Thursday, December 16, 2010

Real Gold Fears No Fire

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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
1975-2010
“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!

2 Response to Real Gold Fears No Fire

December 22, 2010 at 6:55 AM

Dear David,
What a beautiful tribute to your wife! This and all other writings of yours and Tiffany's have been such a wonderful and strong challenge to me. My admiration and respect for you and your wife is beyond words. Thank you for presenting the beauty of Christ so powerfully through yours and her testimonies. I've been thinking about you often.

Just for the future reference, when would be a good time of the year for a visit should I decide to pop up one day in AZ? Pls let me know. Seriously, I would so love to come to visit in the near future.

your brother in Christ,
Yoh

December 22, 2010 at 6:58 AM

Also, was the Memorial Service recorded? Would the recording (sound and/or video) be available?