When Hearts Are Broken

When hearts are broken, others lift us up. They lift us to God by speaking encouraging words and expressing their genuine concern. It is a comfort to know that it matters deeply to others. Betty and I wish we could look directly into the eyes of every person who expressed their love and concern to our family and say, “Thank you.” God’s love through caring friends lifted us all. After the news of my daughter’s passing was posted on my Facebook page, over 84,000 read about it and many wrote heartfelt condolences. We know many of you prayed for us and for our family. We are very grateful. More than ever, Betty and I want to inspire love and compassion for all who are brokenhearted, whether it’s because of hunger, thirst, pressing needs, or personal loss.

We know Robin is happy – happier than we can fully comprehend. Betty is reading Randy Alcorn’s book Heaven and finding closeness, peace, and a sense of relationship continuing because someone precious to us is in such a wonderful place and we know we will join her again. And yes, without doubt, we will know one another better than ever!

Robin brought heaven down to us long before she went there. She seemed to understand what Jesus meant by, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Her goal in life was to love God with all of her heart, to love and help lead her family with the words and ways of God. She wanted everyone to experience a personal relationship with God and live with a sense of His purpose. She truly lived in His presence and certainly is now a part of that great cloud of witnesses.

Betty found a note Robin left us when she returned from her honeymoon with her wonderful husband Ken Turner. Pastor Willie George read this note in his opening remarks at Robin’s funeral. It is easy to sense her joy, peace and focus on her career which was to be a godly wife and mother, while expressing a consistent Christian witness.

Dear Mom and Dad,

Aloha! We left you some good macadamia nuts, plain and chocolate covered. And one of the pineapples is for ya’ll and the other for Terry and Rhonda.

Hawaii was the greatest. It is definitely paradise over there. Kauai is the most beautiful place we’ve ever seen. I cannot wait to develop our film. I will be sure and bring ‘em down next time I come, which may not be too long. I miss you guys.

But married life is great! Kenny is so wonderful, and I am so happy!!! I’m looking forward to starting my “career” now, which ya’ll played a great big part in preparing me for. Thank you!

I sure love you guys and I wanna say thank you for making my wedding day so special. Everything went perfect and Dad, you did a great job on the ceremony.

Well, I don’t wanna get too mushy right now, we watched “Father of the Bride” again and I got pretty emotional. I love you, Dad! I love you, Mom! Thank you for everything over the last 19 years. And don’t worry, Kenny takes great care of me.


That brief note says a lot about our daughter. She was certainly right about her husband Kenny. He took care of her in every possible way, and in her battle, he was the shoulder to lean on and the strong arms holding her close. I have never seen anyone so devoted to meeting his wife’s obvious needs during the challenges they faced together.

The night before the memorial service honoring our precious daughter, her nephew Alek (Randy’s oldest son) shared this poem with the family:

[text_box class=”grey”]

In Memory of Robin Turner

Our Gardener planted us all.
He selected our seeds and planted us where He wanted us to grow.
We grew up together, into flowers.
We all grew up healthy under our Gardener’s supervision,
But sometimes the inevitable happens.

We’re in His garden, but we’re also in the presence of the world,
And the world isn’t always as healthy as His garden.
A sunflower dwelt in the soil near us all.
That sunflower was beautiful; she loved the Gardener too.

That sunflower was an inspiration; she showed us the best direction to grow and to grow under any conditions.
She was beautiful. The flowers all loved her and looked up to her.
Her love for us was great too. Almost as great as her love for the Gardener.

But we lived in the presence of the world,
And the world is not always as healthy as His Garden.
And the inevitable did happen.

One day the sunflower began to wither.
She still stood, though.
She fought it.

Some days she was twinkling under the sun,
Some days she was withering.
We all loved her, through it all.
We admired her.
She fought it.

She fought it for the other’s sakes.
The Gardener left her in His garden for the other flowers to keep on admiring;
To love for as long as they could.
But the inevitable happened.

The withering became too much.
She suffered for us, still.
But the inevitable happened.

The Gardener uprooted her.
He moved her to His special greenhouse, to preserve her, in a place separate from this earth.
There, she will twinkle with Him and grow closer to Him.
There, she will watch us grow, just as she taught us. And she will smile.
And one day, when the inevitable happens to all the other flowers in His garden on earth,
He will uproot us too.

He will bring us to His greenhouse and preserve us too.
We will reunite with her, and we will grow close to our Gardener,
Who blessed us with her presence in His earth garden.
For now, though, we must grow. For her.


