I Am With You

About a year and a half ago (April 2011), I was at my desk while the attorney I work for, Joe, was in a meeting with another attorney.  Joe and David Caywood have been close for many years.  David came bursting out of the conference room on his cell phone and said I’ve got to go, something has happened to Connie’s son.  Connie Luke is David’s paralegal.  Our offices are close, so I called one of my friends in his office to get details.  I found out Jason had been in a wreck that morning and Connie was just then finding out but she did not know any details.  She did know the area.  I called Jay just to see if he knew anything and he told me he worked a wreck and had to transport a male to The Med that morning.  After several phone calls back and forth, we put two and two together and realized it was Jason.  Jason’s ID was in his backpack in the back seat so when Jay transported him, he had no ID.  Connie, unfortunately, had to go to the morgue to identify her son.  Jason was 16 and on his way to school and the only one in his car.

That same day Connie called me.  All she wanted to know from Jay was if Jason suffered.  I could tell her with certainty that he did not.  I also sent her a text on April 29, which I still have, and sent her one of my favorite verses, Nahum 1:7 “The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble.  He cares for those who trust in Him.”  I had not been so close to a mother that had lost their child so tragically.

I went to the funeral and so many of his friends spoke.  It was so very special.  He was a big UT fan.  Connie and I joke about that now about Trey and Jason.  Connie has a place on Facebook called Remembering Jason Peyton that she will post things to him.  I would read these all year and think, oh, this is so terrible.  She has got to be suffering so much.  Things like…Jason you would love what happened today.

Fast forward a year and here I am with Trey.  So many people think I do not have anyone to talk to that understands.  Connie understands.  We talk and communicate.  She waits for Jason to walk in the door from school just like I wait for Trey.  She hears his voice just like I hear Trey’s.  We both fear the day that we will not hear those sounds in our heads anymore.  God in his mercy interweaves his people for so many blessings.  Instead of Jay being with Jason that day, it could have been someone else.  That was Connie’s comfort.  And now, I have Connie who feels the same pain I am feeling each day.  God provides and is with us every step.

This morning I was reading my devotion in Jesus Calling and it said, “You are feeling wobbly this morning, looking at difficult times ahead, measuring them against your own strength.  However, they are not today’s task-or even tomorrow’s.  So leave them in the future and come home to the present, where you will find Me waiting for you.”  I was turning to the scripture passage in Exodus that was referenced to read.  I am using Trey’s bible for my devotion time.  As I reached Exodus, I could see yellow highlighter through the pages and I flipped to see what he had highlighted.  This is what I read ~

Genesis 28:15

“I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land.  I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

Thank you, Lord for never leaving me.  Or Trey.  And thank you for blessing me with my son.  Both sons.  Today, I am thankful for the Word of God that reminds me of his promises that gives me comfort so that I may comfort others.

The Broken Teapot

Many have experienced seeing a child knock something valuable off a shelf and watching it fall in slow motion to the floor into small pieces, a teapot for example.  The teapot is shattered into what seems a million pieces on the floor.  You know it was not done on purpose and there is no scolding.  The teapot is just there.  Waiting for you to either throw it away or glue it back together.

 Prov. 15:13 says “A joyful heart makes a cheerful face, But when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken.”  Jay and I have entered the time of being broken and hurt.  We are much like the teapot that is in many pieces. I knew when it came down to it, I would be the one that would be affected the most; it was just a matter of time.  That time is here and how do we handle it?

Jay and I talked last night about suicide.  I know, you think that is so drastic.  Don’t freak out, we are human.  In despair, your mind goes so many places.  He has not thought about it at all.  I, on the other hand, have thought about it several times.  Satan creeps in when we are weak, and I am either crying or sleeping, so he’s got me.  I know I am feeling that way because so much of a big part of our lives has died.  This reminds me of the song the Hurt and the Healer by MercyMe.  Parts of the lyrics are, “Breathe, sometimes I feel that’s all that I can do.  Pain so deep that I can hardly move.”  But the song goes on to say “Jesus come and break my fear, Awake my heart and take my tears, Find Your glory even here.”

