Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mowing and memories

After supper yesterday, the skies turned cloudy and the temperatures dropped into the 80s. The slight breeze was a pleasant change to the insufferable heat that we have been experiencing for much of the month.

While David and the boys played baseball in the front yard, I decided to do a little mowing in the back and side yards. I walked around the corner of the shed and stopped as soon as I saw this.


Wow. It has been over a year since the last time I mowed the lawn.

And it had been with Christian.

In fact, Christian spent that last Tuesday morning mowing the lawn with David.

*sigh*

He loved to sit in between our legs and ride around the lawn-- even with the bumps and dust and heat. No matter what we were doing, he just HAD to be in the thick of things and right at our side.

I climbed on the mower and sat in the seat. I put my hands on the handles and remembered Christian's little hands on them-- always trying to steer and be a big boy. He'd laugh and squeal with delight if I took my hands off and let him steer ALL BY HIMSELF.

"...'cause I big boy, mommy! 'member?! You fowgot!!!"

Oh baby, I could never forget you! Or how big you were... because you were always sure to remind me. And every time I'd pick you up, I could tell that you had grown just a little more.


My heart has been heavy all week (all month, all year...). Please pray for me and my family, especially as we go through this next week that will mark the 1 year anniversary of Christian's passing from this earthly life into eternal life.

Honestly, it will be nice to just get it over with. Every birthday, change of season, holiday and activity this past year has been met with the bittersweet thought of "...this time last year...".

It has been very difficult at times to put into practice Philippians 4:8

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

But why should we think on these things? Well, that means we have to read the next verse:

Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

While many of you can empathize with my hurt and sorrow, I wish I could show you some of the blessings and lessons of being wounded-- to see and KNOW the grace and peace that God gives. When your heart is crying out to Him and He clearly speaks to you-- sometimes in a whisper and other times clear and loud, like He is right in front of you.

If you have already believed that Jesus is the Son of God, that he died for your sins and that he rose the third day... If you have already asked him to forgive you of your sins and accepted his gift of salvation, then I encourage you, I implore you to practice that verse up there right now. Read the Bible and put into practice what it says. Do it now while things are going well for you. Do it now when things are difficult for you. Then you too will see and know exactly what I'm talking about, you will see and know the peace that only God can give you. Turn your fears, troubles, worries-- no matter how big or how small, over to the Lord.

And since you're going to read God's Word and practice what it says, how about living your life for the glory of God, rather than the glory of yourself? Because that is where true joy and fulfillment lies. After all, isn't that why God created us in the first place?



And if you, my dear friends, have not given your life to Jesus Christ, then I beg you to do it now! You can't piggyback your way into Heaven on the life of your parents. You can't get into Heaven by doing good things, by being baptized, by being "religious", by going to church all the time or by being a better person than so-and-so who says he is a Christian.

The Bible says that "by grace are we saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Eph. 2:8 KJV, emphasis mine).

Don't let that one hypocrite or that one joyless person (who claims to be a Christian) be the reason that YOU don't get to spend eternity in Heaven. Don't let that "bad experience with religion" be the reason that YOU don't accept this gift of salvation. And for crying out loud, JUST DON'T DIE. Because when you do, YOU will spend eternity in one of two REAL places-- Heaven or Hell.

You know what? I don't know why Christian died when he was only 3.5 years old. I don't even know how he took his lifejacket off (which he never did before) and managed to circle back from the house to the pond without anyone seeing him (not the adults or my other boys who were swimming right there). I don't know why this had to happen us when we love and care for our children, when we serve God, when we help others, when we are diligent in our parenting... But that is where FAITH comes in! Faith is believing without seeing. Faith puts to death all those unanswered questions. Faith is taking God at His Word. And Faith is not turning from the truth of God's Word when life gets hard.

Jesus said "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness." (II Corinthians 12:9).

I won't deny that I am so very weak. And I will shout that He is so strong!

It is through His gift and His grace that I KNOW that I will see Christian one day. I KNOW that I will spend eternity with Jesus. I KNOW that this life is fleeting (way too fleeting on the good days and way too long on the bad!). I KNOW that I can grieve differently than those who have not given their lives to Him.

And it is through His strength that I can face each morning.

How will you face each morning? How will you face eternity? And if you were to die today, do you KNOW where you will spend eternity?

