Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Next Right Thing

I wrote the below a couple weeks ago as I considered the future.  Tomorrow I return home for the first time since I left for Tiffany’s memorial service in CO.  I have spent the last couple of weeks with Tiffany’s parents in CO and my family in CA. As I look forward to the next couple of weeks, I am sure that I have some tough days ahead, but I also know that God’s grace is sufficient.  I must be willing to do the next right thing.

I find myself in a very interesting and difficult time right now. It has now been two and a half weeks since Tiffany died, and i am still working through it all.  I have a feeling that this is going to take awhile! So the question is, what do you do now when God in His divine plan chose to take the love of your life home? You simply do the next right thing. I have decided that I don’t have to have all of life figured out, and I don’t have to make a whole bunch of decision -- I simply need to do the next right thing -- that which honors my God, that which is wise and prudent, and that which keeps me focussed on my God.  Tiffany and I had many times when because of health or just simply because of life, we had to choose to just simply do the next right thing. We could not see far enough ahead or the circumstances were just changing too quickly. So what specifically is the next right thing for me -- it is taking the time to work through Tiffany’s death, collect myself physically, spiritually, and emotionally so that I am prepared to go back to “normal” life the beginning of January.  It has been good for me to be away although it has been very hard at the same time. God has used my time away to do His work in my life to prepare me for this next stage in my life. 

Friday, December 24, 2010

Friday Fill-in

Friday Fill-in was one of Tiffany's favorites -- usually just some random or humerous thoughts --

Sunsets in CO are beautiful -- the wide open plains with the mountains 90 miles away make for some gorgeous scenes -- they remind me of my wife.

I still really, really enjoy doing things for Tiffany.

There is nothing quite like decorating for Christmas on Christmas Eve.

The simplicity of white lights as the only decorations on a tree create a great environment to stop and remember.

Monday, December 20, 2010

This One Breath -- what to do with it?

I have thought much about what to do with the blog that Tiffany began earlier this year. She had been challenged by a good friend to write and to transparently talk about her life with a chronic disease like CF and just about her life. Tiffany started writing and then took a break to evaluate what she was doing.  I remember sitting in our loft and talking about the reality that if the blog was going to work, then she simply had to be more transparent -- it was her life and how she biblically handled her life situation that was going to have impact on people’s lives. So that began a process when she started to transparently share about her life.  For the last 10 months she has been sharing about her life with many of you. The reality is that telling Tiffany that she needed to be transparent was a whole lot easier than me being transparent. Although I don’t know entirely how I will use the blog, I have decided to keep the blog going.  Here are some of my present thoughts on how I will use the blog.

  1. Continue sharing about life with a chronic disease -- although it will not be as effective as the person who is going through it, the Lord gave me a front row seat into someone’s life that had to deal with it.
  2. Share about the reality of losing your love, your best friend, your wife, and your constant companion.
  3. Share what God is doing in my life.
  4. Share some of Tiffany’s writings that never made it online -- some things were too personal or were written in her paper journals or were written long before blogs existed.

I would love to hear from others on how you think this blog should be used or how it would be helpful in days and years ahead.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Another Blessing

Last night was a great privilege to go to the Chandler Children's Choir concert. I am over in CA with my parents and found out this week that they were dedicating last night's and tonight's performances to Tiffany.  Tiffany had played the piano for them for the last year and a half.  So yesterday, my dad and I made the 7 hour commute over to Phoenix went to the concert and then came home afterward and got home around 2 a.m.  The kids did a phenomenal job.  Tiffany would have enjoyed the concert so much. Here is a song that they recorded earlier for us as a family with Tiffany's home going.  They sang it last night and is called Dona Nobis Pacem (God Grant us Peace).  Thank you CCC for dedicating these performances to Tiffany and for all your support that you have shown.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Real Gold Fears No Fire

Below is my tribute to Tiffany which was read at the two different memorial services in AZ and in CO. The complete booklet with many other things can be seen here. I plan in the days ahead to share more thoughts about the last two weeks. God is good!

Tiffany Leigh Davis Brock
“Real Gold Fears No Fire”
A Tribute to My Wife
by David Brock

Thirteen and a half years ago, I began a wonderful new adventure in my life when on May 30, 1997, I married Tiffany Leigh Davis. As I have looked back these last couple of days over our relationship, I have become even more thankful for the woman that God placed in my life. Four years before we got married, we met in fresh- man speech class at Bob Jones University. Our teacher Mrs. Waite started the class explaining what the class would entail and then she mentioned that the relationships formed in freshman speech could very well last a life time and that it was more than likely that some of those friendships would lead to marriage. Well, as a typical freshman guy, I took her suggestions to heart and began surveying my options and the competition in the class. Then, each of us freshman students had to give a quick impromptu speech about ourselves and what we did with our summer. When Tiffany got up and gave her speech, I was impressed—she was a gorgeous blonde, from the West, grew up on a ranch in Colorado, had experience with youth camps, and on top of all that, she played the piano. From that very first class period of speech class, I began a pursuit. I had a strong idea that Tiffany would be a woman that would be able to stand with me in ministry and life. I will never regret that pursuit. A year and a half later, we started dating. (Our fist date during that first semester of speech class did not go well, so I waited another year before I would ask again.)  

