Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Halloween used to be my favorite time of year. There's something about autumn that brings a sense of nostalgia. The cool crisp fall air, watching the children in your life get excited about trick-or-treating, seeing your whole neighborhood participate in something together... was and still is so fun.

Today, at the store, though, I had to turn my head from the disturbing Halloween fixtures all around me. Things that would've seemed cute or scary to me a couple of years ago are now so disturbing, I don't even want to go into Walgreens. Death is so much a theme of Halloween.

What bothers me the most is the reminders in our face of what happens to our loved ones... It's not funny or cute to someone who has had to bury a loved one to see skeletons and skulls everywhere. The first year after Luke died, I couldn't help thinking of what was happening to the precious little body that I carried, held, nursed, cuddled. Horrifying then, and it still is. I no longer find myself constantly going to that thought into like I did that first year... except around Halloween. I could feel myself mentally and physically sink from being around that stuff.

I got home and picked up my Bible. Just happened to be in II Corinthians 5. The words jumped out at me today and poured hope into the darkness of my soul. "...v.14 knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into His presence.... v.16So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal."

So often I feel surrounded by the darkness of sorrow and loss. I have to say, though, that in that hole, the light of the Gospel has become so much more brilliant. My friend Kristen, who lost her husband, once said, "Death is horrible beyond anything we can imagine. Don't try to gloss over that... and at the same time, the Gospel is unbelievable better news than we ever knew." In stronger moments, this brings me unspeakable hope and joy. I find myself going, "This is really true? The Gospel? What Jesus did on the cross is really gonna make it possible for us to be together in heaven one day? This is the best news I've ever heard!" I've heard it all my life, but I never had to put weight on it like I do now.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Hard to believe that our Little Man would have been two tomorrow... Hard to believe it's almost been two years since the phenomenal day that he came into this world. And I can't believe, two months from now, it will be two years since we lost him.

It seems like yesterday.

How can such a little guy change your life forever? My counselor noted that we experienced such extremes in emotions... in such a short amount of time. His and his sister's births were the greatest days of our lives. Losing him two months later was and is so deep, so inexpressible.

We grieve not only the loss of the little boy we knew, but the realization that we will not see him grow up... the loss of the future we expected to have.

And you never know what is going to trigger these thoughts. I saw a teenage boy shooting hoops recently, and tears came to my eyes unexpectedly. Knowing how much sports have been a part of Greg's life, I couldn't help but wonder if Luke would've been into basketball too.

Who knows, maybe he would have been artsy like his mom and never touched a basketball...

But we have so many dreams for our kids, and didn't even realize it. Before Luke was even born, I made a mental note to one day give his future wife the beautiful locket his dad gave me as a gift for his baby shower. He wasn't even born, and I was already thinking about his future wife!

One of things we were most excited about when we found out he was coming was that he and Summer would be two years apart. We loved that they were going to get to "do life" together. Just today Summer asked me where Lukey is. She talks about him almost every day.

The fact that we were robbed of that future can make me so spitting mad. I wanna grab an axe and chop down a tree or do something physical to let out my emotions. Two minutes later, I can be thinking about heaven and be more genuinely thankful for what Jesus did on the cross than I have ever been before.

Little man, we miss you so much. We miss you so much.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Going Back

The good news is.... it looks like we are finally selling our house--after being on the market for 17 months! If all goes as planned, we'll close on Feb. 15th. Yeah!!!

Now for the hard part... going back to the house to pack our remaining things. We never went back to sleep at our house after Luke died. I just couldn't do it. We've stopped in from time to time just to grab a few things. Even doing that, I'm awash with emotions. One step into the familiar sights and smells, and it all comes back. It feels like our life just dropped off there. We walk in and I'm just waiting to hear his cry. Why isn't his swing in its old familiar spot? Subconsciously, I am wondering where he is. I still can't wrap my mind around the fact that he is gone.

I glance into the laundry room and remember changing him on the dryer. He loved lying on top of that while being changed. The vibration soothed him. I can still picture him stretching out his little legs as I fed him in the reclining chair in the living room. And upstairs, seeing the rocker where we sat together while I sang--of all songs--, "Nearer My God, to Thee" before bedtime every night, is so emotional that I freeze inside. The winter jacket he never got to wear is still hanging in the closet.

How can I forget the EMTs holding him on the landing, his little body draped in a sheet as they brought him downstairs to the ambulance. Every time I go in our bedroom, where I found him that night, I shudder from the trauma of the most horrific moment of my life. These images continue to overshadow the good memories that happened in that house. I'm told that it won't always be that way. That one day, the good memories will outweigh and outnumber the terrible ones. But for now, going back there feels like returning to the scene of a crime.

