Dressed for the Game…

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March 2011-White Sox (10 yrs old)

I absolutely love this picture of Warren!!  I love the arm bands and the black and white rope around his neck.  He wore these things himself.  Whenever he stepped foot on a baseball field (for a game or practice), he was ready…mentally, physically, and completely dressed.  And by completely dressed, I mean his shirt tucked in with a belt!  ALWAYS!  This was initially encouraged by his Dad, but eventually Warren would do this on his own without any prompting from us.

I love this picture without his baseball cap on!  I can see his eyes and his freckles.  I can tell his hair has been recently cut. He seriously looks so handsome!  It almost seems like yesterday….I like seeing him with all his gear, but this  picture where I can see his whole face makes me smile.  We had many great seasons of baseball and loved each of them for different reasons.  However, this may be one of my favorites.  I just remember Warren growing so much as a player this season…not to mention lasting friendships that came from this team!!

Baseball is starting up …What I wouldn’t give to be  watching our #12 play!  It still hurts in ways I can’t explain.  I miss it all…carpooling, practices, games, tournaments, blankets, friends, winning, losing, bats, bags, dirty baseball pants, gloves, caps, ( & I can’t forget sunscreen!)….It just can’t be, really, that those things will not be in my life….at least not as we once knew it.  I miss it and it makes me very sad.

Is that ok?  I just want to be sad.  I want to explain that not one single day goes by that I’m not sad.  At some point, every single day I think of my boy and I am sad that he is not here with me.  A little more than 12 months has passed and being sad is still daily …for me.  Sad, doesn’t always mean tears, but sometimes.   Sad doesn’t mean I can’t function, but sometimes.  Sad doesn’t mean I’m hiding at home, but sometimes.  Sad doesn’t mean I can’t laugh, but sometimes.  Sad doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy time with friends, but sometimes.  SOMETIMES when I’m sad I do just want to hide and cry, but other times I choose to focus on the eternal and remember my Hope is found in Jesus Christ.  In those moments …my “sad” moments, I’m reminded to trust even more in Jesus.

So, I’ve been sad that Warren didn’t get to try out for the Stratford baseball team.  AND, if I’m really honest,  I feel like he missed out. It’s not about whether he’d made it or not, but he didn’t even get a chance.  It stinks!!

We actually went to one of the teams’ first scrimmages on Friday afternoon…the weather was amazing, it was so good to see some of his buds, and visit with friends.  But as we left, I had this overwhelming feeling like we were leaving something/someone behind.  I used to feel that a lot right after Warren died…but Friday night, walking to our car, that feeling consumed me.  I guess in some way I was leaving something behind…MY hopes and MY dreams of watching Warren play HS baseball.  Nothing wrong with those hopes and dreams, but at this point on our journey that’s what they are…hopes and dreams for my precious boy that I must lay at the feet of Jesus and trust that His plans are better than mine…that His ways are higher.  It’s not about me…or Warren.  It’s much bigger!  I’m trusting, still… that God is working, that HE loves me and that He is Good!!

As I sat in those stands Friday afternoon I was reminded that Warren actually had been on this field before.  Several years ago (4th grade, I think) Warren was a bat boy for one of the Stratford HS games.  That was a pretty cool experience for him!  So, I found some pictures from that evening!  Sweet boy….

I feel like so much has happened over the last couple of months and God has been MORE than we could have ever asked or hoped for during some very difficult days…   We continue to be overwhelmed by our family and friends who are still journeying with us..WOW, is really all I can say.  We love each of you and cannot imagine doing this without your love and support.  

Today in Bible Study it was said that…”God is moving!”  I believe this to be true… I want to be ready “keeping my ear to the ground” (thank you Hannah)..waiting, expectantly waiting, longing for the “more” that He wants to pour out on His people!  So, if I may, I want to be like Warren, who was always dressed and ready for the “game”..

The Lord your God is in your midst,  a Mighty One who will save;  He will rejoice over you with gladness;  He will quiet you by his love;  He will exult (rejoice)  over you with loud singing.

Zephaniah 3:17

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I just miss him…

First day of 6th grade ~ 2012
First day of 6th grade ~ 2012

I miss him.  I really, really miss him.   I want Warren…here…at home…with me!!  I want to hear his voice and put my hand on his arm.  I want to sit with him.  I want to look at his face and into his eyes.  I want to say to him “I love you” and hear him say ” I love you too, Mom”.  I want to call out his name and have him answer.  Instead of figuring out how to “handle” our first day of school without him, I want desperately to discuss the first day of school WITH him!   I just miss him.  I really, really miss him.

