Sunday, November 15, 2015

"Turn Right"

There is a road I used to travel that stretches to the Northeast just past Monument hill. Turn right on county line road then take the first left.  Past the CDOT facility and into the countryside - turn left there.... I'm sure it has a name but I never bothered to learn it.  I discovered it on one of the many trips to the hospital to be with my son Jacob.  Taken it's full length and with a couple of turns, the road will take you through an area of Colorado seldom traveled: beautiful limestone mesas, gamble oak forests, prairie grasses riddled with splashes of wildflowers in the right season.

I've always been one to wander, to see what is around the next corner.   The first time I took the road I discovered that with a couple of turns I could get to Jacob by this alternative route.  After all, by then I had every milepost of I 25 memorized, the scenery was stale -and it took me to a place I hated to go - too quickly.  The road became a welcome escape.

It quickly became my preferred route. Rolling prairie, dissected by high mesas mostly ranch land, big wide open skies -Colorado blue - those of you that know that color love it like I do.  The drive was slower on the gravel road, providing me with time to think, to prepare myself to be with my son who was very, very sick.  I drove this road almost daily until the end.
Left Turn:  On the way to Denver Childrens

However beautiful, my awe of creation always gave way on the first half of the road to the crushed soul of a Father who daily watched his son battle Leukemia.  Every day I went through the same gauntlet of thoughts and emotions.  I always began with anger:  "WHY!? - why this suffering from a boy who has already endured so much!?  Jesus - he was abandoned three times already!  Burned on the back by some jerk's cigarette because Jacob inconvenienced him.  And now he finds a family who loves him and you let him get sick?!  - I don't get it".  Every time I traveled that road it began in what Blackaby calls "the crisis of belief"  - did I believe God is who he says he is?  Did I believe he is good?

But always as I drove further, Jesus met me and he reminded me that he is....more than good...more than sufficient incredibly adept and able to take Jacob and me through this fire, this valley.  He comforted me on that road, he met me there, he waited on me there, like a hitch hiker who got in my car and told me "tell me your sorrows" (read C.S. Lewis).  And I did. As he listend to me intently on each trip, he took in all of my yelling at him, all of my fear, all of my anger, all of my despair and he made it work backwards.  The last bit of the road always resulted in my being strengthened and even buoyed to face another night at the hospital.  I always wound up worshiping.

Each evening I would arrive at the hospital to watch Jacob's smile light up the room as I entered.  I watched how Jesus used him to change the lives of the doctors and nurses -to give them hope, encouragement and yes the King's blessing.  I won't fully understand the amount of work my son did in peoples lives through his battle with Leukemia.  Maybe I don't have to fully understand - I just have to know that it was big.  It was powerful.  It was a blow struck on the enemy  by a 15 year old Filipino boy that left a mark.  This understanding is enough for me.

Right Turn: Whatever is next
After Jacob's death, I drove the road a couple of times.  I'm always tempted to 'turn left' onto that road as I drive to Denver on business now.  A couple of weeks ago a meeting ended early.  I had time to go and drive the road again on my way home, you know,  just to remember.  So I set off and take the Greenland exit where I can 'turn left' to go and drive that road again. I exited off of the highway and slowed to a stop at the intersection...and I sat there contemplating that road and then I heard Jesus:

"Turn Right Marshall.  It's time for me to show you a different road."

Obviously, my big brother (Firstborn from the dead) thinks it's time for me to  go another way...  I will let you know what I find there. Know long as its him around the corner...I'm good.


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Treasure from an iPOD

Every now in then, usually exactly when we need it, we get a reminder that it has all been worth it.  Family, Adoption, Cancer, loss and healing.  This is not an easy road we've traveled and guess what - we like you are still on the grand expedition towards home and there is still hardship.  No surprise here: "In this world you will have trouble".  But Jesus in his absolute fondness for us let alone his mercy makes our burden lighter by giving us gifts.  Things to remember and things to look forward to.

