married to Matt and they have three children: Bridget (in Heaven), and two sons. She is a follower of Christ who desires to share the hope of Heaven with families grieving the loss of a baby.


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EPISODE TRANSCRIPT


Episode 9: Anchored by the Gospel after Losing My Baby to Cancer


Ashley Opliger: [00:00:00] You’re listening to the Cradled in Hope Podcast where we believe that the hope of Heaven, through faith in Jesus Christ, has the power to heal our hearts after the loss of a baby. It’s a pain no mother should have to endure and we want this podcast to be a safe place for your broken heart to land. Here, we are going to trust God’s promise to restore our joy, use our grief for good, and allow us to spend eternity with our babies in Heaven.


I’m your host, Ashley Opliger. I’m a wife, mom, and follower of Christ clinging to the hope of Heaven. My daughter, Bridget, was stillborn at 24 weeks in my first pregnancy in 2014. In her memory, my husband and I started a nonprofit ministry called Bridget’s Cradles, and God has given us purpose in our pain and we’ve seen beauty come from ashes.


Although we wish you didn’t have a need to be listening to this podcast, we believe God has a reason for you to be here today. We pray this time would be a source of healing for you as we remember that Jesus cradles us in hope while He cradles our babies in Heaven. Though we may grieve, we do not grieve without hope. Welcome to the Cradled in Hope Podcast.


Ashley Opliger: [00:01:26] Hi friends. Welcome back to the Cradled in Hope Podcast.

Today is October 1st, the first day of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Month, the special month to honor and remember our babies in Heaven. But I know it can be a very heavy and emotional month, so when praying about who I wanted to usher our hearts into this month, I knew I wanted it to be my friend, Jess. She is a sweet, sweet soul who loves the Lord and is able to share the Truth of His Word with so much grace, love, and wisdom.


So today I'm humbled to have my friend and fellow Kansas mom on the podcast. I actually first heard of Jess five years before I lost Bridget. You'll hear her story in a few minutes, but I had found Jess’ blog and was so inspired by her faith, so let me tell you a little bit more about her.


Jess McClenahan is an unlikely farmer's wife and momma to five children, four on earth, and a daughter in Heaven. She is married to her high school sweetheart, Joel, and lives on a farm in Kansas.


Her daughter, Cora, was born in 2008 and just 10 months later was diagnosed with cancer. After 17 days in the hospital, Cora went home to Jesus and Jess’ life was turned upside down. Since that day, Jess has experienced personally that God is truly close to the broken-hearted, as He faithfully anchored her through the biggest storm of her life.


Through writing and speaking, Jess seeks to authentically share her journey through grief and her desire to live abundantly in all circumstances. Her greatest desire is to know Christ intimately and to share His faithfulness with others. I know her story will bless you and I am honored to welcome Jess to the Cradled in Hope Podcast.


Welcome, Jess. It's so good to have you on the podcast.


Jess McClenahan: [00:03:20] Hi Ashley. Thanks for having me. It's great to be with you.


Ashley Opliger: [00:03:24] We were just talking about how we met and the fact that you had actually been to Bridget’s Cradles headquarters and had a chance to share Cora's story and your testimony with a group of women.


And what was really special about that night was it was one of our Create and Remember craft nights when we do a craft with moms. And it's just a night of crafting and fellowship, and having that time to make something in memory of our babies in Heaven, and get to know the other women. And the craft that we were doing that night was painting rocks, which I will let you share the significance of.


But we actually got that idea from you and the tradition that you have started with your family. So I'm going to let you share your story, and then if you want to share about your traditions and everything as you share your story, that would be amazing.


Jess McClenahan: [00:04:17] Okay, sounds good. Well, I am going to start just by sharing a little of my background. First let me just say, I'm Jess. And I have five children, one in Heaven and four here on earth with my husband, Joel. And we live in Kansas just like Ashley, which is fun because we're close by, and we live on a farm out in the country.


