Sunday, July 13, 2008

We're pressing on.....along the road

Before I tell the whole story of the past few days let be just say that Holden is doing great!!!

Now let me back up and fill you in. This past Wednesday Billy took Holden and Clemson(my nephew) to Jackson Mississippi to a fire training conference thing. I know that's not the name of it but you get the point. Billy and I decided it would be good for the three of them to get away and just try to have some fun together. They had a great time, and spent their time hanging out with the Sunbelt team (Billy's work) and learning all about what firefighters do. For those of you that don't know, Billy just took a new job selling fire trucks and fire equipment. They came home Friday and were exhausted. Holden came in a laid on the bed and I could tell how tired he was. He felt warm but I just thought it was because he was asleep in the car and maybe the vent wasn't blowing on him in the back seat. About an hour later, he was still lying around and I thought that was sort of odd considering his usual energy level. I felt his forehead again and he was still just as warm so we took his temp and it was 102. I, of course was concerned and then he said his head hurt. ( bad headache is one of the classic signs of Meningitis) As soon as he said it I felt sick.....physically and emotionally sick (again!) Billy said "let's take him to Meridian right now." So we headed to the ER.
Honestly the car ride was a blur to me but can tell you that I was struggling with God. In my head I'm thinking "No, NO, this is not happening. We just buried Alaina Monday.....God, why is this happening? You KNOW how fragile we are right now....I Can't do this!!! I can't let him go now. Ok, if I say I'm willing to let him go then maybe you won't take him. If I say I can't let him go then you will take him." I couldn't pray, I could barely talk out loud. We called ahead to the ER and they got us in pretty quickly. You could tell that by the time we got to see the Dr. that everyone around new our situation. They were all staring at me. I was outside Holden's room crying because I didn't want to scare him any more than he already was. I know they all thought I was a crazy woman. Ok, I was a shower...hadn't brushed my teeth ALL day (that I can remember)....just looked like I had rolled out of bed. I told the two different Dr.s " We're not freaks, ok. We're not just overprotective parents.....we just lost our daughter last week."
The first Dr. we saw wanted to do a spinal tap as well as other blood work and test his urine. We were told we would be there at least 48 hours. I was wondering how in the world I was going to make it that long without knowing what was wrong. I wasn't in the room while they did the I V and I couldn't be anywhere nearby for the spinal. I knew I would fall apart...well I already was falling apart so I guess they probably would've just admitted ME.
Side note: As I was telling the Pediatric Dr. our whole story/history he listened and made notes and asked questions. Then, when I was done he asked me how Holden was taking it and then suggested that maybe we should get counseling sometime down the road. I wanted to say "Um, what I need right now is for you to hook me up and sedate me!!"
Anyway, as I was sitting in the waiting area I continued to struggle with God. I kept thinking of Job (in the bible) and how God took his whole family. I also thought about a book I'm reading where a woman loses two babies at different times. As I'm agonizing by myself I was reminded of a truth that Jill Hooper shared when she was the speaker at our women's retreat. (Jill, if you ever read this I hope it's ok I shared :) As she struggled with breast cancer she would always read about other women who died from this disease and it caused much fear. One day, she realized "that's not MY story." Her story could look very different....GOD was in control of it. GOD was writing her story. Whether she lived or died, it would be HER story and no one else's. God reminded me of this in those moments. So I started saying out loud..."That's not my story! Job's life is not my story!" I don't have to fear just because this has happened to other people. I was hit with the reality that I already knew in the back of my head....we could loose another child. I can't hold onto them. I have NO control....I must trust(but I don't want to, I CAN'T just by willing myself to) God, I can't even pray, I can't think anymore.....If you take Holden will I still say you are good? Will I be able to say "you give and take away, blessed be your name?" Is this going to be my story?
All I can say is only by His grace would I ever be able to continue saying it. As I think about it happening(losing another) I don't think I could but that's the thing about grace...we can't borrow it for tomorrow. It's for today and God always provides it for tomorrow. We can't fathom how we could possibly keep going. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and LEAN NOT ON YOUR OWN UNDERSTANDING." In my limited understanding I don't see how I could continue to trust....but when I consider who HE IS, I know there's hope no matter what.
Well, I'm exhausted so I can't keep writing tonight.....I'll try and post part two of the story tomorrow.
OH, and I read every one of your comments.....they are very life giving to me, so Thank you!! Thank you for being prayer warriors FOR US!
I'll write about all the (rest) of the details of our hospital stay with Holden........for now, he is doing much better. We are so thankful. That's an understatement. You know the beginning and the end, I just need to finish the middle tomorrow. Does that even make sense? I'm half asleep!