I have a mental image of God catching my tears and using them as glue to put the teapot back together, which is me.  There are some pieces He will have to hold in place for a while for the glue to hold and I think He’s holding us in one of those places right now.  But we know there is healing in this time, as much as I don’t see it with my eyes.  But I am claiming Jeremiah 17:14 that says “Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed; Save me and I will be saved, for You are my praise.”  I know in time we will heal as He puts US back together.  I told Jay last night that it made me angry that I couldn’t just push all this aside and get over it.  (That’s my fighting spirit.) And he said, we’ll never get over this.  He is right and that’s why I cry out to the Lord.  Just stop and think.  Imagine.  Your child.  Gone.  Never to touch, smell, or kiss again.  You can’t.

I’m so thankful that God did not pick up the teapot and put it in the trash, broken and in pieces. His glue is ever-bonding and a joy that we have experienced.  We will experience that joy again and He will fill us up.  There will be no leaks through the cracks of the pot.  But for now, I have to accept that I am broken.  I will learn to heal.  Each day I am going to challenge myself to find something to be thankful for that God in his mercy has given me.  It might be something very insignificant to the public, but to me, it might just be breathing. 

If you have not heard this song Hurt and the Healer by Mercy Me, here are the words that I could speak myself.  I am praying through all of this that God DOES find His glory here and He is honored in all that we do.  Some ask, how can I pray for you? Or how are you doing?  Well, I think I have answered that question well.

The question that is never far away
The healing doesn’t come from the explained
Jesus please don’t let this go in vain
You’re all I have
All that remains

So here I am
What’s left of me
Where glory meets my suffering

I’m alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I’ve fallen into Your arms open wide
When the hurt and the healer collide

Sometimes I feel it’s all that I can do
Pain so deep that I can hardly move
Just keep my eyes completely fixed on You
Lord take hold and pull me through

So here I am
What’s left of me
Where glory meets my suffering

I’m alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I’ve fallen into your arms open wide
When the hurt and the healer collide

It’s the moment when humanity
Is overcome by majesty
When grace is ushered in for good
And all the scars are understood
When mercy takes its rightful place
And all these questions fade away
When out of the weakness we must bow
And hear You say “It’s over now”

Jesus come and break my fear
Awake my heart and take my tears
Find Your glory even here

Doing God’s Work

I have received so many sweet contacts over the last two months.  A young college girl contacted me a couple of days ago about her father.  Her father was just admitted to hospice and the young girl knows her father does not have long for this earth.  Oh, I forgot to mention he has pancreatic cancer.  Her main worry is not so much about his well being, but about his faith.  This young girl loves the Lord and knows what it means to have Jesus as her Savior.  Her worry is that her father would not spend eternity with the Lord.  After several exchanges of messages, I told her I would try to stop by the hospice unit on my way home from work yesterday.

I had so many things on my mind on the way home yesterday.  I knew we were not going to be able to go to church because Collin had a project due, he had a doctor’s appointment; I was running late from work, etc.  As I approached the entrance of 385, it dawned on me what I had told this young girl.  I would go by to see her father after work.  I called Jay and told him what I was going to do.  He didn’t sound surprised, just a little leery of why.  I told him that if anything happened to him and I didn’t stop, I would never forgive myself.  I felt like I would have been disobedient to a call from God.  I know people have said – how can she be so open and deal with all of this so soon after Trey’s death.  All I can say is that my strength comes ONLY from the Lord and I am being obedient in everything that I am doing.  I have never felt such an urgent need to advance the kingdom.  That lesson came from the brave actions of my son.

The hospice unit was the same unit we were going to transfer Trey to shortly prior to his death.  Yesterday was 2 months since Trey passed.  I sat in my car and thought to myself, what am I doing, I have got to be crazy.  And then I received a text from my pastor – He is able – therefore so are you!  Okay, okay.  I grabbed my bible and walked in the building.

As I walked in to Mr. Smith’s room (name protected), I was so thankful he was awake and alert because I knew he had been sleeping a lot.  I introduced myself and he knew who I was because he began to cry.  God put many things in the room for us to talk about.  He is a UT fan!  As I began to talk about his faith and his daughter, the lady that was sitting with him excused herself.  We discussed his salvation in depth and he believed in Jesus and that he was going to heaven.  Then he asked me the oddest question.  “Do you think that I am sick?”  I said, “Well, I am only a momma, not a doctor, but just by looking at you I think you might be a little sick.”  Mr. Smith was very jaundice.  He still had some hair.  More than most men I know.  I ended our visit by telling him to trust in the doctors and trust in our Lord.  We held hands and prayed. I prayed for a peace that would calm all his questions.  We both cried a little.

