Christmas, the birth of our Jesus-who chose to leave the realms of heaven to come to this sin- sick world. Diane and I were just talking, what do you think heaven was like when Jesus left?--He most likely left with all the angels singing Holy, Holy, Holy and most certainly a huge hole was left when He was gone. Jesus leaves heaven with the angels singing and Glorifying His name to later hearing Crucify Him, Crucify Him here on earth. His love for us is so great that He still choose to come to earth to save us sick and sinful souls. I try to keep that vision in mind this time at Christmas, how God's plan was being fulfilled and brought to life, but must admit, Christmas is still a very hard time of year.
I am healing slowly, and do not need to write as often, which is a good thing--but writing some how helps me put my thoughts into perceptive. I can start with my focus on myself--feeling sorry for myself, and end with my focus back on our Great God where my strength is found.
Since Taylor has died, none of us go into or even spend very much time in his bedroom. It is just too hard to see all his clothes in the closet, all this personal stuff on his dresser, his underwear in the dresser drawers, so we just made it easy on ourselves and don't go in there much. Spencer and Taylor did share a room, so it did make it harder for Spenc. But when Spenc started Christmas break, he said, Mom do you care if I change my room around. In my heart, I knew that was a step in healing for Spenc, but at the same time, I just wanted it to stay the same---As painful as I knew it would be, to move Taylor's stuff and put it away, I wanted to help Spenc to move to the next step of healing, so that evening Jeff and Spenc moved the furniture all around, as they got done moving everything, Spenc looked at me and asked what should I do with Taylor's stuff, we just stood there staring at all Tay's things, all lost in our own thoughts, memories for each little item sitting on his dresser. There hanging on a hook was Taylor's first hat that he wore until it was in threads, but he loved it and wore it everywhere as a little boy. It became so much a part of him, we had to keep it---so we hung it in his room--there was his first baseball mitt hanging beside the hat. That was also something we had to keep, I don't think that mitt ever seen a ball---Tay was so cute out on those baseball fields when he was a little boy, but couldn't catch a thing-- but could run as fast as lighting. Then Spenc opened the dresser drawers where all Tay's underwear and t-shirts were--ya, the ones I washed a thousand times and he asks what should I do with these. I could have melted to the floor in tears, but thought that is not going to make this any easier for me or Spenc. We did end up moving some of the things that were Tay's, but we could not get enough energy to clean out all of his drawers yet. By the time we were done, the room looked totally different. Part of me was really sad and could have collasped into tears because it felt like we were "putting" Tay away and moving on to the next phase of life, but yes, in my heart I knew, it is only a room, and he will be forever in my heart, I will never "put" him away. I have to say, dealing with Tay's things and Christmas approaching was getting to me.---I was feeling like I was fighting a losing battle, slipping deeper and deeper into sadness and despair, so I decided to open a devotional book from Max Lucado that someone so kindly gave me a couple of months ago. I wanted God to come and throw me a life line, or to come and hold me awhile, to come and bring His Amazing Grace, just anything to help me through the day. I wanted to feel God's closeness to me, to see His faithfulness once again, I knew God knew exactly where I was and how I was feeling, and that I needed His help. So after saying a little prayer, I just opened the devotional book, and it opened to the page that was titled "God Knows What's Best"---i knew He would show up, I had to even smile a little through the tears---He is so faithful, and does meet all of our needs. It started out with the verse Proverbs 3:5 "Trust the Lord with all your heart, and don't depend on your own understanding"---I thought how fitting for me this very day, I was trusting on my own feelings, well I don't know about trusting, but lost in my own well of sorrow--thinking another Christmas without Taylor---then it went on to say "The problem with this world is that it doesn't fit. Oh, it will do for now, but it isn't TAILOR -made." I thought WOW, God even used Taylor's name to get my attention, so He had my full attention now, what was God going to tell me today. It went on to say "We were made to live with God, but on earth we live by faith. We were made to live forever, but on this earth we live but for a moment" So God is saying, Yes, you will live with me, but you must live by faith until that day, and it will be just a moment in time compared to eternity---then it went on to say " We must trust God. We must trust not only that He does what is BEST but that He KNOWS what is ahead. It says in Isaiah 57:1-2 that good men perish, the godly die before their time---no one seems to realize that God is taking them away from the evil days ahead. For the godly who die shall rest in peace." God is once again, so kindly telling me---He KNEW what was BEST for Tay, even on bad days, when my heart is breaking from missing him almost unbearably, I need to gather up every ounce of faith that is in my body and remember and believe with all my heart this to be true, because we all know God is unable to lie--God knows what He is doing !---it goes on to say "what a thought, God is taking them away from the evil days ahead. Could death be God's grace? Could the funeral wreath be God's safety ring? As horrible as the grave may be, could it be God's protection from the future". Could God be telling me, that yes, I know you are hurting from losing Tay, but try to believe that I took him that hot and humid August night because I wanted to protect him from the evil days that lie ahead. Tay was a type of kid that was more of a follower than a leader, so perhaps God wanted to save him from terrible things, or maybe the days ahead are going to be so terrible that death was truly God's safety ring for Tay. By the time I was done with this devotion, that I am sure God hand picked for me that day, i could once again feel the peace of God. I have come to realized that the peace of God is not at all attached to circumstances, that is happiness which comes and goes with what is happening around you, but the peace and joy of God is when I have surrendered complete control of every corner of my heart and know God knows Best and will do what is Best, even in the mist of the darkest days. Like somebody just said, you do all your learning in the valley's, never on the mountain tops.
So, ya, Christmas is in just a few days, and yes, there are some really hard moments, it is not just Christmas day when we are all together as a family, but it starts way back when we put up the tree and hung the stockings up--yes, we put his up right along with the rest--and buying the gifts---I would often stop and think, just what would Taylor have liked this year, would he have wanted something for his 4 wheeler, or maybe a new gun, never any clothes on his Christmas list, that was not a gift in his eyes. I was talking to Brooke and we both said, as the season began we both felt pretty strong, but as the season continued on toward Christmas we got more and more weary and it became harder and harder. No, there is nothing easy about these streets of grieving, but God does and will continue to kindly bring us along with Him each and every day. God knows our pain, but He also said this is not our home, only a journey, but in our pain, God is there. It reminds me like what somebody once said--"there is a window in our hearts through which we see God. Most of the time, thankfully that window is clear and our vision of God is crisp, but sometimes out of no where a pebble hits the window and cracks it. (The pebble is a deep unexpected pain or fiery trial). Suddenly God is not so easily seen--that view that was so crisp and clear and easy to see is now changed. Now I have to look much harder and deeper and closer to see God, and sometimes as hard as I try to look to see Him all I can see is the crack. In those times, I just have to trust in my heart that God is still there and closer than I ever dreamed. For example, within the last week, i have opened up my bible to the same chapter, and read the same verse Eph. 3:18 "may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge---that you many be filled with the measure of all the fullness of God." So, even if I can't see or feel God on some of the darkest days, I just know He is there and loves me more than I can ever understand and that is a comfort all in itself. Merry Christmas to all and I thank each one of you that has continued to pray for us--it has made me a true believer that prayer has great power and does touch the heart of God!