The Gift of Sean

This week is Sean’s birthday.  I have been remembering special moments of his life.  I have been laughing and I have been crying. Right now, I am crying.

However, I will not let the tears stop me from remembering and rejoicing in the gift of Sean. 

I was reminded today, that after Sean died—I almost did let the tears stop me from living—from embracing God, from embracing life.  I went through a “crisis of faith”.

But I don’t really want to talk about that—I have written about that in the past—in Today–September 17, 2019, and Dear Family and Friends and Peace Baby, Peace.

Today I want to write about Sean.  I want to share stories of Sean with you all.  Each time I do, I get to relive those memories, and “see” Sean again, in my mind’s eye.  So here goes….

Sean was my third child; Sean was a younger brother to two brothers and a big brother to two sisters.  He was my middle child– with blonde hair and green eyes.  I had two children– a boy and a girl with blonde hair and blue eyes, and two children– a boy and a girl with brown hair and green eyes.  Sean—my middle child, had blonde hair and green eyes. 

 Sean had a sensitive soul, right from the beginning.  We were driving down to the hospital from our home, (it was an hour away), I was deeply in labor—sure I was going to deliver by the side of the road—yelling at my husband to hurry, and my husband yelling back at me, that he was hurrying as fast as he could—when all of a sudden, the labor stopped, just stopped.

It did not start again, for a week.  This time, we calmly went down to the hospital, with me rubbing my tummy saying, “It’s okay, you can come out, no one is going to yell.”

Sean always hated yelling and fighting.  He would calmly share this, whenever there was tension and yelling in the house.  Although, even while I’m writing this, I am remembering Sean, provoking fights.  He could push buttons in other people, like nobody else!

Sean also had really, really, good manners and social skills.  (I taught all my children about manners—but I did not really have to teach Sean—he just knew things instinctually.)  Other moms used to tell me, “We love to have Sean over, he has such great manners, and he is such a great influence on my child.”

Other children looked up to Sean and followed his lead.  When he was in Royal Rangers, (a Christian boy scout group)—he was elected by the other boys as their patrol leader, over and over again.  When he went up to the next level, the level his older brother was in—he used his influence with the other boys, to get his older brother elected—something that had not happened, until Sean came into the group.)

Sean and his brother used to invite their friends over for airsoft games.  They would run through the woods near our home, playing their games.  Sean was fearless and relentless in this game.  He looked like one of the Power Rangers, he used to watch and try to emulate when he was little, out there playing this game.

Sometimes I imagine him up in heaven, leading a platoon of angels into spiritual battle, whirling and spinning, and dodging—winning the day!   Just my little flights of fancy. 🙂

Anyway, the last summer before Sean died, he seemed more aware of living life to the fullest and including everyone in his summer.  We were taking him and his friends to an amusement park to celebrate his birthday, and his sister’s birthday was coming up as well, so he asked if she could bring a friend with her as part of the celebration. 

When we went out East to the Beach house, he insisted that everyone join in the games at the pool.  I was exhausted, and just wanted to stay sunning myself and reading my books, but he would not take no for an answer.  Those games were some of the last memories I have of Sean and the rest of my family frolicking and playing together in the water.

When Sean was a little, little guy, 3 or 4 years old, he would tell me that someday, he was going to die, and I would tell him, “No, not for a long time, and I will die first and I will be waiting for you in heaven.” But he would insist, “No Mommy, I am going to die first.”

Sometimes, when I look at that summer, and how Sean “lived” to the fullest and abundantly, I wonder if he “knew” as he seemed to know when he was little, that his time on this earth was coming to an end. 

I know he really wanted to spend time with his brothers and sisters, his family and his friends.   One of our most delightful memories was riding in the van with his best friends and his sisters, coming back from the amusement park, and listening to those boys, laughing, and joking.  They were so, so funny.  I have never laughed quite so hard in my life.  I knew when I was living in those moments, that those were some of life’s shining moments.

