Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Today is day 6. Can it really only be 6 days since we heard the news? It seems like this week has been more like a month. Those first hours alone felt like days. And yet I can still hear Doug's voice on the phone saying, "Jamie, Nathan didn't make it." I can still feel myself shaking afterwards and thinking, no, no, no, no - this just can't be...

How can life change in an instant?

Erik and I are exhausted - physically and emotionally. Planning a funeral is draining. And we want it to be really good, so that makes it even more draining. On Monday morning I somehow ended up being the only one in the house (which is shared with Erik's parents) and it was overwhelming - trying to manage 2 phones ringing off the hook, answer the constant flow of people at the door, get the house in order - all while caring for two needy children. After that morning I knew I couldn't do it without some help. Thanks Christina & Lori for being here on Tuesday. I'm amazed at how the kids are handling everything and so thankful that Micah is not being shy of all these new people.

There's a lot of family here now and many more friends and family on the way. It's strange how you can be crying one minute and laughing and telling stories the next. Sometimes I feel like Nathan's just away somewhere and that he'll be back later. I think it's going to sink in tomorrow night when we see him at the viewing. Rosanna said it best though right after we picked out the casket - she said, "I'm thankful I just have to find a place to put his body and not his soul." So true. It isn't Nathan in that casket. He's already busy worshiping in eternity.

I'm going to sing at the funeral. Is that crazy? Rosanna's brother is leading worship and Erik jumped at the chance to play drums. When they mentioned today that I should sing, I felt honored and excited to be up there. It will be good, I think, but really hard.

I talked to Elissa for the first time on the phone tonight. She is being so brave right now with all the surgeries still ahead of her in the next weeks and probably months. She told me tonight that her body is so beat up. More than ever this week I understand that our bodies aren't really our homes. Just thinking of Nathan's death - I know that HE isn't dead. His body was just the place where Nathan lived while he was on earth. And with Elissa - her broken and battered body is completely out of her control. How could I think we were invincible? Somehow I did.

Tonight I had a sliver in my finger. A really painful one. Erik offered to dig it out for me and it was horrible. But I felt so ashamed that I would complain and cry over such a small pain. As Erik was digging away I just closed my eyes and thought of two girls who are not only sisters but best friends - one who is in physical pain on a hospital bed far away and one who's heart is breaking with no end in sight. It sure puts life into perspective.

The funeral is going to be powerful. God is already doing amazing things through Nathan's death. There are so many stories I could share. The ministry accomplished in one man's entire life seems to be equal to what has been accomplished already through one man's death.

Thanks again for all your support and prayers and acts of kindness. Blessings on all of you...


Anonymous said...

jamie - i dont think there are any adequate words in the english language for times like these. so i offer my simple prayers to the One that understands the language barrier, so that He can speak directly and eloquently to each of you. ill be praying for you and your family.

Ej said...

Sending you our love and prayers,



Yvonne&Eric said...

Jamie - I am thinking of you and Erik often. I know the brothers were close from things said at Nate and Rosanna's wedding and through posts and comments made on various blogs. I don't even really know what to pray anymore so my prayer is that you have the strength to endure this week and the weeks. I pray that Elissa has a speedy recovery so her and Caleb can come home to be with your family. God bless you

Janelle said...

through tons of tears from hearing your side of the story...and the constant ache of wanting to be there for you...the worry that never goes away for Rosanna...and thinking about Micah who's probably still waiting for Uncle Nate to come home...
i realized today how special you & Erik are to me because of how much i'm hurting for you. i've never felt like this before.
i love you, i love you, i love you.

Amber said...

Jamie, your family has been on my mind constanty this past week. It's crazy how I didn't even know Nathan, except through your blog, and how I just can't believe this has happened. Then I think of how his FAMILY and FRIENDS must be feeling and I can only pray harder.

Hailey and I have been praying especially for Micah at her bedtime. How do you explain to a two year old what has happened to thier uncle? Why everyone is so sad? Why he won't be able to play ad be goofy with his uncle again on this earth? I've been reading your archives and I've seen the pictures of Micah & his uncle Nathan under the Christmas tree & at the jobsite etc. They had a special bond for sure. I'm praying for you, especially in regards to Micah & Keziah. That God will give you strength and wisdom to anwer the tough questions.

