Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Remembering Nathan–Ten Years

I can hardly believe it has been ten years.  Some days  it seems an eternity ago, and others, it seems as if it was only yesterday.  It was ten years ago that a very difficult pregnancy ended several weeks early, and my second child came into the world.


It was ten years ago, as I lay on the operating table after an emergency C-section, violently shaking with the aftereffects of the anesthesia, that I wondered where my baby was.  I groggily asked the anesthesiologist if it was a boy or a girl, but he wasn’t sure.  I thought that was odd, but in that post-op state of mind, I figured that maybe he just didn’t know.  After a few more minutes, I asked again.  This time, he answered slowly, reluctantly, “It’s a boy, but he is having a hard time breathing.”

It was ten years ago that I began praying for my son, begging God to help him breathe, pleading for the life of my son.

It was ten years ago that God answered my prayer, not with the answer I so desperately wanted to hear, but with a sorrowful, “No, Sarah.  My grace is sufficient for thee.”  As I lay on the table, I knew. My son was not going to live.

It was ten years ago that my husband and I heard the news from the doctor, “Your son has responded to the latest round of treatment, but I’m afraid it is too little, too late.  It will only give you enough time to say goodbye.”

It was ten years ago that I held my dying baby in my arms, touching his tiny face, watching him struggle, and still praying, hoping that God would do a miracle.

It was ten years ago that for the first time, I realized the magnitude of God’s love for me.  I would not have traded my son’s life for any price, if I had had the choice, but God sent His Son, His only beloved Son, to die for me, to taste death in my place, to pay the price for my sin, and not for mine only, but for the sins of the whole world.

It was ten years ago that my husband and I committed the tiny life that God had given us so briefly back to the Giver.  Nathan, our gift, a precious few moments of life committed to our care, left our earthly arms to rest in the eternal arms of Jesus.

It was ten years ago that I entered the valley of the shadow of death.  My world came to a total standstill.  It was the darkest, bleakest time of my life.  The sleepless nights and tearful days became the new “normal.”  The huge, painful lump in my throat became bigger, and finally settled in my chest, making conversation difficult, and laughter impossible.

It was ten years ago that I claimed by faith, God’s promise, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”  Faith was the only way I could claim that promise, because I could not envision or even imagine a morning of joy. 

It was ten years ago that I decided I would not give up on God because He had allowed this tragedy in my life.  I read my Bible, prayed, attended church, all the while secretly wanting to slap the next person that quoted Romans 8:28 to me.  Oh, I knew that God did work out all things for my good, but I really didn’t want a verse flippantly quoted to me by someone whose life had never been shattered into pieces.  It sounds scandalous for me to say such a thing, but it is the absolute and candid truth.

It was ten years ago that I began to know and experience, in a whole new way, God’s sustaining grace.  The strength that helped me to get out of bed each day, to care for my young son, Josiah.  The grace to endure thoughtless comments, when all I wanted to do was lash out in hurt.  The grace to see other mothers hold their babies when mine was gone.  The grace to reach out to others when my own grief was so great.

It was ten years ago that God began to give me a deeper compassion for people who are hurting.  Even now, when I hear of the death of a child, a miscarriage, or stillbirth, my heart breaks for those who have lost that precious child, because I know the terrible, overwhelming grief and loss.  I can truly sympathize because I have been there. 

Yes, it was ten years ago that Nathan came into my life.  My life is forever changed because of the hour that I had with him.  The sorrow is still there, but it no longer casts a shadow over everything.  I still cry when I think about my son.  I still miss him and mourn his loss.  I still feel guilty when I say I have four children, rather than five, simply because I cannot talk about it without crying.  However, I know I will see him again some day.  I will be able to share with him the love that I hold in my heart, and in that day, I will, for the first time, truly understand all that God was doing in my life. 

These are a few of the lessons I have learned in the last ten years:

1.  God’s grace is always sufficient.

2.  Romans 8:28 is still true, even when it doesn’t feel true.

3.  Joy  will come in the morning.  The night of weeping may be long, but eventually, the dawn will come.

4.  God loves me.  Enough to send His Son to die for me. 

5.  People really do care, but sometimes they don’t know how to let you know.

6.  Life is uncertain.  Treasure every moment.

7.  God’s plan for your life is good, acceptable, and perfect, even though you may not understand it.

8.  Faith will sustain you through any trial.

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Mystery of the Missing Mower

I love a good mystery – this has been true since I was introduced to Nancy Drew in elementary school.  Later, I became enamored with Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie, and Hercule Poirot, and a host of others.  I seriously doubt I would have made it as a detective, since I tend do discount many of the clues that they interpret as vital.  For instance, that dirt under your fingernails – how would I know that it contains rare mold spores only found in the Iberian Peninsula?  That scrap of paper?  It’s just a piece of trash that someone dropped, not a coded message meant for the eyes of the erstwhile villain.  And so it goes.  My deductive powers of reasoning have taken a somewhat mediocre view of the events surrounding me.

