Through Every Season

Brown Paper Packages at the Foot of the Cross

Hello, beautiful, innocent blog.  So much has happened since we last met.  I have so much to tell you… good and healing and terrible and heart breaking.  I plan to do some backward blogging; to tell you about some recent trips, and my bedroom makeover, a whole house re-arange, and about some wonderful things God has done in my heart.

But first, I have to tell you the most unbelievable, awful news.  We lost our most precious, youngest son, Joel Manuel Coleman.  On December 7th of 2012,  our twenty year old son, was murdered at a birthday party.  He and Joshua took an Apples to Apples game to enjoy a bonfire that ended in a terrible gunfire that instantly took my baby boy home to be with Jesus.

God has really given us so much comfort, so much joy in our suffering.  Right this minute as I type I am listening to IHOP streaming live as I often do and they are singing/praying “God of hope, arise, anchor their soul, give them hope that doesn’t disappoint.”

This morning I am mourning my losses.. laying them at Jesus feet.  It helps so much to take inventory.  Counting my losses, recording them, leaving them, frees me to count my blessings.

I had a vision once of all my sorrows at the foot of the cross wrapped in brown paper packages and tied up with string like in the song from The Sound of Music, “My Favorite Things.”  What I didn’t understand was that one of “My Favorite Things” would become my sorrows wrapped in “Brown paper packages tied up with string.”  It’s as if Holy Spirit graciously takes my sorrows and wraps them up tight so that it’s easier for me to leave them there at Jesus’ feet.  What had seemed so loosely laid there, so easily picked up again is now neatly and tightly packaged, safe at His feet.

“When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I’m feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don’t feel so bad”

“He restores.  He makes all things new.  Everything beautiful.  He’s just in time.  He’ll be strong in your weakness.  He will restore your song.  He will restore your soul.  He is there even when you can not feel Him, you can not hear Him.  I’ll take your ashes and turn them beauty.  I’ll make all things beautiful just in time.  I am your strength.  I am your beauty.  I am your life.  I am your life.  Come to me.  Come to me.”  on IHOP now..

Each morning since Joel was taken from us, I wake up to the awful reality that he is gone, that I have loss so much, and I weep.  It’s as if while I sleep, I forget and all is at peace, but when I awake, I have to face the reality all over again.

After facing the awful reality each morning, I purposefully to turn my thoughts to the reality of the goodness of God in the midst of my suffering.. as I am now.

Many days it has been this song by Jesus Culture that has given me strength to face the day:

One Thing Remains

Higher than the mountains that I face

Stronger than the power of the grave

Constant through the trial and the change

One thing remains

One thing remains

Your love never fails 

It never gives up 
It never runs out on me
On and on and on and on it goes
It overwhelms and satisfies my soul
And I never ever have to be afraid
One thing remains
In death and in life
I’m confident and covered by the power of Your great love
My debt is paid there’s nothing that can separate 
My heart from Your great love

Today, God gave me the extra grace I needed to take inventory of many of my recent losses: losses through moves, of friends, of a sense of security, of a sense of home; losses in health due to my corn allergy and breast cancer, losses of rest and freedom from pain.

And now of this huge loss of our precious son, Joel, losses of innocence, of untainted joy, loss of a friend, a brother, an encourager, a joy, laughter, a confidant, a protector, a companion, a fellow worshiper and prayer warrior, of so much of who we were as family of six.

Writing them all down is part of wrapping them in the brown paper packages of Holy Spirit all tied up with string, part of why I try to write so openly and honestly here on this blog.  The truth sets me free.. free indeed.
I am laying it all at His beautiful, loving feet.  Striving to enter into His rest, to allow Him to be God, to give and take away, to work all things together for the good of those who love Him – whatever His definition of that is.  I am choosing to rest, to allow because it’s the only choice.

What I want, what I would choose if I could, would to be to go back in time, in the story of my life and rip out the pages of the last eight weeks and rewrite my story with a much happier ending, but what I am coming to recognize is that wanting anything except more of Jesus is pointless, striving to do anything but rest in what God is doing is futile.

they piled on thousands of sandbags in a futile attempt to hold back the river: fruitless, vain, pointless, useless, ineffectual, ineffective, inefficacious, to no effect, of no use, in vain, to no avail, unavailing; unsuccessful, failed, thwarted; unproductive, barren, unprofitable, abortive; impotent, hollow, empty, forlorn, idle, hopeless; archaic bootless. ANTONYMS useful.
Yes, that pretty much sums it up.. futile.  So all other wants, in you go, into the brown package at the feet of Jesus.  Self, die so that Christ may live more fully in me.
“A vision of Jesus on the inside.  That restores your joy and renews your peace.  Jesus is with you today to shift the atmosphere within and around you.” on IHOP now…

Until He returns, takes me home, or until he decides I have loss enough of myself, I will continue to loose and I will continue to take inventory of my losses, and to leave them wrapped up by Holy Spirit’s power at the foot of the cross where I can find healing and help in my time of need and freedom to live again. 


For to me, to live is Christ to die is gain.  Phil 1:21.

Much love,



  1. Elayne

    You have made it so much easier to be free from worry and spend my energy in prayer by sharing your thoughts. Thank you. I am so proud to be your mom.

  2. Tonya

    I read this post earlier and couldn't think of one word to encourage you the way your faith has encouraged me. I cried when I read this and saw that picture of Joel, which is such a wonderful, beautiful picture of him. I love you my friend and you and your family continue to be in my prayers.

  3. Wendy

    Your blog told me to tell you "thank you." 😉

  4. Georgene G.

    Oh my! How I wish that I had brought glory to God in the early months after my son's death.. as you have! It took me nearly a year before I obeyed God and chose to trust Him.. even.. and because! Bless you dear precious soul! Bless you! You have blessed me!

  5. Theresa Vu

    You don't know me, but I know our sister Wendy very. Well…she had shared with me how amazingly you had displayed Christ through this whole situation. I am honored to call you my sister in Christ and I only hope that I can portray Christ as you have when I have to face hurtful situations. I told Wendy how amazing that is that you are so close to Jesus that He just oozes out of you. You display exactly what I am striving to be. I want to live my life so that even if someone never opens the bible to read about Jesus they "read" about him through my life. You are so there! Thank you for sharing your story! I pray that you ALWAYS continue to feel God with his arms wrapped around you in the good days and the bad.

    Theresa Vu

  6. Jennifer Coleman

    Thank you. It's only by His grace. He is faithful to carry you when you lean on Him.

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