Surprised by Love Part 2

The story continued…by my beautiful wife!

Sunshine in the Valley


As Josh and I shared in-depth conversations, I was surprised to find that he was a lot further along in the grieving process than I had initially realized. This was NOT because he did not love Amy as much as I thought, or because he wasn’t still sad or didn’t miss her. Nothing could be further from the truth. He was a man who wholly loved and longed for his wife, yet recognized the fact that she was gone….and by the grace of God, had come to accept it. I was amazed by the way he managed to handle grief in such a healthy and godly way. Since he had been losing her little by little for nearly a year, he had already worked through most of the stages of grief. This was a very different scenario than if she had just suddenly been taken from him! They both had seen this coming, and she had told him specifically that she wanted him to…

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Surprised by Love Part 1

Enjoy this new post on my wife’s blog….She has been so busy caring for Benaiah and me that she hasn’t been able to take the time to write on it until lately. She has had the itch for a while, so I encouraged her to think of a topic she loved and just start writing again slowly….and so she chose to write about US and it just came pouring out. I am very proud of her and astonished by how great a writer she really is! Enjoy!

Sunshine in the Valley

Ever had life seemingly change in the blink of an eye? You get used to it being just the way it’s always been….and then suddenly everything is different. That happened to me. And my poor little blog was sadly left in the dust!

But here I am again, picking back up where I so suddenly left off, and trying to figure out how to condense the events of the past year into a readable post! I think I have an idea though….everyone loves a good love story, right?🙂

Well…this is mine. My very own, real-life, fairytale romance. I get starry-eyed just thinking about it!

But that is not how it began. No, no…..long before “happily ever after”, there was a dark, dark road…..darker than any previously known before to myself or My Love. It was a road that looked endless, with no light in sight, leading into the valley of loss and grief and…

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Blessed Anniversary


As this is my last post about Amy, the day I have chosen to bookend all that has happened on this blog and in my life for the last year and twenty-one days, and really the last twenty-two months, I wanted to spend some time giving her honor. Amy, was a great wife and mother. She loved being both, and I and Benaiah loved having her as both. She was kind and generous, loving and fun, hardworking and Godly. She loved her Lord. She grew up knowing a lot about Him, but not really knowing Him, not for real. It wasn’t until several years into our marriage that she discovered that much later in life was when she first was known by Him and began to truly understand how Christ had saved her, and how she could now trust Him for all things in spite of how sinful she was. She fully understood the Gospel of Jesus Christ and believed on Him alone for the forgiveness of her sins. It was wonderful to see her eyes open to the truth and she began to grow with wisdom and understanding. Twenty-two months ago she got the greatest test of her faith that she would ever receive; a diagnosis of cancer, and one that was difficult to treat and rapidly growing. She did not panic or go into ‘woe is me’ mode. She laid with me and we prayed, over and over and over. I can attest that she, from the beginning, prayed “Thy Will Be Done”. And she meant it. And on this day one year ago, this blessed anniversary of her death, it was so.

So why is this a blessed anniversary? As I see it, Amy is the blessed one and we still live on this cursed planet. One year ago, God raised Amy’s spirit to live with her Savior in heaven: a place where no sin, no tears, no darkness or fears, no sickness, and no pain, nothing but the goodness of our Lord and the pleasure of His company exists. We, on the other hand, are living in a world where evil reigns, sorrows bloom, health fails, and selfishness, narcissism, pride, and idolatry are all respectable sins that even Christians are free to be unrepentant of. I want to be where she gets to be and not on this earth that keeps getting worse, with this body that is slowly dying, and my flesh that continues to love the sin that I hate. I want to be with Jesus. This world, thank God, is not my home…..and it was not Amy’s either. I am glad for her and sad for us. But hope is not lost, because that same fate that befell Amy will one day consume all of us –

“yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes” (James 4:14).

And joy is not absent, because God still gives good gifts to His believing children –

“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11).

