Friday, February 26, 2010

Foggy Funk

Do you ever have those days or weeks where you feel like you are in a funk or a fog? I feel like that is the best way I can describe myself this week. Yes, I know hormones are many times the culprit, at least for me, but I just feel like a grump. I feel like the normal things that wouldn't ordinarily bother me are pushing me over the edge. You know, the things our kids do that normally we laugh off or say "kids will be kids." Well, this week I confess, I've had a really hard time getting myself in check.

My patience with Cooper has been running thin, our calendar seems to be spiraling out of control, and my efforts to serve my husband and put him ahead of myself has most definitely not been up to par. In searching deeper to try and figure out these times in my life, I would say 99% of the time the direct correlation is time in the WORD.

Why is it that we often try to fool ourselves into thinking that we can survive on our own strength, make wise decisions, be selfless, Godly people, without being in God's Word?

Needless to say, the Lord has been nudging me this week to get back to the basics. Love HIM, and serve my family. Everything else is extra on top. I think I've been doing all the "extras" and neglecting my first two loves. When you're knee deep in ministry, with both Jerrod and I on staff, Jerrod's job transitioning into a new role, raising a preschooler going on teenager, pregnant and all the anxieties that accompany that, running a home, making sure the laundry's clean and put away, maintaining lasting friendships - you just get a little tired, ya know?

It has absolutely nothing to do with not loving my life. I love the life that God has graciously given me and the opportunities and privileges of doing what we love to do. It more has to do with balance. Sometimes we all need to just get back to the basics and make sure that everything's in check. Otherwise, it's so easy for the wheels to fall off.

I believe God desires for all of us as believers to experience freedom in HIM. If we (I) are so caught up with the junk rather than the journey, then I think we've missed it. Our focus is the here and now rather the giant picture that the Lord so desperately wants us to get a glimpse of.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Our Story's not Wasted

Our whole family went up to Hume Lake to speak at a High School Winter retreat this past weekend. Jerrod actually got a call at noon on Friday that the speaker for the weekend had been snowed in in Washington, DC, and they needed a speaker pronto. So, needless to say, we headed up around 4:00 and Jerrod was speaking at the first chapel at 7:00ish.

Hume Lake Christian Camp is an amazing place. It is absolutely beautiful and nestled in the gorgeous mountains of the Giant Sequoia National park and sits right on a lake. The snow dumped out several feet over the last few weeks, so we were a little prepared for some cold weather and some fun sledding (pictures to post later).

Jerrod did an amazing job of communicating to over 1,000 high school students and we were thankful for the opportunity to be there this past weekend. God used it in so many ways, but little did we know how the Lord would orchestrate yesterday morning's events.

Yesterday (Monday) was the last time Jerrod was supposed to teach. We were packing up in our room so we could leave right after chapel to beat the buses down the mountain when we got a knock on our door. Our sweet friend, Lenny, who is one of the directors, came to our room and called Jerrod outside. I knew something was going on and seemed kind of serious, but I just kept packing up and thinking that maybe something had happened with one of the students.

Jerrod came back in the room and told me something I will never forget. A sweet family that is on staff at Hume had put their sweet little girl down the night before who was sick and went in to check on her Monday morning and she was gone. She had gone to be with the Lord sometime in the middle of night.

While I didn't know much more detail than that, all I could do was just sob and cry out to the Lord for this precious family. The nightmare that we endured in losing Tyler was happening to another family. I knew there would come a day, not knowing when or how or who, that we would get a phone call (or a knock on the door) letting us know that we were needed.

So many emotions welled up inside of me. I hated so much that another family was having to grieve the loss of a child, especially so unexpectedly as we did. Nothing can describe the ache and the pressing of your entire spirit that will never let up. It is relentless. You feel as if you are suffocating and you feel like you are in a dream all at the same time.

We had the amazing privilege to sit with this family yesterday. They are so surrounded by people that love them, yet I'm sure they are feeling so alone all at the same time. I found myself not having any words to say. Most of all I could muster out was just, "I'm so sorry...." I sobbed and cried with this Mommy, fully understanding the deep longing in her heart.

