Monday, October 15, 2012

Eight and a Half Months

This morning as I walked past the picture of his gleaming face just like I’ve done thousands of times before, I traced my finger against the outline of his handsome cheek.  I imagine, yet again, what it felt like to run my fingers through his thick, blond hair and the way he would turn slightly red and say bashfully, “Ma-ma” when I did.  I can’t believe I’ve made it now 8 ½ months without him.  8 ½ months was the exact amount of time I shared with him on earth.

I looked down at my blouse and shivered as I remembered I’d inadvertently put on the same blouse today that I wore “that” day—the day that my life tragically changed forever.  I couldn’t stand to have the blouse on all day, so I changed.

The 8 ½ months I got to spend with him seemed to fly by so quickly, yet these 8 ½ months without him seem to drag on relentlessly.  Many days I have felt the pessimism of Ecclesiastes 2:17, “Therefore I hated life, because the work that is here under the sun is grievous to me; for all is vanity and like striving after wind…..for all my days are sorrows, and my work produces grief (v 23).”

Every time that I vacuum the floor, I can’t help but realize more of his precious DNA is gone.  Every airplane that flies overhead inflicts the pain of knowing he’s not there to point it out to me.  Every song on the radio he loved, and those that were played at his funeral seem to torture me and bring his death back to the forefront of my mind.  Every single time I see a blond boy about his size in the distance, instinctively, I stare and wish it was my blond boy.  There are days I start and they do not go the way I’d hoped and because of my continual grief, circumstances seem so much worse than they really are. Every time that I dream about him at night, I wish I’d never woken.  As in the movie Tangled it says, “And for that moment everything was perfect.  Then that moment ended.” I felt like those 8 ½ months were the most happy and “perfect” I have every felt in all of my life. 
Now that moment has ended.

I have to be SO careful with my thought life these days because the Bible says, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers and rulers of darkness.” I am not physically involved in a quarrel or wrestling with any people that I know of right now in my life.  However, I feel a continual battle around me.  I believe it is because demons and rulers of darkness would love nothing more than to render me useless for the cause of Christ.  What better way to destroy an entire person than to steal way God-given joy, because of the death of my beloved child?  Allowing my mind to linger back to all that I’ve lost and all that I feel inside is not edifying.  In fact, it is self-centered.  Put plainly, it is sin. 

I’m so broken and so wounded, yet I still have so much more to give to this world.  My heart’s desire is to serve Him every single day and for the rest of my life.  Though I’m weak and weary, I can still pray.  Most evenings that I lay awake crying, I begin praying for the needs of others.  Here are some of the things that I pray for:

·         My unsaved family members.  I beg God to open their eyes so they can clearly see Jesus Christ is their only hope of eternal life.  Apart from Christ, they will spend eternity in Hell.  I love my family members so dearly.  I can’t bear the thought of them dying and going to such an awful place forever.

·         My unsaved friends.  I pray they will be drawn to something more than this life has to offer—that they will be able to see their desperate need for Christ.

·         My country, my President, the upcoming elections

·         The orphans all over the world.  That more Christian families would be burdened to adopt.  That NOTHING (not fear, not money, not time or any other excuse) will stand in the way of complete and utter obedience to God in the call to adopt.

·         The sick, the lonely, the elderly, the unborn

·         Those blinded by false religion

·         The missionaries, the persecuted Christians

·         The military members and their families

·         The grieving and heartbroken people around the world

·         The pastors of my church and their families

·         My 4 babies fast asleep in their beds, for their salvation, that they will walk with Him all of their lives, that they will never doubt God’s love for them, for their future spouses

·         My husband and all his responsibilities at work, at church and in the home

I absolutely love John 15 because it is such an encouragement to me to keep getting up every day, to keep moving forward and to keep serving Him with any ounce of strength that I can.  I’d like to encourage those of you who are reading this blog and experiencing grief of your own, to simply endure…and when every other strand of strength is gone, just pray for others. 

Abide (remain, endure) in Me, and I will remain in you…He who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.  If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you.  My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.  Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love….These things I have spoken to you, so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Today I am going to say something I thought I would never say!  That is, I’m officially a homeschooling mom!!!  Why? You might ask.  Well, I will do my best to explain.  We have many reasons and it took us many weeks of prayer and consideration before we made our move to pull her from the Academy and I began to homeschool our middle daughter, KK.
KK and Brandon in the mountains

First, KK took Brandon’s death the hardest.  She is our most emotional child.  She loves the deepest, yet hurts the deepest.  Brandon was in her class at school.  Brandon and KK had a love/hate relationship.  They were the most alike in personality—he also loved deeply and hurt deeply.  They fought the most because they were most alike.  Even though they fought, they loved each other very much and Brandon would stick up for her when boys or other girls were teasing her at school.  She no longer has him there “protecting her” as she puts it.  This makes every day for her at school a constant reminder that her protector is not there.
KK and Brandon headed to the water park