And Christ will rule over all this world and reign forevermore –

“Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.”” (Revelation 11:15).

Knowing this truth allows us who are living to go on living with joyful hope. But only if our reason for living, for surviving our dead loved ones, is the Lord Jesus Christ and not in earthly things or people. Recently I came under some controversy. As I shared in my previous post, I was going to allow this day to be the last day for the ‘Honoring Amy Grenier’ Facebook page to be open to the public before deactivation. What I learned after sharing that information is that many people hated the idea and refused to allow it to be deactivated, to the point that one of them forced Facebook to go against my wishes, the owner of the page, and memorialize it indefinitely where now I have no access to the page whatsoever, nor can I even view it myself. The sad thing was that it exposed terrible sins in many peoples’ lives. Vile comments flew off people’s fingertips, wild accusations were made, and Amy’s page and her memory was disgraced, while I was held in contempt mostly by people who don’t even know me. It was a very sad time. The point is, what have we learned from Amy’s death? What would she have wanted? Why is the loss of a Facebook page so harmful to so many? What I hope we have all begun to learn from Amy’s death is that she, like we, can not put our faith, our hope, and our love in this world or the things of this world (1 John 2:15). What I know she would have wanted is to not have a shrine built to honor her in perpetuity, especially one that will be visited constantly and giving the idea of a “living memory”. And to some, the loss of a Facebook page is harmful because, as the theologians of days past would have put it,

“The human heart is a factory of idols”.

So how do we go on? We go on seeking the true God, the One who made us and who takes us from this place of death. We look to Him and not our dead or some modern technology as our source of comfort and peace. We look to Him and we trust in Him in spite of our sinfulness, because Jesus forgives sinners of all shades and depths. Amy knew this….she believed this….and that is why she has been given the gift of eternal life. She is now blessed more than all of us still living on this earth. She will always be remembered, but may we remember her the way that honors her and Our God. May she rest in peace being captivated by the glory and grace of our beloved triune God. And may we who think of her, her life and legacy, her smile and laugh, her pain………and her death today rest in the truth of her testimony of the Lord she loved and served.

Honoring Amy

This post was posted at exactly 8:05 pm April 24, 2013, exactly one year from her last breath on this earth. Amy Nicole Grenier will always be loved, missed, and remembered.

Grace and Peace,


A New Beginning

Where has the time gone? Has it been three months already? Wow!…..As I sit down to write at this late hour, I can feel my fingers creaking from lack of use. They are enjoying the exercise, so I guess all ten of them realize it has been long enough more than my brain. It is hard to start again, but I find I have good reason…I get to start fresh, to start anew, to refocus my writing once again. As many of you probably know, I have now remarried, and that is something that I will begin writing about in the coming months. But before the new beginning starts I need to finalize the era I started on this blog on April 3, 2012, one year ago today. I need to tell you readers, who have been faithfully reading, praying, and following my life and that of my family through this blog, Facebook, etc. that you all have inspired and encouraged me whether you knew it or not. Letting so many people, most of whom I don’t know and never will, go through such pain and sorrow and joy and laughter with me has been a very important part of this whole process. So to all of you readers….Thank you, thank you, thank you. And please know that if any of you, in the same circumstance, ever need understanding, prayer, help, or encouragement I will always be here to take your message and reply.

And now the ending……..

Unfortunately, ‘endings’ can be quite final. And this one is…but it needs to be done. My final post regarding my late wife, Amy, will be on the anniversary of her death, April 24, 2013. All posts regarding the last year will be kept up on this blog as long as it exists. Also, on that day I will be officially deactivating the ‘Honoring Amy Grenier’ Facebook page. Any pictures you would like to copy or print off, feel free to do so for the month of April. I hope this is enough time for all involved, but if not or you have a special request, please let me know on here or on Facebook. Like I said, quite final, but much needed. And as this blog has its new beginning, I hope to have your continued readership and interaction so that we can all learn and grow together in this life. Thank you and God bless!

Grace and Peace,


Happy New Year !!!!! And Guess What?

