Friday, March 26, 2010

In Need of Prayers

The day I dreaded for so long is almost here---April 1st, Taylor's 21st birthday. As I sit here writing this, i wonder just how will i get through that day---then God brings to my mind, He will give Grace just for that day not days in advance, and that day is not yet here---so yes, God will give me the Grace to get through that day---will it be sad---yes, probably a day where a lot of tears will be flowing, but I will never be a lone, not even for a second---Jesus will be right beside me. I have said this verse often and I am sure on his birthday I will repeat it many times Deut. 31:8 "The Lord Himself goes before me and will be with me; He will never leave me nor forsake me. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged." Jesus knows how hard this day is going to be for all of us----Taylor could not wait to turn 21---he loved his birthdays. I just have to keep thinking, Jesus has gone before me and already knows exactly what I am going to need for that day. Actually, Jesus doesn't just go before me, He will stay with me, He will be standing right beside me as I light those two candles and let the balloons off---yes, i am sure my heart will be breaking, but I am also assured I am not alone---He will be carrying me. We have invited his friends to come and be with us as we all let off the balloons. I can see some of his friends are missing and grieving his loss almost as deeply as we are. Some of his friends send him texts---it just makes Tay feel close to them---they say how much they miss him and would love to talk with him again, if only for five minutes---sometimes they even call and leave messages---those tear at my heart, because usually they all end up crying. I have often wondered how Taylor's good friend and roommate in college--actually he was the one on the 4-wheeler with Tay the night it happened--how he was doing. God is answering that prayer for me---God had this boy call me the other night and say he would like to come see me-----so he is planning on coming tomorrow. I know it will be as hard for him as it will be for me---but I am really glad he is coming.
Several weeks ago, a teacher ask Brooke if she would come to his school in the morning before school even started and talk to some of the kids about "Where is God when bad things happen" Today was the day for her to go. She told her story from the start of that fateful day until the funeral. She told the horrible detail, but most importantly she told how God carried us all through it and answered our prayers. I had to think how many kids went away thinking--boy, I am glad Jesus is my Savior, or maybe I have drifted away from Jesus, I need to get closer to Him again, or maybe some thought, who is this Jesus, I would sure like to know more about Him. I am praying to God at this very minute that He is stirring and moving their young hearts to want to have a relationship with Him. Brooke took at least 50 of those fliers we handed out at the viewing telling of Tay's salvation and how God revealed it to us--how amazingly God answered our prayers. Every one of the fliers were gone and she said she should have taken more. God is working to reach the young kids---I also thought last night when it was snowing, would satan win and there would be a snow day, and Brooke would not have the chance to get to speak to those kids. I prayed that would not happen, but again God's ways are so much bigger and higher than ours, I didn't know, I could only pray that Brooke could go and tell her story. Another college student said she needed to do an interview with someone that has lost a close family member. She asked me if I would be interested in doing it, or would it be just too painful. I thought, yes, it is always painful going through the detail and all the feelings that comes with that---but my very next thought was---Is God wanting to use this terrible tragedy again to Glorify His Name. With that thought, I knew without a shallow of a doubt---I would do it and give God all the Glory for getting us this far.
We all know that there is great power in prayer, even though that thought sometimes is not the first thing that comes to mind in times of decisions, but it most likely is the first thing that comes to mind when trials or tragedies strike. Interesting, as I was doing my Beth Moore study on Daniel, read Daniel 9:20-23. What really caught my eye was verse 23 which says "As soon as you began to pray, an answer was given, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed." Amazing, God answers prayers even before we pray them---now that is an Amazing God. Beth also said something I loved---"God hears every prayer---keep asking for understanding---keep seeking supernatural insight! Stay in his word so you can recognize His voice, then listen closely to what he is saying deep in your heart. you have the Spirit-empowered ability to hear God" --that is what is called a deep intimate relationship with our God. Not that I kept asking God "Why Taylor--help me to understand why him"---but I think God is showing me little clips at a time how He is using Tay's death to touch other kids' lives. Some have even claimed that Taylor's sudden death showed them how uncertain life is and how quickly you can be into eternity---and have given their hearts to Jesus and now are witnessing to other kids when ever possible. No, it does not make the pain hurt any less, and I miss him terribly, but i am trusting God, He knew what was best for Tay, and He has promise to go ahead of me, beside me and even behind me every day---so I am in the hands of the One that knows what is best for me too. i know and have felt the power of pray, so i am asking please pray for us this next week extra hard for his birthday---thanks.

