RSS

Category Archives: Spiritual and Emotional

Five Years

April 18.  This year, 2016, it will mark five years since Isaac’s death.  There is a popular saying that “time heals all wounds.”  I don’t agree with that statement, but I do believe that time provides perspective.

The first anniversaries of Isaac’s death were difficult to endure.  The first year we felt a need to get away for the day and try to focus on something else.  The second year was a much more quiet remembrance.  I really don’t remember the third and fourth anniversaries.

So why does this year feel different?  Maybe because five years marks a significant milestone in other aspects of our lives (i.e. marriage, employment).  Maybe because this year April 18 will once again land on a Monday, the same day of the week that it was in 2011.  I’m not sure which of these it is, or perhaps for some other reason, but this year the anticipation is slightly haunting me.

I mentioned earlier that I believe time provides perspective.   One way this is true for me is that the intensity of pain from losing a child has lessened.  The first year or two was just so difficult and painful, with so many thoughts and events triggering intense emotional responses.  As we have forged a new groove for our lives, we don’t carry the heavy burden of that pain or get lost in the cloud of grief.  We can remember good times with smiling and laughter and not focus so much on the events on and immediately after April 18, 2011.  We can focus on the eternal truths in God’s Word and look forward to when we will see Isaac again.

By God’s grace, we have moved forward with our lives.  We haven’t moved “on”, as if whatever happened before didn’t matter.  But we have chosen not to remain frozen in the past, where we could play out the “what if” scenarios in our minds (though this is tempting at times, but quite unfruitful).  Moving forward to us means that we still remember (how could we forget?).  We laugh, play, and work, while rejoicing in all these things.

Yet, while moving forward and rejoicing, there is a piece of my heart that is missing.  I am not always consciously aware of it, yet I feel that it is gone.  I can feel the void that Isaac’s passing has left.  It is difficult for me to describe that feeling.  I just feel like I am not an entire person.  The best physical analogy that I can think of is if one is missing a body part that they once had (which I’ve never experienced, so forgive me for taking the liberty of this analogy).  While I see (physical) and know (mental) that Isaac is not here, in my heart (spiritual) he is still with me.   These conflicting aspects of my being make me wonder if I am something less than a full person.

I am a new creature in Christ Jesus.  It is only through my faith in our loving, merciful, and just God that I can even stand where I am today.  I believe that Isaac is safe in His hands and I hold fast to the hope of seeing him again someday soon.  Yet because Isaac is there in Heaven and I am here on Earth, a part of me is missing.

May you be blessed this day and rest in the eternal hope we have through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Andy

 
8 Comments

Posted by on April 15, 2016 in Grief, Spiritual and Emotional

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Through All Of It

A dear friend recently turned me on to the song “Through All Of It”, performed by Colton Dixon.

Sometimes the lyrics or melody of a song hit you right in the gut.  In this song, both of them do for me.

Here are the lyrics:

[Verse 1]
There are days I’ve taken more than I can give
And there are choices that I made
That I wouldn’t make again
I’ve had my share of laughter
Of tears and troubled times
This is has been the story of my life

[Chorus]
I have won
And I have lost
I got it right sometimes
But sometimes I did not
Life’s been a journey
I’ve seen joy, I’ve seen regret
Oh and You have been my God
Through all of it

[Verse 2]
You were there when it all came down on me
When I was blinded by my fear
And I struggled to believe
But in those unclear moments
You were the one keeping me strong
This is how my story’s always gone

[Chorus]
I have won
And I have lost
I got it right sometimes
But sometimes I did not
Life’s been a journey
I’ve seen joy, I’ve seen regret
Oh and You have been my God
Through all of it
Through all of it

[Bridge]
And this is who You are
More constant than the stars up in the sky
All these years of our lives, I
I look back and I see You
Right now I still do
And I’m always going to

I have won
And I have lost
I got it right sometimes
But sometimes I did not
Life’s been a journey
I’ve seen joy
I’ve seen regret
Oh and You have been my God
Through all of it
Oh and You have been my God
Through all of it
Oh and You have been my God
Through all of it

http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/c/colton_dixon/through_all_of_it.html

I can relate to almost every word in this song, as I assume most of you can also.  The second verse really gets to me, especially given all that we’ve journeyed through these last four-and-a-half years, “when it all came down on [us]” and “[we] struggled to believe”.  God was there, and continues to be, through all of it.

Through the pain of intentionally bad choices and unintentional disaster, my God has been present in my life.  I could always feel Him, faithfully and patiently waiting for me.

I hope that you can experience Him today, no matter what mountaintop or valley you may be in.  He has demonstrated His love for you through His Son Jesus.  God loves you, through all the circumstances of your life.  Be encouraged…

 
7 Comments

Posted by on October 2, 2015 in Spiritual and Emotional

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Some Measure of Normalcy

April 18.  It used to be that date would stare back at us from the calendar, taunting us with the memories associated with it.  Now it seems to sneak up on us.

Four years.  It is almost unbelievable that is has been that long (or that short) since April 18, 2011.  Sometimes, that day seems so near – the intensity of the emotions and the tragedy of the events so mark our souls that we can hardly escape them.  Yet, in some ways we have become so accustomed to our “new normal” that it seems so long ago that our dear son left our family.

