Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Joining the unthinkable "Grief Journey"

Galatians 6:2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

This verse rings more true for those who have suffered and have somehow managed to see the light of day again. Not only are we instructed to bear one another's burdens, I believe that when we have battled pure evil and lived in that pit fighting for air, we are changed. If we allow it, God changes us. We not only want to help other's in bearing their burdens, but we also FEEL their burdens as our own to a point. The ability for us is not only to sympathize, but we now empathize, like it or not, we are one in our suffering. For some of us the hurt for them runs so deep that it causes us to flash back to our own time of brokenness. This is never more true than when another parent joins this awful club of parents living without their child, waiting for answers that will never come. We understand that gut wrenching sorrow and we remember it all to well. We remember it and at times our own sorrow and grief threaten to swell again as we grieve so hard for those just starting this journey. 

I was recently asked the dreaded question that every mom beginning this journey wants to know...."How long will I feel this way?" there is no answer for that. There is absolutely no correct way to grieve your child. It breaks my heart to not be able to give a time frame or directions for such intense pain, its the worst, most unpredictable pain in this world. For a broken bone or any physical wound there is medication and a time frame such as "If all goes well we can remove the cast in 6 weeks." With spiritual pain, there is no medication and no time frame to look forward to the pain letting up. I have been amazed on this journey at how different we all grieve. I have seen parents do and say things that I could not do in the midst of my own grief. I have seen parents seem to grasp very early that God is with them and they seem to never really drown in the pain, like I did. I have seen others farther than us into their own grief journey who seem so lost and angry. Grief is not a one size fits all and it would be great if we could all try to grasp that, myself included. 

Our small town has suffered another loss, the loss of a child who had to say goodbye way before his family was ready. A beautiful little boy whose short life will leave an eternal imprint on the hearts of all who grieve him. A child who ran through the gates of Heaven with the speed of lightening, and with an all knowing spirit. A child who would not change a thing about his short life even that it ended too soon. There is not a soul in Heaven who would come back, not one. That does not make our time here without them any easier, but for me, knowing my son would never choose this broken world over the Heaven he now calls home makes me more eager to get there too. My prayer is that this family be comforted with the peace that only God can give, no words can bring comfort like the Holy Spirit. The spirit is all knowing, only He knows how to comfort us as individually as our grief is. 

Romans 8:26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.

When you pray for others, and you can't find the words, pray this scripture. I know I will, and for all of us who have traveled this journey before this family may we share the words the Lord gives us to build them up. May we not stay down to long in our own grief flashbacks and may we always come back stronger from our grief "flashbacks" I love you all more than words. This life won't last forever, we must keep our focus on Jesus, we must be sure of our salvation and we must keep chasing Jesus until He returns.
Please know that when I write these blogs, its more to myself than to anyone else. I always pray that not my own words be used but that the Lord Himself use me to comfort others as He has comforted me, He WILL use our prayers so please keep sending them up. 

To the Caubble family, I hate that you are traveling this road, but you have many warriors interceding in prayer for you. We who have traveled before you are praying as only we who FEEL your pain can. 

Hebrews 10:23-25 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Unfortunately our town has many parents who understand this pain all to well, we are all praying for you as only we can. Here is a little tribute to some our sweet hometown babies who now live in Heaven and to their parents. May we as parents left behind be a living testament to how prayer works to sustain a broken heart. Until we meet again sweet babies, you are missed every minute of everyday.  

                                                                             Jackson Orman

Maddox Yarbrough 



                                                                Tatum Caubble

                                                                 Shelby Ratilff

Lawson Lovell

 Wes and Wilson

Todd Nix 

John Hayden

 Samuel Cox

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Painful "approvals"

John 20:29 
Jesus said to him, "Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed."

There are a few phrases or things people say that bring them and others comfort regarding God's interaction with our lives. Sometimes when something really bad happens to us personally, these words are more painful than helpful. 

Today during conversation a friend of mine said "nothing happens to us without God's say so." This statement is absolutely true, I believe that with my whole heart. While my friend found great comfort knowing that our God controls everything and He either: a.) allows them or b.) does not allow them. I could not help feeling a little prick to my own heart. 