We were on our way to San Diego a few weeks ago for  a break in a busy summer.  While on the plane our daughter Naomi asked mom and dad:  "Did I show you this video of me and Jacob?"  We replied  "No we haven't Naomi can you show it to us?"

It was such a gift.  We want to give it to you....

So we want you to "Take Heart"  He has overcome the world.

Marshall and Lorrie

Monday, May 18, 2015

Understanding the Fog of Ordinary

I've been struggling.  Since Jacob went home, I've been struggling.  Not so much with grief.  I have a good understanding of what Jesus did with Jacob's story and the lives that boy touched.  I get that.  I have been struggling with the ordinary.

Life goes on so they say and it does - back to the ordinary.  We've gone back to living at home after living at the hospital.  We've gone back to family dinners (we missed those so much) with one empty chair.  We've gone back to working in an office, paying bills and taxes.  We've gone back to the 'little setbacks'  like septic problems and our teenagers bumping into other vehicles and cringing as we watch our oldest son flap his wings in his attempt to leave the nest.  -Pretty ordinary.

I have been struggling with ordinary.  Tasteless. Mundane ordinary.  I have been wondering to myself  "why are you so discontent with ordinary?"  My goodness we just came through the fiercest storm with all of its challenges and all of its heartbreak.  "Why am I not content with ordinary!?"  I have been hating ordinary and it made no sense to me until...

In a recent sermon Steve Denton was talking about love in I Corinthians and what it really is.  But toward the end he said "...When we are with Jesus finally we will not need Faith and Hope because he will be the fulfillment of those words...Love will remain".  There - right there... is the source of my not being content with ordinary.

I posted many times during and right after the Jacob trial that I knew and felt the presence of Jesus "calling me out on the water".  He walked with us.  He spoke with us.  He was RIGHT THERE.  Then, it was over.  The trial, the melting of my heart in the crucible, was just like that -over.  The fog of the ordinary enveloped us once again.  It got hard to see him - like before the trial.

I now understand that my not being content is holy.  I saw Jesus every day while in the fire.  He was right there.  I saw him every day. Faith and Hope were fulfilled in the fire.  He was right there fulfilling it.  Do you know what that means?  I got another gift.  I got a preview in the fire of what it will be like when Faith and Hope are fulfilled for eternity.  No wonder the ordinary is not satisfying...I am not at all content with ordinary and I doubt I ever will be.

I'm not sure what the message is here for you because I am not sure how you can feel what I am feeling -this holy discontent.   I think maybe - we were not made for the ordinary and it took this fire we walked through to get it.  I hate the fog of the ordinary because I got used to seeing Jesus clearly each day Jacob was sick and for a few weeks after.  THAT is what I miss.  This fog of the ordinary does not satisfy - read Ecclesiastes. 

I miss Jacob.  We celebrate his birthday this Wednesday.  We're building a lego VW Bus.

Last off road trip with Jacob

Sunday, March 22, 2015


Every time we checked Jacob into the hospital for his treatment one of my routines was to hand the team on the seventh floor a coin I carried in my wallet.  This coin was and still is incredibly meaningful to me.  I received it as acknowledgement for a 'job well done' while supporting a very important operation when I was in uniform - for years carrying that coin reminded me that I had participated in something that mattered.  My background in the military taught me how to do many things - hard things and some very important things. but as far as healing Jacob I was powerless.

Having a child that sick - well it makes you feel powerless  no matter what you've done before -because now are the civilian you always felt sorry for.  I always knew that as far as my doing something to help, to heal Jacob - well I was out of my league.  The team at children's - they were the pros.  They were the A team.

Each time as Jacob settled into his room for another round of chemo, I walked around the corner to the nurses station and asked for a piece of paper and some scotch tape.  Each time I took the coin out of my wallet and taped it to the paper along with a note: "please take care of my son."  The nurse would then take that note with the coin attached and hang it on the wall in what I would call their team room.  During each stay there were times I saw these healers tap the coin on the wall as they walked if they were going to war - to remind themselves that what they did that day mattered.

