Friday, September 12, 2008

How could I NOT trust Him?

Ok, it has been almost one month since my last post....Hello again! :) I feel like I'm barely keeping up with all we have going on. It's not that the kids are in 100 activities..we've got Holden and El's school and soccer and church...pretty basic. But nevertheless, we're busy as is all of America.

Ok, let me think what these slide show pictures are...I just love pictures because they show our life. This is the main reason I love to scrapbook, because our life is in those books. This slide show captures a little of what we've been up to. We made it to the zoo.... my sister and brother-in-law and nieces came for a visit over memorial day weekend and the kids put together a lemonade stand..... I think that's the whole slide show. Oh, the Elley in her nightgown picture is when my good friend Alysia came for the weekend from Chicago. We had a great visit.

Last week, my parents came for the week and held down the fort so that I could go to Orange Beach with Billy for a work trip he had. Before I give the details of that can I just say that my parents are awesome. Really, I am so blessed. They would walk to the the ends of the earth for me...and in many ways they have! I just read a quote that said "that is how I first felt confident that my life was under the care and protection of a kind and compassionate father." This sums up my Dad, kind and compassionate.... and gentle and loving and Godly. Seriously, one of the greatest men I know. Growing up under the care of my parents, I agree with this author that it was never a question in my mind that there was a perfect and loving and good Heavenly Father. After all, I knew what a wonderful earthly father my Dad had been and could only imagine a perfect Heavenly Daddy. To say I'm thankful just doesn't even begin to express how I feel about my parents.

So it was great to get away to the beach although Billy and I didn't get to spend a lot of time just the two of us because of his conference. We're headed to the mountains at the end of September for some time away not work related, a belated anniversary trip. The beach was great. You know how the beach is, you step foot on the sand and it automatically causes you to take a deep breath. There is something so breathtaking about God's handiwork. This trip I burst into tears the minute I got on the beach. Overwhelmed with sadness but also with amazement over God's great love for me. A song I've listened to lately says "How could I not trust my King?" I love this chorus because it's so where I am. How could I not trust Jesus? What else is there, really?!? What else could I turn to that would satisfy? Nothing that is eternal....NOTHING!!! So I just run to Him. I fall on Him. I cry to Him. I wrestle with my thoughts "God, can't our life just please be like it was before? Can't you just let me have my daughter here? Please God." He brings me back always to the truth that this is His plan and He will redeem even this great pain for my good and His glory. I really do believe that even though I don't want to. It's just not what I want. I want easy. I want that easy button to push and then I don't have to struggle or experience such intense pain.

I grieve not only for Alaina but for the laid back part of my personality. I was never one to go to the worst case scenario in my mind. Worry and fear were never huge struggles. Now it's an everyday battle. Mary Helen gets a fever and I can't even talk to my Dad on the phone, I have to give the phone to Wendy and let her tell him how much Tylenol to give her. I no longer enjoy going in the kids room at night to check on them...there's always that nervous pit in my stomach before I see they're breathing. If they sleep late in the morning I don't want to go in their room for fear of what I could find. It's AWFUL!! I can't explain how I hate it. The enemy is always there to whisper in my ear. He really is "a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. The thief comes to steal, kill an destroy." BUT, "I have come that you may have LIFE." I do have life and peace and joy in the midst of this battle with fear and unbelief. I'm sure it will get easier but this will probably be a lifelong struggle...a constant surrender every time one of my children gets sick and every time I hear that horrible ambulance siren.

Even though it sometimes feels like it, I know that I'm not the first person to lose a child or go through something so painful. I'm so much more aware of other's suffering. It's everywhere, everywhere I turn...disease and pain and death. I don't enjoy watching the news at all!! So again, how could I NOT trust Him in the midst of living in such a fallen and sinful world?