Since that time, I have seen these kids suffer, and their families suffer, and my kids suffer, and my family suffer.  It was like a bomb went off in our lives.  I have seen crises of faith– not just in my life, but in so many others.  I would give anything to make it better.  I would give anything to see the hurt healed.

This is how I know how terrible death is.  Nothing can sugar coat it; nothing can stop the pain.  But God,  But God.  But God……

God is the only One Who can.   He died for each of us, two thousand years ago.  He entered into our deaths, to give us life.  Life eternally.  Life abundantly.  Life in the fullest.

Sean lived that full abundant life here on this earth.  Sean is living the eternal life.

After Sean’s death, a friend of ours told us that their daughter was confirmed in their church, and the daughter shared that she was doing this in part, because Sean was all about faith and family, and that is what she wanted her life to be about as well.

Sean was all about faith and about family—and if you were his friend, you were a part of the family.

So– I thank God for the gift of Sean, for the gift of his life, and for the gift of eternal life!!

“….Death, where is your victory, Death where is your sting?….but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory, through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  1 Cor 15:55, 57  

Praying for this truth to take hold of all those reading this and if you are in a crisis of faith, I am praying for you…..May you be encouraged!!

Angels In My Garden

I thought you’d like to see some pictures of some of the flowers blooming in my garden. They bring a smile to me, and I’m hoping they will to you as well.

I also shared in my blog, “Gardening Awaits“, that I went around our yard, looking at all the work that awaited me, and wondering how it was all going to get done.   I started praying asking God for Help!!  What I said was that I was wondering if He could send some angels to help me get the vegetable beds ready for planting.  Well, not too long after this, my husband hired someone to dig a ditch with his small backhoe to help us with some drainage issues.  While watching this happen, I asked my husband, “Do you think we could ask him to use the backhoe to turn over dirt in the vegetable patches?”  My husband said, “Sure, we could do that.”   This young man did turn over the dirt—helping to prepare the beds, and shortly afterwards, I was able to plant my vegetable garden.

     Thank you to this young man, and my husband for helping to make this happen.  God did send some angels—after all! 🙂

Hope this encourages you!!

Corrie Ten Boom

Corrie Ten Boom was a Dutch woman, who hid Jewish people during WWII.  I think she is one of the  most influential Christians who ever lived.  She has greatly impacted my life and millions of others’ lives.

Here’s the thing—I have a very good friend who is married to a relative of Corrie Ten Boom.  He is also Dutch.  When they lived in the Netherlands, she was shocked to find out that not many Dutch people she talked to, knew who Corrie Ten Boom was.  I was talking to another friend yesterday, who spent time in the Netherlands, and when I mentioned this—she said, “That’s true.  You can easily get in to see her home in the Netherlands, but you can’t get into Anne Frank’s home, the crowds are so great.”

I found this astounding!!  If I asked any of my peers, who are Christians, “Do you know who Corrie Ten Boom is?”  They would say, “Of course!”  I love her!  I love her writings!”   In fact, in the last letter that my friend Becki Crain wrote, she referenced Corrie Ten Boom.

Why is she not well known and revered in her own home country?  Well, Jesus said, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household.”  In addition to this– perhaps Corrie Ten Boom’s message of forgiveness and love to our enemies , was a hard message to accept for Europeans who had just come through the ravages of war, and the evilness of war.

Corrie Ten Boom had this message tested herself, when after a speaking engagement– the Nazi officer who had beaten her sister and herself, came up to her, stuck out his hand and asked her for her forgiveness.  Corrie Ten Boom, saw her sister die in the Concentration Camp.  She was filled will hatred and anger towards this man—and—she said that she could not in her own strength extend and shake this man’s hand and forgive him; she found herself asking God for His strength and His power, and her hand was moved and she was speaking, telling this man she forgave him.  She says that was not done in her own power, but God was moving through her, forgiving through her, loving through her.