I left the unit and felt an overwhelming peace of doing God’s work.  But yet the question he asked still haunted me – “Do I look sick?”  I thought about that in terms of my own life.  If someone looked at me, would they know by my appearance that I was a Christian?  Would they know by my actions, my words, my tweets, and my dress?  Or do I look sick?  Am I weary, worried, sad, angry, and unhappy?  And then my heart sank.  I thought of Trey.  Yes, there were days he looked sick.  Jay and I were talking last night that we were so blessed that he kept his hair and we did not have to deal with the jaundice.  God blessed us in SO many ways.  He had so many days he was joyful…content in his circumstances.

Satan tempts us every chance he gets to advance sickness in our lives.  It can be in the form of mental turmoil, physical pain, or his greatest attempt is our spiritual development.  The only way to fight the sickness of Satan is to be girded with the word of God.  I have this scripture taped on my computer:

“Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.” Ps. 51:12

My prayer for you is that if you are suffering in sickness, you will be able to identify your illness and combat it with the word of God and remain in contact with Him in prayer.  His word will not come back void.  Never. #dontmissjesus

Planting a Seed

Last Tuesday I received phone call from a mother of one of Collin’s teammates on the football team.  I am team mom for the 7th grade, of course.  I do everything else, so why not!  She asked if I could take her children to the game and I replied that since I was at work downtown, she would be best served by contacting one of the coaches.  I explained that Collin was catching a ride with someone because of my work schedule.  I explained that I would be travelling to Collierville before heading to Arlington and did not know if I would get the players to the field on time.

As I was in my car headed to Collierville, my phone rang again.  At first, I didn’t answer it.  You know, the dangers of talking on your cell phone and driving on the expressway.  A minute later the call came again and I can see it on my dashboard.  I answered the phone and it was the mother of the two boys.  She did not tell me whether or not she had talked with the coach, but asked if we could make arrangements and I told her I would be happy to pick up the boys and get them to Arlington with me.

What do you talk about when you have two boys in the back seat that you do not know? Sports! Of course!  Having enough knowledge of every sport to be dangerous, I embarked on many different discussions such as, who is your favorite college football team, who is your favorite player, who is your favorite NFL team, who is your favorite quarterback, who is your favorite NBA team, and on and on.  As we would get to a team, I mentioned Tim Tebow called Trey and prayed with him.  I told these two boys how much it meant to Trey that Tim took 20 minutes out of his day to pray with him.  Then we talked about DeAngelo Williams and how Trey went skeet shooting with him.  I had to explain about skeet shooting first.  They asked if I had a picture.  So this mom who would not answer the phone while driving was fumbling through her pics on her phone to show the boys the pics of Trey and DeAngelo horsing around. 

We talked about the footballs that Trey had from Peyton and Eli Manning and others.  And the question finally came, how did your son know all these people?  And I said, in a very elemental voice, “My son, Trey, had cancer.  He knew that he was not going to get better.  Instead of being unhappy, he decided to have joy and people wanted to know why and they wanted to talk to him.  Some wanted to help make him feel better by sending him things.”  Then one of the boys looked at my radio that had been playing the entire time and he read it out loud, “The Message, Christian Music.”  And that’s all he said.

We were pulling into the drive of the school by this time and I told them to hop out and get their gear.  One fella asked if he could leave his shoes in my car and I told him no because he would be riding home with someone else.  I didn’t get a chance to speak to them again.  We pulled up at the school around 10 before the game was to start.  I told the mother I would make sure they had a ride home.

After the game, I went to one of our coaches and told him I had given two boys a ride and they needed a ride home.  I had Collin point one of them out because I was embarrassed that during the entire car ride I never asked their names nor did I tell them mine.  The coach proceeded to tell me the youngest was not on the team anymore and he had spoken with the mother and he would not be able to give the boys a ride to the game.  I asked if he would make sure they got home and he said he would.  I told him that they might not have meant to ride with him or to play on the team, but that night, they rode with me to hear a little bit about Jesus.

We never know when that opportunity will be that we can plant the seed.  Would you be able to plant a seed?  Jesus will water the seed, we need only plant it for Him.  This brings to mind one of my favorite passages in the bible where Jesus talks about being the True Vine and we are the branches:

John 15:1-8

“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. 3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.

5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to the Father.”

Are you producing fruit or are you withering?  Can you plant a seed in a simple conversation for the Lord to help produce fruit in that person?  I challenge you to try to accomplish it just once a week.  Remember, “When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples.  This brings great glory to the Father.”Image