Despairing? Confused? Levi’s dad explains God’s goodness in suffering in 15 minutes

Despairing? Confused? Levi’s dad explains God’s goodness in suffering in 15 minutes

I received this in my inbox nine days ago but hadn’t time to watch it until today. It is exactly what I needed to hear. I’ve been really struggling this week and through this father’s testimony God has touched my heart.

Levi’s dad says “Trials and suffering have a reality about them that they force our own neediness upon us, whether we like it or not. It’s not easy and it’s not romantic. However, they can be a point of life as our Saviour brings us deeper into Himself.”

“Drinking Deeply of the Tenderness of Christ” from Bethlehem College & Seminary on Vimeo.

The Works of God

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The Empty Chair

The Empty Chair

On the eleventh of November 2013 Horace, Rachel, Leah and I went to IKEA in Belfast to buy some bits and pieces for our new house. Leah wasn’t allowed in public places because of her immunity, but IKEA that Monday morning was almost deserted, so we felt that it was safe for her to come with us. Leah loved shopping.

Ikea trip

It was a challenge to fit both the people and all the purchases into our car afterwards, but my husband is amazing when it comes to packing the car. It comes from years of practice being married to a woman who doesn’t ‘travel light’!

packed car after Ikea

Amongst the items we bought were six folding kitchen chairs. Why did we need six? Because, in 2013, we were a family of six – two parents and four children.

Now, unless we have visitors, one of those kitchen chairs remains folded, unused, in our Utility Room.Folded chair Now that it’s December, we are once again in the season when for many families there is a heightened awareness of the empty chair.

Along with our awareness of an empty chair, we will have Leah’s eighteenth birthday on New Year’s Eve and the second anniversary of her final hospitalisation and her death in December/January.

This morning I read a blog post by John Pavlovitz and he says it better than I could in his recent blog post entitled Holidays and Empty Chairs: 

“The holidays are a time for recognizing our profound fullness, of purposefully dwelling on the abundant overflow we find ourselves in and being grateful.

Our houses and our bellies bulge to capacity and we gleefully overindulge in food and friends and laughter. We fill ourselves to bursting with all the things and the people that make life glorious and make the pain bearable.

This is a season where we inventory our lives and readily acknowledge all that is good and sweet and right.

It is about celebrating presence.

But not for you. Not right now.”

Click HERE to go to his blog and read the rest of this post.


Guest Blog ~ crowd force

Guest Blog ~ crowd force

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Ben Brooks-Dutton from Life as a Widower has been recently been editing a crowd-sourced book with The Estée Lauder Companies UK, which asks, ‘What happens after breast cancer?’

Both my family and my husband’s family have been significantly affected by breast cancer.

After Leah was diagnosed, she was told that if she survived the blood cancer for which she was being treated, she would have a significantly higher risk of developing breast cancer. The consultant warned her sternly to be very vigilant about breast self-examination.

I remember feeling physically ill as the doctor spoke these words to my fifteen year old daughter.

Life as a Widower

A girl I know lost a close friend very suddenly over the summer. Her and I bumped into each other over the weekend and I asked her how she was doing. On first impressions, you would think she was really well; she was tanned, smiling and warm in her conversation. She sent me a message through Facebook the next day, though. She explained that she had been feeling very low recently and that she felt she had been hiding away from the world.

“I guess I felt the pressure that I should be coming to terms with it by now,” she explained, even though her friend only died three months ago.

I understood the pressure she spoke of immediately, because I felt it when my wife died, too. From this experience, I now believe that many of clichés that follow a close bereavement only really serve to make a…

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Guest Post ~ A Letter from One Mother to Another

Guest Post ~ A Letter from One Mother to Another

This essay is a very powerful piece of writing.

It is also a chilling reminder that these Mums are just like us, trying to do what is best for their children, in the most dire of circumstances.

The Rahma Diaries

Dear Irresponsible Migrant Mother,

What exactly were you thinking when you woke your children in the dead of the  night, picking up the baby still asleep?  Don’t you know how important it is for children to get enough sleep? They’ll be cranky during the day if they don’t sleep enough.  They won’t develop properly if you keep doing this.  Children need routine.  That baby you’re holding needs to be warm and comfortable, cocooned and safe, like a tiny bud, waiting to bloom in the morning. Those toddlers won’t be able to walk the miles you want them to in the black night in worn out shoes without a good night’s sleep.

What’s that? Speak up.  You had to travel at night? It was safer? It was quieter? There was less chance of being discovered? Less chance of being caught if it was dark and the threat that hung over you…

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A Faith Story

A Faith Story


Leah used to enjoy writing short stories.

When Leah was younger we made several unsuccessful attempts at getting one of her short stories accepted for publication by various websites.

Although it’s me who is now writing Leah’s story, I love when her “story” is published on another website, as Leah Adams has done by kindly including us in her Faith Story series.

I do of course wish, that circumstances could have been different.

To read our story on Leah Adam’s web-site click on In Life, In Death ~ Vicky Whyte’s Faith Story

Guest Post – crashing waves

Guest Post – crashing waves

The words used in this blog post to describe grief are so beautiful and so true, I just had to reblog it……

Life as a Widower

A friend emailed me this morning after reading something he thought I might like to see.

‘Now in my defence,’ he began, ‘I never send you stuff like this, but I stumbled on it this morning and thought of you.’

I appreciated his caution; some days I’m just not in the mood to think or talk about grief. But then once in a while I read something that I feel compelled to share, mainly because I think it might just help someone else. I know from experience that a few words written in the right order and delivered at the right time can make all the difference. I for one have many people to thank for the words and time they have shared with me.

This following piece is guest post of sorts. Four years ago a young man, whom I know nothing about, took to the internet to try to find…

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Guest Post – Dear Cancer Part 6

Guest Post – Dear Cancer Part 6

Dr Kate Granger writes with such simplicity yet such depth, her words move me to tears.

What does she ask for?

A few more weeks of being a good doctor, working in the NHS, serving her patients, doing the job that she loves…..


Dear Cancer,

Well, this was never a letter I expected to write… 4 years we’ve shared this curious relationship of ours. 4 years. Who’d have thought it?

Last time I wrote I was incredibly frightened. You had woken up just before Christmas and caused no end of issues. I’m not sure if I was more fearful of the impact of you on my creaking body or the impact further chemotherapy and the associated unrelenting infections were going to have on me.

I struggled so much with the poisoning this time, not just physically, but mentally too. It was almost as if every little essence of Kate was trickling away with each infusion. I don’t mind admitting to you how down I was, especially when I decided enough was enough on chemo front. I didn’t want to work. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I guess I just felt…

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