Second, KK is the type of person that is loyal and devoted, but she also reflects how she is treated.  If she perceives that someone does not like her, or is being condescending towards her, she will have an attitude and also put up a brick wall a mile high.   Because of her age and personality, if this happens in the beginning of a relationship, there is little chance that the wall is coming down.  I am not even sure she knows she has put up a brick wall, but I can see this tendency in her as her Mom.  She had a major brick wall for whatever reason in 4th grade.
Brandon and KK playing

Third, her grades plummeted.  She has had mostly A’s and B’s in school prior to 4th grade.  For the teacher that suited her personality best (warm, affectionate, animated, encouraging, joyful, loving….), she even received straight A’s the whole year.  With the poor grades this year in 4th grade came teasing from the other students as well as personal discouragement for KK.  Imagine how you would feel to study 3 hours every night and pull D’s and F’s.  Poor grades are NOT like our daughter.  She is a very smart little girl.
On weekends KK and Brandon liked to have a sleep over in each other's bedrooms

Fourth, her attitude stunk.  Her daily behavior was NOT like OUR KK.  She would come home from school and hit and punch her sisters (something we’ve never allowed our children to do).  She would scream and yell at her sisters and me (again, we have never allowed this behavior).  She would kick the cat or dog (she loves her cat and dog.  This is the same child who cries if you even call the animals “smelly”).  She threw the remote control across the room (she’s typically careful with things that do not belong to her).  She scribbled through her homework (she normally takes pride in her work and always does her very best).  She did nothing but talk bad about herself regarding her looks ("I’m ugly.  I’m fat.  I hate myself.")  She did nothing but talk about dying and saying things like, “Brandon is lucky he is dead and in Heaven and doesn’t have to live on this earth.  I just want to die.” Imagine my horror after losing one beautiful child to hear my other beautiful child say she wanted to die.  She was turning into an angry, bitter child who felt she was a victim and her poor attitude and poor grades were everyone’s fault but her own.  We did not like this trend.

Fifth, she had WAY too much homework every night.  She would sit through a 7-hour day of school only to get home and have 2-3 more hours of homework and studying.  She would sit and cry as she heard the neighborhood kids laughing and playing outside while she was stuck inside doing homework.  I am a firm believer that kids need to play outside every day. Kids only have one chance to be kids.  They have their WHOLE lives to sit inside and work.  I grew up in a fundamental Christian school and I never once had 2-3 hours’ worth of homework.  I made it the real world just fine without homework!  Tim went to public school all his life and never had that volume of homework.  He made it just fine in the real world as well.  In fact, I would classify my husband as superior!  He served in the military and graduated with his Master’s Degree with a 4.0.

Sixth, on weekends she was her normal, happy, affectionate self.  She got along well with her siblings.  She cooperated around the house.  She did not talk back.  She didn’t throw things.  On weekends we had our sweet daughter back!!!  That is….until Sunday nights when she began with her anger fits again as we braced ourselves for another LONG school week.
This past weekend she was back to her normal happy self! PTL!

So, we thought and we prayed.  We noted her behavior on school nights.  Then we noted her behavior on weekends.  What was different?  We sat her down and talked for a while.   We listened to her spill her heart out.  This was NOT all grief, though that is weighing heavily on her heart.  What we discovered was a whole bunch of things were coming to a head at one time.  The biggest (and most correctable) things that stood out to us were poor grades at school and lack of play time.  That's when it dawned on me that I could probably just homeschool her.  What a simple fix!  Right now one-on-one time is what she needs more than anything.  Thankfully our school principals and pastors supported this decision as what our family needs right now.

Homeschooling is not for everyone.  Our other 3 children are still in the Academy.  However, Praise God it is working out very well for our little KK!!! We chose the online video course from A Beka because I am very familiar with the program since I grew up learning from the A Beka curriculum.  It is also the same curriculum the Academy uses so she will be able to slide back into a normal classroom setting if that is where God leads down the road.  I am happy to report she’s finished a week of homeschooling so far and she is back to straight A’s on everything.  She has been her normal, happy and affectionate self all week.  We have been able to play outside after school.  Sometimes as a parent you have to make tough decisions.  But I believe it is far better to listen to your child crying out for help while they are still young, rather than wait until they are a teenager and then try to fix all the damage that occurs throughout their lives of NOT listening to their cries for help.   We are so thankful for God’s leading for this decision.  We will continue to pray that we are able to help her get back on her feet scholastically and emotionally so she can move forward in her life! 

“Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.” Psalm 31:24