Because we have no guarantee of tomorrow. Or even tonight.


52 comments:

SuperAngel said...

awww Marshy! I have been thinking about you and praying for you extra this month. Will do so even more. I'm so glad that you have Jesus to be your strength.
He was so precious and will always be precious in our hearts.
i love you.
HUGS!

Misty Gant said...

You all are in my prayers dear Marsha. My heart is heavy for you.
Your blog was very touching. May the Lord hold you as these few weeks pass. Praise God you can grieve through Him.
Your Sister in Christ, Misty

Christine said...

I love you Marshy!!!

Sisterlisa said...

All that with the very last picture and my heart broke. Your journey has been an amazing one Marsha. I see that you glorify our Father for everything and in everything. He has given you joy that is not understood by the world. A peace that only comes from Christ our Lord. (((hugs)))

Emily said...

You make me have no words. God is MIGHTY to be praised. I love seeing HIM in every word of this post.

Tracy said...

Beautiful post! Sorry you are hurting, but Jesus is the Balm and you know it! {{Hugs}}

Melissa Stover said...

thank you for reminding me to pray for you this week. i knew it was coming up but i forget easily.

these are powerful, much needed words to a lost and dying world. i'm so thankful you have that blessed assurance in Jesus!

Love you!

Annemarie said...

There is not one holiday, or "first day" that has passed this year when God has not heavily pressed upon my heart to pray for you and David and the boys. In fact, there has barely passed a regular day.

I read a book about 12 years ago called "The Blessings of Brokenness" by Charles Stanley. In it, he echos what you have said. The blessings that exist in brokenness are only present there. And they lift a corner of the veil to show us a little more of the awesome character of God.

You and your steadfast love for the Lord are precious to me. I will pray even more frequently throughout this next week, that His peace and comfort will encircle your hearts.

~Annemarie

Anonymous said...

Our mutual friend Donna McCann linked to this post from her Facebook. What a lovely, bittersweet testimony to our Lord's provision of grace, mercy and love. You and your precious family are in my prayers.

Danielle McClelland Larkins

Jenn said...

You are amazing!! I will be in more prayer for you these next few weeks than normal. Your words you just spoke touched me so much. Your strength amazes me. What an absolutely beautiful picture of you and Christian.

NCMom said...

I've been following your blog for a while now. I cannot even put into words how encouraged I am every time I read about your faith. As a homeschooling mom of boys myself, I guess I feel a special connection with you. My thoughts and prayers are with your family. May the peace of God keep you & comfort you.

With much love,
NCMom~Kim

Ruthanne said...

Oh, Marsha - what you shared is truth. Painful truth. I'll be praying for you.

Latte said...

I love you! I really do! I would say there is seldom a day (especially!!! this month) where I don't think of or pray for your family. There are many reasons for that. But the biggest, is your love of the Lord. Christians life is forever engraved in mine, mostly due to your walk/faith with the Lord.

I will be thinking of you the day the one year mark is here.

Faith

Angie said...

I discovered your blog almost a year ago. I remember that moment very vividly. I couldn't sleep and so I did what I do best when I can't sleep- I blog surf. And somehow, I ended up at your blog reading the post written by your friend. I just sat there and cried. Then I prayed and cried some more until I finally cried and prayed myself to sleep.
I have been thinking about your family a lot this month. What can I do for them? I wish I had their address, so I could send them something? But what could I send that would magically make them feel better? (If there is anything I can do that would help a little, please let me know)
But in the mean time, I will keep praying for you and your family.
Reading your blog this past year has really helped me grow in my faith. Seeing you praise the Lord in the midst of suffering is such an inspiration. I often wonder if I could do the same. (I hope and pray that I could)
I love reading your memories of Christian. They always make me cry a little, and then they make me smile. I pray that those memories will always make you smile and laugh.
I know that many have probably come to the Lord because of your (and Christian's) testimony of God's love and faithfulness.

Love and many, many prayers,
Angie

Leslie Knowles said...

And I so want you to be happy every day!
Marsha, you are an incredible, incredible testimony to God's power, His love and His supremacy over all our hurts, fears and questions. I cannot imagine why God blessed me with a friend like you in such a way that He did. First my internet friend, forever my real life friend.

