{Not} Consumed

Because of the Lord’s great love for us we are not consumed, for his mercies never fail. They are new every morning. Great is thy faithfulness.

Lamentation 3:22-23

In the last 24 hours, I have read of three families who suffered deep and painful losses.

As I pray over these families who are in the darkest days, with the fresh open wounds of suffering, my heart goes back to “that awful week” which is how I refer to the days following Justin’s passing. Even having lived through that week, I only know my perspective; the grief of a wife mourning a husband, parents mourning a son, children mourning a daddy are still unimaginable to me. But I’m confident that God’s promises stand true no matter the perspective, and I am praying for the truth of these promises to surround these families in these dark days.

Here are some words I wrote after reflecting on that week.


Lamentation is an expression of sorrow, mourning, or regret.  It is also the book of the Old Testament that I was reading in that August day when we heard the news of Justin’s tragic passing.  My journals leading up to that had been a bit sparse, but two days earlier I had copied down Lamentation 3:22-23 and even taken a picture of this scripture in my bible.  “Because of the Lord’s great love for us, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning.  Great is thy faithfulness.”  As we drove up I-95 into the epicenter of lamentation, this was  the picture I saw there just a few photos back in my camera roll. 

No single word can describe that week for me – those few days between the news and the service.  The house was full with a steady stream of loved ones coming and going.  Kind neighbors were bringing food, children were running around, arrangements were being made.  Every bit of air in the house was heavy with shock, disbelief, and brokenheartedness . I had an acute awareness of Brooke, barely leaving her side.  When I stepped into the house I fully took on the role of sister, temporarily pushing aside Mom, Wife, Daughter, Sister-in-law.  It was all about Brooke in those days.  The horrifying list of things that had to be done and impossible decisions that had to be made created a frantic feeling. We tried as gently as possible to seek Brooke’s wishes, dreading the fresh wave of grief each question would bring. I clearly recall walking through the mostly-empty Belk one of those days thinking how wrong it was that I had to search for funeral outfits in the children’s department. In the evenings, when Brooke retreated to her room and most of the family left, we shifted focus to the children.  There was this need to be close to one another so all of the kids made pallets on the floor so the carpet was covered with a tangle of blankets, pillows, and bodies.  It was a strange contrast –a slumber party in a house of sorrows.  Jon and I rotated through the kids, lying with them one by one.  And finally, when the house was quiet, Jon and I fell into bed and he held me as I wept and wept. No single word can describe how I felt, weeping in bed those few nights, but the closest word I can find is consumed.  

After a fitful night’s sleep, twilight arrived and as I lie there in the quiet house the first rays of the morning sun give light to see a picture on the wall of this yellow room where Jon and I were sleeping.  Beautiful hand lettering delivered a different version of a very familiar promise: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His Mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning.  Great is your faithfulness” ~ Lamentations 3:22-23.   From the rising of the sun, God sent his comfort to me – “dear child, you are NOT consumed.  I am faithful and full of mercy.” 

Eighteen months later after Brooke’s passing, we lamented again, but God had proven to me the truth of his promises. Grief was deep and there was still much weeping, but that week I did not feel consumed.  As we remembered Brooke’s legacy at her service, I sang these promises with confidence along with a sanctuary full of voices: “Great is thy Faithfulness, oh God our Father;…. Morning by morning new mercies I see.”   Words that Brooke loved and believed with her whole heart, and words that were made more beautiful after carrying us through the darkest of nights.

Brooke Arnold Turner: 2/27/80 – 2/2/20

No photo description available.

Today this precious woman of God – my sister Brooke – went to join Justin in her eternal home. She has joyfully fixed her eyes on Jesus through years of grieving and suffering, and now there is a celebration in heaven as she is welcomed into the presence of the Lord.

Brooke, the Lord placed “Nearness” on your heart as your word of the year. Psalm 16:11 says “You make known to me the path of life, in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

You are near to Jesus now… in his arms, enjoying his pleasures forevermore.

Brooke’s Cancer Journey post from August 24, 2018

“Chemo, Cold Capping, and Other Adventures”
(A long update, grab a cup of coffee!)

In early August I started Ixempra, an infusion chemo for Stage IV breast cancer. My prior treatment of oral chemo, Xeloda, that I was on For six months was no longer as effective as seen on my PET scan in July. Since 2015 this is my third time on infusion chemo. Yesterday was my second cycle, and I’m pleased to say that Ixempra is going really well. The side effects are mostly fatigue, muscle/bone pain, some nausea. My infusion is every 3 weeks. It works out that I have usually one week of feeling sick, and two of feeling pretty well. Even the “sick” week, God has allowed me to fulfill my mommy tasks, make it to church and work and function pretty well. I attribute this to God’s grace, but also many people who love our family so well and help out in big and small ways (our parents, close friends, our church Body). We are grateful to be surrounded by people who love us very well.