Those of us who suffer trials that are truly crippling either spiritually or physically (or both) have a hard time knowing that not one single thing happens without God's stamp of approval. Knowing this and believing it in our very bones can cause some serious pain. Would your parents stand by and watch you be physically hurt and do nothing to stop it? Would you do that to your own child? In my heart, at that time that's just how I felt.......abandoned really.  He allowed the unthinkable to happen in my life. My mom would gladly take on any illness that may plague me or my family to save me from pain and most parents would do the same, given that choice. Unfortunately, that's not how it works. Our God has a master plan, we don't have to agree with it, but we do have to trust it. He does not ask us to trust it with a smile on our face, He knows. He came to Earth and suffered pain I can not bare to think about. He knew no sin and yet He took on the sin and pain of EVERY human who calls on His name. I can't bear my own pain, let alone everyone's else's.  I have to tell myself "Perspective sister, eyes on the cross", if I were not able to keep perspective in those questionable moments, well, I can't say where I would be, but it would not be here. It certainly would not be sharing my life in hopes that I can help one person, just one person stay focused while they face such pain and loss. I could not shake the lyrics of a song, I have come to know that Jesus speaks to me through lyrics. Even while all these thoughts were racing through my head (and I wonder why I have insomnia) these lyrics kept coming to mind:

In the silence, in the waiting
Still we can know You are good
All Your plans are for Your glory
Yes, we can know You are good
Yes, we can know You are good
Lord we trust you, Lord we trust you.

We can know....we do know. I need to say that my life is broken in certain aspects that will never be whole again while there is breath in my body, I will never ever be who I was before Jackson left this Earth. I also need to say that when I came to the most critical point in my life that I made the right choice, I chose to trust Jesus.

 Now when I look back to the moment I felt so abandoned by God I SEE Him there. I don't know why he allowed this to happen to us, but I know He did. I also know He cried with me, and He carried me, and He still does. He does because I trust and I know this is not how it ends. 
John 11:35 Jesus wept.

Its possible that when people point out that God controls all things or that they are very "blessed"  I may always feel that gnawing pain to my heart. I don't try to hide from God that it hurts me that He allowed me such pain, I tried that. Now I try so hard to never stop trusting His plan, even when I'm so mad I can't even stand to be around myself (yes, I am aware that I am very unpleasant at times, especially when I'm hurting).I think The Lord wanted me to share this because He knows that we are mad. He knows that we question "What happened Lord, where were you?". I think He wants us to tell Him, He already knows. 
Maybe I will look back on this blog one day and it will help to remind me to keep my eyes on the cross, Lord knows I may need the reminder tomorrow. 
The song in my heart this afternoon is: 

Passion - The Lord Our God (feat. Kristian Stanfill) Lyrics

Promise maker, promise keeper
You finish what You begin
Our provision through the desert 
You see it through ‘til the end 
You see it through ‘til the end

The Lord our God is ever faithful
Never changing through the ages
From this darkness
You will lead us 
And forever we will say 
You're the Lord our God 

In the silence, in the waiting
Still we can know You are good
All Your plans are for Your glory
Yes, we can know You are good
Yes, we can know You are good 

The Lord our God is ever faithful
Never changing through the ages
From this darkness
You will lead us 
And forever we will say 
You're the Lord our God 

We trust You, we trust You

So we won’t move without You
We won’t move without You
You’re the light of all and all that we need, Lord to everything
We won’t move without You
We won’t move without You
You’re the light of all and all that we need,
We trust You, God

We won’t move without You
We won’t move without You
You’re the light of all and all that we need, You will in Your hands
We won’t move without You
We won’t move without You

He has blessed me IN the storm's of life, He has never waited for the sun shine again to bless me, nor did he wait until I was able to SEE the sun again. he blessed me in the darkness. He blessed me over and over and continues to bless me. How I love my savior

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Face's of Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis part 2