Leslie

40winkzzz said...

i've been thinking about you a lot this month, marsha, knowing that the "first anniversary" is coming up next wednesday. i know it is always said that that first year is the hardest. i know that it will never be "easy", but i hope that as you pass that first-year mark the pain will ease just a little.

i am always amazed by God's strength in you and the light you shine forth in the midst of pain.

i, too, love that final picture. i am so glad you have so many wonderful pictures & videos of your sweet little boy.

Anonymous said...

Marsha:

I am praying for you right now!! I am weeping for your loss and with joy for the how bright your light for Christ is shining! I have prayed for you often in the last year. I am friends with Jen Ig and when this happened last year she sent out an email to some friends and asked them to pray. I have been praying ever since! I will continue to do so!!! Thank you for your perspective and passion!!!!

Angie J.

Melissa said...

My eyes fill with tears. When my husband walked out on us 5 months ago I never doubted the Lord would be sufficient. I wanted to see Him glorified in every tear, every reaction and every response. You have been such a faithful witness in your pursuit of Him and I want to be like you! Sometimes the pain is unbearable and I don't know how I'll get through the next moment, but I know in my heart that I will because of Him. I now understand people who say they're so ready for Christ to return. I'll continue to pray for you and your family. God bless you and keep you, Marsha.

Nikowa@KHA said...

Well written. You are so strong! Thinking & praying for you during this difficult time.

Suzanne ~ TheJoyfulChaos said...

oh, girl. i love you so much. and am crying for (with?) you. you've been on my heart as this milestone day approaches.

all i can say is i love you.

Weird Unsocialized Mom said...

I knew it was getting close to the one year anniversary. Your family will be in my prayers through this next week and I will pray that God will hold you close.

I was just thinking last night how time passes so quickly and we're not guaranteed our next breath. It's so hard, sometimes, not to let busyness and the little annoyances in life make us lose sight of the blessings that are right in front of us.

Thank you for being willing to share your faith so transparently.

Laura Warren said...

I love you Marsha! I know that this time is not easy, but to God be the glory for his unmatchable grace! I hope to see you soon just to be able to hug your neck! Laura

Leanne said...

Marshy, I love that you acknowledge that it is Christ's strength that sustains you. I love that.

My heart almost broke for you, and that really painful, really tough place in me came right up to the forefront of my heart.....

But then, your post was so encouraging to me and I am so inspired by your testimony, and that place went away again, for another day when I am weak again.....

What a ministry you now have! I will press you to my heart today, and in the coming days, and all of my days, in prayer! I wish someday to be able to hug on you in real life.

Marshy, your post was beautiful. Keep shouting His strength! Keep up the faith....

And I, here, will keep on shouting and keeping up the faith too!

Lylas.

Cindy said...

Sweet Marsha. You are in my prayers. My heart continues to break for you, but I also continue to be in constant awe of the beauty and grace that pour out from you as you walk this most difficult road.

He is mighty and working through you.

Anonymous said...

Marsha - I keep praying for you. Thank you so much for your faithful testimony even in the hardest of times. May God abundantly bless you and your dear family and may you find Him faithful each and every day.

Gwen T
gwen@bluebenchwoodworking.com

Susan said...

Oh Marsha, you do know how to bring the tears! ;-) I've been thinking of you a lot lately and it must be because I know that the anniversary of Christian's going home is coming upon us. I will keep your family in our prayers. I wonder if having a birthday party/celebration might help you greive, since you KNOW with out a doubt where Christian lives and where you will be also. Missing him must be so hard. thanks for the reminder to go love on my girls. Your grace shines Marsha and it points straight to Jesus! Bless you friend.
Susan

Anonymous said...

I came across your blog a year ago as well. I have attempted to write comments after many of your posts but in the end erase them. I don't know why, I suppose I feel there are no words that I can say to make you feel better.
But from one stanger to another your journey has touched my life, challenged me in my reactions to daily struggles and inspired me in more ways then I am probably aware of.
I think of you and your family often, have referred to you in my own blog and have spoken of you and what your family is living through with my own husband. It has sparked conversations with us that have left us both feeling inspired and challenged.
You and your family are with us in our prayers, especially this coming week. May you feel the peace of the Lord, the rest in His arms and the comfort that only He can give.
Shalom~
Jody

Diane said...