My husband is a farmer, and so we're raising our kids on the farm, which is super fun and a totally different story than I expected my life would include, but it's great. So I'm just going to start by explaining a little bit about my growing up. And I feel like it helps to understand my life before Cora and then my life after Cora's diagnosis, because it really sets a framework for what God taught me through that, and how that has made such a huge difference in my life, and how He's grown me and changed me.


So I grew up in a Christian home and I was raised by parents who gave me every opportunity to grow in the Lord. I was in Christian schools and I went to Awana, and I was in church and youth group and all the things, everything that they could do to set me up to know and love God they did.


And I trusted Jesus at a fairly early age. I was in the fifth grade, actually. And I had a teacher who was talking in school about how we can't depend on our parents' faith for our own faith, basically was the gist of it. And I thought, “I don't think I've ever made a decision for myself to trust Jesus.” I was piggybacking off my parents and God just really impressed on my heart that I had to choose to follow Him myself.


So in fifth grade, I made a decision to follow Jesus, and of course, that's the best decision I've ever made. And then in high school is when I met my husband, Joel. He was my first and only boyfriend, and we got married five years later during college. And then two years later we graduated and we felt God's leading to come back to where we grew up, actually.


And the Lord had provided an opportunity for him to take over a farm, which was his dream and not exactly what I was expecting for our life. I actually felt like, “Oh gosh, God, what are you doing? This was not what I planned.” I wasn't planning on being a farmer's wife. So that was kind of a hitch in my plans, but of course, just a small thing.


And we moved back and I started teaching. I taught kindergarten and we were plugged into a really great church. And the Lord had provided an opportunity for us to be in a young married ministry that was just growing, and we could see His hand in it. And we just felt like everything was going just like we planned, blessing after blessing and it was what we planned and what we wanted, and life was just really good.


So at this point in my life, I felt like I wanted to really live a life that was glorifying to God. And Joel wanted that, we both wanted that for our lives. But trusting God was really comfortable and easy, looking back. I wouldn't have said that at that point, but looking back, because everything was unfolding just like I had wanted and just like I planned.


And so it was easy to trust God. And I think I really thought that those blessings were a result of me trusting Him. And then our daughter Cora was born on March 5th, 2008. And I remember every detail of her birth. I actually, at that point in my life thought that I was going to be a boy mom, which is kind of ironic when you hear the rest of my story, but we hadn't found out what we were having.


And so Cora arrived and we had a girl and we were so surprised and so in love with her. And she was definitely the biggest blessing in our lives at that point. And I had left my teaching job shortly after Cora was born to stay home with her. And I had always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, so it was just perfect.


Everything was perfect, and I loved being a mom. I loved being home with her. Yeah, our lives were going, again, just like we had planned. And then one day in an instant, our lives changed. Cora was born in March and this was around Thanksgiving time. And Cora just started getting sick a lot, but it was fairly common things that you would think would happen as a mom, like ear infections and respiratory infections.


And it didn't seem like a big deal but she just didn't seem to be getting over them, so we were visiting the pediatrician quite frequently. And then in January, we were returning to her pediatrician for a follow-up appointment from a previous ear infection and something, it was just some motherly instinct thing, I think. I just knew something wasn't quite right.


And I actually had Joel come with me to that appointment, because we just wanted to ask some questions. But we weren't scared. We never were going into the appointment thinking, “We're going to get bad news.” It just felt normal still.


So we went to that appointment, described what was going on, some things we had noticed. Cora actually had a pretty distended abdomen and she was a really chunky baby, and so it wasn't super obvious at first, but we had noticed, “We think her abdomen is pretty distended.” And so he decided at that appointment, based on that and the other things, to take an x-ray of her abdomen. And he took the x-ray and about an hour later came into our room with the news that of course forever changed our lives.


He told us that Cora's liver was very enlarged and that he had reason to believe that it was probably some kind of cancer or leukemia that was causing that. So at that point, he sent us straight from that appointment to the hospital in Wichita. We live outside of Wichita. So he sent us straight to the hospital and we checked in and we spent the next 17 days there.