I frequently get asked when the end date of this chemo is. The answer is tough- I don’t know. In this stage of the disease the plan is not as clear as earlier stage cancer when I had a clear beginning and end point of treatment. We will take decisions one scan at a time. I completely trust my medical team and feel confident in their care.

My next PET scan is scheduled in Houston on October 18, and I will meet with my MD Anderson oncologist- Dr Layman- with results October 19. In the meantime I’ll have a CT scan here in Columbia September 7.

This cycle of infusion chemo, we’ve been led to try out a newly FDA approved treatment called “cold capping” which reduces the chance of chemo hair loss by freezing the scalp during the infusion, restricting scalp capillaries, preventing the chemo to get to the hair follicles. I had heard of this before but never seriously considered it until I met women at MD Anderson last summer from around the world who had kept most of their hair during chemo. The primary reason i was compelled to explore this was for the sake of my children. They are very negatively impacted by my hair loss. I’ve completely lost my hair twice and it is a constant reminder to them that Mommy is sick. Especially Samuel, my tender hearted boy, is affected with anxiety and worry when I don’t have hair. The treatment is done with a machine called “Digni-Cap” which is a tight cap that pulses below freezing water over the scalp during the infusion. It’s painful for 30 minutes and then my scalp goes numb and it’s just more irritating than anything. If it works it will be worth it and I look forward to getting the word out about this cutting edge opportunity that few people know about. So far I haven’t had any hair loss, but most hair releases after 2nd treatment usually so the next three weeks will determine if it is working. If not, I’ll be disappointed but I trust God will help us navigate that with the children again as we have in the past.

As far as other adventures, I’m so grateful that the Lord allowed me to feel very good all summer, making special memories with my children. We bookended our summer with a vacation to Litchfield Beach thanks to some very generous people, and a family trip to NYC- showing my children the city I love to much (this was a dream trip I’d looked forward to for so long). Making memories is very important to us in these days and we are grateful for opportunities like this.

This children are settled into school and thriving at their new school, Ben Lippen, making new friends and I’ve enjoyed attending chapel with them and getting to know and pray with other moms with children attending school at this very special place. There are many reasons for the school change, but none because we were unhappy at all in their previous magnet school, CFK. That school and the family loved us so well the three years we were there and established a solid foundation and love of learning for Sam, Selah and Hannah.

Thank you for your continued prayers for me and our family. We are grateful beyond what words can express! (… and cheers to you for making it to the end of this long update!)

Brooke Turner Cancer Journey 12/19/17 Post

Dear friends,

I’ve been intentionally quiet on my blog the last three months. Life has been overflowing with the beautifully regular bits of life, and each spare moment I’ve chosen to press into those closest to my heart.

I’ve been writing just as much as ever, but instead of my blog, the medium has been private journals the world may ever see….And that’s ok. What I’m learning is that quite often the deepest, richest work of the Lord is done in the quiet places that the world will never see. It’s in these dark places that the Lord deepens our roots of faith- and it’s this deep root system which allows us to withstand the storms of this life, and not topple over! The prayer I pray most over myself and my family comes from Isaiah 61:3b- that we would be deeply rooted oaks of righteousness for the display of God’s glory. We cannot be sturdy oaks without deep roots. And roots grow in the dark, unseen places.

A short update:

On September 15 I experienced one of the most joy filled moments of my life as we surprised the children with my homecoming one day earlier than they expected. Remembering the squeals and happy tears in the carpool line after school when they saw Mommy in the van at pickup can still bring tears to my eyes!

I’m feeling SO GOOD, exercising more and fueling my body with {mostly} healthy food!

The last three months have been overflowing with family life, children’s activities, ministry work, catching up with friends and family, and lots of cherishing each day!

How you can join with us in prayer:

As I write this I sit in a waiting room at MD Anderson. Today Justin and I are back in Houston for routine follow up visits and scans. We have been so grateful for your prayers along this journey!

We would appreciate so much if you could pray specifically for us over the next couple of days while we are in Houston.

Please pray:

*for all to go smoothly with the PET scan on 12/19 at 3:45pm, that doctors are able to read the images clearly

*pray for my follow up with Dr Layman on 12/20 at 11:30 where I will get results from the PET scan. Please pray BOLDLY for “NED” – “no evidence of disease!!!”

*pray for a followup with surgeon Dr Ross on 12/22 at 3:45 and that he is pleased with healing from my surgery

*Praise the Lord for my mom and mother-in-love who are watching the children.

Thank you for praying for us!! I will keep you posted as I hear results!

A time to pause and reflect:

The word Selah in Hebrew means “pause and reflect”.

