Tuesday, August 5, 2008

He is faithful...along the road

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns." Psalm 46:1-5

This is one of the many verses I've found as I've opened new cans of formula and boxes of diapers for Mary Helen. It is incredible to me that even when I don't have the energy to pick up my bible, God puts the Word in front of me some other way. Jennifer W. (I think this was you), THANK YOU for encouraging me in this way. She put a notecard with scripture in every can of formula and every box of diapers...Thank you friends for the diapers and formula too! God is faithful when I am at my lowest. See, He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is still the same Good and loving heavenly Father....the One who is powerful enough to carry us during the most devastating time of our life.

ok, so a little over a month ago I did what I've ONLY always read or heard about. I planned my child's funeral....I sat in our car behind the hurse and thought "Is this really happening? Is this really me?" "Are we really going to bury her?" Just before the car pulled away I looked up and saw my new pastor and his wife Allison standing close to our car. Billy rolled down the window and they walked over and leaned in and Allison said "We're ready to love you!" Ok, I had met her once, the one Sunday I visited Christ Covenant. God so used her in that moment to encourage me. It's like he was saying "See, I am the same God in Cullman Alabama....I will provide for your every need.....trust me."

Looking back, it was ALWAYS God's strength, God's grace, God's mercy, God's peace that allowed me to walk through those awful days....and it continues to be His faithfulness every single day as it is still SO hard. And, God used His body, the church, to rally around us. I will never forget Lori, Wendy and Slade sitting at my parents kitchen table with us and helping plan Alaina's funeral. They helped us think when we couldn't think clearly. Wendy even wrote my to do lists :) What incredible friends. Karen, our pastors wife in Chicago totally took over getting us a moving company....my Chicago friends cleaned our house for the new family to move in....so many friends drove or flew from Chicago to be with us....so many made plans on such short notice....friends and family who helped with Holden, Elley and Mary Helen.....the hundreds of cards and words of encouragement...the FOOD....the financial support.....the PRAYERS on our behalf.... the friends who have loved and welcomed us to Cullman....I know this isn't even everything, and I'm overwhelmed even as I type.

My days are hard yet filled with hope because of Jesus. The things that frustrated me before are much more frustrating now. Holden and Elley (and even laid back Mary Helen) are much more needy these days. We're all needy. My pride....see, I've never wanted to be the "needy" friend. Just days after the funeral we were still at my parents house and my dad and Billy weren't' there for some reason, it was just my mom and I with Holden, Elley, Mary H. and my nephew, Clemson. Elley and Mary H. were crying and Clemson and Holden were running in the hallway and slamming themselves into the door. I could feel myself about to "lose it" and of course, it was starting to get dark outside. Finally, I called to my mom as I was sobbing, to come in and help me (she was working in the yard) "I just can't do this right now!!" Like I said, the things that would normally be a little stressful are now a LOT stressful. I know that's not good English, but oh well. On the outside, I'm sure much of our life looks the same. I go to Walmart(and in my head I dare someone to be rude or short with me....I picture myself yelling "Don't you dare be mean to me, I just lost my 4 year old daughter!!") Sometimes I'm scared to think what may come out of my mouth. I feed the children, we play, we are taking care of all logistical things like school and school supplies.....all that "normal" stuff except it' s NOT normal anymore. It's painful. It hurts. It feels like sometimes your heart is going to explode.

Yet, I prayed something this week. I asked God to remind me of his goodness and love for me. There is a train track very close to our house and trains pass through all day. So, I prayed that every time I hear that train I would be reminded of God 's grace in my life, God's perfect love for me. It's faithful to "pass through" every day, several times a day and it's loud and clear and distinct. I can hear it no matter if I'm at home or in "town." It's my Father's goodness and grace no matter if I'm doing "ok" in that moment or really struggling....it's His faithfulness to always remind me of who HE is.

17 comments:

Amy said...

Oh Sweet Hope!!! All I know to say today is that you and the whole family are in my prayers daily. I thought of you alot on Saturday and prayed that with each passing milestone God would wash you with more grace and love and peace and laughter than you could ever imagine. There are so many things that I do in daily life that have become for me what the train has become for you - a rememberance. For me, they remind me of you and your family and to lift you up to our Father.

lisa richburg said...

Precious Hope,
I was eager to get back home and check your blog...remember my "secret confession" to you when we talked? :)Anyway, the guns story was HILARIOUS! Will {Bubba for you and Billy:)} and I were cracking up. Logan was looking over our shoulder..."all up in our beesnus" as he says, and made some pretty comical comments himself, after some questions he asked...can't wait to tell you about that! I, like several others, was thinking exactly what you were thinking at first.