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  John 16.33

I finally decided that if our son had any chance of recovery I was going to have to advocate for my baby and get myself educated. So I started documenting EVERYTHING. I took photo's of the rash and documented exactly when it came in relation to the fever and what other symptoms he had. I documented how his fever would not break even with Motrin or Tylenol until it was good and ready, and then it would rapidly drop to 94.0 and he would shake violently for hours. I knew in my soul this was not a bone issue, but a systemic (whole body)problem so I pushed. For 2 weeks, I pushed. I had to push against my own family at times because they felt like the Doctors knew better than me, they were wrong. Never underestimate a mothers instinct!  I was about to have our 2nd child any minute and Jackson was not getting better. The Infectious disease doc made the decision to let us go home on IV antibiotics and return for more testing in 3 days. I was blessed enough to have an OBGYN agree to induce me in so I could have the baby and get back to figuring out what was happening. 
On January 19th we welcomed our beautiful baby girl Jenna Claire, as I have posted before, she was born to be content and that she was. The next few visits consisted of bone marrow tests, spinal taps, and everything else under the sun. When Infectious disease finally decided they had ruled out any freak disease they referred us to the one who saved our son's mobility. His pediatric Rheumatologist at ACH, her name is Dr.Morris and she was a hard lady. She came in, looked at my journal and plainly said ( I know because I wrote this down as well, Lord knows I would not remember) , "Mrs.Orman, your son has Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis with a Systemic Onset, meaning his whole body is being affected. Joints, blood cells, platelets, all of it. JA is cannot be cured, but WILL control it if you can handle what has to be done." SAY WHAT? I knew I was not crazy (yea I didn't know that, that would be a lie, I have always been a little off), so she sent us home with a prescription for daily immune suppressant injections that costed approx $1500 a month. Thank you JESUS we had insurance that didn't argue too much. We started the daily shots and it immediately (seriously after like 2 shots) it killed the rash and fever. The problem was that it was not helping his pain.....at all. Praise the Lord, again, I found an online site for parents of kids with arthritis. Those ladies saved what little sanity I had left. They encouraged me to push hard for steroids for Jackson, they told me the steroids are not ideal but they would get him mobile. So I called I started begging his Rheumatologist, calling I know 6 times every day until she finally caved in and gave us the steroids. She has seen lots of damage done to children by over use of steroids when that's the only drug we had. 
After 3 doses of Prednisone at a grown mans dose Jackson was riding his bike again! The steroids gave his body a jump on getting the inflammation down and the injections maintained it. Over the course of about 3-4 months Jackson went from having swollen knees that looked like baseballs and hip pain that had him walking like at 95 year old, to a sweet, round faced little chipmunk that could run like the wind again.

I don't know how Jackson's JA journey would have ended because he left this Earth way too soon, but I can say he successfully weaned off the steroids and one of his weekly injections.  WE were down to one shot daily and no meds by mouth. The summer that Jackson went to Heaven we planned to start trying to wean the immunosuppressant to see if he would "flare" and what his body could do after approx 3 years of daily shots. I was scared and so was he. I remember him asking me "If we stop my shots, I won't be able to run as fast will I ? " I remember being so sad that my baby was dependent at 5 years old on a daily shot, but hey it was working and he stronger for it. He learned to Cowboy up from all the pain he suffered, he learned to smile through pain. He taught me that if I want something bad enough, I have to be willing to grit my teeth and go for it.

I can also say that though we don't know how his journey with JA would end, and while JA did not take Jackson's life, I rest knowing that Jackson David no longer gives a hoot that he ever fought JA. He could be riding a horse with wings this very moment for all we know, pain free with nothing holding him back now. I will tell you how I KNOW he is not held down by any pain, I was given a promise and I repeat it everyday at some point to myself. I need this promise like air and I live my life and I breath by this promise. I wear this promise on me at all times on my necklace or bracelet, I need to be reminded that the pain I live with daily being here on Earth without my son will end. Here is God's promise to me and to all who know Jesus. Amen.

Revelation 21:4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever."

I have gained many amazing friends through Jackson's journey with JA, and honestly I doubt they know the impact they had on our journey. To all my JA mom's I love you and I pray for your kids and all they endure. Thank you for making that journey bearable and for cheering us on. And to anyone else who read this story, I pray that now you SEE and understand that Arthritis is not just some old people "thing" it is debilitating and it cripples kids as well as adults everyday.  

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The many face's of Juvenile Arthritis, Part 1

1 Chronicles 16:11
Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always
     July 29th will be Jackson's birthday, he would be turning 10 years old. While I'm still amazed that Josh and I are old enough to have a 10 year old, I'm crushed that we don't have him here on Earth anymore. This realization is never more real than when its time to celebrate his life and he is not here to celebrate with us. 
I have been going through old pictures of Jackson this month and posting a few on Facebook as a celebration of his upcoming birthday. Looking through all the old photo's I have come across many from when he was deep in battle with (JRA) Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis AKA Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) with Systemic Onset. I am blown away at what he went through and the pain he lived with. While JRA did not take Jackson's life, it certainly altered his life and threatened to cripple him. It also made him who he was, a fighter. I want to share some of the struggles we faced when we were finally able to get a diagnosis, not only will it help paint the picture of how strong Jackson really was, it may help another parent searching for answers about JRA, particularly "Systemic Onset" which was the type my Jackson had. I know some of these photos will be hard to look at, but there are so many wonderful kids that we personally got to know on our JA journey that helped us through photos and advice that I feel like I owe it to any other parents who are at that breaking point. I will have to write these next few blogs in separate parts. Mainly because it's to long of a journey to read in one sitting, but also because it takes me down a very hard road that is very emotional, bare with me this will be different than my other posts.  Here we go. 