Amy said...

Hope, I am so glad that he is doing better. We have been praying since we got word Saturday morning.

Kristin said...

I'm half asleep, too, but I've been obsessively checking to see if you'd posted anything. We were so relieved and so thankful to hear this morning that Holden is okay. We prayed on our faces with carpet fuzz in our mouths that God would heal him. There were moments while we were praying that we became gripped with fear, and we knew that was not how the Lord wanted us to be. We just kept praying through the night and eventually found some peace. It was getting hard to trust Him...

Thank Him and praise Him that he is better! We love y'all, and we love him, and we're so, so relieved.

I'm confused... we got the message to pray for him Friday night? And y'all went on Wednesday? Regardless of the details, we are praising the Lord that he's home with you.

Anonymous said...

Dear Hope,

First of all, I hope your son is doing better! It is late and I have wanted to contact you. I am mailing you a card tomorrow, but I saw the update tonight and felt so led to send you this message. I have been in similar circumstances as you are facing now, and want you to know that me and my entire family are praying for you and Bob to keep going with your faith in God. After everything we have been through, he is the one and only that has kept us from falling apart. And at times, I have done exactly that! But, I remember you as being such a faithful person in college, and I know you will continue to call upon him for strenght and peace with all the difficult and life changing events in your families life. We all have our hopes and dreams, but sometimes unfortunately, there are other reasons for why such a tragedy like yours should occur. I feel your pain! I lost a baby that I could never even see, even through a microscope, and another that I did get to hold as she took her last breath. But God got me through it. I live every day for each of the four children, as you, three girls and one boy,he has blessed me with, and I know that there are no promises. That is why I try to be a good mother to the ones I have. I can feel your strength and I pray that every tear you shed will remind you of how blessed you are to have spent the four years you were given to your sweet baby girl. Remember always, that you will see her again. I will always keep you in my prayers. Love, Tory Armstrong Minus

Tory said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Heather said...

Thanks be to God!

We've been obsessively checking and praying, too.

Sleep well, dear friend,
- Heather & Marc-Andre

Mir said...

Hope, Our thoughts and prayers have been with you and your family. So glad to have found your blog. I'd love to catch up with you sometime soon. Much love and prayer,
Miranda Rivers Hancock

helen said...

Hope, it is now monday morning and i am almost ready to go home from work, and i will not be back until next Friday. When i got here yesterday and you had gone home from the hospital, all i could do was praise the Lord that Holden was better. When I left work Sunday morning i went right to church and prayed hard for Holden to come through this vail unharmed, and that your faith would be enriched even more then before. GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME. Pray hard and earnestly and your prayers will be answered. I thank you for sharing your precious son over the weekend as i cared for him, and i am so glad all our prayers have been answered and he will continue to get better each day.

I will keep all of you in my prayers, and i ask that you pray for me as i know God is listening to all your thoughts and prayers. God bless you and keep you all in the palm of His hand.

Nate said...

Thanks so much for keeping us up to date on Holden and the family. We prayed for you and we updated the church body yesterday on Holden's health.

Keep writin'! :) It hurts inside that we cannot be with you.

Nate and Kara said...

Constantly thinking and praying for you. Thank you so much for sharing your heart with us.


Patric and Jennifer said...