We checked in and they ran, of course, a whole bunch of tests. And by the time they did the CT scan, it was pretty late that night. And so we were just forced to wait till morning to learn exactly what we were looking at. And at that point, we had heard different things.


Our pediatrician led us to believe it was most likely a cancerous situation. Then when we checked into the hospital, we had talked to a resident who said, “Hey, it could be something else related to her liver.”


And we were like, “Oh, well maybe it's not cancer. Maybe we don't need to be scared about this.” And so it was a roller coaster of emotions, of just, “We have no idea what we're about to face.”


So the next morning, they came into our room pretty early and affirmed that Cora did have a tumor and that they needed to remove it immediately. They too, like our pediatrician, thought it was most likely cancerous. So we had just a whirlwind of meetings with doctors, surgeons, oncologists. It was like all at once and, “We need to do surgery right away.”


It was the hardest thing we've ever gone through, because just the day before, we thought we had a healthy little girl and here we were, ready to hand off Cora for surgery not even knowing, like, “What does this mean? What is this going to mean for her life?”


So she did make it through that first surgery, which we were so, so grateful for. But that was really the last time, that time right before the surgery, that we just got to laugh and play with Cora, like the Cora that we had known those 10 months because after the surgery, she just never was the same.


Ashley Opliger: [00:12:52] That makes me so sad every time we talk about your story.


Jess McClenahan: [00:12:57] Oh yes, it was definitely some of the hardest moments of my life, for sure.


So after her surgery, they diagnosed Cora with neuroblastoma, which is a form of childhood cancer. And we found out that her cancer was already at stage four, which meant that it had spread throughout her entire body already. But despite her diagnosis, the doctors and surgeons, and everyone assured us that there was a lot of research and statistics that showed when you catch neuroblastoma before the age of one, that there is a high probability that they will recover and live a normal life.


And so we are holding onto that, of course trusting God too, for His healing. But we hadn't let our minds go to the, “What if this doesn't turn out like we hope? What if God doesn’t heal her like we are praying for?” So the next few weeks were definitely a roller coaster.


Cora’s treatments, and when we might be able to go home, changed every day. At first, we thought after her surgery we were going to go home and then come back for her chemo in the clinic. And then things changed and we ended up starting the chemo in the hospital and they moved her to the PICU. So it just changed every day. Just when we thought we had a handle on it, something would change.


And we were just falling on our faces every night, just begging God to heal Cora. And I think we felt, we knew He could. We knew He was capable of healing her, that He was bigger than cancer. And so I think we were just anticipating His blessing on her life and that He would heal her in the end.


So she had four surgeries during those 17 days in the hospital and completed the first round of chemotherapy. And oh, it was so hard, because she was hooked up to so many different monitors and medicines, and eventually had to be on a respirator and an oscillator.


And by that point, we couldn't even hold her, which was so hard. So she wasn't progressively getting better. But I think we were still just holding onto the words of her doctors, that, “This could get really bad, but she could pull through still. Don't give up hope.” And also just that we served an amazing God who can heal her.


And so then it was a Sunday morning, this is the 17th day we were in the hospital. We were woken up in the middle of the night, early in the morning. And my mom actually was staying in the hospital room with Cora so that we could try to sleep a few hours before we went back. We were in the hospital too but sleeping in one of the rooms that they have for parents in those situations.


So she came and got us and the doctor just said, “Her lungs are failing and there's just nothing else we can do, if she doesn't respond to what we're doing right now.” And we just watched in shock as she slipped away. And yeah, that's the best way I can describe it, is we just were so shocked. We couldn't believe, like, “She’s gone.” And that was February 8th, 2009, and she was 11 months old when she passed away.


Ashley Opliger: [00:16:38] Jess, I’m so sorry.


Jess McClenahan: [00:12:57] Oh, thank you.


