Friday, October 30, 2009

Thinking of my twins~Leaning on the Everlasting Arms


Today 13 years ago, our twins died. It was an awful day and I almost died in the process. I wrote about it in more details in an earlier post but I just want to take the time to honor my babies. I don't have all the answers about the after life but I know that there is one. I don't know if the twins are still babies or if they've grown...but I know when I see them again I'll know them because the scripture says "we shall know as we are also known" I know that heaven is real and it is a comfort. When you begin to look at life with an eternal perspective, it really changes things!

I believe we live in a fallen world and that's why we have sickness, disease and death. I don't think God brings it upon people. The Bible is very clear "that the thief comes to steal and destroy but that Jesus came to give us life" so I know where bad things come from and where good things come from. Pretty simple huh?

It took me awhile to get past my anger and confusion, and when I say awhile I mean years....kinda of a yucky time to say the least! But through God's grace, I was able to walk through it. Then when I was faced with all the struggles that Sam has had, my mindset was so different. I had learned to trust God. See before I lost the twins, I thought I trusted God and I did to a point. But when I went through that heartache, my faith was shattered because I had the mindset that God should make everything right~right now! And when this huge heartache came, my faith couldn't stand. Through those years of walking through a deep valley, a valley that I put myself in, I actually did learn to trust God that He is good all the time, even if our hearts are breaking, He is still good. God doesn't take pleasure in sickness or death He sent Jesus into this world to redeem us from the curse of sin. But God doesn't go against the laws of nature that He put into place. If He did no one would ever die or be sick...which would be great but that's not how it is. It is how it would have been if man hadn't chosen sin in the garden of Eden and that's how it will be one day again but right now, we live in a fallen world.

My trust in God now is like the three Hebrew children, Shadrach, Meshcah and Abendgo... "we know our God is able to deliver us but EVEN IF He doesn't we're still gonna trust Him" And they went into the fiery furnace, but although they went into it, they also came out of it! So we may go through fiery furnaces, but if we trust God He will bring us out of them! We may not get the miracles we'd like immediately, but one day we will. That old song...Leaning on the Everlasting Arms" has some true theology in it."What have I to fear, what have I to dread, Leaning on the everlasting arms, I have blessed peace with my Lord so near, leaning on the everlasting arms. Leaning leaning safe and secure from all alarm" If we can get to the point that we trust God although we don't have all the answers, there is a "peace that passes all understanding" Our hearts can be breaking but we're trusting and we can know in the deepest part of our hearts that we are safe and secure.

I'm not perfect by any means, but there is a difference now when my world is rocked, I know that everything is gonna be alright. It may not be alright today, tomorrow or even 10 years from now but one day when I stand before the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords; everything is gonna be alright! He is going to wipe away every tear. I've got a lot of tears to be wiped away but it's gonna be alright. I don't write this as one who has not suffered or as a trite "Christian" statement but it's what is deep and settled in my heart.

My world was rocked this week when we found out that Sam is totally deaf in one ear and has sub-normal hearing in the other. My world has been rocked alot lately. When Sam started dealing with the life threatening low blood sugar/seizure issues in May and the seven hospitalizations since and now with us having to check his blood sugar daily...it was rocked. Then when we found out in August that his retina had detached-blown out-imploded and he had NO sight at all in his left eye. That little eye that I fought so hard for, for so long...my world was rocked. But rather than get bitter I CHOSE to trust God. I'm not trusting because I think if I behave a certain way, then God will move a certain way ...NO! I'm trusting because "who do I have in heaven or earth but you O God" There is a peace that I can't explain but I KNOW it's all gonna be alright!

Again, I'm so not perfect. I'm just on a journey like we all are on. Thankfully God works with us all to draw us closer to Him if we chose to do so. As I've walked this journey of mine over the past 13 years since our twins died, I've made so many mistakes and done things I wish I could undo but I'm so thankful that God continued working with me. At one point I was so angry I didn't want to have anything to do with God, Christianity or whatever. But still through all that hurt and anger, God still kept speaking to my heart. I'm so glad He did. It was a process not an overnight one!

