The Macs

Sunday, September 13, 2009

a reminder

It was several weeks after Cora went to heaven that Joel told me about this song.

I had heard it many times, but didn't realize how much meaning it would come to have for our family.

It was the song that was playing as we drove to the hospital with our sweet Cora. We didn't talk the whole way there. We were in shock and just cried as we wondered if our perfect baby could really have cancer. I don't even remember hearing the radio as my mind was desperately trying to make sense of what was happening to our family. But Joel remembers. God You Reign.

It was the song that played late that same night as Joel drove home from the hospital by himself. He was going to pack a bag for us as we found out we would be staying for awhile. We were anticipating Cora having surgery the next day. We were so scared. God You Reign.

And it has been the song that we have heard over and over as we try to continue forward as a family without Cora. It might be an overplayed song on the radio. But to us it is a constant reminder that no matter what we are feeling emotionally, the truth is still the same. God You Reign.

We both love that little voice at the very end of the song. Even though our little Cora was barely saying a few words when she left us, it is like she is whispering down a reminder to her mama and daddy.  A reminder that we are going to be okay. God You Reign.

I love how Lincoln Brewster explains the meaning behind this song.

I wrote this post at the beginning of last week. I was planning on finishing it and posting the next day. But then my week just seemed to fall apart. It was a hard week for both of us. I'm not sure what exactly it was. Maybe it is the seasons changing. Another reminder of "firsts" that we are missing out on with Cora. Maybe it is the playground dedication that is coming up, bringing with it so many emotions. Or maybe it is simply that we miss our baby girl and our hearts continue to hurt. It was just one of those weeks.

So today as I look ahead at a new week.  I think I need to be reminded again.

God You Reign.


Anonymous Mindee said...

Lincoln Brewster is playing here next week. When they get to this song, I'll be thinking of you. I don't post often because you get so many and I don't want to make more work for you but . . . well I think of you a lot. I'm sorry this happened in your life but I'm grateful for your generosity in sharing the journey.

And if you'd like to come up to Lincoln, NE - we have extra tickets!

September 14, 2009 at 9:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

amen...He reigns...

last week was a hard one for many people...

thank you for sharing...

September 14, 2009 at 10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So very sorry for your heartache. Yet you continue to be an inspiration to us. You, Joel and Cora are in my thoughts everyday. I'm glad to see a post from you, it makes my day even as the tears roll down my face.


September 14, 2009 at 10:06 AM  
Blogger Beki - TheRustedChain said...

Jess, my heart hurts for you.

I cry so often when I think of your family. But God does reign.

Every time Cora's picture with the pumpkin pops up on the top of your blog, I wonder how you're dealing with the changing season.

Thank you for your faithfulness.

September 14, 2009 at 10:16 AM  
Anonymous Toni :O) said...

Beautiful song...thank you for sharing and I truly think of you and your family I pray for you so hard and I know I say this often, but I really do work extra hard to hug my children harder and pay more attention all in the name of Cora. Your tragedy has made such an impact on my brings me to tears some days. Continue to send you prayers, love, hugs and strength for support.

September 14, 2009 at 10:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a beautiful song and reminder. I'm sorry that you had a rough week and hope that this one is better. I am continuing to pray for you!

September 14, 2009 at 10:49 AM  
Blogger i love plum said...

lots of love....xo

September 14, 2009 at 11:01 AM  
Blogger Falling Around said...

You've been on my heart more and more as we approach the holiday season and more firsts without sweet Cora. My heart aches for you. But God does reign and I pray you will continue to find comfort in that knowledge.

September 14, 2009 at 11:28 AM  
Blogger e family said...

I hope your week is better. You have such an amazing outlook. Can't imagine living through something like this, but your story has helped me realize that with the correct attitude and outlook, you can get through. I hope each day gets better, but I'm sure you will always have "those" days.
I think of you often.

September 14, 2009 at 11:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing...Cora is looking down on her parents so proudly

September 14, 2009 at 12:37 PM  
Blogger Christine said...

