(Written in Hawaii last week)
As I sit here and look at the beautiful clouds covering the Pacific Ocean in Kauai, Hawaii, I see in the distance a lighthouse that stands majestically on what seems to be a large mound of lava rocks. I have seen this same lighthouse before in 2010 when Jay and I first took this cruise to Hawaii. I don’t think I ever noticed how alone the lighthouse looked until now.

Kauai is a beautiful, lush island filled with rain forests and spectacular beaches. Not to mention roosters have free reign of the island also. I’ve learned so much on this my third trip about the agriculture, the people and their heritage, and how every island is different, yet their history makes them the same in a unique way.

As I laid on the beach this afternoon and viewed the lighthouse, I began to think of how our Christian lives should mimic the duties of a lighthouse. We are also like the islands, God made us in image, yet we are all walking different maturity paths.

One of the sole purposes of a lighthouse is to shine light so that passing ships will know where there is land. Land represents foundation. If we shine the light of Jesus, are we not telling others about the foundation we have in Christ?

I remember our second trip to Hawaii with Trey and Collin for Trey’s Make A Wish. We scheduled professional pictures at the Admiral’s home of the Coast Guard. On his property was a working lighthouse. Trey HAD to climb to the top and the photographer followed. I vividly remember how very hot it was at the top of the lighthouse. The bulbs for the lights where huge and must have been for the entire coast of Oahu! Well, it seemed like it.

When we climbed down, we were all very tired. Was it from the heat? I’m not sure, but do you ever get weary of shining your light and just want to say, “I give up!” Let’s be honest, I think we all have been there. Someone’s light is always shining brighter than another.

Following Christ is not about emotional highs and lows or of who can outshine the other. It is about staying true to your foundation…your lighthouse…Jesus. In John it says, “Jesus said, “For a brief time still, the light is among you. Walk by the light you have so darkness doesn’t destroy you. If you walk in darkness, you don’t know where you’re going. As you have the light, believe in the light. Then the light will be within you, and shining through your lives. You’ll be children of light. Walk by the light.” John‬ ‭12‬:‭35-36‬

Yes, this was our third trip to Hawaii but I went with the attitude of opportunity. Whether someone asked about my tattoo (and if you’ve been to Hawaii, everyone has a tattoo) OR if it was to ask why the multiple trips. I even was able to share many times that Collin was not with us because he wanted to go on two church camps that would conflict with the trip. Many where amazed. Bottom line, I was bold. Was it easy? No. Telling of how God was glorified in my son’s death and how Hawaii is his special place was never easy. But somehow, they always wanted to know more. Give me an open door and I’ll walk through it…walking by light.

If you drive by our house this next week, many days it will be dark, much like today’s lighthouses. The modern lighthouses have been converted to be automatic and do not require a lighthouse keeper. Even though I will be putting myself on auto this next week, I can guarantee you that the lighthouse keeper is in our home to comfort me and our family. It will be another hard year. Just stop for a moment, just one. Okay, it’s your son or daughter. Yes, I’ve already been crying and posting memories because it’s another anniversary, another July 5 and a week that I will remember each day leading to the day Trey met our lighthouse keeper

…our foundation

…our Jesus

…His Savior.

Thy Word

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.
When I feel afraid, and think I’ve lost my way,
Still you’re there right beside me.
Nothing will I fear, as long as you are near;
Please be near me till the end.

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.
I will not forget your love for me and yet,
My heart forever is wandering.
Jesus be my guide, and hold me to your side,
And I will love you to the end.

By Amy Grant

Can you be a lighthouse to someone? Maybe even me. The tired and the lonely lighthouse on a hill.

In Memory of Trey Erwin #13

Over the last year I’ve received many texts, emails, phone calls, and had personal conversations, “Ms. Lisa, do you have any of those bracelets from Trey’s celebration?” My answer is always sadly, no. Last year, I thought about ordering some and my first thought was, “What an egotistical thing to do.” So I didn’t do it; until last week. I received another text from one of Trey’s sweet classmates, Jessica Berry. We tossed around the idea and she said PLEASE DO! Well, here they are.

Some may wonder why continue to wear these bracelets when Trey has been gone almost three years (July 5). Every person that I give a bracelet to, I tell them, make SURE you know Trey’s life verse, James 1:2-3 “Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” Someone who is wearing the bracelet might ask them, “Why are you wearing that bracelet and who was Trey Erwin?” It opens the door WIDE open to share Trey’s faith story, how he suffered for Christ, but much more, how Christ suffered for our sins. Without Christ suffering and dying for our sins, there would be no eternity in glory. That’s where my boy is, with our Jesus! But it does not make me miss him ANY less.

It is much like getting a tattoo with scripture. I cannot tell you how many times I have used my tattoo with James 1:2-3 on my ankle to tell of Trey’s plight and how God used him to proclaim glory and honor in all things. I’m not going to get into a battle over tattoos, but whether it is a bracelet or a tattoo, if it proclaims the gospel and one person is brought to Jesus because of your sharing His word, then will you suffer for Christ? Will you be bold? Will you step out for Christ?

I’m trying to get to the point that my skin is tough and judging does not bother me. The world and yes, even Christians judge. You just have to have walked in my shoes of losing a son. This was my son. He left a legacy that no one can duplicate. He was a mighty Collierville Dragon and loved deep. And much more than all of that, he was a mighty servant of God.