I've been praying, praying, and praying some more. Thank you so much for this blog...I come back to it all throughout the day and re-read your posts as well as other people's comments & then pray some more! My heart is always beating fast as I read, but mostly I sense the presence of the Lord strongly. Your faith is amazing to me & inspiring...and it makes me want to worship, because I know it comes from Him in times like these. I am so, so glad to hear that Holden is doing well!!!!!! And look forward to hearing part two of the story. Again, thanks for's good for all of us. :)

April Brown said...

Hope, we're so thankful Holden is doing better!

Alysia said...

Hope-I have checked this every couple of hours...I called and spoke to your mom this weekend about Holden. I am SOOO glad he is better. We prayed all weekend. We were sitting in church yesterday and Chris talked about you guys and about Holden. I wanted to cry b/c everyone misses you guys so much. You and Billy are amazing parents and I can't imagine the pain you have suffered these past weeks. God is in control and He is good. I love you dear friend. Please get some rest. And btw-You are NOT a crazy woman!! You are the most amazing woman I think I have ever met!

lisa richburg said...

We are so thankful Holden is doing better. I must say when we got the message I was stunned. I thought...'for the love'... I immediately went to God and began pleading and begging for Him to heal Holden (on earth). I KNOW GOD IS CONTROL, i'ts just difficult for my little limited mind to grasp things sometimes. You guys are constantly on my mind and I am continually praying for you all. We are praising God and thanking Him that Holden is better.
Praying that you all get some peaceful rest!
~Lisa R.

Joy said...

What an appropriate name for you...

We are so thrilled that Holden is doing better. Kristin called us Saturday morning and asked us to pray, after which I promptly emailed our class at church (about 100 folks). Sunday MANY people came in to class asking about Holden and how he was doing and how y'all were doing. We were glad to hear he's improved.

I don't think you are a crazy woman at all, because I laid in my bed Saturday morning and said those same words to God on your behalf. I think some of the prayers were word-for-word!!
I don't know why Holden got sick, though I can imagine the devil got a kick out of it. We will pray more for the spiritual warfare that I'm sure is going on around you. Just remember that God gets the victory. He will never leave us or forsake us, even when we feel we are going under. His grace is and will continue to be sufficient for you.

I just wanted you to know you are not crazy or unspiritual for your fears, concerns, and questions you have for God. And I also wanted to remind you that MANY people you do not know are praying for you.

In the name of Jesus I pray you have a better week.

Joy Goode Hutzler

Matt, Carrie and Lucy Allen said...

Hope, I am so thankful Holden is ok! And you are not crazy!! I think any of us mothers would have done the same thing!! You were in my dream last night, I don't remember all the details, the only thing I do remember was that I was able to give you a big hug! I am praying that you get some you!

Jackie said...

Hope and Billy,
I am so, so thankful that Holden is better. I have been praying constantly for you guys and will continue to do so. Thank you for the update and for sharing your heart with such honesty.

Parks Avenue said...

I'm so very thankful that Holden is doing better. The Lord is doing so much in our lives through your lives. Thank you for continuing to be so vulnerable. He is using you in a mighty way. Soak up His grace for the day. We love you guys!
-annie parks

Keith Scherer said...

Hope, it's so good to read the news about Holden. I've been praying since I first got word.

Your very real recounting of your prayers are such an encouragement to me and so many others.

I often wake up in the middle of the night and so I pray. I had been praying for Billy and his job situation (and of course that one did not get answered the way I wanted). I'm committing (gladly) to now praying for your whole family in the days, weeks, and months ahead.

Blessings to you all.

Lindsey said...

hope, we were praying for you guys all weekend. so, so thankful that holden is doing well. and so thankful for God's continued grace and mercy for you. we love you.

Brandi Barnes Parten said...

