celebrating gabe

(We interrupt our BIG NEWS series to celebrate Gabe’s life. Stay tuned tomorrow for Part 2!)

gabe monksFour years ago today, our world got turned upside-down. Gabe was playing a game of pick-up basketball at a Fall Festival, and next thing you know, nurses are ripping his clothes off in the emergency room, and hospital staffย are screaming awful sentences that end in “STAT!”

Today marks four years since God allowed Gabe to live through a massive heart attack. His left anterior descending artery (the “Widow Maker”) 100% blocked, 10 more minutes and he was meeting Jesus.

gabe guysI want to say first off that my heart BREAKS for every single person who has faced something similar, and their loved one DID meet Jesus. I don’t know why God chose to save Gabe’s life when other people die. I don’t know why he heals some people of cancer and not others. I don’t know why suicide claims the lives of so many beautiful people, while others manage to crawl out of the pit and keep living.

I don’t know why life is SO FREAKING UNFAIR.

gabe and boyPlease know that I spent some time in prayer for you before I wrote this post. Some specific names of people near and dear to my heart, and then for everyone in general who might be reading this and hurting.

I love you, and I’m so so so sorry for your heartbreak.

Gabe and I both feel very strongly that we have been given an invaluable gift and with that gift comes great responsibility.

What will we do with this life together that has been extended by the grace of God?

stormFor a long time (over two years), my heart ached, because it felt like we were doing NOTHING with it, that we were wasting it, that God had saved Gabe’s life only to watch him lie in bed for days at a time, unable to do anything at all but play games on his phone.

Anxiety. Depression. Thoughts of suicide.

It was a dark, dark time for our marriage and our family.

coverwebBUT GOD.

Quite awhile ago God put it on my heart to share the darkest parts of our story with others, in hopes that they wouldn’t feel alone. In hopes that it might inspire courage to be open about their struggles, courage to keep going when life feels unbearable.

But I couldn’t write that story without Gabe’s permission, and I figured he wouldn’t be up for that. (It is not a flattering story by any stretch.)

I underestimated him.

He gave me his all-the-way, tell-them-everything blessing. And the e-book, painful as it was to write and re-live, is ready for you to read.

THIS GUY. Friends, you cannot even know what kind of miracle he is. You cannot even know how God has worked in his life. You cannot even imagine how low he was, stripped of everything, and how God has restored it to him above and beyond.

gabe more guys(I loooooove what he wrote about it earlier this week.)

You would not even BELIEVE how all the pieces of Gabe’s life–his childhood, his passions & talents, his specific fears, his heart attack, his trips to Cambodia, his talks with God during the hardest times, his love for art & nature, his way with people (that was taken from him during his anxiety/depression), EVERYTHING–has all come together into this beautiful, redemptive thing.

(all part of the BIG NEWS I’ll continue sharing tomorrow!)

Today, in celebration of Gabe’s life, we would like to ASK you for something, and we’d like to GIVE you something in return.


To be entered to win a $50 AMAZON GIFT CARDย (oh my gosh, I WANT TO WIN THIS):

1.) buy a copy of my new e-book, The Storm, (just $2.99) &

2.) leave a comment telling me if you got it from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, or as a PDF (and if I gave you a free review copy because YOU’RE AWESOME, that counts too!) &

3.) share this post (or a link to the book) on social media somewhere.

It would really mean the world to us! And we can’t do this without you!! Thank you!!

(Links to buy the book: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, PDF.)

gabeyAnd for EVERYONE who buys the book, I will give you:

1.) a FREE PDF to share with a friend who suffers from anxiety/depression (or loves someone who does) AND

2.) a FREEย digital download of Gabe’s storm photo.


So, your sample comment might look like this:

I bought the book for my Kindle! Shared it on fb! Free PDF & photo please!

Thanks so much for spreading the word, friends. We really want God to get so much glory through our hard stuff, and we want to help others who are suffering know there is HOPE.

p.s. If you know Gabe (in real life or you’re online friends), would you leave a word of encouragement for him on this BIG DAY? Thanks so much!

EDIT: Amazon gift card giveaway is closed. But you can still have a free PDF of the book & a digital download of Gabe’s photo for buying the book & sharing. THANKS!

53 thoughts on “celebrating gabe

  1. Lori

    Happy Birthday Marla!! I’m praying you feel extra showered with love today ๐Ÿ™‚

    I just downloaded the book on ITunes, can’t wait to read it! It’s so fantastic reading about how God is leading your family in Cambodia!! Can’t wait to hear more ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Tina Evans

    First, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Enjoy your day. ๐Ÿ™‚ And, I bought your book a week ago, hope to finish it today. WOW!!! (I’ll say more in my review but it’s worthy of all the exclamation words, seriously.) And I shared on Instagram last night. How’s the rating? I’d love the PDF and the pic by Gabe please and thank you. ๐Ÿ˜€

  3. Michelle

    I’m sooo looking forwarding to reading this book, just got it on amazon kindle! I have struggled with depression and anxiety in the past but not at this level! Thank you for sharing with us! ๐Ÿ™‚ (I shared a link to your kindle book on fb!) God bless your family!

  4. Amanda Epting

    I bought the book for my Kindle! Shared it on fb! Free PDF & photo please! And we love you Gabe! Miss you guys!

