Monday, August 19, 2013

4th anniversay

One thought can has ONLY been four years. It seems so very long since I have seen taylor walk through the door and say "Hello, family I am home" and then give me that famous smirky little grin. Then other times I can think, it ALREADY has been 4 years. It seems just like yesterday that I got that dreaded phone call on a hot summer night where my life has never been the same since. I can remember every single detail just like it was yesterday. This week is always a hard time, because as each day dawns I remember what we were doing 4 years ago. I go through my day looking at the clock and thinking what was happening 4 years ago. I am sure that many of his close friends also were remembering back to that hot summer evening that went terribly wrong. I had one of his friend's call and we talked a half hour of so just of memories, but he not only wanted to talk about memories, he also wanted to know just how I was doing, how was  I coping....and that always leads the conversation into the presence of God and all His mercy and compassion. I got several cards from his friends who had remembered the exact day. That will always touch my heart, when I know he still lives on in their memories. On the 16th I would keep looking at the clock remembering that long quiet horrible ride back from Illinois. All that kept running through my head at that time was How can this possibly be true, and how will we ever get through the horror that will follow this week. This is where the prayers of everybody that knows and loves you are praying without ceasing, because at this point we are so far in the depths of shock and disbelief our brains cant even put thoughts together to pray. When we did finally arrive back  home we were so very exhausted and it didn't help that we slept little if any the night before. The whole yard was filled with cars,  all I really wanted to do was crawl upstairs to bed and pull the covers over my head and stay there until Jesus came back. That was all 4 years ago, and like I said, every memory is crystal clear, but also the memory of how God held me and carried me through it all is also crystal clear. Back to the present time...Friday afternoon, I went to Wooster to get balloons for the kids to let go out at the cemetery later in the evening. It was a beautiful night, one just like Taylor would have loved, sunny, slightly breezy and warm. Us and Max's and their families when out about 6:30. First, we all walked around looking at different people's graves, but slowly one by one we found our way back to Taylor's. We all just stood there remembering 4 years ago. We did, though, something a little different this year...we all told of memories we had of Taylor. Most brought a smile or even a chuckle to our hearts, because Taylor was one with a lot of action, some good and some that ended not so good, but funny for the ones around him. Max was telling a story of when he took Taylor deer hunting. Max said that when a really nice big deer came and stood right in front of Taylor, he got so nervous he could not shoot, Max kept whispering shoot, when taylor got up enough courage to shoot... the deer had seen them by this time and was running away, taylor did end up shooting, but of course he did not get any deer on that outing. But he did get more courage and the next time they went out, he got much more brave and shot sooner, but max said this time about 12 deer were out in shooting range, so one would think taylor would try to shoot the biggest one, but not taylor, he shoots bambi, a much smaller one. He didn't care, he was just happy he hit one, now he brought meat to the table for dinner. Then after an hour or so, we gave all the kids balloons and had them write anything on them if they wanted. Then as they held the balloons we started to sing "Jesus Loves Me" and then the kids let them go...I have to admit this really touched my heart as we watched those balloon ascend into the heavens and we sang this song which we all truly knew was the heart of our God...He does love us. After we left there, we went out to the accident site. It was all so quiet this night, but as I stood there, I could imagine the night of 4 years ago, the red lights flashing of the ambulance come screeching down the road to help Taylor and all the kids standing there with extreme fear on their faces and in their hearts. Has this changed their hearts, I certainly hope so, at least I know of a few that it has, but God only knows about the rest of them. Some of this friends had visited the site today. There were several bouquet of flowers set out close to the cross, someone had put several little tractors by the cross. I sometimes can get caught up in the "what if's", like what if Taylor could have seen that culvert just 3 seconds earlier could he have gotten the 4wheeler up soon enough and he would have been fine, what it nobody would have been riding on the back of him, was it too heavy to move fast enough to miss the culvert. What if I would have had him go with us to the wedding of my sister out in Illinois, he was home that week on vacation from school, so he could have easily gone with us, what if they would not have laid those two big rock only two weeks before. But I found "what if's" will only give my heart more pain, because I can't change a thing. So, once again I remind myself, God never makes a mistake, Taylor's work and life came to the twelfth hour that night, it was finished. Brooke even said, mom if he would have gone to the wedding with us, you were driving and most likely you would have had an accident and he still would have died, because God was calling him home that night and now you would have to live with that too. I know just how hard some days it is to live with missing Taylor, I can't imagine how hard it would be if I had somehow been in an accident and he died from injuries from that accident. So, rest assured I try to always just know that God's plan is a perfect plan even when it hurts so much you are not even sure you will survive to tell about it. God will sometimes even give me little clues in why He picked Taylor. One of his friends told me that in all the people he has ever met, Taylor is the one person he will always remember, not only because of all that happened he said but because of who he was, his character. That same day, I had another person say, taylor sure touched many lives even though he was so young, there was just something about him. So, did God possibly look down from Heaven and see taylor's heart already belonged to Him, and could also see that Taylor's death would bring other souls to Him, if this is true.. then all the pain of losing him so early in life is worth it...and I am sure after all what Taylor has seen in these last 4 years, he would strongly agree.....and to think some day, we will be face to face with our King and He will answer any questions we will have, He will explain it all to us and I am quite sure, we will say that plan was perfect....but until that day, we live by faith and I do have faith, it was a perfect plan, does it hurt, is it hard....a big resounding YES....but God is my Best Friend and Comforter. 

