Tuesday, December 20, 2016

My CHRISTmas gift

Revelation 12:11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death
Testify : to bear witness; give or afford evidence.

With Christmas rapidly approaching my anxiety and general weirdness have been off the charts. My brain is scattered more than normal and I am forced to just sit down and stop. I can't express how draining it is to just try and act "normal", especially when you are in 24/7 jittery, anxious, missing something and someone mode.
One example of what happens when the "normal" facade is failing is as follows. Yesterday I was out shopping and I had a major case of fight or flight and had to get the heck out of that store. Nothing particular happened that I know of, but I had to go sit in the car for like 30 min (with some chocolate) to get up enough strength to go back in. I had gifts that needed to be bought, I had to go back in for my family. This. Is. Exhausting. I think as the person suffering through it, we are the last to realize sometimes why we are so fatigued and frustrated. It takes a intentional slow down. I want to share some things that may seem odd, but I can't ignore them and I know by reading Rev 12:11 (and many many other signals that include various songs and daily devotionals pressing my heart to continue sharing my testimony) that I am called to share what the Lord does for me. I want others to feel what I feel and I believe He wants me to share so that others may SEE what I SEE.  In all the anxiety and rushing around this time of year it's easy to get distracted and miss what the Lord may be whispering to our anxious and hurting hearts. I am guilty of knowing something is being said to me but not slowing down to listen, that is me missing a blessing. That is me missing out on his calming presence in an attempt to do it my way, by staying busy. When I am finally forced to slow down due to the overwhelming anxiety and just pray, I am always left in awe and I am always blessed. 
I gave an example of what happens in my life when I do things my way (emergency chocolate and prayer meeting in the Old Navy parking lot), here is an example of how it works when I'm being still and not rushing around, when I am in his word and just being present here and now. 

A few nights ago, I was drying my daughter's hair and just talking to her when I stepped on something in the bathroom floor. I leaned down to see what it was, it was a rubber bracelet in the shape of a cowboy hat. Understand that this was one of a million that belonged to Jackson, that was a "thing" for the little kids about 6-7 years ago, to wear all the rubber bracelets you can. I asked my daughter where it came from, she said she had never seen it.....in comes my 5 year old son, so I point to the bracelet and ask him where he got it. He says he has never seen it. I know it was Jackson's and I have not seen one of those bracelets in over 6 years. It could not have fallen from anything in my bathroom, if there are any of those bracelets in my house they would be put away, safe with the things in his trunk. There is no reasonable explanation, but there is Jesus. I don't know what or who He uses to send us these gifts , maybe an angel?  I have no idea, I only know that it was a sweet reminder that Jackson is not forgotten and our pain is not forgotten this season. A CHRISTmas gift.

I took a photo of that sweet little gift and I prayed that I would be able to slow down as to SEE more of the personal gifts our Lord sends, I also uploaded a photo of Jackson wearing the bracelets, look at his left arm!
The Lord cares, He knows our hurt!  We serve a living savior who has and does feel pain. He chose to be born into a broken and sinful world and in his time on Earth he felt grief, pain, loss, joy, betrayal and faith among countless other emotions.  How can we forget that He feel's our pain when he see's his children hurting? I hope my sweet reminder helps you to slow down and SEE that the Lord is good.

John 1:9-14  The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.  He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.  He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him,  who believed in his name,  he gave the right  to become  children of God, who were born,  not of blood  nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of  grace and  truth.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

6 years later


Romans 12:12

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer

I am not an emotional person, I'm not typically a crier and I don't usually get excited (good or bad) outwardly. I learned at a very early age to just keep it in, I'm not sure if that's a gift or a curse. It certainly results in total devastation when the dam that holds back the emotions breaks. There are times that I think I should be crying, (as in a totally appropriately sad situation)but I just can't. I also get very uncomfortable when there is a lot of emotion flying around, mostly because I just can't deal. I suppose I am just basically socially awkward at times, I am a work in progress no doubt!

