Thursday, March 25, 2010

Dear Enfamil

Dear Enfamil,

Thank you so much for reminding me today that my son does not need this sample. Thank you for bringing it up again and again. Thank you for not removing me from your mailing list, even though I sent what I thought was a fairly clear and well-put note. And how did you get my new address? It was sent directly to this very house-- not even re-routed. Thank you for marking time with me-- he would be eleven months. Thank you for making sure that I did not forget that. I'm sure that, without your monthly reminders (between you and the complimentary Parenting magazine-- again, did not sign up for it; have no idea how I'm getting it), I would completely forget that my son is not snuggling into his little bed tonight.

Appreciate it.

Call for prayer: Meagan

Hi all,

Would you agree with me in prayer for a precious young mother who has experienced the loss of her baby boy? Megan's son is named Sam, and this is her blog.

Thanks for praying-- I am living proof that the Lord has used so many of you as His instruments of ministry and comfort. I love you guys-- and that goes for both met and unmet friends :)

Sam

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Porch!

Ah, my porch.

Thank you Jesus for my porch.

Now I just have to get down to serious business getting over being intimidated by my beautiful home. We moved in in January and the ceilings are crazy high and beautiful and...sigh.

Momma and daddy gave us rocking chairs and we LOVE being out there.

I love my town. I love our home. I love love love.

Thank you Lord. This was a very, very sweet gift, sent straight from You. We appreciate it so much...

:)

God is Just

Job. Dear Job. Trust me when I say that I know that I am no Job-- I lost one little boy. I know that loss and suffering are personal-- how can we measure what we feel as individuals against others' losses?-- but the loss of one little boy cannot compare with the loss of all of your children, your home, your wealth, and your health...

It still sucks. But perspective is a comfort.

Anyway, I find myself headed back to him again and again simply because it truly is a study in grief and loss and anger and seeking to simply get what He is doing. What He did. What He didn't do.

It's like banging your head against a brick wall sometimes. The answer, repeatedly, has been "Shhhh.... Shhhhh.... Be still. Be still. Wait. Know."

I haven't read His word enough. I haven't worshipped enough. I haven't prayed enough-- and Lord knows, I've cried out to Him, but enough?-- and yet I never sense that He is disappointed with me. Ever. Oh gosh, I sense the LOVE of the Lord toward my still-broken heart every time I look at Him. Self-pity keeps trying to sew weeds in my garden, but the Watchman is so near-- how can I explain it? This year... this long, short year... He has carried me in a way that I have never experienced.

My old ways of thinking, my old fears and insecurities in relation to God, have been sort of held at bay this year-- like He truly has been the crutch that my old friend Billy used to accuse Him of being. Why did I argue with him then? Why did I find that so offensive? Oh, Billy... you have gone on to wherever eternity took you, but I would tell you YES! I rejoice that He is my crutch! I am crippled, crutch-needing mess! I cannot walk without Him! I cannot get up in the morning without the knowledge that I am deeply, deeply loved by a compassionate and merciful Maker.

And somehow, in this season, His grace has kept me from crumbling completely into a pit that would accuse Him and say, NO! You are not merciful! You are mean! You are cruel! You are thoughtless! How could you?...

I am still tempted, though, in my weak moments, to say to Him, "I thought you liked me... I thought I was blessed and highly favored. What happened, Lord?"

But it's His grace and the reality that He is who He says He is that has folded itself over my natural thoughts. HE MUST EXIST. I have not lost my mind and I have not lost my love for Him. Because He has me well in hand.

And I am surrounded by men and women who speak words of hope and love and faith and YES. I live with a man who prays for me and for us daily. I am deeply, passionately grateful. I'm sad, too-- but I am grateful.

It's almost been a year. I can't believe it.

I will bring praise, I will bring praise. No weapon formed against me shall remain. I will rejoice, I will declare, God is my victory and He is here. All of my life, in every season, You are still God. I have a reason to sing. I have a reason to worship. I will bring praise.

Hear the cry of my heart: God is good!

