There are times in my life when I’ve experienced huge miracles, but my response to those miracles has been a trifle lukewarm. For instance–whenever I’ve been pregnant–I’ve been aware that a tremendous miracle was taking place inside of me. A child was literally being formed and grown inside of me. (I used to love to read those books that showed what was happening month by month–and then there was the ultrasound–where my husband and I could actually see our little one moving inside me.)
However, I usually had terrible morning sickness, (that lasted all day long), and sometimes I thought I was so sick, I could actually die. (Yes–I might be a trifle melodramatic). I did not “feel” like a miracle was happening inside of me—I felt miserable.
This past month, I have been aware of another miracle happening. God is healing my body. I am doing all the things the doctors are telling us to do, but they are amazed with how fast my body is healing. One of my doctors even did a little shout, and hand fist, when looking at my progress.
However, I have been battling the same kind of malaise as I did when I was pregnant. I haven’t been able to “do” much.
That is difficult. I often confuse my value and significance with what I do, instead of who I am. I often confuse who I am with how I feel. If I “feel” sick, or tired or discouraged—I also feel out of touch with the Lord. It is hard to focus on Him. It is difficult to connect with Him.
Even though He is connecting with me, even though He is doing a miracle within me.
Every time I go through one of these times, where I am sick, or incapacitated — I struggle with my value, and my worth. I struggle with malaise—not quite depression–but the same kind of sinking that depression brings. (After I had my third son, I struggled with depression–so this malaise wasn’t/isn’t that.)
So what do I do? Honestly, I don’t have a lot of energy to remind myself of God’s truths–of how He says I am valuable, and significant in Him. Or of how He says I am loved and I belong in Him. Yet, God uses these times to remind me, : It’s not what I can “do” for Him but what He has done for me–that brings me all of the afore mentioned blessings.”
Sometimes I think, when I go through these down times, when I am so very weak–this is when I most experience the strength of God. This is when I see how much He carries me step by step. He stays with me, moment by moment, He has not and will never leave me. He holds all of His children, and will never leave any of us.
God continues to work His miracles—for He is and ever will be a wondrous, faithful and loving Father.
Recently, I was communicating with another mom who lost her son, and I asked her if she frequently dreamed about her son. It reminded me of a dream I had about Sean 3 years ago. I actually wrote a blog about this dream and I sent the blog to her, but I thought I would share it again–as it reminded me of the importance of mothering–even in the smallest of moments–and I want to encourage you moms–that all the things you do, the kissing of the boo-boos, blowing noses, changing diapers, it all matters, love always matters.
Last night I received a gift. I got to live a few moments of being Sean’s mom again. I know it was a dream. I very seldom have dreams where I see Sean. I can remember less than a handful in the past 6 ½ years. Each dream when I see my son is a gift. Even if I dreamed of Sean every night, it would be a gift, but I might not be a functioning human being, if that were the case, as each dream is so emotional and carries a price.
In this particular dream, we were at an event at church. It was an event for the children. A bunch of younger boys were laying on the floor, listening to a story. All of a sudden there was a tussle, and I looked down in the crowd of boys and saw my son Sean, who was only 7 or 8 in the dream. He had just got wacked in the face, and his nose was bleeding. He was trying valiantly not to cry.
While yelling at the boys to stop, and glaring at them, I reached down, grabbed Sean, comforted him with a hug, and started dealing with his bleeding nose.
In other words – I got to mother him. For those few moments in time when I was dreaming, I got to be Sean’s mom once again.
Now it seems that all my children—are ages, where it isn’t simple to be a mom. Gone are the days of hugs and kisses that solve almost every problem. I don’t always know what to do. I spend a lot of time praying and asking for wisdom, then coming to the conclusion that for most of my children, my role now is to just love and let go. So much harder to do than it sounds.