Holden and Elley seem to be doing ok, although I can tell Holden is constantly processing Alaina's death. He drew a picture of the cemetery and he pointed out "the green fuzzy chairs" we sat in. He hugged me and patted my back and asked "why did everyone hug that way at the funeral?" He remembers so many details, things I never thought would make an impression on him. Thus another battle for me. I lie down and everything is replayed in my mind. The morning I found Alaina, the funeral and days surrounding it...the whole bad dream that I want to forget but can't. I am utterly dependent on Jesus and so helpless at times. I am constantly replacing the awful images with the amazing four years we had with Lew.

Billy is having a "better" week but please continue to pray. I feel very overwhelmed at times about how to "be there" for Billy and the children. I have to lay down the weight I feel of them all needing me as I'm dealing with my own pain.

I'll end with some quotes from a little book I've read....they say it better than I can.

"Grief from whatever source, is a long and painful journey. And, I found, it is full of frightful choices. The urge to retreat into a cocoon-like existence is great, and depression is slipped into so easily. The allure of escaping into busyness or pleasurable fancies also raised its ugly head.

Alongside all of this temptation that would take us further and further from healing lies the sometimes obscure choice of acceptance. Obscure because this path leads into the pain and makes no promise of a quick cure. Instead, it opens the wound to its very depth and applies the healing balm of God's very special grace from the inside out." Verdell Davis, Riches Stored in Secret Places

"Discouragement is a large cloud that like all clouds, obscures the warmth and joy of the sun. In the case of spiritual discouragement, the Son of God, the Lord Jesus, is eclipsed in our lives. Discouragement is Satan's device to thwart the work of God in our lives. Discouragement blinds our eyes to the mercy of God and makes us perceive only the unfavorable circumstances. There is only one way to dispel discouragement, and it is not in our own strength or ingenuity. The Bible says, "Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart:wait, I say on the Lord" (Psalm 27:14) Billy Graham

"No matter what the circumstances, God always has the last word. Always. And it is a word of triumph. There is no death! What joy! For those of us left on earth puzzling it out, ultimately after weeping through the night, we notice that the shades lighten slowly, and sunlight eventually pours in, making the dust motes dance, and making the room habitable once again. The peace of God passes understanding." Leslie Williams

I especially love this one....

"Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. (Luke 6:21) The courage to laugh ultimately rests with our belief in the faithfulness of God. During our grief we will not likely laugh for the right reasons, unless we feel assured that God has a stake in our lives and will come through for us. So then, it becomes our belief behind our laughter that makes the laughter a healing force. God himself has engendered our laughter, and he becomes the divine enabler of our joy.

Robert A. Williams...Journey Through Grief

"Because of the Lord's great love we are NOT consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." Lam 3:22,24

Because of who He is I am not consumed even though at times I feel like it. He brings me back to what is true. Corrie Ten Boom said "We must go everywhere. We must tell everyone that no pit is so deep that He is not deeper still. They will believe us because we were here." Whatever is going on in our lives, He is able. Nothing is beyond His redemption. The challenge is to believe this truth even though our emotions scream the opposite. In spite of my weakness and unbelief, He IS faithful, He IS good, He IS Sovereign, He IS God. I've been to the "deep pit" and He has proven himself faithful.

I thank God for all of you, for your letters and cards filled with kind words and reminding me of God's truth, your messages on my answering machine, your comments on this blog....your taking time to simply listen......Thank you for loving me!


Aimee said...

Hey friend!

I hear ya on the busyness. From homeschooling to Bible studies to just plain grocery shopping and keeping house...I can't believe how the weeks fly by and now summer is GONE!

We continue to lift you all in prayer. You are on my mind often. Lets get together soon. We need to catch up.

Love you!

Amy said...

Hope, I am still praying for you. There are so many random things that happen in any given week that make me think of you and Billy.

Anonymous said...


I think of you daily in your journey. You have always been such an inspiration to me and through this, you have shown such grace and courage. I cry and laugh with you in each entry. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, pain, and trust in the Lord.


Gail said...

