If this was the first time we had ever met, you might look at this picture and think that my life, portrayed here as a strong mother surrounded by 3 amazing children, would be something to envy. I mean, we were filming a commercial for a well known hospital. There we were…dressed up, make up perfect, all smiles.
What you wouldn’t see is how we got there…..
You see, first, we walked through the valley of the shadow of death.
Clay and I were so young and in love when we married and began a family. All we could think about was being together and building a life that we could love and enjoy. Everything seemed perfect and wonderful. Becoming a mother was the fulfillment of many dreams.
When I held my babies, or when I prayed over them, I always imagined the good things ahead of us. I celebrated the thought of watching them grow and mature. I saw happy moments in our future.
I never imagined this….
I never saw myself as a single mom. Never.
But, there we were. Watching them crank the coffin into the ground. Saying goodbye to their dad…my love…for the rest of our lives. I couldn’t change it. I couldn’t escape it. I couldn’t rescue my kids and swoop them back to their pre-cancer, perfect life. I had no ability to do what I wanted to do.
All I could do was this….
Pull them in close and point them to Jesus.
I always told them that He was the most important part of their lives. I always taught them to pray and love the Lord. I reminded them all through their childhood that a life built on the foundation of the Word of God was all they needed.
Well….now it was time for God to prove it. We were in the fire. The refining had begun, whether I felt ready or not.
Romans 5 contains one of the most foundational scriptures of my life,
“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
What more could I ever want for my children than for them to be filled with endurance, character, hope and love for God? Nothing. They don’t need anything else. But, how will they attain these attributes?
Through SUFFERING. Through pain. Through difficulty.
The very things that I strove to keep them from…are the very things that will move them to love God and exude the character of Christ.
The very things I prayed they would never experience…are the same things that will create an unwavering hope in their soul. A hope that will not put them to shame.
God has proven His Word to be true. His promises have stood the test. My children have walked through the fire without being burned. They know He is real. As much as my mom heart wants to take all their pain away, I wouldn’t trade the lessons they’ve learned.
One of the greatest blessings of my life has been to have them standing by me through this time.
They have loved me when I didn’t deserve it. Helped me when I was weak. Encouraged me when I was tired. Supported me when I felt alone. Hugged me when I needed it most. Listened to me when I needed to talk. Remembered with me even when it was hard.
They are my greatest joy in this life. God has protected them and helped them, in spite of all my weaknesses. Their lives are no reflection of me. They are proof that God is able to do far beyond what we ask or think.
On the day we filmed the commercial, I listened to my kids tell stories about their dad and talk about their loss with such confidence and hope. Of course, we cried a little, but the overwhelming theme of the day was hope and encouragement. They saw that his life had meaning and they’ve seen God do amazing things. As they told stories, while standing in the middle of suspended pictures of our life, it felt like a dream.
They are not perfect, but they have emerged with strength. They have compassion for others who experience loss. They have a broader perspective of life.
Moms, parents, grandparents….anyone reading this,
If you find yourself trying to protect those you love from the hardships of this life….don’t. Let God have His way. Trust Him that His ways are higher than our ways. When you don’t understand why…just release your life and the lives of those you love. Trust God that He will not fail. He has not forgotten you. He will not abandon you.
It is in the valley that we see the table.
It is at the table that He anoints our head with oil.
It is as He anoints us that our cup overflows.
It is in the darkness that we see His light.
It is in our weakness that He is strong.
Hebrews 10 tells us,
“For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For,
“Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.”
But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.”
As a mother, my greatest joy will be watching my children receive what is promised. One of the last things Clay told them before he died was how much he longed to be with them again one day. He implored them to follow Christ, so he could have the promise of a reunion.
And so, my prayers for my children have changed dramatically. I regularly tell the Lord to do whatever He has to do to make that day a reality for my family. I don’t ask Him to keep them from trouble, or shield them from this terrible life. I ask Him to shed abroad the love of God in their hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit. And, when I pray this, I know the fulness of what I’m asking. I know how He accomplishes this work.
Of course, I want them to live a blessed life and to walk as pain free as possible, but my greater desire is that they know Him and that they endure. I pray that they never shrink back, but that they believe to the saving of their souls.
And so, I will walk with them. I will help them. I will support them. I will pray. And, I will trust God that He knows how to get them to that glorious day.
Happy Mother’s Day!
P.S. I love this picture of me and the kids standing between the two most important mothers in my life….
I love you, mom. You were my example.
I love you, Flo. You raised the best man I’ve ever known.
Thank you ❤
Kristy I can’t imagine any two people more meant to be together than you and Clay! I can’t imagine how hard it must be to wake up every morning without him next to you. I know you must long to see your children in his embrace. I thank God for the witness you and Clay and your Children are in this fallen world! I have seen the Honor you have given to our precious Lord in a time of suffering and sorrow! I look towards the day that you and your family and all of us who look forward to His appearing shall stand shoulder to shoulder with Clay before the Throne of God in Worship. No more tears, no more sorrows. We will be complete in Him. Come soon Lord Jesus, Amen.