I said all of that to say this, yesterday the dam broke and let me tell you, hoover had nothing on Ronnie's emotional dam. 
Jackson's birthday is Friday and I felt the numbness and the lack of caring what is happening around me settling in. That is a gift I believe, to protect me from the pain of constantly realizing my child won't be here to celebrate or to even turn 12 years old. He is forever almost 6. I went to the cemetery because I felt pulled (mothers instinct I suppose) to be near him. I don't go there much at all because I know in my very bones that he is NOT there, he is in Heaven and not even studying his earthly birthday!Yet my flesh was longing for his flesh. As I sat in my car just staring at his name on headstone, I felt that old familiar crushing pain in my chest. That pain that is my heart trying to beat despite not being whole anymore, the pain of not understanding "why me?". And then the tears came and I can't describe the pain and loneliness I felt, there just are no words. Then the rain came, it was literally pouring from the sky. As I looked out the window covered in rain I felt this scripture whispered into my heart and mind:

John 11:35
Jesus wept

I am not saying that the rain was just for me, but who is to say is wasn't? Maybe God used the rain to speak to my lonely heart in that moment. I was able to raise my head and I no longer felt alone in that moment. The crying did not cease and neither did the tears, my breath did not come back immediately either.  I simply knew that I was not alone and for that moment, it was enough. I watched it rain, I cried for the life my son doesn't get to have,  and I grieved hard for my husband and other children. I did all of this while watching it rain and knowing that Jesus cries with us and he was hurting with me. 

Thanks for traveling this crazy journey with me, I know it's hard to read but I also know that sharing is what God wants me to do. May he use my grief for his glory and may he PLEASE return soon!

NEEDTOBREATHE, Be here long:
And though my heart may be in pieces
My mind is still set on you

And though I can't keep it together
I know that you want me to

Oh I'm swimming in the grief
and there's no anchor that hold me down

And I don't want any relief 
'cause i don't want to let you go right now 

Close my eyes and think of you
Go to sleep and dream of you
We don't get to be here long


Monday, March 14, 2016

The gift of Perseverance

~Perseverance: steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.

You don't go through spiritual warfare and live in the deepest pits of grief and come out not recognizing Satan when you encounter him. 
As surely as I recognize My saviors hand on my shoulder, I SEE the devil's schemes as clearly. I don't think anyone can truly experience the personal healing hand of God and not come out with a new set of eyes, at least that is true for me. 
I have spoken of the pit of grief many times, it is the most lonely and ugly place anyone could experience and I would not wish it on anyone. I say that to say this, I would not change my experience. I was not who God intended me to be before my trials and losing our son. I was luke warm and it was not pretty.
I have come to believe that when Jesus brought me out of that pit on the other side he gave me a gift, I believe my spiritual gift is "perseverance". That may not sound like much of a gift to you, but its everything to me. Not only do I endure the trials of this life and still have JOY, but I endure with the ability to show others that they can too, I persevere in spite of the trials, I grow because of them!

When I think of the cost of my families spiritual growth I get upset (hello, I'm human!). Then, I think of the cost Jesus paid, and I am humbled quickly. Is it fair or right that some families have to suffer so much ? Nope, but he does not leave us without hope and the intelligence to SEE Satan's attacks as they come. The more we pray and turn to God in trials the harder Satan comes at us. I will just have to use my personal gift of perseverance in Christ and keep moving. 
Trials are part of spiritual growth and Lord knows we have been through them in our home, losing our son was torment, but we put our heads down, prayed and we endured the storm, we still do. Together my family is stronger than ever because of hardships. I don't see an end them anytime soon, but doesn't that just mean God has something huge in store for us? The hardest battles are dealt to the strongest warriors, so I'm told :) 

James 1:12
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.   

