I Can’t Help But Wonder…

3/2012

I miss this freckled face boy every day…and my heart aches as he would have turned 17 on March 23rd

Warren went to heaven on November 24, 2014..He was 13.

Around his birthday, more than any other time, I wonder more about what he would look like and how our lives would be different if he were still here.

 

Wondering can be painful, as my thoughts drift toward the things that will never be…

Would you be dating?  Would you be playing a sport?  What kind of car would you be driving?  Would you be tall and skinny?  Would your hair be long or short?   Who would your friends be? What would you do for fun on a Friday night?  Where would you want to go to college

I also wonder about Heaven.  I wonder about you in Heaven and what that might be like.  I wonder about that day … when I will see you again…

And then I wonder….

I wonder how my life would be different?   Would I really know Jesus like I do now?  Would I undoubtedly know and have experienced true peace?   I wonder…Would I cling to His Word like I couldn’t live without it ?  Would I genuinely long for Heaven or still be trying to find contentment in this world? I wonder …..would I understand wholeheartedly the need to strive for him? Would I truly know what it means to set my eyes on things above?  

I wonder if my anthem would unquestionably be ‘Jesus Is Enough’ & ‘Heaven Is Better’?  Would my hope be in Christ alone?  

I wonder COULD I really, undoubtedly, truly, genuinely, wholeheartedly & unquestionably know the Jesus I know today outside of my suffering?

As I look ahead to Easter, the cross, the death, the burial and the resurrection…I wonder can I like Paul, consider everything else (the satisfactions of this world) worthless when compared to the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus?

I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as loss, so that I could gain Christ  and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.  I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death,  so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead! Philippians 3:7-11

These are Paul’s words not mine.  I want to be able to proclaim like he did, but if I’m 100% honest I  wish I could have all of Jesus AND Warren.  I wish there had been another way… A life of little suffering… and certainly not the kind of suffering that comes with the death of a child.

But like Paul and like Jesus who set his face toward Jerusalem (Luke 9:51) I want to position my eyes upward.  I want to press on, straining forward to what lies ahead -Future Glory!

As we observe this Good Friday, pondering the cross, the brutal death of our Savior…For me and for you…I wonder what it must have been like for him?  Scripture says he was greatly distressed and troubled, his soul was very sorrowful, even to death.  He fell to the ground as he prayed and asked the Father if it were possible the hour might pass from him. (Mark 14:34-36)

As I wonder… I set my eyes on the cross.  I humbly position my heart today to pray.  I can’t really answer all the questions of my wondering, but I do know this…I’m changed because of my suffering and how God in his infinite grace and mercy meets me there…. And because of Christ’s death on the cross and his resurrection, I have hope.

What do you wonder?  I pray that in your own wondering, you find the beautiful Hope of Jesus Christ…

If I’m Honest…

If I’m honest…I am relieved the “Holidays” are coming to a close.  I don’t hate Thanksgiving or Christmas, the festivities, and all that goes with them…In fact, being with friends and family is something I love very much..but I just struggle more during this time of year without Warren. It’s like every event, every gathering, & every picture is a reminder that things are not as they should be…

img_9485
Thanksgiving in Galveston
img_1001
Remembering WB…always and forever ~We Believe

img_9502

The expectations and the pressure (from myself) to make things “right” is simply exhausting. The music, the lights, the parties, the gifts, the decorations, the shopping…the overall stress can just about send anybody over the edge…now add to that the constant ache and longing for my boy,  that won’t be here again this year to celebrate…well, it’s almost too much

img_1248

In my opinion, this time of year is the hardest…because you just can’t escape it

The conflict…

I think the conflict of what I’m supposed to “feel”, and how I actually “feel” is more intense.  The holidays are supposed to be all merry and bright and everything jolly…and I want that, oh, I really want that…but it’s so much more of a “fight” between my head and my heart and I’m constantly having to ignore the pain so I can function.  I tell myself, “I’ll grieve later…I’ll cry later.”  And of  course it can build up and then I act like a crazy person or take it out on someone, usually one of the two people I love most….I say I’m sorry, but what’s done is done and the words I can’t take back…. Oh, it can be a vicious cycle.

The distractions that come with the season also make things harder.  Inevitably, schedules become busier and my attention is divided among too many things. Somehow, my routine of spending time in the Word can suffer, and oh how quickly my focus can be more on the things of this world…and then it’s only a matter of time before things spiral…downward…

The Hope of Christmas…

And then, when I  least expect it, I receive a text, a note, a gift, or a word of encouragement that switches my attention to what I do love about this time of year….People remembering and loving and giving of themselves.  My attention shifts from how I feel to what  I knowand what I know is Jesus… And because of Jesus and the people that point me back to Jesus, I can see a little more clearly past the hurt to the Promise of the One who never changes and who is One Day going to make all these sad things untrue.