Ashley Opliger: [00:16:40] My momma heart is breaking all over again. I've heard your story shared many times, and I know your story intimately. But right now I have a seven-month-old and I'm just thinking about walking through this with my child, and it's just tearing at me.


I truly cannot even imagine walking through that and through the hospitalizations and the surgery and the chemo, and then to be hoping and praying and trusting God for this miracle. And then for her to pass away, I can't imagine the shock, but also the pain and the grief and the questions for God. “Why didn't You answer our prayers?”


I know you've talked a lot about how before Cora, you had lived this pretty perfect life and you had blessing upon blessing. Everything was good and you didn't really know what suffering looked like, and trusting God was easy and comfortable. But what did it look like to trust God when things were not perfect, when things didn't go as planned?

You had mentioned that trusting God with Cora’s cancer was different than trusting God with her death. So how did you learn to trust Him again?


Jess McClenahan: [00:17:46] Yes. So I'm just going to back up a little bit.


When we were in the hospital, we had started posting prayer requests and just some updates on how Cora was doing each day on this little teeny blog that I had just for posting family pictures. But it was a way that we could communicate with everyone at the same time because of course, communication was so difficult when we were dealing with everything that we were in the hospital.


Yet we knew we had this army of friends and family that wanted to support us in prayer and pray for Cora and for healing. And so we had been posting on that and then all of a sudden, people would leave comments that they were praying for Cora, that I didn't even know who they were. And of course, that's normal these days, but this was back in 2009 when blogs were just becoming a thing.


And so we were shocked because all these people all of a sudden would pass on our blog and, ”Hey, pray for Cora. We know this family.” And pretty soon there were so many people praying for Cora and leaving us notes and emails that they were joining us in prayer.

So we put up a post on February 8th, the day that she passed away, just to let all the people know that had been praying for us that Cora was in the arms of Jesus and to continue praying for us as we were heartbroken and devastated.


And I still remember someone left a comment on that post that said, “Please continue writing, because I want to know that your faith is real and that your God is going to walk through this with you, and that you're going to make it through,” basically.


And I remember reading that and thinking, “I know that God is real.” I wasn't doubting my faith or who He was, but all of a sudden I had gone from, “Okay, trusting God is really easy because my life is going how I want it to, and the things that I've hoped for have come to pass. And now all of a sudden trusting God is really difficult and uncomfortable. And how am I going to trust God with the death of my child? What does God's blessing look like now that Cora is gone?”


And so I just had to decide that, “I don't know how this is all going to play out.” And of course, it was very difficult because my arms were empty. My heart was crushed. Our dreams were dashed for Cora. Our thoughts were jumbled. It was just such a confusing, hard, dark time.


But I knew I had to decide that I believed that God was working out His perfect and good plan in my life, even though I couldn't see evidence of His power or His presence at that time, which to me would have been healing Cora.


And I had to decide: Does His blessing on my life or this abundant life of a believer that we read about in His Word, can that include the death of my child? Can that include losing Cora?


And I think that was the beginning of the journey for God to show me that His blessing on my life is so much more than God giving me just the things that I want or God answering my prayers in the way that I want Him to.


Ashley Opliger: [00:21:41] I wanted to talk about that, about the idea of blessing, because we so often associate God's blessings with the good things in our lives.


But after, you realized that blessing could mean more than that. It can mean finding blessing in our suffering and finding blessing in our pain. So what did He reveal to you in that season of what true blessing and a true abundant life in Christ looks like?


Jess McClenahan: [00:22:06] Yes. I think what God really taught me through that time was just having a better understanding of the Gospel, really.


And the moment I accepted Christ was when my story intersected with God's story, because what I deserve is to be standing under God's wrath. And we often avoid talking about God's wrath and we just focus on God’s goodness and blessing, because the Bible says that my sin deserves death and I fall short of the glory of God.