Monday, March 15, 2010

One more Month has past

It is seven months today!! Sometimes I just try to stop and think where am i on this journey of grief---am i moving forward, standing still, or moving backwards. I have come to the conclusion I can find myself in all those places and sometimes all in the same day. I can find myself moving forward when like Beth Moore said in her Daniel study---"Beating Great odds is God's specialty. That is one way He can prove to me that He can do the impossible---Don't accept defeat---Persevere, believing God's promises. Ask Him to fight for you and to show Himself Mighty." Some days, I can feel that---I am hanging onto God with both hands even when satan is pulling at my shirt tails as hard as he possibly can---but in my heart---I know am persevering even to the point of tears running down my cheeks. I can talk to God and feel His presence just like talking to a very good friend--I can feel my heart is sitting right in the middle of His Hands. On those types of days, I think, maybe, just maybe I am inching my way to recovery. Then on other days, I think, I have not made much progress since Christmas. The months and weeks before Christmas, I found myself in such deep valleys, I was not sure I would survive, but each minute did seem to pass and I was still breathing. I dreaded those holidays with a passion, knowing Taylor's absent would be so keenly felt. I was so thankful, God did know my every need, even before I did and helped me through each one. As January rolled around, i was just so thankful the holidays were over and maybe life could return to half normal----oh, who am I kidding, life will never be normal again. January did seem to bring not as many deep valleys, but some days I can feel I am stuck in the same place I was in January. I guess I am trying to say, time is not making this any easier. It feels like I am stuck in the middle of this terrible storm and can't get out. The wind is constantly blowing, pouring rain, it is just an effort to walk, because every step I take, the wind is pushing me back and the rain is pounding in my face and all i can think about is what would it feel like to have the warm sun shine in my face with a little soft warm breeze on my back. Sometimes I wish I could just lay all this sorrow and grief down and pick up happiness and the feeling of being carefree. I wonder, do I even remember what that feeling was like? But something that Randy said the other Sunday sticks in my mind. He said "complaining is like saying God did not do it right, I can not trust God to get it right, so instead of complaining we should say---God, I don't understand why or what You are doing, but I am going to trust You. I know You know what is best for me." I thought, if I can keep that mind set, satan will not be able to pull me over the edge so often, but easier said than done. I do believe in my heart of hearts that God did do what was best for me and for Taylor, because unlike me, He can see the whole picture, and no, I may not understand it and definitely not like it, so all I can do is trust Him in the deepest part of my heart. I have to say all His faithfulness, Grace, Comfort and Mercy has made my trust grow deeper in Him. God also knows I have another huge milestone to get through in the next couple of weeks. I am not going to lie, it is going to be a tough one, probably in some ways harder than Christmas. In some ways, this grieving has become harder because like the grief share classes told us, as time goes on, each of you will grieve in different way and at different speeds, and that is exactly what is happening. When it first happened, we were all on the same page---knocked completely flat and there was nowhere to go except up. As months go by, we are at different levels of grieving, and each are dealing with their own grief in a different way. I have found out, you do not really go through grieving as a family, it is more between you and God. Today in my time with God, I decided to go back and read some of my grief devotions and the one God showed me answered my question that I started this blog with. It started out by saying " Do not be discouraged if it feels as though you are going backwards at times---sometimes forward, sometimes backward. This is the natural process of grieving." As I read through the rest of that devotion, I realized it fit me exactly---Was I surprised God was right there meeting my need at that very moment, not really, that is His speciality--faithfulness---
We are trying to decided how we want to remember Taylor on his 21st birthday. We are thinking of meeting at the cemetery with his friends and family and in memory of Taylor letting off balloons, putting flowers on his grave, or just standing there remembering Taylor as a son, as a brother, as a friend, as a cousin, or as a nephew-- remember what was and also what is to come---we will see him again. I think after we leave the cemetery we will all get together for a little while and try to smile at all the crazy and funny memories we all have of him. I know no matter where I am or who I am with, it will be a very sad day---- I will be remembering the day he was born, like I do every birthday of each of my kids. Remembering the excitement of a new baby, for many years on the birthday's of each one of my kids, they would want me to go through the details of the day they were born. I must remember God has been so very faithful on this journey of grief, there is no reason why He will not carry me through that day too. His Grace will carry me through! Yes, our hearts will be breaking when we are out at the cemetery letting off those balloon, but another part of my heart will be thinking about Taylor spending his first birthday, a special birthday, his 21st birthday at our Master's feet. The sun is shining on his face. If only I can keep that in my mind on that day and every day.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