If Sean were here on this earth, he would be 22 years old, probably getting ready to graduate from college. I can picture what he would look like in my mind’s eye, how he would have grown and matured. When I look at my oldest son, and my youngest daughter—I see glimmers of Sean. I see glimmers of him, in my nephew. I see his wonderful spirit in my grandson. How grateful I am for the real moments that have come my way of getting to hug and comfort children again through my grandchildren and great nieces and nephews.
In my dream, Sean was 7 or 8. Young enough to hug and comfort, young enough to mother.
It’s funny—in real life, there were so many moments for mothering—for hugs and kisses and let’s put a bandage on that, that they all kind of run together into one vague memory.
Now I have a memory—it is not a real one—but it represents one of the many, many memories that is now less than distinct.
That is a gift, to now have a memory of mothering Sean, that I can savor, and which my broken heart can hold fast . So, thank you God. Happy Valentine’s To me!!
This past year, many people have been suggesting that I watch the series: The Chosen. However, I grew up watching movies about Jesus–and while they were good, I thought this would be just one more like the others.
Recently, my mom started telling me to watch, “The Chosen.” I don’t know if your mom is anything like mine, but my mom will suggest something, and then she will ask, “So, have you started watching “The Chosen”? What do you think of it? “ In other words, she will follow through on her suggestion until her suggestion gets implemented, LOL,–so I started to watch, “The Chosen”.
I was pleasantly surprised. It is not at all, like any show or movie I have ever watched about Jesus. There is humor in it, but serious moments–great story lines–great character development. This is really, really good.
Mostly, I love the character of Jesus. I love ‘seeing’ the actor bring out the qualities that Jesus actually has: His grace, His truth, His kindness.His humanness, His divinity.
When I first heard Jesus say to me, “Follow Me”, I was filled with wonder, and overwhelmed by His personal love for me. As time went on, some of that wonder faded. Life is hard. I have grown tired.
This show, “The Chosen”–is reminding me of the days of my first love. It is reminding me of the wonder of those days.
So I am recommending to all of you to watch the Series, “The Chosen.” Apparently, people have been giving to Angel Studios, so that anyone, anywhere can watch this series for free. **What a wonderful thing. God’s love is the only thing I know that is free–although it costs Him, His Son to make it available to all of us. How fitting that the series that brings us this Good News–should also be free. Click here to go to Angel Studios to watch this and other things for free.
May we be encouraged!!
**. (f you already stream from Amazon Prime and Netflix–you can find, “The Chosen” series on them as well.)
Today, I reread an old journal of mine. I found this journal that I kept right after my son Sean died. In it, I share memories of Sean, and I pour out my grief and sorrow. However, as I read it–I was struck by a quote I wrote down from the movie, “The Return of the King, (Lord of the Rings). , “How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on, when in your heart you begin to understand… there is no going back? There are some things that time cannot mend. Some hurts that go too deep, that have taken hold.” (Frodo Baggins). “
At the end of the movie, Frodo says to Sam, “You cannot always be torn in two. You will have to be one and whole for many years. You have so much to enjoy and to be and to do. Your part in the story will go on.
It struck me because just recently I wrote in my journal:
Father, I have been saying, , “You are worthy of loving, You are worthy of serving, You are worthy of obeying, You are worthy of trusting, you are worthy of praising even when my world and circumstances are horrid.” For one thing–You will always be worthy regardless of my life and circumstances. For another thing–there are wonderful moments as well as the horrid ones.
There is my sweet 6 month old grandbaby giving us her mostly toothless grins, and the sweetness and vibrancy of our one year old granddaughter, the charm and laughter of our two year old granddaughter, and exuberance and tenderness of our six year old grandson, the thoughtfulness and compassion of our 8 year old granddaughter.
There are the conversations with my dramatic and daring daughters–where they show me who they are, and I hear about the moments of their lives. There are the conversations with my usually silent sons, where they let me into their worlds and their hearts.
There are many sweet, loving moments with my servant-hearted husband, and our long conversations with each other.
There are many, many acts of love from my family. There is such sweetness in the times we get to talk and the times we have with one another.