Because my son is dead, but my hope is secure-- I was not created for the things of this earth but for Him. I was made for His purposes. Can the created thing look at its creator and say, with any hope of making sense, "Why did you create me? You didn't do this thing the right way"? I am His. I'm so tempted to get it backwards-- that I exist and He is supposed to bless me because I got saved.

NO. He existed and brought me into His existence. I am in Him. In His reality. In HIS plan. I am welcome to live and thrive and laugh and enjoy it deeply, madly, thoroughly, but it's HIS. I'm His. You're His. It's all His. And He invites us to live BIG in it.

We can't see the whole picture from our vantage point. We're a splotch of paint on a canvas. We're a mark on a gigantic vase. We're a tiny thread in a gigantic tapestry. There are things I don't know. I don't know what the weaver is making-- mine is to relax and trust the skill of the Artist.

My story is just as much about what Ben's place in that tapestry is as it is my own. Because he has a place. Not had. He still is. He is "some other where" but he is. He has the best seat of anyone in this family.

That is a warm comfort.

But my arms still long for him.

Ah, friends, I am rambling. I cried on my porch with a dear friend yesterday. Today I took a long walk with another friend in the warmth of a spring that makes me miss my child and the first birthday he would have had. I cried on my husband's precious shoulder.

But in the end, my cry has to be-- because all the other cries just make me angry or frustrated or just...sadder-- "Oh God, YOU SAID that You would fill the earth with Your glory. You said that Your kingdom is near. You said to cry out to You. Fill me with Your glory. Do Your will in my home. I will accept no less than Your perfect will in my house. And I will submit to Your will and trust that what we see is not all there is."

Job 5
God Is Just

1"Call now, is there anyone who will answer you?
And to which of the holy ones will you turn?
2"For anger slays the foolish man,
And jealousy kills the simple.
3"I have seen the foolish taking root,
And I cursed his abode immediately.
4"His sons are far from safety,
They are even oppressed in the gate,
And there is no deliverer.
5"His harvest the hungry devour
And take it to a place of thorns,
And the schemer is eager for their wealth.
6"For affliction does not come from the dust,
Nor does trouble sprout from the ground,
7For man is born for trouble,
As sparks fly upward.
8"But as for me, I would seek God,
And I would place my cause before God;
9Who does great and unsearchable things,
      Wonders without number.
10"He gives rain on the earth
           And sends water on the fields,
11So that He sets on high those who are lowly,
And those who mourn are lifted to safety. [praise God praise God praise God]
12"He frustrates the plotting of the shrewd,
So that their hands cannot attain success.
13"He captures the wise by their own shrewdness,
And the advice of the cunning is quickly thwarted.
14"By day they meet with darkness,
And grope at noon as in the night.
15"But He saves from the sword of their mouth,
And the poor from the hand of the mighty.
16"So the helpless has hope,
And unrighteousness must shut its mouth.
17"Behold, how happy is the man whom God reproves,
So do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.
18"For He inflicts pain, and gives relief;
He wounds, and His hands also heal.
19"From six troubles He will deliver you,
Even in seven evil will not touch you.
20"In famine He will redeem you from death,
And in war from the power of the sword.
21"You will be hidden from the scourge of the tongue,
And you will not be afraid of violence when it comes.
22"You will laugh at violence and famine,
And you will not be afraid of wild beasts.
23"For you will be in league with the stones of the field,
And the beasts of the field will be at peace with you.
24"You will know that your tent is secure,
For you will visit your abode and fear no loss.
25"You will know also that your descendants will be many,
And your offspring as the grass of the earth.
26"You will come to the grave in full vigor,
Like the stacking of grain in its season.
27"Behold this; we have investigated it, and so it is.
Hear it, and know for yourself."

I claim Your promises, Lord. You are good. I will bless You and not curse You. I love You, Lord. I am Yours.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Afternoon Delight: Peek-a-boo with Ella



(facebook conversation about the pics of my niece, Ella, above)
Leigh: She's good! I can barely see her!

