…”In The Heart of a Grateful Man”

September 6, 2017

Over the past week, our days have gotten increasingly harder. Clay is awake less. He is getting more confused, so when he is awake, his comments don’t always make sense. His voice is very weak, so I have to get right beside him to hear him. He hasn’t left the bedroom for weeks, and he hasn’t walked in 2 weeks. He hasn’t eaten a meal in 2 weeks. He has had some severe moments of confusion that caused frustration, which is really hard for me.

He does still drink water in the mornings while he takes his medicine, but that is getting harder, too. Today was sort of a climax. Getting him to cooperate, take medicine and bathe was really difficult. The nurse was considering a catheter and a hospital bed. I am not completely opposed to this, but I don’t want it. I like to be able to sleep beside him and he’s so comfortable in our bed.

Robin and Caleb had come over to bring me coffee and visit, and Caleb was able to help me and the nurse get everything done in our bed. The nurse was here for over 3 hours today helping us. Hospice has been so wonderful.

I had a few melt downs. Which is ok. Sometimes I just have to cry and get it all out. The emotions start to pile up and it feels good to just cry. I came down the stairs, and found some of my favorite faces in the world….Pastor Lee, Jason Doise, Robin and Caleb. When I saw them, I just broke down. They came upstairs and prayed over us while we waited for the nurse. Clay is so loved. He hears the prayers and it helps him. After we prayed, he was able to cooperate with us and we got some really difficult tasks completed.

The entire time, he was apologizing to us…saying please and thank you….he was just so sweet. That is the Lord (and maybe a little bit of medicine) but I give the glory to God for his sweet demeanor. It is who he’s always been and these circumstances have only made him sweeter. I’m so thankful.

Speaking of being thankful…..some of you have asked me how I’m doing this. People sometimes say, “I don’t know how you’re making it.” This is how….

Psalm 34:1-10; 17-20

I will bless the Lord at all times:
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul shall make her boast in the Lord:
the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.
O magnify the Lord with me,
and let us exalt his name together.
I sought the Lord, and he heard me,
and delivered me from all my fears.
They looked unto him, and were lightened:
and their faces were not ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him,
and saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encampeth
round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.
O taste and see that the Lord is good:
blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
O fear the Lord, ye his saints:
for there is no want to them that fear him.
The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger:
but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.

The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth,
and delivereth them out of all their troubles.
The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart;
and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous:
but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.
He keepeth all his bones:
not one of them is broken.
Evil shall slay the wicked:
and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate.
The Lord redeemeth the soul of his servants:
and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.”

This is an excerpt from a devotional that Robin gave me titled “Springs in the Valley” by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman. The book was published in 1950.

“There is a legend of a man who found the barn where Satan kept his seeds ready to be sown in the human heart, and on finding the seeds of discouragement more numerous than others, learned that those seeds could be made to grow almost anywhere. When Satan was questioned he reluctantly admitted that there was one place in which he could never get them to thrive. “And where is that?” asked the man. Satan replied sadly, “In the heart of a grateful man.”

David knew this truth. He was a worshipper who had a grateful heart. And, even in his despair, he always found a way to praise God. He would talk to himself when he was sad, or discouraged. And those Psalms which begin with despair, almost always end in praise back to God for His goodness, mercy, lovingkindness and unfailing love.

This is the key to our survival. A grateful heart. No matter the circumstance, there is always something to be thankful for. Even in the very worst situation you could ever imagine….you could simply be thankful for salvation. But, none of us are in the worst possible situation. No matter how bleak you life may seem, you would only have to look a short time to find someone with a worse story.

In our situation, I find myself giving thanks for all the provisions God has made. There are many symptoms and side effects that Clay could, and maybe should, be experiencing that he’s not.

When he feels frustrated…..I think to myself that he could have woken up from surgery with an altered personality. But he didn’t. We had 16 months with Clay…the same Clay we have always loved.

When he is sleeping most of the day….I give thanks for all the time that he felt well and healthy and looked so vibrant.