No one knew Alek could express himself with such spiritual depth and insight through poetry. God used it to comfort and inspire our family to live as “fruitful gardens” of God. Many months before Robin’s battle with cancer intensified, God placed a heavy burden on my heart to spend the rest of my life, or until Jesus comes, expressing even more acts of compassion. I am praying to be able to inspire believers everywhere to join hearts and hands sharing God’s love more freely than ever!

Again let me express appreciation for your prayers and support as we walk through “the valley of the shadow.” The Lord our Shepherd is truly with us and we have witnessed Him in the lives of comforters like you. Our granddaughter Abbie, Randy’s oldest daughter and a freshman in college, painted a picture of Robin as she sees her rejoicing in the Lord. Together, and for her, we rejoice even in our tears.



          Click to enlarge

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  1. Dear James and Betty,

    I was watching ‘Awaken Now’ tonight and learned that you lost your daughter, Robin, in Dec. I remember hearing from your show that she had cancer. I just want you to know how sorry I am for your loss, but, just as your granddaughter painted that beautiful picture of Robin in heaven, she is with Jesus in paradise. She could not have had two better parents than you both. My heart is heavy for you and I will keep you in my prayers. Thank you for all you do, I love your tv show. God bless you both.


  2. Sandi and Margaret

    Reading this brought tears to my eyes understanding the effects of losing someone you love so dearly. YES she is in a place, not gone forever, but waiting to be reunited with you all. Shes at peace with JESUS and I know that the Love you all shared will continue on there in greater capacity than you could ever imagine. What a blessed day that will be when our savior we shall see. Those we miss and long to hold again will be awaiting our arrival and joy will be the only emotion we will be able to feel at that time. Total joy and peace. Love you both very much and enjoy your messages on Daystar in Statesboro Ga. GOD I ask that you bring a sense of peace to James and Betty at this most sad time in their life. Give them a peace Dear Jesus that surpasses all understanding..HE said he would and I claim this for you both in JESUS name.
    Margaret and Sandi

  3. You are so blessed to have grandchildren so open to God’s love and expression, to leave the family with such precious gifts to remember Robin with. May God’s love and peace be with you all.

  4. Dear James and Betty,

    I was so sorry to hear of the loss of your Daughter Robin. My heart broke for you. Please know I will pray for that (peace that passes all understanding ) will confort you both and your family. May the LORD see you thru this difficult time.

    God Bless You!!

  5. James & Vickie Lindsey

    Thank you for sharing your most heartfelt feelings regarding your loss. My husband and I watch your program daily and you both are a great inspiration to us. We are praying for your entire family in this trying time. Don’t ever feel you are alone. God is always there even though man can at times fail.

  6. Dearest James and Betty,

    I am just one out of a sea of people your ministry has blessed. Our paths may never cross on this side of heaven, but please know that so many of us nameless brothers and sisters in Christ are praying for you all.

    Thank you for sharing that absolutely beautiful poem and painting! Beautiful!

    Lifting you up!

    Cary, NC

  7. Dear Brother James and Sister Betty,
    I heard of what happened and I’m not sure what to say. So, I’ve decided to send you the link to this song that Kari Jobe sings called “Come To Me”. I hope that in some way, this comforts you and that Jesus is hugging and comforting you too like you comfort so many.

    Much love and thank you for all you do and know that the world loves and is praying for you <3 <3 <3
    Lessie Tyson
    Boston, MA

  8. I couldnt read thru your recent posts without a very heavy burden on my heart for you both and your daughters beautiful family. Your daughter was such a gift to your family it sounds even from the start… What a testimony having an apgar score of 2 from birth and going on living an active non vegetative life. She sounds like such a treasure…she would have to be, as you guys were her role model. You both ooze Jesus, and what a gift you gave her growing up knowing Jesus as her Saviour. I have a friend who is currently in the process of losing her daughter to the permanent care of Jesus too. Her daughter is 29 and suffering from organ/kidney failure. They too all know Jesus and trust in His Divine Plan, but are having a tough time emotionally accepting the fact that they too wont see their daughter again until they too depart for Heaven.
    I love your program and ministry…you do amazing work for Jesus. I watch you when I can all the way from Australia. I feel like I know you guys personally, will definately be upholding you all in prayer. As stretching and as heartbreaking as this journey has been for you all, may you be strengthened more and more by the knowledge of Gods goodness to us all. The gift of ETERNAL LIFE… I too believe your daughter is dancing as in that beautiful painting your granddaughter did…Beautiful !!!

