Monday, July 11, 2011

How a cancer continues to be used for the good of many

From Martha's parents:

We want to share with those who have followed Martha's story a recent posting by Jen Roop who, among other things, is a great biker and who has loved Martha and rides to raise money and awareness for cancer research. You will be blessed as you see how the pebble in the pond continues to ripple outward for God's glory!

Please see Jen's beautiful "Tribute to Martha" using the link on the right sidebar.

Blessings to all, Fred and Jean Depp

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Martha's Story of Cancer

The video placed here was assembled by Luke Morales, a member of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, Martha's home church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The Depps are grateful to Luke for his fine efforts. This ten minute video is a merge of three video clips. One clip was taken during an extended interview Luke did with martha during October, 2010. A second clip was taken when Martha spoke to her church members on Easter Sunday, 2010 and a third clip was taken in February, 2011 in her home on a Sunday evening when her pastor, some family and some church members went through the memorial service she and her pastor, Hunter Dockery had planned together about a year earlier. It was a joyous and faith filled evening as you can sense from the video.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Betrothed in Dazzling White

Mary, mother of Jesus, was betrothed of Joseph, chosen to bear the Son of God Most High.

Martha, child of King Jesus has been betrothed to Him, the Christ, Savior and Son of God Most High since He came offering her new life many years ago. Made a member of His bride the church, she continues to worship Him with Mary and all those who live and move and have their being in the Risen One with the pierced hands and feet.

Martha, child of God, is now dazzling white and glorious, a maiden among many sons and daughters of the King eternal.

Martha has now entered into the bridegroom’s gates with praises wearing His wedding garment, the King’s gift to each of those who love Him and seek His holiness without and then within His blessed gates.

Cancer now consumed, all earthly doubt dispelled, all fears quenched in the Spirit’s loving ministry and singular transformation now seeing the bridegroom in His glory.

Who gives this woman to be wed to the King for all eternity? Her mother and I do with unspeakable joy and thanksgiving in our souls. We give her most gladly to Him who is called: Greater Love Hath No One Than This.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Martha's Joy-shared by Jae Campbell at the Memorial Service for Martha Depp

Don’t you see her?
Running through the meadows
The wind in her hair
Her smile bright and vibrant
Her glowing eyes

She reaches an area where children have gathered
They are laughing and playing
She joins in with excitement as they circle a tree
She is the tallest of all the little ones but her joy is just as full
Don’t you see her?

She sprints through a garden
Her arms stretched out from her side
Her hands floating through an endless bounty of flowers and leaves
Don’t you see her?

She closes her eyes and spins and spins
Finally falling back on the cool green grass
She looks up to see the father smiling down on her
His presence overwhelms her and she shouts out his-praises
Don’t you see her?

She enters a cave and notices the structure of the walls
Her hands glide along the carvings, paintings, and mixture of colors.
Her eyes take in the rich pure pallet of
purples, pinks, yellows, greens and blues
Don’t you see her?

She looks down at her hand and clasps them together
Her eyes fill with tears
Oh but she is not sad
She is thankful that he would share his artistic design with her
She is amazed that he chose her as the vessel
To give us a glimpse of the heavenlies
Don’t you see her?

And today, today she smiles down on us
She is thinking of us as we are remembering her
She is praying for us
Praying that the peace, joy, and comfort she
Is experiencing with the father now, we will taste and see one day
Don’t you see her?

Written By: Jae Campbell (Inspired by God)

Monday, April 4, 2011

A testimony at the memorial service 4-3-11 for Martha Depp by Joanne Depp-a sister-in-law

Martha’s story begins and ends with Jesus.

Without question, Martha had a special relationship with Jesus, and we have been blessed by all she shared with us.

But - Martha would want us to know and remember that she did not have a special access to God that isn’t available to the rest of us.

She knew and believed that she was a child of God, and that that Jesus’ loving hands were always reaching out to her - regardless of what her emotions or feelings were telling her about God’s reach towards her.

And do you know what Martha did -- She reached back. She prayed and studied God’s word and knew Him and loved Him in his entirety and His enormity of character.

