Friday, March 29, 2013

Happy 13th Birthday

Dear Brandon,

Happy 13th Birthday my sweet son!  I can’t believe we’re celebrating another birthday without you here.  You would have been our first teenager in the house.  You’d probably be entering your “awkward age” of adolescence this year with little red spots popping up on your face, the dreaded hair you hated on Papa would be sprouting up on your own chest, little whiskers on your soft cheeks would begin growing and your little boy voice would likely be deepening this year.  Somehow I believe you would have made “awkward” look cool and oh, so handsome! 

I bet you would have almost been as tall as me by now.  Katie has passed the height you were when we last saw you.  Now Kylie is the exact height you were when you died.  I gave her the biggest hug today when she said “Happy Birthday Brandon.” Haley is still so little.  Any day now she’ll get a growth spurt.  There hasn’t been one day that has gone by that the girls haven’t said how badly they miss you and what a great brother you were.  There hasn’t been one day that I haven’t cried for you.  I just miss you so much.  Dad misses you tagging along at his softball games, wrestling and playing sports with you.

A lot has changed since you were last here.  Earl down the street has moved away along with Donald and Bob.  I don’t see Justice and those boys much either.  Only Cody is still here.  I miss seeing you boys playing together so much and hearing your laughter coming from the street. 

Mr. Kellett started a boys' baseball team at the Academy this year. If you were here, you probably would have been the first boy signed up.  I would give almost anything to see you playing on that team!

There is something I’ve been wanting to talk to you about.  A week before you died you asked if Dad and I could adopt Maxim, Yuri and Artem.  I promised you that I’d try to talk with Dad and make it happen somehow.  You were so concerned for your special friends back at the Internat.  I wanted you to know that I found out that Maxim and Yuri were adopted by an Italian family not too long ago.  I am sure they are really happy to have a family of their own.  We actually got to spend some time with Artem this year.  You were right.  He is such a great kid and OH SO MUCH FUN.  WHAT A JOY he is. We truly loved him just like we love you.  Sadly, we have tried 3 different times to adopt Artem, and we prayed for a miracle, but it just hasn’t worked out.  It hurts so bad, and I’m very sorry that I couldn’t keep my promise to you. I really tried. 

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you, we have a cat now.  Her name is Reese’s Pieces.  I can’t believe your dad finally approved one for us!  I remember how you would beg and beg for Dad to let you have a cat. You would really love her because she is very affectionate and purrs really loudly. You could have even teased her and she doesn’t get mad.  She is such a great cat. There are many times I have been cheered up by her affection.  I am pretty sure Dad has fallen in love with her so much so that it’s actually HIS cat.  She spends a lot of time up in your room, sitting on your desk and looking out your window.  The sun shines brightly in there and she enjoys watching the birds fly around.

Your sisters are taking horseback riding lessons and having fun with that.  It’s nice to see them excited for Thursdays and passionate about the animals God made for us to enjoy.

Already this year Grandma M. and Gram have gone to live in Heaven.  I am sure you have been able to spend a lot of time with them along with the rest of the family waiting there for us.

Well, my son, I will close for now.  Tell Gram and Grandma M. that we love them.  Give them hugs from us along with all our other loved ones.  We can’t wait to see you again.  In the meantime, we are doing our best to be happy like you always were.  We love you so dearly.  We are so thankful and proud to call you our son!  Happy Birthday in Heaven!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Only Beloved Son

With his 13th birthday quickly approaching along with the Easter Holiday, I have really had Brandon on my mind a whole lot lately.   My physical body aches SO badly because I miss him so much. As time goes on I am not finding that it hurts any less.  I think if anything it hurts more because everyone else has moved on with their lives.  Everyone else’s children are still alive and growing before their eyes.  New babies are born.  Many of Brandon’s buddies have moved away or we never see them anymore because Brandon is no longer inviting them over to the house.  Because families come and go so often in this community, we have a whole new set of friends now who have never even met Brandon.  Probably to them he’s just some handsome, blond boy in a photograph that we try to talk about that doesn’t really register with them how great a loss we’ve experienced with his death.  Hardly anyone even mentions him anymore.  Even I don’t write as much about Brandon on the blog anymore because I don’t want to dwell on my sadness too much, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love him, miss him and feel the pain every moment of every day.  This year Brandon’s birthday happens to fall on the Friday before Easter—the day Jesus died.  It’s just a tad difficult.

Last year near Eastertime, I had someone tell me that God the Father knows the pain that I feel because His only, beloved Son died as well when He was young.   I was puzzled by this comment.  I am still not sure if I agree or disagree with the statement because it was just so bizarre and I wasn’t even sure what the person was trying to communicate to me by saying it.  I wished I’d had a sound enough mind at the time to ask them exactly what they meant.  I was still in a fog from shock of his passing and my mind was not sharp enough to utter anything other than “thank you for your kind words.”  I know for sure this person was meaning it to be an encouragement to me, and it definitely was an encouragement, but I still have no clue what they meant.  How is God the Father even comparable to me?

First of all, I feel like it’s not even the same thing because when Jesus died, He rose again THREE days later.  I know Brandon’s in a much greater place now, but I would have LOVED to have had my son come back to life after only three days.  Even if Brandon had to leave again after a resurrection, I could have at least said “good bye” to him and hugged him a few extra times.   Second, God the Father IS God the Son and they have had an eternal relationship—They are the triune GOD.  I only had an 8 1/2-month relationship with my son and it went by WAY too fast.  There was so much more I wanted to experience with my son.  Third, the Triune God has unlimited power and strength and I am just a mortal woman who hurts a whole lot.  Fourth, since it was GOD the Father, He knew the exact purpose behind His Son’s death—to redeem mankind. I still have yet to understand WHY Brandon had to die so young.  Finally, since the Bible says there is no pain or crying in Heaven, I am not even sure God the Father cried over His Son.  I’ve literally spent hours and hours weeping over my son’s death.