However, my curiosity was aroused when a friend who cares for our lawn (such as it is) while we are gone, called my husband to ask where he had left the lawn mower.  His answer, “In the shed, where I always leave it.”  Um, in fact, it wasn’t there, our friend reported.  It had disappeared without a trace.  Upon further investigation, it would seem that someone had entered our shed and stolen our lawn mower.  Great.  The home-owner’s association will be posting notices on our door stating that grass must be kept under 18 inches or it will result in a fine.  Protesters will be standing on the curb in front of our jungle  yard, pleading with passers-by to save the newest virgin rain forest.  It will be a PR nightmare. 

You may be surprised to find that I wasn’t the least bit bothered by the fact that our lawn mower had been heisted by some neighborhood hooligan.  In fact, I thought it was rather amusing, since that lawnmower was one of the biggest pieces of junk we have ever owned.  It required herculean strength just to start the engine, with an average of about fifty pulls on the starter string.  Just as you were about to collapse in exhaustion, it would sputter to life and crescendo to a deafening roar, thwarting your plans to go sit on the porch and massage your aching arm.  The vibration of the handle rattled your teeth in a frightening manner, making you wonder if dentures would be part of your mid-life crisis, and hours after you killed the mower by yanking the spark plug off the front of the engine, your hands continued to tingle and vibrate in a disturbing manner, as if being haunted by the mower-monster!

We decided that it was punishment enough that they stole the mower, and we laughed at the foolhardy and reckless theft that led the culprit to an even greater plight.  We fully expect the mower to be sitting back in our shed in a few days, with a note of apology, perhaps even a sympathy card.  In the meantime, we will be getting a goat…  :)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

God’s Provision

We have been very busy in meetings the last few weeks, and we are so grateful for all that God has done in those meetings.

Last Saturday, on our way to Virginia, we had another major blowout, which disabled our trailer’s electrical system, and severed the gas line to our stove and refrigerator.  In short, it was looking like it would be a very costly repair.  We changed a tire, another long story, since Paul was still unable to lift more than ten pounds, due to his recent surgery.  God sent a man to help us on the side of the road.  That man had a broken arm that was not in a cast (go figure), so he could only use one arm.  Between the three of us, we managed to jack up the trailer and change the tire.  We also got an opportunity to witness to Matthew, our Good Samaritan. I am sure it was quite a sight to anyone driving past us!

We made it safely to Hampton, VA, but we were not able to stay in the trailer, so we had to pack to stay in a motel.  This was further complicated by the fact that due to the electrical issues, we could not open the slides in the trailer.  I ended up climbing through the back window into the kids room to access their clothes.  It was exciting, to say the least.  The church was so good to us during that time, and the Lord put us in touch with people who were able to work on the trailer and have it fixed in less than two days!  That truly is a miracle!  Even better, several people were moved to help us pay for the repair, and with the love gifts that were given to us, we had the cash in hand to pay for the whole repair and a new tire!  It was such a blessing!  We are constantly amazed at the generosity of God’s people!

We know that God has kept us safe through our travels, and we covet your prayers for our family as we are on the road.  

I would also like to announce that  a new piano arrangement is now available on our website.  You can check it out here.  

Once again, thank you for your prayers, and praise God for answering them!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Week in Review

This past week has been total craziness!  Here is just a brief overview of what went on around our house.

Sunday :  Easter morning, sunrise service at church (as a non-morning person, you can imagine what this means).  Kids are dressed and ready, sporting their new garments (made with tender loving care by yours truly). The girls had new dresses, and the boys had spiffy new bow ties. 


Monday:  Paul had an outpatient surgical procedure.  Of course, the surgery was delayed nearly four hours, so we were at the hospital all day... instead of just half a day.  He is recovering well, thankfully.  Here he is suffering the effects of anesthesia.  Note the blissful smile.  :)  I thought the hat was kind of cute, too.


While at the hospital, I also saw this sign in the bathroom.  I really wonder how they figured this out.


Tuesday was pretty normal, if you don’t count all the extra work I had to do taking care of my recovering hubby.  I also hung the new shelf he made for me.  I wanted to hang it on one wall in our sunroom, but since we were unable to find a stud to which we could attach our screws/nails, it was an unqualified disaster.  My wall looked like Swiss cheese, from all the holes I made.  It was  bad!  I finally opted for another wall, and got out the joint compound to fill in the holes I made in the first wall.  Guess I’ll be painting that when we get back.  The shelf was another of my Ana White creations.  Love it! 


Wednesday was pretty normal for us, and Paul was able to get around a little better.  The kids and I had colds that we picked up somewhere, and were snuffing around the house, constantly looking for the Kleenex boxes.  Lovely.

Thursday and Friday we spent packing the trailer, doing laundry, cleaning, and preparing to leave on an extended round of evangelistic meetings.   That is a task that seems overwhelming at times, since there are so many things to accomplish before leaving for several weeks.  I always end up forgetting something, despite my extensive lists.  :)

Saturday: Bid our house farewell for a while, and hit the road. Paul was feeling good enough to drive (or at least he didn’t feel bad enough to let me drive the trailer).  Stopped mid-trip for a meal and saw something I had never encountered before – a complimentary mouthwash dispenser in the bathroom.  It was totally random.


So, that was our week.  This week we are in meetings, so pray for all of us as we minister to this church.  I will try to get back on my normal blog schedule, but I am not making any promises at this point!  By the way, we are all doing much better – colds, post-op. etc.  God is good!