Although we are strangers....I feel my heart strings connecting to yours. God Bless you and your wonderful family. What wisdom you are finding. You are one brave woman. A true daughter of God. Keep that chin up and know that you are loved by many. I pray that peace enters every room of your body and soul. My prayer is for your darling, sweet, husband, too.

Danny and Jennifer White said...

I am very encouraged by your honesty.Thank you for sharing your heart with us!

Heather said...

Hope, I had a dream the other night that I called you at 8:28 am our time -- that I woke you up (6 hour time difference) -- and that I felt so embarrassed but that it was so good to hear your voice.
Marc-Andre & I pray for you guys daily. Thanks for sharing your heart. Give Billy a big hug from us.

Lori Ellen said...

Hey Hopey,

I miss you dearly. I know what you mean about the fear and the pit in your stomach that comes with every day things. When mother was first diagnosed, I was still in Oxford. For the first few weeks, my dad called DAILY with more bad news about how far her cancer had spread. I always seemed to be out of my apartment, so those messages were always on the machine. Those messages calmed down once she started treatment, but picked back up again when the end began to draw nigh. That was 1997-1999. It's just been in the last 2-3 yrs that I stopped flinching when I heard Daddy's voice on the answering machine.

You will laugh again! But it's a long and hard-fought road back there. I've always said that a loss like this is something you learn to live with, but never get over. At least that's been my experience with losing mother.

Email me if you get a chance ( We're about to move to a new house. I don't think I have your new address in Cullman and I want to make sure you have my new one once it's official. I know you are probably overwhelmed with people wanting to stay in touch now...but don't forget your old friends in the mix!

You, Billy, your kids, and your parents remain in my prayers!

Love you!

JJMERKEL said...

Hi Hope, it is always good to hear from you. I understand how busy things are for you. It seems like that here too. How does Holden like Soccer this year?
Anyway, we continue to pray for you and think of you all the time.

Love you guys,

The Hannahs said...

You are in my prayers daily.

Shea said...

Hope, it's so good to hear from you. I have to admit that I check your blog daily. I think of you that often and pray for you. God bless you, Billy and the children.

Much love!

stargirl12264 said...

Hope, I'm so glad you're back! I've been worrying about you...extra...more than i normally do. I've asked my sister to ask whoever she knows (a childhood friend of yours and college roommate who now lives in sister keeps her child while she works?!?! hope that makes sense to you...ha!) how you're doing, and she texts me, "as well as can be expected." duh. i knew that already. i'm just really glad you're back. i pray for you and billy and your family DAILY. and i won't stop. you have my word on that. i continue to ask God for strength, healing, and peace for all of you. He's the One to get it from! You'll never know what a blessing you've been to me. Sometimes I feel guilty about what a blessing (in my life) your tragedy has been. I'm sorry for that. I wish I could somehow make it different, but HE's in charge, not me, and trust me, we're ALL so grateful for THAT!!!!! I'd make heaps of mistakes in my first minute of trying to do His job! That's all for kids are getting ready to come back from P.E. I just adore you, and am glad you're back. Take good care of yourself!

Amy R Smith said...

Hi, Hope! Thanks for sharing your life and great faith through your blog. I think of you and your family often and continue to pray for you. What an encouragement you are in the midst of this struggle. I would love to see you and your beautiful family.

In my thoughts,
Amy Smith

Edward said...

Hope-I miss you everyday! I so wish you were still here or I was there to help you with all the little things. I loved my visit with you and I continue to pray for your healing. I know it will be a long journey. I love you dear friend!
Alysia :)

CarolSue said...

Dearest Hope,
Women's Bible Study started last Thursday without you. I will miss you on Thursdays especially.

Thank you for continuing to share your heart and help others who have also gone through deep grief know how it can be dealt with in the victory of the Lord.

I pray that the pain lightens and that you will find new joys and deepen other joys in your life.

You are loved, Hope. Please hug Billy for me and make sure he hugs you for me too!

