Monday, August 26, 2013

5 years

"We wept when we were born though all around us smiled;
so shall we smile when we die when all around us weep."
-Charles Spurgeon

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The number on the calendar today marks 5 years... half a decade!... 60 months!... since I last held my cheeky, blonde, funny, giggly, stinkerpot little boy.

"Now life will be a little less sweet, death a little less bitter."
-Thomas Shepherd after the death of his wife (1700s)

When I wonder if Christian is forgotten, God reminds me of how our family and friends still remember... But most of all, how He still remembers.

On my down days, He sends encouragement directly through His Word, or through a phone call, radio song, sermon at church, email from a stranger, hug from a friend.  Today is manageable so far because I was blessed with being heard yesterday.  How can those that never knew the old me and my little Christian be so loving and compassionate and kind?  To listen to my stories of him from so many years ago and to weep with me as if that dreadful day had just happened yesterday? Truly God's gift of sisters in Christ!

And then there are these guys. Oh these guys!  Our added joy, God's gift to us... The ones that remind us that life is still in front of us. I pray fervently that this hard place in the story of their lives will not be wasted.  It pains me to see them cry. Their young man arms wrapping around me when they see the look I get in my eyes. I think I know them so well... and sometimes forget how well they know their mama too.

And Ian. Oh my, our beautiful mess! His grin full of mischief and chin jutted slightly out like his big brother Christian used to do. He looks like mini Austin but acts so much like Christian-- full of busy and charm and temper and the trouble that should make you mad but you just can't help but laugh at him instead.

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"Life is bigger than loss because God is bigger than loss.
They bear witness to the truth that pain and death do not have the final word; God does.
-Jerry Sittser, A Grace Disguised

My soul has been stretched.

The overwhelming pain of loss has given me an incredible joy in the every day.  How such joy and sorrow can live side by side and yet intermingle is beyond my understanding. And yet there it is. Sure there are still frustrations and annoyances and the ever present missing, but these are evidence of life and living!  Ordinary is extraordinary.  

For you mama's dealing with the knee high bunch (or even the taller than you teen bunch!), hug your little ones a little more. It's okay to get frustrated and deal with messes and tantrums and noise. Love your kids... and when you lose it, ask for forgiveness and press on. It is evidence of life!  Carseats and crumbs, puking and potty training, giggles and hugs, songs and slides... Yes it is hard and exhausting being the mama. But God chose YOU to be mom to your child... What a high calling! Do not be weary in your well doing... It will be worth it.

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God has never left me. 

His grace has been immeasurable. 

Though this journey seems impossible at times, IT IS STILL WELL WITH MY SOUL.

May I never forget.

To God be all glory.

"I did not go through pain and come out the other side;
instead, I lived in it and found within that pain the grace to survive and eventually grow.
I did not get over the loss of my loved ones;
rather, I absorbed the loss into my life, like soil receives decaying matter,
until it became a part of who I am."
-Jerry Sittser, A Grace Disguised

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Dear Christian,

It has been 5 years since the day you met Jesus. Are you celebrating this day? Do you pray for us as we still mourn you?

Ian is starting to say more words... He says mama the most-- almost nonstop! Sometimes when he means Noah, we think he is asking for a banana. I wonder if he would say your name like you used to? 

"I Chis-chun!"

Not a day goes by that we don't think of you and miss you. I watch the few video clips of you that I have and I smile to remember your voice and laughter.  Ian is almost big enough to start playing with the trains and tracks that you loved so much. I wonder if he will love them as much as you did.

We have two of our family pictures on the refrigerator. Daddy and I are always sure to tell Ian your name and how you are his big brother. One day our family will be complete and we will all be together again... Daddy, Mommy, Austin, Noah, Christian and Ian. I can't wait for that day!

Remember how you used to bring me yard flowers or hold my hand and ask "I make you happy mommy?"  Well, my little wonderboy, even though we are apart right now, you make me happy. Very happy!

I love you!

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But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep,
that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again,
even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord,
that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord
shall not prevent them which are asleep.

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout,
with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God:
and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds,
to meet the Lord in the air:
and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

-I Thessalonians 4:13-18

Sunday, May 12, 2013

almost made it through mother's day

I almost made it through Mother's Day 2013 without crying.

It started while I was grabbing a few things at the grocery store tonight after church.  Out of the blue, my chest started to tighten and that familiar swell of sorrow threatened to rise up.

Nope, not tonight. 
Not here. 
I'm not in the mood to deal with this right now. 
Wait until I get home, wait until after the kids are in bed, just wait!

So I pushed it down and tried to think about whether I should buy that cut of meat that was packaged yesterday instead of today... what pasta shapes the boys might prefer... Ahhh... shapes...

The night before Christian died, I let him choose which shape of pretzels we should get at the grocery store. He decided on the small pretzel sticks, squealing with delight and holding the bag all the way home. The next morning, he begged to eat pretzels for breakfast!

{I'm glad I said yes.}

When he was still missing, us not knowing he was already in the arms of Jesus, I looked down at my feet and saw the broken pretzel sticks that had fallen from his hands that very morning.


Push the image away, change the channel in my brain, and leave the store quickly.

But after the kids are in bed, I can't hold it back.


David mutes the TV and asks what is wrong.

It's nothing.

That's an awfully big sigh for it to be nothing...

And he's right.

I cry.
He holds me.

I need to sit in the grief moment and take it in. Holding onto it is the only way to release it.

And when the moment's tears are spent, we go back to what we were doing, all too familiar with this routine of unexpected tears.

Psalm 103 keeps going through my head... and I am thankful for the calm that it brings to my heart...

Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.

Prayer in verse, prayer in song, running through my head as I drift off to sleep...
Thank you, dear God, for your Word... always timely, always relevant, always near to my broken heart.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

God knew 9 years ago...

I have been looking for a particular picture for over one and half years.

I found it tonight!!!

When we first moved to Guam almost 2 years ago, I was sad we had this grand new adventure and no Christian to share it with. It wasn't a large outward boohoo, but one of those small things in a deep corner of my heart.

It wasn't long before God reminded me of a whirlwind two day stay in Guam back in 2004...

Ritidian Beach... Only ONE picture... and it's of me... pregnant with Christian!

I can honestly say that ALL of my boys have been to Guam!

Thank you God for knowing 9 years ago that I needed this gift today.

Haven of Hope Retreat for grieving moms

Registration is now open for our third annual Haven of Hope Retreat! The Retreat will once again be held in Round Top, Texas, which is approximately 2 hours from Houston, 1.5 hours from Austin, and really close to Brenham. :)  Retreat dates are March 8-10, 2013.

Would you please help spread the word?  

The registration link is at:
You may share the flyer link and/or print it out HERE.

Haven of Hope Retreat

We are just a group of Christian moms on this grief journey trying to encourage one another in the Lord and share the HOPE that we have only through Jesus Christ.

It's not a weekend of only tears (though they are a plenty), but a place of safety and understanding... We talk, laugh, eat, pray, sing, craft and share our hurts, hearts, and children with one another.  Casual and Christ-centered with the Bible as our guide.

Please pray. Not only for us as we prepare the practical details, but for the moms that God already knows will be attending. It does take great courage to share this deep grief with strangers (although it doesn't take long to become fast friends). We are honored that these moms are willing to share their children with us.

To God be the glory.