I’m engaged!

Heart And Rose Icon - heart and rose, red, present, idea, gift, valentines, love

Josh Grenier
Lydia Saugey

March 9, 2013

All praise to the Lord Our God!

For He ”is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think”!

Thank you God for Amy and now thank you God for Lydia!

May our marriage be grounded on Christ our Sovereign King!

 (Official 3 month blog break begins today.)

Fun Christmas Facts #3

Christmas traditions:

One thing that is true for all who celebrate Christmas is special Christmas traditions. We all have some very unique traditions that only our families do. But also, we probably all of some very similar ones. Things like Christmas treeing, decorations, wreaths, candy canes, chestnut roasting, Christmas carol singing and the exchanging of gifts are often some we have in common. All of these traditions have particular ways and times that they came into existence.

Christmas Gifts

Gift Exchanging:  The tradition was probably inspired by the Magi and the gifts they gave to Jesus. Not a bad reason, but we must be careful not to miss the point of what they gave and why. I believe the more reasonable reason to continue to practice this tradition is in the remembering of the gift that was given to us, the gift of the Savior Jesus Christ, whose birth we celebrate on Christmas day. It is the gift of the love of our God. Also, exchanging gifts can be a part of fulfilling of what the Bible says about how Christian’s should be giving in love to one another. As brothers and sisters in Christ we ought to be giving, not just at Christmas, but all year round. Ultimately the gifts we give and receive should not put our focus on the gift, but the giver, and ultimately on our Heavenly Father and His gift of the gospel.

Christmas carol singing:  When the Christians began to Christianize the pagan holiday of Winter Solstice (as I wrote in a previous post), they adapted and wrote new carols from the Christian perspective that could be sung in place of the pagan music being sung for the pagan celebration. One more interesting thing to note is that when Oliver Cromwell came in to power in England in 1647, the celebration of Christmas and particularly the singing of carols was stopped. However, the carols survived because people continued to sing them in secret. This remained true until the Victorian era, when a few good men decided to collect several of the old Christmas music from villages all over England and write them down.

Chestnut Roasting:  Not many people roast chestnuts anymore, but it is, historically, a popular tradition. It dates back centuries ago. Chestnuts became a staple in the diet of many around the Mediterranean. And roasting them sweetens their raw, bitter flavor, (which could explain why we like to eat lots of sweets come Christmas time.) No one really knows when or why the tradition of was started. The only thing I was able to find was that early Christians believed the nut symbolized chastity. (Not a clue what that has to do with Christmas.)

Candy Canes:  And now the much-loved Candy Cane. They originated about 250 years ago in Germany. The story goes that a church choirmaster was worried about the children sitting quietly all through the long Christmas nativity service. So he gave them something to eat to keep them quiet. Since he wanted to remind them of Christmas, he made sugar sticks in a shepherd’s staff shape and dipped one end into a white-wintergreen flavor and dipped the opposite end into a red-peppermint flavor. The canes were suppose to remind the children of the shepherds that visited Jesus on his birthday. It is unclear whether he thought anything about the color representation -red for Christ’s blood shed and white for His purity- or the fact that the cane upside down looks like a ‘J’ (for Jesus). Also,the traditional peppermint flavor can also represent hyssop, a plant used for purifying in the Bible (Psalm 51:7).

Christmas Wreaths:  We use wreaths all year-long for so many different things, but surely Christmas wreaths must have a meaning, right? Yep! Again, we go back to the idea of the Advent season (see previous posts). Their first known use dates back to 16th century Lutherans. They would place the wreath on the door of the church at the beginning of Advent, place a white candle in the center on the first of Advent, and a red candle every day after. The Advent wreath is meant to symbolize everlasting life in Jesus with its’ evergreen branches and the circular shape represents God; no beginning and no end.

