Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas of 2009

We did go to Wheeling to see the Christmas lights on Wed. We left about 5:00, then we met Brooke and BJ at our motel. The lights were really pretty neat. It is a six mile drive. We ate first, so by the time we got to the lights, the line was non existing, we just drove through with a few cars in front of us. It was really nice, because we could stop and take pictures anytime we wanted. Then the next day, which was Christmas Eve, we got up and decided to go to Cabela's to look around--BJ, Spencer and Jeff had never been there. God blessed the weather, it was pretty both days. We got home and went to Diane's for Christmas Eve. We usually have our own little Christmas on Christmas Eve, but decided we could not do that, we had to do something different. It actually went well. It was exciting to watch the kids open their presents---it is always fun to see Christmas through the eyes of the kids. We wanted Christmas to be something different, something we never have done before. I found out you can do whatever you want, it does not make the hurt any less painful. As I woke up Christmas morning, I heard it pouring down rain, I thought that is just what my heart feels like--pouring tears of sorrow. I just wanted to pull the covers over my head and pray the day could just be over. Christmas was a lot different than Thanksgiving. Tay's absent was felt in every fiber of my body. I knew though, I did not want to spend the day in tears. I finally crawled out of bed came downstairs and just stood there looking at Taylor's picture---wishing with all my heart he could be here, but knew that was gone forever. I lit the candle and just watched it burn---with my mind drifting off to other Christmas's. Nobody said anything much about Taylor, we all knew if we talked about him, we would all be sobbing. Even though, we never talked about him much, our hearts were all broken in a million pieces, you could just see it on all our faces. We had the kids open their stocking stuffers first. Yes, Taylor's was laying right there beside the rest, but it was not empty---it had a lot of memories stuffed in it. The kids were great---some put them out at the cemetery, some brought them over and visited--some e-mailed. Thank you all who took part in this memory of taylor---I have not read very many, it is just too sad for the moment, but the time will come when I will--yes, i am sure I will shed a few tears, but if I tried to do it now, I would be sobbing---probably uncontrollably. After the kids were done with that, Brooke and BJ took over the kitchen and cooked us a delicious brunch. We sat and ate for a while---we just kept it light conversation---but every once in awhile, i could not help myself, I would find myself, just staring at Taylor's picture sitting there on the bow window. My heart was breaking and knew sometime in this day, I will need to "spend time" with taylor. We then went back into the livingroom and opened the rest of the gifts. We did pretty well, until the last two presents. The Rheem's (where the accident happened) got the kids a T-shirt just like the one Taylor use to wear everywhere, and I mean everywhere---I almost had to peel it off of him to wash it. It was navy blue Yamaha T-shirt. They got one just like it---same color and everthing---,but when we turned it around on the back it had Taylor's famous made sticker---In Loving Memory of Taylor Gasser and in the middle was his racing number 614. It was like taylor just popped into our Christmas---but was still absent. We all lost it on this one. His absent was so strong, we just could not take it anymore---the pretending was over. We did recover, but we had moved to a different place----each of our hearts were breaking almost uncontrollably. BJ. held Brooke until she cried though the moment. He did not seem uncomfortable with all our sorrow, even though he was not here through any of it. We asked him if he wanted to see where it happened, and he wanted to see it. So, we all got into the car and drove over to where it happened. It was silent ride, each was in their own thoughts. We all got out and just stood there looking at the crosses, flowers, and the rock where he died. It was cold, windy, cloudy about to rain---just the way my heart felt. Jeff explained to BJ how it all happened, but other than that we just all stood there in silence, again lost in thought. When we got back to the house---Jeff wanted to go up to Barb's for his side of Christmas, but at this point, I felt like I just wanted to be alone---like I said---I needed time to "spend" with Taylor and that feeling was getting stronger and stronger. I told him, I just could not go up there and he took that well---I think one look at me and he understood what I was saying. Brooke and BJ left in their car to go up to Barb's also---she wanted BJ to meet them for the first time, but she was feeling alot like me, so she did not want to stay very long. When they left, I just sat a while longer looking at his picture and remembering some of the good times, but as of now, memories are so bittersweet, they just make me cry. I just had to hear his voice, so I went and called his cell phone. His voice mail message is so Taylor---what he says is just him. I called it twice to just hear him talk---did it make me feel any better----no, much worse, more lonely, but I just had to do it. It was like I wanted to connect with him again. I looked at some more pictures of him, then I just wanted to go to the cemetery to talk to him----I know he is not there, but that is the closes i am going to get to him here on this Earth. So, I drove slowly out there with tears running down my cheeks. When i get ready to pull in, I see Brooke and BJ are standing out by Taylor's grave. I thought it was best to let those two alone, so I just drove around until they left. I think Brooke felt alot like me today---she just had to "connect" to Taylor in some way---She said by the time she left the cemetery, she felt drained and worn out. I drove up that looooog drive once again. It was getting dark, it had rained lot today. Water was standing on Taylor's grave. I just stood there looking at his grave, i could feel the emotions starting to bubble up inside my chest---I knew I was at my breaking point. I just took to sobbing trying to talk to him---I know he is dancing on those streets of gold, but my heart was anything but dancing. I reached down to check to see if any of his friends were out there leaving any memories, and sure enough two more. I am not sure why I did this, but I did. I took them back to car and read them. It was from two of this best friends, they both were there the night he died---they wrote about that---I thought, my heart can not take any more today. I just sat there and sobbed, by now it was almost dark. I finally, got the strength to go home. This was a day, I felt so utterly exhausted and sad, I could not pray for myself, so I am very thankful that others were praying for me. I had to think where would I have been if nobody was praying in my behalf----I was never so glad to crawl back into bed that night---thinking this day is finally over. It is days like this that you just know in your head that God is truly the Great Comforter, even though I might not have felt it so much in my heart today, but I just have to take a moment or two and remember all He has brought me through and know without Him, i would never make it through this journey, well not as a whole person. I would probably make it, but just only a small part of my heart would be here.
The day after Christmas, Brooke and I both wake up with the flu. I hardly even cared, I thought staying in bed, didn't even sound that bad, but I did not realize what staying in bed with nothing to do would take me. It is times like these that it would have been great if there could have been a little switch inside my heart to shut off. I don't know what ached more my heart or my body. I felt too drained to cry, I just felt an overwhelming sadness---wondering will this ever end---will i truly make it through this. There is a picture of Tay along with the rest of the kids beside my bed, I spent alot of time just looking at that picture. I again was so happy to end another day (Oh, it is beginning to sound like I am wishing my days over). Today, I did feel alot better and am very thankful for that. Every body went off to church, I decided I was not feeling well enough for that. This afternoon, Kirk came by to drop off his memories. He also brought another really good picture of Taylor right before they went skydiving. In this one---Tay is all smiles, and looks like he has the world by the tail, and i had to think, in less than two weeks after this picture was taken he was in eternity---looking at that picture, it was just unbelievable hard to think he is really gone. Kirk stayed and we visited for a couple of hours about all the good times each of us had with Taylor. It is so good to talk about him, it just seems to bring him right to the table with us, but all too soon it is over and he is again gone. Then Brooke and BJ left to go back to MI for the week. He was very kind to spend Christmas with us, since he is only home for a couple of weeks on leave, but I will miss Brooke this week. She has come to help pull me out of the "pit" on bad days on more than one occasion---I guess Spencer will have to take over that job this week:). These last several days have been very hard days, and thankfully most are not this hard. The one thought that keeps radiating thought my mind is that God never makes mistakes, no not one---He knows what He is doing every minute of every day. He only does what is best for each of us---His plan is always perfect. As I was doing my grieve bible study today--- there was a part where it says to always remember---and of course God was right there picking me up again, yes i fell into the pit for a spell, but He will never let me there---it says, Great suffering will occur in this fallen world, but God can turn EVERY situation around for an even GREATER good. We may not see how a person's EARLY death could be good for that person or for those left behind, BUT GOD KNOWS THE WHOLE STORY, AND WE MUST TRUST HIM IN HIS GREAT LOVE TO KNOW WHAT IS BEST. Now doesn't that say it all----God knows what He is doing, my job is to trust Him. I feel like I have fallen down these last several days--I want to question God, Why Taylor, now I need to get up shake off the dust and take one day or even one moment at a time---and know God is there, even on those days, i don't feel Him, in fact some days, He might even feel really far away-and I can feel very alone---but know He never will leave me.
Thank you for all your prayers, please continue to pray for us---this is very long journey with some very deep valleys. And thank you all for your memories---they really do not have to stop now because Christmas is over---I will take any and all you want to give me.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Taylor's Friends