I also came upon your blog a year ago when your friend wrote the entry for you. It is always so hard to witness a family go through what your family has gone through. And yet, there is no way for me to completely feel what you have been feeling. This past year reading your blog, all I can say is unbelievable. Your strength and unwaivering faith is incredible. Even though I don't really know you, I feel like I know you from reading your blog on a daily basis. Nothing I can say will make much of a difference. My family has recently gone through a death also and it is painfully hard, but to know where they are and that they are happy, safe, and well is a real comfort.
Diane

Andrea said...

Ok, I finally made it through this post. It took me several attempts; I got too choked up and had to quit many times. It communicated exactly what you intended, because it was expertly written. Very touching and beautiful in its love and faith.

Debbie said...

All I can say here is that I love you so much and could never explain to you how STRONG you are (whether you believe it or not) and how much you have helped all of us, Marshy :) I'm on the brink of a bawling breakdown and am at work, so that's all I can say!
I love you so much...
Bobo

JenIG said...

Oh Marshie, I just love you so so so much. I really wish you lived closer

Anonymous said...

You and your precious family are in my prayers and even though we are strangers we are sisters in Christ and your faith is inspirational and I long to see your reunion with Christian one day! HUGS Elicia

rural momma said...

Marsha~~ I read this yesterday, but I didn't have time to comment. Your post is an incredible testimony of the love of the Father. During your hardest days instead of turning inward you are pouring out and showing people the true way to salvation. In this world there is much that we cannot fathom or understand. Yet, one truth remains for all eternity and that is the saving grace of Jesus. The work He did on the cross is THE ONLY thing we need to get a hold of. You have been an inspiration through your darkest days, and you have pointed to the ONE that matters the most. I have been and will continue to pray for you and your family. I cannot understand what you have been through, but I can understand your love and reliance on the Saviour. (((((Marsha)))))

VaQueenBee said...

(((Marsha!)))

You've been remarkable this year, and such an inspiration to me. I pray that the rest of this month passes quickly and peacefully.

Teresa

Deedee said...

Marshie,
You are in our thoughts and prayers this week as you have been during the past year. No one should ever have to loose a child! But you have been so amazing and faithfull and strong and such a testimony to God's goodness and grace. My loss was different (miscarriages) but I think you always ask 'what ifs....' and 'how...' and 'why.....' and that is simply part of being human. God made us. He understands that. :o) Sending HUGE ((((((((HUGS)))))))) my friend. - Deedee

Amanda said...

((hugs)) I stumbled onto someone's blog who had this link up. I am glad I stopped by. My heart breaks for you and I will pray for you! I feel like the Lord led me to your blog.

A friend of mine lost both her children in a car accident at the beginning of July. A 18 wheeler hit their van, killing her 5 yo son and 3 yo daughter.

Like you ((hugs)), she is hurting so badly right now, and will for a long time. I know this is personal, but are there any support groups online that you have found helpful for you this past year that I could pass on to her.

Tara Rison said...

God bless you and your family.

Thank you for this beautiful and thought-provoking post.

Miss Jocelyn said...

Dearest Marshiemallow
My heart aches for you and my prayer are with you. You've got to be one of the most admirable people I know in this kind of situation to keep all things in perspective of Him and His enternal truth. Love you all and wish I would give you a hug IRL - maybe someday (at least on the new earth) soon! :)

love you bunches
MJ

Felecia said...

Just found your post via Jocelyn Dixon on Twitter. I wanted to let you know that I feel for you and appreciate your thoughts on making sure that we are right with God! My friend passed away a little over a year ago at the age of 17 from brain cancer. It has been very difficult, but praise God we can still serve Him in the good times and the bad! Praise God He has a plan! You are welcome to stop by my personal blog LIFE IS A GIFT: http://felecia91.blogspot.com/ May God help you through this time!!!

Jacque said...

I wish I could give you an IRL hug. I am so sorry. Each moment is precious. Each smile, each memory. I am sad they are sad memories - all-to-soon - but, I am blessed that you have them. Blessed to read about them. Makes me laugh and cry. I can relate to them so well with our boys.
My memories and making them has been so much sweeter this past year. I've never even met Christian(not yet!), and he has blessed our family.
Know my prayers are with you all all the time.
May this Spirit in you that has held you and kept you through all of this become stronger and stronger in your lives. May your children be blessed of the Father and grow closer each day to Him and to you and David.
Love you dear~

Anonymous said...