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Gift of inexpressible joy

1 Peter 1:8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy~

Decorating for Chritsmas while missing a child puts the "bitter" in bittersweet. I never really understood that word until it became the only word I could find to describe this time of year for us. I love Christmas, I can't think of a sweeter reason in life to celebrate than the birth of Jesus. The bitter part comes in when I have to celebrate and decorate for it without my oldest son here.
As I try to decorate my house for the 6th time since Jackson has been in Heaven , I can't help but wonder, why is it still so hard? Why do I put myself through this? Even when I can't put my finger on my funky mood, it's always there this time of year, the Jacskson size hole in my heart and life. Every subconscious part of me screams "you are gonna have to go down memory lane when you start decorating!" And that is so hard beyond words. BUT, it's also beautiful at the same time. I get to travel back to when my marriage was new, life was so simple and we had one sweet baby boy. We had the world at our feet, just like every new family starting out.
As I go through old photos, I  also notice the lack of actual "Joy" on my face in those old photos. I loved Christmas because it was a holiday that just happend to be Jesus's birthday. So, while I had my husband and a growing family , I wasn't whole, I didn't SEE Jesus. Life now is a series of crazy emotions: loneliness, JOY,  sadness, thankfulness, pain, JOY, love, fear, and JOY. 
While it hurts me to my core to decorate, celebrate and recall a former life, and grieve for the life I didn't get, I will decorate. I will do it with a joy and a sadness that I never knew could co exist so perfectly. I will cry from the pain of missing my Jackson and my heart will burst with the joy of thankfulness for my other children and a marriage that is 10 times stronger this Christmas than it was when I thought I had it all. Now, I SEE what I was unable to see before, I SEE the love of a savior sent to feel every emotion I feel and still choose the cross. I SEE and feel the love that Jesus has for me and I will celebrate knowing that One sweet day there will be no more tears and my family will be whole. Until then, I will press on and I will decorate!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Reflecting on "Then & Now"

Luke 18:1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up

Have you ever noticed the "Then & Now" option on the Time Hop app? Its really neat, it will show you a photo from your facebook timeline from the past and then give you the option to post a new one so you can see them side by side, or , "Then & Now". 
There are obvious problems for me with that when a photo of Jackson pop's up. I don't have a "Now" to post of Jackson, all we will ever have is "then" as far as photo's. That is the strangest most foreign feeling, even 5 years after he went to Heaven.  knew I was supposed to write a "Then & Now" post, but I was not sure what way it would    go, as I type I'm starting to SEE it unfold. That's usually how this writing thing works for me, I try hard to be a vessel, but its not alwayseasy, and I'm not always obedient. Please don't get me wrong, I LOVE opening timehop and seeing my boy. It makes my day to see him in living color, the heartbreak comes when the app asks me if I want to post a "Now" photo. I would love nothing more in this world, but its not happening. There are times that I have to just wallow in it for a while, the fact that I can't post those type of things for Jackson. Usually though, the Lord sustains me when I allow Him to. He always reminds me that Jackson's "now" is far greater than any earthy photo or moment I could ever imagine, I need to be focusing on my "Now", I am the one who has not made it to eternity yet. 
What does my present photo look like, spiritually I mean. Am I doing all I can to help others and be the light I am called to be? Am I pointing people to the cross? 

 My "Then"

I think what I want to remind myself and anyone else who  may need it is this, everything is a choice on Earth even if you don't realize it, it IS a choice. When I get down and I just know I can't get up, I look at my family and friends and I can't help but to give thanks for what I do have "Now". I can not say how important it is that when you are in the pit of grief that you remain intentional on who surrounds you. It is imperative that you allow God's people to share your burden. I am thankful everyday, even in my grief, for my God loving family and friends. 
I will miss Jackson until my very last breath, and after that, guess what? I will SEE him again. Am I happy and have this outlook all the time, ummm, no. In fact I am crying as I type these words, I held it together today but it was a hard day, and we all have those. There are times that I scream and stomp and throw a fit, life is just so stinking hard. I have to make a choice to focus on right now and let the petty stuff go.  
                                                                                                                            My "Now"
So,  as look at myself on timehop, I realize that there is no physical photo in existence that could show the change in me over my grief process, no "then & now" can show what Jesus did in me. I went to hell and back in 5 years and no physical feature can show that, until my last breath I will continue praying that the Lord will continue to show me how to focus on Eternity and my present time. I need people to SEE that while I was not able to move in my grief, God worked. He is always at work. When Jackson left this world God moved people into my life that would mold my family and become part of my family. They were the hands and feet and still are! I am blessed beyond measure for the famliy God gave me, blood or not, they are beyond any family I could ask for. 
My then and now is completely different, because I allowed Him, He showed my family grace beyond measure. While the Jackson size hole in my heart will be there all of my earthly days,the Lord never left my family without hope! I want to remind myself and anyone else reading to try to intentionally love on someone, you never know the pain they may be carrying. Looks are deceiving and its so important to always remember to love your neighbor, the burden they carry may just be dragging them down to a place they feel they can't escape. Today may be the "Now" that they need you to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Reach out. Be intentional. I am challenging myself to continue to be intentional in my effort to love in my sorrow. THIS IS NOT HOW IT ENDS. 
Lord hold on to us, keep reminding us that this pain is just a season and it will end. Heal our busted hearts and remind us to pray for the hurting. Show us your intentions for us are always good even in the hurt. Lord and help us see that our "Then & Now" will be such a change that we won't even recognize ourselves when we reach glory! 

