Saturday, June 25, 2011


Yesterday we celebrated Tyler being with the Lord now for two years. How can we call it celebration when we don't feel much like celebrating here on earth, and the truth is we really wish he was still here? I do not celebrate the fact that he is gone, because to focus on that would feel completely hopeless. My focus must be eternal, because after all, God's Word points us directly to the fact that our life here on earth is but a vapor. Here today and gone tomorrow. None of our moments are guaranteed, and after experiencing loss, one learns to live more in the present because the future is never certain. My focus must be on Christ Himself, the very one who has rescued me from the depths of my sin and reconciled me with the Father, as He has all believers. HE is the only one who makes our future certain. Without Him, there is no assurance of salvation, and without Him, we could never be "good enough" to live in a manner worthy of eternity with the Lord.

We celebrate because of that very hope, the assurance that we will one day be reunited with Tyler. We know that our lives here on earth MUST matter, and that He allows us to go through many trials and hardships in our lives to prove that HE is all we need, and that through those experiences, we have a choice to either reject Him or draw close to Him.

I remember the day that Tyler died, all I could muster was, "This is all my fault." I remember feeling this way for two reasons. One, I had allowed him to go down for his nap with a little blankie and I blamed myself that that's what may have killed him. Two, I made a direct correlation with me not spending enough time in God's Word and Tyler's death. I blamed myself, feeling like "if only I had been in the Word more, God wouldn't have punished me like this." Oh man, to know how that must have grieved the Lord. Don't get me wrong, God most certainly desires for me to know Him and to love Him. He desires for me to be in His Word so that I can do just that. But He does not seek out to punish me. If the Lord had caused Tyler to die because I was not in the Bible enough, that would be purely based on works, which would be entirely contrary to His very word when He says, "we are justified by faith alone, not by works." (Romans 3:28).


What a process of understanding that, sitting in that, and embracing that, though. But what a precious TRUTH! He does not love me conditionally (what I have to offer Him), He loves me unconditionally (nothing can separate me from His love). What SECURITY!

The day that Tyler died is one that will forever be marked in my brain. My blog is currently being redesigned, and with that, I will include Tyler's story beginning to end for those who would want to hear it. I can recount every single detail and second of the day. Thankfully some of those memories have faded just a bit, but others remain vivid and in full color. The amount of love and support that we experienced after Tyler went to be with the Lord was nothing like I had ever experienced. It was a beautiful picture of the body of Christ coming together to care for a grieving family. I wish I could share the incredible stories, but many would probably prefer to remain anonymous;) To say that we have been overwhelmed with love is an understatement.

A few precious friends have blogged about Tyler, and I received a few emails and face book messages yesterday stating that we have walked through this journey with "grace and faith." Can I just express some of my insecurities and be really honest?? I am so thankful that the Lord has used Tyler's life and death as a way of pointing back to Him. I am thankful that people may perceive that we've walked through this well, but do not let that deceive you. I have A LOT of hard days. I have definitely questioned the Lord. I have not turned my back on Him, but I have asked Him some significantly hard questions. I have had to dig into His Word and look at the consistency of His character because I needed to make sense of the train wreck our family has experienced. I have lost it with Cooper many, many times. Both in anger and in sadness. I have taken things out on Jerrod countless times because of my grieving. I have acted out of emotion more times that I can recall. I have been a basket case in public restrooms, in my car, at other peoples' house, at the hospital with every ER run I made with Sawyer, and a slew of other places. I have cried so hard (on multiple occasions) that I have induced a panic attack (lovely).

I just want people to know that we are putting one foot in front of the other, and many times not too gracefully I might add. I struggle with feeling super insecure about how we've dealt with this loss, because being in ministry, you live in a glass house a little bit. I would never change that and I am thankful for the accountability, but we are so far from perfect. We still struggle through sin and selfishness just like we all do. I still struggle with insecurity (on multiple fronts) of "what will people think." It's a monster that I wrestle everyday and know that I must take those thoughts captive.

I just needed to confess all that and be really honest. I appreciate all the encouragement, but I wanted to be real and let you in to the "real us." ;) We are very imperfect people, living in an imperfect world that includes bills, cars breaking down (that also have an odor mixture of in-n-out burger, sweat, and soured milk), children who do not obey, sleepless nights, weeds that need to be pulled, dirty shower grout, sticky floors and dust an inch thick on most pieces of furniture. Thankfully we serve a perfect God, one who is sanctifying us to become more like Him and who doesn't really care about all those silly details*. He just cares about our hearts.

THAT is something worth celebrating;)

(* The Lord very much cares about the smallest of details in our lives, especially things that are close to His heart like our children, but I think he's less concerned about the dirtiness of our home and car, and more concerned about the state of our heart;)

* These 3 month pictures of Tyler were retakes because he was super grumpy during the first ones. I remember the only thing that would make him smile was when I got right behind Cori and smiled at him. Just a precious memory of my sweet boy;)


  1. Jen, cute story about Tyler. So sweet.

    Thank you for sharing your heart. I'm with you, girl on much of what you said. Love you so. I hope and pray this week hasn't been so heavy on you.

    I love what you said about the consistency of the character of Christ!

  2. Hi Jen, you do not know me, but my brother is TJ and my sis in law is Layla. So, I have heard your story and it always makes me want to have coffee with you. We lost our son in 2005, he was 3 years old. What a journey of trust, faith and times of utter despair. Thank you for sharing your heart here, telling the honest truth is the most beautiful way to honor Tyler and reflect Christ's character. These date markers are dates that go with out massive anxiety, reliving moment by moment the details of the day that forever changed your lives. You have such an audience watching your family through this and your reflection of God's love will change lives. I pray and time marches on and you continue to create a new normal for your family that you feel His arms around you and just keep walking forward clinging to the promises we know.

  3. Thinking of you as you celebrate Tyler :)

  4. thinking of you as you remember your sweet little man!

  5. Hi Jenn. I'm Katie's sisnlaw (I think we met at some point along the way....Allison Coates and I used to be running partners years ago, and I believe you were friends b/c I remember your name). I have followed your blog for a long time b/c of Katie's journey. Your family is so precious and so beautiful. Your transparency is so appreciated, and you encourage my faith in Christ. May the Lord bless your family this year and with every day that passes bring you a blanket of healing.

  6. (((HUGS))) I can certainly relate to many of the things you mentioned regarding loss and parenting after loss.

    What you shared in this post is so beneficial to the body of Christ. We often get told how "strong" we are after loss, but I do think that being so open about the raw mess that is grief really does take strength.