God of Yesterday, God of Today, God of Tomorrow

I had to think, God is never changing, always the same, but it us who does the moving and changing. April 1st would marked Taylor's 24th birthday. I have to say, I have done a lot of changing in these three in half years. Some days I have moved so close to Jesus I could feel His arms around me, and other times I would have to ask, God where are you...but in all reality, He was always there right beside me, I just had moved away, even when I never intended for that to happen. As I think back over these three years, I realize how much I have changed, my interest and desires are so different now. God grabbed my full attention in a split second and gave me the biggest test of my life. I must say, He never sent me out on the battle field alone, not even for a second, He always went with me and most days He went before me. I, at times thought I would never survive the road of grieving. At one point God gave me the verse Isa: 43:2 "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. when you walk through the fire, you will not be burnt. The flames will not set you ablaze." This was a promise of God and He did exactly what He said He would do. The flames may have singed me a few times, the water may have gotten up to my waist, but God always came and picked me up and carried me to safety. I have found that it is very possible to be completely devastated, but still feel like you are on a mountain top with Jesus. Even when it felt like my heart was breaking into a million pieces, I have never felt the presence of Jesus more intimately. Is it possible to be on the mountain top with God without going through  fire of a trial...I know that is the time you hang onto God with both hands because you know deep inside of your heart that is the only way you will make it through, so we move very close to Jesus's heart. Why can't we stay there, my heart thirst for that, but we end up rolling down the mountain. I believe God gives us a glimpse of what an intimate relationship with Him feels like, so it will put a fire in our hearts to always want that, but it will never be a continuous mountain top until we are living with Jesus in eternity. My God of yesterday, before the accident, was like a  friend, somebody I would spend time with and talk to, but did not look for Him like one would look for treasures, because we know God has treasures hidden in all different places all through our day. My God of today, the days and months after the accident, God became my very best friend, like I could hardly take a breath without Him being right beside me. Now, I was very alert looking for treasures everywhere I went. Each treasure I found brought Jesus a little bit closer and a little bit more real. My God of tomorrow, which is the present time is a good friend, but I want my relationship of my best friend back, but I don't want the fiery trial that came with it back. So, is it possible to have it all here on earth, or is it heaven thing??
Taylor's birthday this year was more quiet than years past. Spenc was off school, so him and I went out to the site earlier in the day. When we got there, we seen some of his friends already had been there. Flying in the cold wind was a happy birthday balloon tied to the cross and one single red rose in a vase sitting at the bottom of the cross. Spenc and I stood there for awhile looking at the cross and the area around it, thinking this is where in a moment of time our lives all changed and Taylor's last breath was breathed, and the angels came and got him. Usually, Max's family and us go out to the cemetery in the evening to let off balloons and just do alittle remembering of Taylor, but this year just our family went. It was more quiet as we each thought in our own minds of memories of Taylor. I can not help but think about the day he was born. It was cold day, pretty much like this one. I just remember how little he was, but oh so perfect. I remember they brought him into my room after he was all cleaned up, with a cute little green stocking cap on, which green turned out to be his favorite color. I stood there thinking about his childhood, he was a boy that was not scared of much, and loved being outside, and he hated school from the first day I took him to preschool, until the last day he walked out of his college class for the last time, well, I guess he only hated the school work, he loved to socialize with his many friends in school. He really didn't like sports all that well, but thought a good way not to have to do any chores and could spend more time with his buds, so he ran track. I remember one day he had a meet and I did not go, but when he came home, I asked him how he did, and he said I did really good. I said did you win your heat, and he said, oh, no, but there were kids behind me. I had to chuckle, he was so different from Brooke. Then my thoughts went to the day we stood out here in this cemetery around his casket for the last time. It was a hot stormy day, a day not only were there tears flowing from his friends, and of course his family, but those black stormy clouds filled with rain were tears of Jesus crying with us. And finally my thoughts turned to the day in the future, when Christ will be coming through the clouds with ten thousand angel singing the most beautiful songs one could only imagine, and Taylor's grave will open up and his spirit will be reunited with his body, only this time his body will be immortal, and we will all meet Jesus in the air. Oh, what a day of rejoicing that will be!