Hope, I am so relieved to hear about your son doing better! I found out through Jennifer White Saturday night and having been praying since then. I know you are aware that there are hundreds if not thousands of people praying for you and your family. Thank you for sharing your blog so that we could keep up with how things are going. You have been such an amazing source of strength and incredibly God has used you to increase my faith. I have told so many people about how amazing it is to see God through you. Romans 8:28 is what I use as the hinge in my life for the past several months. Please know that I love you very much and will continue to pray for you and your family.

Michael and Jennifer Werneth said...

thanks for updating all us who have been praying and are so not crazy. i wouldve wanted some sedative too! im so glad that holdens okay. so glad that jobs story is not your story! jill's words about our story being good come back to me all the time. i also love how she said that God always answers the higher prayer of our heart. he soooo loves you hope!
we will continue to pray. im praying for rest for you and an uneventful week. i would like to help you move or help with the kids while you unpack boxes. lemme know. love you

JJMERKEL said...

Hope, I am so glad to hear that Holden is doing better! No wonder why your friends on here were saying that they were praying for him!! I wondered what was up. I am also glad that you are able to update your blog, as I also check it multiple times a day to see how you are doing. You are in no way a crazy women!!! We have been thinking of you guys. I continue to say a prayer every night for your family.


Anonymous said...

Hope and Billy,
I check the blob (as Mom calls it)about every hour to see if you have written anything. I too have struggled with thoughts of "Haven't they been through enough?" You are such an encouragement Hope. We can't take our eyes off of Jesus. He is in control. Mom and Dad have kept us posted on how Holden is doing. I haven't wanted to call and disturb you guys if you are resting. I know you both are so emotionally and phyisically worn out. You are both constantly on my mind and in my prayers. I love you both so much.
Greeving with you,

Anonymous said...

you do not know me, but i feel that i already know you and your family! my name is katie shirey. my husband, bo, and our three kids are part of your new church family at christ covenant. we are also friends of the mulkey's and have such sweet memories in the house you will move into. i would love to help you with unpacking, childcare, etc. when you arrive! my cell is 256-347-6137 and my home is 256=739=6134. we live about 3 minutes from your new house. we are looking foward to meeting and loving you and your family! please call for anything!

Anonymous said...

Hope and Billy,
First of all let me say, Hope,you have turned me into a "Blog Stalker". I am constantly checking the blog for updates, wondering how you are doing. The blog gives a window into your family. And what a family it is. When I first read the prayer request for Holden my heart sank. I thought how much more can these people take? Then I picked up the phone and started calling people, some you know and some you don't asking, begging them to pray for you, Billy, Holden and the girls. We have prayed for you so much over the last 2 weeks, I am so thankful, that Holden is doing better. That prayers have been answered. Please believe me when I say that you are so loved. I have shared your story with so many people, walked around with the progam from Alaina's funeral showing it to everyone, asking them to read what was written and then telling them what amazing faith and love you have. Everyone is so touched and heartbroken by what you have gone thru, they're heart truly breaks at what has happened. You have opened my eyes as well as many other people as to what it is to hope...and to just how powerful our Great God is. We continue to pray with and for you, and to grieve with hope.
We love and miss you
Kari Veenstra

Anonymous said...

Hope, I am glad that Holden is doing better. Please know that all of you are in my thoughts and prayers constantly.
Angie Wheeler

Anonymous said...

Hope -
We are sorry to hear that Holden wasn't feeling well. Glad that everything turned out for the better. You have got such an amazing support group of family and friends - both near and far. You're an amazing wife, mother and friend - not crazy at all. I, too, think each and every mother out there would have reacted the same. Keep blogging as I feel it keeps us in touch with you.
Get some rest!
We miss you guys.

Karen and Rob

Anonymous said...

Love to you, praise for Holden's healing, praise for your simple and huge faith, all glory to God. We love you guys.
Katie A.

"I said to the Lord, You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing"

CarolSue said...

Dear Hope, Thank you for the words you share. Words that bring honor to our Father, and glory to His name. You, who are dealing with so much greif, bring words of hope and encouragement to those of us who can only imagine what you are feeling and going through.
I am so relieved with you that Holden is doing well.
Miss Trudy says to please send to you her greetings and prayers and love.
Personally, I am so sorry that the miles will not let me hug you again, but know in my heart, I am hugging.