The day Jacob died one of the last things I did was to go into that team room as the docs and nurses watched.  I took down the coin, and placed it back into my wallet and  I told them " you are still my team and I love you".  Then I took Naomi's hand and made the walk down the long hall that leads you off of the 7th floor.  As I walked, I  thought to myself - I want them to remember what a great team they are.  A couple of days later Jesus laid it on my heart to create a coin for our team of friends, prayer warriors, nurses and doctors -each of them loyal allies who were used by Jesus to carry us through this operation that was more significant than any operation in any earthly war.

The design came easily.    The elements were intuitive... first, "Mahal Kita".  Jacob taught me how to say "I love you" in Tagalog.  Our family crest - a story in and of itself for another time - "  Suus Quercus" - "His Oak".  The Adjectives around the crest... "Compassionate Service", "Loyal Ally", "Warrior", "Healer" and...."Friend" - each one describing what is true about the hearts of our team.

Over the past few weeks our family has been "coining" our loyal allies.  This past Thursday we walked  back down the long hall on the 7th floor, not to hang a coin on the wall but to give this team of incredible warriors their own 'well done', their own team coin.  As Lorrie and I started the walk down the hall carrying the heavy box of coins, we held each other's hand and reassured each other that we were 'ok'. And then around the corner...familiar and women we loved and have missed.

Lorrie and I took great pleasure that day in 'coining' some of our loyal allies who fought so boldly for Jacob and for us. There were many tears.  Many who told us "I am so glad you came back to see us"  also said  "this must have been so hard for you but we needed to see you - thank you".  Healing.  For us and for them.  Healing...exactly what was needed.

This trial was our most desperate hour. Our loyal allies brought their glory, their unique  gifting to the fight for us - each of you brought it.  You gave it and in the process we believe that the kingdom was proclaimed... I happen to believe that the very gates of hell were shaken by you.

We Love You All.....FIERCELY


Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies...Romans 8:23
...found on the edge of the coin

Friday, January 30, 2015

What I learned....

"You call me out upon the water".  Jesus called us out onto the waters with Jacob.  Adopting him was no easy task.  Loving him - well that was the easy part.  And then Jesus lead us to a place to make all of us - more than we were.

It was a place of sickness, suffering and uncertianty.  Jacob got sick.  I've said in earlier posts that Jacob was fine - "we're the ones that are all banged up".  It was true.  But in that hard place the God of the universe stretched us.  He confronted each of us and we wrestled (just like Jacob's namesake).  I praise God that we somehow held on - we did not let go.  And then He blessed us.  He increased the borders of our trust in him-  better.... He blew those borders up!  He did all of this by taking us deeper than our own feet could ever, ever wander.  A place we (and none of you) would ever choose to go - the sickness and later the death of our son.

In the last 11 months Jesus taught us how to walk with him on a really choppy patch of water.  It was abousutely terrifying - but we went, maybe we were dragged?  The point is Jesus came and got us.  Why, why did he pull us out of the boat? Because He knows that its only when you get out of the boat of security, a "happy life", comfort and certianty that we will ever learn that his grace abounds "in the deepest water" and that he never fails and He "won't start now".  "...Love never fails."

So the biggest thing I learned in all of this  it's this Jesus:  "I am mine".

I just want to thank all of you again for your fantastic love that you lavished on us as we went through all of this. I am so incredibly thankful for the church - the bride.  Not the bulding, not religion, not rules and customs - but thankful for all of you who nursed our battered and bruised souls during this storm.  Free men and women serving the King, not out of 'ought to' - not out of some false obligation - but out of a genuine love that only people whom Jesus has set free can show.  

In my many drives to Denver, I speant lots of time yelling at God.  But that time always wound up in worship...This was a common theme for

Until all are set free...