Laura said...

Oh Hope, You guys are always in my thoughts and prayers. I want, so badly, for it to go away! I remember when you were pregnant with Alaina, and I was pregnant with Cade. Billy called Al and said, "Be glad (Alaina)is a girl because we would both be having a Cade." Al reassured him that 2 Cades would be great! We miss ya'll and we pray for you everyday.

Donna said...

Hey Hope,

It was SOOOOO good to see you guys at the game last weekend. I know I didn't really get to talk to you much, but just to see you was such a joy for me! If ya'll come to any more games, PLEASE come by and eat with us. Know that I am praying for you constantly.

Donna Key

Anonymous said...

I am listening to the Rick and Bubba message Why?
I couldn't help but think that it might minister to you.
Be blessed and know that you are thought of, cared for, and prayed for constantly.

Lindsey said...

hope, it is good to hear from you again. i still think about you and pray for your continued healing. all the thoughts you wrote about are things i have imagined as i've tried to get just a small piece of what it must be like for you everyday. i just want you to know that we have not forgotten you and we continue to fight for you. you are such an encouragement and hope to so many. i hope i get to see you sometime soon. we love you guys.

Kristin said...

Love you, Hope.

Leigh Anne Salter said...

Hope and Billy,
I have been reading your blog since the end of June. Billy will remember me from CO days. Hope, I don't know you, but I am also from Choctaw county, so we are probably related somehow and just don't know it:) I am the sister-in-law of Michelle Breland Taylor. I love your honesty about life. I especially connect with someone who can put into words how my grief feels. I lost my sweet husband March '07. I have three beautiful children, and our lose is great. I am so very sorry for this painful path God has put you on. I have and will continue to pray for your family.God is crazy about you!

Leigh Anne Salter

Jill Williamson said...

so good to hear from you. Billy is on my heart as well. I would love to know some specific prayers to pray for ya'll. I still think/pray for you when I hear a train.

Anothermadhousewife said...

That Corey TenBoom quote makes me cry every time.

I don't think I've ever commented before, but we are friends of Brandon and Christie Mulkey, and I've been reading for some time now. Your family will continue to be in our prayers, Erika and the Whites in AThens :)

Mary said...

Ok I am crying now for your loss and your faithfulness through it all to God, I found your blog on my daughter-in law kathys blog and decided to click on it never realizing what I would read. Your pain and your honesty and trust in Jesus through it all is already a testimony to Gods faithfulness in such a severe trial as losing as child. I am a grandmother of 6 and it pains for me to think of losing my own children much less grandchildren. God bless you and hold you up, He does promise to work all things to the good to those who love Him and I think your blog does that despite your extreme pain and missing such a child. Gods blessings, Mary

Anonymous said...

Hope, I haven't commented on a while. Things are crazy and busy around our house too. But as I read your blog to catch up, I thought about my mom and my losing her. And I so wanted to share this with you--- don't know why, just felt like i needed to say it. I woke up the day after my 23rd birthday at 5:20 to the phone ringing--my dad, hysterical, telling my mom had committed suicide. With God's help I got through that. I lost my dad after a long difficult illness. I always said that I could withstand anything because I had lived through the loss of my mother in the way that I did, and then I became a mother. Immediately my beliefs changed. And I knew that while losing my mother was absolutely heartbreaking, it could not compare to what I would feel if I lost one of my children. I guess I just wanted you to know that it's okay to have those days you just want to cry all day and not get out of bed. Let the kids eat cereal. Put in a movie. They'll be okay. Just give in to your grief and feel it sometimes. It's necessary for the healing. Because after the tears comes the laughter. I promise, the laughter will come. Maybe not this week, or next month, but in God's time, the laughter will come. And God will use you in a mighty way.
By the way, it's no coincidence that your parents named you "HOPE." You are certainly providing so many of us with a hope that we had thought impossible. Thanks, Hope. We love you. Never forget that.
Mrs. Cowan