Christmas Decorations:  ….Wow, there are so many. A great many, such as Christmas lights and ornaments and tinsel, have their root in the first Christmas tree decorations. The tradition was basically to decorate the tree with dried fruits and nuts, thin strips of hammered silver, and candles. Later on, the dried fruits and nuts were replaces with homemade imperishable ornaments and eventually mass-produced ornaments became popular. The candles were simply outmoded by the invention of electricity and strings of lights became the thing to decorate with. And the tinsel made from real silver strips were eventually replaced by manmade plastic lookalike tinsel strips. As time went on, people simply grew beyond the Christmas tree and begin to decorate their homes, inside and out. Mistletoe, is a vine with round green leaves and white berries. In Norse mythology it is a sign of love and friendship, so the idea of kissing came from that. The original custom was that one must pick one of its’ white berries everytime you want to kiss someone and once all berries were plucked there could be no more kissing. Holly has prickly green leaves with red berries. The tradition of it is based in Christianity. Both Holly and Mistletoe create the color palate that we traditionally think of as Christmas colors; red, white, and green. But the Holly has a special significance, its’ thorny leaves are to represent the crown of thorns that Jesus wore when he was crucified, while the berries are the drops of blood that were shed by Jesus because of the thorns. In Scandinavia, the Holly bush is known as “Christ’s Thorn.”

Christmas Trees:  There are many legends regarding the tradition of the Christmas tree. One is of St. Boniface, a missionary to the Northern Germanic Tribes. They worshiped a mighty oak tree called the Oak of Donar or Thor(their God). Boniface simply showed their god powerless by cutting the tree down. And, as a symbol of the truth, pointed the idolators to a fir tree. As an evergreen, it seemed everlasting. As a shape, its’ lower branches appear to reach out with an embrace, while the top appears to be pointing to heaven, Finally, since our home’s are mostly made of pine wood, we are to think of Christ as the center of our home. Martin Luther was the first person to fill his Christmas tree with candles. While walking home the night before Christmas and seeking inspiration for his Christmas sermon later on, Luther happened upon a scene of stars shining through the branches of some evergreens in the forest. It was so beautiful, that he went home and told his children, and later preached in his sermon, how it reminded him of Jesus, who left the stars of heaven to come to earth for us. To remember this scene, Luther had his family decorate their evergreen Christmas tree with candles. And thus, the tradition was born.

There are so many wonderful traditions that we all love to celebrate during Christmas time. As you can see, they are meant to be useful reminders of the Savior who came to earth for us, to die for our sins. While celebrating this Christmas, lighting up the house, decorating, singing carols, and exchanging gifts, let us remember the reason for the season. Enjoy the video below!

Fun Christmas Facts #2

Christmas date and days:

The question might arise: was Jesus really born on December 25th? The answer – a very resounding ‘NO’. There has been much speculation regarding the real date for around 1800 years, but still no one truly knows for sure when it was.

The earliest date ever given for the birth date of Jesus was byuntitled Clement of Alexandria, around 200 AD. Clement said “There are those who have determined not only the year of our Lord’s birth, but also the day; and they say that it took place in the 28th year of Augustus, and in the 25th day of Pachon.” On our calender, that is May 20th. “Further,” he continued, “others say that He was born on the 24th or 25th of Pharmuthi.” (Our calendar: April 20th to 21st) So even at that early time, no one knew. Some have said the date must have been in the early fall, because that is when shepherds would be tending their flocks. The earliest record of Dec. 25th we have is around 400 AD, and even then it spent time floating back and forth between December 25th and Janurary 6th as the date on which we should celebrate. This was probably due to the early Christian influence in pagan lands regarding the holiday of Winter Soltise, a holiday in December that worshipped and honored the sun on the shortest day of the year. Their attempt to Christianize the holiday was to use the event to worship the Son of God instead of the sun of the sky. Eventually Dec. 25th won out as the day of advent, the day we celebrate Jesus’ birth, and Jan. 6th became known as the day of epiphany, the day we celebrate the magi who brought him gifts. So, contrary to popular opinion, most of our Nativity sets are wrong. The magi were not at Jesus’ birth, they came much later, anywhere from 3 months to 2 years after his birth, scholars say.