Friday, January 9, 2015

The Best Story Ever

Did you ever get wrapped up in a story that became an epic?  Yeah - I think that is very rare. But - not bragging...we did.  Jesus told this AMAZING story through Jacob Worthey - and we got to get in on it.  Not that we were special.  Not that we were better than anyone.  It's just that He yelled at us particularly loud and we heard - praise God through all the noise we heard!

Jacob was given the name "Sagrada" by his care takers in Leyte.  Do you know what that means?  Sagrada means holy.  Jacob is HOLY.  That was a foretelling of something so incredibly beautiful - It's CRAZY!  Praise the living God for this story - its your story too.  He is your son and brother too. Pay attention to the gift....we and you  -together we are blessed.

We love Jesus ..we love you.  We pray that you all get it - The King beckons...answer Him....The quotes you will see in this video belong to Jacob.  He said these things and we got to hear them... we are so truly blessed.  Watch this and hear them with us.

"that was a great game"  
...One of the lost boys in "Hook"

Marshall, Lorrie, Hannah, Joshua, Noah, Naomi  ...did we tell you that we love you? - we do.

Saturday, January 3, 2015


Jacob Ford Worthey
May 20, 2000 - January 3 2015 (Earth)
January 3, 2015 - ∞ (With the King -and an even bigger family)

We thank the High King for the privilege that was ours to give this amazing person his first glimpse at Family.  Now he knows better than we do what that means.  Do not despair - instead rejoice!  He is who Jesus meant him to be when he 'meant' our Jacob.  We love you all fiercely.

Marshall, Lorrie, Joshua, Noah, Hannah, Naomi and....dare we say....Jacob.

Friday, January 2, 2015

The Spectacle and what the story is not...

For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like men condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to men.  I Corinthians 4:9

Paul was admonishing the church at Corinth.  The Spirit brought this to my mind a few days ago as I was asking myself for the one thousandth time...."why this suffering...why this much?"  

A "spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to men".   We are a spectacle.  Not an ugly kind of thing but a beautiful kind of thing.  This is a mystery I am only now coming to grips with: You were meant to see this.  You were meant to see Jacob's entire journey.  

You are wondering..."the Leukemia?"  Yes but that is only a small part of what the High King himself wants you to get.  He wants you to 'get' his life.  Abandoned in a box by a guard shack at the orphanage.  Grew up in that same orphanage - beloved by those who cared for him....never found a family until that day with the chocolate bar offered to him by his best friend's new family.

Jesus uses hundreds of you to help us get him home through the adoption process. Many of you got to know him when he got here in 2012. That smile.  That laugh.  That speed!  Man is he fast! Getting glasses.  "These are mine?"  "Yep, Jacob they are yours."  "I can keep them?"  "Yep."  "Really?"  You see -he never owned anything until he came here.  That summer we were evacuated from Green Mountain Falls because of the Waldo Canyon fire.  That question when he saw the flames 3 miles away "...does this always happen?" 

That beautiful group of vagabond evacuee people God placed at the lodge.  We're worried about our homes - he's in heaven with all of these people that he really loves and who love him back.  Scott Stearman comes to mind - they are friends to this day.  We had a hard time convincing Jacob after we went home:  "...well yeah they are all 'like' your family but we are your family - that make sense Jacob?"  We were wrong - they are his family too.  This boy loves you at the drop of a hat.

Camping.  Jacob wanted a sleeping bag for Christmas this year - so he can sleep outside with Joshua, Noah and Hannah.  Trips to Utah - to Zion.  Jumping off of a 20' boulder into an ice cold canyon pothole then lying next to his sister Naomi on a warm rock under the sun.  Climbing a 5/7 at Penetente with his brothers help - then running back to the car in the rain as lightning closed down the route that day....laughing hysterically all the way.

Playing.  One of the most beautiful things I have ever seen is my two little Pinoys rolling on the grass and laughing until I am sure they are going to wet themselves.  That game with Aden and Naomi - Keep the ball from hitting the deck - belly laughs all around.  Snow forts and snowball fights.  A love for ...Asleep at the Wheel? Running through the woods with 15 other kids playing "monster' at the lodge.