Samantha:  ha ha!!! leigh, she was killing us with this. she'd go, "awight sammi, awight sammi" (imitating her mommy or someone saying, "alright ella") and then we were supposed to say, "where's ella?" and she'd pull her hands back and just scream! so cute!! so when i did it back to her she went, "awight sammi, awight sammi" and my heart melted into a puddle of soup on the floor and they had to get a to-go box to carry me home... :)

Call for prayer: Mike Sweeney

Hey guys--

Calling all people who pray! :)

My mom sent word of a young man named Mike Sweeney who is battling cancer and my husband and I have joined the thousands of people lifting this guy up in prayer. I felt so strongly the presence of the Lord when I read his wife's caringbridge account of what's going on with him--- will you guys believe with us in prayer for the total healing of this man of God? There is something so, so huge about this situation...

Here is his caringbridge journal--

http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/mikesweeney

Bless you guys,
Sam

UPDATE: Dear friends, this precious man went on to his reward. Please remember his wife (Cabell) and the rest of their family in your prayers. Go to the site above for details.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Here it comes!

Spring.

Last year, spring meant new life, abundance, joy, hope, flowers, and a healthy fear of the unknown.

This year means the first anniversary of my precious son's passing. His arrival and his passing.

Oh heart, tremble not.
Oh heart, stand.
Oh heart, hold on.
Oh heart, believe.
Oh heart, you have endured before--
My heart, you will endure again.
Oh heart, stand firm on what you know.
Oh heart, stand firm on what you have seen.
That God is good, and that He is kind, and that all His ways are
well-thought-out and gentle and that He offers comfort when
the way of the world we are pilgrimaging through
is not.
Oh heart.
Sing your hymn--offer it up.
Send it through the trees and
across the grass
and into the clouds.
Sing your hymn and claim that
Love will overwhelm death
and that
Wisdom will confound intellect
and that
Hope will crush disappointment
and that
There will be a happy ending to this story.

No matter how much today's beauty
Reminds you of last year's pain.

I will not dread the spring. I will not let my joy be stolen, snatched away because of bad memories. I will not let spring be draped in black mourning like a mirror in a house of grief. I refuse.

I will give myself time to continue on this journey of grief, but I will not hand it the keys to my house.

Today, I will be a little sad. But I will not fail to notice the brand new buds of life on the baby trees outside my house, and the daffodils which resolutely pushed their faces up through the snow only weeks ago and would not die, only blooming yellower against all that frozen whiteness.

I will rise up yellower, too.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Overheard: Outside the Piggly Wiggly

I love the Piggly Wiggly in my town. Not that it's a great store-- no, not even close. Rather, it's like stepping back in time. Don and I were talking the other day, remembering the evolution of stores in that particular spot: first, some store that doesn't exist any more; then Big Star, Big Apple, something else, then Piggly Wiggly. It was one of two grocery stores when we were little kids. I remember going there with bare feet, loving the chill of the floor on my toes, stepping in off the hot asphalt. Oh, we were country kids. I'm grateful that my parents let my brother and me be as country as we could be. They still felt like we were city kids, though :)

Anyway, the cooler along the right side of the store is the same exact one that was there in the 70's, and the manager's station is still on a weird raised platform, looking out over the beer section. The vegetables along the left side of the wall are sketchy (but I did get some awesome avacados, 4 for .99!) and there were huge pallets of peanuts, but it felt good in there-- I can't fully explain why (except that it got me away from creepy bagger guy at my regular store. I'll explain later). I was a little girl in that store, following my dad around and hoping for a coke in a glass bottle and one of those fried pies, coated in sugar, that used to come wrapped in wax paper.

As I walked out the door, back into the sunshine, I noticed a bench with three good ol' boys just to the right of an ancient Coke machine. They were talking to another ol' boy in a little white truck, his little girl beside him on the seat, sipping something from Dairy Queen. I didn't get the first part of the conversation, but I just had to laugh at the snippet that I caught:

"Well shoot. If you were in court every time they wanted you there, you'd pert near live there!"

Well, don't I know it?

:)