jade in the parke

Friday, June 20, 2014


These words have been prompted by lisajobaker.com and her writing prompt of "Release" I sat down to write a few words of letting go of my expectations for my husband's healing after a surgery this week to restore his mobility and another story tumbled out. 
A story of grace, suffering and healing.
Of Ellen Belliveau.

Release. Letting go of my dreams. Letting go of my unbelief. Letting go of my expectations of a pain free life. Letting go that there are guarantees of full healing this side of heaven.

Releasing as the Lord calls us to have an open palm lifted up to heaven with our dreams and desires laid bare as He sifts our plans in His perfect will leaving there some of my longings fulfilled and lovingly placing what we would not ask for nor even want for our enemies. Yet, here the latter sits in my hand, unwanted and we wish we could close our grasp on the good and squeeze out the suffering from our lot in life. The world is groaning and my hands are heavy. "Come to Me all who are heavy laden, burdened and I will give you rest".

This story of release is about a dear woman who came alongside me 18 years ago in the Titus way as an older woman teaching the younger woman. She read (and approved) my parenting books that I clung to as a new mom-to-be, showed me how to care for my first born, dispensed advice to keep the fire burning in my marriage and showed me homeschooling wasn't for the weirdos. I still remember sitting in her backyard under the drape of the fragrant lilac flocked trellis as we sipped iced tea, her little ones milling about and she shared her method of getting her babies to sleep through the night. A conversation cut short as we saw her oldest son, Michael, climbing onto the eaves out from his second floor bedroom window which had her racing from her chair to stop what seemed natural to him. She kept her boys safe.

And when my mother died of breast cancer when I was 26, she swooped up my 15 month old to give me time to grieve and comforted me that I wouldn't suffer the same fate. We nursed our babies. We did everything right. It was what I needed to hear.

She taught me how to keep it simple when offering hospitality, how to iron tissue paper to reuse for gift bags and she taught me how to use a sewing machine and lived in a little wooden house with a beauty in and through her. Ellen was the original hipster interweaving flowers and natural materials found on the side of the road into a stunning arrangment. She nurtured her beautiful daughter to value matters of the heart. She did good.

Ellen wrote notes that would chastise and ask you to fight evil and were filled with poetic words that in her ethereal way drew you closer to the Lord. I have them still. She wrote gospel drenched words in a journal that she presented as our wedding present. This jumbo sized journal covered in a quilt pattern and shlepped to every anniversary dinner for the last 20 years writing down our memories-pleasant and painful. This record grounded us, helped us to marvel at God's goodness to us. The journal was her encouragment to our newlywed selves to keep communication open in our marriage. Write letters to each other, rant, dream as we travel along this road together and we did. Like a quilt weathers and softens through generations of use so my marriage fibers were stressed and pulled and rubbed and made stronger with softer, grace filled hearts.

I wish I could say we were as close these last several years as we were then. I wish we could go back and I could be who I am now and we could be sisters instead of mentor/mentee. But this is our story and it is life and His grace and it is good. 

We want to clamp our bony fingers down on the blessings He gives, yet He calls us to open our hands. This week she passed from the pain of this world and her spirit was released from her cancer riddled body.
Released to Her Father's care. 
Released to worship. 
He did good.


  1. Oh, I can feel your ache and yet hear your release of love and joy for Ellen. She sounds absolutely delightful. What a beautiful legacy she has left behind both in you and her own family. Thank you for sharing, I am certain all of Heaven is hosting a grand party to welcome her home. Though we have never met I pray God shower you and all of Ellen's loved ones with comfort in this time.
    ~Your FMF friend,

  2. You really captured Ellen's spirit ,,, and at the same time glorified her Father. She would have thanked you for this, I think! What a loving tribute to a beautiful lady. Thank you.

  3. Thank you, Brandi! She was a remarkable woman.

  4. PandaLinda,
    I am so glad you think she would have liked it. Do you have a memory of Ellen you can share with us?