On January 2nd 2007 our 2 1/2 year old, Jackson woke up and could not walk. I stood him up and he would cry out in pain and fall to the ground. He had no other symptoms and as the day wore on he "loosened" up and seemed much better, and then the fever hit. Out of no where he had 103 with the only symptom being "I can't walk". We took him to his pediatrician who admitted him for "fever of unknown origin" and high platelet count. After admission his blood work was getting worse and worse. Platelets were over a million (I'm told that was unheard of) and his ESR or SED rate (show's inflammation in the body) was extremely elevated. We were shipped to Arkansas Childrens Hospital via Ambulance when his pediatrician suspected we were dealing something much bigger brewing than she could treat. I was 37 weeks pregnant with my daughter, so that was a LONG ambulance ride and the first of many medical personal over 2 weeks saying "Don't go into labor , we don't want to deliver!".

On arrival at Children's Jackson was seen by a gazillion "specialists" all wanting to see him try and walk, all interested in how the fever would not relent until it was good and ready. He was seen by team's of doctor's. We saw a team of Oncologist's who suspected some type of cancer, we saw Infectious disease doctors who suspected rare forms of infections. When we met the orthopedic doctor's I can say they were my least favorite team. I tried to explain to them that he would get an odd rash with every fever and that I did not feel like there was a bone issue, but that this seemed to be a whole body issue. They would hear none of that, they explained the ever disappearing rash to fever and pressed me to allow them to "drain" his hip's to see if that would help the pain. I reluctantly (only because my family out numbered me) allowed them. They came back and said that they believed he had septic hips.....Ok. I would possibly go along with one septic (badly infected) joint, but both joints on both sides of his body? I again attempted to argue and was told "Its rare but it happened, his White count in one hip is 90,000, that is infection 'mam." So they cut and drained both of his hips and put him on strong antibiotics and inserted drains into his tiny hips, and we waited. And we waited. He was not getting better, the fever came like clock work every afternoon and was hitting 105 at times. Along with the fever came that pesky disappearing rash that only I seemed to notice or care about. He seemed to be wasting away and certainly no better than when we started, in fact, he was worse at 2 1/2 years old he weighed 22 lbs. 

                                 The disappearing rash

This concludes part one of the many faces of Juvenile Arthritis. It's emotionally draining for this mom, and way to long of a journey for you to read in one sitting. Stay tuned for the diagnosis on the next blog in this journey down the diagnosis road. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

SEEing Contentment

Psalm 29:11 The LORD gives his people strength. The LORD blesses them with peace.

I have a word on my mind that I need to share, it's been like a constant whisper in my heart lately and I can't shake it. That word is "content". I remember the moment the Lord spoke it to my heart a few weeks ago and I suppose He wants me to share, until I do it will continue to "pop" up. 

When I'm lead to write its usually because I end up doing lots of research and I tend to talk things out (yes with myself) but there is almost always an "a-ha!" moment, the moment I SEE what God is showing me.  
First let me say that "content" to me just meant happy when I first thought about it, that is what it means right? I wondered why the Lord was being so pushy about this word, I felt like He was telling me "Sister, its not just a word."

Content: "In a state of peaceful happiness". It may not blow you away, but read it again, is that not WAY bigger than a simple feeling of being "happy"? To be happy is to jump up and down and then go back to what you were doing before. To be IN A STATE OF PEACEFUL HAPPINESS is not the same thing. 
When I read this definition, it made me smile. I like the way God speaks to me, He knew I would eventually research what he was saying and share it. He is God after all :) 

I'm gonna attempt to share some moments that I felt The Lord whispering this wonderful word into my soul recently, I hope you SEE the beauty in these moments as I do now that I SEE what I was intended too to SEE.