Isaac.  The mention of that name pierces my heart, no matter where or when I see or hear it.  When that piercing comes, I try to smile and remember all the laughter and joy that he brought to my life and the lives that he touched.  It is my way to deal with the grief that is always with me, so that I don’t live in the darkness that so often accompanies it.

This year we don’t really feel like commemorating the day in some “special” way.  We really want to make it as “normal” of a day as possible, Lord willing.  Our weather forecasters are anticipating a beautiful day.  We have some garden and yard work to tend to, which we can tackle together as a family.  The children asked if we could tent outside on Friday night.  Oh, how I crave to be snuggled in my warm, comfortable bed.  However, Lord willing and weather permitting, we are planning to pitch the tent and bundle up under the stars tonight!  I guess this is our way of trying to redeem the time, keeping to our family and blog motto.

Is this a sign of healing, wanting to experience a “normal” day on the anniversary of the most tragic event in one’s life?  I don’t know, but it feels like a step in a positive direction.  Even so, I can feel the tears swelling just below the surface of my flesh, overflowing from that eternal hole in my heart left there by the passing of Isaac.

Today, I pray for those who are missing their loved ones.  I especially pray for those who are missing Isaac, that special boy whose contagious laughter and energy brought happiness to most everyone who knew him.

(I love you buddy and miss you so very much.  Love, Dad)

Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

Blessings,

Andy

 
3 Comments

Posted by on April 17, 2015 in Grief, Spiritual and Emotional

 

Tags: , , ,

You are not alone

Some people very close to us are going through a very difficult time.  When we heard this song today, we could not stop thinking about and groaning for them.

This song is for them/you.  Please remember that you are not alone.

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Mat 28:18-20, emphasis mine)

 
6 Comments

Posted by on March 7, 2015 in Grief, Spiritual and Emotional

 

Tags: , , ,

Faith

This past week I listened to someone preach through Hebrews 11, the “faith” chapter of the Bible.  I began to think about what faith really is and looks like.  I thought that I could write a post about faith, Hebrews 11, the faith “hall of fame”, and so on.  But as I recently laid down and had a few moments to meditate, the thought came that I should write about what faith means to me.

First of all, how do I define faith?  Well, let me use the Biblical definition:

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Heb 11:1)

If I could put this into my own words, I would say that faith is my conviction to trust God’s promises, that I have a future hope better than this world, which hope I cannot see at this present time.  I can understand that there are things invisible through observing the things that are visible.  I understand that there is a Creator by observing the things that are created.

My faith comes from believing that God’s Word is true and that He demonstrated His love for me by sending Jesus Christ to take the penalty for my sins in his flesh.  Through believing in His Son, I receive the Holy Spirit of God, who helps me and strengthens my faith.  Through believing that, on God’s accounts, I am now crucified and raised with Christ, I now have guaranteed eternal life and victory over sin.

As I read through Hebrews 11, I see many great Biblical “heroes” who demonstrated great acts of faith.  I read about Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, the Israelites, Rahab, and so forth.  I read that people subdued kingdoms, stopped the mouths of lions, escaped peril, received ones back from the dead, and more.  But then I read that others were tortured, mocked, scourged, imprisoned, stoned, cut in half, tempted, killed, or were nomads.  The Scripture says that the world was not worthy of this later group and that they did not receive the promise of their faith during their lifetime on earth.  However, they, along with us, will receive something better from God.

Faith is not just mountaintop experiences, although such experiences are wonderful.  Faith is also walking, well faithfully, though the valleys of life and still trusting God’s promises even when we cannot see.  In Scripture, I don’t see the faith that some of these preachers on television and the radio speak about.  I don’t see God instructing us to speak the word and believe without wavering to get a new car, house, job, or money, money, money.  I once heard someone say that the world will be drawn to God when they see how he causes us to prosper.  I could understand the point trying to be made, but wouldn’t unbelievers also consider God when they see someone trusting Him when their world is falling apart around them and they have a worldly reason not to trust Him?  I’m not saying that the only way to point people to God is through suffering, and believe me I am not going about looking for more, but I want us to consider what would really make a lasting testimony of God’s grace and faithfulness in someone’s life.

My faith in God has caused me trust Him even while in the darkest valley of my life.  Faith has helped me to realize that God knows what is best for me at all times, even when evil happens to me.  He can turn that evil around to work good in me, if I don’t fight against Him.  Faith has led me to trust God at a deeper level and to set my eyes more on the unseen than the seen.  OK, that part is not always true because there are days when what I see pulls at me to indulge in…well whatever.  But through faith in believing God’s Word that says I am crucified with Christ and dead to sin, I can overcome the temptation and press on towards Christ and my promises awaiting in Heaven.  If I do stumble, I also read that even the great “heroes” of the faith stumbled at times, but God was merciful to them and he is also merciful to me.

So, what is faith?  Is it believing that God will give us our wants, or that He provides us with all of our needs?  What is our greatest need?  Is it not to have His forgiveness and mercy?  I believe that is my greatest need.  Through faith, I believe that all of my sins are forgiven and I am completely righteous in God’s eyes, not because I feel like it (because I don’t) but because God says so.