Each year when December rolls around I get reflective. I intentionally STOP and consider God’s faithfulness over the prior year. This year I’ve been especially reflective, because it was a year ago that doctors told us that the cancer had returned and that it was stage IV. Here are a few words I wrote on 12/8/17. I’m posting here so you can hear how God is moving in my heart! He is faithful!

(Written 12/8/17)

A year ago I wrote the words to Psalm 18 in my journal. I woke very early that morning; my mind and heart were a humbled knot of despair and hope and uncertainty and faith. The day prior, 12/7/16, I heard the dreaded three words “You have cancer”. I was seven months out of treatment from my first cancer diagnosis, my hair was finally to my shoulders again, I was starting to run again, I had started to envision a life without the cloud of cancer. I thought I had crossed the finish line of the most difficult marathon I’d ever run, And then at once I was set back on the starting line again. This second marathon I was told would be a much tougher race- the diagnosis so serious that my Columbia physicians suggested I be seen elsewhere. On December 8, 2016 I wondered how would I get through this?

Today, a year later, I am here to raise my Ebenezer and say “here by Thy great help I’ve come”. In the Old Testament an Ebenezer is a “stone of help”. We see this in 1 Samuel 7:12 after God helped the Israelites defeat the mighty Philistines. Samuel “took a stone and set it up… and called its name Ebenezer; for he said “till now the Lord has helped us”

When I reflect on the last year and the deep, rich work the Lord has done in and through my life, the only answer to how I made it through is by the Lord’s help. Please do not look at me and see strength or faith. I pray you see the strong and faithful God. Friends it is ALL HIM, and He gets the glory.

Today I went on a field trip with Samuel and Selah. I’m enjoying simple joys like drinking coffee in a room lit only by the white lights of the Christmas tree and the fire. A year later, I’m still here and proclaiming God’s faithfulness in all things.

Your prayers have meant the world to me. I’m sitting in joy, and the faithfulness of my great God who never lets me go.

Thank you for being on the journey with us. I pray that you sense the peace of Emmanuel, (God with us) as we do.

With gratitude and joy,

Another Divine Adventure


I’ve always loved an adventure; especially adventures while traveling.  Justin and I were married five years before we had children, and any extra time and money we mostly used for to see new places; experience new things.

As a child, my parents took my sister and me on many incredible trips, even at young ages.  We were not wealthy, but instead of getting new furniture or driving the nicest cars, my parents chose to use anything extra to show us that this world was bigger than Columbia, SC.   I am grateful for these opportunities, and think on the memories with a smile.  Every trip was an adventure, although very well planned by my “expert planner” dad, there were unexpected twists and turns that took us by surprise.

Adventure is defined by Merriam-Webster as: “an exciting or remarkable experience, or an undertaking usually involving unknown risks”.  As we traveled together as a family, without fail we would experience unexpected thrills; unexpected frustrations, surprising joys and difficulties.  Missing trains, getting lost, communicating in a foreign land~ all part of the adventure, unplanned; and although sometimes frustrating in the moment, a source of laughter, memories, and bonding among our family.

As I’ve grown and matured in my faith, since 2006 God has taken me on several divine adventures, including following a call to walk away from a successful corporate career to start my own business, infertility, three children under two, calling me into a ministry position that I felt inadequate for, and breast cancer.  It’s been an adventurous decade, not without difficulty, but full of joy.

The most recent divine adventure God led me on was breast cancer.  In April 2015, I was diagnosed at the age of 35 with an aggressive form of breast cancer  (Her2+). {Read about my cancer journey here.}  The first several weeks were very overwhelming, as I processed the shocking news, and was immediately thrown into a tail-spin of activity with scans and doctor’s appointments.

In the midst of this tornado of activity, I remember one day of quiet retreat.  A precious sister-in-Christ whom I had connected with at a Christian conference a couple  years prior, and a two time breast cancer survivor invited me over for lunch at her lovely home.   Her back porch a haven in the middle of the storm.

We shared lunch as she shared about HER divine adventure through the valley of breast cancer…..twice.  As I was leaving, she placed a journal in my hands, with words from her heart and scripture.    In the journal she wrote “You are embarking on a “divine adventure with the Lord that will forever change you in such wonderful ways…..enjoy Him on this trip of a lifetime!”    I was encouraged to see a woman who walked through breast cancer while maintaining JOY.  I knew I wanted to walk in her lovely footprints.

I learned last week that God will be taking me on another divine adventure.

Although recent scans and mammograms were completely clear (as recent as August),  I have been diagnosed with a new type of cancer: triple negative inflammatory breast cancer (IBC).   IBC is very rare – only representing 2-4% of breast cancers diagnosed each year.

Our family has been processing this shocking news, and clinging tightly to one another.   We are moving in the direction of an appointment at MD Anderson, home of the first (maybe only?) IBC Specialty Clinic.    There are more questions than answers at this point in time.