"Busted Heart (Hold On To Me)"

Winter has come back again
Feels like the season won't end
My faith is tired tonight,
And I won't try to pretend,
I've got it all figured out,
That I don't have any doubts,
I've got a busted heart
I need You now
Yeah I need You now

Hold on to me
Hold on to me
Don't let me lose my way
Hold on to me

I am the wandering son
Enough is never enough
I keep chasing the wind
Instead of chasing Your love
I'm screaming out Your name,
Don't let me fall on my face
I've got a busted heart
I'm in need of a change
Yeah, I'm desperate for grace

Hold on to me (Hold on to me)
Hold on to me
Don't let me lose my way (Don't let me lose my way)
Hold on to me

Broke Your heart a thousand times
But You've never left my side
You have always been here
For me

You never let me go
You never let me go
Don't ever let me go

Hold on to me (Hold on to me)
Hold on to me
Don't let me lose my way (Don't let me lose my way)
Hold on to me

Winter will come to an end
Soon the season will end
I surrender tonight
You meet me right where I am

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Catching a glimpse of Heaven

“If you read history, you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next.” 
― Randy AlcornHeaven

I read a book a few years ago by Randy Alcorn called 'Heaven'. I honestly can't say how much his book helped me SEE and be excited about what awaits us in Heaven. I have mentioned before that having a child in Heaven made me all the more thirsty to know everything I can about it. 

I always thought of Heaven as, I don't know....boring? I mean, I knew I wanted to be there to be with Jesus but I just could not picture it. That is where this book came in, it gave me new perspective based on scripture, we need to know what awaits us so we can be excited and prepared! Who goes to Disney not prepared, after all its the greatest place on Earth right? How much more should we prepare for Heaven?

I rarely ever dream about Jackson, I have dreamed maybe 5 times since he left this Earth and I remember them vividly. But it's been at least a year since my last dream.
 A few weeks ago I found myself alone outside (that never happens) I was lying on the Trampoline just soaking up the sun and the quiet for the moment. I was just talking to God and thanking him for the warmth of the sun and I started wondering what Jackson was doing that moment in Heaven. I got the most beautiful vision of Jackson and Amy (my sister who is also in Heaven). They were very VERY high on a cliff of sorts laughing with several others. I could hear music, but it was not harps, they were jamming! Below them was a body of water so clear that I could see everything in it, every fish, every color. It was more clear than any water I could have ever seen. Then he took off running and jumped head first into the water from that cliff with my sister clapping and laughing while he swam to the bank where a big fat yellow dog was waiting for him and wagging his tail. 
I know it was probably my imagination, but what if it was a little gift from God to say "He is having a blast waiting for you !". That was a more beautiful vision than any dream I have ever had unconsciously, it was perfection. They were beautiful and joyful and having a blast ! 