And then in Romans 5, that God shows and proves His love for me by the fact that while I was still a sinner, Christ died for me. So the only reason that I am standing under God's blessing is because He sent His precious Son to stand under the cursing that I deserved, in my place. And He sent Jesus to die a horrible, painful death in my place because He longs for me, He longs for us to be standing under the stream of His blessing now and for all eternity.


So I think understanding how the Gospel transforms every part of my life, not just how it saves me, and reflecting on all that I had in Christ and how that made a difference in my life as I faced tragedy, and then thinking through, “If God sent His only Son to die in my place, He's not going to leave me stranded now in my grief. He's going to walk with me through that and He's not going to abandon me in my sorrow.” And if God walked through the worst pain and suffering imaginable for me, He wasn't going to abandon me now here in the lesser pain and suffering that my grief had brought.


And again, if my greatest need is in salvation and He had already met that need in Jesus, then He was going to continue to meet any other needs that I had. So I think just coming to a place where I could say, “God is worthy of my trust because of His death on the cross. And I may not understand what I'm going through right now. I may not understand why He didn't heal Cora. I may not understand why He chose the death of my child to be part of my story, but I can trust Him because He is trustworthy.”


And it wasn't like all those questions went away and suddenly I felt good about losing Cora and grief was easy. All that stuff was still so hard, but just coming to the place where I could say, “This is going to be super hard. And I really don't know how I'm going to get up and face the next day, honestly, but I know I can trust God. And I know He's going to walk with me through this.”


Ashley Opliger: [00:25:22] Amen. I think when you're walking with Christ, your entire perspective changes of life and death and Heaven and earth.


Jess McClenahan: [00:25:31] Yes.


Ashley Opliger: [00:25:31] Everything, your perspective of suffering changes and your outlook, when you have an eternal perspective and you understand you will get to see Cora again.


She is alive and cancer-free with her Savior and with our Creator right now and we will get to see her again.


Jess McClenahan: [00:25:49] Yeah.


Ashley Opliger: [00:25:50] Knowing that is Truth and that we have hope to see her again, it does change our perspective on the rest of our days here on earth. Our days are numbered just like our children's days are numbered, and in the grand scheme of eternity, all of our days are so short. And the best, the greatest gift that we could ever have is the salvation of our sin.


Jess McClenahan: [00:26:13] Yes.


Ashley Opliger: [00:26:14] And I think for me, sometimes, even in this ministry, I want to be careful when talking about the hope of Heaven and the hope of the Gospel, because I don't want to overlook the part about sin and the part about God's wrath, because there's no need for a Savior if there's not sin.


And if we just keep saying, “Well, everyone will get to see their babies again in Heaven,” and of course we want everyone to see their babies again in Heaven and I do believe that babies go to Heaven, but we have to have that faith and repentance of our own sin and realize that we are under God's wrath and we are deserving of God's wrath because of our sin.


And so I don't want to overlook or downplay sin. Because of the sin that came from the fall with Adam and Eve, we are under God’s wrath and we all fall short of the glory of God. And we need a Savior, our repentance of sin, and our turning in our faith in the Messiah, Jesus Christ, and only in His name and no other name can we have that reconciliation with God, our Father.


Jess McClenahan: [00:27:19] Yes.


Ashley Opliger: [00:27:19] And so I don't ever want to overlook that, because as much as I am wanting to preach the hope of Heaven, it comes through faith in Jesus and our repentance and our understanding that we are sinful and that we need a Savior.


And that's the only way to the Father. That's the only way to Heaven, to our babies again. And I'm not saying that in a manipulative way of saying, “Well, if you don't do this, then you won't get to see your babies.” It's just the truth. It's the Truth that's in God's Word. We can't stray from that. We can't downplay our need for a Savior and the impact that sin has on our eternal state.


If we do not have a relationship with Jesus, we will have eternal separation from God. And that's not because God doesn't love us. He doesn't desire that for us. He desires to have our hearts. He desires for us to choose Him and to love Him.


We hope you are enjoying this episode so far. We wanted to take a quick break to tell you about some other hope-filled resources our ministry provides to grieving families.