I am really glad that Brooke came up with the idea of writing memories of Taylor to put in his stocking for Christmas. A lot of his friends have taken the time and effort to write memories, some even brought them over. It was so nice to see some of Taylor's friends. I want to thank each of you who took the time to do this. Like I have told them, these memories will become treasures for us. We have not read many, it is just too painful this year. Talking with these kids and listening to their memories of Taylor are so bittersweet. I can just see Taylor doing what they are talking about. He just becomes so alive through their conversations---It touches my heart how these kids have so many fun and good memories. But on the flip side of the coin, it makes my heart ache to listen to these stories---it just feels like he should soon be walking through the door and saying "Hey, family---I am home" like he always did when he came home from college and then drop all his dirty laundry and book bag, computer bag on the floor and walk over to talk with us. Oh, how I miss that kid, but know he is having Christmas every day in Heaven.
For Christmas this year, I took all the pictures except the ones with him in them on the bow window and put them away and put up the 8x 10 picture Kirk gave us where Taylor was skydiving. I put a candle beside his picture and every evening we light it and burn it until we go to bed. Today I got one red and one white carnations and put in a vase beside his picture. We have an angel also beside the vase. It is a way to remember Tay, No, we are not going to forget him, but it makes him be a special part of Christmas It is very sad every night when I light the candle, and stand looking at his picture---I just have to think how different this year is from last--our normal for last year is over forever, and we are trying to find a new normal to be able to live with.
Brooke's boyfriend from MI which is in the navy is home on leave and he is here visiting until after Christmas. I am very thankful for that---anything that is different from last year will help.
We went and helped Brooke today unpack at the new school. I am trying to keep as busy as possible for these next days. I just don't want alot of time to actually think about how horrible this really is. In our grief share group---every body was pretty quiet and sad---it is most everybody's first Christmas without their loved one.
We are planning on all going to Wheeling tomorrow evening and viewing the Christmas lights at Ogle Park----I don't even care if we have to wait three hours in line to get through the park----at least I will not be home. I know doing different things is not going to take the pain away---but maybe, just maybe it will dull it a tiny bit. God is always faithful---He gave me this verse the other day---Psalm 91:4-5 "God will cover me with His feathers, and under His wings, I will find refuge. His faithfulness will be my shield. i will not fear the terror of night nor the arrows that flies by day." Doesn't that sound so comforting---what better place to be than under Jesus's wings and having His huge shield of faithfulness to stand behind, ---but I am still having major trouble with those arrows that fly by the day, and the terror at night, only that is usually sadness more than terror. Those arrows can cut right through my heart. I know if I would just stand behind His shield and stay there, I would continually be under His wing, but instead I find myself turning and running in the other direction when things get "scary and tough" and as soon as I get out from under that shield, satan shoots those arrows and guess what i am not protected anymore and they hit me right in the heart.
We have gotten many Christmas cards and cards that say we are just thinking and praying for you through this season,these last several weeks.---Thank you---we do need prayers to get us through this very tough time of year. We really do feel them---My eyes have been open to the compassion I have seen in people---many I barely know. It touches my heart deeply that people seem to truly care and love us, and in some cases, our lives have never really crossed paths in the past. I wish every one a very nice Christmas----take lots of pictures and hug each one of your kids tightly, we don't know what God has in store for each of us in this next year. As we found out, life can change in a twinkling of an eye. One thing I regret---last year, I decided not to take any pictures Christmas Eve when the kids were opening their gifts. i thought to myself, Oh, I got enough pictures of that---I thought, they look the same each year, I will take some next year---how I wish I had pictures of Taylor opening his laptop. I pray God will provide the right about of Grace to get me through Christmas---I know in my head He will, I just have to move that to my heart. He promised His Grace will be sufficient---I am holding onto that promise.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Can a Heart be Breaking and Rejoicing at the Same Time??