My pain is great and my sorrow seems consuming.  When relief does come, it seems brief .  My tears are frequent and harder to hold back.  The strength I do have is reserved for Grace and Bill.  I love them both so dearly…and it hurts to know they are struggling as well, to carry their own pain while trying their best to keep moving forward.  We are all doing it differently…but we are all  hurting deeply.

I hesitate to share these thoughts that are typically only for my personal journal…and honestly, even as I type I have no idea if I will actually hit ‘publish’.  I keep typing and deleting, trying to make this …not so sad.  I feel like I should have already put a scripture in here to assure you that   “Jesus is STILL enough”   …HE IS and I WILL….but first I need to be real and share with you how much Warren is missed and how much we still need you to pray for our family.

First day of school ~ 2012
First day of school ~ 2013

As summer comes to a close and a new school year begins we are faced with a pretty big “first” without Warren.  Even the week, leading up to the first day of school, has been emotionally hard.  So many memories of ‘this time last year’, as well as all the things my 9th grader is missing out on.  Yes, I know he doesn’t see it that way…but as his mother, who is still waiting for The Day to see everything with perfect clarity, and to know everything completely(1 Cor. 13:12), my heart aches to have him here…with me.

first day of school ~ 2014
first day of school ~ 2014

So….. we miss him, and we are hurting, but life continues on around us…Bill is crazy busy with work..traveling and preparing for trial.  He continues to add to his already full plate, because he’s always been a hard worker and that’s what he does! (very well, I might add)  Grace is getting ready for her first day of 7th grade.  She starts Monday.  We said we would practice this week by going to bed early and getting up early…but that hasn’t really happened.  🙂  I mean…seriously, why would we do that?  Since God is allowing me this season to ‘stay at home’…(whatever that means) I am trying to be intentional with my time and alert to how God wants to use me in and out of the home.

 living while grieving…or grieving while living ~ we are doing it, one day at a time, ONLY because His grace continues to meet us in the middle of our pain and suffering.

A friend reminded me of these verses in 2 Corinthians 1:8-11

…For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.  Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death.  But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.  He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us.  On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.  You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many. 

I believe that God has used and continues to use your prayers to strengthen and heal our family.  God is sovereign and His plan is being accomplished in and through our lives, AND He is using you as you remember us in prayer.  Thank you!  We need Him..desperately, and He desires that we intercede for each other.

Satan wants to steal our future and make us feel hopeless…He does not care that we are grieving..In fact, I think he sees an opportunity to attack and would love nothing more than for us to believe the lie… that it is not possible to ever be happy again.  We would so appreciate it if you would continue to pray for us.  

I love  in scripture where it describes the saints, that have gone before us, as cheering us on…I’d like to think that Warren is shouting…”Come on Mom!  You’ve got this Dad!  Way to go Grace!  Fix your eyes on Jesus!  He is coming soon!!”   

I am challenged to persevere through my suffering so that others may be encouraged.  When people look at me may they ONLY see Christ.  Thank you Jesus, that I am forgiven.  Thank you that by Your wounds I am healed. Thank you that you are for me and not against me.  Thank you that you are the lifter of  my head.  Thank you Jesus that you understand our suffering.  Thank you that you have already equipped us for the journey.  Thank you for your unfailing love and comfort.

September 2014
September 2014

It’s been almost 9 months since Warren went to Heaven.  We miss this boy so much…It’s exhausting some days, a lot of days!  I wouldn’t describe the journey as getting easier, in fact in some ways it seems harder as the ‘fog’ is being lifted and we face more and more of the harsh reality.  

But… as we move further along in this journey, we are able to look back and remember and see God’s faithfulness.  His goodness.  What He has done for us these last 9 months, He will continue to do.  Thank you again for praying and continuing to reach out and encourage us.  We love you and are grateful for you.

Help us, Lord, not to become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Gal. 6:9)

You, O God, will never leave us.  Never will you forsake us. (Heb. 13:5)  You are the only absolute guarantee we have in all of life.  Help us cling to the one thing we can never lose.

You, Lord, are close to the brokenhearted and save those who are crushed in spirit. (Ps. 34:18)  You are surely so close to us, Lord.  Help us to sense your presence in our life.  We need you more than we need our next breath.

(from Praying God’s Word ~ Beth Moore)