In Memory of Trey Erwin #13
I love you son. I will be in Hawaii next week buddy. I will think of you, ache for you, and cry over you. But I KNOW, God’s will is perfect. He has a purpose for ALL things. You fulfilled your purpose on earth in a way most adults would not be able to do. I’m proud to be your mom and I’ll ALWAYS be your mom.
Love, Mom

More Than Just Freshman Year

Let me just tell you, the last week of school was a hectic week.  It’s the week many parents and students start the countdown probably during spring break.  I think I see more teachers counting those days down more than I do parents.  That’s a little suspicious.

I did not make it a secret to my close friends that Collin was struggling his freshman year.  High school is NO JOKE!  I cannot tell you how many seniors will tell freshmen, “I wish I would have taken my freshman year more seriously.”  Well, that freshman year has now come and gone with much agony.

If you could pre-inject into their DNA as they are being formed in the womb something to help them form study habits as they grow into their teenage years, our hair would not be the color it is now.  Well, most of us would not spend what we spend to have it colored.  I think study habits just come natural to some and it is something you cannot teach.  It is a discipline and self-taught process, and much harder for boys!

This freshman year showed Jay and me that study habits are just not on the top of Collin’s priority list.  I have to say, it was not on the top of mine at his age either, but who wants to tell their child that fact.  Collin struggled in two subjects, science and history.  But what I am amazed is that he blew algebra out of the water with an A or B on a given quarter.

The last two weeks of school I cried, sent multiple school emails, did a lot of praying, screaming, and took multiple migraine medications (and threaten in my mind to move to my sister’s till after school was out).  For some reason, that didn’t seem to change the outcome of his exam grades, but he DID pass science…by one point! PRAISE JESUS! (Insert sigh of relief.)

There are some people that take a break from Facebook and that week, I really should have.  All I saw on Facebook were students with this honor and that honor, CHS graduation, CMS graduation, all bringing back many memories (of Trey) and also hitting me in the jealous gut (for Collin).  Why can’t Collin be an honor kid?  If I saw one more certificate, I was going to scream.  Some kids are just NORMAL!  You know – C is AVERAGE.  Go with me on this.

On the last day of school, I was on my way home from work and Collin had sent me a text earlier in the day.  He had said that he was going with Jake Craft and some of the Young Life kids to help with an area in Germantown clear some leaves and help work off his Young Life camp balance.  My mind started to reel.   If something happened to Collin and he had to suddenly face our Lord and Savior, would God ask him what he made on his science test or what his GPA was at the time?  What about honors he achieved? I don’t think so.

Then my tears began to fall as I was driving and I was convicted of my attitude of pressure.  My son, who struggled in science, was out serving his community on his last day of school and was working off all of his $700 camp balance except for $68.  During the year, Jake would pick him up at 6 a.m. to go to Chick-fil-A for bible study before school.  On Monday nights, he was at Young Life meetings where they talked about Christ, played games, and sang songs.  I know what Young Life means to so many CHS students.  One of Trey’s sweet friends, Brittany Lockwood, is serving right now as a camp counselor.  It doesn’t come easy, but it is something God has put on her heart – to serve the Lord with gladness and share the gospel with young campers.  What it means to Collin – it’s a place where he is plugged in and belongs.  It’s his place (and was never Trey’s).  I had been praying for MONTHS and asking people to invest in Collin.  I cried when Collin posted a picture at the end of the year of the CHS football team and the thanked them for being his family and said how he was going to miss them.  We did not know how Collin was going to walk into CHS – introvert or extrovert.  He walked in with a bunch of senior friends who took him in, loved him, and called him his little brother.  They were once Trey’s brothers.

Next Sunday, he leaves for Young Life camp for a week.  He will come home for one day and then will turn around and leave for Oasis which is high school camp in Florida with Central Church (This is where he spends his Wednesday nights with his high school friends).  I cannot tell you how MUCH he has matured in six months.  I shared all of this with him this weekend and told him how proud I was of him (as I cried and he looked at me as if I was an alien).  I needed him to know that things will change in the fall as we attempt to attack school in a different manner.  But his character and servanthood is something that is engrained in him and it cannot be taught by a teacher.  That is in his heart.  It has always been in his heart…to help others.  Even when he was a little boy in elementary school and we told Ms. Rachel, his teacher, to help with his energy, let him hold the door open for the kids because he likes to help.  That is why he is helping manage the varsity football team at CHS and is the manager of the varsity CHS basketball team.

I’m proud of Collin Erwin and what he has accomplished in a year and what goals he has set for himself.  I’m proud that he sends a text to his friend and asks them to church on Sunday.  It’s just hard on mom and dad when kids act like they don’t care about things.  We know they do.  But one thing I will have to continue doing, as I did all year long, give him back to God.  I have to remember, he is not mine and belongs to the Lord anyway.  Pray for your children.  I pray for your children and you pray for mine.  They are our future…our leaders…our church.  Pray for their decisions to be wise.  Pray so that we may trust them, for them to have strong character and pure of heart.  Pray for them to have open ears to the words from the Lord and a conscience to know and a convicting spirit.  Lord hear our cries for our children.

“For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11