Sending you a big hug today.

Lexi said...

I will be thinking and praying hard for your family tomorrow! It will be so encouraging to have yourselves surrounded by friends and family!
I think it is GREAT that you are singing on the worship team. You will have Nathan standing right beside you! Harmonizing!
"We can do everything through Him who gives us strength"
"Be strong and courageous"

Anonymous said...

Jamie- Not quite sure what to write to let you know how loved you all are and how people all over this WORLD are lifting you and your family up to our Daddy this week! I have been thinking of a way I could help you out- I can't imagine dealing with all of this let alone having the 24/7 job of being mommy. Your heart and emotions must be worn so thin. I am only a drive away. Can I come up and take your kids off your hands for a morning or something? Let me know if you need a break next week or the following week. I'd love to drive up and help you out. TAKE ME UP on this offer!!!!! God bless you.

Erin and Rob said...

James, thankyou for being so vulnerable and sharing all you've been going through at such a hard time - your words are such a profound testimony - they always point back to the Father. I'll continue to cover you in prayer tomorrow as you celebrate Nathan's life and in the months to come as you continue to grieve. I'm glad to hear you're singing. It will be beautiful.

Wenona said...

Your family has been on my heart a lot these past few days. I find is so amazing how something like a blog can bring so many people together and pray for people we don't even know! The other night I was up till 2 in the morning and I had a burden to pray for your family. I think God is soooo amazing that way.

Rick & Sandy said...

The celebration of Nathan's life tomorrow will be such a testimony of His God.

This morning as I was listening to Praise 106.5; the song "I can only imagine..." was broadcast; the first time I heard it sung was at an Alderbrook Easter service by Nathan. I remember noticing him singing it from his heart, today...he doesn't imagine any more he's "standing in His presence". "What a day that will be when MY Jesus I shall see..." and each of joins our loved ones that have gone on ahead of us to sing "HALLELUJAH"!!

I'll be cheering you on as you share "your song" tomorrow.

May the Lord bless you, and keep you and your family now and forever.

With love...the Friesen's

Cyndy said...

I'm so proud of you for agreeing to get up there and sing your heart out tomorrow. Yes, it will be hard, but I also believe that Nate will be standing right beside you, belting it out to his Heavenly Father right along with you.

I pray that you feel an overwhelming sense of peace and love tomorrow. I have a feeling it's going to be an amazing day. God has used Nate's life and now death to change people in a huge way.

I have never felt this way before and I thank you for your honesty and vulnerability on your blog. It has served as a wake up call and a reminder that we are all here only for a short time. I think you said it so well - our bodies are only shells. They are not our own. God is so powerful and He is in total control.

Love and prayers to you and Erik and your kids. Warren and I wish we could be there, but please know that we are praying for you constantly. Only time will heal.

Cyndy Toews

Lori said...

Jamie, that was so beautifully written, such an encouragement. Anytime you need me to look after the kids I'm you guys...


gkder said...

Jamie, we awill be pryaing for you tomorrow, that God would give you peace and calmness, and joy as you sing. It won't be easy, but Jesus is your strength. He is yur hope. How I wish I could be there. I will also pray for you, as you support your 2 sisters there. Jamie, we love you. mom

Jacqueline said...


May you continue to find the strengh you need in Jesus, I know the work load of a Mother of Two active childern, but combined with everything else you have to deal with, I will pray that God continues to give you the strength to to have some amount of routine for Micah and Keziah. You are a wonderful wife and mother. May you continue to be a pillar of strength for your family.

Praying for you tons ( and your family) Jacqueline

kelly said...

Thanks for sharing so openly; it helps us pray very specifically for you and your family.
I wish there was some way we could take part of the pain and carry it for humans we can't, so we pray that God will carry you in your pain.
I'm also proud of you for singing tomorrow, and for Erik playing drums. I look forward to joining beside you tomorrow to celebrate Nate's life.

Karen said...

The things you described in this post brought tears to my eyes. Truly, has it only been six days? How have any of you made it through?? Only by the grace of Jesus. As you prepare to celebrate Nathan's life tomorrow, I ask that God would release all of your from the physical and emotional exhaustion, and that healing would begin. And, especially for you, Jamie, that the Lord would give you the strength and everything else you need to be an amazing support and listening ear to your hurting husband, to your grief-stricken in-laws and to your wounded and weary sisters-in-law. And, that your patience would not wear thin for your two precious children. Thinking of you so much, Karen

Jon & Bonnie said...