She believed word for word that God is who the Bible says He is, and did not discount any parts that were uncomfortable, even by today’s standards.

Martha would be the first person to tell you that she wasn’t perfect; but she would also be the first one to tell you that her God was.

She would say that she needed Jesus in every step to her Journey to the Door because she could not get there on her own; not in her own human flesh and weakness.

And God’s promises carried her through that door.

She believed with her whole heart that God would not leave her or forsake her.

She knew that she would pass through waters and fires, but would remain unconsumed and unburned.

She knew that she was precious to Jesus, and that He loved her, and that He would preserve her for eternity.

She knew that God had a purpose for earthly suffering, and trusted that He would work all things together for good.

She knew that Jesus was her rescuer and deliverer. And that one day, He would restore her body and soul to perfection.

She knew He had prepared a place for her in Heaven, and that He was the only one who could keep her in perfect peace while she waited for Him to come.

And she knew that nothing - not even cancer or the process of dying or even death itself - could ever snatch her out of God’s loving hands.

And how did Martha know and believe all these things?

She prayed and read her Bible and focused on God’s promises to her - I should mention even long before her diagnosis of cancer. God had blessed Martha by giving her ears to hear and a heart to trust in his promises long before cancer was in her body.

Martha will always be remembered for her inspiring story and her courage in the face of terminal illness, dying, and death.

But please - please - in your memories of Martha and in your re-telling of Martha’s story - Please do not forget the One who gave Martha her courage and strength and peace.

Martha said in her own words - “Anything good coming out of my terminal cancer is because of the transforming work of Jesus - there would be no good in it otherwise, not for me. Remember where the good stuff originates.”

So on behalf of Martha, I’m asking you to remember that the “transforming work of Jesus” was and is her story.

Martha ran to him and clung to him and loved him so closely - that in the fullness of her story, it was hard to distinguish between Martha and Jesus--

between her words and his promises;
between her faith and his strength;
between her obedience and his love.

This is why throughout Martha’s story with cancer, people would make comments to me like --“When I’m with Martha, I know God is there.”

and “I can’t wait to see what Martha writes next - why hasn’t she posted anything recently?”

and “Wow, she is such an inspiration - I could never have such courage!”

And while these things may be true, did you ever stop to wonder why so many of us clung to Martha and the story she told us?

I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that regardless if we realized it or not, it’s because we want to be with the One Martha was clinging to.

We want to know and hear Jesus like Martha did; and understand his peace like she did; and experience his love like she did.

Martha’s God is pretty appealing - afterall, Martha’s God is THE God of the universe. And Martha would tell us that we all have ACCESS to him; that his promises are for all who believe in him.

And though we are grieving Martha right now, we do not need to grieve the closeness of God’s presence we experienced while she was with us. God is still very present; still reaching out; still offering His promises to those who want them.

Martha brought us to our own Door of sorts, and she would encourage us now to reach back. Even if it’s just by starting with a simple prayer and asking God to help you believe the promises Martha proclaimed.

Or even by picking up your Bible and seeing God’s promises for yourself; seeing that they weren’t only written for Martha, but also for you and for me.

I can only tell you these things with this kind of boldness because this is the part of her story Martha so desperately wanted people to remember. Martha’s story is not HER story if we pass it down without naming Jesus as her Savior and Deliverer and source of all good things.

So my recounting this part of Martha’s story to you is my way of telling Martha thank you - thank you, Martha for sharing our God’s promises so that we can know Him and love Him better. Thank you, Martha, for making God real and tangible to so many of us. Thank you, Martha, for showing us that any goodness we have is only from the gifting of God.

And it is also a gentle reminder to all of us of Martha’s very own words. As she said, “Remember where the good stuff originates.”

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Her last gentle breath

Martha took her last gentle breath on earth and her first joyous breath in Heaven today, March 24, when her Lord Jesus came to take her to the place He has prepared for her, His perfect healing and eternal LIFE in His presence.  Rejoice with us in this victory!

Thank you so very much for your prayers for Martha and her family during this journey in which our Lord has so clearly shown His awesome grace and faithfulness through her testimony.

Still Waiting...

