A Year of “Firsts”

Our year of “firsts” have begun.  DNOW (Disciple Now) was something that I was looking forward to but I knew it would be bittersweet.  I remember receiving a text from Trey on Saturday last year that said, “You know you are a UT fan when you pee orange!”  Of course he sent a picture of his pee in the toilet.  We kind of laughed, but he did respond that he didn’t feel good. We asked the normal questions if he had been drinking enough water, etc.  Of course, we all know that was the ER day.

Our theme for DNOW this year was Embrace.  Hummm…. I like that.  Embrace.  That is exactly what we have felt for a year now; embraced by our community, our church, and our even bigger God.  Our kids learned about that this weekend also.

I had many people ask me what I was going to do during DNOW.  Were Jay and I going to have kids at our house, was I just going to hang out, or was I going to be a leader?  I currently serve on the Student Ministry Committee for the church and my role for DNOW through the committee, I think by default, was DNOW Administrator.  That was perfect.  I could be seen as much as I wanted to be seen.  Most of the work was done before DNOW even cranked up!  That was good for me.  I can do paperwork!

It did allow me to do what I love and that is worship.  I’ve heard it said that one of the times you will feel closest to God is when you are worshipping through music and bringing Him glory.  Trey loved praising God and I loved watching him.  All weekend consisted of praise music that allowed all of our students to worship with abandonment.  But then it comes to some certain songs.  Songs I know were Trey’s favorites.  Even his friends knew they were his favorites.  Not only did we sing it during the weekend, but one of Trey’s best friends, Cody Jordan, sang it Sunday morning in church.  During the part of the song that we sing – this is my favorite:

Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If His grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.
And Heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss,
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest,
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets,
When I think about, the way…

Oh, how He loves us oh,
Oh how He loves us,
How He loves us all
How He loves

During that verse and chorus, my heart does sink into my chest because I am heaving in tears as I WAIL to God – OH HOW HE LOVES US! Because Trey got it.  And at that moment, through God, I’m with my son again.  He knew that he didn’t have time for regrets, only time to make sure that his life glorified God.  I told a friend last night that I so want to be at the feet of Jesus!  Just to tell Him how much I love him.  But he told me in scripture today – literally showed me in scripture – 2 Cor. 4:16-18

16 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

As much as I am ready to go to Jesus, we ALL are in the process of dying, from the moment of birth.  But through God’s grace He renews our spirit daily and we cannot give up on our purpose here on earth until he calls us home.  And that is spreading the good news of Jesus Christ.  I got a little sentimental today and googled Trey’s name.  I do that occasionally.  I clicked on the this NFL link talking about Tim Tebow and Trey – http://www.nfl.com/news/story/09000d5d82a5c927/article/tim-tebow-remembers-trey-erwins-battle-vs-cancer  There were SO many comments on this very small article about Tim calling Trey so I just HAD to post and this is what I said.  I tried to be nice!

James 1:2-3 “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.”  This was Trey Erwin’s scripture that he claimed during his illness.  Wish you could have known my son.  He was a MAN of courage, wisdom, bravery, and humor.  I miss him more each day, but he was chosen for a purpose and that was to spread God’s word.  God knows the weak cannot do the work of a laborer, but the strong can.  Trey was strong.  A football player.  With no fear.  And no fear to share his faith.  He was 1 in 5 million as a 15 year old with stage 4 ADULT pancreatic cancer.  Yes, he is now healthy in heaven and we are beginning to walk a year of “firsts”.  I’m proud of you buddy and I will forever proclaim your story of bravery and Glory for God.  Could you have walked in his steps?  I couldn’t, and I raised him.  Yet you talk as if you know him.  I pray you one day know our Lord – Jesus Christ.
That post went from NFL.com to Facebook.  But the moral is, we don’t know the day or the time, yet we talk as if we can plan our lives away.  You know what they say, go ahead and make plans, and make God laugh.  The same friend I talked to last night confessed to me that she has not been able to talk to me because she had felt guilt because her son had been healed of a heart condition years ago, yet we lost Trey.  I giggled at her and I told her that many had said that to us but that was the one emotion we do not and have not been angry.  When you know God is in control of your life to begin with, things happen, and you still have to have faith that God is in control.
As I grieve, God is in control
As we work, God is in control
As we walk by his in tact room, God is in control
As we suffer physically with headaches and no sleep, God is in control
As I wait for him to walk in the door at 10:30, God is in control
As I see someone who looks like him and my heart leaps, God is in control
As I see his friends continue with their school life and plans of college, God is in control
As I comfort his brother who is lonely, God is in control
As I look at each picture in the house and wait for them to talk, God is in control
As I watch videos and hear his voice and feel a cool chill, God is in control
As I look at the brick from Family of Families where he wrote Eph. 6:1 to work on (Children obey your parents), God WAS in control
As I wrap up in my Collierville blanket and think of his frail body, God is in control
As I hear Collin say – I want to move, God is in control
As I look into my husband’s eyes who carries a burden of guilt, God is in control
As I told someone last night, when he took his last breath, that was acceptance that I would never have him back again.  And I still know, God is in control.
As we face the next four months of reliving pure hell without a son that was a precious gift from God and my baby boy, God will be the only one in control.