  9. Marilyn Wackerhagen

    James and Betty,
    So sorry you sweet people have to face the heartache of such a loss to your family!! I Thank God you have the Hope of Christ that one day you will meet again and the Good Bye is really a See You Later. It still hurts very much though. She sounds like a beautiful lady and a wonderful testimony to you two. I pray Peace for your sweet family!!!

  10. Precious James and Betty and family,
    Marvin and I are so saddened by the news of Robin’s passing. Sad for your temporary loss but rejoicing that her pain has ended and that you will see her again!! What a beautiful family you have and you are a family that many years ago I had so hoped our family could be patterned after. Though we have not lost a child to death, we know the pain of losing sons to the ways of the world as we shared in a letter to you on your visit to Shreveport last year. Robin was truly a reflection of your love for the Lord and for others. Marvin and I have been so blessed by your lives and are in awe of the example you set for us even in the most difficult trial you could go through. With love we will continue to lift you up!
    Marvin and Judy Greer-Shreveport

  11. Dear James and Betty,
    I cried when I first heard of your daughter’s demise and, prayed for your entire family. You and your wife are true Christians in my humble opinion. You are very REAL with everyone you come in contact with and it is very clear to see the love of Jesus in both of you . I will pray for your loss but know that after you’ve had suitable time to grieve Robin, that there will be more work to be done .
    James, I truly believe we need to continue to fight ” the good fight of faith” and reach out to ALL the hurting people of the world and here in the USA. I sincerely believe that Almighty God has chosen you to be a ‘ Father’ figure for all Christians – to assist in bringing people back to the solid Rock of our faith : Jesus the Good Shepherd! I believe that the Lord is going to use you to bring Christians together from every denomination and to teach them to talk about what unites us all (Jesus) and not the things that divide us .

  12. My heart breaks for you. I didn’t have any idea until today that you had experienced the loss of your beautiful daughter. I have a daughter who is almost 40 and I just cannot even imagine the heartbreak. I offer up prayers for you and all of your family. Without God we would just be lost in all this. Thank God for his presence in our sufferings.

  13. Dear James and Betty,

    I was so sorry to hear the news of Robin’s passing. I wept as I read your column. You are both like family to me, as I watch your program daily, and have come to love you and the work you do so very much. May the Lord strengthen and encourage you both. May you find peace again and feel His healing touch in your hearts.

  14. Dear James & Betty I was sorry to hear of the loss of your Precious Loved one Robin. I am so glad she won the cancer fight for 7 years. She talked of your wedding ceremony as if we were there also. She sounds like a Beautiful, Loving, Giving, Thoughtful, young lady. My prayers continue for you both & all the rest of her family & her husband. I know God is walking beside you both in case one stumbles he will be there to catch you & carry you when needed. May God continue to Bless You & Love you. Amen

  15. Dear James and Betty,
    I had no idea your daughter was struggling….I’m so sorry for your loss. I had to quit reading because of the tears….Your daughter is 1 year younger than my son. I haven’t lost a child, but I lost my beloved husband of 36 years, 6 ½ years ago to cancer. We married in 1969 when I was 17 and he was 21…and a few months home from being 100% disabled from Viet Nam when we met. Reading your account took me back and I relived my own grief of losing him. It still hurts, sometimes as much as it did on the day he left. My heart also goes out to Robin’s children and her husband. I don’t know how old her children are, mine were both grown with their own children, when their dad passed. I’m sure her children are much younger.

    Losing him was the hardest challenge to date. I too embrace the goodness of God as I envision him walking…no running on two good legs in Heaven, doing whatever it might be that they are doing. Perhaps he and Robin will worship side by side…as they fall before the throne.

    My prayers are with you. I’m so sorry for your loss, and as I write I’m dealing with brokenness in my family because one family member. Little does she realize how truly short life is and most offenses are so much insignificant pettiness.

    I appreciate your endeavors. I actually attended one of your Conferences many years ago, and met with Dave Roever. His message was powerful for me, since at that time, my husband was still angry with God concerning all that transpired in Viet Nam. He did eventually walk in forgiveness for all events in his life and embraced the power of the Holy Spirit to restore and lived a life of full fellowship with Christ. He is a hero to all who knew him, particularly to me.

    My prayers will be with you as you struggle with the unbearable pain in your heart. Please tell her husband I will be praying for him and the children as well.
    Warm regards,
    In Christ’s love,

  16. James and Bette, thank you so much for sharing this with us. Your daughter was indeed a very special seed planted among us all to teach us how to live through circumstances that were not the lightest to walk through. Jesus has His precious one home with him and I know how you must hurt, but you have much more to do, so take the time you need to heal and be with family and then continue your journey. We still need you. The children need you. You bless my heart every morning that I listen to you on DayStar. You are safe in His arms.

