Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What Would God Say?

We had our Life Group last night and towards the end, Jerrod asked everybody the question, "If God were to come to you today and say something about you, your life, who He is....what would it be?"

Our group sat and pondered the question. Take a minute and do the same. What does He want you to know?

I sat and thought for a little while, but quickly knew my answer. Fighting back tears, I knew exactly what God would say to me....

He would say, "I love you sweet Jen. I have always loved you. I will never stop loving you, I will never leave you." He would stare deeply into my eyes and into my soul so that I knew He meant it. He would say, "My grace is sufficient for you today and every day. My power is made perfect in your weakness."

We serve a loving God. I am reminded and trying to rest in His love today. Although my heart aches, I know that He hasn't stopped loving me just because my circumstances are hard and He is allowing me to hurt.

He will never leave me or forsake me. This I know because He says so.

What would God say to you today?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Just 3 Short yet Long Months Ago

How does life move so quickly, yet many times stay at such a stand still at the same time? On June 24th, just three months ago, my sweet Tyler went to be with the Lord. I think the reality of what we have lost has begun to sink in and our new normal is not so pleasant, and frankly, not normal at all.

We took the graphic to the memorial place to have Tyler's headstone made yesterday and I am hoping it turns out just beautiful. I am thrilled with the work that my sweet friend Cori did with it and I can't wait for it to be in place so I can go to see Tyler. I think it represents and honors my sweet little boy. I will post pictures when we go so you can all see it.

The day we buried him I told Jerrod through sobbing tears and gasping breaths that I just didn't think I could go back until we had everything in place. And so I haven't. I drive by all the time and want to go in, but I just want Tyler's headstone to be set before I go. I look forward to going and taking flowers and other things to lay there very soon.

It's a very weird feeling, as I was telling a friend. Because I know that Tyler is not "there," but that he is with the Lord. I know that in my head, but my mother's heart feels like he's out there all alone. That he's lonely, scared, uncomfortable, cold, hot..... all those things you would worry about for your baby. You don't ever leave a baby alone, so to leave him alone, unattended, just doesn't seem right and feels very counter to anything a mother would do for her baby.

I know that Tyler is the farthest thing from being lonely or scared. He is much less lonely or scared than I am, that's for sure. I am confident that he is resting securely and comfortably in the arms of a gracious Savior, I'm just sad that it wasn't in MY arms for longer.

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who is still praying and encouraging us. You are lifting us up in ways that we could not do for ourselves and bearing our burdens daily. Thank you for each email, each facebook comment, each phone call, each card. I read them all and love them. I am always reminded that God's intent was never for us to do life alone.

Thank you too for the comments and emails about letting go of my guilt. God knows just what I need to hear, so thank you. The more I have walked this road, the more I know that there is nothing I could have done or not done to prevent this. My sweet friend here that lost her little girl in April was actually holding her baby in the bjorn. She is a trained ER nurse and still nothing prevented her from going home. God's ways are sovereign. I am confident I will never understand it all and the great part is, He doesn't expect me to. He just expects me to trust Him and to give Him my life. That is where my focus is today. Trusting a Sovereign God and giving Him ALL of me.

Be blessed today;)


Monday, September 21, 2009

"As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield, for all who take refuge in Him. For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights."

Psalms 18: 30-33

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Great Day of Soccer

Today has been so fun! We had Cooper's second soccer game today and after last week, we were hoping for a much better day. All the kids were much more aware of what was going on, we had no tears (yea!), and they listened and actually tried to stay with the ball. We were much improved, so that was fun.

Cooper scored his first goal today! What a proud moment! We yelled and cheered and he was so excited.

Goal #1

Not only that, but he had his first "hat trick" today. I was educated by Jerrod that a hat trick is when you make 3 goals in a game. That's right 3 GOALS!!! Cooper did awesome. He's really getting it and went for it today. Daddy and Mommy are super proud.

Goal #2

Goal #3!!!

Here's a few more cute pics from the day.....

Friday, September 18, 2009

You are For Me

"Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may
receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Hebrews 4:16

I am in desperate need today. In desperate need of Him. In desperate need for Him to fill me, extend grace and to love me. It's been a rough few days. Very emotional. I'm not sure why I have days or moments that are so hard, they just are. Usually something small triggers it and sometimes it's things that ordinarily wouldn't be a big deal.