I'll think of you guys every time I hear this song, and will commit to praying for you right then. (They play it alot on KLOVE, so expect many a prayer coming from me!) You are a constant inspiration from me and God has spoken to me so clearly through you. Thank you for your honesty, your transparency, and your faith. We will continue to lift you up in prayer.

September 14, 2009 at 12:51 PM  
Anonymous Karina said...

September is a bittersweet month. I agree, it is because the season is changing; it is spectacularly beautiful, yet so many things are dying all around us.

Your post made me cry.

I feel such anger too. I am angry that this kind of suffering has to happen, and go on and on the way it does, with no end in sight - how can anyone get over the loss of a child? I can't fathom what kind of God does this.

And no, yours is not the only suffering; many people grieve 9/11 now too, for example - there is no shortage of grief, it is all around us and festers for many reasons.

I am frankly amazed that you continue to have faith. It makes it seem like you have insight and will transcend your pain, while I remain blind and fogged over and mad.

Hugs to you in your continued battle; you are certainly inspiring.

September 14, 2009 at 1:37 PM  
Anonymous Carrie Metz said...

Dear Jess,

Soooo many times I have wanted to write. Today as I read your beautiful words I was moved to drop you a note. My heart aches for the pain you and Joel feel. . . through your pain, your words have been a continual breath of fresh air. I leave tomorrow to spend time with my sister and her family, including my neice, Kate Mcrae. You mentioned her one day and somehow I found your blog. Now I find myself thinking about your beautiful family and weekly (okay, more than weekly) :)come back to check on you guys and pray that the Lord's tender mercies will be new each morning for you.

Your sweet "voice" is being heard by many. Thank you for the incredible privilege to journey with you through this unthinkable time. You are incredible mom and woman.

Much love,

September 14, 2009 at 2:23 PM  
Anonymous Sheryl From Colorado said...

Hi Jess,
I wanted to let you know when I logged onto your website I was listening to KLOVE and the song "God You Reign" was on. He cares about even the little things in our lives! HE does Reign, and I will continue to pray for you and that newest addition to your family.

September 14, 2009 at 2:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was a beautiful reminder...for some reason I had missed it, even though I love LB! Thnak you for sharing it...I pictured sweet Cora saying the words in that sweet baby voice sitting at the feet of her Savior and it brought tears to my eyes.
Laura from FL

September 14, 2009 at 3:12 PM  
Blogger Beckypdj said...

Dear Jess;

I hope you don't mind if I talk to your commenter Karina in my comment.

Karina, God does not "do this". There is suffering because we live in a fallen world. This was not God's plan for us, God gave Adam ultimate authority on earth but Adam chose to let sin in. Even though we are born sinners, God gave us Jesus, so we could come back to Him. And while I believe in living a blessed life here on earth, my ultimate goal is Heaven and eternity with my Heavenly Father.

I too have lost my child and it hurts and I don't understand why Peyton is in Heaven before me. But I know that God loves me and I cannot wait to be reunited.

I hope this reads with the love that was intended while I typed. Thank you Jess and hugs to you and your family. I am now in my 20th month of the grieving process. The firsts are very hard. I posted on my blog once that "the memories seem to be gentler somehow, they don't take my breath away like they used to." (or something like that.) You will reach this place too.

Thanks for all the space I took up.

September 14, 2009 at 3:27 PM  
Blogger Baylee and Blair's page said...

My heart is so heavy for you and your family. I remember back when your blog was passed my way to begin praying over. I couldn't believe that such a sweet little girl could have cancer! My heart is breaking for you as I could only imagine what it would be like losing one of my girls.

Big Hugs to you and Joel!


September 14, 2009 at 3:28 PM  
Blogger Tricia said...

What a beautiful song, and a beautiful reminder of God's grace. My heart hurts for your sweet family now. You continue to be in my prayers, and also in my praises for shining such a light of God's love on MY life.
Thank you for your willingness to share this difficult journey with us.
May God continue to bless both you and Joel and baby Mac.

With love and prayers,

September 14, 2009 at 4:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hurting with you and praying for you.

September 14, 2009 at 5:45 PM  
Blogger mommyof2sons said...