actually, I found this post that I forgot to post in april, but will go ahead and post it now...better late than never

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Fear, But God Openig Doors

I have been wanting to write for awhile, and just say how God can open doors in the mist of fear. It was probably about Thanksgiving time when we got the tragic news that a 24 year old kid was killed out in Illinois from the Forrest congregation. Just the news of a  child being killed always sends chills up my spine. It instantly puts me back to that hot summer night when I got that phone call. It touches every emotion in my body. As more news came in about this accident, it was so very similar to Taylor's. It was late on a Saturday night, a bunch of kids out having a good time. He was driving an ATV with other kids on it. He went off the road and hit a culvert, all soooo very much like Taylor's accident. My heart started to be gripped by fear when I heard that this was their second son that was killed in a freak accident. Six years ago, their 21 year old son was killed in a auto accident. I always thought God never gives anyone more than they can bare, but two kids being killed seems like more than anyone can bare. I wanted to think we paid our dues with losing one son, surely, God would not take another one, but as I looked on in this case, that was exactly what He did. I could feel myself losing the battle with fear, thinking, I would never make it through it again, Please God don't let that happen. I forced myself back to where I had spent so much of my time after Tay's accident...God makes no mistakes, and He knows the number of our days before we are even born. Did it help, some, but I will probably always battle with this fear to some degree.
Diane, Mom and I went back out to Forrest to check on mom's house the first part of December. The first time I went back to Forrest church after Taylor's death was extremely hard and this boy's mom had come up to me and gave me a big hug. Her first son had gotten killed just three years earlier, so she could relate to the pain of grieving I was in at that time. God was starting to plant in my heart that maybe I should try to get to her on the Sunday. I really did not want to do this because it was so recent that it happened, and just what was I going to say to comfort her, and on the selfish side, just talking to her, and seeing her pain, would bring all those feelings back like it was yesterday...and lets be honest who likes having their heart ripped out again. So, when I heard our plans had changed and we were not going to be in Forrest over a Sunday, I was secretly sorta happy, now I could just send a card, instead of seeing his mom face to face. We get to Forrest on a Thursday and after mom talks to some of her friends, she thought maybe we could go to church on Friday night because they were having a Christmas song singing, but then as Friday night came, my brother came back to Forrest too, so we all sorta decided to probably not go....again, i was sorta glad....I was thinking God must be Ok with me just sending a card. Friday night comes and we all go out to pizza, enjoying seeing Warren and Sherry again, but pretty soon mom says out of the blue well we better hurry up and get going so we can get to church for the singing. I am thinking where did that come from, I thought we weren't going. Off we go to church, but I was thinking they probably will not be there, since it barely was three weeks since the accident and just who would feel like singing Christmas carols. But we barely get inside the door and there is his dad. I really didn't know his dad, but Diane did so she tried talking to him, but he had walls up so high you could not begin to touch his heart. I looked around but did not see his mom and so in my heart, I was really thinking OK God i don't need to talk with her, You knew I couldn't comfort her anyway, what could I possibly say to comfort a mother's heart that just lost her second son...and truly there was something inside of me that kept saying, if this happened to her what makes you think it won't happen to you too, so i felt like I would be no comfort, probably more of hindrance. When the singing was over, several people came up to us and we of course talked about how tragic it all was. I asked how his mom was doing and they said, terrible, she barely comes to church, never answers her phone, she really does not want to see anyone. I thought it was then safe to ask, do you think I should go see her, and I got the answer I was hoping for, well she won't answer her phone and if you just decide to go, if she is home..her van will be in the drive. At that very moment, God whispers in my ear, you will be going to see her tomorrow. I thought, Oh God do you really think I am going to be a comfort to this extremely grieving mother, I feel like I have nothing to say, and I myself am filled with fear. I talked to several other people that