Oh Jamie...
Thank-you for your words and total honesty. I have felt numb as well. My emotions have been like a tidal wave. Surging HARD at one moment and subsiding momentarily. But it still feels like too much and that makes me hurt more because I know your grief is even deeper. We haven't stopped praying for you guys and won't stop. I have to admit that there is an anticipation for the funeral tomorrow--just knowing we can celebrate the INCREDIBLE man that Nate was, and at the same time, I am dreading the pain that I know it will bring again.

I couldn't even go to work at the beginning of the week. It was just too much to handle but I am here now and realizing that God is using Nate's life even in so many lives that he never even met. Yesterday afternoon, I got talking with my boss about Nate and the terrible loss we all feel. She was so touched by the stories I shared of him and how he lived so passionately for the Lord that she actually started to cry. She lost her husband at a really young age and felt Rosanna's pain. But what was more, was her tears when I shared about the way he shared his faith so openly. I told her about his deep desire to bring people to know God relationally and she just teared up to the point of having to get a kleenex. (she isn't a Christian to my knowledge) And I thought to myself, wow God, you may touch her life through Nate even though they've never met. That brought me comfort, even though comfort seems far from me right now.

Anyway...just wanted you to know how special you are and that you are deep within my prayers and thoughts. I love you and the whole family-- always have. And I love Rosanna in a big way even though we don't really know each other. I'll be praying for strength as you sing tomorrow.
Blessings Jamie to you & Erik and the whole family.

Leanne said...

As I sit here weeping (again), reading your heart breaking words, I am in such admiration of your courage, your strength, your willingness to serve. There will be so many of us praying at the funeral tomorrow, and I'll be praying specifically for you as you're singing...I'm sure it will be amazing.
I am thinking about all of you and praying constantly...
Thank you for your willingness to share and to be vunerable.

Tim and Kelsie-Lynn said...

Jamie the words escape me when ever I try to comment but I want you to know that I will be praying for you and the family, especially Rosanna, tomorrow. You have never been far from my thoughs this week. My prayer is that God will be carrying you through this time and providing you with the strenght you need to get through every day.
Your post today was an encouragement to me that we have the assurance that one day we will see Nate again. So thank you for sharing. I desperately wish I could be there tomorrow but even though we can't we will be uplifting you all day in prayer. And we will keep praying in the days and weeks to come. Thinking of you often.

Trev & Rebekah said...

Thanks for sharing and for being honest with what's going on in your mind these days. I'm so proud of you that you're going to sing. God's gifted you with a beautiful voice and i'm sure Nathan will smile down on you as you two sing and play drums. Whenever I think of drums now I think of Micah playing drums :)

How did it go explaining everything to Micah?

Thanks for the great reminder that we are eternal creatures and that this is but a temporary place for us.

I know I've done a lot of thinking about why I'm here on this earth. Ultimately we're here to bring glory to God. And that is exactly what Nathan did.

We're sorry we won't be able to make it to the funeral. Please know that we will be praying for you and you and your family have and will continue to be in our thoughts throughout our days.

Can't wait to hear stories about how God was glorified at the funeral and how he has used Nathan's death to draw many closer to him.

I love you.


erin said...

we love you guys. praying always. . we are so thankful at least Joel can go, I wish we all could.

Cheri said...

James: We will definitely be praying for you all tomorrow. You guys are very blessed to have such an amazing family. I can hear the love you have for each other in your words and am so encouraged and amazed at how you are all handling this. God will get you through and I have a deep down feeling that the funeral will be such an amazing witness and celebration of Nate's life and of the Lord!! I will pray for strength for you all as you participate in the worship for the funeral and go through the hardship of saying another "see you later" as you will see him again in heaven some day. I don't know Rosanna but she seems like an amazing woman! Her comment on only haveing to find a place for his body is so true and profound. Please let her know she has also touched others by her strength and godly attitude through this difficult time. You all have. Take care and we'll be praying for you all tomorrow. Love you...

