Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Atchison Update

If you've been reading this blog for a while you probably remember me comparing our pain to an arm or leg being amputated. You use your arms and legs everyday and to be forced all of a sudden to live without them is pretty difficult. It's a long, hard process to begin to adjust. You feel it everyday, the loss. You wish you had your arm because life wouldn't be as hard. So, where are we in this healing process? It's hard to say, but I will tell you that we still have some very hard moments...the ache isn't as intense as it was those first few weeks, but it's still there and I guess always will be to some extent. I still have nights when I don't want to go to bed because I know the battle that is ahead in my mind. I know it will be a struggle when the house is completely silent and I'm alone with my thoughts. I know that if I think about it long enough I will cry myself to sleep. Maybe we're at the point where the bandages have been removed but the scar is right there on the surface for all to see. Sometimes you don't want to "practice" doing things without your arm....you just want to sit and think about how much easier things were when you had it. But God always gently and faithfully reminds you of his Sovereignty and his goodness...and by his grace you choose to continue fighting. He has expanded my eternal perspective and if I keep this before me I can truly have joy. I have a new way of thinking about suffering and trials. When the bible says "Give thanks in all circumstances" and "count it all joy when you face trials" I think it's really saying to shift our focus....I don't think God is calling me to be joyful about losing Alaina, to count it joy that I had to find her that morning...I think He's calling me to look to Him for my joy. To give thanks for who He is in the midst of the most horrible of circumstances...to give thanks that He is mighty enough to carry our burden even though we can't see or feel Him. That He is able to give me faith to believe that His promises are true. Like Billy says, "we're banking our whole lives on this." I'm not trying to make it sound like my struggle is always in this neat little package.... that I wrestle with God and doubt and then he reminds me of what is true and things are better. I DO get frustrated with God. I expect him to make my life easy now that we've been through something this hard....like I deserve it now. I think our kids should never be sick so we won't have to worry...just don't allow anything else in my life to be hard...that's what my flesh screams. But God says in his word that one of the roles of the Holy Spirit is to "remind us of all truth." So I know that when I do have right perspective it's not coming from anything I've mustered up. It's all the work of the Spirit. It's messy, but He always brings me back. It's his job. I've learned to be honest about how I feel and to speak it out loud. God can handle it.

He has given us lots of opportunity for laughter. Billy and I went to Fairhope a few weeks ago without the kids and our camping trip this past weekend was one of my favorites. I am more thankful everyday for the relationships God has given us and for the faithful friends who have "been there" with us and continue to walk with us. We're not alone....I see it as another means of grace that God has provided. Billy always loves to say that life is all about relationships...our relationship with God and relationship with other people. We want to give our lives to these relationships and pray that God will keep before us what really matters and help us not get caught up in the things that don't.

A few things you can pray for us: Alaina's birthday is March 8 and we're trying to decide what that day should look like. I think we'll try to get away and do something as a family.

This Sunday Billy and I are sharing our story with a Sunday school class at First Baptist here in Cullman. This will be my first time to share in front of a group, and most of the people in the class I've never met. Will you pray that God would grant us wisdom with what to share and that it wouldn't be about US. I know the details involve us but I want the story to point others to Jesus. It's not about the Atchisons.

Romans 11:33-36
"Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgements, and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Who has given to God, that God should repay him? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen

Monday, February 23, 2009

This, That and the Other

Just for fun

They've been there in our darkest days

Birthday dinner with Fairhope friends

This little peanut brightens my day

view from my porch...."the heavens declare the glory of God."

Saturday, February 7, 2009

My heart is heavy

I know you've seen this picture here before but it's one of my favorite. The same photographer that took Elley and Mary Helen's pictures back in October lightened this up for me and thought they turned out beautiful..... that sweet, peaceful face. This was one of the last pictures I took of Laina(yes, I meant to leave off the A since that's what Elley calls her) and on this day it was a stress free photo session. We were in Florida with my mother in law and Holden, Lew and Elley were all running around outside by this lake so I grabbed my camera and started snapping. I never told them to look at the camera or smile because it never fails...that always seems to create stress. I just let them "be." I can't say anymore right now, it's just almost unbearable at the moment.

Well, one last thing. To all my faithful commenters, I want to say Thank You! I continued this blog after Laina died because I truly wanted to let you in on this journey. The past few years God has really been teaching me the value of being "real" and authentic (same thing :) This is one of the things I value MOST in others and so I have prayed that God would make it true of my life. So, although it's not about your comments, they really do encourage me. You know what, it's not really even what you say it's just that you take the time to say anything at all...even if it's just "I'm praying" or "I'm remembering Alaina today." What I'm trying to say is that it's very meaningful when you feel like your pain is acknowledged....that it's not forgotten. If I continued to pour my heart out to you and you never responded, well, that would be like me pouring my heart out to Billy and him just staring at me. Does that make sense? So just know that I always value what you say and it means the world to me that you are remembering my family and my Laina.