I just feel so weak right now. My heart aches, I am so empty. Tears have flown much more easily the last couple of days and I feel like my soul is in such a reflective place right now. I want so badly to be able to approach the throne with confidence, but I find myself dealing with so much guilt. I want to blame Tyler's death on something and the easiest thing is to blame it on myself.

I spent some good time with a sweet friend last night that helped me to sift through my many emotions and to figure out why I'm in the pit I'm in. I am having such a hard time experiencing the Lord's grace and most of all His love. I know what His Word says and I know what is true, but I am searching and wanting to see His face so badly. I know that when I call to Him, He is right there, but why does He often feel so far away?

I am struggling with blaming myself for Tyler's death. If only I hadn't put the blanket in his bed, if only I would have been reading my Bible more, if only I had been a better mom, if only I had prayed more. Bear with me, because I know that these things are untrue and not according to what scripture says, but it's where I am. In fact, to believe those things I know takes His sovereignty away from Him. I am struggling with faith being enough and that it's not by the works I do or don't do. He doesn't love me less or more based on those things, but I find myself in that trap so often.

I am trying to find understanding in why this has all happened. I know that I may never know the full scheme of what God is doing, but I so badly want to sit down with Him and have Him explain it all to me. Wouldn't that be nice? I know that it wouldn't be faith if I could see clearly. Instead I am forced to walk a road so blindly, and all I know is that He's there. Not because I always feel Him, but because He said so. He promised He would never leave me, so I have a choice to either trust Him or not. I'm trying to choose to trust Him because I can't do this on my own. I try and I fail. I am so empty. In need of Him. Please pray for His love to be so evident. Please pray for my deep ache. I long for it to all go away, but this is my life now.

I have to embrace where I am and I don't want to. I think the gravity of what's happened is starting to set in and I just don't have have anything to give. I drive past where Tyler is buried and I so badly want to go in and just sit. The day we buried him, I said I didn't want to go back until his headstone was there. We are still waiting to get all the details squared away. I feel like such a horrible mom. I feel guilty that I do not have that taken care of yet, I feel guilty that I haven't been to his grave, I feel guilty that he doesn't have flowers sitting there to decorate it. I think about how other moms probably go out there and see Tyler's empty vase and simple marker and say, "That poor baby...his mommy must not love him."

I know it all sounds stupid, but I am just struggling this week to take my thoughts captive. A song that's been one that I've listened to over and over again and claim, is a song by Kari Jobe. I've wanted to add it to my playlist, but it's not on there. Here are the words:

You are For Me
So faithful, so constant
So loving and so true, so powerful in all you do
You fill me, You see me
You know my every move
You love for me to sing to you

I know that you are for me, I know that you are for me
I know that you will never, forsake me in my weakness
I know that you have come now
Even if to write upon my heart
To remind me who you are

So patient, so gracious
So merciful and true, so wonderul in all you do
You fill me, You see me
You know my every move You love for me to sing to you

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Meaningful Suffering

Taken from Streams in the Desert, September 8)
“Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress.” Psalm 4:1

This verse is one of the greatest testimonies ever written regarding the effectiveness of God’s work on our behalf during times of crisis. It is a statement of thanksgiving for having been set free not from suffering but rather through suffering. In stating “Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress,” the psalmist is declaring that the sorrows of life have themselves been the source of life’s enlargement.

Haven’t each of us experienced this a thousand times and found it to be true? Someone once said of Joseph that when he was in the dungeon, “iron entered his soul.” And that strength of iron is exactly what he needed, for earlier he had only experienced the glitter of gold. He has been rejoicing in youthful dreams, and dreaming actually hardens the heart. Someone who sheds great tears over a simple romance will not be of much help in a real crisis, for true sorrow will be too deep for him. We all need the iron in life to enlarge our character. The gold is simply a passing vision, whereas the iron is the true experience of life. The chain that is the common bond uniting us to others must be that of iron. The common touch of humanity that gives the world true kinship is no joy but sorrow-gold is partial to only a few, but iron is universal.