I am not a middle child so I can't claim to know how it feels to be one, I am the baby. My daughter, is our middle child. She was sidelined early in life because while I was pregnant with her we found out that our oldest son had Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. He was in the hospital the last 2 weeks of my pregnancy with my daughter. She was born happy and healthy and usually in 2nd place to Jackson who had to have 2 injections a day and a hearty dose of other medications to keep him mobile. She grew in grace and beauty and was always a "good" child. Her older brother was always a little more.....needy. He was more sickly and his personality over shadowed her's. He was hyper and never met a stranger. She was quiet and always on his heels. Jenna was literally born rolling with the flow. When Jackson went to Heaven, again she had to adapt to life not happy in the shadow of her big brother, but lonely with no one to get things off of the high shelf or turn on the lights for her. She was 3.5  years old and had lost the only identity  she had ever known. In the time between losing her big brother and gaining a little one, she has grown into the most polite, respectful, beautiful little cowgirl on the planet. She can ride her pony for hours alone and talk to the pony the entire time. I know because I listen and the pony does too, her ears go back every time she speaks, they are content to walk and communicate. My daughter carries chickens that are fully able to run when chased (ask the 2 year old) to their coop for the night so she can love on them. She names every animal that enters our barn and remembers them, and people we have cats so that is a lot of coming and going. No kitten gets the same name. 

God put "Contentment" into Jenna Claire's heart at birth and I know that with every fiber in my body. Jackson was a fighter from birth, he was strong and courageous enough to fight pain that I can't even imagine. Jenna Claire is content, she is able to adapt and overcome. Whatever gift the Lord breathed into Jett is yet to be fully seen as he is still a baby, but I have no doubt it will be as wonderful as his siblings.

The Lord showed me Jenna Claire's most content moments in order to illustrate the black and white words written in a dictionary. He wanted me to know that being "happy" is a passing moment, the next moment may be anger or bitterness. But to have a content heart, you are "IN a state of PEACEFUL happiness". Being in a state of being does not quickly pass, in fact I believe it can become part of us if we practice it enough. Scripture says multiple times that The Lord will and WANTS to give his children peace. We have to slooooooow down and SEE what he has already given us in all of our blessings. 

Psalm 85:8: Let me hear what God the LORD will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints; but let them not turn back to folly.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Four years later

2 Corinthians 1:4 : He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God

I always wonder about those "perfect" families. You know, the ones who seem to be very successful at their job. Have the newest car and the picture perfect kids. Have they felt pain? I don't mean the pain of a grandparent or even a parent leaving this earth. While that is obviously very painful, it's....well, expected. Have they felt the impact of a million lies being tossed at them by the enemy? Have they ever had to really get dirty fighting spiritual war's ? I wonder, but I'll never know. My job is not to know everyone's personal pain, my job is to share mine. I share mine with the prayer that my suffering will make people feel less alone in their battle. I may not know how you feel, but I know what pain feels like. I'm familiar with the kind of pain that over the years changes and becomes less crippling in a daily sense. Then an anniversary (like today)rolls around and faster than I can get the words out "Wait, no!" it sweeps over me, paralyzing me. 

I suffer the pain of child loss. I get the wind knocked right out of my lungs, I have panic attacks, I can't stand, and I can't breathe.I am flooded by emotions that I am not ready to feel.  I am facing the fact that 4 years ago I sat on the trampoline with my 5 (almost 6) year old son for the last time. We were "that" family. I had a wonderful husband, 2 beautiful kids and was about to graduate nursing school. Nothing could mess up the next few days, we were so excited. Jackson and I got to graduate the same weekend, how fun is that?!

May 6th 2010 trampoline talk:

Me: " Jackson, all you have to do is sit still in the audience with grandma and grandpa while I'm on stage tomorrow. you can yell "that's my mom!!" if you want to though."
Jackson: eyes rolling, "MOM, I'm not gonna say that until they call your name. Then dad said we get to yell and embarrass you."
Me: "Ok then, do I get to yell 'That's MY boy!' at your wee school graduation this weekend?
Jackson: "sure, if your proud then you get to yell right?" "what if your big white hat falls off, can I laugh? "

The anniversary of Jackson leaving this world makes me re-live it to a point. I have learned to control or "cut off" the memories that I can't handle from those days. I won't willingly go back into the pit again. I pray very hard yet It's inevitable for me, I get thrown back in time ready or not. It usually hits hard out of nowhere about 5 days before the anniversary. The pain is intense and reminds me that the truth is, I want my son back and there is nothing in this world I would not do to turn the clock back. I'm not given that option, but that doesn't stop me from asking (often). Sometimes I wonder if when I get to Heaven God may say "there she is, the one who relentlessly asked for a time travel trip!" 
I was saved before Jackson left this world, but I never knew my savior on an intimate level. I don't believe that my God causes or allows tragic things to happen because he just "needs another angel" or because "he needed him back". That's not my God and I can't find that anywhere in the bible. Why would he take my child from me just because "he wants to'? what kind of God would I be in love with if He worked that way? Thank you Jesus thats not how it happens. Tragedy will happen, people will die, people will suffer. If we just let God help, He will. He may not turn back time like I prayed about for years (and still do) but he will make the time we have left on Earth much more livable. I love like I never thought I would be able too. I long to comfort strangers with the same comfort that was shared with me by the Holy Spirit and by the friends who were being the body of Christ for me when I needed them to be. Losing Jackson opened my blind eyes and I suddenly see that this world has NOTHING to offer me, I SEE that this is a tiny flash on the big screen of Eternity. I can do this, I can do all things thorough Christ. Its not always done with grace and poise on my face. Sometimes it's done through many tears, gritted teeth and lots and lots of "why me's". He always brings me through it. Sometimes I'm down for longer than I anticipate. Other times I feel like he literally carries me through the pain and shifts my focus onto my husband and my 2 beautiful children that remain here with me and need me.