I found today that your heart can be breaking into a million pieces, but yet it can also be singing a song of joy all at the same time.
Today was a hard day for me. As I was getting out of bed, I could feel that heavy weight being put around my neck. My chest just ached. I haven't had to wear it lately, or I guess i should say it has not been as heavy, but today was different---I thought, why is today any different than yesterday. I didn't know, that is just the way grieving is---one day can be half good and then the next can be devastatingly sad. I went with Diane to do a little Christmas shopping. I had a sad feeling--my heart was aching, but not overwhelming. I came home and thought I would go out to the cemetery and take back the poinsettia's that I brought home when it was that terrible wind storm a week or so ago. As i was driving up that loooong lane to the cemetery, i felt my chest starting to bubble up with this terrible feeling of unspeakable sorrow. As I drove around that curve and seen his grave, I simply lost it, and took to sobbing. I could not help but say---Oh, Tay Merry Christmas---yes, i know it is Christmas every day in Heaven, but I couldn't help but want him home for Christmas sitting on the couch like all the years's before. I just sat there a bit trying to get control, just so I could climb out of the car and go over to this grave and put the poinsettias back. When i got closer I saw what took my heart away. This time I just leaned over and sobbed. Somebody, one of Tay's friends were out there once again to visit him, and this time they put a laminated poem of "Christmas in Heaven". Even as I write this and re-read that poem, tears are running down my cheeks, so if I miss spell any words, that is because i can't see them very well right at the moment :). I am going to post this poem and tell me that it doesn't make you cry. I was sobbing so hard by now, that I could barely stand up out by his grave. I was pretty glad I was out there by myself.

I see the countless Christmas trees
around the world below
with tiny lights like Heaven's stars,
reflecting on the snow

The sight is so spectacular,
please wipe away the tear
For I am spending Christmas with
Jesus Christ this year

I hear the many Christmas songs
that people hold so dear
But the sounds of music can't compare
with the Christmas choir up here

I have no words to tell you,
the joy their voices bring,
For it is beyond description,
to hear the angels sing.

I know how much you miss me,
I see the pain inside your heart,
But I am not so far away,
We really aren't apart.

So be happy for me, MOM
You know I hold you dear,
And be glad I'm spending Christmas
with Jesus Christ this year