A few weeks after Sam was born, I had an "epithamy" in the hallway of Lakeland Regional when I saw a family taking home a perfect baby while mine was in the NICU with so many problems...right then and there, I said in my heart "God I'm going to trust you. I'm not going to walk through that valley of anger and bitterness again" And honestly I've had to restate that a few times but it's easier every time that something happens to trust God. God has always been there to give me comfort when things were bad. When we learned in August that Sam had lost his left eye, I sat on the hospital bed with him just out of surgery and my heart broke. I was alone in the room with him. I had held it together when the doctors talked to us and in the recovery room with people all around but when we were alone and Jon and Steve had gone to get us lunch and it was just me, Sam and God, the tears came. His eye sight is so very fragile and we were warned that day to prepare ourselves, the same thing could happen to his good eye at any time. So of course, my heart was overwhelmed but in that instant, I felt God's presence and I knew everything was going to be ok. Did that mean he'd never have another eye problem? No it meant that one day, he's going to have perfect vision, it may not be on this earth but for all of eternity he will be able to see all that heaven has, he'll see me and he'll see Jesus. This life is but a vapor, a mist...eternity is forever. One day his understanding will be full and he'll be able to hear the angels singing and he'll be able to speak clearly...one day!

If we can view this life in the light of eternity it will make a difference in how we live our lives and how we react when our world is rocked. Trusting God is a process for us humans but He can walk with us through ourlife journey if we let Him. And He can give us the peace that no one else can!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

20 years




Last Monday was our 20 years anniversary. Doesn't seem possible that 20 years, two decades have come and gone since that day we eloped and got married at the Bartow courthouse, after only knowing each other one month! What a ride it has been! I truly can say there hasn't been a dull moment! We've taken some big risks and huge leaps of faith and it's been fun!

We didn't know that day when we took each other "for better or worse" exactly what we were committing to, no one does on their wedding day. Those vows have really led us around the world on some crazy adventures. We didn't know we were committing to a little boy who would bring us such heartache but such unexplainable joy...or a little orphan boy in China..or our twins who are in heaven...or our wonderful firstborn Steve. We didn't know all those children lay ahead. Believe me that was not on our mind that day!

We didn't know all the moves we'd make across country or the ministerial positions we'd take. We had no idea what all was in store for us but it's been fun.

On the way, we have had our share of heartache, more than our share. At one point, the heartache was too much and I didn't know if we'd make it but God brought us through and made our marriage stronger than ever.

It's been good and I look forward to many more years with Jon~I hope we live to be old folks and make it to our 60th wedding anniversary, healthy and in our right minds. (That would be better than we are now!) I'd be 84 and Jon would be 85~ so that's my goal:)

We never feel like we've reached some stopping point in our lives. Always we wonder what is ahead for us. Another move, different church...? We like to stay open and flexible. In all this time, we've never really bought a house, we've never wanted to be tied down to any one place. Although now with Sam, I don't see us going to be missionaries in deep dark Africa, but we've still open to new possibilities. Sometimes we look at people that have lived their lives in one place, one job..and feel sorry for them. That would drive us both up the wall. It's not that we're unstable, Jon's been a chaplain for almost 13 years and I worked for the Department for over 7 before Sam was born but we live open to something new changing our lives suddenly~I guess if you get married in a month, you have to be wired to be like that!

Anyhow it's been fun! I've realized so many of my dreams and so has Jon. We've had these great kids, we worked and lived in NYC, Jon's been a chaplain (not a job I really wanted him to take but it fits him like a glove) , he's pastoring a great small but growing church, we've traveled...it's been great! I'm so thankful for God giving me Jon as a husband. He's a wonderful husband and a terrific dad. He puts his family first and that means alot.

Marrying "that poor preacher" was the best decision I have ever made. I'm blessed and have a wonderful life I only dreamed of as a girl. It's not perfect but I have someone who walks with me through those hard times, someone who is there with me in the hospital, and who helps me take care of our munchkins (especially Sam!) I'm blessed!

I meant to write this post on our actually anniversary but couldn't. But I love you Jon!!!!

Thoughts on a chilly morning




I haven't been posting much lately but I keep promising to do so...Life has been crazy for us. Sam continues to have issues with his blood sugar. 2 weeks ago, on Sunday I woke him up to get him ready for church and he was out of it. I yelled for Steve to get some OJ and thankfully Sam could still drink. We loaded him up and rushed him to Lakeland where he stayed for 3 days. His blood sugar had sunk for no reason. (by the way, Steve and I took him so the service could go on...the stress of being a pastor's wife) Finally they gave me an Accura Check machine so I can track his blood sugars. This past week he woke up throwing up and I called Jon to come hom and we took him to the doctor. His blood sugar was high enough we didn't have to go to the ER. This time we managed it at home and he has done ok, still a bit border line in his drinking cause he tends to get real deydrated real quick and he's not been drinking as much as we'd like. So with all of this plus his eyedrops, doctor appts., daily home bound teachers, the other boys/school, the church, Jon's dad in the nursing home, and Jon's work....life is a bit stressful!!!

But I love posting and will try to be more faithful!!