Anonymous said...

So thankful that Holden is OK. We took Trinity to the ER this past Saturday because she'd been running a fever all week and had started saying strange things, and could not stay awake. You are right the drive to Dothan to the ER was hard and long. Thankfully she was just dehydrated, and she is getting better.

thewheelerfamily said...

Hope, we have been praying constantly for you guys. We were stunned to hear of Holden, but are thrilled that he is okay. I wish I could have been there to sit with you at the hospital in Meridian. I can only imagine the agony of the wait. Like others I am constantly checking your blog for new pressure or anything. We love you and Billy and join you in praise for Holden's health. Love, Gayle

xanadoo007 said...

I am so glad to hear your son is doing good....God IS watching over your family....

Love you,
Emily Jacobs-Graham

Carlton and Aimee Weathers said...

Oh, my friend. I had no clue about Holden. It was by God's grace that I didn't. I am still grieving so hard with you for Alaina.
We are begging God for mercy and peace.
Please post when you can.

Anonymous said...

THank you Lord! I too am a confessed obessed checker or your blog over the weekend. :-)How we have been praying You aren't crazy - you are real and I love you for it. Consider yourself hugged across the miles.
Dave and Kim

Anonymous said...

OK so I sent my comment w/t re-reading it. I realized that I left out a period. It currently reads "How we have been praying you aren't crazy -..." Thatis not what I meant at all. I meant to type "How we have been praying. You aren't crazy - you are real and I love you for it."

As I re-read it, I laughed out loud. Oops. You knew what I meant. I love you friend.

denise shoemaker said...

Thanks so much for the update. I, too, have been glued to your blog for updates. It's like God knew you would need a vehicle to stay in touch and honestly, I don't know what I would do if I couldn't read your thoughts on a weekly basis. We are so thankful that Holden is doing better. We prayed that God would heal little Holden and are so thankful that our prayers are answered. I know your exhausted, but I thank you so much for keeping everyone posted. I absolutely love the way you include us in ALL of the details(i.e., that your teeth hadn't been brushed).;> It makes me feel like I'm really talking to you. I miss you dear friend. BTW, I'm not sure I brushed my teeth today either and I have no excuse. ;> Just wanted you to smile.

Shea said...

Hope, we were all so glad to hear that Holden was released from the hospital and is now doing better. I can not imagine all of the feelings you must have felt. Fear, anger, resentment and finally RELIEF! Just know that God expects us to question Him. I truly believe that! Remember that Jesus himself asked God, "Why?" He would think we didn't care if we didn't ask that of Him at times. You are so strong! God bless you all. Lots of love to you.

Sarah said...

O.K. I have just now figured all of this stuff out...the responding to your comments that is:) I have been in CONSTANT prayer for you guys. Praise the Lord Holden is better. I wish I could have been with you (with some gum:)Thank you for reminding me of Jill's talk...God has his own story for each of us. I love you and know that His arms are around you EVERY step of the way, even when you can't pray...He knows you and is holding you.
Love, Sarah

Busy Mom said...

Hey Hope!! Amy Boles, we have only met once at the ESPC women's retreat last year (2007) but I have linked over to your blog on serveral occassions through mutual friends. My heart broke for your family when the email came from the church. I cannot imagine. I am a fellow blogger and had to write about what I was feeling that day for you and for my own family. The verse I prayed for you on that day was that you would not lean on your own understanding. We do not understand God's ways. If we did we would do not do half of the things he has called for us to do. He has the big picture, we have out sin perspective. But through all of this I have gained some very valuable perspective. (Which was the title of my blog that horrible day for your family.) I pray for your family daily and for the Grace that God gives you to get through these tough days!

Amy Boles (Sarah's neighbor)

Rachel Hannah said...