God-- the Keeper of My Heart

Today was a beautiful day---sunny, warm. This afternoon, I was at our bible study of Daniel. We are getting to the section of the end times. Yes, we do not understand alot of it, we only see through a glass darkly, but some day our vision will be 20/20 and we will see it all very clearly.
When I got home, I decided to go out to the cemetery, since I have not been there in awhile. As I drove back there, it all looked so different than it did last summer and fall. It looked even more lonely and sad---if that is even possible, no flowers, dirty snow, but the sky was beautiful---. As I got out of the car and started to walk over to his grave, I noticed that somebody had been there and did put flowers on it. I knelt down and seen somebody had laid ten white roses beside the grave and also somebody had entangled several sunflowers into the greenery I had there. As I stood there, with water oozing around my feet from the melting snow, water stand on his grave where part of the snow had melted, my thoughts wondered back to that hot summer day we all stood around that open grave. Our boy was being laid to rest--how can this possibly be true----it can seem so long since I seen him, talked with him, gave him hug, but only yesterday that the horror of that phone call ripping my heart out. I stood there remembering how all those young kids were kneeling around his casket saying their final good-bye, but they did not leave that day, never to come back. Their pain is as real to them as mine can be to me---One might have thought that young kids would have moved on after almost seven months---as death is not something a young person wants to think about---it truly touches my heart when I see them thinking of Taylor and actually spending time out by his grave. Taylor must have touched their heart's in a special way---I pray they seen a part of God in him. While I was standing there thinking about Taylor, i notice in the background the sound of a 4 wheeler coming down the road. I can hear it shifting gears and flying down the road--just like what Taylor would have done on such a pretty day----I just closed my eyes and i could see Taylor on his in our back yard flying from one end of the yard to the other, shifting gears every chance he got--making as much noise as possible. I could see the wind blowing in his hair, a smile on his face----he would have loved today---sunny, getting warm--spring in the the air. Even though, I was thinking of these things that would never be again, my heart was not breaking into a million pieces, like it so often does when I go out to the cemetery---it just makes it all so real when I go out there----I felt a peace---like God was right there beside me---He is the keeper of my heart---He was holding it in his Hands and giving me His Amazing Grace and Comfort. I just stood there a long time, just thinking what was and what is. I also had this real desire to go to the accident site, so that is what I did. As i pulled into the drive beside the site, I noticed new things were also there. I got out and walked down by the water, where the cross is. There was nothing calm about this site---the water was rushing over the rocks, ice and snow were breaking off and floating down the creek. As I got down to the cross I seen there were two white roses laying beside the cross, and also several sunflowers-, but then I noticed that somebody had put a copy of the "Fastline" magazine that Taylor is featured in---in a ziplock bag, but really what grabbed my attention was several notes that somebody had written. I picked them up to read, and seen one had a verse on it 1 John 4: 7-12---talks all about love---God's love, love one another----God is drawing these kids closer to Him, for that, I am very thankful. As I was reading these verses,this person actually took the time to write them all out, I also seen the two notes inside the bag, tears by now were streaming down my cheeks. The notes were written to Tay,---they touched my heart deeply. Remember to pray for these kids, their hearts are hurting too. I sat there with the sun shining down on my back, water rushing right beside me, my mind slipped back to that summer evening when all those kids were together having a good time, not knowing that very soon all our lives would be changed forever. Not knowing one of them would soon go from this earth to eternity in a blink of an eye. Even though, tears were streaming down my face, I still felt God right there holding my heart. I felt a peace knowing that God never makes mistakes, His plan is always perfect-----He will take care of me until the day I arrive at His Pearly Gates. I looked up into the beautiful blue sky and thought, just what are you doing today, Taylor. Yes, you would have loved today, but everyday is beautiful now. This bible study we are going to on Sunday nights about Heaven, just makes this all seem so much more real---the day is really coming, when Jesus is coming to take us home with Him.