    God bless you and your entire family,
    Leslie Dickerson

    • I was so surprised to see your name here. My best friend of over 60 years was married to a man named Leslie Dickerson for over 50 years. They were both missionaries in Brazil for almost all that time. He went to be with the Lord about a year ago. As you can imagine, I did a “double-take” when I saw your name. Blessings to you.

  17. I have been praying for you, James and Betty and family ever since I learned of Robin’s homegoing. I have been vicariously involved with you guys for many years. We came to Dallas/Fort Worth many years ago to one of your seminars (?) It was right after Rhonda had her first baby – I got to hold that baby and love her. I lost someone I loved so much so can truly relate somewhat to your pain. I am sure you, as I, could not make it througn these times without Jesus. Much love and prayers. Betty Sexton


  18. Thank you for sharing some of this difficult experience with us. I am very blessed to have been able to support some of the acts of compassion and sharing of the Gospel through your faithfulness to the call of God on your lives. May the many tears that have been shed and prayers made for you and your family reach the throne of Heaven and comfort you all.

  19. When my husband graduated suddenly 8yrs. Ago The Lord made real to me till today that while I am praising Jesus my Frank is seeing Him and praising Him. So I asked The Lord to make that real to you and Betty and robins family. You have so been lifted to The Lord for Him to carry all of you that He is seen .
    Your family is so special to me. Our God Reigns. ….how Great is Our God Sing with me that the world will SEE How Great is Our God. IN HIM love Amy c.

  20. Sharleen Thornberry

    Beautiful. Just beautiful.

  21. I read this and then read back on some others articles you wrote while going through this very tough time and I can tell you that my heart broke for you folks and for your son-in-law. I shed tears. However, I was also uplifted by the faith and trust all of your family showed through this very tough time. I watched a dear friend, a young father of 11, go through the same type of experience with his lovely wife who is now in Glory with Jesus. His strength then and now as he walks this life without his mate is so uplifting to me. His faith is amazing. I don’t know how anyone can go through such difficult times without our Lord and Savior, Jesus. Thanks you for sharing your heart with us. May God wrap you in His everlasting arms as you grieve your loss. I also rejoice with you that Robin is with her Savior and happier than ever before. I love that picture of Robin that your granddaughter painted. God bless you all.

  22. Thanks James for sharing with everyone about your Robin. She knew and lived what it meant to be a Valley Walker.
    Have been praying for you and Betty–all the family! Oh, “If we could know beyond today–As God doth know,–Why
    dearest treasures pass away–And tears must flow.” If you and Betty can at sometime in your grieving listen to
    Sherri Easter as she sings “Hear My Heart” that song brought so much comfort to me during my grief -maybe it will
    minister to you also. God’s Blessings and Comfort, for such a time as this.
    One of His Sheep –Dixie Sherman

  23. My heart is breaking with you. You and your program do more to help and heal than any other ministry I know. You two are so full of love and encouragement. I cannot know your pain but I know God knows. He knows too that you WILL be together forever with Jesus. Still it is hard now to wait. You will do so beautifully.

  24. As a longtime supporter of the work you are doing around the world (we fund water wells for Africa for you) I have often thought how precious a father you must be. This piece certainly shares a fathers heart for his daughter. I am in the other battle, losing my brother for the past two years we are coming to the finish of his life. It has torn the foundation of our family and I am watching my Mother and Father also deteriorate under the strain. I am 85 pounds in my grief. It is a long and silent and lonely journey for us. I am thankful you have had such amazing support and love come your way. Perhaps a prayer or two for our family too. Sometimes it does FEEL like God gives us more than we can handle…but then we CHOSE every day to believe he is with us always..even unto the ends of the earth..In our journey, in our faith, in our suffering. God Bless all of you as you go through your journey of acceptance and peace

  25. Beautiful insights, James. My heart and my prayers have been with your family throughout this time. Robin, was a beautiful woman of God, and will be greatly missed.

  26. Thank you for your years od service to our Lord in so many different ways. Your ways of expressing His love led me on many paths I probably Would never have ventured on. Thanks for sharing your family’s journey in this world without Robin’s physical presence and helping us to live life in a similar fashion. God bless

  27. My heart weeps with you, now, and in the days ahead. The birthdays, anniversaries and special occassions. Those moments when you are taken unawares. So sorry, so very sorry.