It’s no accident that I’ve been studying the book of Romans in depth this Fall.

Romans 5:1-5 “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,  and endurance produces character, and character produces hope  and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

This is where my heart is in these moments:

I have peace WITH God through Jesus Christ, and I have the peace OF God which passes all understanding.   I’m standing right now ONLY because of His grace in which I stand.  And somehow, in a way I do not understand, I do “rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.”  I have joy.

In my times of prayer, I have questioned- “Lord am I deluding myself? How is this possible, in these moments?  What is this that I’m feeling?” He speaks to me, “my daughter, this is JOY; the purest joy because it is not circumstantial.”

Friends that is ONLY through my relationship with God through Jesus Christ, who came to earth as a baby born to die.  For ME; for YOU.

Cancer is EVIL.  I do not want to gloss over the fact that there have been many, many tears in processing this news.  I want to be sensitive to everyone whose lives have been tragically intersected with this terrible disease.  Nearly everyone loves someone who has or has had cancer.  Cancer is not of God, but I know my God is big enough to use Cancer for His purposes.

That’s where, once more, I am placing my Hope.  My eyes of faith see an unseen story of grace woven through my life, through these divine adventures.

Christmas reminds me that I have the best Shepherd ~ the perfect guide who will both navigate and provide for every twist and turn ahead.  Jesus put on human flesh so that He could walk among us.  He was a baby born to die; living poured out among the people who despised Him, ultimately to the point of death.  He died so that I may be reconciled to God the Father.  He promises throughout His Word that He will never leave nor forsake me.

There will be many more words from me, as He has once more called me, for whatever reason, to walk this journey through words.  Some of these words I will share with you, some will remain private, forever between me and my Guide.

I am no longer naive to believe that this journey will be easy.  Not all days will be like today, where I feel enveloped in a cocoon of grace.   I’ve been through this once before, and I remember some very dark days.  More than ever, I am desperate for your prayers.  Thank you, in advance, for lifting me before the Father.  

If you feel so led, please share my story with anyone in your life who prays.  I believe God wants to grow us all in our prayer life through this trial.   If He can use cancer in that way in my life and the lives of those who read this blog, I say “Yes Lord”.

How to pray:
~For God’s miraculous healing of my body
~Wisdom, clarity, open doors for where to be treated; if it be God’s will that we would get an appointment at MD Anderson very soon
~If I am assigned to a new oncologist, that he/she would be a Christian; who seeks and knows God and prays with me
~for my PET scan today at 11am~pray the cancer has not spread to other organs
~Hope, Peace, & Joy in the midst for our family as we continue to process this news
~To glorify God through this trial
~praying for people to come to know Jesus through this; beauty from ashes


I’m well loved, by my family, church family, friends, co-workers, and blog readers who so faithfully journeyed with me during my first cancer adventure.  I am grateful beyond words for the love and support we are already experiencing on this second divine adventure through the valley of breast cancer.

I’m packing up for this trip of a lifetime.  I pray that I can steward this journey well.




Please pray for the Eddings Family


I was so thankful I felt well enough to worship with my family today.

Shortly before I left for church, I received a text from my friend Courtney Tipping that another mutual friend, Brook Smoak’s brother & sister in law had gotten in a terrible car accident over the weekend. The brother and sis in law were banged up but ok, but unfortunately they tragically lost their 2 year old son.

“Hadley and Gentry?!?!” I wrote back?

Courtney didn’t know I knew her, but I grew up going to church with Hadley’s family, and got to know sweet Hadley as we sang in choir together at Spring Valley Baptist.  I remember when Hadley met Gentry (Brook’s brother) and they fell in love.

Hadley was 8 months pregnant and as a result of the accident had an emergency c-section to deliver baby Reed.  As of Sunday night, baby Reed is still in very critical condition.



Please pray for the Eddings family


I’m posting here because I’m begging all of you prayer warriors to lift this family up.  The depths of their suffering is unimaginable to me.  There are no words.  Please pray for Hadley & Gentry, and the entire Eddings and Reed families as they mourn the loss of little Dobbs.  Please pray for baby Reed and that God would touch his tiny body in a special way.

News story

I was thankful to make it to worship today with my family.  Tears were streaming through most of the worship, as each song touched my heart so deeply.

As I mentioned in my last post, this is a broken world we live in.  So much hurt. So much pain.

Our ONLY Hope is JESUS.  I’m so thankful this broken world is not all that there is.

I’m going to post one of the songs I worshipped to this morning.  This sums up where my Hope is. It’s where Gentry & Hadley’s hope is.   Make sure to watch the entire video…through the spoken word part that begins around minute 6:50.  This is who Jesus is to me, and who I pray He is to you.


If you cannot see the video in the browser click here for the video: Forever; Kari Jobe