On this particular May 6th, my fourth one without my cowboy. I got up and went to work. I worked hard today, I tried to stay very busy. idle time is bad for the hurting. When I would get restless and there werent many patients to keep me hopping this song kept popping in my mind. I didnt get it at first, now I do. I have not been blogging much because I keep thinking "who wants to read ANOTHER persons blog?". God has been urging me to share feelings over the last few weeks but I just didnt feel like anyone needed me to share. As I spoke with a friend tonight I realized why He put those lyrics in my head and heart. He wants his love to show through me, I want to be the door for his love to walk through, even in my pain I can shout of His love. I will share this blog because it's not about me, its about that one person who needs to know they are not alone. Love still exists in my heart and in my home. If you can't see how, look to Jesus. With every act of love, we bring the kingdom come. Here are the lyrics of my heart today. 

Jason Grey 'With every act of love'.
God put a million, million doors in the world
For His love to walk through
One of those doors is you
I said, God put a million, million doors in the world
For His love to walk through
One of those doors is you

Oh, we bring the kingdom come
Oh, with every act of love
Jesus, help us carry You
Alive in us, Your light shines through
With every act of love
We bring the kingdom

Friday, April 11, 2014

No stranger to the rain

Matthew 5:45 
So that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For
he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends
rain on the just and on the unjust.

Dear Lord, may all of us who suffer and SEE your face
through the lighting and thunder of this life, the wind and
rain that rage all around us hide this verse in our hearts.
May we know without doubt we do NOT suffer because we are
unjust. May we always know that you always have a purpose
even in pain. Help me always remember that Jesus paid the
price for our sin, remind me constatnly Lord that the price
is paid in full. The price was paid before my son left this
Earth and Lord remind us who greive for our children that we
don't suffer more storms "because" of anything we have done.
The sun will rise on us all and the rain will fall on us all
here according to your word. The just and unjust. Amen. 

I know I have mentioned before that everyday I wake up with a song playing in my mind. Sometimes its Christian type music, sometimes its scripture in the form of a song, sometimes it's 'vanilla ice' especially if its cold when I first wake up
 (just kidding. not really. ice ice baby). I woke up this morning with Keith Whitley on the brain, "I'm no stranger to the rain." I wasn't sure why at first, its not raining today, in fact its beautiful today.
Last night though, is a different story, emotionally anyway.

I saw a facebook friend with a flash back type of facebook app. It showed what she posted 2 years ago to the day. Neat right? So I downloaded it. It turns out that it is neat, but not when it brings back a status that you wish so much you could re-live. My status that it brought up was from 4 years
ago to the day, no I did not choose 4 years ago, it gave that to me. It was my own typing "About to watch Jackson's first game of the season, whoohooo!". That was a rush of raw emotion this momma was not ready for. Not only was that his first game that season, it was one of the last games of this
life for him. It made me think about how unfair it is, all of it. Its not fair that my son is not here and it's not
fair that everyone else gets to post this same status THIS year and it be true of their little boy's. I can never, ever, post that again and it be true. I can post that status in years to come of my other children, but they arent Jackson and it's still not fair. There will not be another "first game of the season" for my oldest son. 