I sent you each a special gift

I think what hit me so hard, is I can just hear Tay saying a lot of those same words--like Please, Mom, wipe away your tears, I know you miss me, I know your heart aches for me,but I really am not that far away, Hey mom, be happy for me because I am spending Christmas with the One you love too, Jesus. I just kept reading it over and over, because some of it sounded so much like Tay, it was almost like I was talking with him-----Oh, Tay, how can I wipe the tears away, and Oh, how I wish I knew how to make my heart quit aching so much today, but yes I am not happy, but at peace that if you can't be with me, you are with Jesus. I went back and got into the car and I just sat there, and finally, I just asked God, Where are You today, I don't feel You today---I feel so alone---my heart is breaking and I don't feel you, so where do You think that leaves me, You know I can't hardly breathe on my own,----I need you right now---but God was silent. I finally just drove slowly back out of the cemetery----but I could barely drive---good thing the road was mostly empty, because tears were blinding me. I thought, I will go to the rec center and work out and run on the treadmill---any physical pain would be much better than this pain. So, I finally get to the rec center---I don't think I looked too well walking in there, the guy just said Hi, and never said another word---I got on the treadmill and just ran----but found out running, and crying don't go together very well. It was hard to run, cry, blow my nose, and breathe all at once---I almost hyperventilated a couple of time----Yes, I was in there by myself, or I am sure they would have taken me off the threadmill, gave me a bag to breathe in, and found a cot for me to lay down on---but no, I decided to run until I could feel better. I was listening to a sermon and I kept asking God where are You---sure enough He came to my rescue they sang the song, "Come unto Me"which is when God spoke to me --and it was just what I needed--it goes "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest Take My yoke upon you and I will give you rest--SWEET REST--For My yoke is easy and My burden is light" No, I did not write it all--because these were the words that God had me hear, I really did not hear the rest of the song and a calmness did start to come over me. By the time I left there, I was feeling some better, but this is a day I will be glad to take that heavy weight off from around my neck and lay it down and pray God let's me rest tomorrow and not have to wear it again. I realize it is getting closer to Christmas and each day is getter harder and harder---Taylor's absent is felt more strongly if that is even possible. Just like wrapping presents, I am very much aware that there are none for Taylor. As I am shopping, I will find myself thinking Oh, Tay would like that----Oh, but he is not here. We just got the update for the church directory, and it was just a shot of pain in my heart when I seen that Tay's name is no longer listed. We got the Christmas program book from last Sunday night and there is taylor's name under the listings of funeral's. What a pain straight through my heart---Just how many blows can you take until you can't get up again----Ok, I realize and know today was a very bad day and pray with all my heart that God will carry me tomorrow.

After reading that, I know anyone would be thinking, how could I even have a fraction of my heart rejoicing, it sounds like it has been broken into a million pieces, but yes there is reason to rejoice. I have always talked with all my kids about Jesus and said many many prayers about each and every one of their salvation's. After Taylor, I prayed so hard for Spencer. I know he loved Jesus and I would see him praying, but never quit gave his whole heart to Jesus. I just prayed---Please Jesus work in Spencer's heart and give him such a great desire that he wants to be one of Your children that he just has to call out to You. I would tell my kids what Jesus was doing in my life, and then I sometimes would ask them what He was doing in theirs. Sometimes I would get answers and sometimes, they would just shrug their shoulders. But after Taylor's accident and we all seen how quickly life was taken, i talked more and more with Spencer. The other night, he and I were going out Christmas shopping, and I always enjoy going with one kid by themselves, because it gives me a change to really ask deep personal questions. I am pretty close to them, and can talk almost about anything with them. So as we are driving to the mall, I said, Spenc, i have a question for you---If we would get into an accident and get killed tonight, do you feel you would go to heaven. He didn't say anything for a second or two, but then said Yes, I do believe I would. I knew he loved Jesus but never had proclaim that he had taken Jesus into his heart, so I said, why do you say that. He looked at me and said, "well I had a dream the other night and dad, Fred, and I were in a building helping dad get ready for a sale and all of sudden we heard a real loud noise and dad decided to go outside and see what it was---I stayed inside with Fred. All of sudden, Dad starts to scream---I ran outside as fast as I could and as I took two steps outside I knew that it was then end of the world and I was left behind." He said he woke up in a cold sweat and was so scared he could have started to shake. He said right then, He asked Jesus into his heart and said he wanted to go to Heaven with Jesus. He looked at the clock and it was 3:00 a.m." I looked at him and said do you realize that at that exact minute the angels were rejoicing in heaven---just as it says in Luke 15:10---I tell you there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents." Yes, i know this is just a beginning, but I just asked him today, do you feel different and he said, the Holy Spirit is working!!!. As we talked that night, I said, I know Tay saw that, and even though Tay is not crazy about dancing, i am sure he gave a little dance. I told Spencer I could just see Tay, he would always make a fist and pump his arm in the air when he was extremely happy about something---like the day he graduated from high school---right after he got his diploma, he gave a little pump---the night of his senior prom walking across that platform--he gave alittle pump. I could just hear Tay say---Oh, Spenc---way to go dude---and then he would say--remember how mom use to tell us about heaven and Jesus---well, she did not even come close to describing how beautiful heaven is and remember how she wanted us to know Jesus as our best friend---there is nothing better than that. Then Taylor gave that great big grin and said---our family circle is broken on earth, but it will not be broken in heaven---see ya soon!!!! Spenc has given his heart to Jesus, and i am more than happy to mentor him. He has not yet decided what church will be called his home church, but the church does not save him---we all know the blood of Jesus Christ and His Amazing Grace is the saving power---but he will decided in the future--or I should say, God will direct him where He wants Spencer to go. So, yes, there is great joy in my heart that Spencer is now a child of the King. I had to think as I have been praying the praise of Daniel 2:23 as part of my bible study, which says "I thank & praise You O, God of my Father. You have given me wisdom and power. You have made Know to me what I have asked of You" Jesus did exactly as that promised said---Prayer is powerful---I always knew that, but I am seeing that more and more each and every day---
I want to thank you all for the cards, e-mails, and most importantly prayers you have said on our behalf now and in the future. I want to thank who ever put that poem out at the grave site. It always touches my heart to see even though this is a busy time of season,his friends have not forgotten him, not even for a minute. I continue to pray for his friends----the day will come when we will all be dancing on those streets of gold.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Robert Rogers----Do You Know Him???