Dear soul, if you want your sympathy for others to be enlarged, you must be willing to have your life narrowed by certain degrees of suffering. Joseph’s dungeon was the very road to his throne, and he would have been unable to lift the iron load of his brothers had he not experienced the iron in his own life. Your life will be enlarged in proportion to the amount of iron you have endured, for it is in the shadows of your life that you will find the actual fulfillment of your dreams of glory. So do not complain about the shadows of darkness-in reality, they are better than your dreams could ever be. Do not say that the darkness of the prison has shackled you, for your shackles are wings-wings of flight into the heart and soul of humanity. And the gate of your prison is the gate into the heart of the universe. God has enlarged you through the suffering of sorrow’s chain.

George Matheson: If Joseph had never been Egypt’s prisoner, he would have never been Egypt’s governor. The iron chain that bound his feet brought about the golden chain around his neck.

I consider it a privilege that God is using my life. He is using the hurt and the suffering we are experiencing to minister to others, and for that I am grateful. I don't always like where we are, but I am thankful for His promises that He uses ALL things for good, and my trust and hope is in Him. What do people do that don't have eternal hope that one day all our tears will be wiped away? Thank you Jesus for pulling me out of the darkest of places and for the hope we have in Christ. Thank you for bearing my burdens and healing my brokenness. You are so good.....

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Soccer, Side-swipes & Jesus

Well today was Cooper's very first soccer game. Quite a monumental occasion, especially for Daddy who has played most of his life. I think Jerrod shed a tear or two when we bought Cooper his first pair of cleats and had to twitter the moment Cooper first put on his entire ensemble, shin guards and all. It's so special to have Jerrod coaching him and spending time showing him how the game of soccer works. The only bummer is that Jerrod had ACL surgery last Friday, so he is a little out of commission when it comes to running around and showing the kids the drills. He's doing a phenomenal job, though. Jerrod is so gifted in so many different ways, but he is so attractive and when he speaks, people listen, at least the kids do most of the time;)

Today was going to be a great day. I had the camera in hand, the camcorder too. Total soccer mom! Dork, I know. But what can I say, I was so proud to see both of my boys out there. Right as the game was starting, Cooper just lunged forward and started running with the ball toward the goal. He started too early, so the whistle blew and they brought the ball back. But all I could think to myself was, "This is gonna be great....Cooper's gonna go get em'."

As the game started, though, I started to realize that no one on our team had a clue what they were doing. The parents were all trying to herd the kids down the little field and help them figure out what to do. Needless to say, we only had one small practice that was mostly filled with introductions and dribbling.

Many of the kids just stood there. Some ran in circles, some cried (including mine), some chased each other like it was a time to play tag. Meanwhile, the other team dominated. (A little disclaimer is that our team is mostly made up of 3-year-olds and none of them have ever played before. The other team, on the other hand, had mostly 4-year-olds.) There was one little girl on the other team that ran over everyone......she killed it! She probably scored 15 goals. It was quite annoying since she seemed to be the only kid having fun, but whatever.

Yep, that's Coop sitting in the middle of the field just watching the other team score;)

Our little pep talk about how when the other team takes your ball away, you just gotta go get it back.....I wish I had it on video, but later he totally took down the little girl with the braids that was so good.

As I stood back and watched, it was quite interesting. I saw Jerrod and the other dads trying to encourage the kids along and show them where to go and what to do. There was so much chaos that it was hard for them to really understand what was being asked of them. On top of that, the other team kept side-swiping the ball and driving right through them to their goal. These poor kiddos didn't know what hit them.

I thought about how true this is of the Lord. How He is out on the field with us, directing us, encouraging us, guiding us in the way we should go. He's right in the mix of it all, but when we are not in tune to His voice and do not have an accurate understanding of who He is, we are all out of sorts. Just as the more Cooper's team practices and learns the game, they will play better, we too learn how to live life in a way that honors the Lord by spending time with Him in His Word and through prayer. The more time the kids spend with Jerrod through practice and games, the more they will become in tune to his voice and what it is he is trying to have them do. Jerrod sees the big picture of the game and what the ultimate goal is in the end. He knows that when he asks certain things of the kids or tells them what to do, he is helping them reach toward the goal in the end. He not only has their best interest at heart, but is making them better and stronger in the process.

When we spend time with the Lord, we become in tune to the sound of His voice in our lives and how even when things around us are chaotic and don't make sense, we can hear His voice and see with clarity what it is He is teaching us. He sees ever so clearly that even though the things He allows and asks us to do are often difficult or don't make sense, He has our very best interest at heart because He loves us. The circumstances and "drills" are not to our detriment, but to make us stronger and to ultimately display His glory. Our Heavenly Father sees the big picture too. He sees that in the end is Eternity with Him....what an even greater goal!

The questions is, am I listening? Or am I picking my nose on the field, day dreaming and wondering why someone just ran over me, or circumstances knocked me off my feet? Is my guide for life the very Word of God? The true, inspired, infallible, God-breathed, inerrant, Word. Am I listening for His voice? It often comes in a quiet whisper, so am I in tune? I don't ever want to miss what the Lord is teaching me. I don't ever want to be caught off guard or side-swiped, so I must make sure I have my armor on. I must be girded with Truth.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

7 Months

It's so hard to believe that Tyler would have been 7 months today. What would he be doing? If he was anything like his big brother, he'd be all over the place. He was so strong, but yet a little more laid back and reserved than how Cooper was then. I wonder what sounds he would be making.....would he be crawling, would he love his exersaucer or the jumper? It's so strange how you often recognize children that are close in age to what Tyler would have been. Whether I'm in Target or the grocery store or out at the park, you pay attention to those little ones that remind you of your own.

It's so hard to believe that he's been gone for such a short amount of time.....less than three months. As Jerrod said, we often feel like all we have are memories. I do remember how he felt in my arms, what his chubby legs felt like, his cheek against mine. I want to remember those things forever; however, I know with time, those memories will fade from being so vivid. It's so heart-breaking to think of that day ever coming.

Tyler was such a little peanut when he was born. Only weighing 5 pds., 11 oz., he was so little and precious. This picture was taken when he was less than a week old. Isn't he precious? I just love him so much!

The little outfit he has on is a premie outfit that swallowed him. I never thought I would ever have such a tiny precious gift, but here he is. I often wonder what he is doing with the Lord. Is he singing and praising Him? Is he playing? Does he sit on Jesus's lap and rock? I know and believe that he is truly home, but it's so hard to want to physically see that he is okay and being taken care of. It seems like a weird thought, because OF COURSE the Lord is taking care of him. After all, He made every part of him and knew him from the beginning of time. But as a mommy you are made to take care of the children God entrusts you with. When they are entrusted to someone else's care, you just want to check up on them.

I wanted to share a Psalm with you. To give you a little background, this Psalm continues to come back to minister to my heart. When we had been trying to conceive for the first time, the Lord showed me these verses. Amidst our miscarriages and then finally conceiving both Cooper and Tyler, this Psalm keeps coming back to my mind. My boys are the very work of God's hand in my life and they are evidence of God's goodness, sovereignty and timing. As a believer in Christ, I believe that He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He never changes - even when life around me can be so unstable, unpredictable and unfair. What God is so great as our God?

Psalm 77
"I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me. When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands and my soul refused to be comforted. I remembered you, O God, and I groaned; I mused, and my spirit grew faint. You kept my eyes from closing; I was too troubled to speak.

I thought about the former days, the years of long ago; I remembered my songs in the night. My heart mused and my spirit inquired: 'Will the Lord reject forever? Will He never show His favor again? Has His unfailing love vanished forever? Has His promise failed for all time? Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has He in anger withheld his compassion?'

Then I thought, 'To this I will appeal: the years of the right hand of the Most High.' I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds. Your ways, O God, are holy. What God is so great as our God? You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples. With you mighty arm you redeemed your people."

Display your power in my life, Oh Lord, for you alone are worthy to be praised. For where I am weak, you are strong. Thank you, Jesus!

Monday, September 7, 2009

If only we all wore signs....

Well, I have many thoughts throughout each day. Some are silly, some are deep, some are far-fetched and some are enlightening. The Holy Spirit is always so faithful to show me exactly what I need to hear in the moment.

As many of you know, I took Cooper to preschool last week for the first time. He's done great and adjusted so well. The biggest thing we're working on is self-control. Definitely a fruit of the spirit that I need help on too;) I found myself walking him in last week, seeing so many moms (and a few dads), many of them dressed and showered with make-up on. Many of them had smaller children in strollers and bjorns, some with big bellies.

I have to admit that I found myself being so judgmental, and not only that, but feeling sorry for myself. I had so many thoughts running through my head...."If only they knew what happened to me..." "If only they had ANYTHING hard in their lives....." "Their lives look so perfect with their children spaced two years apart, the SUV, the designer clothes, everything so nicely put together....." "If only they knew what it meant to grieve......" "Do they even know how incredibly blessed they are?" "Do they take everything they have for granted?"

I also found myself wanting to just shout all those things. So much so, that I even thought to myself, if only I had a sign. If only I had a sign around my neck that said across my chest....I LOST MY CHILD. Maybe then their eyes would be open, maybe then they would see that no, I didn't plan to come to preschool with my 3-year-old with empty arms and an empty womb.

I found myself thinking on all these things, when the Holy Spirit ever so gently crept in and whispered...."What if everyone else had on signs too?" "What would their's say?"

Would it say, "My husband cheated on me...", or "My mom has cancer....", or "I'm struggling with infertility and no one knows....", or "I have an eating disorder", or " My husband lost his job...." or even "I lost a child, too....".

I saw with clarity that if we were to all wear signs, what would they say? I don't think I am so naive to think that I am the only one that's hurting, but when everyone looks so put together on the outside, it can often feel like that. What's worse is that I can struggle, too, with trying to put on the happy face on the outside when my world is crumbling on the inside. After all, I am a pastor's wife. I am suppose to have it together, right? I often feel like I fall victim to this silly expectation or lie that I am suppose to handle all that's going on inside of me "the right way." What does that even mean? The right way? I am learning through this that there is no right or wrong way to grieve. It just is. I am learning that it's okay to have a sad face on when I'm having a hard day, but it's also okay to laugh and have fun and that that doesn't mean that I don't miss Tyler.

I just wanted to share a little bit and encourage you to look past people's smiling faces. Ask yourself the question next time..."What does their sign say?"

Saturday, September 5, 2009

My Little Bulldog

Okay, so I know this is three posts in one day, but I was a little excited! Our sweet friend Kaelyn, or KK as Cooper calls her, took Cooper to his first college football game. Yes, I am still a Razorback at heart and hate that we couldn't be at the game today calling the Hogs, but we are becoming fans of our own Fresno Bulldogs. Cooper had so much fun with his new t-shirt, face tattoo, his very own Sprite, and watching the big football players. He was a little scared of the fireworks, but overall he seemed to have a blast. Here's a pic, and I'll post a couple more later...

A couple more pics

I wanted to share a couple more pictures of my sweet boy. He is so precious!
"And He took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them." Mark 10:16

Finally back.....

Well, after weeks of not posting, I have officially decided to start my own blog. We have our own website at www.therumleys.com, but it's so hard for me to post on there since it is all on Jerrod's computer. I have so many thoughts throughout the day that I would love to share (mostly for my own healing), and I know people often wonder what's going on with us 3 months after losing Tyler. My hope is that I will be able to share more of my heart, more of how we are doing and most importantly, what God is showing us through this process. We are knee-deep in the grieving process and missing our Tyler James daily.

As I spoke to a sweet friend via email who lost her little girl - we just want them back. We know many of God's truths and desire to rest and abide in them, but the truth remains that we just really don't like how things are right now. Life was not supposed to look like this, at least in our minds. Please feel free to keep emailing or commenting. I love to get verses that the Lord has put on your heart and am really trying to draw on His word.

One thing we are dealing with right now is trying to have another baby. This is such a hard process, because the truth is, we just want Tyler back. Please pray. Pray for our hearts, pray for the Lord to be at the forefront, pray that He would bless us abundantly. For those of you who know us well, we have always struggled to get pregnant. We have struggled with infertility for the last 6 1/2 years, had two miscarriages and now lost our little Tyler at 4 1/2 months. We are currently on medication, so we go in for an ultrasound on Tuesday to see how many follicles we have. Our hope is ALOT, so please join us in praying that this month would work. We hope and pray that the Lord would give and bless us abundantly with more children. In the end, as my sweet friend Jess always says, "If we have to trust the Lord in taking our children away, then surely trusting Him to give us more shouldn't be as hard." Just trying to keep this perspective and know ultimately that HE is good and that He has our best interest in mind at all times.

Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for your encouragement. Thank you for your selflessness. God has been so evident through His body. In many ways, each of you is holding us up and proving to be the body of Christ in action. We are so grateful.

Thank you......