I don't know why humans crave sunshine so much but we do. Ever noticed how some peoples entire mood can be altered by a rainy day? I'm that person, except sometimes the rain comes when the sun is out for everyone else. For me rain is just a damper on a moment the realization that the sun won't
always shine on me and it never has. I am, as Keith Whitley puts it "No stranger to the rain." In case you are not familiar with the song here are the lyrics:

"I'm No Stranger To The Rain"
I'm no stranger to the rain
I'm a friend of thunder
Friend, is it any wonder li
But through it all I withstood the pain
I'm no stranger to the rain

But when I get that foggy feeling
When I'm feeling down
If I don't keep my head up, I may drown
But it's hard to keep believing
I'll even come out even
While the rain beats your hope in the ground
And tonight it's really coming down

I'm no stranger to the rain
But there'll always be tomorrow
And I'll beg, steal, or borrow a little sunshine
And I'll put this cloud behind me
That's how the Man designed me
To ride the wind and dance in a hurricane
I'm no stranger to the rain

Oh, no, I'm no stranger to the rain

I'm no stranger to the rain
I'm a friend of thunder
Friend, is it any wonder lightning strikes me
But I'll put this cloud behind me
That's how the Man designed me
To ride the wind and dance in a hurricane
I'm no stranger to the rain

Oh, no, I'm no stranger to the rain 

I realize Keith is singing a familiar country song "whoa is me" type of tune but unfortunately for many of us this is more than true. There are absolutely times that I would beg, steal or borrow for a little sunshine. I'm not sure why but I identify with Keith in that I too have been designed by my maker to weather some serious storm's. Those of us who love Jesus yet get rained on way more than our share seem to be without a doubt the strong ones. I have been severely bent by the storm's of my  life to the point of breaking. We who live here without our children will never be "un broken" but we will heal like a fracture,  able to be used but never the same and always "aware" of the pain.  We are able to ride the wind and dance in a hurricane when others are running in fear of any impending bad weather, spiritually speaking. Even though we may get to close to the thunder and hit by lightening a time or two, we are  made strong IN SPITE of the constant downpour.

Sunshine is gift from our father, we all crave its warmth. When spring finally comes and the sunshine warms our skin it more common to look up and thank God for granting the sun after so much cold and rain from winter. For some of us though, it's always raining to a certain extent.  We stay damp from the persistent little pop up showers or drenched and drowning from thunder rolling storms. We are always reminded by our pain to look up. We don't always need the sun to remind us to be thankful. We pray while we dance in the wind and ride that awful hurricane. We are "No stranger to the rain".
For some of us spring is another sign that the seasons and time is moving and our hearts still ache to be with our children again. I rest knowing with everything I am That His love can not be overcome. It just cannot be, I am no stranger to the rain, but I am not alone in the storm of life. 

“Storms come, and are so personal, they seem to know your address and have the key to your house.” ~ Reverend Jesse Jackson
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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Finding hope in a cemetery

Luke 12:27-28
“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith!”

This past Sunday was so beautiful. The weather was nice and JC and I decided that we had been locked in the house long enough with her broken arm. We were ready to go play outside, but what could we do with her arm being in a huge cast? Obviously riding her pony was off the agenda for a while. We decided to go to the cemetery and put out some bright colored metal spring flowers we got for Jackson. 

When we pulled up the first thing we both noticed was the amount of yellow daffodils all over the cemetery. As we drove toward Jackson’s spot I noticed the flowers were not nearly as abundant as in the older section of the cemetery. What was up with that? JC and I decided to walk to the older section and investigate. It was amazing! Most of the stones that dated back 100 years or more were the ones with all the daffodils. Some of the flowers were meticulously planted around the perimeter of the site in a beautiful spray of yellow daffodil promises. They were planted so perfectly in love that I could not help but picture the loved one on their knees mourning their loss and planting flowers that would grow even when the life of that person may have been forgotten over the years.

I have never been one to find comfort in the cemetery, not until Sunday. It was quiet and so full of peace, the perfect place to spend time talking and walking with my 7 year old. While it’s not fair that our daughter has to understand the permanent concept of death from saying goodbye to her big brother, it was beautiful how God led us there to see show me how sweet and tender her heart is. She wanted to know how old each person was and what their name is. She was upset when she asked me if it’s possible that some of them did not know Jesus. 

As we walked farther through the rows of the very old stones, the daffodils were literally jumping out at us.  I let her pick some of the wild daffodils along the wood line because she wanted to put them on the graves with no flowers. I could not help but smile at the thought of young “Mr.Bertie” giving her a big hug one day in Heaven for being so sweet as to give him some bright yellow flowers of his own. 