Tomorrow will be four months that Taylor had his accident. Sometimes it feels like I am stuck in time, and other times, I will think where did October and November go. I can not remember what it felt like to be happy and care-free, but deep in my heart there is joy. Yes, there is also great sorrow and sadness--but happiness or sadness comes from circumstances, and that is just for a season, but true joy comes from Jesus, knowing Him and having a relationship with Him and that is not a season, but for all eternity. December is a tough month, but I don't have to remind God of that. I truly believe without a shallow of a doubt the verse Phil 4:19 which says "My God will meet all of my needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus. He knew I needed a boost of encouragement the last week or so. Our Grief Sharing group is almost over, which we have grown to love, so there is going to be a hole left. Last week, in our group,they proceeded to tell us starting in January they are doing a big study on Heaven. Now, how can that not be encouraging---learn more about where Taylor is waiting for us. But I guess God thought I still needed a little more encouragement, so He made it possible to go Saturday to Chris and Loren's to hear Robert Rogers speak. I heard his story on WCRF a while ago, so knew it was going to be very emotional. Diane, Brooke and I went. If you don't know him, I will explain briefly his story. It was six years ago in August that he, his wife and four kids were on their way home from Kansas after a Wedding. They got into a terrible storm and it was raining unbelievably hard, could not see two feet in front of them. The road they were on started to flood, so he said we have to get out of this van. By this time the van was pushed over to the cement wall ,stalled and filling up with water. He broke a window to get out, but when he did that the force of the water yanked him, his wife and one daughter right out of the van. The other three kids were in car seats, so they stayed in the van. It was dark, so he could not see much of anything around him, but found himself on some bank. He could not find anybody else. They took him to the hospital, and alittle while later the police come into his room and told him they found his van and all three kids were still in their car seats, but were all dead. He said, he had to go down to the hospital morgue and identify his three darling kids. I sat there thinking, what it was like when I had to go into Gillman's the first time to see Taylor---I remember how gut wrenching that was, I can't in my worst nightmare imagine what it would be like to have to see three of your kids laying there. I remembered how many people told me--I can't imagine what you are going through----it hit me---yes it was horrible, my very worst nightmare, but God never takes us through a fire no matter how small or how big it might be without going with us and giving us Grace for whatever He puts us through----He will give us just the right amount---never too much, or too little. Back to this Robert---he said later that night they came back into his room and said we found your other daughter, she also is dead. Then two or three days later they tell him they found his wife and she was dead as well. He lost his entire family in a matter of minutes----one would think how could you keep from losing your mind in pools of grieve, or withering up in a fetal position with depression, or carry such bitterness in your heart, that you could hardly breathe. He did none of those. I got such encouragement from him. He made a statement that I keep thinking on. First though, he also sings and plays the piano. He said the day after the funeral , he sang a song in his church---He said he was determined to not let satan steal his joy. WOW, I could not even listen to songs right after the funeral, let alone sing one----he said the one thing that helped him heal the most was taking his attention off of himself and serving others. I was thinking, just how could he possibly do that, I was thinking of nothing but all my loses and he had four times my loses, He was determined to serve Jesus in spite of his intense mourning. He made a CD while in the misted of his grieving, so alot of the songs are about Heaven or dedicated to his kids. The songs really tore at my heart---they were so much of what I was feeling. Like one said, What is it like to be dancing on the streets of Heaven. What is it like to see Jesus face to face. Taylor was never big on dancing :), but I can certainly see him walking and jumping, maybe even doing a little skipping on those streets, and I would have loved to have seen Tay's face light up when he saw Jesus for the first time. Then the last song, really hit home. He said that first Christmas when he was all alone, he recorded this song. The theme to the song was, IT IS CHRISTMAS EVERY DAY IN HEAVEN. As I sat there, I thought, maybe if I can keep this thought in mind, Christmas may not be quite as sad without Tay. He is having Christmas every day----what a place to be. Robert gave me another thought to think on, each morning to pray "how can i glorify Your Name today, How can Your light best shine through me in my darkest hour". That definitely would keep my focus on Jesus's loving eyes all day. I am sure Robert has times of great sorrow, but any human without Jesus in their life and strong relationship with Him, could never have survived such tragedy, but the sun is definitely shining in his life again. God knew what He was doing when he picked Robert to go through this terrible season of life, because he was willing to quite his engineering job and travel with is new wife and two small kids to speak and tell his story of how God brought him through. It probably is not easy to relive that horror over and over--- I am sure there still is pain and sadness--it has only been six years. He was a type of person where you just felt Jesus overflowing through him. God blessed me this weekend by hearing him speak----it was a great encouragement.
We went to our grief sharing class tonight, and found great comfort there also---yes, there is alot of pain and sadness in that room, but we have formed some great friendships with people that we would never have met. We all are in the misted of grieving---God is taking us through the fire to refine our faith. We all know the next couple of weeks are probably going to be some of the hardest days of our lives. We are praying for each other and we are all on prayer lists of our family and friends which we are very thankful for. We also know that from these verses Isaiah 43:1-2, we will all make it through, not only Christmas, but this season of grieving. The verse says" Fear not, for I have redeemed you: I have summoned you by name (He has called us by our name--what a comfort), you are mine (another comfort). When you pass through the waters, I will be with you (we are never by ourselves), and when you pass through rivers, they will not sweep over you (we will not drown), when you walk through the fire, you will not be burned, the flames will not set you ablaze (we will not be destroyed) . Everybody one time or another will be in some kind of fiery trial in their life, but God will always be with us. In our study of Beth Moore, she said something that was interesting. She said, God does one of three things in these fiery trials. God can deliver us from the fire, for example just do a small miracle in our lives and lift us right out of our trial--remove the trial and life goes back to normal---that would most definitely build our faith, we would never forget it. Or We can be delivered through the fire by God. We will have to go right through the blazing fire, but God will be right there with us and if need be-- carry us until we are strong enough that we can walk again, or maybe He will let us soar on the wings of eagles in the middle of the storm for a while. Our faith will be refined---like when gold is refined, the heat of the fire purifies the gold----we see God's character on a first hand bases, we have no choice except to grab a hold of God and hang on for the ride, if we want to survive. Our relationship with Him is intensified and very personal. The last one is, we can be delivered by the fire right into the arms of Jesus. None of us really want this one, but actually it is what we are all looking forward to. Our faith then is perfected, we are face to face with Jesus. We have taken off our coat of sorrow, pain, loneliness,frustration and layed it down and step over into our heavenly home where we will never cry another tear--and every day will be Christmas!!! Thank you Jesus for your great love for each of us, You walk with each one of us through these fiery trials, and You will deliver us one way or another---You have the perfect plan to deliver us. We are each the child of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Isaiah 41:10