Beautiful song. I had never heard it before. Prayers for you both!!

September 14, 2009 at 7:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have seen him live, he is amazing. The song is MORE amazing (I think Ill add it to my myspace if I can find it).

Just wanted you to know that I am spreading the word this month about childhood cancer...and you guys are in my thoughts and prayers.

September 14, 2009 at 7:23 PM  
Blogger Andrea said...

i also am so sorry for your loss and couldn't even begin to imagine what you might be going threw. however, you inspire me in so many ways, as a women trying to be more like Jesus, and a mother. thank you for sharing all your feelings and thoughts. God Bless you dear and your family.

September 14, 2009 at 7:40 PM  
Blogger Danyele Easterhaus said...

awesome...and god soooo reigns. thank you for the great reminder!

September 14, 2009 at 7:43 PM  
Blogger Lexie Loo, Lily, Liam & Dylan Too said...

I'm sorry you had a rough week. My thoughts and prayers are always with you and your family.

September 14, 2009 at 8:17 PM  
Blogger jandkland said...

God You Reign. We all need reminding. In this month that is set aside for childhood cancer awareness, I honor Cora's memory by daring to speak of the unspeakable: cancer touching the life of a dear child. Sometimes people don't want to talk about it, but we must. We have to remember that families like yours live and breathe childhood cancer each day. We must fight as bravely and strongly as we can. May God guide the researchers as they seek a cure. May God direct the doctors as they choose the best treatments. May God strengthen the children as they endure the effects of disease. May God comfort the parents who bear the burden of their suffering children. May God wrap his arms tightly around the parents who can no longer hug their children. And praise God, that he truly does reign over it all. Somehow. Some way.

--Kelley in GA (

September 14, 2009 at 8:32 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

I don't know you, but have followed your blog for a while now...and have prayed for you often as you have had to walk through this dark, dark valley. I cannot pretend to know anything of the pain you all I can do is pray that God will bring His comfort to You in the way that only He can. I am so, so sorry for the loss of your sweet little girl.

September 14, 2009 at 9:37 PM  
Anonymous ashley said...

hi! I've been reading your blog regularly for a very long time. I've never commented, not sure even what to say except that I pray for you and your family often - my heart hurts for your pain every time I read your words.
You and your family, including that new baby are all on my prayer list regularly. :)

September 14, 2009 at 9:37 PM  
Blogger Al's World said...

Thank you for shining your light to others around you. Joyce Meyer said today that the biggest testiment we have to unbelievers is our strength during the hard times.

I feel close to you in some ways, my daughter and Cora are only two months apart in age, my great grandmother's name was Cora and I have always loved it, I lost my mother to cancer after only 6 weeks of diagnosis this past November, I am expecting as well, a surprise, due in Februrary and like you I am welcoming this little one with mixed emotions. I am praying for you and Joel during this time, I will be praying for you on the 20th for that bittersweet beautiful day and will continue to praise God for He does reign!

September 14, 2009 at 9:40 PM  
Blogger katy said...

Thank you for sharing this song, I hadn't heard it before. Your faith in such a dark period of your life inspires me to draw closer to Jesus. I am so sorry about your sweet Cora.

September 14, 2009 at 9:49 PM  
Blogger Lori said...

You will remain in our prayers in these difficult times. May God bless you with peace and healing.

September 14, 2009 at 10:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband passed away 2-1/2 years ago. I don't know why either, but the past 4-5 days were hard for me too. Lots of tears, lots of memories, lots of asking why and what's next. I think it is all a part of the process (and one that never really ends). I also think it keeps us pulled close into Jesus' loving arms.

I too find a lot of solace in music. Lincoln Brewster's CD is one of my favorites.

September 14, 2009 at 10:21 PM  
Anonymous Christina said...

May the Sovereign Lord of the universe continue to carry and heal your broken hearts, watch over you all, and show you how to walk the path that is laid out before you. May you know his faithfulness fully as it is possible, and may your faithfulness shine as a light to all who see it.

September 14, 2009 at 11:04 PM  
Blogger Jill said...