After Sean died–I wanted to die too. But, I knew I still had a job to do here on this earth. I knew that though I did not know how I was going to pick up the pieces of my life–that my part in the story must go on for many years. And lo, and behold, I have found that in spite of all the pain, in spite of all the continued pain–that time does not heal—I have gone on. I have enjoyed life. I have enjoyed the many, many gifts of life. I have come to the conclusion over and over again that—”There’s some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for.” (a quote from Sam to Frodo–as they fight to save the world from the forces of evil.)
“There’s some good in this world, and it is worth fighting for.” God is the One who gives us all that is good in this world–and He is worth living for, He is worth dying for, He is worth everything!! When darkness threatens to fall over our entire world–let us remember–that:
“There is some good in this world, Mr. Frodo, and it is worth fighting for.”
Love and Forgiveness—they go hand in hand. In fact, it is difficult if not impossible to have one without the other. Let me explain—as a parent—I have forgiven my children over and over again—and they have most assuredly forgiven me. Why? Because we love each other. In fact, while I find it difficult to forgive almost everyone else in my life, it is not that difficult to forgive my children.
Why is that? Dare I say that is because God has given me a great, great love for them—so that I will care for them, sacrifice for them, and put their needs above my own. I think if the situation called for it—I would die for them. I think most parents would say the same thing.
Why? Because this is how God has designed us. He has given us this parent-child relationship so that we can understand the greatness of His love for us and the greatness of His forgiveness towards us.
Well—what if one is not a parent? I was not a parent for the first 31 years of my life. Yet, I had parents. I saw the sacrifices they made for me and my siblings. I saw the many, many acts of love—and I saw all the ways love could be expressed—words of encouragement, acts of service, gifts, touch, and quality time spent with each other.
I’d like to give you an example of each of these things my parents did for me and my siblings. My mom would praise and encourage me often. She would notice things that I did and praise my efforts—even if it was as simple as cleaning out the sink.
My Dad showed his love in acts of service. He would scour pans, vacuum around the house, set up tents when we were camping with great care, chop up wood for our wood burning furnace—and do a myriad of other tasks all to take care of us, and make life easier for us.
My mom was in charge of gifts and gift giving. While my Dad’s salary provided for all our needs, my mom’s salary went to the luxuries of life—gifts, vacations, etc. My mom would shop for Christmas with great care, and then both of my parents would wrap the gifts together. Together they made Christmas time one of the most magical times of the year.
Both of my parents would hug us. However, after my dad had his stroke—hugs and touch were one of the few ways he had to communicate his love, as he lost his ability to speak—and so that was how he would show us he loved us. My Dad lived for 5 years without speech, until God took him home. (Tears come to my eyes at the thought of this.)
Quality time was spent with my parents every day. We ate supper together as a family, every night. We often laughed together, and told stories of our day around that old farmhouse table that my Dad had lovingly restored. Our family took a vacation every year together. We went camping and swimming and canoeing. We took a big trip to California and went to Disney Land and Knot’s Berry Farm. We went to New Orleans. We went to Virginia Beach. We had fun together, and we still tell stories of the times we spent with each other—(and let’s be honest—the fights we also had during these times.)
When I was a teenager, and wanted to be on the track team, my Dad ran with me to help train me and get me in shape. He spent quality time with me, and he would tell me his stories and tell me what a great runner I was and was going to be. (Which was total love on my Dad’s part—as I was not that good. 🙂 My Dad however was a great runner. )
I know that you could tell me your stories of how your parents showed you, they loved you. Maybe you can’t—maybe your parents were not good. Even if that is the case—we have a Father who is very, very good. This Father’s love is perfect for you and for me. He demonstrated that love by sending His Son to live and die for you and me. Take it from someone who has lost a son—you don’t give a son or a daughter up—unless there is no other way to rescue others that you deeply love.
For instance, my cousin had leukemia, and her brother had an operation to donate his bone marrow to help his sister. This was an act born from love and desperation—to take a risk with one child, for the sake of another child. We have seen this risk taken when people donate a kidney or another organ they have two of—to save someone they love.
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!!