Teaching.  One day at the hospital Dad was having a bit of a moment and being himself - let the offender know he was shall we say...not amused.  Dad comes back into the room.  Jacob:  "You were kind of mean to him Dad - you should apologize" - He was of course  -right.  I try to convince him to have some fun and shoot the nurse when they check his vitals at night with the Nerf pistol.  Jacob:  Why? they are so nice to me."  Jacob is a gentle, loving soul.  I want to be more like him.

This spectacle....this life.  I can't think of a better spectacle of Jesus' love for us than his giving us Jacob's story.  I wont fully understand the richness of this story until Jesus explains it to me one day - kind of like an 8 year old trying to understand the beauty of a Renoir - I know it is beautiful but I can't explain it to you well right now. Here is what I do understand:

I do know Jesus chose us (and some of you) to be his family. Jesus is telling Jacob's story - to you. His story is a "spectacle"  that points squarely to Jesus' love for you.  I think many skeptics would say  ..."well yeah *if* there is a God - he clearly loves this boy".  And you would be right - but still falling way short.  He loves you just as much as he loves Jacob. Feel that.  Let it wash over you.  He

Leukemia is NOT the story.  I want to leave you with this picture.  Jacob and Naomi drew on our white board soon after we got Jacob home from the Philippines.  Read what they wrote that day - I praise God....I get to be his Dad, a husband to an amazing woman and a Dad to four other amazing human beings that inspired Jacob and Naomi draw this picture.

Preparing for Home.


Thursday, January 1, 2015

The list

Today is a hard day. All of you, all of us, who have been praying for Jacob, and holding up the Worthey family are starting the new year on our knees with breaking hearts. I remembered a conversation Jacob and I had a couple of weeks ago, and thought today would be a good day to share his words.

Jacob and I were working on an art project together, tracing our hands and coloring them with markers to make them look 3D. He didn't think his was turning out so well, and I mentioned that it would be cool to work on art projects in heaven.

This started a thread of ideas on what we thought heaven was like and what we might do there. I mentioned that we could travel to other planets and explore the universe. Jacob was surprised that there would be a lot of things to do in heaven.

After a few minutes of coloring, he looked over at me and said, "I wish there was a list."

"A list for what?" I said.

"A list of who gets to go to heaven."

I smiled. "Well Jacob, guess what? There is a list! It's called the Book of Life."

I wondered if Jacob might have missed a few important points in learning about heaven, so we talked through it.

Earlier in the day, a volunteer had come in to let Jacob 'shop' for Christmas presents for his family. Though he couldn't leave the room to browse the gift tables, we pored over photos on an iPad, and he carefully chose something for each member--even the dogs. I mentioned that Jesus' gift of salvation to us is like a present. We can accept it or not.

"Jacob, what if you gave Naomi her gift that you'd picked out, and she said she didn't want it?"

A huge grin spread over Jacob's face. "Oh, I get it! I already did that. I asked Jesus into my heart."

"Well," I said. "Then you're already on the list."

"Cool," he said, and picked up his marker.

As we all face the possibility of saying goodbye to this sweet, brave boy today or in the days to come, remember that while our hearts break, he will be running into the arms of his Savior.

And a big part of that wonderful picture is because Lorrie and Marshall and their family opened their hearts to a child who was abandoned and rejected.

If they had not adopted Jacob, his life would have ended long before this.

If they had not sacrificed to bring him home, each of us would never have heard of him--would never have been touched by his life.

And biggest of all, he might not have the assurance that he's on the list.

Rejoice with us, that Jacob's name is written boldly in the Book of Life.

Everyone who conquers will be clothed in white, and I will not erase his name from the Book of Life, but I will announce before my Father and his angels that he is mine.
Revelation 3:5, Living Bible