On our website, bridgetscradles.com, you can find many resources on grieving and healing including memorial ideas, quotes & Scripture, blog articles, featured stories, recommended books, and other support organizations. We share ideas on how to navigate difficult days such as due dates, Heaven days, and holidays. We also have a page with ideas on how to care for a friend or family member who has experienced pregnancy loss.


In addition, every month I lead free Christ-centered support groups for bereaved moms called Hope Gatherings, both in-person and online. You can find a list of upcoming dates and sign up for our next support group on our website. You can also join our private Cradled in Hope Facebook group for grieving moms to find friendship and support. We would be honored to hear your baby’s story and be praying for you by name.


Lastly, our Pinterest page has beautiful graphics of quotes & Scripture from this episode, along with many other resources that you can pin and save. We would also love for you to connect with us on Facebook and Instagram. You can find us on these three pages: @bridgetscradles, @cradledinhope, and my personal page @ashleyopliger. We’d love for you to follow along and spread the word about the Cradled in Hope Podcast. Now let’s get back to our episode.


Ashley Opliger: [00:29:48] It's a basic question everyone wants to know, is: Why does God allow suffering?


Jess McClenahan: [00:29:53] Well, I think just walking through losing Cora, I didn't understand that at all. Like, “How does this fit in with who You are? Why would You allow a 10-month-old to get cancer? And why would You allow me to lose my first child? And why can't I be a mom right now? Because that's all I really want to be is be a mom.”


So all these things, I really wanted to understand why. And I think I realized in a lot of areas of my life, that I was putting God in a box. And then I thought, “Did I really want God to be this predictable God that I always understand as a fallen human being, that's really no bigger than my limited understanding? Or do I want to serve a God like it describes in Isaiah and Psalms, whose ways are higher than our ways and whose knowledge is too wonderful for us to attain.


And so I think I had to come to grips with the fact that I serve a God who is all-wise, all-good, all-knowing, and I am not going to understand Him ever.


There are things He reveals to us in His kindness to us, and of course, He reveals the things that we need to know. But there are things that we're never going to totally understand because He's God and we're not.


And I think at least for me walking through grief, it was good for me to come to that realization. Like, “It's okay if I don’t understand all these things”. And again, I just have to go back to trusting in who God is, even if I don't have all the answers, and that's okay.


Ashley Opliger: [00:31:38] Yes, absolutely. And that's where getting into Scripture and just studying who God is and His character, and the fact that He is sovereign, He is good, He's never changing, He doesn't change based on our circumstances.


So the fact that He's never changing and that He's good means that He's always good in all things.


Jess McClenahan: [00:31:59] Right.


Ashley Opliger: [00:32:00] And that's what gives me comfort, because a lot of times my perspective of God changes based on my circumstances. But God is higher than that. He's always the same. He's always good. He can't change.


And that has given me a lot of peace, knowing that He's not changing. My circumstances may change. My perspective may change, but He's always the same. And we can trust Him even when we don't have the answers. Even when we don't understand, when we get to Heaven we will understand.


There was this book that I had read a long time ago and it had given this beautiful picture that helped me understand looking at something from an earthly perspective and a Heavenly perspective.


And basically, it was this tapestry that was flipped over. And maybe you've heard this analogy before, but it was a tapestry and on the backside, there's all these knots and twists and turns, and everything's very chaotic and nothing really makes sense.


You just see a lot of different strings and knots and all these different colors thrown about, and we don't understand it, looking at it on this side. It looks messy. It doesn't look like there's any sort of rhyme or reason or purpose.


But then if you turn it over and you see that the outside or the front side of the tapestry is this beautiful pattern and this beautiful image. And that's the side that God is seeing.


And we're seeing the messy, broken side of this earth and He is working all these things together for our good. We don't always understand. We can't always see it. I think sometimes God allows us to see things work out for our good on earth, but some of those things we may not see until Heaven, until we get there.


Jess McClenahan: [00:33:44] Right.