Hey Jess,
I would love to send you a note via email so that there would be some privacy. If you dont mind, can you email me at I have something I would like to share with you - a change in my family that I contribute to Cora.
Take are always in my prayers,

September 15, 2009 at 2:43 AM  
Blogger Brei said...

Praying for your sweet family. Your faithful, grateful spirit and the way you cling to The Lord are such an encouragement. Glorifying God in the darkest of times...what beauty. God, You reign.

September 15, 2009 at 7:52 AM  
Anonymous Karina said...

Beckypdj, I appreciate your loving comments - a big part of me wishes I could embrace this idea you call God!

I am continually drawn to this blog, for the human emotions so well expressed, as a mother overwhelmed by empathy for what Jess and Joel have suffered, and (even though I don't share their faith), admiration for the way in which they have chosen to cope and see the world. I still find them remarkable as people and parents, even though I myself do not believe in a creator, the fall of Man, etc.

I just remarked to my husband last night that I had heard a beautiful song on Jess's latest post, but too bad it was about God. He said we could ignore the lyrics, or just take from it the same sense of wonder that we are here, regardless of whether we worship a heavenly father or are simply in awe of existence. I like that idea; it is a lot like how I view all these comments, which inspire me even though I do not share their conviction.

September 15, 2009 at 8:16 AM  
Blogger Lauren said...


And I absolutely love that song!!!!

September 15, 2009 at 8:21 AM  
Blogger Lindsay said...

Bless your sweet family and your unswerving faith. Thank you for so selflessly serving as a reminder to all of us that He reigns. I think of You, Joel, Cora and Baby Mac often and you are in our prayers.

September 15, 2009 at 9:00 AM  
Blogger Erica said...

this song will remind me to pray for you, and all parents who are wanting to trust in God to reign in their lives through the loss of a child. thank you for your beautiful heart.

September 15, 2009 at 10:14 AM  
Blogger mommathieszen said...

Not sure if you have heard the new single from Steven Curtis Chapman yet, but I listened to it today for the first time and it sent tears streaming down my face. Thinking of you guys the whole time. Have kleenexes in hand if you haven't heard it, but I think you would find it extremely touching. Here's the link:

Blessings of continued healing on your journey,
Angie Thieszen

September 15, 2009 at 12:09 PM  
Blogger Chelsa said...

thank you for sharing the song!

September 15, 2009 at 12:25 PM  
Blogger Tracie said...

Thank you for sharing that song.

I could listen to it all day.

I pray for your family daily!

September 15, 2009 at 2:59 PM  
Blogger Country Roads said...

I'm so sorry you're having a hard time right now. Prayers for you are on the way.

The song is beautiful! Adding it to my playlist and will always think of Cora and your family when I hear it. Thanks for sharing with us. God Bless!

September 15, 2009 at 3:32 PM  
Anonymous Angie said...

We lost a baby, Jack, when I was 6 months pregnant and something that helped me cope was music. A friend at our church went through the same thing and sent me a CD of a song that helped her see through her pain. It helped me see that life really wasn't up to us to decide what happens, it's all up to HIM. The song was "Walk by Faith" by Jeremy Camp. We now have a second son after our loss. Have faith with the new baby!
The emotions are very up and down with another child and very hard to be happy while missing the baby you've lost at the same time. May God Bless your family.

September 15, 2009 at 3:56 PM  
Blogger JJC said...

still think about you often even though we don't know each other. still pray for you and your family. still think about your little cora when i look at my little emory who was born just 3 days before cora. still think about how similar our lives are as emory is our 1st born. still praying for you.

September 15, 2009 at 4:59 PM  
Blogger Beki - TheRustedChain said...

Thinking of you and praying for you tonight.

September 15, 2009 at 8:07 PM  
Anonymous Christina said...

The simplicity of that statement hurts. God You reign. He reigns even when we don't recognize it. He reigns until we recognize it.

September 15, 2009 at 11:13 PM  
Blogger Lauren said...