Today was a gloomy, cold, rainy and extremely windy day-- is that also where my heart is? It would be easy for me to fall into this place each morning when I wake up. In fact, alot of nights I wake up about 2 or 3 in the morning and where do my thoughts go----of course, Taylor and I think how could all this possibly be my life now. As I lay there thinking about him, I feel a real sadness come over me, one I can't begin to explain. I know if I stay in that state of thinking about Taylor and how much I miss him---the ache to see him will become unbelievable, i know then I will get up in the morning and feel just like today, miserable. So, how do I keep from falling into that state----I grab a hold of God with both hands and talk with Him in the middle of the night like He is standing right beside my bed. I remind Him of all the promises He has given me----(Ya, like He might have forgotten one :)Then I repeat them over and over. As it is getting closer to Christmas, each day is more of a battle to stay closely connected with Jesus, satan is right there telling me---look how happy everybody is---they are so excited about Christmas and getting together with their families, but when your family gets together on Christmas morning, there is going to be an empty chair, and it is not just empty for this year, but it will always be empty. If I let satan win with that kind of thinking, them all my days are going to gloomy, rainy, and cold. As I was doing my bible study in our grief sharing book, God gave me this verse which fits perfectly (is that a surprise) John 16:20 " I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. and verse 22 Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.". I thought that verse is exactly where I am----this is my time to grieve, and it is OK that the world is rejoicing, not to feel sorry for myself, my time of rejoicing will come too some day. I just have to wait on God to heal my heart. Grieving is a long, slow and very difficult process to get through. God orchestrated the human mind to only be able to grasp small amounts of grief at a time, or a person's heart would completely break into a million pieces and there would be absolutely no way to put it back together again. Even though, my mind will understand that Taylor is never coming home, never getting married, never going to be a dad, my heart will go into denial and not comprehend it. My heart will shut off, or become numb to those terrible thoughts and feelings. My heart can only stand a little bit of the truth at a time, and when my heart "gets" it, then I am really sad, until I have grieved that particular loss---then it moves on to the next loss.
We want Taylor to be part of this Christmas as he has been for the last 20 years, but how could that happen. We came up with an idea, which I think will make great memories. Since Brooke had already hung Taylor's stocking up with the rest of them, we thought we need to fill it with something. We thought it being empty Christmas morning would be heartbreaking. So we decided to have all his friends and family write at least one memory, and if they felt like it two or three, which would be great about Taylor. We will put them in his stocking and each year add more memories. We thought this will be a great way for Brooke and Spencer's kids to get to know who Taylor was as a young boy full of life. We will read some every year, and maybe we will even this year, though it might be to sad to read many memories this year. I put this on facebook to reach some of his friends, and I am happy to say, a couple have responded with memories. They are so bittersweet, but I know in the years to come they will be a treasure. So, if anyone wants to share a memory, just e-mail it to me at . It will be greatly appreciated.