Right after Tiffany and I started dating, my parents came to visit at the college; I stayed with them at the guest room, and they had a “little talk” with me. They told me up front that I had better not mess with the emotions of this girl, and that if I wasn’t serious and wasn’t willing to make the sacrifice of being married to someone with Cystic Fibrosis and face the reality that I would probably be a widower early on in my life, I should stop the dating relationship now and not hurt Tiffany. My internal response screamed, “Wait a second! You’re supposed to be on my side!” In reality, my parents were on my side as they were trying to protect Tiffany from being hurt and me from not counting the cost. I spent the next three months asking myself if I could love Tiffany the way that I needed to love her and if I was willing to be a widower at a young age. As our relationship grew, I found I did love Tiffany; and I decided that just a couple years with Tiffany would be worth any cost. From Tiffany’s perspective, she was trying to decide if marrying me would be fair to me. You see, she was living the Cystic Fibrosis life and knew the hardships that were involved. I am so glad that she said yes to me! 

We got married twenty-seven days after our college graduation. Little did I know then of Tiffany’s depth or the complete privilege it has been to serve next to her for thirteen and a half years. We have been through many trials and difficulties: many of which no one but she and I know, and we have been made better as a result of those trials. You see, Tiffany was not defined by Cystic Fibrosis, but yet it helped shape her to be the woman of God that she was. When you live in light of the fact that you are going to die soon, you live life much differently. She did not live a life for herself, but rather, Tiffany lived a life for her God seeking to please Him with her life and responses to what God had placed in her life.

When I think of my wife, I think of these things.

1. Friendship – From the start Tiffany wanted our marriage to be a wedding of best friends. I can definitely say, I married my best friend.
2. Passion – Tiffany’s passion for God, for me, for her parents, for her brother, and for her future sister in-law burned deeply in her heart; and those passions extended to those she interacted with day after day.
3. Faithfulness – I am thankful for Tiffany’s faithful dedication to our marriage, life, work, and family. And I am thankful she faithfully fought for her health.
4. Perseverance – When Tiffany was healthy, she would have to spend four to six hours a day on daily treatments. When she was sick, she would spend all day trying to get healthy with treatments and rest. When she graduated from ASU with her Master of Music, she was on IV treatments from a recent hospital stay. We did an IV treatment on the way to graduation in the car; she unhooked herself, and then she went and marched in graduation. I lost count of how many recitals, performances, and concerts she played for while being in the middle of an IV treatment.
5. Always Learning – Tiffany loved to learn. Even this semester she was taking an online class in Finale, a music notation computer program.
6. Gracious – Tiffany always had a kind word even for those that would sometimes hurt us in ministry.
7. Simple Elegance – Tiffany dressed, decorated, and lived with a simple elegance all her own.
8. Eclectic – It was hard to peg exactly what Tiffany liked as she liked such a wide range of things, but the eclectic always had a purpose: “It makes me smile” would be her answer each time something new but possibly a little strange would show up in our home.
9. Forgiving – Being married to me gave her much practice in this area, but she was always ready to forgive.
10. God Dependent – Tiffany filled her heart and mind with Scripture and looked to God to get through the emotional and physical trials that come with living with Cystic Fibrosis and being married to a pastor.
11. Child of God – When she was seven years old, she placed her faith and trust in Christ not depending on any church, work, or personal goodness but rather in Christ’s death on the cross to give her eternal life which she is enjoying today. Tiffany’s identity was and continues to be that she is God’s child. Because of this truth, I find great hope and comfort in knowing I will see her again.
12. Patience – Even when she wasn’t feeling well, she was so patient. I remember a night in the hospital when one of the CNAs was emptying trash on the pod, and you could hear him coming as he would go into a room at 3 a.m. and empty the trash in a very loud way. One night after we had endured this a couple nights in a row and he came in and started making a racket in our room, I sat straight up in my cot that was next to Tiffany’s hospital bed and was about to give him a piece of my mind when I felt Tiffany’s hand on my chest. She was saying, “It’s okay David, go back to sleep.” We had many “it’s okay, David” moments in our marriage! She taught me patience.
13. Loving – Tiffany sacrificed of herself for me, her family, and those around her even when it cost her health and strength. She chose to love and give of herself. She lived in the moment by loving at that moment.
14. Excellence – Tiffany practiced her piano for hours upon hours so that she would be effective at facilitating worship, accompanying, and teaching. She gave 100% to each and every opportunity.
15. Thankful – Complaining wasn’t something I heard from Tiffany; and even at home in the middle of doing all her treatments, she expressed gratitude for the life and family that God had given her. She would thank everyone in the hospital for how they would help her whether it was cleaning her room, taking blood, or the numerous visits from a variety of doctors and nurses.
16. Humble – Tiffany was always thinking of the other person and would not want to inconvenience anyone. This humility that looked out for others came from her dependence in a God Who she knew looked out for her.
17. Musician – Without a doubt, Tiffany loved music and loved being able to com- municate through music. She essentially became an expressive extrovert through her music and would go back to her quiet introvert when she was done playing. Her most expressive faces shone brightly when she was able to communicate truths through the music so
that those truths would penetrate the listener’s ears.
18. Partner – I often say that Tiffany authenticated my ministry. She was my job security because if you guys got ridof me, I would take her with me! And frankly, since no one wanted Tiffany to go, I always had a job. Both of us grew up in the West surrounded by cattle and horses and western- themed lives, so we understood the concept of “being a good partner.” Tiffany was just that: my cowgirl and my “partner.” Come branding time at the ranch, she and I made pretty good flanking partners.

