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Saturday, December 26, 2015

A Lesson in Prayer

Marshall Kenneth Jensen passed on to continue his mission with the spirits in heaven at 3:56 EST at the Hospital University of Pennsylvania on 34th street in Philadelphia on November 18th, 2015. Just as he last blogged, while we were busy making our plans to try yet another clinical trial, God had other plans for our beloved Marshall. We miss him dearly. After reading through his journal entries and several other things, it became very apparent that he knew his remaining time on earth would be short. His death was calm, peaceful, and a very spiritual experience for me. Some time I may write about the sacred experience, but at the present it is still so tender in my heart. In true Marshall fashion, the viewing was held on C.S. Lewis' birthday. 

Here is a link to the beautiful services that he wrote:

Please click here to listen to Marshall K Jensen funeral services

That in and of itself is a blogpost enough. I also wanted to share the prayer I was reciting every morning the last few days before he passed. I recited it from a book I was reading about being a praying wife. I had to work hard on my personal praying for quite a while because I felt as though I was drowning and that God was not listening to years of pleading for Marshall's leukemia to stay in remission. Also as I watched Marshall's intense pain get worse even though he was on a huge dose of methadone AND a morphine pump, it hurt SO much to watch; I still can't believe he could bear it and I felt as though my pleadings with the Lord weren't helping Marshall and the pain just kept getting worse.  Now I know that the purpose of prayer is for us to align our will with the Father, not for God to change His mind about what should happen in our lives.  Marshall fulfilled his mission on the earth and even the intense pain and suffering of the last four years with a smile on his face (even when it was paralyzed and he couldn't actually physically smile), music in his heart, and an unshakeable testimony of his Savior Jesus Christ.

Here are the words to my borrowed prayer:

"Lord, You alone know the depth of the burden my husband carries. I may understand the specifics, but You have measured the weight of it on his shoulders. I've not come to minimize what You are doing in his life, for I know You work great things in the midst of trials. Nor am I trying to protect him from what he must face. I only want to support him so that he will get through this battle as the winner.
God, You are our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1). You have invited us to "Come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:16). I come before Your throne and ask for grace for my husband. Strengthen his heart for this battle and give him Patience to wait on You (Psalm 27:1-4). Build him up so that no matter what happens he will be able to stand strong through it. Help him to be always "rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer" (Romans 12:12). Give him endurance to run the race and not give up, for You have said that "a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again" (Proberbs 24:16). Help him to remember that "the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and he delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand (Psalm 37:23-24).
I pray he will look to You to be his "refuge, until these calamities have passed by" (Psalm 57:1). May he learn to wait on You because "those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint" (Isaiah 40:31). I pray that he will find his strength in You and as he cries out to You, You will hear him and save him out of all his troubles (Psalm 34:6)."

Here are a few quotes that were shared with me from Elder Bednar's office that I have loved as well after Marshall died. 

President Joseph Fielding Smith (in his remarks at the funeral services for Elder Richard L. Evans)
“May I say for the consolation of those who mourn, and for the comfort and guidance of all of us, that no righteous man is ever taken before his time.  In the case of the faithful saints, they are simply transferred to other fields of labor.  The Lord’s work goes on in this life, in the world of spirits, and in the kingdoms of glory where men go after their resurrection.”

Elder Neal A. Maxwell
“A mortal life may need to be ‘shortened’ by twenty years as we might view it—but if so, it may be done in order for special services to be rendered by that individual in the spirit world, services that will benefit thousands of new neighbors with whom that individual will live in all of eternity.  Perhaps this reality is yet another reason and reminder why we are urged to pray only for ‘our daily bread,’ for disciples must be portable.  Our omniloving and omniscient Father will release us when it is best for us to be released.  But each such release of a righteous person is also a call to new labors” (“All these things Shall Give Thee Experience, 99).

The night before Marshall passed, I went from the 9th floor of the ICU to the 5th floor and found a large, open restroom where I could kneel and pray aloud. In my mind, my thoughts were all ready to say, "Heavenly Father, please bless us with another miracle". To my surprise, when I opened my mouth the words, "Heavenly Father please bless us with one more day" came out instead. For once in my life, my prayer aligned with the Lord's will. I am grateful for that moment and every moment I had with Marshall on the earth. His spirit inspires me to live better, to live as the instrument and purpose that God wants me to, and strive to secure myself to heaven as Marshall and many other spirits lately have. 

How could he have known 2 years ago that some lyrics would describe his passing so well? "In the ink of an eye I saw you bleed, through the thunder I could hear you scream, solid to the air I breathe, open eyed and fast asleep...Ragged down worn to the skin. Warrior raging, have no fear. Restless with an angel's wing, well I dig a grave to bury you. Released from circles guarded tight". You can click on the hyperlink to hear Marshall and I perform this song at a benefit my McKee family held for him, Miracles for Marshall called, "Secure Yourself to Heaven". This song almost describes perfectly what we went through at that time. "No feet to fall, you need no ground. Allowed to glide right through the sun". What a blessed experience to be with him in those final moments.  As he was passing on, I was holding on to his ankles in what seemed like my last ditch effort to keep him on earth a little longer. I was wishing I could just hang on and he would just take me with him when his amazing spirit departed from his body. There have been many moments lately when I wish that last ditch effort would have worked as I sort through my emotions. But I have to 'fasten up my earthly burdens' for I have 'just begun'.  Marshall truly is the winner of this battle and is flying high like the eagles. As much as I wish I was soaring high with him, I have a beautiful little boy who is a mini Marshall and I am blessed with his smiling, optimistic spirit living on through his son. I'm blessed to continue to raise him as Marshall so badly still wants to do. Merry Christmas in heaven Marshall.