night and most said, no this is probably not the time to go see her, she needs some time to grieve, go maybe another time. But as I went to the car that evening I knew I was going to see this mother and God was going to open every door. I told Diane, she better go with me. We didn't have a clue where they lived, somebody at church tried to tell me, and first I hardly listened, but after God whispered in my ear that I was going, I listened up...sure didn't need to spend a half a day lost in the country somewhere. The next morning we got up and spent time with God, pleading He would go ahead of us and open every door. Diane and I get in the car and head out. We had no trouble finding the place. We pull into the yard and my heart gave a little jump because the van was gone. We thought we would still go up to the door and knock, but really not expecting an answer. As we knock and wait, just like we thought, no movement inside so we turn to leave. As we are walking off the porch and I look up and here comes his dad to talk with us. At first Diane and I both say how very sorry we are for his loss, but again his walls are so high he barely heard us, but then I said something about how similar Taylor's accident was to Lucas's accident, and at that moment one wall started to crumble. It was like God had me say just the right things because before long, all this walls were completely down and we could talk very openly. After awhile, we said well we are sorry we missed your wife and he says, oh no, she would really like to see you, she is right up the road cleaning out Lucas's house. So, Diane and I walk slowly back to the car to now go up to where she is. I could only imagine what she was feeling, she was already cleaning out Lucas's house, it barely was three weeks. I was thinking, it has been three years for Taylor and it is still too hard for me to clean out some of his stuff, it is right where he left it. Oh, what are we going to say. We drive slowly up the road and pull in. She does not know my car, well in fact, she really doesn't know me. I only got to her that one time in church, and I was so much in the grieving process at that time, I probably would not even have recognized her on the street, and now I have to say some comforting words...God help me here. As we drive in, she is out in the garage cleaning out his truck and as I look at Lucas's truck he had a loving memory sticker on the window for his brother that was killed six years before. That hit a place in my heart, because I also have one of those stickers on my window in memory of Taylor. She looks up from cleaning out his truck and has that familiar look on her face that I had so many times. I knew she was most likely thinking just who are you, and I really don't feel like making conversation right now, you have no idea what I am going through, in fact I am not even sure I am going to make it through the next ten minutes. I slowly get out of the car, and the first words that come tumbling out of my mouth you remember who I am....why I said that is any one's guess, but God must have known those were the right words. She dropped what she was doing and yes I do and came right over and gave me a long hug. We just held each other for a long time, and I can't even begin to remember what I was saying in her ear at that moment. What ever it was, she started to open up and share her heart. We stood in the freezing cold for a long time just sharing our hearts. God had one more surprise for us that day. As we were standing there talking with her, Lucas's dad came over to this place and brought his brother along. His brother was a very good friend of Diane's when they were young and running around. When Diane repented all those years ago, this guy said he really wanted to repent too, but he put it off and life took him in a different away from God, but now he stood there in front of Diane and she seen a soft spot in his eyes and decided to ask him if he knew Jesus. He said no he doesn't, but he would like to one day soon. Yes we all know that is one of satan's favorite tools, procrastination, but Steve had a very soft heart. Diane got to spend some time with him talking about God. When Diane and I got back into the car, we just looked at each other and said, God opened every door, we were so glad we listened, when He told us to go. It turned into a real blessing for us too. No, it is never easy to find words to comfort a person's grieving heart, but it is not us giving the comfort anyway, it is God just using us. We are planning on going back to Forrest very soon, I will try to make contact with Lucas's parents again. Satan likes to use fear to stop us from doing what God is whispering in our ears He wants us to do for Him. Or satan like to use fear to draw us away from God...wants us to start to doubt the promises God has given us, and if I am not careful satan can do this without me hardly noticing until I can find myself in the field of fear.