We would so appreciate your prayers for the coming weeks; being back where the tragedy happened makes the pain overwhelming to us. Thank you so much.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Not too long ago, we picked up a book at the book fair for Summer about Rosa Parks and the Birmingham bus boycott. I love that it was written for children, and how it describes what began as just another ordinary day for her and her family. It talks about how she was getting ready for a busy Christmas season at the shop where she worked as a seamstress. She got off early to check on her Mom, who was getting over the flu. As the bus approached, she was thinking about making her husband a special dinner of meatloaf that night. Just another ordinary day...

Being from Detroit, I was familiar with our city's most honored citizen and her courageous stand that day. But I never knew that she--and every other person who was black--had to first enter the front of the bus, pay their fare--and then exit the front door and make the humiliating walk to the rear door of the bus. Learned, too that there was a "neutral" section of the bus between the front and the back, which is where she sat and remained until she was arrested for not giving up her seat to a white person.

Today, as we celebrate Martin Luther King day, I think about the power of grace that she possessed. What's that proverb about how gentleness can break a bone? Her quiet but firm dignity broke the bones of a terrible system and started the Civil Rights Movement. I'm amazed at how she brought about change. Refusing to accept the status quo, but taking her stand so calmly, she singlehandedly exposed the foolishness of a "separate but equal" for what it was.

You Are My God

You Are My God

I wanted to post the lyrics to a song I recorded that was just released, called "You are My God." This song is an extremely personal declaration for us. Luke Sheets wrote this song after his sister lost her baby, and his heart totally comes through.

Breathe in, breathe out
It's all that I can do now
Hold on somehow
My world has come crashing down

I remember hearing the opening lyrics, "Breathe in, breathe out... it's all that I can do now..." and I thought, wow, that is exactly what I'm feeling, too. When it hurts so bad, all you can do is BREATHE. Every night after May 27th, we'd get into bed and just say--when we could pray--"Lord, thank you for just getting us through another day." The day we lost Luke was the worst day of our lives. The day after was the second worst, and the following weeks and months tied for third. It seemed like we were up to our necks in the mud, just trudging through unbearable grief.

And I cannot understand
How this could be Your heart
Still I'm lifting trembling hands
Help me trust in who You are

We could never say that the Lord hasn't been with us, because He has. In fact, we have never felt His presence more concretely than we have the past year and a half. In my mind, it's like I'm a little girl on her Dad's lap. I'm crying so hard and beating my fists into His chest. After all, He could have prevented Luke's death. But He didn't. He could have helped the EMTs get his little heart beating again. But He didn't. This side of heaven, I will never understand why He allowed this devastating tragedy to happen.

The whole time I'm flailing at Him, though, I can sense He is holding me. He sees our tears. He is gentle and strong, and He's sad right along with me. Sad because this world is broken, and death was never part of His plan or His will. I feel like a child who can't fully grasp that this life is but a moment and then we will get to be with Luke for all eternity. As wonderful and hopeful as that reality is, it doesn't help with the hurt while we're here. And I know He knows that.

You are my God
Here in the darkness, in the night
You have never left my side

You are my God
Even when I can't see Your face
I know I'm held in Your embrace
You are my God

I'm weak, I'm torn
My tears like rain fall to the floor
But peace, my Lord
You have whispered in this storm

And this is still Your plan--
That You would have my heart
So I'm lifting trembling hands
Help me trust in who You are

Soon after we lost our Lukey, somebody asked Greg how the tragedy had made us turn against God. Greg said the words of Peter in John chapter six came to mind. "Where else would I go?"

We shared this with Jason Ingram, who captured the thought in the lyrics of the bridge of the song:

And where else can I go?
And who else can I turn to?
Your word is eternal life and I'm not letting go
I'm holding on to You
You are my God

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Okay, here goes...finally entering the 21st century... Am gonna start blogging (thanks Liz, Bryan, and JB).

I'm not really sure where to start... the past nineteen months have been the darkest time of our lives. On May 27, I put our little boy down to sleep for the night. An hour and fifteen minutes later, he was gone. There was no warning, no sign that this was coming. It is still so shocking, I can't put my mind around it. We miss him so, so much. A part of us is missing and always will be. There is no cure for this wound... not on this earth.

Before losing Luke, I used to think it was kind of morbid to talk about looking forward to heaven. Life was pretty good here on earth. And in many ways, it still is. But now, heaven is a much more real place to me... because we have treasure there. We are aching for our son, and we long for the day when we all be together again. We are aching for home.