Still praying for you all. I know the dedication service will be beautiful and I pray you can feel Jesus' arms around you as you see how He has prompted all of these people to love on you in different ways.

September 16, 2009 at 1:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

praying for you....

September 16, 2009 at 11:13 PM  
Anonymous megan said...

We are praying for you guys. We trust that the Lord, who is taking care of your sweet little girl, is taking care of you, too. Our hearts ached when we heard your story....we are grateful for the hope Jesus gives.

September 16, 2009 at 11:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

your posts are always so touching and eloquent- God bless you!

September 17, 2009 at 12:43 AM  
Blogger Beki - TheRustedChain said...

This doesn't pertain to this post but we went to the fair the other day and I thought of you guys because I remember your post from last year's fair. I remember Cora in her stroller and you with turkey grease stains on your pants.

I know how much Joel likes "interesting" food, so I wanted to share this link. ;-)

Fried Butter!! For real.

I think you need to take a trip to Dallas so he can try it.

September 17, 2009 at 8:25 AM  
Blogger Kimberley said...

You've been on my mind a lot recently...just wanted to stop by and say I think of you guys and pray for comfort frequently. Hope you're having a good week...and I'll be thinking of you on Sunday....I'm sure it will be a very bittersweet day. Love and prayers from Maryland...

September 17, 2009 at 12:37 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth Biggs said...

Joel and Jess,
Praying for you as you plan for the dedication this weekend...

September 17, 2009 at 2:19 PM  
Blogger The Schilling's from Cimarron said...

I had a minute today during my planning time at school and was thinking about you all! I read the blog and listened to the song....... Cried...... My kids asked what was wrong and then of course I got to share the story of baby Cora and you with them..... they all came up and hugged me.... I could feel Cora right in the middle of it all. ONce again you have put things in perspective for me. I love you and miss you all so much! Hoping for better days for you ahead.... please know we are still praying for you daily!

Love to you always!


September 17, 2009 at 2:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jess - You have been on my mind more than usual! I know the year of firsts and the dedication on Sunday will bring many emotions. The Lord goes before you and carries you through. His mercies are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness.
Your pain will not remain as pain. It is indeed already a ministry to others as we witness your faithfulness to our God, WHO REIGNS!
love you and your family,
Kristen B.

September 17, 2009 at 11:54 PM  
Blogger Tegan | Celebrate Twelve13 said...

I am fortunate enough to attend church with Lincoln Brewster here in Sacramento and that song just hits me every time he peforms it live-- truely the meaning of worship. Thank you for sharing your lives and your (Cora's) story. I am a good friend of Heather (Cookie Mondays) and my prayers are will all of you this weekend at the dedication.

September 18, 2009 at 12:14 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

I was really wanting to get to that dedication didn't happen. I am praying for you guys! I hope today was a blessing to your heart.


September 20, 2009 at 9:48 PM  
Blogger Misty Rice said...

Beautiful post, and so looking forward to how yesterdays playground opening went.

God Bless.

September 21, 2009 at 10:21 AM  
Blogger Jennifer Dawn said...

Yes, he does! My heart just breaks for you and your husband, but I admire your devotion and strength. I am a mommy to a seven month old little girl named Lydia Grace. She has had many health issues, and only recently had some positive test results. Still I can only begin to understand what you have gone through. After reading about Cora, I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

September 21, 2009 at 10:16 PM  
Blogger Abby said...

You don't know me at all, and honestly, I cant even remember how I found your blog, but I check it regularly now. Cora is a just a bit older than my youngest daughter, and I can't imagine what you are going through. I'm so very sorry for your pain.

However, I wanted to take a moment to say thank you. I have often wondered how I would react in the face of loss like yours or utter heartbreak...I hope I would choose to glorify God the way that you do. I know it must be hard, but I want you to know that your story and the way you choose to glorify God regardless of the situation has taught me so much. When it comes to my kids, you have taught me to treasure every moment- enjoy the little things. In my relationship with God, you have reminded me that I dont have to know what is going on- I just have to trust Him. Your story has changed my life, so- Thank You.

September 28, 2009 at 3:48 PM  

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