  28. How terrible to lose a child at any age. May you faith not fail but enable you to reach even more people for Christ. My heart goes out to your family.

  29. James and Betty We thank you both for shining God’s love to all. Our hearts are broken with you but we also know the love of our Father and we look forward to spending eternity with Him and all our loved ones. We have also read the book by Randy Alcorn “Heaven”and he gives us scripture that tells us how wonderful Heaven will be. Just the fact we will be with Jesus is comforting to me. Much love to you both and your family. The Mayo’s

  30. You are all in my thoughts and prayers. I know Robin is with her Heavenly Father and out of all pain and at total peace! I pray that Gods peace will see you all through this difficult time! In Jesus name. Amen

  31. Reminded me of Robin dancing at one of the, Fort Worth I suppose, Bible conferences many years ago. A beautiful girl in many ways – who grew into a beautiful woman in so many ways.

  32. Thank you James and Betty for being such an inspiration to me. What a beautiful portrait of a life well lived in the letter written by Robin, and the poem and picture. May we all aspire to live a life such as Robin lived. God and her family must be beaming at the legacy she left.

  33. God is the great comforter and I pray He brings you peace in your sadness and joy in knowing she is with Him. I can’t imagine the pain, but I just lost a good friend this week to cancer but I do know she is joyful and well in Heaven now so as I miss her I am happy to know where she is as I know your daughter is there also. Prayers going up for you and your family and thank you for listening to the Lord and blessing us all with the words He brings you.

  34. Ty for letting us see all that u have been going through with the loss of your daughter. I pray for God’s love to surround your family so much more so now. God is so present now and forever with all who know him by name. Your daughter’s message of God’s love is oh so evident as she passed into glory with him. I love that about God how he uses us to send a message through a storm in life. I am so sorry she is not with u all now but the good news is as u definitely know you will be with her again. I thank Jesus for giving us peace to know we are away from our loved ones for a short while when they leave this earth. I appreciate your family and how u continually call on Jesus for all who see you.. how u pray for the world and do what God has commanded you to do so. I send hugs to your family and smiles to heaven to your daughter because she is smiling and laughing with Jesus now. Although I have never met your family but, have watched you on t.v. for a while now, I really love how you are so in love with Jesus and that makes me smile for the comforter we have in him. Hearts ache but God, will ease the pain with his blessed assurance of that we will all one day stand together in his glory. I am so glad i have the love of Jesus with me all the time and so glad your family is out in the world telling all about what really matters… so ty and God bless your family through the storms of life… Hugs from Syracuse NY….

  35. God bless and encourage you during this time of loss. The things you have posted about Robin have been inspirational so even in her death (or even maybe especially in her death) she continues to minister to others. I’ve had your family on my mind and in my heart all week and found my chest literally hurting at thinking about the separation you have to face for now.
    God Bless and Keep you
    Shirlene Rhea

  36. My prayers are with you and your family. I know well the deep grief you are experiencing. May God lift you up on eagles wings and fill you with his peace. Robin has won the race and she is your beloved daughter for all eternity.

  37. Dear Betty and James,
    We extend our heartfelt deepest sympathies and know that the Holy Spirit of God has already embraced you with His comfort . We pray that the Peace of Jesus,the Prince of Peace , the Love of our Everlasting Father continue to infuse in you a more glorious testimony today and the days to come.

    God’s blessing on you and your entire family and ministry..from our family to yours ,
    Keith and Madhu

  38. I know Loss haven lost my father, mother, sister and close friends, but it is Him! my Alpha who saw me through in the last 20yrs! psalms 23 says :Thou we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we should fear no evil he would comfort us and prepare a table before us even in the presence of our enemies and annoint our heads with oil, that goodness and mercy would follow us all the days of lives.Brother James i prophesy into your lives , and that of every member of your family goodness and mercy shall follow you henceforth begining from this year and the rest of your lives.All will be well!

    Evangelist Moji Obasa
    Oxford Uk.

  39. Tameasa Provencher

    Dear Pastor,

    Thank you and Betty for sharing a bit of Robin’s life with us during the course of your grief. What a lovely flower God gave you all, in deed! She seems to have left with you her beautiful testimoney to share with us all. I am certain that your expressions of love and grief for Robin will bring another grieving soul to Christ. Her fingerprints, footsteps and love have left a direct path to the Cross of Calvary. May God comfort you all during this time of sorrow. We share in your grief and are praying God’s ministering angels will surround you with God’s grace and love.