Just wanted you to know that I am praying for you and your family tonight. I love you and I'm here for you, dear old friend.

Rita said...

Oh, Hope. I had no idea about Holden until I checked your blog today. We've been out of town and I haven't been checking each day. I am so sorry that he got sick and that you had to go through that. I can't imagine how scared you must have been. We are thanking God with you that he is doing well now. Please keep us posted on how he's doing. I love you so much and know that you're still being covered in prayer.

Anonymous said...

I have thought of you everyday, trying to understand why this happened and of course thinking what I would do, were it our family. I have read your blog for the first time tonight and you have blown me away. You are an amazing christian woman, full of faith and God's stength. You are a testimony to me and I dare say to all of your wonderful friends. I know you said this blog is helping you as journal, but know that God is also using you to minister to many others, including myself. Will and I are pryaing for you and Billy and your parents.


Deb said...

We've never met (I am on an email prayer chain), but I want you to know what an encouragement your writings are to me. Know how earnestly I have prayed for you to be washed in God's love. I have never been through a tragedy such as the one you have been living, but reading your blog has made me aware that I'm not sure I hold my children with an open hand and thank God for every day he has graciously given them to me. I have 5 children ages 7, 6, 4, 3 and 4 months, and today has just been one of those days where I've easily been irritated with them for mundane things. I quickly got them all to bed tonight so I could have time to check my email. After reading your blog, let's just say... I went back to their beds and kissed them all goodnight again. I'm praying for Holden and for your entire beautiful family.

Katherinellen said...

I don't know you but I feel like I've known you all my life. Thank you for sharing about your family. You and your family has been on my thoughts and prayers ever since Diane(A picture worth a 1,000 words) posted the prayer requests. You are a strong lady....and continue to grasp God strength to keep you to stay strong. THank the Lord for the answered of prayers. Holden is HEALED! I will continue to check on the blog to get updates. My prayers will always be with you and your family.

You and your family has a wonderful church family that loves you all so much. That is so awesome and great! God is so Good! You get some rest....and I will check on you tomorrow. Katherinellen(Welcome to Kat's Korner)

It's so great to know that the bloggers are praying for you too. It's so awesome that power of prayers is all over blogging. :)

MTR said...

Thanks for this blog.

Chelsey said...

ive been obsessivly checking your blog too! you are a stong woman, and a great example for everyone!

Danny and Jennifer White said...

Hey Hope. Danny and I prayed when we heard the news about Holden. We will continue to lift you guys up.

Anonymous said...

Billy and Hope,
I just want to let you know we are praying for you and your family. Bill and I have placed you guys on all the churches prayer list here in Northeast Georgia. I receive calls daily asking how ya'll are doing and especically Holden. We are praising God that he is OK. As I told Billy on Sunday we had been learning of updates from Will and Lisa (but they were slow to call us) that is when I decided to call Billy myself. Please know that we will continue to pray for God to wrap His arms around you and give you His grace.
Bill and Becky Richburg
Gainesville, GA.

Anonymous said...

Hope, we have never met but my family has been praying for you since we heard about you from Carlton and Aimee. Thank you for sharing all the raw thoughts and prayers that you are having. I pray for the Lord to continue to shower you with mercy and to strengthen Holden. We are still lifting you up to our great God who holds all things in His hands.

Dave Schutter said...

Checking the blog from Berlin after getting a real short email from Kim; really, really glad to read the good report about Holden; was praying for you all last night before I fell asleep ... We love you all and keep praying,

MTR said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Terry and Judge Keith said...

Hope and Billy: Our hearts go out to you both. We put our arms around you right now in prayer. You are an amazing couple. Love Judge Keith and Terry

Melody said...

You don't know me but I heard of your loss through a family in the Orange Park area. I grew up at FBC Jax and knew of your husband and Sister-In-Law. In fact my sister was very good friends with Karen.

I don't know what to say but wanted to let you know you have people praying for you all the way in Orange Park, Florida.

Love in Christ,
Melody Taylor