…"not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord" (Zechariah 4:6)
To all of our friends and family,
We have no other way to communicate with all of you in a timely manner that which has occurred in our lives, so we send this via email to you.
Early Monday morning, Jan 10th, Jill went into labor with our little Jocelyn Theresa. Upon arrival at the hospital, we had an ultrasound to check on the baby. It was then we were hit with the heart wrenching news that her heart had stopped. They checked over and over. We sat there stunned, being prepped to take Jill to the O.R., and all that could run though our minds, our hearts, our prayers was "not our will but Yours be done" At roughly 4 am our little Jocelyn Theresa went to live with Jesus in heaven, at 7 am we kissed her goodbye for just a while until we see her in glory.
Our hearts are crushed, our minds are overwhelmed, our eyes are ever flowing with tears, but THIS WE KNOW– that God is sovereign. No matter how our lives change, God doesn’t. We trust, truly trust, that God knew it was best for Jocelyn to live with Him forever.
There are some things no matter how you try, that are impossible to to do by your own might. We are then left standing at the feet of our Savior, the Creator of the Universe, saying "By Your Spirit, Lord, by Your Spirit. I have no might within me for this." And then we begin to see, if only in the smallest human sense, God’s immense grace and mercy.
Please pray for our family, most specifically for our children. They are so very sad- each in their own way. We cry together, pray together, talk for hours about so many questions. In the end, we stand on the Rock Of Christ and cling like a ship clings to it’s anchor in a horrible storm. We have shared this imagery with our children, along with the passage from Hebrews 6:13-19 "…it is impossible for God to lie [so that] we might have this strong consolation, that [we] have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast."
We will be having a Memorial Service on Wednesday January 19th at 4:00pm at our church here in Simsbury, CT. This is not a funeral for our family, but rather a celebration of the hope that we have in Christ, a time to honor the gift of life and joy it brings, and furthermore, a time to show our beloved children how much THEY are loved BY GOD through others.
We ask that you please, please do not bring gifts of any sort. If you so feel led to "do something", then please take time to write a letter of encouragement and Godly hope to our children. For this they will treasure more than riches.
Clinging to our Anchor,
Sean and Jill Martin 860-987-2600 (or 2601)
Church Address is
Covenant Presbyterian Church
124 Old Farms Rd.
Simsbury, CT 06070
How easy we forget…When we become comfortable, when life gets easy, we get complacent and forget. When we get busy, managing our lives and schedules, keeping up with all the demands of the day, we forget. The Bible makes clear, we can never forget.
Deuteronomy 6 is one of the greatest chapters in all the Old Testament. The beginning of the chapter implores fathers to teach the commandments to their children all the time. It tells us to teach them to our children when we get up, when we lay down, when we walk along the way and when we sit in our house. We are to teach them all the time. This is discipleship.
But to make the point more clear, we are to teach them diligently. The Hebrew word for teach diligently literally means to sharpen. We are to sharpen these truths into our children. It is an image of one working with a blade or point, perfecting it through continuous sharpening. We are to continuously sharpen our children in the ways of God.
But the chapter goes on to warn the Israelites. They are about to go into the promised land and they will have victory over their enemies. The Lord promises the victory. But there is a danger they will face that will be far more subtle, and actually more dangerous, than those who live in the cities. In verses 10-12 we read, “So it shall be, when the Lord your God brings you into the land of which He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give you large and beautiful cities which you did not build, houses full of all good things, which you did not fill, hewn-out wells which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant – when you have eaten and are full – then beware, lest you forget the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.” As I read these words I think of the church in America today. It seems we are comfortable, bellies full, lives full, schedules full, but we have forgotten.
Some will say we have not forgotten, but we have. We have forgotten the battles of the great reformers who shed blood to protect and establish theological truths and traditions that we take for granted. We have forgotten the wisdom of the older generations and have cast them off to be discarded. We have forgotten in our own nation the sacrifices of those who risked their lives to create a nation based on freedom. We have forgotten those who have since died protecting that very freedom. We have forgotten the great providence of the Lord our God. Beware!
We need to beware, remembering all that God has done for us. We need to remember and make sure our children remember. The method given in this passage to help them to not forget is incredibly simple. It is at the beginning and at the end of the chapter. At the beginning we are told to teach the commandments, statutes and judgments, and at the end of the chapter we are told that when our children ask what the meaning of them is, we are to tell them a story. Not just any story, but the story. The great story of the providence of God to lead Israel out of bondage and into the promised land. It was a story they needed to hear and remember. It was a story that would remind those who heard, as well as those who told, all that God had done for them. It was a story that would help them to not forget the Lord their God.
We need to teach our children, sharpen them to a perfect point, and send them out as arrows shot from the bow of a warrior. We need to prepare our children to be dominion warriors, taking ground for the kingdom of God. But we need to continue to tell them the stories, not just of Scripture, but of our own lives, what God has done for us, our family, our nation, the church, etc. We need to tell them over and over lest we and they forget the Lord our God. We cannot get complacent. We cannot get too comfortable. We cannot forget the Lord our God.
