18 Jan 2016

It Was Hard to Believe My Pastor On Sunday

For the last few years it has become tradition for our family to spend Easter weekend in PA with Jon and Christie Purifoy at their farmhouse called Maplehurst. They’re friends who’ve known us the longest — since the days when none of us had kids yet.

Every year they host a neighborhood wide, 2000+ Easter egg hunt. It is just as awesome as it sounds.





Our family stays on the third floor of their old farmhouse and usually there are other guests in town too. A couple years ago one of Christie’s sisters, Kelli and her 4 kids shared the third floor with us too. Or maybe it’s better to say we shared the floor with them.

Either way, I remember that weekend vividly. It was unseasonably warm. The tulips and daffodils were already in bloom. And long after everyone had left we all lay out on blankets in the front yard surrounded by a sea of colorful, empty, plastic Easter eggs.

Kelli is a photographer and she captured the moment for us.


But I stole this one photo of her and Christie.


She captured hundreds of beautiful moments that weekend. She was in transition herself getting ready to move to Hawaii where her husband who’s a marine was being stationed. We were all a bit jealous I think. Because Hawaii!

And since her move her Instagram feed has been a constant source of beauty, family, and inspiration from the sand and the sea.

But on Friday I got a text message from Christie that Kelli’s husband, Shawn, was missing. His helicopter and one other had gone down in the night and all 12 Marines on board were still missing. A massive search spanning miles of ocean was launched.

On Sunday I was in a church service about how God can do the impossible.

Faith is so terribly hard, isn’t it? Often mine comes accompanied by a large side of doubt and so many tears. Christie’s brother is about to have a baby any day, her own first book comes out in a week, but today she is headed to Hawaii to sit and wait with her sister and their four kids for news no one wants to hear.

As Christie wrote on her blog:

It is likely that many of you will receive my book and begin reading it before I return home to Maplehurst. The only words I would add to the words already written within those pages are these:

The book I wrote is not diminished by this sorrow. It is more true than I knew, and it has become, for me, an anchor outside this grief.

It is, quite literally, the material form of my hope.

If I once thought it was my gift to God then it is a gift he has given back to me. I can hold hope in my hands, even if I fail to see it in these circumstances.

I’ve cried and cleaned toilets since Friday. It seems easier than sitting still. How can one week ago look so different? And I spent several hours surrounded by unexpected family from home yesterday afternoon.

And that’s the rub isn’t it? Amidst all the darkness and the doubt and the crashing waves there is still hope and light and family and new life. It’s almost too hard to bear. All these contradictions that make up this life God has trusted us with.

How do we keep trusting him back?

Maybe we just pray that He gives us eyes to see the rescue when it comes. Especially when it doesn’t look like we expect.

So many are praying for Christie today as she flies with her oldest daughter to go and be with her sister. Because that’s what Christ has taught us isn’t it? When things become too unbearable, when there are no words, we offer ourselves. Our presence. Like He taught us.


God with us. With you and with me and with Christie and with Kelli and with Shawn.


Join me and so many others in praying for Christie and her family over here?


{ Leave a Comment }
  1. 1

    I love you so much. I was shutting down my laptop and preparing to rush out the door when this caught my eye. Now I carry your beautiful words with me. What a gift God has given me in you. xoxo

    • 2

      They’re the next best thing I could send you, since I can’t pack myself up and go with you. You know we are all praying here – all the Bakers for all the Purifoys. Love you so much dear, old friend.

  2. 3

    Thank you for these beautiful words. I grew up with the Days (in fact Christie and her BFF April were our favorite babysitters) and I, too, have been caught between the tears and the normal, everyday joys/duties since Friday. Struggling to hope & believe the truth that God is able, yet facing a devastating reality, all while the world keeps spinning. But perhaps we are always really caught in this in between – the tears and the joy, grief and hope. Some circumstances simply serve as a glaring reminder of that in between I guess. Praying & keeping watch with you. Loving this dear family from afar.

  3. 4
    Maxine Allen says:

    I have been thinking of the Marines since I heard the first news reports. I am married to a retired Marine. We are all just one big Marine family and those men are my husband’s brothers. Our family is a family of faith, but we have had a most difficult time of late. Our precious eight week old granddaughter, Lillie Mills Sorrell, was called to her heavenly home on Thursday morning, December 10th. My daughter, Katie, got up that morning to find her precious eight week old baby dead. Lillie was a happy and healthy baby surrounded by loving parents and a precious big brother. I will admit my faith has and is being tested. I have thought, Lord, why not take me? I have lived a good life on this earth, I have health problems, why not take me and not this precious baby girl? Our hearts are broken and our lives have been changed forever. We are all in prayer. Appreciate your prayers also.

  4. 5
    Jeri DeGroot says:

    while I am reading this the song, “You’re a Good, Good Father” is playing in the background. I am praying!

  5. 6

    As a former Navy wife and now a Navy mom to a sailor who works with these very helicopters (and who just deployed to the middle east), this kind of news hits so close to home. I’ve been in tears and much prayer for all the families involved.

  6. 7

    What a small world… a couple years ago I contacted you about DaySpring’s one day conference in April, as I hosted 10 women in my home. Today I realize that you are friends with Christie – our family friend’s daughter & my kids’ babysitter many years ago right after Christie & Jonathan were married. (My kids are grown, married & mamas)

    I continue to pray for a miracle many times daily. The Day family is an awesome witness for God. Most of all, may God be glorified & may God give His supernatural peace & courage!

  7. 8

    Right with you, in the middle of the questions and the prayers and the sadness. Words are a great gift for a friend. You are a very good friend.

  8. 9
    Nohea Daliva says:

    I am in Kelli’s homeschool group and this news completely rocked our community. We are devestated yet we cling to hope in our God who does the miraculous. This family loves the Lord and it shows in everything they do-especially in the way they love each other. We continually lift them up in prayer. Job 13:15 Though He slay me, still will I trust Him.

  9. 10

    So many prayers for everyone going through this right now. <3

  10. 11

    Praying… hoping… in the midst of the normality and chaos of everyday life here while trying to fathom the ache of there. As Diana said… you are a good friend, a good gift.


  1. […] the news turns dark, when I have a hard time believing my pastor, and all I want to do is switch between hot baths and my cosy bed, it’s the stories of what […]

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