When we got home I could not shake the picture in my mind of all of those meticulously planted daffodils. Why were they so abundant in the older part of the cemetery? I started researching online and I found this written by a woman who traveled many cemeteries documenting the age of the stones and carvings: “Cemetery daffodils symbolize grace, beauty, deep regard, mortality, the death of a youth, new beginnings, innocence and unrequited love, making them very popular as part of the silent language depicted on stones.”
I can’t explain why all of a sudden God wanted me to SEE the flowers, but He did. I have been feeling lost lately. As I have shared before the change of season always hits me hard, it’s a reminder that time is moving without my son here with me. I think God wanted to remind me that He is in control. He can give us the idea to plant flowers that last much longer than the memory of our Earthly lives. He calls them to bloom every spring, possible 80-100 years after they were planted! He has not forgotten us though at times it sure feels that way.  Just like he remembers to call those daffodils to bloom every spring He remembers us. Those daffodils planted by loved ones serve as reminders of the love the planter has for the one gone before them. The wild flowers just may serve as reminders that He remembers us.  

   Spring is Coming
“Feel the sun on your skin
Growing strong and warm again
Watch the ground: there's something moving
Something is breaking through
New life is breaking through” ~Steven Curtis Chapman

Monday, March 10, 2014


Philippians 3:14
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus

If you are female, surely you have seen the wonderful movie "Cinderella". If not then, I'm sorry and I'll let you borrow mine! Anyway, I think that if you are a wife or mother you can obviously identify with Cinderella feeling like slave in her own home, unappreciated and pulled in 500 directions. Never getting a "thank you" or even an acknowledgment from the people she loved most, her family. While yes Cinderella actually WAS a slave in her own home (and her family was retched and not so attractive), sometimes as women trying to wear 500 hats, we feel that way too right? Minus the unattractive family part. 

There is a song in the movie that the mice are singing as Cinderella is running around the house trying to do all the things being demanded of her at once. When I looked up the lyrics I had to laugh, its called "The work song". Here are the lyrics:

"Cinderella, Cinderella
All I hear is Cinderella, from the moment I get up
till shades of night are falling
There isn't any letup, I hear them calling, calling
"Go up and do the attic and go down and do the cellar,
you can do them both together Cinderella."
How lovely it would be
if I could live in my fantasy
But in the middle of my dreaming
they're screaming
at me

Remember that song? One sister is literally throwing laundry at her while the other sister is yelling for her "to come here NOW!"

Tonight I was trying to pick up around the house after I got home from taking my daughter to dance and going back to pick her up. I had no time to cook dinner so....frozen pizza it was. I was putting laundry away while my 2 year old hung on my leg "mommy I need my cup!" Then I hear my husband, "did you get that pizza out of the oven?" ummm, no I didn't but I do smell it burning. My 7 year old says "why can't you puh lease pour my cereal, I am for REAL starving. I feel sick I'm sooooo hungry!" So I head back to the kitchen to tend to my starving 7 year old who is fully capable of getting herself a snack, on the way I trip over her boots. The boots that I asked her at least 5 times to pick up. I know this is just an average night in most homes, but tonight I realized something. As I tried to do everything to everyone's liking (in a very non-joyful, lots of sighing manner) I realized that they have no idea that I feel like they are being ungrateful. They are not intending to pull me in 599 directions, its really very simple. I am his wife and I am their mommy. Those two titles should be held above my degree in Nursing, and above my sudden need to disappear into the bathroom and lock the door. I would know. Just 4 short years ago both of those names "mom" and "wife" were taken from me. 

I didn't know if I would ever be those things again. I went from being mom of two beautiful children and a wife juggling nursing school,  to being none of those things the instant Jackson left this world. I was not able to be a wife because I did not know how to function when I was stripped of my title of mom of "two". I was not a nursing student anymore because the day after Jackson went to heaven was my graduation day. When Jackson went to heaven at only 5 years old, part of me died. That mom of "two" died and the wife juggling kids and school died.
I am happy to say that she remains gone. When This wife and This mom stood back up, I was new. I vowed to never take life for granted. I promised my son that his name would always be on my lips but that I would live. Its never easy and there are days I just can't, I just can't do anything and that's okay too. Most days though I chose to live for Jackson and I chose to live for this crazy family God has given me. That choice made me who I am today. I am "wife to a wonderful man and mom to THREE beautiful children". While the path God chose for me to walk is obviously not the path I would choose, its mine and only I can walk it with Jesus by my side. I will continue to pray that God reminds me that being Cinderella (minus the actual slave part) in my own home is a privilege. Those responsibilities come with the job. I will continue to sigh and roll my eyes when everyone is pulling on me, but I will always remember what life could be if I had made that choice to not get back up and keep breathing. Excuse me now, I am exhausted and rocking my momerella name tag proudly. Gotta go finish those dishes :)