April 12, 2010

It could have been worse & Brokenness

NOTHING prepares you to hold your lifeless child in your arms.  My mind has been a constant blur of thoughts lately.  We know of two families who lost their first baby right before delivery just in the last week.  My heart is broken for these families as they walk through these dark waters.  Their lives took a turn that wasn't in the plan and they find themselves in a place that no one wants to be.  I so remember that feeling, and I hurt for them.  I can clearly remember holding my lifeless little boy and the thoughts that I had at that time.  It was almost as if time stood still. I remember realizing that I had a choice to make.  I could choose to trust God and walk with Him in faith and praise His name through it, or I could could become bitter and angry and choose a much more difficult path.  I know it was the grace of God making my thoughts cleat in that moment and I made a choice to trust my Heavenly Father.  I have never regretted that decision.  Please pray for these two couples as they desperately need it right now.

I am so thankful for my relationship with Jesus Christ.  It is the only thing that sustained me during that dark time in my life.  There is a children's book entitled It Could Have Been Worse.  I think about that often these days as I think about what has taken place in my life and in the lives of those around me.  It is not exactly that I am looking at what we are all going through and thinking there could be something worse that could happen, or that person's pain wasn't as bad as mine, it could be worse.  No, it is a different thought process.  You see, I never look at someone else's tragedy or difficulty and think that it is not as bad as what I went through.  I don't believe you can compare pain.  If something causes a person pain, then it is hurting them and it doesn't matter what brought them to that point.  Pain is pain, whether it be because of an injury, a terminal illness, the loss of a child, the loss of a parent, the loss of a job or any other difficulty in life.  What matters is that we come to a place of brokenness in our pain, I will come back to this thought.  But what I am talking about when I say "it could have been worse" is going through any of those things not knowing the incredible hope found only in Jesus Christ .  I cannot imagine what it is like to walk through tragedy like losing your child not having the hope that a relationship with Christ brings.  I can't imagine not being able to know that I will see my sweet little man again when I see the face of my Savior.  I can't imagine being unable to rest in the absolute sovereignty of my loving God.  And, I can't imagine getting up each morning after experiencing such heart break and not being able to experience the true joy of an intimate relationship with God.  I am so thankful to say that Todd and I, as well as these other two couples, each have a personal relationship with God through Jesus and what He did on the cross.  Yes, it definitely could have been worse, we could have not had that relationship.  We could have had no hope. But, praise the Lord, we each do and anyone can!  I am praying these two couples are able to cling to that right now.

I have thought much about how it could have been worse.  I have also thought a great deal about brokenness.  When we experience heart wrenching pain, what matters is that we allow ourselves to be broken before God.  We need to come to a place where we recognize our desperate need for Him.  Without Him we are hopelessly lost, sinful and unable to help ourselves.  God wants us to let our dreams for our life be shattered and begin to see His dreams for us.  We need to scrape together the broken pieces of our life and offer them up to God with open hands.  When we do that, God gets down in the dirt with us and begins to help us back to our feet and He begins to put those pieces back together.  I think the best part though, is that they don't go back together quite the same way and He leaves a reminder, the scars.  There is a song that Point of Grace sings that touches my heart deeply every time I hear it.  It is called Heal the Wound.  There is a part where they say, "Heal the wound but leave the scar, A reminder of how merciful you are, I am broken torn apart, Take the pieces of this heart, And heal the wound but leave the scar, Don't let me forget everything you've done for me, Don't let me forget the beauty in the suffering, Heal the wound but leave the scar"  Oh how thankful I am that God took the pieces of my shattered heart, healed the wound but left the scar behind.  It truly does remind me of God's faithfulness and my need for Him and his grace every single day.  It also reminds me to be compassionate and to reach out to those who are hurting all around me.  Todd and I had the great privilege of meeting and visiting with Steve Saint (son of Nate Saint, the missionary who was killed in 1956).  He had lost his daughter a couple years before our meeting him and we were talking with him about that.  We got his book and he wrote something in it that I think of often.  He said, "Don't be afraid to let your scars show."  I am thankful for the scars and that when we allow them to show, God can use them to be an encouragement to others. 

I am so thankful that I am in the Hands of the Great Potter and that through all that I face in life He is shaping me into who He wants me to be.  I don't want to miss what He has for me in the trials in life.  I pray I can bring Him much glory by allowing Him to mold me even in the valleys I may have to walk through.  He is so faithful!

April 9, 2010

I believe I can fly

I love to observe my boys.  At this stage of life, they pretty much think they can do anything.

Even fly.

And, I guess I can't argue




I think they can stay in the air longer than I ever could :)



They have very few fears when it comes to trying things.  Even my middle man now jumps into all kinds of adventures where he used to be quite reserved. It is fun to see them growing and changing.  And as fun as it is to see the physical changes, I enjoy seeing them grow spiritually even more.  The older two boys are developing such compassionate hearts toward those hurting and in need around the world.  I pray that God can give me the wisdom and knowledge to know how to continue to foster that compassion and love for others in them. 

April 8, 2010

Treasures

March 1st marked what would have been the sixth birthday of our son Micah.  When he died we decided that this would always be a day to celebrate in our family.  A day to celebrate his life and what it meant to us, and a day to celebrate the gift God has given us in our family.  Every year we take the day off from life and just spend time as a family.  I really mean the day off from life too :).  We don't answer our phones, we don't do work, we even pull out of school for this one!  Then we just do all sorts of fun things.  Every year looks a little different, and every year is an adventure that our kids look forward too.  We don't have to go anywhere to have an adventure, it is just that they have no idea what we will do and look foward to each thing no matter how big or small.

What I don't think we realized when we started this tradition, is what is would teach us.  It would teach us to take time out, no matter how crazy life is (like being four days away from major banquets!) and just treasure family.  I realized today as our kids just thrived on all that totally uninterrupted time with us, that we don't do it often enough.   We don't take a break from life and just spend time with each other.  Although I would love to have Micah here with us and the party would have been so much better if he had been part of it, I am so thankful that we learned this through our loss of him.  Our family really is a treasure to us and we praise the Lord for how He has blessed us through our kids and our marriage.

Here are some pictures of the day's events.

The girls watching the rest of us make some brunch of waffles, bacon, and fresh squeezed OJ
The middle man trying hand hand at squeezing oranges
 
 The boys love to make orange juice
  
 We played lots of games too.  One was a new one we picked up called Eye Spy Eagle Eye.  It was fun for everyone.
  
One of the only smiles we got out of our sick little man.
  
 Here was the start of a special birthday treat we made.
  
Here was the yummy finished product
  
 The big man was a big fan
  
 This is seriously how the little man looked all day...very sad
  

The girls kept us well entertained with silliness throughout the day
 

 

So I started this post over a month ago when my back was still very bad.  The three little ones have already changed so much since these pictures were taken!  I will have get another post up quickly with updated pictures, especially now that I can sit comfortably at my computer again.  :)