On Christmas Day…I told Grace we’d have to “try again next year” to make it better or somehow easier.  What I actually insinuated was that maybe next year we could skip Christmas..and she immediately pulled back and told me I was losing my mind 🙂

She was right… and if I’m honest, I don’t want to skip Christmas.  The truth is, I need Christmas.  The Hope of Christmas is everything to me!

Flexible and Last Minute 🙂 …

We decided last minute to drive and be with family because being home alone, just the 3 of us, was  something we weren’t  ready for.

img_2326

Christmas Eve Service, celebrating Jesus with my family in San Antonio couldn’t have been more special …

img_9859
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it… John 1:5

The wonderful noise of my nieces and nephews Christmas morning was exactly what we needed.

My favorite Christmas moment…

My favorite memory was early Christmas morning with Grace and my nephew Tatum …He was looking for “the red shirt my mom told me to put on before going downstairs”, and after finding it, he had his head inside the shirt, and I said something about praying together before waking mom and dad.  Honestly, at the time I think i was using it as a stall tactic:) but when Tatum looked at me and said “ok” as if it were only natural that we pray first, I asked him what we should pray for….and with little to no hesitation at all he said, “Let’s ask Jesus to keep Warren safe in heaven and to tell Warren Merry Christmas.”  As you can imagine, my eyes were warm with tears as I softly whispered the words this 6 year old boy had requested.

img_2341
Tatum and Grace-Christmas Eve

May I never forget that it’s in the “hard” that somehow I see Jesus most clearly.  He never fails to show up and He is always perfectly ENOUGH!

img_9868

A quick trip to the JW in San Antonio Christmas Day…a hard place for me because of the memories I have of being there as a family of 4. If I’m honest, it was a difficult 24hrs.  I suppose the “let down” after Christmas is hard and the quiet that follows makes room for the reality of our life to settle back in… and so the “fight” continues to fix our eyes on Jesus…to remember that He is faithful..and to keep singing the song of victory…

Exodus 15

The Song of Moses
Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the Lord, saying,

“I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;
the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.
2 The Lord is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation;
this is my God, and I will praise him,
my father’s God, and I will exalt him.”

img_2611
Christmas 2013…probably one of my very favorites!

img_2612img_2613img_2614img_2617img_2618

Storm before the calm…

(journal entry 8/20)

Saturday morning before school starts…heavy heart searching for some relief

Thinking about Grace’s first day in 8th grade and how she will feel walking into the 8th grade building…How will her teachers treat her?  She doesn’t want special attention…but it’s hard to ignore the fact that some of her teachers were the last teachers Warren ever had.

Will seeing his locker be difficult..?

How to face another day where Warren’s absence seems to be more obvious and painful

Everything about summer ending and school beginning is not at all how it should be for our family …  Jesus help

(journal entry 8/21)

School starts tomorrow…I can’t stop crying…trying to hide the tears

Jesus help me to rise up!

Jesus help me to keep my focus on You.

The last 3 or 4 days have been waves and waves of emotion…lots and lots of tears.  The rollercoaster of ups and downs has been exhausting.  My heart has been victim to to the unrelenting pain  of missing Warren and wishing so much that he was here to start his sophomore year.

Surreal..

IMG_3357
August 2014

Helping Grace get ready for 8th grade…so exciting and yet so surreal.  This will be the year she passes Warren in school and age.  She will do things he never got the chance to do…8th grade dance, planning for HS etc.  Everything about the next few months will be especially hard as we get closer to November 24th.  It’s just hard to wrap my brain around the fact that 2 years ago we were living life like we had years and years of time ahead of us…but in reality we had 94 days, 3 months and 2 days, 66 week days & 28 weekend days…

Sometimes I wish I’d known…not all the details, but enough to know I needed to make each minute of every day count.  But that’s crazy!  Of course I wouldn’t have wanted to know, but I often wonder how much time I wasted on things that absolutely did not matter…It’s a slippery slope when I let myself think this way-regret & guilt are not fun ever, but especially when you can’t go back and make things “right”.

No regrets…

So….Live with no regrets! Love deeply..tell them…OFTEN!  Hug…OFTEN! (no matter how old they are)  Laugh…Ask questions…Talk at dinner…Put love notes in their lunch (no matter how old they are 🙂 )  Tuck them in at night and snuggle in the morning to wake them up!  And most importantly, if you don’t already, talk to them about Jesus!!!!!

Serve Jesus together…go to church and worship together…pray together, read your Bible together.  They aren’t too young OR too old!!  This is one regret you DON’T want to have!

(and…this doesn’t apply just to your children, but your spouse, your family and friends…LOVE them well and LOVE Jesus with everything you’ve got!)