Our deepest gratitude to all of you  who continue to bear our burden with us, experience our pain, and uphold us with your prayers for this seemingly long journey with Martha as she anticipates the joy of being with Jesus.

“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us (Martha!) an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” 2 Cor. 4:17.

Martha has seemed very close to Heaven for several weeks now and the medical people continue to be amazed that she is still with us.  These recent days have been more difficult as her body systems are shutting down and her brain chemistry is changing with the build up of toxins. She is sedated and resting peacefully.

We are impressed with how often our Lord brings some kind of relief: an angel of mercy hospice nurse coming to the house at night, after one nearly sleepless night here when one of her brothers appeared to sit by Martha’s side and calm her until a new medication arrived and more surprise bouquets of flowers on our doorstep. Certainly not least, we continue to be impressed with the extent of God’s mercy and grace to us as the stretching definitely continues!

All of her vital signs have been diminishing daily. Yesterday morning the hospice nurse could not hear her blood pressure with the cuff, or get an oxygen reading in her finger, and heard only slight air movement in her lungs.  She has had no fluid input or output for almost a week and her breathing has been very irregular for days. She looks so very peaceful that I regret having to disturb her every three hours with medication that tastes terrible and is uncomfortable to receive.

So, dear intercessors, thank you again for persevering with us in this journey and may our Lord bless each of you abundantly!

In His love, Martha’s parents

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Loving wounds-Reflections by Martha's Dad

Proverbs, Chapter 27, Verse 6 tells us: ‘Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful’.

An enemy’s kisses are a clear contradiction; enemies seek not our good with kisses. Think Judas Iscariot. But why would friends wound? One song of worship reminds we have a friend in Jesus, the Son of God. Yet scripture assures ‘He was wounded for our transgressions' by His Father, ‘smitten by God’ as Isaiah 53, verse 4 tells us, because of the Father’s love for us and for Him also.

Jesus satisfied our need; perfectly covering our sins and showing His fallen creation the infinite mercy of God. Both expressed together in the Father’s sacrifice of His Son on the cross and the Son’s acceptance of wounding by the One who loved Him from before the foundation of the world.

The Father wounding His own Son for the love us; the Son accepting wounding for the love of us as well. The Father faithful to fulfill His plan to release us from our sin must wound the Son for the love of us. The Son faithfully serving as our substitute, our Lamb, wounded for His love of us as well.  

Loving wounds continue among the creatures of God bringing merciful cleansing that draw us to Him. Thomas experienced this when he beheld the wounded hands and feet of Jesus and put his hand in His side confessing belief with conviction where doubt had been, ‘My Lord and my God’; John 20, verse 28.

The Sovereign One, the All Faithful One, wounds His own thus evidencing ownership, great purpose and mysterious lovingkindness. Jacob’s chronic limp was not accidental but deeply intentional in remembrance as were the woundings of Job and Stephen.

God has assured Martha her terminal cancer is a continuation of her pilgrim journey with her Lord Jesus, not an unplanned interlude or an unfortunate shortening of her earthly life. Neither has it been so for the connected hundreds brought near and mentored by the Holy Spirit in the matters of The Creator of all and life eternal. Each one lovingly wounded directly or vicariously, each one experiencing His faithfulness, each one hearing and seeing more clearly new outlines of the Infinite, now drawn closer where blindness and deafness had formerly prevented. 

Continuing to wait...

Psalm 27, which Martha calls “my cancer psalm” concludes with:

“Wait for the Lord;
     Be strong, and let your heart take courage;
          Wait for the Lord!”

And she continues to wait, courageously, graciously, gratefully, and usually with remarkable patience toward the challenges of the cancer and her very great weakness now.  In the beginning she prayed to “be able to do this cancer thing well” and she is doing it so very well for His glory.

And all of us continue to be profoundly thankful for abounding grace and peace to our Lord Jesus and to each of you who continues to pray so faithfully for us and to send such loving messages, emails and other encouragements, like the very cheerful bouquet of flowers we discovered on the front porch Monday morning and a beautiful gerbera daisy another dayJ.  We pray God’s many blessings on each of you!

In His immense love, her parents.