Friday, March 30, 2012

Faith-Filled Fridays

I am going to post a miniature "Faith-Filled Friday" post every Friday, Lord-willing.

Today's thought:

Often I feel guilty of how much material possessions I have.  To the average American, we don't own a bunch of fancy stuff, nor do we own expensive cars or jewelry.  But to the average person in the world, we are rich. 

Most people in the world live in run down shacks or shanties, and do not have enough food.  Their water is dirty and diseased-filled.  My complaint about the water that comes out of our tap is that it tastes yucky (due to chlorine and mineral deposits).  I find God often convicting my heart that I need to be content with what I have. 

Stop and take time to think of how much pointless time is wasted shopping for meaningless stuff that we end up donating to Goodwill or a similar organization. 

Life is short.  Live simply.  Store up treasures in heaven.

I also want to add one last thing.  As believers in Christ, we are rich in His love, grace, and mercy.  We have the richest reward of all awaiting us:  heaven!  Keeping looking up!

But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:  Matthew 6:20 KJV

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


This is a very personal post, but I feel the need to share, because I know that someone out there (if not today, someday) will stumble upon my blog in their time of need.  There have been quite a few people out there that have very bluntly and honestly blogged about losing their child.  I want to be as honest ans I can, because the Lord has called me to minister to the bereaved.  In all fairness, only honesty will do.  If I sat here and put an act on and acted like I was strong everyday, I'd be a liar.  The truth is, I am not strong everyday, and though the Lord is my only strength--I still fall short. Though I am saved and forgiven, I'm still a sinful, broken human.  There is NO way I can be strong all of the time.  The past couple of weeks it's been up and down, up and down.  And you know what...that's okay!  It's okay to be broken, to cry, to grieve, to be angry.  What happened to us doesn't seem fair.  But was it fair for Jesus to die for our sin?  Are the bumps in the road in life that we encounter the very least we can endure for the huge price that was paid for us?  I emphatically say YES!
About three weeks after Ethan died, both Josh and I went through about a week of anger.  Real, honest, heart-wrenching anger.  I myself wasn't mad at God, I was mad at most everyone else who had all of their children, and yet I didn't.  I know that this sounds selfish, but at the time, it was honestly how I felt.  We are only human, and even those with the most loving hearts can absolutely fall into the depths of very negative, but real, emotions. 

On and of since June 5th, 2010 I have battled feelings of anger, sadness, depression, numbness, etc.  It's a spaghetti bowl of twirled up emotions, some that come and stay for longer, and others that leave quickly. 

I'm finding that about every 6-8weeks now I have what I have termed, "Hard Grief."  This is the grief that sends me into a room by myself, crying and bawling until there is nothing left.  Yes, it has been a year.  No, I will never get over it.  Josh and Evan will never get over it.  But with God's loving grace, we shall learn day by day to get into a "new normal."  The pain will lessen, but never go away.  I think this is hard for a lot of people to understand, who haven't lost a close loved one.

Those of you out there that have lost a child, never feel that it's been too long and you shouldn't cry.  It is certainly and understandably normal to cry.  It isn't normal to cry everyday all day long and never live a newly adjusted life.  In such case, I beg and plead you to seek counsel from a loving pastor or Christian counselor.  Oftentimes, it is very helpful to see advice from a Godly individual that is neutral, and has a heart to help others.  But please know that I still do cry.  Sometimes it is brief and I get on with my day.  Sometimes it's for 30 minutes.  Some weeks I am okay and I don't cry.  There truly isn't a rhyme or reason--but God surely knows our hearts and will wipe away the tears. 

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes;  and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain;  for the former things are passed away.  Revelation 21:4  (God assuring us that in the end, when the earth is no more, there will be no more BAD but only GOOD for those who have trusted Him with their lives!)

Is Blogging My Ministry?

The more and more time I pray and seek what God would have me do, the more I feel compelled to blog more and Facebook much less or not at all.  I feel that my family's story, which is among the millions of those that have lost a child, IS important, and it IS for the Lord's glory.

