Jana Thomas testimony
On Sunday, October 16th Jana Thomas shared the following testimony about God's grace in her life, even in the face of tragedy.
Hi, I'm Jana Thomas. Walt recently asked me to share a little of my story from the past year. I recently read a devotional titled, “Grace Denied, Grace Supplied.” That is the best way I can describe my life right now.
Let me give the brief back story. I was raised in a loving, Christ centered home with parents who worked hard on our farm, loved the Lord, and were full of good works to others—grace supplied. I met and married Kelly Thomas, a hilarious, talented, hard-working, God-fearing man during college—grace supplied. We were blessed with four beautiful children over our 18 years together—grace supplied. Kelly took us with him everywhere he could. He was known by his colleagues as the guy who brought his family with him to every gig—grace supplied. In addition, Kelly Thomas LOVED his family and wanted us with him at all times. He gave up his full professor, tenured position because he wanted our family to be back with my family in Tennessee on our family farm. He took the lecture tuba/euphonium position at UT in 2014, traveled back and forth weekly from Tennessee to Arizona for a semester, and started over professionally so we could raise our children in a place that offered more and would allow us more time together. Suddenly, after 16 and a half years, I was back home where I wanted to be—grace supplied. All was well. In addition, Kelly was quickly hired as the full time tuba professor-grace supplied. Our dream had come true! God had been so very good to us!
Then, on June 7, 2015, after spending his Sunday with our family at church, a church picnic, surprise ice cream trip, and playing on the farm—Kelly was stung by a wasp. He had never had any type of reaction before, but he had a terrible reaction. He went home to be with our Lord and Savior that day—for the first time in my life this grace was denied to me.
And so for the past year, I have been looking, seeking, watching for anywhere those graces can be supplied again. Let me tell you of just a few. This church poured themselves into our lives and provided meals for us for three months after my husband went home—grace supplied. Our community group sought ways to serve us with food, monetary gifts, and just plain ol' loving us—grace supplied. Our home needed some extra storage and a family friend offered to do the work while you, our church, offered to help with the costs—grace supplied. Our children have been denied the privilege of hearing his tuba music live ever again, but we have his 12 CDs which he recorded over the years to listen to so we don't forget—grace supplied.
Our children have been denied the blessing of having daddy take us with him everywhere he goes, but we have been able to continue homeschooling and have had the time we needed together to cry, to play, to heal, to pray, and to seek God during all this confusion—grace supplied. My parents have done everything they can to lighten our load—grace supplied. Our oldest daughter has taken on responsibility way beyond her years with helping me in her daddy's absence. All the children have been filled with God's grace as I ask them to take on new jobs they haven't had to do before with such an involved daddy. Animals, yard work, gardening, house work, laundry, shopping, helping younger siblings in school and getting ready, etc. They tackle each task—most days—knowing God is watching over us and has provided for us so clearly. There are so many others, individuals here, who have been a grace to us, but I can't list you all.
And this last grace I'm going to tell you about....well, I gotta tell you...I really wondered about God's sanity. THIS one was a doozy! About a week after Kelly went home to the Lord, I discovered I was expecting our FIFTH child. Kelly and I have loved all our children and we were open to more. To discover that I would be having a FIFTH child with no husband to share the load, I thought for sure this was a HUGE stamp of GRACE DENIED!!! Really?
It took me several months to become excited. How could I do this alone? I was angry. I was confused. I was grief-stricken. But as my belly grew (and boy did it grow), I began to love this little baby. Our other children began to love her also. They began to be excited about her arrival. Our home was filled with preparation for the new one rather than despair as we moved Kelly's things to the attic. We were able to prepare for her TOGETHER—to register for her, to count down the days, to bring her home, to hold her precious hand in ours, to snuggle her, to kiss her sweet cheeks, to listen to that crazy laugh babies do, to share her sweet kisses, to take her with us shopping, to drag her to horse competitions or swim meets. Instead of crying our eyes out on June 7, we looked at our almost three month old baby and rejoiced at this grace supplied in God's all knowing kindness to give to our family exactly what we needed—a baby girl named Kelsa-Ana Jorabeth Thomas. Instead of being overwrought with grief on Father's Day, we dedicated this precious life given to us to our kind and gracious God.
Is all this hard? You bet! But God has shown me during this journey that He will continue to supply grace. So I am learning to trust Him more, to weep and cry and cry some more, and then to get up out of my mourning, and start looking to see where I will find that next grace He is just waiting to pour out on our family.