Summer said...

that is so great that you will be able to sing. You are such an incredible women.

jupo said...

i wanted to leave you a comment as soon as i heard, but all the words i tried to write just sounded empty and lame. but i want you to know that i'm praying for you guys, for your family, and especially for rosanna. i just can't imagine.

Michelle said...

Wow Jamie...what an amazing post. God has blessed you with words and feelings that I can't even express. I'm sure the funeral will be amazing...full of tears, laughter, praise and glory. You, Erik and the kids and the rest of the family will be in my prayers tomorrow and for many days to come as you begine to "try" and heal. Even though we've never met, I love you as a sister in Christ and a blogger friend!

Jeff and Jocelyn said...

Jamie you have captured my thoughts completely, especially about the part of Nathan just being away.
I know you have been amazing for Rosanna and just keeping everthing together.
continue to take care, we are thinking about you

Cordella said...

My thoughts and prayers have been continually with your family this past week. I have been struck by our own fragility and making every moment count. To pursue life and to consider the legacy that we all leave behind. Nathan's legacy is a beautiful testimony of God, reminding me that it is not how, or even when, we die that counts, but rather how we lived. Thank you for being vulnerable, honest and sharing your life with others. I truly believe that your openness is helping others grieve and consider their own lives. I am praying for you.

Erin said...

What a truly amazing post...thank you for your honesty through your brokenness. I have had a very heavy heart for all of your family this week, and I didnt even know Nathan minus what I had read on your blog. ITs amazing in one sense to think that Nathan is worshiping with God in Heaven!!! In another sense it is truly heart wrenching for those of you left behind, I'm sure. I am praying for you all, and I hope that today you feel God's arms around your family.

kristythiessen said...

You and your family did an amazing job at Nate's service today. What courage it took to to be up there and make it so personal, you also have a very beautiful voice. Nate was an inspiration to all and everyone who was there today had to have left with the feeling of wanting to be a better person and live a life totally devoted to God. Praying for you and your family in the days to come.

Charlotte said...

Jamie, thanks for singing today. Tim and I were talking about how you have such a beautiful Tim said "it's STUNNING!!!" The service was beautiful! I felt like all the space was filled with God's presence and peace and that the angels were going crazy praising God with us :)
I love you

Leanne said...

I wanted to say hello to you today and tell you how beautiful and heart wrenching and victorious the service was, how lovely your voice is...but as you said on my blog, too many people, not the right time...we are still crying, still praying. Perhaps one day we'll be able to meet face to face and I can tell you that in person.

Evonne said...

Hey jamie
i know that we don't really know each other but i am sorry about what happened to your brother-in-law and i am praying for you and your family blessings little toewsies.

Anonymous said...

Dear Jamie,
Your mom called me the day that Nathan died. I thought that I met him once, but then..I also met him when you were touring through Manitoba a few years back. I started praying right away and called the rest of my siblings.
All you Toews receeived special gifts from the Holy Spirit., From the comments I've read, that you also sang a beautiful song and your brother-in-laws probably did like wise. Life is very short and we never know when our time is up, but we can pray for loved ones that don't know the Lord. They can not understand until their eyes are spiritually opened.
I pray for comfort in this time of separation from Nathan, but it will only be for a "short" time till you will meet again in that mansion that God is preparing for us. Then there will be no tears or sadness only joy and peace in Jesus' presence.
I love you guys. Love and prayers,
Auntie Bertha

Bertha said...

Dear Erik and Jamie,
I am so very sorry at the loss of your brother, Nathan.
Every one of your friends have expressed all the words that I would like to say. I pray for comfort and ..."the peace of God, which transcends all under standing, will guard your hearts and your minds
in Christ Jesus." Phill 4: 6-7

I am so glad that Hilda, Dennis and I were blessed to hear your family " ministry in song" group when you stopped off in Winnipeg , on your cross Canada Tour. The Holy Spirit enriched you, Jamie, and the Toews family, with sweet music and song.
I will keep praying for all of you. In the first month or so you will have every one around you but I'm praying for the time when you are alone with your kids and an over whelming sadness comes upon you and the Holy Spirit whispers to you that he will carry you if you or Erik falter.
"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble" Psalm 46:1
Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." Psalm 90:12
Love and prayers,
Auntie Bertha