  5. Barb Sprague

    I purchased your book on itunes and shared the info on FB. I have known Gabe and his family for many years. Depression is a rough life, even as a Christian. Family is so important in the journey. Give my best to Gabe and your entire family. I would love the pdf and Gabes pic.

  6. Bethany Hagerman

    I’m reading the PDF, shared on fb, and am thankful for your family’s transparency on this tough subject!

  7. Andrea

    Saw the previous post and have been looking forward to reading this so I plan to post a review on Amazon. I bought as the PDF. Hoping it helps me understand another perspective so I can love my people dealing with anxiety and depression better. Shared on the Twitter.

  8. Amanda Buss

    I just bought it on Barnes and noble for my nook and i have shared and will continue to share on social media! You guys challenge me and my views on just about everything! You have blessed and will continue to bless us with your honesty and faith!

  9. Kathy Mc

    I just bought the book on Amazon and will share this blog on facebook. ๐Ÿ™‚ Can’t wait to read your book and to receive a free pdf and photo! Thank you for sharing your life and inspiring others! Maybe God bless you and your family!

  10. Rosanne

    I bought the book on Amazon and shared this post on Facebook. Thank you for writing this. My brother killed himself this summer, and if one person can choose life, if one family can avoid having to walk through the pain of losing someone this way through what you wrote, please know that it is so worth it!

  11. Rebekah Stupakewicz

    I bought it on amazon. Sharing on Facebook and would love a pdf. And pic.
    Haven’t got to read it yet. I’m starting tonight.

  12. Angie Taviano

    I bought the book for my kindle on Amazon, shares it on FB, and would love a PDF and pic! I truly believe that God does above and beyond what we can ever ask, think, or imagine! Through the storm, He has brought you, Gabe, and the girls to a place of rest and living in your element of ministering to others. Love ya! Can’t wait to read it!

  13. Amanda Pride

    Just purchased as a PDF & shared it on FB!! So proud of you both for taking the time to share your journey through this storm. I KNOW it will help others who are facing this storm, heading into it or coming out of it OR walking alongside someone who’s in it. Thank you once again for letting us into your lives and sharing that just bc you are a christian doesn’t mean things will be smooth, perfect, w/o trials etc…BUT GOD….

  14. Heather Hertel

    Hello Marla – Hope all is well!
    I bought the book from Amazon – can’t wait to read it!
    I shared it on fb!
    -Heather (Thomas) Hertel

  15. Prethers

    We have the PDF and shared it on facebook. I can’t wait to get a copy of Gabe’s picture. His pictures are just beautiful. We continue to pray for all as you go about your daily lives. Thank you Gabe for allowing this difficult time to be shared with everyone. The fact that you are still alive after dealing with all of this emotional turmoil is a testament to your perseverance. May you continue to feel the direction of the Lord as you continue in your life. Marla, thank you for not quitting on Gabe. I know the days were hard and the weeks were harder, and I’m sure there are still some of those times even now.

  16. Stephanie

    I bought it yesterday on Amazon and am currently charging my very rarely-used Kindle so I can read it. Shared on fb too! I can’t believe I just typed that….look at me, changing so much while you’re gone. You probably won’t even recognize me when you visit. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  17. Megan Bradford

    Hello! I bought your book on Amazon and I shared without you asking me to ๐Ÿ™‚

    We are so thankful for your life and your family. What a blessing it was to be able to walk along side you while you were in Ohio, before your heart attack AND after!! You guys are a true inspiration of seeking the Lord and being obedient to His call!


  18. Chris

    Can fellow Americans in Cambodia win your gift card? I bought your book on Amazon. Would love to get your free book and photo. Absolutely love seeing Gabes photos and watching how he gets involved with people over here. It’s a pleasure to be in Phnom Penh with y’all.

  19. Sharon

    I’m awesome and got a review copy ๐Ÿ˜‰

    For Gabe, I sent this PM to Marla the other day as I began reading this book. And it applies to you, too:

    You sweet thing. Just got to Part One of your book with your blog entry “The Day the World Stopped.” I read it when it was first posted, but re-reading it now, it’s just so overwhelming. To me. An outsider – not part of your family, someone who doesn’t know you all in real life. I can’t imagine how hard it was at that time, and even more recently as you courageously put everything together for the ebook. Blessings on you and your family. I know good will come of this terribly difficult time in your life and also the past however long it’s been that you and Gabe have been working on putting this together. Thank you.

  20. Donna Briggs

    bought on Amazon-shared on facebook. Can’t wait to start reading! Thank you for sharing such a close personal time in your lives. Free PDF & photo please!! Thank you!!

  21. Ruth Feiler

    I boiught your book on Amazon and am about halfway thru it. All I can say is WOW, God’s miracles are truly amazing. I will be sure to share it on Facebook and would love a PDF and photo. Blessings!

  22. Angie

    I bought my copy from Amazon! Shared it on fb and I would love a pdf and photo please! Thanks, friend. Truly. You and Gabe are a huge example. Gabe, thanking God for all He’s brought you through. Wow. Keep doing what God has put on your heart. You’re reaching people far more than you may ever know, this side of Heaven. Love you guys!

  23. Laura Eckstein

    Congrats on what I know will be another AWESOME book! I bought your book from Amazon and will share on FB. Free PDF and photo please!

  24. Stephanie Taylor

    Thank you so much Marla and especially Gabe for sharing this real life with all of us! Just to read this post toiches my heart and brings tears to my eyes. Everyone of you are a true inspiration! Thank you

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *