Thursday, September 26, 2013

Caught off guard

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 ~ But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong

I think its safe to say that at least 90% of the time I am on guard (or mentally prepared) in local public places, especially when I know there will be school age kids around. I like to be on guard in case I run in to some of Jackson’s friends or just see other little boys he knew. It’s never good for me to be caught “off guard”, because it can make me visibly nervous and anxious immediately. I’m sure most people who have lost a loved one do attempt to be mentally prepared when they feel they may come in contact with a person who reminds them of the one they long to be with. To be caught off guard can put me in a bad place, with supernatural speed. It is NEVER, I repeat NEVER the person’s fault that reminds of my Jackson. It’s nobody’s fault, it’s just a part of this grey area I now live in, sometimes things sneak up on me and I’m just not prepared. I can’t walk around in a bubble and I don’t want to. It does me good to see those boys and picture how tall Jackson would be now and imagine how he would have changed….when I’m prepared.

We are currently getting ready to take a trip without the kids, just my husband and I for our 10 year anniversary. I have been excited beyond belief the past few weeks just to be able to spend time with just the man I married and no rush to actually have to “do” anything. I forgot to take into account how the enemy likes to steal my joy, to steal all our joy (especially when I’m preoccupied and not in the word like I need to be.) I have mentioned in another post "The Search"( that feeling of forgetting something very important almost daily. We have been preparing things for Jenna Claire and Jett to help their grandparents who will stay with them while we are gone, and that “forgetting something” feeling has been overwhelming me. What am I forgetting?  Well let’s see, I’m forgetting to give them instructions on doing Jackson’s homework, and all his activities. That gaping hole, I miss my son.

I went to church last night, like I do most Wednesday nights because I’m involved with AWANA and there is nothing in the world better than watching a gym full of kids praising and worshipping through fun songs. As I was looking for Jenna Claire to pick her up and they were singing and dancing, I kept seeing this blonde head from across the room. At first I thought it was my imagination, I’m in that gym every Wednesday night and I have not seen that child. So I moved to get a better view, he looked so much like Jackson from behind that I lost my breath. It was one of Jackson’s very best buddies, tied together at the hip from 3 years old. The way he moves and his hair is the same as Jackson’s. What a gift God gave us when he gave us Tate, a reminder that Jackson was real. He was a real 100% boy with real buddies and he got into a lot of real trouble, and he really is fully alive in Heaven waiting for us to be re united. My point is this, while my guard was down and I got instantly anxious and nauseous at the site of Jacksons buddy and their likeness, (only because I was not prepared, I was preoccupied with our trip) what the enemy meant for harm, God made good and revealed a beautiful reminder.

The enemy does care that our marriage survived the unthinkable, the enemy is disgusted that we made it 10 years, the enemy needs to ruin our vacation with thoughts of my constant search for Jackson. The enemy needs to remind me that we should never celebrate anything in this life, we should be held in bondage by guilt and depression without our oldest son here. The enemy meant me harm and though it hurt to be reminded, it would hurt worse not to have those sweet boy’s as reminders. That is the gift God showed me early this morning. It’s hard to believe that the enemy would care anything about us, after all, isn’t he out trying to destroy nations? You better believe he’s after us, we are the church!  If he breaks my faith in Jesus, I have nothing. If I live in bondage, I’m not living at all. God is just not done with me yet, that much is clear. There will be many times I am caught off guard, and there will be many moments of overwhelming sadness over my longing to be with Jackson again. There will also be many moments of grace and hope that God so freely gives when I realize what is going on and call on Jesus. We are living in a world of constant spiritual warfare, don’t believe me? OPEN YOUR EYES, read the bible. He is near, and the enemy is on the prowl.

Ephesians 6:12  ~For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Who knows, Maybe one day JC will marry one of Jackson’s buddies and he will be a reminder of the hope I have in Jesus, until I am with my oldest son again in eternity. A sweet reminder of my son Jackson in the face of a son-in-law . It could happen, we know God has a sense of humor, that much is true ;)

                                                           Jackson and Tate best bud's

Friday, September 20, 2013

Love story

Proverbs 3:5-8 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.

I read an advertisement for a vacation aimed at couples that read something like this “For couples who want to be reminded of when they first fell in love.” That got me thinking. I think that I am truly one of the only people who can not identify with that statement. When I married my husband I thought I knew it all. We were in love and there were birds chirping and I was devastated when we had to be apart for any amount of time. He was all I thought about….Is that what they meant in that advertisement? Let me share a little of my own love story with you.

On July 29th, 2004 I laid my eyes on love in the flesh. It was that day, that moment that we had Jackson David that I knew I was wrong about my previous ”idea” of love. I had birthed that beautiful boy with no epidural (not by choice, the thing just wouldn’t work). I had brought that perfect baby into the world with only the help of the good Lord and lots of support  (plus some good pain meds). I had started something and I had finished it,  that baby boy was my first true accomplishment in this world. You see,  I have been known to think something is a good idea and start it, but never really finish it. Having my first child changed all that, I went into labor and I finished it, and I was IN LOVE. I think I had always really thought that I would try and push a time or two and it would be to hard and I would end up having a nice painless little C-section (yes I now know they aren’t nice) and never feel a thing, or really have to do anything. That’s not how labor works in the real world and I’m so thankful for that now. One definition of labor is : Physical or mental exertion, especially when difficult or exhausting; Something produced by work.
I don’t believe that the pain and physical exhaustion of labor is all bad. If I have learned anything in my time on earth its that pain of any kind be it emotional or physical brings about change. The pain of child birth brought me my first glimpse of love without boundaries, that labor pain brought us our first born son.

Pain has many, many faces though, it is not cut and dry. I have had to learn that life is just not black and white, I live in the grey area along with many others. We live in a place that is full of choices that have to made daily now, choices that should never have to be made, but that’s part of living here in the grey areas.  The pain and absolute devastation of losing Jackson almost 6 short years later brought me my first glimpse of what its like to make the choice to keep living without that little boy who showed me true love.  The first choice that had to be made was to keep breathing. I made that choice and I made another choice to lean on my husband and together we hurt like hell, together we changed. Whatever relationship we thought we knew before was gone and in its place was raw truth mixed with pain and respect for one another, we found something more real than any 4 letter word could ever be. Together we chose to focus on our beautiful little princess who desperately needed us and we focused on each other, we submitted to Jesus and let him direct our path.

After all the suffering, Its my thinking that we love differently because we have truly seen each other.  We love because we choose to love each other, in the pain and heartache we grew and through our faith we changed. We have walked a treacherous road together and while God grew us in ways I never knew possible, I pray this is the home stretch now. Pain is pain no matter how you feel it, and when you sit back and look at your hardships you will SEE the changes that took place during the pain. It could be the pain of having a child, pain of saying goodbye to a child, pain of watching your spouse suffer, pain of divorce, physical pain of disease, or the pain of living when you can’t have your hearts desire on Earth. No matter the type of pain, there will be change. I pray you look up in your pain, Acknowledge Jesus and let Him guide you. There is no other way to survive this kind of pain and truly live. I know the alternative , I was there and I’m not going back.

I look back now at the people Josh and I were 10 years ago when we got married and its almost laughable. We really thought we knew something, don’t all 20 something year olds? I did love Josh 10 years ago, but now I’m in love with him and I make the choice to keep loving him (that’s not saying I always like him…. ;-) ). Would I trade Jackson to learn how to love my husband better or to grow in my faith? Of course not, but a choice in that matter was never offered. However, the choice to grow in the midst of horrendous pain and trust Jesus was offered  and we took it.
In the words of Mercy Me ”The hurt and the Healer”

Sometimes I feel it’s all that I can do
Pain so deep that I can hardly move
Just keep my eyes completely fixed on You
Lord take hold and pull me through
So here I am
What’s left of me
Where glory meets my suffering
I’m alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I fall into your arms open wide
When the hurt and the healer collide
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