Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth."- 3 John 1:4

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Waiting

Yesterday, as I made my way to the Celebration of Life service for the precious and much-loved Layla Grace Marsh, my heart was aching. To be honest it was broken. All I could do on the drive was ask God for peace, for tender care, for His truth to penetrate what was about to happen. Not only for my heart, or for Layla's strong but grieving family, but also for all of those who would be present that struggled to know Him.

For the last few months I have followed the Marsh family's journey through Stage 4 Neuroblastoma through their blog and on Twitter. I updated several times a day to see how well Layla was doing and yet, as her condition began to deteriorate it grew harder and harder for me to watch. I prayed and cried, on my knees and on my face for this family that I have never met. I wept as I asked God to please make her comfortable, to give her mama and daddy strength that they have never known before, to cover her sisters in His protection and love... It continued to get worse and as I received updates, I couldn't help but go back to our place of waiting. It is probably the most difficult place to be and yet, the most intimate. The one most filled with peace.

Many of you know that place. The one that God has you in for a season, maybe weeks or months, sometimes years. Some of you have been in those seasons more than once and you actually get physically ill when something brings you back. The waiting for us was undoubtedly the hardest. Waiting for God's plan to play out. Knowing that you are praying for something that God probably won't answer in a way that you might be able to accept. It's in that waiting, in that deep hurt and suffering, in the uncertainty, that God's presence is so often overwhelming.

I wondered, sitting there in the church before Layla's service, if her parents ever felt like I did. Somehow knowing that this story, our story, wasn't playing out how I ever imagined and somehow I was wishing it would just hurry up. Wishing, through the waiting, that God's hand would move and there would just be a "finality" to this. It sounds so terrible. So crude. And yet I will admit that I was there. I just wanted to hurry up and find out what was in store. But God... He had other plans. For us he had 4 months of waiting. For the Marsh family He had a year of waiting. How long have you had to wait for your answer?

So the waiting is the hardest. But then... so is the answer. That "finality" that I secretly desired was excruciating. I can imagine it is the same for sweet Layla's family. It is a beautiful thing to know that your child is whole, well, free from sickness, playing with the angels and laying in Christ's arms- but in the beginning, and even sometimes now 2 years later, your longing heart overrides that knowledge. And you cry... you weep... you beg for The Truth to resound in your life.

And then you are reminded, just as I was in Layla's celebration, that that knowledge is the true promise that ultimately makes it all okay. Okay that we have to walk in this life without a child that we so love. Okay that our hearts suddenly begin a longing, one like we have never known before, for our eternal home. Okay that the hurt that penetrates our heart, wounds us and leaves us with scars, is still beating and allows us to continue to live through it all.

It's okay because of Jesus. It's okay because He died for them. Because He died for us.

During the service it was very apparent that God was present. He filled that place, both with people and with His Spirit, and through the tears, He reminded me of what a big work He can do through families that are obedient to His calling. He used the message to fill my heart and remind me that even through pain and suffering, HE has a bigger plan. For the Marsh family and for ours.

I needed to be there this weekend. I needed to show a family who I will probably never meet that their little girl has rocked my world. I needed God to remind me of His ultimate plan. ...He did it and He used a baby girl two years after my own son's departure to remind me that I still have a purpose in carrying on Maddox's legacy. Of sharing our testimony to His faithfulness. To remind me that these little ones can bring people to Christ that us "big people" might never be able to reach. If that is just part of His plan, then I am okay. Praise God that we are okay.

Very few times in the busyness and noise of this life does God grab you by the face and say "Look at me! Look into my eyes. Do you see me? I want you and I love you!" God has used Layla's short but amazing life to do that for hundreds of people. Are you listening to Him if He is calling you?- paraphrased from the message presented at Layla's service

"But Jesus called the children to him and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these."- Luke 18:16

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


I received this Beautiful Blogger award from a precious mama and reader Pam. Honestly, I am just thankful that she is still coming back even though my posts have been few and far between lately. I'll admit that I am super behind and have MUCH to fill you all in on over the next several weeks... My heartbreak over precious Layla Grace, my elation at our "adoption" of a sweet Kenyan boy into our family through Compassion sponsorship, my amazing trip to Dallas to reconnect with precious friends and the mamas of Jacob Ryan and Mary Grace, and just our family happenings of late.

So now, on to the randomness!

Rules: List 10 Random things about yourself and then pass them along to 10 (or a few more) of your favorite Bloggers. So cool!!

1. I used to be a super-organized, very Type A person. I LOOOOVE cleanliness and virtually no clutter, but right now that part of me seems to be hidden away under laundry, trucks, coloring books, babies and random tupperware throughout the house! In this season of life, I have come to understand it and am trying to put it all in perspective.

2. If there was one thing I could do well in this life that has no possibility of happening, it would be to sing well... I don't even need to be amazing, just good enough would do!

3. I am missing my second baby boy, especially as of late. I am struggling with ways to make his life still matter now that he has been gone 2 years... People just move on, ya know?

4. I aspire to become an great photographer and was just given (for my big 3-0 a few weeks ago) an awesome camera from my parents and MIL. SUPER excited and have been trying it out all over town! (Eventually I want to become a photographer for Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep.)

5. I love my husband SO much! He is an amazing provider, a phenomenal father, my best friend, and he absolutely loves me through all my faults, ugliness, selfishness and attitude. He truly loves and honors me as Christ requires of him and I pray that others see JOY in me that is apparent because of the way that I am loved by my husband.

6. I have always had a heart for children and all things international. I considered joining the Peace Corp after high school but you can't share the gospel so I knew that wasn't right. I would love to live abroad again but this time with my family. I have a strong desire to serve abroad as a missionary. I know that if that isn't what God ever calls us to do, I would love to travel the world participating in mission trips, possibly even to Kenya to visit our precious new child, Lokitari.

7. God is it for me. He is all I need... truly. All I have is because of Him and I am SO THANKFUL to be saved by His grace. Faith, striving to make my heart like His, and His will mine.

8. I don't have a "bucket list" but have always thought that it is a fun idea- set goals for what you want to accomplish... Right up my alley!

9. I constantly feel behind lately. Well, as of the last, like, 3 years. I have such great intentions and just don't get stuff done- thank-yous, birthday cards, phone calls to those I love... I will be striving to better organize my time so that I can get the important things done.

10. I love babies... all babies, all needs, all colors. Precious God-given life! My babies, all of them, fill up my life in a way I could have never imagined. WOW- they are amazing! Asking God to lead them, protect them and help them to "grow in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men" (Luke 2:52).

Now the 10 (or 12) awesome bloggers that I am passing this on to...
1. Chapman Family of Five
2. Standing on the Table
3. Bruises and Bows
4. Our Very Full House
5. By God's Grace
6. Four Girls, One God
7. Waiting for Happy
8. Poppy Joy
9. Mary Grace
10. The Life of Jacob Ryan Fahmer
11. Eva Janette
12. The Three Nichols' Two Cents

"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God."- 1 John 4:7
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