Monday, March 1, 2010

God Is Never Late

It is Monday morning and I am here alone, well not alone---God is right here beside me. I am not going to lie, this was a hard week. I am trying to figure out why it seems to be getting harder instead of being a little bit easier. I do remember back when we were in grief share they said it takes six to nine months for the death to actually sink in---it has been six in a half months. Or Maybe it is because his 21st birthday is getting close---a month from yesterday. He loved his birthday's and was so looking forward to turning 21---I am not sure what he thought was going to happen when he turned 21, but we would hear him saying---just 10 more months and I will be 21----little did we all know, he would never see his 21st birthday. Sometimes, I wonder if maybe I should have waited to go back to school, until at least the first year was over. That has stresses all of it's own, and put that on top of the stresses of grieving, might be more than I am ready to handle.
Sometimes I can feel like I am all dressed up ready to go out into the cold and snow for a walk. As I look out and ready to leave, I see where I want to go and where my destination is--(which is to keep my complete focus on Jesus's face), but just not sure how to get there and stay there 24/7. I see one way is very icy and slippery, so I would have to be very careful and walk really slow. Then I look over and see there is a path less icy, some snow, and even some places where the ground is showing. So, I decide to take that path, thinking it is safer and probably quicker. I start out heading for my destination, but I can't keep my eyes on it, because I have to keep looking at my feet and where I am going to take the next step (which is looking at all my loses). I want to make sure I am stepping where there is the least amount of snow, and when possible clear ground. I send so much time looking at the ground that when I look up to check my destination, I find I am way off course. I didn't even realize that I took my attention off of my destination so often and now I am heading in a completely different direction (one of sadness and loneliness). As I am now completely off course, I stop and think just what happened that I ended up here, then I remembered there was a stick with sharp spikes in the bottom of it (which is God's helping hand) sitting right there in the garage by the door before I even left. I walked right pass it without even thinking. I am now thinking if only I would have grabbed that stick (God's helping hand), I would not be here now. I could have walked that icy path by using the stick with each step to keep my balance---it would have been me and God working together and the path would have been a lot closer to my destination, but that path was alot less traveled---most people took the this path thinking it was safer and more solid.---yes, the other path might be a little bit slower, but I would not have had to look at my feet (my losses), but instead I could have kept my focus on my destination (Jesus). Yes, I think these last couple of weeks, I at times have taken the path that was more traveled and looked safer---a real deception--my focus slipped to ---all that I will never see Taylor do or all that I miss about him. I got up Sunday morning feeling so sad and lonely, I begged God to please come and pick me up and help me back to the right path where I can feel His presence just like He is sitting beside me---I love and yearn for those feelings every day. As I sat down in the morning to spend time with God----I love the speed at which God will sometimes answer our prayers. He had me open to ISA: 45:3 which says :I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord the God of Israel, who summons you by NAME. Wow! God is summonsing me by name. So, I thought, treasures in the darkness---and stored in secret places, I don't know what God has in store for today, but it sure sounds great. We got ready and went to church, my heart is still very sad, but knew God was right there beside me--He would carry me through this dark cloud. As we stood to sing----this has never happened to me before, but tears just ran down my cheeks right there in church. The choir was singing, it sounded just like music from heaven--God speaking straight to my heart---the song was "When We all Get to Heaven" I am going to write 2 verses they fit so perfectly. "While we walk the pilgrim pathway, Clouds will overspread the sky; But when traveling days are over, Not a shadow, not a sigh. V. 4 Onward to the prize before us! Soon His beauty we'll behold; Soon the pearly gates will open, We shall tread the streets of gold.---When we all get to heaven, What a day of rejoicing that will be! When we all see Jesus, We'll sing and shout the victory. " I thought, Oh, God I am so ready for this--but it is a promise and if not today, someday this will all be true!!!! I could feel God lifting my sadness from my heart and in exchanged giving me His Comfort. As I was trying to recover from this song----wiping the tears from my face, they sing the second song---"Sweet by and by" I will just write one verse, but fits so well with the other song. V 2 "We shall sing on that beautiful shore, the melodious songs of the blest. And our spirit shall sorrow no more, not a sigh for the blessing of rest. In sweet by and by We shall meet on that beautiful shore, In that sweet by and by We shall meet on that beautiful shore!!!." Now I am almost to the point of openly sobbing---God is telling me---yes, this is hard, keep focused, but some day, we will all meet on those beautiful shores of heaven and then walk on those streets paved with pure gold---Yes, the trials of this world can be really tough, but it will all be worth it. But God was not done yet---that night we went to our bible study on Heaven----and guess what-----God had us sing those two exact songs again-----He wanted to make sure I got the message and I tucked it deeply into my heart not to be forgotten, but to go back to on days when I feel I am again losing focus. God is ever faithful---He wants me to remember He has a place all ready for me---just not yet, but live every day like it could be that day----take my walking stick (Jesus's hand) every single day and take it every where I go. I can't do this alone, I will crumble and fall every time. Then when I got home, i opened my email and God touched my heart in an even deeper way. In this email another person was searching for God because of Taylor's death----they seen a part of God in all of this and liked it --God's power and Amazing Grace is shining through and they wanted to know more. Also in an email somebody made a comment that stopped me in my tracks---something that I have lost track of, so lost in my own misery. I know it was God talking through this person---they said---Think about how Tay must be feeling right now, and what he is doing. I know he would not want you to be thinking of him in tears-----thank you for that comment---interesting-- because this morning God gave me Psalm 101: 6 which says "My eyes will be on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me: he whose walk is blameless will minister to me"---I thought Ok, God what are You trying to tell me--so I looked at the study guide part of my bible and guess what it said---just what God is trying to do all the time---it said-Suffering silently is neither Christian nor particularly healthy. Instead accept graciously the support and help from family and friends. So I know without a shallow of a doubt God was talking through this person in the e-mail----And yes, i know deep in my heart Tay would not want us to spend all this time in tears and terrible sadness---in fact he was the type of kid that hated any of us to be sad---he would always try to cheer us up if he thought we were sad. Once when I was talking with him, I had just tears in my eyes, not even crying and he looked at me and said in a very soft sweet voice " oh, mom please don't cry, it will be OK". I have to say all my family and friends have been great in encouraging me. It can come in way---sometimes e-mails, phone calls, letters, or just being there silently when I needed you.
I want to do one more thing. One of Tay's friends set up a face book page in his memory. I know alot of you probably already see it, but if not here is the address--just search it on face book, "In loving memory of Taylor Gasser" I am honored that all these kids will take the time and effort to do things in his memory---Almost every time I go to the accident site, there is something new there. I went right after a big snow, and somebody already had taken the time and went and cleared all the snow away from the crosses and the other stuff that is there, and even put a little red heart there for Valentine's day. I hope and pray that each one of his friends have found a special place in their hearts for Jesus to dwell and some day like the song said we will meet on those beautiful shores and what a day of rejoicing that will be!!!. I know some of you seen this poem that Brittany wrote in Tay's memory on that face book page, but for those that didn't, I want post it---Thank you Brittany--it is so Tay.