Hmmm…not even sure I meant to travel down that road, but maybe I needed the reminder to make the most of my days with Jesus…


 

First Day of 8th Grade…

IMG_0361We did it!!!  HE did it…. If you could see my face and hear my voice when I say that “He did it!!”  you would know that a huge “AMEN!” is in order….  Everything that took place in this house on Monday morning was just like yours. Well…maybe…we take LOTS of pictures (lawwwts), so that might be different 😉  But we woke up extra early, ate a good breakfast (which may or may not happen on a regular basis), had all our supplies ready, and took ‘first day’ pics!  All of this with NO tears…and believe me when I say tears are good and healthy and I should knowI cry all the timehowever, Grace and Bill do not, so it was such a gift to me (and them) for mom to not cry!!  Thank you Jesus!

IMG_8731

 

 

Thank you Jesus for the “storm” before the “calm”… If I was judging how Monday would go based on Saturday and Sunday…it wasn’t going to be good.  Instead, His grace was sufficient & we each experienced it beyond measure, and we had a “normal” day.

Opportunity and Courage…

No doubt this school year will bring difficult days as well as days filled with MORE of Jesus… However, whether in the middle of a storm or calm, we will praise him.  Maybe through tears or even gritted teeth, but it’s only because of Jesus that we can face either.

Praying this school year brings more opportunity to Rise Up & Shine (to be radiant with the glory of the Lord   Is. 60:1) and the courage to share our faith.

Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity.  Let your conversation be gracious and attractive, so that you will have the right response for everyone.  Col. 4:5-6

IMG_0268

Perspective…

Perspective

This word has been on my mind all day today.  Bill and I are headed to Passion 2016 this weekend.  (we cannot wait!!) We are asking God to show us HIS perspective as we enter into 2016.

perspective– a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.  (outlook, position, attitude, frame of reference)

Websters definition of perspective–  (a) the interrelation in which a subject or its parts are mentally viewed (b) the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance   {Trying to maintain my perspective}


 

My “perspective” has been all over the place this holiday season.  Trying to keep a “handle” on what’s important.  We’ve been busy and overwhelmed with emotion since the unavoidable arrival of the one year of Warren’s death, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and now the New Year.

Many days have been spent trying to gain perspective and/or keep perspective.  What was important?  Do we get a tree this year?  Should we spend the holidays with family or alone?  Travel or stay at home? Gifts or no gifts?  Laugh or cry? Anxious or calm?  Attend the party or decline the invitation?  Remember or choose to forget?  Memories…allow them to settle and remember fondly or avoid the excruciating pain they can bring?

Each of these moments can bring me into a downward spiral (which they sometimes do…) Or, in God’s tender mercy, He helps me to see things through the lense of Heaven…Eternity…where I will be Forever with Jesus & Warren!!!

Looking back with perspective…eternal perspective, I can see God’s faithfulness…His goodness…His love for us…and His very tender care over us during this last year, especially these last two or so months.

It is definitely easier to look back opposed to looking ahead.  My past…our last 13 months are secure.   God was faithful and He did what He promised.  He walked with us and never left us alone.  We “made it” because He was enough and through it all He was bigger than our hurt.  We know this because we’ve lived it and have seen Him miraculously meet us in our desperateness.

Perspective…I simply need to remind my weary heart of the awesomeness of God…even in the middle of my hurt.  He has been ENOUGH and He will be ENOUGH!!   It’s easy to get overwhelmed with life’s circumstances…I know of others who are facing situations, that are very much not what they thought of when they were making plans for 2016!

Jesus we want to SEE you.  Open our eyes Lord.  Open the eyes of our hearts and do not let us miss the MORE that you are offering.  As painful as it might be, we are trusting You with our wounds…Seeking the One who continues to be our ROCK and our REFUGE.

It has certainly been messy at times and my perspective has been challenged, but even still, God was and IS at work !!!  Whether I like it or not, 2016 is here and we are moving ONWARD & UPWARD!!

We will shine the light of Jesus and we will lean into the glory and brilliance of the Lord.

This last year was a year of BELIEVING with all our heart, mind and soul that Jesus Christ is Enough for Today and that our only HOPE is found in Him.  We know, that we know, that we know…He is the same yesterday, today and FOREVER….

As we move forward into 2016 we are claiming this scripture and asking God to continue giving us ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE.  

Arise [from spiritual depression to a new life], shine [be radiant with the glory and brilliance of the Lord]; for your light has come,
And the glory and brilliance of the Lord has risen upon you.

Isaiah 60:1

IMG_7677IMG_7789

IMG_1007

IMG_7551


 

Our last Christmas with Warren…..Christmas 2013 in Gatlinburg, TN

It was pretty much the most wonderful Christmas ever!  Even if I’d known it would be our last, there isn’t much I would have changed…so thankful for such a wonderful memory, and one that truly warms my heart as I reflect back on it today.

Miss you so much bud…your laughter, your silliness & your tender heart toward your family.  Longing to be with you … So proud to be your Mom!  I love you, MORE!

normalfamily

IMG_5673

IMG_0122IMG_5721

IMG_0128IMG_0289