When I think of Tiffany’s focus in life, I think of these things. They are qualities of a life well lived. But more than all of these qualities, when I think of Tiffany, I think of my God. Tiffany endeavored to reflect Christ in her life on a daily basis, and I couldn’t help but see God in her each and every day. The depth of Tiffany’s personal walk with God was even greater than I knew as I have begun to look through her personal journals. She was so in love with her God and desired to serve Him with her life and to be faithful to the end. She was completely dependent on God to face the trials of life and to give her the grace that was needed.

The last challenge that Tiffany gave me came after she had been moved to ICU. She had gotten to the place where talking was too hard and was taking too much energy so she was using sign language which I did not know. Finally she took a deep breath and said through the BIPAP mask, “Hope in God.”

What does it mean to hope in God? It means that I can place my confidence in an all-mighty God Who will perform His promises in my life and will be the Sustainer of my life. It means that I have confidence that because Tiffany repented of her sin and accepted Christ as her Savior, I will see her again in Heaven. It means that no matter what comes in life, even the death of the love of my life and my best friend, God can and is to be trusted and loved. Having hope in God means that my confident expectation must be in God and God alone. I hope that you will join me and accept Tiffany’s challenge: “Hope in God.”

My mom would often say that she didn’t raise me to be a bachelor. She said this not because she pressured me to get married, but that simply my predispositions in life were not conducive to the single life. I told my parents Wednesday night hours before Tiffany went home to be with the Lord that although they did not raise me to be a bachelor, Tiffany has spent the last thirteen and half years preparing me to be a bachelor. Our life verse for our marriage was Proverbs 3:5-6 which says that we must trust in God with all of our heart and then depend upon Him to direct our lives. Tiffany lived that life of trusting God for the future, and we are content with God’s design for our life. Thank you, Tiffany, for being my love, my best friend, and God’s agent in my life to prepare me to be better for His service. I love you mountains and mountains, oceans and oceans, and valleys too!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Tiffany's Memorial Service


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Praise Update

Dear Family and Friends,

For the last couple of weeks I have been asking you to pray for Tiffany and her health.  Praise God that we no longer have to pray for her health as she is worshiping our God face to face. Last night about 11:45 God quietly took her home to be with Him. She was ready and had been getting me ready for this time for awhile now. What a blessing that she no longer struggles with getting her breath or has to spend countless hours in therapies. We had been praying that God would give her new lungs and He did better than that and gave her a glorified body. This last Sunday she told me that going to heaven would be a cool birthday present as her birthday is this coming Sunday.  I told her I couldn’t compete with that gift.  You see, I was going to give her a really nice dress watch that measured time, but because of her faith in what Christ has done for her on the cross, God gave her the gift of eternal life.

The last couple couple of days have been so sweet. To watch someone who is ready to meet her Creator comfort those around her and look forward to Glory is a beautiful thing. What a grand time we had as we worshipped God (it was a joyful noise in there at times with an emphasis on noise, but Tiffany was always more concerned about the heart than the talent). Her whole family was here by Tuesday night, and we just had a good time as a family with Tiffany.

For almost 10 years, Tiffany has been on the prayer request section of our church bulletin for her health, and God has answered our prayer. Now we no longer have to pray for her, but now we can praise God for how He answered prayer, and how He worked in her life. This is how we can praise God:

  1. that God gave her better lungs than UCLA could give by giving her a glorified body.
  2. that God preserved her life till all her family came and gave her the strength to give a very sweet time together as a family.
  3. that God provided excellent medical care with people who were professional, competent, and compassionate.
  4. that God loved her more than we could ever love her.
  5. that Tiffany accepted Christ as her Savior as a seven year old girl depending on Christ to forgive her sin and give her eternal life.
  6. that God strengthened Tiffany and me and her family in the grace of Christ Jesus our Lord.
  7. that God gave us as a family a sweet time of fellowship and encouragement.
  8. that Tiffany’s testimony was untarnished and pointed people to Christ to the end with the medical staff and those all around her (even the last day she was thanking medical staff every time they would come in and do something even if it caused her pain).
  9. that God was glorified by Tiffany’s life and by her death.
  10. that God’s grace is sustaining me today, tomorrow, and through the next couple of months.

Thank you so much for your love and support to Tiffany and I through these last couple of years and especially through these last 3 months. God has been so good to us and to me by giving me a wife that loved me passionately and more importantly, loved God passionately. As Tiffany challenged us -- Hope in God.

With love and appreciation,

David Brock