I don’t believe that faith can be stagnant.  I heard someone say that faith is not like a pond but is like a river.  We can’t rely on a one-time faith experience, but should exercise it daily to keep it vibrant and growing.

Blessings,

Andy

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Seeing things differently

Today Brenda continues to write about her journey after the sudden death of our son Isaac in April 2011.

Where am I now?

As I reflect on the last several years after Isaac was promoted to Heaven, I have changed.  I am not the Brenda I was before.  I see things differently.  I am looking through a different lens.  One thing I can now see after several years is how the Lord provided for me:

  • Providing help from a neighbor
  • Providing hospital workers who all prayed together surrounding us
  • Providing rainbows in the sky to let me know that He was still there and a double rainbow on the first-year anniversary date of Isaac’s promotion
  • Providing mourning doves to let me know that He still heard me
  • Providing finances, even from people we never met
  • Providing a loving and supportive family
  • Providing food
  • Providing time off from work for Andy
  • Providing the many cards, emails, and flowers even from people we never met
  • Providing friends that would just listen
  • Providing churches that were willing to reach out to us
  • Providing a sister who was willing to come and stay with us
  • Providing uplifting and encouraging words
  • Providing friendships with those who have experienced the loss of a loved one
  • Providing a local GriefShare support group
  • Providing understanding and helpful neighbors
  • Providing those who would pray for us

Those are just some of the things I can reflect on and know that the Lord was with us during our time of need.

I did not always see this.  The first year and a half was the absolute hardest of anything I have ever experienced in my life.  But, the fog started lifting and I could “see”.  I began slowly to see and hear the birds sing again.  I could see the beautiful colors the Lord has provided for us to admire.  I could see and hear and experience laughter again.  But most of all, I could see how blessed I am with the family I have.

Do I still struggle and have bad days?  Yes.  Triggers that come from nowhere may send me for a loop, but I do not stay “there” as long.

(2Co 10:5) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

This verse was key for me to remember to turn off my negative switch and turn on my positive switch.  I give thanks to the Lord for all that He has provided.  I have to choose to do this and I choose not to think upon those things such as:

  • What people may have said to me that hurt
  • Cards or emails I didn’t receive and thought I should have
  • or…fill in the blank with any other negative thought.

There is grace and forgiveness.  I never experienced anything like this before and most other people have not.  Many do not understand and are not trying to intentionally be mean.  I didn’t understand either.  The Lord has helped me to see this.  He gives me grace and lots of it; therefore, I should also extend grace to those around me.

Do I still grieve?  Yes.  Will I always grieve?  Yes.  However, as I look back, I can now see things that I couldn’t see when I was clouded by grief – the Lord was still with me.

Blessings,

Brenda

 
4 Comments

Posted by on February 15, 2015 in Grief, Spiritual and Emotional

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Grieving with hope…a mother’s perspective

I miss Isaac.  I miss him so very much.

I miss his creations.

I miss him waking up and dragging the laundry bag down the stairs faithfully every day.

I miss him trying to occupy David.

I miss him playing with children of all ages……he loved children and could occupy them so well.

I miss him wearing shorts in the winter.

I miss him dressing up as a cowboy or a soldier or a combination.

I miss him utilizing items for other purposes, like a bathrobe for a civil war coat, a basketball hoop set up for a cannon, and others.

I miss him wearing either a civil war or cowboy hat or a handkerchief on a regular basis.

I miss his interest in history, one of my favorite subjects.

I miss him fighting me for salt and vinegar chips, mashed potatoes, and other foods that we both enjoyed together.

I miss his fluffy hair when it would grow out.

I miss his hand holding mine when we would pray.

I miss his hugs.

I miss him fussing at the children for slopping while they ate.

I miss his ability to see right from wrong.

I miss him saying out loud what I was thinking.

I miss him sitting beside Andy in the church pew, flipping his Bible pages, following along to our pastor’s sermon.

I miss him pretending he was our pastor and holding church service in our front room.

I miss his heart for others.  For example, giving his beloved Thomas battery operated train to some other boys to bless them like he was blessed, giving of all his money he had saved to Mission India’s Bible clubs with no hesitation, drawing or coloring pictures for others, giving his money to our new pastor and his wife when they visited, and many other examples too.

I miss his smile and his laughter.

I miss being his mom and teacher.

But most of all,

I. Just. Miss. Him.

I love my boy and will forever miss him, but there is good news and hope.   You see, Isaac had a childlike faith that Jesus Christ was God’s son that He was sent to die on the cross for his sins, past, present, and future.  Praise the Lord for God’s provision for us so that we may see our loved ones that were promoted to heaven.  All we have to do is believe this too, a free gift from God!  We do not need to do anything, just believe!  I miss Isaac terribly, but my hope is that I will see him again and, for now, I hold dearly to that!  May you experience that hope too!

A grieving mom with hope,

Brenda

 
16 Comments

Posted by on January 24, 2015 in Grief

 

Tags: , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: