Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A God Story

One of the sweet reminders Christmas brings is that God shows up in the most unlikely places. Not just in the big, fancy churches, but out among the everyday folks. In the storefronts and shelters, in all of lifes troubles and uncertainties-the days when it feels like "there's just no room in the inn." God's right there with us--powerful and poor alike--guiding and loving us the way only He can do. What a sweet promise to cling to. What a wonderful reason to praise His holy name!

I don't know if it is well known that a portion of the chain Jon wore around his neck was found in the car following his accident. I took the pieces to a local jeweler and they made a bracelett with the pieces adding Jon's birthstone and those of Josh, Ginger and Rhett. I thought it was beautiful. Friday somewhere between home, school, and the Sugar Plum market it fell off my wrist. I didn't notice it until late that night. That next morning I just told myself that if God wanted me to find my bracelett He would find it for me...I called someone working at SP Market and someone who was going to be at Mars Hill for a ballgame Sat. morning to just look around and see if they found it. I did pray about finding it knowing and believing that if it were meant to be I would find it. That night I got a call. Someone found my bracelett somewhere in the gym and put it in the concession stand so it would be found easily. WOW. I am so thankful to have found my sentimental bracelett with God's help!

This morning an angel called and wanted to put my Christmas tree up. Now you have to know someone loves you if they volunteer to put your Christmas tree up!! I have been struggling emotionally the last few days knowing that the holidays were going to be harder than I thought. I have just not been into the Christmas decorating thing, but was trying to do the best that I could. What a blessing it was to come home to a beautifully decorated tree. I am so thankful for loving, caring friends who are the living, breathing image of God here on this earth.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A favorite scripture of mine

Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever. Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdon, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. Now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name. I Chronicles 29:11-13

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Holidays, memories and more

As I write down my thoughts so much has happened. Jon's birthday has come and gone (Oct. 19),Thanksgiving has come and gone and so many emotions have flooded my heart.
We celebrated Jon's life Oct. 19 at Diann's house. Emotions were crazy as we thought about how Jon had blessed all of our lives.

Thanksgiving has brought new feeling to the surface as I try to honor Jon in special ways. Before our Thanksgiving meal, I lit a special candle and told one of my favorite "Jon" stories and asked everyone to share one of theirs. Here was mine. One day I was in the kitchen and Jon came down from upstairs. I was burning a Christmas cookie candle and as he came down and into the kitchen he said, "This smells good enough to eat!" Everytime I smell a Christmas cookie candle I think about Jon and how uninhibited he was about expressing whatever it was that he felt...I want to live my live like that, unafraid to express whatever it is that I'm feeling. I sent one of these candles over seas when he was in the Navy...he told me later, "Thanks mom, but no candles on the ship." Burn a Christmas cookie candle in Jon's memory during the holidays and let me know about it!

This past weekend we flew to San Antonio, Tx to be with a first cousin of David's. I think that he was thinking that we needed a change during the holidays...anyway we attended worship at Oak Hills church where Max Lacado preaches. It was such an inspiring service and one I will never forget! I know one thing for sure, there are no random acts in this world. God had full intentions of David and me being at that service that Sunday morning. The lesson was about the 10 leapers and only one coming back to say thank you...we have all heard that story and probably know it by heart, here is the twist, he asked his wife to stand in the audience and told her in front of the crowd of about 1000 that he love her, was thankful for her and appreciated her alwasy believing in him and supporting him. Next he asked his son-in-law to stand up and said that he always thought that there would never be anyone good enough for his daughter. He thanked him for loving his daughter, taking care of his daughter and being the Christian man that he was. As his voice cracked he said, "You see, it isn't always easy to say thank you to those you need to say thank you to, but it is ALWAYS the right thing to do"...WOW! We all know that is true. Next we received a paper leaf (various colors)on which we were to right what we were thankful for. As I begin writing I can honestly say that I am so thankful for all of the things Jon taught me. How he made me laugh and how much fun he brought into our family. How he loved Josh, Ginger and Rhett. How he loved a good card game. How he loved people. How mad he made me when he would do something really stupid. How close he and David were. How he would say, "I love you, mom." I learned so much through his struggles. I know he felt so trapped there until God's love and grace took over and set him free. I know he is in a much better place and I am so thankful for that. He is truly at peace.

Dec.13 is the date for the annual candle light service. This service will be at Cross Point church of Christ at 3. Come support friends and honor Jon and others you know who have lost precious children.

One last thought, I found this awesome book while we were out of town this past weekend...Giraffes Can't Dance. Love it! It is a story about a giraffe named Gerald who couldn't dance. The other animals did a wonderful job of dancing and when it was Gerald's turn he just froze, walked off the dance floor and started walking home sad and alone. He met a cricket who believed in him and told him, "Sometimes when you're different you just need a different song." Well, you guessed it, when Gerold heard "his" song he really could dance. This book made me think about Jon so much...he just needed a different song. Now he has a beautiful song, "his" song, and is dancing the most beautiful waltz ever!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Journey Continues

So much has happened since my last post...school started, found out that I am going to be a grandmother again, Josh, Ginger and Rhett have gotten home, Alabama football is in full swing (Jon's favorite), and I have just returned from an awesome weekend with some of the most wonderful Christian women that I know. We participated in the best praise and worship ever and heard a much needed message from the Word of God. I am blessed.

I want to seek God to find him, not to see Him perform. I love Him because He is my God, not to see what He can do for me. Everytime that Jesus shows Himself to me I want to be changed. I know that the secrets of the kingdom belong to those who seek Him and I want to know those secrets!

Several things that were said this weekend touched me deeply. One of them was about our wounds. In Ps 147:3 It says,"He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds". But what happens when our wounds don't heal? Ps 38:5 says they fester and are loathsome and Isaiah 1:6 says unhealed wounds hurt you from the sole of your feet to the top of your head. So what does that say to me? That my personal pain can become like an idol to me if I let it. Personal pain and loss has changed my life. I'll never get over losing Jon and I will forever hang on to the precious memories that I have of him...but God trusts that I will live my life with the hope of seeing Jon again...of not living in dispair. I want to honor that trust. I want my life to be defined by my experiences because our personal experiences do make us who we are...what I don't want is for my experiences to be all that I am...I don't want them to be my idol.

October 19th is Jon's birthday...it would have been his 28th. We will celebrate his life and share memories of him that day. Keep us in your prayers as we march past these mile stones along this journey we are traveling. Thanks for your love and concern and most of all for loving us, loving Jon and just caring.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Give Me Your Eyes

Give me Your eyes for just one second
Give me Your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me Your love for humanity
Give me Your arms for the broken hearted
Wasn't it far beyond my reach?
Give me Your heart for the once forgotten
Give me Your eyes so I can see!!!

I begin this post on July 13...one month past the single event that will forever change my life here on this earth. We have had a roller coaster ride these last 4 weeks! One week at the beach with family, one week of teaching 65 boys and girls swimming lessons, celebrated my birthday without Jon and joining Josh in Houston for a 4 game series before coming home for the All Star break. Emotions continue to flood my mind. I know this, life is just a breath, a vapor here today but we are not guaranteed a day...not one of us.

I received a note from an aunt of David's who also has lost a son. So much in the letter has given me peace but one comment she made has made me think so much about the actions I want to take daily. "Denise, take care of each other". That sounds pretty simple but do we always "take care of each other"? Do we always notice when someone is struggling or not having a good day or just need a friend? I want to! I want to be gentle with all kinds of people that come and go in my life. I think that many of life's treasures are hidden from us because we never search for them. I want to be a better steward of my opportunities!

I know this much is true. If you want to lift yourself up, try lifting up someone else. True happiness comes from serving others. The seeds of depression cannot take root in a grateful heart! I have so much to be grateful for. I see that everyday. I have always heard that every one of us is always 'in a crisis, coming out of a crisis, or headed for a crisis'. Maybe it's how we handle situations that matter. Sometimes,I think we determine our actions on how we feel others think that we should act. I want to be true to myself and to how I think that God wants me to act or react to situations in my life. I want to be a vessel. I think that only through complete and repeated commitment to God lies the key to victories that can be more easily won, less painfully achieved and more quickly gained. Only then will the valleys become less deep and less dark and more quickly passed through!

I know that God is taking care of me! Every time I am having a day that may be sadder than some He sends me an angel. A friend that brings me lunch or takes me to a "spa day" or comes by to say that she loves me and is praying for me. Someone calls or writes a note with just the right words comes in the mail or any number of things that so many of you are doing and continue to do as we so clumsily continue on this journey. Thank you, I love you and I know that God has sent you to me!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Our Gifts

I have been thinking so much lately about life, love, God and how all of this comes together. God shows himself in so many ways, usually in the stillness of his beautiful creation. Maybe in the ocean or the beauty of a flower garden maybe in a smile or the hug of a friend. I have always loved Psalms 56. Some of my favorite verses are "...even when I am afraid, I keep on trusting you. You have kept record of my days of wandering. You have stored my tears in a bottle and counted each of them."