I miss this happy guy so full of joy and life

I think perhaps it might be better said that God created the feelings and emotions that I am feeling and therefore God understands my struggles.  The fact that God knows that due to the Fall of Man life stinks sometimes is exactly why I believe there are SO MANY Scripture references dealing with pain and suffering in the Bible.  The Bible has been such an incredible source of comfort to me in that last few years and for that, I am so very thankful.

I also think it could be said that God the Son (not God the Father) literally felt much of the same pain I have experienced because He was fully Man (at the same time He was fully God).  I would take that even further and say that God the Son experienced so much more agony than I have because He knows the plight of all the lost sinners of every generation past and present.  I believe that agony is exactly why he sweated drops of blood from his head hours before His death.    It is because of His death that at least I have hope to see Brandon again!

So while I am kind of in a little sad state of mind right now because Brandon’s birthday is on Good Friday (the day we recognize Jesus’s death), I am SO VERY thankful for Easter because it means that we serve a Risen, Living Savior!  And He is coming again!  AND! I get to live forever with Him!  He makes all things new!

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1st Corinthians 15:57

Scroll down to listen to a song a friend sent to me. It made me cry, but it is so appropriate for this Easter season.  It is such a beautiful song.  God bless.
A rare occasion where he actually touched something dirty and creepy-crawly...Brandon was a bit of a clean/germ freak.
 I miss that quality in him.

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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Words Hurt

Cyber-bullying seems to be running ramped in our world today.  I have read numerous articles of teen-age girls committing suicide over cyber-bullying.  Perhaps you’ve heard of Dardenne Prairie, Amanda Todd and Erin Gallagher.  All of these young girls killed themselves because COWARDS sitting behind a computer screen bullied these girls to death.  What a waste of precious, young life!!  Words hurt, people.

The Bible says in James 3:8, “It (the tongue) is restless and evil, full of deadly poison.”  Psalm 140:3 says, “They make their tongues as sharp as serpent’s, the poison of vipers is on their lips.  Romans 3:13,   “Their throats are open graves, their tongues practice deceit.”  James 1:26, “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not control his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.” Honestly if someone cannot control their tongue, it is a mockery to Christianity. Words hurt like deadly poison!

Back when I was a teen it was all I could handle to have rumors spread about me within my school by word of mouth.  I can’t imagine being a teenager today and having photos sent of me, comments made and lies spread about me through the Internet, blogs, Facebook, Twitter and text messaging.  This cyber-bullying is happening A LOT and sadly it can be more overwhelming than when I was a teen because it’s bringing the bully (or many bullies) right into the home (electronically).  I’ve heard recently about this in our own area schools.

It is almost daily that I turn on Facebook and I see people publicly blasting pastors, teachers and fellow Christians.  Our pastor has said from the pulpit that in over 20 years of serving in the military, he never experienced as hateful of words as he has experienced from Christians in the 6 years he has been a pastor.  This is truly sad.  Let me repeat:  Christians are criticizing and publicly mutilating other Christians.  This ought NOT TO BE.

More recently through this blog, I have begun to experience “adult” cyber-bullying.  It would seem people enjoy coming to this blog, and posting anonymous comments blasting my family.  These people have nothing better to do with their time than to send vicious cyber-threats to a grieving family.  

Similarly, it would seem it is enjoyable for others to blast me from their own blogs.   These are people claiming to be “Christians,” they are fellow adoptive parents or they are people who I would consider to be friends.  These people are using their tongues and blog platform to cause great discouragement to me.  I will no longer be following these people or their blogs because I no longer see their entries as edifying.

1st Thessalonians 5:11 says, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, don’t tear each other down.” It seems we have a choice.  We can use our blog platforms to encourage other families who are in the same boat as we are, or we can nitpick and point out every mistake (we believe) other parents have made.  Sure, we have rights in America to have freedom of speech.  But Christians MUST guard their tongues and not use them to tear down other Christians. 

Everyone is going to have an opinion about something.  However, I would argue that not every opinion is edifying.  So keep it to yourself.  “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say it at all.”  If the issue is something that needs to be addressed, I would encourage other Christians to go to the other Christian PERSONALLY and non-confrontationally and express those opinions.   Once those opinions are expressed, drop it.  If the opinion comes up over and over, it then becomes bullying.

It is my desire that those reading this blog will be encouraged. I hope it is also sometimes a challenge to believers.  I try to balance my writings to reflect the good and the bad of my family to keep it real.  Other adoptive families do not need to read about a picture-perfect adoption or family.  NO FAMILY IS PERFECT.  Also, I do not put EVERY detail of EVERY struggle we are having.  Some things are just too confidential and should be kept quiet.   

I realize there are always going to be negative people in this world and that by having an open and honest blog it will worsen the blow from the public.   However, know that I hold other Christians to a higher standard regarding the tongue.  My desire with this blog is to live out 1st Thessalonians 5:14: “Admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak and be patient with them all.” Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”  Finally, it is my desire that the Gospel be seen and heard often from this platform.  “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” Romans 15:13.


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