So what is the signifance of advent and ephiphany? Remember the 12 days of Christmas song we sometimes sing at Christmas time and don’t understand what in the world the words mean? Those 12 days are historically the 12 days between advent, Dec. 25th, and ephiphany, Jan. 6. Some churches and people still practice the 12 days on the original dates. Others celebrate it on the 12 days leading up to Christmas day. But the dates are not so important. The song, however, has a specific meaning. It is a secret song, with a hidden meaning, a very Christian meaning. See, during the days it was written, Christians were persecuted for their faith, so they could sing it in publis without fear of arrest or persecution. It is also a terrific memory learning aid for young kids.

1. The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus.
2. The two turtledoves are the Old and New Testaments.
3. Three French hens stand for faith, hope and love.
4. The four calling birds are the four Gospels.
5. The five gold rings recall the Hebrew Torah (Law), or the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament.
6. The six geese a-laying stand for the six days of creation.
7. The seven swans a-swimming represent the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.
8. The eight maids a-milking are the eight Beatitudes.
9. Nine ladies dancing are the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit.
10. The ten lords a-leaping are the Ten Commandments.
11. Eleven pipers piping represent the eleven faithful Apostles.
12. Twelve drummers drumming symbolize the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostles Creed.

The “True Love” is God and every Christian is the “me” in the song.

This Christmas, let us be thankful for our true True Love, who has given to us all things, most importantly, His only Son, Jesus Christ.

Grace and Peace,

Three Charities for Christmas Giving

Lydia, my true love, is celebrating the twelve days of Christmas with me this year by giving me a gift on each of those days. This being the third day of her twelve, I thought I would have us all remember what our TRUE LOVE (from the song), our Lord Jesus Christ, gave to us, by recommending three ministries to think about giving to this Christmas Season.

    – “World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.”
    – “Bible League International provides God’s Word to a lost and needy world. We strive to end the global Bible Famine among persecuted Christians, Muslims, and the poor, where Scripture is hard or impossible to get.”
    – “The HeartCry Missionary Society began in 1988 in the country of Peru with a desire to aid indigenous or native missionaries so that they might reach their own peoples and establish biblical churches among them. Since then, the Lord has expanded our borders to include not only South America, but also Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and the Arctic Region.”

Each of these charities could use your help. If you can,

Grace and Peace,


P.S. New Post, Fun Christmas Facts #2, on Monday Morning!

Fun Christmas Facts #1

Christmas words:

The word “Christmas” is a very widely understood word that, in our modern day, usually stands for two specific things; a season and a day. The day, of course, being Dec. 25th. The season, an undefinable allotment time every year surrounding the day of Dec. 25th. But where does the word “Christmas” come from? “Christmas” is actually a compound word that comes from the term “Christ’s Mass”. That term is a derivative from three similar Old English words; “Christenmas”, “Cristemasse”, and “Cristesmaesse”  These words were first starting to be used around a thousand years ago. “Crist” or “Christ” is from the New manger-cross.jpgTestament Greek word “Khristos”, a translation of the Old Testament Hebrew word Masiah, or Messiah. “Masse” or “Mas” is from the Latin “Missa”, the celebration of the Eucharist (think Communion or Lord’s Supper). The celebration of Christ’s Mass in the Church was to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ in Bethlehem some two thousand years ago, and on that special day, partake of the wine and the bread, and give thanks to our Lord for His gracious and free gift of the forgiveness of sins. Not many people celebrate Christmas that way anymore, but perhaps we should. May we be reminded that Christmas is a celebration, first and foremost, of the Savior that was born, lived, and then put to death, so that we might be saved.

I also thought I would note that “Xmas” is not a bad word. So many Christians take offense to it.  But “Xmas” is actually an abbreviation of Christmas from time’s past, based on the initial letter chi “Χ” in the Greek word “Khristos” (in Greek, “Khristos” starts with “X”). So use it freely and know you are still keeping Christ in Christmas.