Kristy Furlow, you are an amazing woman of God! You continue to amaze, challenge, and inspire me in my own walk with the Lord! You have spoken with such openness and such wisdom through the years on this blog, both during the time when Clay was ill, as well as now since he has gone to be with Jesus. God Bless you! We will continue to pray for you and your children. They are so blessed to have you as their mother! Happy Mother’s Day precious sister in the Lord! Love in Christ, Nancy and Alan Blount
You are the most amazing person I know Kristy God is always with us and always in control I love you and your children and know your pain it was with my faith in God that I made it through all my pain of not only losing my husband but my Son too
One month after I lost my Mom.. Thank You for sharing this with me..
The greatest of Gods people are hammered and forged on the anvil of time. Beautiful family and great example of Gods love for his people. Happy Mother’s Day!
Get Outlook for iOS ________________________________
I was so happy that you had a new post. I followed your posts as I searched for strength, information or expectations as I faced my husbands battle with stage 4 glioblastoma. You will never how you helped me. Clay’s faith became my faith and my faith became my husbands. My grandsons lost their maternal grandfather eight months prior to my husband being diagnosed and I remember my daughter in law telling me that her biggest fear was that they would be angry with God.
They were were both so brave and compassionate during my husbands 6 month struggle and I know it was God’s walk with them that gave them their strength. I never thought the moment of death could be described as “beautiful” but my husband being surroundied by my son and daughter and their families and my sisters was beautiful. He was born into this world loved and born into heaven loved.
Life without Gerald is a daily struggle but without faith it would be impossible. Thank you again for sharing Clay’s journey and for his faith with me.
Thank you so much for this testimony…I needed it so much!!
May you have a blessed day.
From a sister in Christ….
Sent from my iPad
Thank you for writing even more. This blog has helped me, and so many more, keep their focus on God and not on the “distractions of this world”. What rings true to me time after time and I consider throughout the months of each year is how you shared Clay reflected on watching sports–and how time could have been used better, and he used it so much better as his life progressed. It’s an encouragement to us all, again, to avoid the “distractions of this world.”–not just sports, but how we can best spend ANY of our time throughout the day. It’s a basic principle that rang true in my heart. I tell my self “Focus on what is a distraction, so you won’t be distracted.” I schedule time for those distractions, and it’s intentional, but don’t let them be out of balance any more like they used to.
It encourages me to STAY focused on God, to spend that time with HIM in the early parts of the morning, in the quiet of the evening (if only the kids would go to bed on time!). To take further steps to lead our family and kids in following God.
Thank you, and thank you again, for all your hard work, for you endurance, and for continuing to point your kids in the right path so that they will know which way to go…well done.
Happy Mother’s Day!
Christy, I am Pampy Richard, Callie Richard’s grandmother, Todd’s Mom. Before I began following your Blog, Todd had shared with me about Clay, you and your children. It was Tracy Richard who posted your blog on her FB Timeline,
then I followed every time you wrote. I prayed for y’all, rejoiced with y’all and cried for y’all. Todd called us when Clay went to his eternal home.
I have prayed for you and the children.
It is sooo wonderful and exciting to hear from you again! I grew closer in my relationship with The Lord during that time! Thank you for sharing with us as you did! I am so glad to hear from you!
Continuing to pray for y’all! Sister in Christ, Pampy
I have longed for your return to this spot, this place of sharing, this place of impact, this communication that teaches the greatness of God “in the midst of…” Thank you for returning to remind us there is not just a burial; there is a resurrection as well. You know I love you and those precious children of yours.
Once again, God has anointed your words to bless everyone, especially mothers. What a glorious description of how God purifies us and forms our souls to be more like Jesus. Watching our children go through these purifying experiences can be difficult for parents. In our hearts we know that God loves our children so much more than we are capable of. We must give Him our complete trust. You did such an amazing job of descrbing this beautiful concept! Love you forever!
Dear Kristy, I have followed your blog for a while. Your words and strength have given me courage and inspiration. I admire you for your willingness to allow our God to work through you to minister to others like me, someone you have never met!
In March 2019 both of my parents passed away with 17 days of each other. They were married 66.5 years and could not be apart very long. We, as a family, know they are together in Heaven with our Precious Savior. Even knowing this does not take the pain and grief away. But I try daily to focus on His promises and His love. During their time of passing I ended my 22 year teaching career to be able to care for them. This is yet another loss to grieve.
Our God is so good! On April 30 He blessed me with the opportunity to donate a healthy kidney to a friend of 28 years. She is now pain-free, healthy and looking forward to a life that had an uncertain future a few months ago! We celebrate His Love and His Blessings that have been showered on both of us.
Your recent words about walking through the valley and sitting at the table only to be anointed by His oil and His love ring so true with the events of my life recently. I hope you can see it too!
Please continue to find the strength to blog. There are so many of us that find comfort, inspiration and strenght in your God-given, God-blessed ministry.
I will continue to lift your family in prayer.
Add a comment
21 Comments on Motherhood….