Understanding the mind of God is impossible. I don't even try. He loves me, I know it. I believe it. "What God has planned for people who love him is more than eyes have seen or ears have heard. It has never even entered our minds!" I Cor. 2:9

Jon had many gifts. Among them were his smile, his sence of humor, his tender heart, his hugs and his ability to make friends and be friendly to everyone. One I want to tell you about today is his gift of life and sight to several people that will forever be indebted to Jon. We received a letter this week from Alabama Eye Bank. They informed us that Jon's eye tissue had been used to restore the sight of two very fortunate individuals. This makes me happy as Jon will live on in some small way through this compasionate donation. I'm sure we will find out later about his heart and large bones in his legs that were used to help someone suffering with bone cancer.

Everyone on earth is designed to make a difference. Jon made a difference. I am learning more and more about how he did make a difference. He is still making a difference in the lives of others through his story and through his gifts.

The greatest mark we can make is to show others who God is...we do this by loving others.

Monday, June 29, 2009

A song I've been listening to -

Song For My Sons

by Sara Groves

this is a song for my sons for when they understand it
you know how life is full you know we couldn't plan it
your dad and i prayed for strength and understanding
for things we couldn't see or comprehend

this is a song from my heart a small refrain to hold you
for times when we're apart and i cannot console you
i can't say your life will always go like it should
but i can say that God is always good

and when the cold wind blows like i know it will
and when you feel alone like i know you will
and when the cold wind blows like i know it will

don't let your love grow
don't let your love grow
don't let your love grow cold

this is a song for my sons for when they understand it
you know how life is full you know we couldn't plan it
your dad and i prayed for strength and understanding
for things we couldn't see or comprehend

this a song for you, to carry in your pocket
take all our love with you in all the paths you walk in
be honest with yourself and don't forget to pray
and read your bible everyday

and when the cold wind blows like i know it will
and when you feel alone like i know you will
and when the cold wind blows like i know it will

chorus 2x

this is a song for my sons for when they understand it
you know how life is full, you know we couldn't plan it
your dad and i pray for your strength and understanding
the things you can not see or comprehend

Friday, June 26, 2009

My Journey

This is the beginning of my journey, the journey without my dear, sweet Jon. I'm sure that events from now on will be marked. I hope to share some of my thoughts and struggles as I try to make some sense of what I am feeling and how much I love all of you who loved Jon and share in my grief.

Today is the 2 week anniversary of Jon's death...I think that Saturdays will forever be changed for David and me. We will probably wake at 4:30 am and just remember that fateful morning every Sat. for a long time. Thoughts flood my mind as we return from a week of healing at the beach with 20 members of our family. Many wonderful memories were made and it is bitter sweet because I know that Jon would have loved being there with the sun, surf, family, games and of course the women. I smile when I think of that grin and those long lanky arms hugging Nana and Paw paw and any others that wanted a hug. Hugs are therapeutic you know, they help to dilute the pain. A hug says ,"I am a child again. Please just hold me. Hold me quietly.... and let our spirits do the talking."

I have tried to read a lot, share a lot and remember a lot. I have tried to read in the Big Book everyday because Jon and I shared many thoughts from the Big Book. He would say, "Have you read page 100?" I would respond with, "No, but I will and have you read the story about...?" It gave me such an insight into Jon's true self...you see Jon was a free spirit. It was hard for him to fit easily into this work-a-day world...

Just a glimpse into Jon's thinking. Here is a part of a letter he sent to me a couple of months ago:

"Mom, I thought my new life was going to suck, but how wrong I was. True and genuine feelings and emotions are starting to shoot through me when I do the next right thing. The God thing is coming for me, it's just a process with me. I need to just take one step at a time. God is like the wind mom, I can't see him but I can sure feel him and see what he's doing in my life and others"
As we returned home today we had so many cards to open that I still haven't read them all. Thank you, thank you, thank you for caring and sharing in our loss.
I want to share a verse that was shared with me. "You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy." John 16:20
Praise Me. This I ask of you in times when it seems indescribably difficult to do so. I ask it of you in love that is stern at this point because I know unequivocally that praise is your only hope for survival.