Valentine’s Day

The day of love.  Do you know the real background of St. Valentine? Books say he was a Roman Priest around 269 A.D.  Because of the war, the Emperor encouraged the soldiers not to marry because they would fight better.  The idea of encouraging them to marry within the Christian church was what Valentine was about. And he secretly married them because of the law.

Valentine was eventually caught, imprisoned and tortured for performing marriage ceremonies against Emperor. One of the men who was to judge him in line with the Roman law at the time was a man called Asterius, whose daughter was blind. He was supposed to have prayed with and healed the young girl.  This effected Asterius so much that he became Christian as a result.

Valentine was sentenced to a three part execution of a beating, stoning, and finally decapitation all because of his stand for Christian marriage. The story goes that the last words he wrote were in a note to Asterius’ daughter. He inspired today’s romantic saying by signing it, “from your Valentine.”

Did Valentine lay down his life on the line for what he believed?  He knew the law. And with the power of the Holy Spirit, are we convicted enough to do that – even to the point of death?  We share God’s love for others so freely and don’t even think about it.  I think about how Trey’s testimony has gone all over the world and there are some places that people are persecuted for this. 

I remember receiving a letter from the band that played for Trey’s funeral that when they went on a mission trip, the missionary in that country had already heard about Trey.  I do know that love is what surrounded Trey.  I made a remark to a friend.  When people are not getting along, it is so easy to blame one another because of their different personalities, their upbringing, their circumstances, etc.  And they are Christians.  I truly believe that if you are not right with God ↑ then how can you be right with your brother? ←→  When you are and everything falls into line, Christ will be the center of your relationship.  †

The first verse we memorize as children is John 3:16 – “God love the world SO much, that he gave his ONLY son (could you do that?), that whosoever believes in me will NOT die but have eternal life.”  I changed up a couple of words to make it a little more user friendly.  God loves us THAT much and we can’t even get along with each other sometimes in our own churches.  Wow.  What are we reflecting?  Do we reflect love for Christ?  It’s hard in this world!  It’s hard to admit you are wrong and then love.  But like scripture says, remember who loved first.  I’m trying every day to be like Christ and I find myself thinking about Trey.  No matter how people treated him, whether they were there or not, he still loved them.  He knew them, accepted their faults, and loved them.  Make it a goal – love as Christ first loved you.  As my heart aches, I’m still trying to love those who do not quite understand the love of Christ and the gift of my son.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

 I’m praying that God will wrap his arms around me and let me fill His love like never before while I crawl up in a ball and cry today as I miss my son.  Just being honest.  I look at pictures and in those pictures he is so alive.  I am so thankful that I have my husband, Jay, and my boss, Joe, who both understand the hurt and the tears.  It’s an empty feeling that only God can fill.  So I think I’ll go shopping!  Thank you all for your prayers as we walk through these next couple of weeks.  They will be very hard on our family.  HUG YOUR CHILDREN, FRIENDS, AND FAMILY!  AND IT’S OKAY TO TALK ABOUT TREY!