When he is confused….I thank God for the months and months that he functioned completely normal and had time to spend with his family living life to the fullest.

When his head hurts…..I praise God that he didn’t suffer for 16 months with uncontrolled pain.

When he vomits…..I really thank God that I can count on my hands the number of days that he’s been throwing up from sickness related to his cancer.

God has been so good to us. He has provided. Helped. Healed. Parted waters. Guided. Comforted.

Every promise in His word has been proven true in our lives. Every single one. He has kept Clay and empowered him with great strength to stand in the devil’s face and laugh. He has built a testimony in Clay’s life that has changed thousands of people. He has never left us or forsaken us.

And, for that, I am grateful tonight.

When I want to despair, I can’t. Because God has been so good. He is so close to us because we are brokenhearted and His word promises He is near to us. You can feel His presence in our house. You can see it in Clay. You can see it in our kids. He is here, y’all. And, in His presence, there can be no fear, no despair and no hopelessness. He overcomes those things that the devil wants to use against us.

I hope and pray that wherever you are tonight…no matter your circumstance…you can be protected from Satan’s seeds of discouragement by allowing God to give you a grateful heart. If you don’t feel grateful, read a few of these scriptures and let God speak to you.

We Love You!

Clay and Kristy

II Corinthians 4:6-15

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Treasure in Jars of Clay
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.
Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

Hebrews 1:9

You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has anointed you
with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”

Hebrews 4:14-16

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

I John 3:1-3

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

These scriptures were inspired by handmade cards sent to me by Diane Ruiz, my dear and precious friend. Ms. Diane, you have encouraged my heart so much and filled my thoughts with scripture. That’s all I have right now…the truth of God’s word….to keep my spirit lifted. Thank you.


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  1. Dee Austin says:

    Continued prayers for you dear one for God to give you all you need when you need it. Sending love and hugs

  2. Cindy Rome Estep says:

    Thank You Kristy for the scriptures.. Many hugs for you tonight and always. Prayers for you and Clay both… God’s presence is in that room you and I both know that.. I’ve been right where you are I know what you are going through ,take each day you have with Clay and treasure every moment good or bad… The 23rd Psalm in one of my favorites I remember on the worst days saying it over and over in my mind……

  3. Jackie says:

    I’ve never met you or Clay but I’ve been reading your blog with tears over last few months all the way here in Ireland I’m moved, encouraged, overwhelmed beyond words at what I’ve read. You have a gift with words. I can truly say the Lord has used you to take me out of a pit of despair and self pity. Thank you for having the humility to be so honest and vulnerable and so encouraging all at the same time!! Praying with you and your precious husband here in Ireland. Love in Christ. Jackie

  4. Lisa Mac says:

    My dearest Kristy, once again God has allowed you to touch us all with the power of His Word!! You and Clay are on my mind throughout each day and in my prayers continually!! I love yall deeply and I, with you, am very grateful for God’s love, unending mercy and great faithfulness. I praise Him for being the God who sees………

  5. Pipes0000 says:

    You guys are on our hearts! Lifting you up in prayer

    David and Tricia Planche


  6. Missy & Todd Guillot says:

    Your faithfulness and obedience to the Lord is so incredible and encouraging. We continue to lift your family in prayer. I truly believe that Clay played a vital role in leading my mother in law, Darlene Guillot, to Christ and for that I will be forever grateful. Mr. Jessie ask about you and Clay often. Thank you for your encouraging words and the scriptures. Your blogs always help to remind me that God will never leave us or forsake us!!

  7. Dimmy and Kathleen Wilkinson says:

    The 23rd Psalm is truth for us all, but loud n your house right now. We continue to lift you and your family in prayers. Thank you for sharing the Furlow journey.

  8. Susan Lowrance says:

    I am utterly amazed at how much your words and heart has touched me through this journey you never expected to take. God knew you would take it and prepared you and your beautiful family in advance. In your darkest time God had used you both to encourage and inspire others. You each are in my constant thoughts and prayers. You are a true testament to God’s nearness and faithfulness even in the difficult times.