I am so thankful to see God's quick answers to so many prayers. Please know that we are continually praying for you. Our precious father brings you guys to my mind often...and sometimes it seems like the weirdest times, but I pray, knowing and believing that nothing is a "coincidence". My heart still aches for you and Billy. I, like so many others I'm sure, just want to help take all of the pain away from you guys...even if it's for a short time, but I know that isn't humanly possible; however, praying continually for you guys will help, because that puts the burden on Jesus, which is what He wants us to do...cast our burdens onto Him because HE does care for us. God, along with our great counselor,the Holy Spirit, can and will comfort you and give you joy and hope, and remain faithful as he has. I'm praying specifically for you today that God would show up in a mighty way and that you would recognize it...whatever or however He chooses to do it... I'm just praying that you will see, know, and feel God meeting you right where you are! love you girlie! can't wait to see you.
lisa

Molly Grace said...

Hope, you encourage me to dig deeper into my relationship with the Lord and I thank you for that. Your words have been a beaken of hope for me and I pray that Billy and your's journey will each day be a little better. God is good and you are on his wings, he is carrying you and it is so evident. Keep holding on.

Shea said...

Still praying for you and loving you all.

Michael and Jennifer Werneth said...

hope,
you have such a beautiful voice when you write and your heart communicates so much! just wanted to let you that we are still praying for you as you walk through this pain as a family. we love yall. when i enjoy leah, i still ache when i think of how much you miss alaina... luke even reminds me to pray when he asks about you. he fell in love with yall too. he does harass his sister though -"you dont know mr billy and miss hope, but i do!" praying and then sinning some more, thats what we do around here! :) may your train sing a love song to your heart each day. anyway, thanks for sharing with us again.
jen

thewheelerfamily said...

Hope, I think of you guys constantly. Thank you for sharing your heart the way you do. You and Billy are in our prayers daily. Gayle

JJMERKEL said...

Dear Hope, I want you to know that you and Billy and the kids are still in my prayers. We do think of you so often. I have a bit of a funny story. I went to get our mail the other day and completely went across the street and grabbed the mail there. Looked at the name and thought who is this person. Then I remembered. Jason thought that was pretty funny. Luckily they didn't see me do it. They might think I am some sort of a mail thief or something. Anyway, we miss you guys like crazy. We love you. Thank you for letting us be a part of your life.

Ken and Jenny McNeill said...

Thanks for sharing your heart with us again. Everytime we read how God is carrying you through this, we are encouraged and drawn closer to Him. Even through unspeakable pain, or maybe ESPECIALLY through unspeakable pain, God continues to be God...mighty to save. We are continually lifting you up and will pray with you whenever we see a train come though here. :)
We love you guys, Ken and Jen

Danny and Jennifer White said...

Hey Hope.Thanks for continuing to share your heart.Love you!

Kristin said...

Love you. Like Amy, God uses little things in my daily life to cause me to pray for all of you. We love you so much.

Jill Williamson said...

hope, what a great idea about the train. We live near a track too! So, I will pray too for you that you be reminded of His grace and comfort!
You are fighting! It's so precious to see God's grace in your life in the midst of your pain that I can't understand.

Lindsey said...

hey hope, we are still praying for you and your family. i'm so thankful that there have been people to physically be there and minister to you. and i'm thankful the Lord is making himself known to you in cullman. i am looking forward to seeing you soon, whether us moms and kids come up there or you meet us here. we're ready! and i'll be praying that you don't snap in wal-mart, although it might be a funny story to share. love you.

Busy Mom said...

I have always loved the sound of trains. Back home there was a track near our house and I loved hearing it at night! Thanks for sharing your thoughts so openly and beautifully. God is blessing your family during this time as he is using your story to bring others to Him!

Amy Boles

Scott said...

The Chapman family had their first interview since losing Maria on Good Morning America this week and I thought of you guys. I wanted to share it with you in case you didn't get a chance to see it. Here is a link: http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=5519704&page=1 to the story and the video.

Sharing your burden,

Scott Larsen

Mandy Go said...

We send you much love from the Golightly family.

Aimee said...

Hey Hope!

I thought of you last night as I watched the Chapman family talk about their sweet Maria Sue. It was so good to hear them talk of God's sovereignty. Even though we don't understand his ways now, one day we will. I find such comfort in knowing that nothing passes through His hands without his knowledge.
Continuing to pray...

Sarah said...

Hope,
Hang in there. I know the little things are so hard. Just know that you are still constantly in my heart and prayers. You do such a great job of communicating you feelings...that is a gift. I love you, my friend.
Sarah