I have not thought of Heaven as "boring" since I read Randy's book, but I had never had my own revelation of how awesome it will be until I got that little vision. Think about it for a moment, the same God that gave us that craving for adrenaline also created Heaven. Why would He make it boring for us? That feeling you get when you are on space mountain, our God gave an engineer the idea for that ride. Our God gave us the craving for excitement, please don't doubt that He would prepare for us a dull place. Its going to be awesome, beyond what we can comprehend because we are human and full of doubt and limits. Heaven won't hold these boundaries and we just may be able to cliff dive into water so clear we can't fathom it. We may be able to hitch a ride on a dinosaur, why not? My God knows no limits, don't put him in a box. Ask Him to show you and you may be amazed. 

If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. ~C. S. Lewis

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Five years later

Romans 16:20 
The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

I usually really try to refrain from over sharing about my thoughts and what my personal suffering entails. I refrain because its hard for me to write (or say) and I'm sure it would be very hard to read such things for someone who has not been here. That being said, I am going to share some moments that may be a little more in depth and hard to read. I had this all written out and then I thought, "Lord how can my suffering and hard moments bring glory to you, I can't publish that!" Needless to say, He wanted me to share. I can't understand the ways that my words may be used, but he knows.......

The entire month of May is just really hard for me. This May marks 5 years since Jackson went to Heaven, Mothers day, my birthday, and it's the month my sister went to Heaven 19 years ago. This month brings with it lots of darkness and very bad  memories. 
There are some parts of "child loss" ( I HATE THAT PHRASE) that can't be shared with those who are not in this horrendous situation. It's too much, I mean, I live it and it's too much. I will however attempt to soften the feelings into words. If you know me at all you know that is very hard, I am a very raw and honest person so bare with me. 

Yesterday My 3 year old fell asleep at like 5pm. I knew he needed to wake up or he would never be able to sleep later. I literally HATE waking my kids up, I know what it will do to me. Every time I put my hand on my children's chest the first thing I feel is their beautiful hearts beating, that is not my intention, it is part of me now. I touch them to wake them or cuddle them and I feel their hearts and remember touching Jackson and not feeling his heart beat. The memories started flooding in of saying goodbye to Jackson, and it was just the last straw in the month of May landslide. I just got angry. What mother can't touch her other children without thinking of such a horrible moment? In that moment I felt the truth come over me. God knew, He knew I was being pushed and reminded by Satan's attack. He knew that I would not be able to stand against it, so He crushed it. As quickly as the darkness draped me sitting on the couch crying over my sleeping baby man, Jesus stepped in and the light met the dark. He stepped in and crushed Satan's schemes against my family 5 years ago when I asked him to, and He has not left my side since. He continues to show me His love and his presence even when I don't ask. 

He show's me himself through people, prayer, songs and scripture. I can't adequately describe how God has used my friends to combat darkness even 5 years later. There are not words to describe the love given to me from such amazing women. It absolutely matters in this spiritual battle who is in your army. I am fighting in the Lords army along side of some of the most amazing women. Five years ago I made a very conscience choice to surround myself with those who would build me up and point me to the cross. That was the best choice I made. I tell my daughter often that she must "Be a friend to have friends". Choose who you want to be in battle beside, it makes all the difference.  I love you all so much. Thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus. I am in awe of Him because of you.
***The photos posted on this blog are just SOME of the love I have been shown this month.

The point in me sharing such a private moment is really beyond me, I can't imagine God's ways to use this but I know He will. He presses me to share and I get no rest until I do it. 

"He Knows" Jeremy Camp

All the bitter weary ways
Endless striving day by day
You barely have the strength to pray
In the valley low

And how hard your fight has been
How deep the pain within
Wounds that no one else has seen
Hurts too much to show

All the doubt you're standing in between
And all the weight that brings you to your knees

He knows
He knows
Every hurt and every sting
He has walked the suffering

He knows
He knows
Let your burdens come undone
Lift your eyes up to the one
Who knows
He knows
He knows

We may faint and we may sink
Feel the pain and near the brink
But the dark begins to shrink
When you find the one who knows

The chains of doubt that held you in between
one by one are starting to break free


Every time you feel forsaken
Every time that you feel alone
He is near to the brokenhearted
Every tear
He knows
He know