Ethan passed away almost 22 months ago in a tragic accident.  Does the day to day get easier?  That is a difficult question in which I had answered no.  You see, grief does "lift" more often, and there are more good than bad days...most of the time.  However, Josh or Evan or I can have a really spectacular day and then, BAM...emotions come flooding through.

This past Friday at swim lessons (Evan had been enrolled for almost a year now) Evan had another crying episode.  Now I must applaud my son, not to be boastful.  But he sure is one brave young man!  He had been doing so well that he was almost ready to "ring" to the next level.  Over the past three months give or take, he has struggled.  But anyway, back to last Friday morning, he started to cry.  Apparently, one of the little boys in his class told to stop being so whiny/babyish, and poor Evan told him that he's scared because his brother drowned in a pool.  Evan tells me all of this while we are in the dressing room after his lesson.  And then, and this is the heart/gut wrenching/tearjerker:  Evan tells me that his heart isn't the same since Ethan died, and that it feels like it has broken into a million pieces.  My heart sank and I began to cry, and of course, my compassionate son asked me why I was crying.  Huge sigh.  And then he tells me he wants a baby so bad so he can have another brother, or a sister.  Son, I pray for that, and so do many others. 

Not getting pregnant is another struggle for me.  I had sort of found a place of contentedness over the course of the past few days and then this happens last week, among some other things that have triggered my emotions.  I don't understand why Ethan died, why we haven't gotten pregnant after trying for about a year.  The only thing I do know is God has a plan.  It's a good plan, and I need to seek Him, not friends or books or Facebook or anything else but only Him.  He knows the future, and in that future it's all for His glory.  If only I could get my stubborn flesh past my emotions, which are all over the place at times. 

Now back to the title of my blog, which as you have read, hasn't seemed at all to relate to what I have written.  The future that I see is to do more writing, for His glory.  Writing about our grief journey, homeschooling and curriculum we use and what we think, and anything else the Lord lays upon my heart.  And of course, a family update here and there and some pictures of our adventures.

I pray that if my blog has been of any blessing whatsoever to you, that you would kindly tell others who might benefit from what I write.  Thank you in advance for the consideration!

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected (hope in your latter end) end.  Jeremiah 29:11

Sunday, March 11, 2012

God's Painted Canvas

I must admit, spring time in South Texas after a very rainy winter season is my favorite time of the year!  After being away from Texas the past almost 6 years, I forgot how beautiful Bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrush, among many other wildflowers, truly are in person! 

Evan and I have been taking short drives through the country after finishing up our school work, and we have thoroughly enjoyed our time seeking out all of the Texas wildflowers.

One particular town that I am so fascinated with (and Evan is too) is Sutherland Springs, TX.  Now, just a drop on the map with a gas station or two, a post office, and an antique shop, this once vibrant town holds so much rich history! 

Of particular interest is the Polley House, located just north of the town, about 3 miles down a county road.  This house dates back to the mid 1800's, and was one of the very first homes ever built in this area!  The gentleman, Joseph Polley,  that built this house and raised his family there was part of Stephen F. Austin's  first 300 colonists in Texas!  Evan and I drove out to see the Polley House firsthand (okay, we have driven out there to it three times!), and wow, the wildflowers out that way are just amazing!  Unfortunately, it appears that the Polley House is not being cared for, and is surrounded by piles of old junk.  It's very sad.  Evan says that maybe we can help clean up and restore the house.  I think that would be nice.  It's truly a beautiful, old home full of history.  I like to sit and stare at the house and imagine what life was like back then, and how many memories were made there. 

This is just some of what we have been up to around here.  I want to encourage mothers to get out and learn the history of the areas near you.  There is history all over the place!  I also want to encourage you all to get out and do nature studies and walks.  Simply walk around your neighborhood, your property (if you live on a farm or land), or a nearby park.  Take in all of the tress, flowers, weeds, insects, etc.  And don't forget a nifty nature journal and colored pencils, as well as a field guide to identify flowers or whatever you are looking to study.  God bless, and happy homeschooling!

*Photos are property of Shannon Wallace and may not be taken from this blog without permission.