I felt so unworthy to even be in their home. I felt like my words hardly offered any sort of advice or hope or help. It's weird having been though losing a child, it seems like I should have some glorious thing to say or some wonderful encouragement to make it all better. But the truth is, grieving the loss of the child is the most horrific thing you could imagine. Nothing can make it go away and the loss is forever.

As much as I loathed the fact that that precious baby girl was taken from her mommy, daddy, brother and extended family and friends, there was a piece of me that felt so honored to be with them yesterday. Somehow in the midst of it, as much as I wished it would all go away, it gave worth and value to Tyler's life and death. God was using our story to somehow encourage and bring comfort to another family that is hurting.

I know that the Lord does not waste our pain and He does not allow circumstances to happen for no good reason I got to be a witness to His sovereignty yesterday. We were not "supposed to be there" this weekend, but God had other plans. He uses ALL things for good and for HIS glory. As much as I knew this about the Lord, I got to actually be a part of it and it felt good.

I'm so grateful that Tyler's story, our story, is being redeemed. Please pray for this family as they have a very difficult road ahead in the days and weeks to come.

Loving God more today because of WHO He is.....

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Disneyland Teaser

Thank you all for your patience:) I have been dying to post with some pics from our amazing trip, but this week has been absolutely here are just a couple ; )

I know it's just a few, but we had an absolute blast! More to come.......;)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Tyler's Birthday Party

I have no idea why it does this weird underlining thing sometimes, so if anyone knows how to fix it, let me know ; )

Anyway, I will try and share a little bit of Tyler's birthday party with you, in spite of this annoyingness (I know that's not a word, but that's okay). We had Tyler's birthday party yesterday with a few close friends. We purposefully kept it small to be able to soak in the day. There are so many more wonderful people that we would have loved to have there, we just needed to not feel so overwhelmed.

We feel like we will do something big where everyone can come and be a part in June on the day Tyler went to be with the Lord, but for his birthday, we had some simple pizza and cake, and of course, lots of balloons.

Our sweet little family
(Now it's not underlining...what in the world??)

All the goody baskets that my sweet friends put together for all the kids....
Now it's underlining again....

How can you have a birthday without an awesome Costco cake??

My sweet boy who loved every minute of celebrating his little brother!

Cooper got to blow out the candles:)

Tyler's spot ; )

A precious bird bath that my sweet friends got for our backyard. Isn't it wonderful? The little boy is holding a turtle in his hands.

Two beautiful rose bushes to go next to the bird bath. Let pray I can keep them alive ; )

Isn't this a wonderful idea? They got a toy that will go in the room at church that Tyler would be in. We can put a sticker on it that will tell how it's given in Tyler's memory. A wonderful idea my friend Jess gave me so each year we can get a toy that would be appropriate to Tyler's age that year and give it to the class he would be in. So special and a great way to honor him!
(Notice that it's Mickey Mouse, which is very fitting since we're headed to Disneyland to celebrate on Tyler's birthday...)

After all the pizza and cake were eaten, we headed outside, each with a balloon in hand to release them in honor of Tyler. My friend Katie gave me the idea to release a different color balloon for how old Tyler is that year. This year we did a bunch of light blue ones and one brown balloon, since he would have been one this year.

It was so fun to be able to celebrate Tyler's birth and to honor him. It's just crazy to think about where our lives have been and what we have gone through this year. Jerrod and I reflected tonight how this exact Sunday night last year, was the night before we had our sweet boy. I went in for an unexpected c-section this time tomorrow. We were able to enjoy our precious gift for 4 1/2 short months, but I wouldn't trade them for anything. In having him four weeks early, I always say that the Lord graciously gave us four extra weeks with him.

So here we are, a year later, still wishing our Tyler was here, but knowing that the celebration in Heaven far exceeds any party we could throw for him. I am so thankful to be able to rest in the truth that he is with the Lord.

Thank you for sharing in this journey with us and for continuing to pray for our hearts!

Love, JEN