An Angel In Disguise

On April 1st you were born without wings,
And August 16th you became my blessing.

All through school no one would have guessed,
That you would be the first in our class laid to rest.

God blessed you with the most perfect smile of all,
When I think about it now, I have to wipe away tears that starts to fall.

High school we shared many memories in track,
Now I would give anything in the world just to have those days back.

Tractor pulls and racing four wheelers was what you loved to do,
So, God called number "614" and that, Taylor, was you.

I believe God had a plan and it was you that he took,
Besides friends missing you terribly, so are your Mom, Dad, Spencer, and Brooke.

I know you can't come to us; we must go to you,
With that in mind living my life for Jesus Christ is just what i'll do.
(And I owe thanks to you)

For all this time God was the only one, who knew,
that an Angel was among us.....that angel was you.

Gone up to Heaven you surely did rise,
Because all along you, Taylor....were an Angel in Disguise

In loving Memory of Taylor J. Gasser

Please continue to pray for us as satan every day tried to take our peace we have in Jesus. Satan wants us to be discouraged, sad, and be focused on ourselves and all the loses, but with Jesus at our side, we can think-- just like that person said---what are you doing today, Taylor, and wipe the tears away and think that glorious day is coming----everybody grab Jesus and hang on tightly until then----which it could be even today, or perhaps tomorrow.