Ok, I am going back in time. I am going back to probably a month or so after Tay's accident. I hated getting up each day. It was like as I got dressed, I also put a huge weight around my neck. The sadness and loneliness was almost unbearable. One day, I got a bill in the mail for having Taylor's wisdom teeth pulled out. I could not believe it. I sat there in a chair looking at that bill, and thought oh, so much has happened since that day of surgery. I remembered how cute he looked coming out of antisetic that morning. His mouth was filled with cotton, and they had us waiting in the doctor's office which was filled with racing cars. When the doctor came in, Taylor was so interested in his racing pictures everywhere, that he was trying to talk to the doctor. I could have taken to laughing, cause I could not understand one word and blood was running out of his mouth, but he didn't car, his eyes were all lit up looking at those cars. The doctor was much better at understanding Taylor, he must have been use to gargled speech, because he carried on a conversation with Tay. Tay was so talkative and happy, probably the medicine had something to do with that, because when he got home it was a different story. As I sat there thinking of this story, I remembered, i took a picture of him when we got home, so i went and got my camera, sure enough there was that picture. Again, that day was so hilarious, there he was with a big ice pack on both cheeks with a mouth full of cotton, and his mouth drooping down. He now looked like he got into a big fight and he was the loser. He was no longer the talkative boy, but one in pain. I sat there looking at that picture and crumbled into tears, thinking this just can't be. That picture was barely two months old, and now my life was so horribly changed. That day was a really hard day, one I could not wait until I could go to bed and take that heavy weight off from around my neck. That night before bed, I went and checked my e-mail and I got one from Rachel and she said in it that God had given her a verse that she wanted to give me which was Isa 41:10. i think I read it that night, but was so low, it hardly meant anything to me. I just wanted to escape from all this pain. When I got up the next morning, it was Friday, the day I got to see Tay for lunch and sometimes if we were lucky we would get dinner with him too, but not today, all I had were pictures and a terrible sadness in my heart. I remember it was a beautiful summer day, but to me, in my mind, it might as well have been a day like today --gloomy and cold----my heart was anything but sunny. If I would have let myself, I would have gotten the photo album out and curled up in a corner and just looked at pictures of Tay. Sheila called later that morning and we talked a bit and pretty soon, she says, God gave me a verse today and I am to give it to you. I said in a weak voice, oh, which verse is it and she says, Isa 41:10. I thought, oh, that is the same verse that Rachel gave me last night, maybe i better go read it again. I wrote it down, but it still did not hit my heart---it again was in my head, but did not move the 18 inches down into my heart. Beside that huge hole in my heart where Taylor was suppose to be, i had something else that satan kept bring into my mind that just would not quit. Somebody that I really respected as a person and his thoughts. He had made a comment right after the funeral ( he was referring to when Ron said that Taylor had given his heart to Jesus and was in heaven), he said "is this what our church has come to, just accept Jesus. That was a doorway for satan to come and bring his favorite tool again----doubt----. The day was getting worse, if that was even possible, so thought I would go for a walk over in Johnson's woods. God has many times spoken to me there and was desperately hoping for His presence and comfort. I walked for an hour, but really did not feel all that much better and was on my way home, when my cell phone rang. I saw it was Ron, so i picked it up. His first words, were "how is your day going". i said in a very broken voice, in fact so broken, I am not sure he even understood me. He just knew things were not good and he quickly got to the point. He said as he was doing his quiet time that day, God gave him a verse that he wanted to give to me----guess what verse---ya, Isa 41:10. Through my tears I said, "Oh, Ron, you are the third person to give me that verse in 24 hours." He said "what, I can't believe it, Deb, God really wants you to have that verse. That is God speaking." I told him all that was going on and how I was feeling and he proceeds to say" God has chosen you and put you on a platform, but it comes with a very high price, it is very expensive, but He wants you to Glorify His Name." All i could think was Oh, please can I just crawl off this platform. I don't want to be here, it is just too painful, too hard, but knew in my heart, this is where God put me and this is were I am to be-- painful or not, but knew Jesus was right there on this platform with me. Ron encouraged me to the point that I was no longer in tears by the time we hung up. On the rest of the way home, i thought I am going to "really" read this verse when i got home. When i got home, i took my bible and sat at the kitchen table and read this verse word by word. This is what it said Isa 41:10 "So do not fear: for I am with you, do not be dismayed: for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.". When i was done reading it real slow, I have only had this two, maybe three times in my entire life, but this is one of those times. It was like Jesus was sitting in the kitchen chair right beside me, and in a voice that was almost audible He said--"This is my promise to you, Remember it always". He felt so close to me, I felt like I could have reached over and touched Him. I just layed my head on the table and wept. I knew this was going to be the verse that will get me through the moments, the days, the months and eventually the years. A promise I will never forget. Then Jesus added one more, I could hardly believe it, a couple of days later, i get a card with that exact verse Isa.41:10 inscribed in the card. I just sat there and smiled as I read it. I thought, God---I will never understand Your deep love for me, no human love will ever come close to the love you have for your children.

To this day, that is the verse I repeat over and over, until it moves from my head down into my heart to where I can actually "feel" it. He is my God, He will strengthen me, He will hold me up with His righteous right hand-----what better place to be than in His hands. Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Back from Illinois