I too have experienced this supernatural power, after my son died.  I can’t explain getting through the ordeal then and now—except by His power, His grace, and His strength.

Corrie Ten Boom wrote the book, “The Hiding Place”, detailing the events of her life during WWII.  If you have not already read it, I pray that you will. 

Others who have gone before us and lived a life of faith during trials and temptations can help encourage us as we go through our own trials, our own temptations.  Right now, people are filled with anger and hatred toward each other.  I think Corrie Ten Boom’s message of love and forgiveness is very timely.  It is not a weak message.  It is not a roses and lollipop message.  It is God’s message to all of us, every day.  The reality of God’s love–sent Jesus to the cross for each of us, to save us.  It sent Corrie Ten Boom to the concentration camps, as she tried to save Jewish people.  It sent her on a pilgrimage around Europe after the war, proclaiming that sacrificial love—and living out that love in forgiving those who had done evil to her.

Corrie Ten Boom’s life was one of taking one step at a time, in trust and obedience to God.  Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to take the first step.  The first step is to be honest with God about our need for Him, our need for love and forgiveness—our need for His power to live out that love and forgiveness with each other.

Corrie Ten Boom is one of the Netherland’s national treasures, indeed her life is a treasure from God that He has shared with us—mostly because her life points to Him and what He has done for us!

May we be encouraged!!

The Storms of Life

One of the biggest lessons that God has been patiently teaching me, is how to live by faith, and not by my feelings.  What do I mean by this?   I mean that my feelings dominate everything in my life, and can many times lead me down the wrong path.  I have learned to doubt my feelings, and double check them, before I act.   I’m not always good at this, and many times God has to get my attention to listen to Him, when I come to a fork in a road.

Let me tell you a story that illustrates this point.  I homeschool.  I have homeschooled for over twenty years.  My husband and I made this decision together—to homeschool our children.  For the most part, it was a good decision.  Our oldest is an IT guy—he started building his own computers when he was 14.  Our second oldest is a Mechanical and Bio-Medical Engineer, working in his field of study.   Our third is studying Music Performance and was on the President’s list all last year.  I have one more child at home just starting high school.

My philosophy of homeschooling is that it is a relationship where God is in charge, and I just need to listen to Him, not my feelings, but God. 

When my second oldest child was going into his junior year in High School, God was leading us to join a homeschool co-op about 40 minutes away.  Most of the parents that taught in this co-op were engineers or spouses of engineers.

I was terrified.  I felt inadequate, and my plate was already so full—I was afraid of failure.  We went through the interviewing process, and we were accepted into the co-op.  This was in May, and the co-op started in September.  I was given my assignments of teaching two classes and helping with a committee.  Again, I felt completely overwhelmed. 

My feelings were telling me to withdraw, to not go into this co-op.  I then looked at what I knew with my mind—my son was clearly gifted in engineering.  He was on our communities’ Robotics’ team, and he wanted to study how things were made.  He needed more challenges and accountability—this was the direction God was leading us.

Yet my feelings of terror persisted, until…..

I was driving during a torrential rainstorm.  I had been praying in my mind, to the Lord, telling Him of all my fears and anxieties, and then, I was driving in this storm, that came out of nowhere.  I could feel the car start to swerve and I could not see a thing.   A weight descended upon our car, and it seemed as if the tires clung to the road.  The presence of the Lord settled upon me.  The Lord spoke to my heart, “I am with you.  I will never leave you.  I will walk with you through this.”

I thought the Lord was referring to this co-op, that He would be with me and help me through this time—and He was, but it was so much more—this happened a year before He took my son Sean home. In hindsight, I realize that this is what our Lord was also referring to—He would be with me through the storms of life.  He would get me through.   This is what it means to live by faith—knowing that we don’t have to go through this life alone—God will be there for us, helping us take one step at a time-in His power, and through His grace, to do His Will.

So Let Us Be Encouraged!!

** Picture is of my dad, his brothers and a friend. Men who have weathered the storms of life with God’s grace.