Marsha, I am Andrea's Mom, Hope Wright. I must tell you that I appreciate you sharing your story, and more importantly, your heart. The way you spoke about the TRUTH was very precious. I will continue to pray for you and your family, AND that the people that read the truth that you present to them, will understand that it comes from a true heart of love, and what you have said is the truth.

May God continue to enrich your lives and heart with His precious love.

Love and Prayers, Hope Joy Wright

Felecia said...

Thank you so much for the sweet comment on my blog! The song that I posted is called "Send Me A Song" and it is sung by Celtic Woman. They have some really pretty songs - many of them were played at Alesya's funeral reception. May God bless you and bring you through this difficult time! Feel free to visit my blog again!

Michelle said...

Marsh,
What a beautiful post. My hear breaks and yet rejoices for you all at once. I am so sorry that your time with your beautiful boy was so short here on earth, and yet I rejoice in knowing that you will be able to spend eternity together in paradise.
Thank you for sharing such a beautiful testimony, and for sharing the Gospel in such a heart-felt way. I pray that this post moves the hearts of MANY a reader.

Bless your family during this difficult week. I'll be praying for you!

Michelle

Anonymous said...

Dear Marsha,

I found your blog a little over a year ago, just before you lost Christian. God has used you in a mighty way in my life to keep me going when I've wanted to just throw the towel in. "Watching" you go through this heartbreaking, earthshattering event with grace and still praising God was a balm to my soul. I realized through watching you that God is there for me, and that I just wasn't looking at Him anymore and that is why it was just so dark. Thank you for your faithfulness to God and shining a light for others to see the WAY. I thank God for letting me find your blog. God used you to save my life.

Thanks eternally,
Angela

Becca~TimeWellSpent said...

I'm just now catching up on blogs. This post just made me cry. I can't even imagine the grief you and your family have gone through and I stand in awe of your faith and continued love in the Lord. You know you will see Christian again and what a comfort that must be! Your desire for each of us to be close to the Lord was heard by me. I truly desire with all my heart for me and my family to be in heaven one day and each day we need to rely on God and ask Him into our lives!
Beautiful, sad, touching post Marsha.

EEEEMommy said...

You leave me speechless, tears running down my cheeks, my heart overflowing, and challenged. God is faithful! Continue to praise Him.

Beth@Pages of Our Life said...

It's hard to know what to say, but I wanted you to know I read your words, shared them with you, and felt your heart.

We don't know why, if we go there we will find no answer. But there is a treasure in sorrow and it's the comfort of the Lord. What a testimony. Thank you for sharing your heart, Marsha, with us.

Beth

Only a Boy said...

I've been really thinking about you and your family lately.

You have been such a blessing to me this past year as you have shared your heart and finding His joy even in pain. Thank you for being so transparent.

Hugs and prayers
Danielle

Ali said...

Marsha, it is amazing to see just how much strength the Lord has given you. Even in the midst of indescribable pain and sorrow, you have shown the world how God can give strength and comfort to his children.

Thank you for the challenge as well! I fall short so often.

Please know that you are in our prayers. All the way up here in Oregon!

Ali

Samantha said...

Marsha,
I am not sure how I missed this entry, but I just read it today. You are such an encouragement to me. I have been struggling so much lately. SO much is going on in my life that causes me much grief and sorrow. Thank you for the words. Thank you for being so transparent this past year through your suffering and your pain. I love you very much! I can't wait to meet you someday and sweet Christian! We will rejoice together in Heaven someday!!!!!!!!
Sam H.

My Teaching Garden said...

This is one of the most precious things I have ever read! The love of Christ that you have shared with others is truthful and full of sweet communion. May God richly bless you and your family and may God's love reach deeply into the hearts of others who have questions without easy answers.
Love in Christ
Phyllis Wright

Vicki said...

Marsha,
I have been off line for a while ( long while). I have thought about you and your family many times and wondered how you were.
Your post always inspire me so much. You love for God shows in them all. Your family is so lucky to have you.
Vicki
Homeschoolingkatt