  9. Marie Starns says:

    I’ve been reading your blogs and I am amazed at the faith and love that exists in your family. A friend of mine recently lost a niece to cancer. She was in her early 30s and had four children under the age of seven. They too had a blog and shared their journey that lasted about nine months. I was also amazed in their faith in God and it reminds me so much of your journey with your husband and your family. I pray for your husband Clay and your family that God will wrap his loving arms around you and Clay and your children and get you through the difficult times but also as you have said so many times before… In appreciation for all the time you have with your husband while he’s still with you. You and your family are truly an inspiration to so many people. Yes, God is using you and your husband’s illness to Help people realize how great God is at all times in good times and bad times. I’m so grateful I got to read your blog today. I was feeling anxious and fearful about things that I have no control over. I know I have to put my faith and my trust in God and know that he knows what’s in my heart and I must accept the peace that can only come from my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ May God bless you and your family in this difficult time and know that I will be praying for you 🙏🏻

  10. Felice Matranga Morales says:

    Dear Kristy,
    You do not know me but I have been following yours and Clays story through Scooter Morris, a high school friend who we recently became friends on FB. Now I know why. It was Gods work for sure. To be inspired by your story for which appreciate you sharing. Many blessings and prayers for you and your family as you walk through this journey.

  11. Christy says:

    This is so beautiful. Thank you for being a light to the world and reminding all of us how much we have to be grateful for.

  12. kmedlock23 says:

    I have never met you but I have followed your journey through friends on Facebook. Thank you for sharing all that you have and giving glory to the Lord for His faithfulness . You have encouraged me in more ways than you can ever know. You have been used by God to help me with fears that I have and helped me to remember that we will never be alone in this life when we belong to Jesus.
    Thank you so much. Our family has been and will continue to pray for yours. 💜

  13. Marcelle Nipper says:

    I’m thanking God for Clay’s continued sense of humor in spite of his illness. The image of Clay’s eyes turned towards Bill and I as his lips were formed into a little smirk of joy, his eyes bright and dancing, when he made a joke! I will always remember this momentary interaction and cherish it in my heart. Love y’all!

  14. Gay Boeneke says:

    Thinking back on the time Clay was in my First Grade class, I can definitely relate to the statement you made about his being such a sweet man…he was a sweet little boy, too. That’s his nature. He had this special mature calmness about him that I had never seen in such a young child before….a quality that very few men achieve And you, Kristy, were definitely chosen by Him, for him. Clay could not have had a more loving, supportive and encouraging spouse than you. I thank you for being that special someone here on earth with whom Clay has needed to complete his journey. You are loved by so many who send comforting prayers on your behalf, as well as Clay’s. I am grateful for you…

  15. Clari Cassels says:

    Kristy you and Clay are in our prayers. May God continue to keep his hand upon Clay and all your family and to keep you with His peace in your hearts and minds.
    I have only seen one other post from you at the beginning when Clay had his surgery and found out nothing else could be done. I wish I could have seen all of them. I’m not sure why I couldn’t but I want to keep up with your posts. I worked with Clay at the bank and was so sad to hear about his cancer.. You touch my heart with your posts and inspire me so.
    God bless Clay, you and your precious family.

  16. Kathy says:

    You do not know me. I was led to your blog by friends in Baton Rouge. Please know that your faith has touched me and grown me more than any other conference, Bible study or sermon ever has. You are absolutely not going through this experience in vain. You are reaching so many people with the Love and care of Jesus.
    I pray for you and your family each and every day. Every time I have a moment of weakness or a fear that I am facing, I truly think of Clay and your family. You have changed me, and for that I will always be grateful.

  17. Judy says:

    I have read several of your post, my heart and prayers go out to you , Clay, entire family, and your extented family that is helping your daikt needs. Your and Clay’s faith have inspired me to begin that dialog with God to go back to church

  18. Rebecca says:

    Thank you for your words. They led me to a much needed prayer of forgiveness for the way I’ve handled a current situation and heart of gratefulness in the midst of it all. Thank you Jesus for leading me to this blog and these scriptures.