I have been encouraged by some to put this sermon online. This sermon was a vision casting sermon for the church, setting the direction and priorities for the year. We are focusing on discipleship and I could not be more excited. I am providing a link to our church website that will allow you to listen if you desire, just click here.
Do you have family traditions? Do you ever make New Years resolutions? For a few years we have been setting family goals each January. We love to involve the whole family as much as possible. This has become a new family tradition that we love.
Before January rolls around, we, as parents, sit down and discuss what God has put on our hears and minds for the year to come. Things we want to learn more about, things we want to see happen or change in our lives, commitments we want to make, things we want to teach our children. It becomes a brainstorming list of..”when all is said and done- at the end of the year what do we want to BE SURE we accomplish?” Each year we do it, it causes us to look farther into our future and our children’s future. We ask ourselves, What do we want for our children 10 years (or so) from now and how can we work toward that?
Then on New Years Day, after a hearty helping of gooey cinnamon rolls, we stay at the dinning room table and start talking as a family. Sean hangs huge paper on the wall and we take notes, list ideas, and more. This year we provided categories for our children to think in. (lest we end up with a long list of yearly goals like making chocolate chip cookies everyday!!) We chose 5 categories that we, as parents, had prayed through and committed to for the year to come. Our 5 were:
1- LOVING OTHERS (practical things we can do to love others the way God created them in His image)
2- DISCIPLESHIP (opportunities to learn new things so that we can teach others wisely)
3- SERVANT LEADERSHIP (opportunities for diligence, independence, responsibility & service)
4- EDUCATION (areas in which we want to grow both individually and collectively)
5- RELATIONSHIPS (to either start, build, or continue building)
That was our list- you could choose anything- less or more- but it was helpful for us to have a structure to build our thoughts from. Then, after brainstorming, we leave it up on the wall and take the next few days (or more) to think it over, discuss with other family members, and pray earnestly about God’s will for our family and our willingness to commit to these things.
In some of the categories, people have individual goals and in others we have family goals. They aren’t huge and lofty- they are practical yet life changing goals. Sometimes, we as parents have a goal that we set before a child, and sometimes the child has a goal for the whole family. Sometimes a child comes up with a goal then a sibling has an idea for turning it into something the whole family can do. For example, some of our kids love to plant flowers. Well as parents we want our kids to be able to enjoy that WHILE they are learning other things too. So we asked the group “ how can we make this a family opportunity for servant leadership? SO the kids want to grow colorful flowers from seed (perennials) and learn all about it as part of schooling. Then, on our “All Church Work Day”, they want to plant them all over the church property since we have so many people that come to our church property for the enjoyment of the land. A way to bless people with Gods creation.
GOALS THAT CAN “GROW” OVER THE YEAR—Here is a simple example: Our church already serves at the Hartford Rescue Mission once a month. It is mostly attended and organized by our church youth group. Sean has been a few times and he had a desire to involve our kids. Knowing that would take time to learn since many of our kids are younger or have varying abilities in a setting such as a Rescue Mission, we decided to make it a family goal that “grows”.
Sean will take our kids “Noah’s arc style” (two at a time) to go with Daddy and “learn the ropes”. Learning how to act, how to interact, where are my personal gifts best suited for service, etc. Then, once ALL the kids have built individual confidence in their servant leadership abilities, we will attend as a whole family. That may take two months, or it make take the better part of a year. We are OK with that. It is not our goal to get everyone there as quick as possible, it is our goal to teach them to be confident servant leaders for God. We will get there when each child is ready and able. Oh but what a glorious day as a family that will be!!!
THAT is why we set family goals. Without planning that out, we probably wouldn’t do it (to be honest) or maybe just some of us would go. But we desire to serve together as a whole family, because God put us all together for a reason and we want to keep it that way!
Ecc 7;8 reads, “the end of a thing is better than it’s beginning”- We have been known to quote this verse often in the Martin house in an effort to complete a task, finish the job, not skip over last details, etc. We probably say it so much because we know it is our nature here in the Martin house to love just the opposite- new things! We love new things, new beginning, new life, new years, new ideas, new journeys, and more. Sometimes the end is a good thing, and sometimes the beginning is equally as good.
So, 2010 has come to a close and we embark on 2011. We have had a fulfilling and joy-filled year. We didn’t get to “the end” of everything we had hoped, but that’s OK. We enjoyed the journey, grew as a family (in many ways), and learned a lot about each other, life and God’s plan’s for us.
Here are just a few memories captured by photo that we intended to post at one time or another over the year. Watch for our next few post on making and setting visionary goals for the year to come and well as building disciples…..oh are we so excited for 2011!!!!
Happy New Year!!!