Yesterday was a hard day. We had gotten back from seeing mom and dad and I was here in the house most of the day by myself. Brooke and Spencer had put up the Christmas tree while I was gone and that was mostly OK. We had talked about what should we do with the stockings---put them all up---just put up Brooke and Spencer's---or not put any of them up. We really had not decided for sure, but Brooke wanted to put them all up and to make it alittle bit different she got one for her boyfriend (BJ), which is planning on being here for Christmas. So, when I walked into the house, and went into the livingroom where the tree was, there were all the stockings. Yes, it was like a hard kick in the stomach, which I could have almost leaned over with pain, but thought, she wants Taylor to be a part of this Christmas just like every other Christmas, so I left it there. We are now trying to decide how we should honor Taylor at Christmas, somebody told me put a picture of the one that died out with a candle burning beside it all day. Brooke said maybe we could all write a couple of memories and put them in his stocking and if it is too hard to read them this year, which I am pretty sure it will be, but let them there and read them next year and every year put more memories in his stocking and them each year read some. I don't know, it all just sounds so painful, but know we should do something---if anybody has any ideas, I would appreciate your comments.
Diane and I got to mom and dad's on Sunday afternoon about 5:00. I did not know how I was going to feel walking into their house, I was praying that a flood of terrible memories would not over take me and I would end up sobbing. Mom said later too, that she was worried not knowing how it was all going to hit Diane and I. It was all the prayers, it was not as bad as I thought it very likely could be. I was very aware of the emotions that were there below the surface, but for the most part they stayed there and did not bubble out. Every so often, as I would walk through the dining area where I got the phone call that night, I would just have to stop and go through that terrible evening again step by step. We did talk about it, and told mom just how it all happened, because they were in bed and did not know any of it until the next morning. Tuesday was the only bad day, where I just felt sad and knew if we talked too much about Taylor or the accident, I would be in tears, but the rest of the days we were busy and it was good. Mom and dad were both in good health and we got to take them out for rides, dinner, and shopping. We were very thankful for all of this.
Back to my day yesterday, I sometimes wonder if I should start to put some of Taylor's things away. It just seemed every where I looked, I would see Taylor, by afternoon I was in tears too many reminders and memories. His riding boots, work boots are both right outside the door in the garage, we walk by them every time we come into the house----always a reminder he is not here and not going to be wearing those boots. Nobody wants me to touch a thing, but am thinking that is perhaps not a good idea. I was reading a grief devotional book the other day and they said something that I just had to think on. They said grieving is like a rollercoaster ride. As I thought about this, I realized that was so true. I thought what it would be like to get on the biggest rollercoaster ever. I would be standing in line for a long time as I wait talking and laughing with the family and friends around me. It may be hot and crowded, but mostly enjoyable----that would be life before the accident----some troubles, but mostly joyful. Now as I get into my seat and they snap down the bar (Jesus is the bar), but my hands are still moving around getting my stuff secured--not touching the bar much, I feel pretty secure, safe, but my hands are not hanging on to Him, but we have not started to move yet----that was my relationship before Taylor's accident--secure and feeling safe in Jesus but not hanging on real tight. Now the rollercoaster is starting to move, but slowly and clicking straight up the track, can't really see anything but the pretty blue sky, really not too scared yet, maybe a little anxious now and then, by this time my hands may be starting to hang onto the bar a little more----little more valley's have come into my life, starting to get closer to Jesus---now I get to the top and after we top that huge mountain, I come down with amazing speed, in fact, so fast that I need to close my eyes, or my contacts will fly right out---I have forgotten about any of my belongings flying away, the only thing I am concentrating on is hanging onto the bar (Jesus) with both hands so tight my knuckles are turning white. I can't see a single thing, if I do mange to open my eyes, everything is a blur and I can't focus on anything------that was the horror of that phone call, in fact that whole week of his viewing, funeral. I finally hit the bottom of that valley, now the rollercoaster does come up alittle bit, but only for a split second then it is dipping down and by now it is flying every direction except straight. My body is flying from one side of the seat to the other, my head is banging against the seat. I realize if I can see anything at all, it is only for a couple of seconds at a time, but not the next curve, only the sky---the only thing I can do is hang onto the bar (Jesus) with both hands, it makes me feel safe and secure even though myself and every thing else is flying upside down part of the time. I know anything that is not secure is gone, it has long flew out-----even though, I know my life now without Taylor is never going to be the same, and I have lost so much, the only thing I can hang onto is Jesus. Finally, the rollercoaster rolls to a stop, I am never so glad to get off that ride, but feel so beaten up, I am wondering if I can walk, I am dizzy and can barely stand up, but I just want off badly, the kind person beside me holds me up (Diane does this more than once). I hobble over to a bench with help of Diane and I sit there for awhile and finally, I realize I am feeling more like myself, I can smile and laugh again, I even notice the sky is a very pretty blue-----grieving is alot like this---I can feel very beaten up---wondering if I will ever make it through, will I ever be able to laugh and smile again and not have this terrible ache in my heart every minute of every day. God has given me many verses that promise me this very thing---one day I will be able to smile and laugh again--like verse Jer. 31:13 " I (God)will turn my mourning into gladness; I(God) will give me comfort and joy instead of sorrow;. I just pray that I will never have to get back on that rollercoaster again (I know I am way too old to be riding one anyway :), but I do pray God does not put me on one like that again.
I know this month with the Holidays is going to be really really tough. I am sure no matter how we end up honoring Taylor there will be tears. There will be an empty chair when we celebrate Christmas dinner, opening gifts, and going to family gatherings, but God will be right here beside us whispering in our ears, Taylor is celebrating Christmas with me, and I will help you through this terrible grieving time.
I have gone to this song more than once "I must tell Jesus" It is so comforting as it goes "I must tell Jesus all of my trials. I cannot bear those burdens alone. In my distress, He kindly will help me. He ever loves and cares for His own. I must tell Jesus all of my troubles. He is a kind compassionate friend." He is the friend I want with me always----He is never too busy, or too tired to help me. Just like yesterday when my day was dissolving into tears, i just kept praying please Jesus help me out of this deep valley today. When I got the mail, there was a letter from somebody i barely know, but they had the most encouraging words. The words were encouraging, but I also seen the hand of God delivering this letter at just the right time. Praise to God, He is always faithful. Even though this has been a terrible 3 1/2 months, my praise and love for Jesus has grown each day.
I know you are all praying for us and I will be forever thankful, please continue to pray for us through this holiday season. Thanks