In addition to “Christmas”, the holiday has also been known by various other names throughout history. “Nativity” – Early Anglo Saxons often used the word Natiuteo (from the Latin nativitas) or “nativity”, meaning “birth”. “Yuletide” – In Old English, Geola (“Yule”) referred to the period corresponding to December and January, eventually December 24 through Janurary 6 (think the 12 days of Christmas). untitled“Noel” or “Nowell” – a 14th century English term. It is from the Old French “noel” or “nael” and that, consequentially comes from the Latin natalis dies, or “birthday”.

So whether we call the season or the day, Dec. 25th, Noel, Yuletide, Nativity, Xmas, or (my favorite) Christmas, let us remember that no matter the origin or what word we chose to use, we are celebrating the Son of God being born of a virgin as a baby, living a perfectly righteous life, and dying as a criminal for our sins, and miraculously being raised from the dead for our justification. On Christmas day, celebrate the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Grace and Peace,


Wrath Is Love’s Response to Sin

by Tim Challies (


Read an outside view on Calvinists or Calvinism, and you are sure to read something about God’s wrath. Every time. The God of Calvinism is a wrathful, vengeful God, boiling over in anger against any part of creation that has turned against him. He is no God of love, this. Sure, he may have some love for his elect, but to the rest of the world he is this angry, brooding presence eagerly awaiting the day of judgment in which he will cast the rest of humanity into the flames of hell.

I suppose Calvinists have sometimes given others reason to think that this is what we believe to be true of God. Perhaps Calvinists have at times erred by over-emphasizing God’s wrath and have done so at the expense of his love. But this angry, vengeful God is not the true God of the Calvinist.

It is good and useful to consider the relationship of God’s love to his wrath. Are they equal characteristics or is one greater than the other? How can God both love and hate? Michael Wittmer’s book Don’t Stop Believing is a very good, popular-level look at some of the hard questions facing Christians today and it offers a powerful response. One of those questions concerns the cross and whether, as some have suggested, a traditional Christian understanding of the cross is tantamount to cosmic child abuse.

In this chapter Wittmer explains how we can (and must) reconcile God’s wrath with his love. “Scripture says that God is love and that he has wrath. This means that love lies deeper than wrath in the character of God. Love is his essential perfection, without which he would not be who he is. Wrath is love’s response to sin. It is God’s voluntary gag reflex at anything that destroys his good creation. God is against sin because he is for us, and he will vent his fury on everything that damages us.”

Love is at God’s very core. 1 John 4:8 says, “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” Through all of eternity, God has been love; he has existed in a state of love of Father to Son, Son to Spirit, Spirit to Father. There has never been a time that God has not been expressing love; nor will there ever be. But God’s wrath is far different. God has not always been wrathful. He has not always had to express anger. His anger is a reaction to a lack of love—a lack of love for him or a lack of love to others. Wrath is a response to sin. Therefore wrath did not exist until sin began to exist. And as sin came to be, God had to respond to it in a way that is consistent with his holy character. God’s response to sin is wrath. How could it be otherwise? Sin is cosmic treason against the Creator of the universe. He must respond.

At the cross, God’s love met God’s wrath. Wittmer says, “Jesus endured God’s wrath when he bore the curse of sin, but he also experienced God’s love, for the cross was a necessary step in crowning Jesus as Redeemer and Ruler of the world, the Lord whose exalted name forces every knee to the ground. Similarly, though we receive unmerited grace from Jesus’ passion, our old self of sin must die in order to rise to his new life of love.” And so wrath is closely tied to love. If God did not love, God would not be wrathful. It is because of his love that God has to feel and express his wrath. We cannot neatly separate the two. “Every act of God flows from his love, even—and especially—those that demonstrate his wrath.”

Is he a God of love or of wrath? God expresses both love and wrath, but where wrath is demonstrated, love is personified. God is love.