A GIFT IS IN THE CHOICE

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Shortly after Jacob passed, I was standing over his tombstone thinking to myself “I cannot believe that my son is in this ground”.  That is a hard thing to reconcile after you were just feeding him his bottle and changing his diaper.  We were just playing airplane for crying out loud!  How can he now be in the ground, no life, no breath?  I was staring at his grave and in God’s quiet gentle way he spoke to me and said “Stephanie,  I so loved you that I gave my ONE and ONLY son so that you may have life”.  WHAT??????  Who in their right mind would choose to give up their son? I would let ALL OF YOU get hit by a bus before I would choose to give up my son.  I’m sorry for the candidness but it’s the truth, right?  Would you?

It was in this moment that I felt the DEPTH of God’s love for me.   He chose to give up Jesus in order to save me.  Making a conscious decision to let your child die isn’t anything that we can fully comprehend and it’s not something that we are capable of choosing ourselves. I am so grateful.  I knew He loved me but I can’t say that I fully grasped how much until I realized what exactly He gave up for me. Think about that for a minute.  Let it soak in.  Most non-believers have issue with this.  They say how can a loving God let His son die when He has the power to stop it.  I get this trust me!!!  More than most others on this planet.  I would not make the same choice!  Hence why I am not God!

So we ask “HOW could He choose this”?  This is the comforting part:  He chose this because He KNEW that it was TEMPORARY and He knew that He would be with him again.  As hard as it is to live on this earth without Jacob, I can be assured that I will be with him again.  We will play airplane again!!!  God’s choice gives me power each day to LIVE knowing that it won’t be long and there will be a reunion.  Think about how fast Christmas comes and goes!  We just celebrated yesterday. Here today and gone tomorrow.

My plea to you or my encouragement to you is this:  CHOOSE TO LIVE until your reunion.  Ask God each day what HIS desires are for you and what your mission is for the day.  Just waking up and getting through another day IS NOT IT!!!!  Live intentionally.  Love intentionally.  Serve others intentionally.  Make a difference.  THIS is temporary.  There has to be a reason for it all right?  SEEK OUT WHAT YOUR PURPOSE IS.  I promise you that it’s not to get up, get kids to school, go to work, come home, cook dinner, clean dishes, get baths, go to bed and do all over again tomorrow!!!

None of us will be forced to choose to give our child up for someone else.  What we do have to choose is to accept the GIFT.  Everything is a choice.  God modeled this for us when He had to choose to let Jesus die for us.  Some say it’s cruel.  I say it’s beautiful.  When you know the pain personally like I do, you realize the great sacrifice that was given on your behalf.  It’s not something that is to be taken lightly.  I pray you choose LIFE, through Jesus.

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Drawing a Line in the Sand

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Ten years ago today at approx. 11:53AM my son left his earthly body and began his journey to heaven. I am convinced that he was hand delivered by the angels! Whenever I allow my heart and mind to go to the exact moment of his last breath, this is the only assurance that brings me comfort. After Jacob’s death, I could barely function. I didn’t eat unless someone was force feeding me, I couldn’t shower without sitting in the floor of the tub and letting the water wash over me. I couldn’t laugh or enjoy anything. I felt so much guilt. I didn’t believe that I had any right to LIVE if Jacob wasn’t allowed to.

My mornings were like the movie “Groundhogs Day”. I had to accept and relive that this was my reality every single morning. It was nothing less than torture. Imagine someone telling you every day for the 1st time each time that your child had died. This is what I lived, as if once was not enough. I would open one eye and plead with God to let it have all been a bad dream. Sadly, it was not.

For a couple of weeks I would get up, grab my coffee, and sit on the couch in the quiet of my house just staring at a wall. No TV, no telephones, no computers, no loud toys, NO BABY BOY! I read a lot. I read about Heaven. I read about dying. I needed to somehow bridge the gap between here and there. It was during this time I became infatuated with Heaven. I daydreamed about going. I would tell Adam all about it when he came home from work. I was so close….the only thing that kept me from it was the religion of my youth that warned me of Hell if I chose that route. I have since realized that was false. So, what did I do?

I woke up one morning and told God in my 5 yr. old bratty voice “I’m DONE! I might not be able to kill myself but guess what? I don’t have to LIVE! I will lie in this bed until the day I die”! I meant every word of it. I can’t explain to you where I was at. There really is a line that people cross, or don’t cross. We are all one tragedy from the brink of insanity! After having my temper tantrum the most amazing supernatural thing happened to me! My legs began to lift me off the bed. I looked at them in amazement and I understood what was happening. God was carrying me. I would have this same tantrum for 3 days and He would carry me for 3 days. I told Him “that’s fine with me because I will just go sit on the couch”. I was so ugly. Thank God that He understands us in these moments. He knows our heart and He hurts with us.

On the 4th day of this routine, I walked into my living room. We had a light colored carpet. God spoke to me and He said very gently “reach down and draw a line in the carpet”. I obeyed Him slowly. After my line was drawn He said “I have carried you for 3 days. I can’t do this for you forever. You have free will and this isn’t living. This is where you have to make a choice. You have to choose to LIVE”. I sat down on one side of that line for what felt like hours. I ran Jacob’s life through my mind, every minute of his 10 months. I thought to myself “Would Jacob be happy with his mommy right now? Is this honoring to his life”? I knew the answer. It was in that moment when I decided to step over the line I began to LIVE again! I’m not going to lie and tell you that I didn’t have to make that choice every day for a very long time. Even today I still do and it’s been 10 years.

When Jesus died on the cross, he REDEEMED death! He gave us eternal life which sealed our fate. Not only did He give us eternal life with Him in Heaven but He gives us ABUNDANT life on earth. This is the FULL GOSPEL. Through grief and loss, the devil will work overtime to get you to not ACCEPT this gift. He wants to bind you up to where you’re not a walking and breathing testimony to the FULL Gospel. We all at some point in this life experience loss. It may be loss of a child, spouse, mom, sister, job, etc. Some choose to ball up in the fetal position and quit living. I won’t lie. That fetal position feels safe sometimes. I just realized that it was wrong of me to allow the devil to steal what Jesus had died for. I felt so much POWER in that choice. I had a purpose and it was to honor Jacob and bring Glory to God through my LIFE.

If you are struggling right now, you too have a CHOICE to make. I ask you…what will you choose? Will you choose LIFE or will you choose death? This is not God’s will for your life. This is not God’s best. There is JOY waiting. There is POWER waiting. There is LIFE waiting. Once you fulfill your life on this earth, then you will be reunited with your lost loved one and all will be HEALED and WHOLE!

Let me know if I can pray for you. Just reply below or follow my blog by email. I pray that you will choose LIFE. This is where the rest of your life begins. Please take a moment and let me know if you made a choice today. It would BLESS my heart to know that this encouraged you.

Much Love- Jacobs mommy

1 Corinthians 15:54-57 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Revelation 21:1-4 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

Hebrews 2:14-15 For as much then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

I STILL FIGHT

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When you lose a child you have a hard time accepting their absence in this present world.  You do everything to keep a part of them here in the NOW!  I remember the morning after Jacob left I had a strong desire to hold his pajamas that he slept in the night before.  I held them to my face forever so that I could smell him.  I searched for remnants of hair or crumbs….something to make me feel he was still HERE!  I left his room exactly the way he left it…..books and toys everywhere.  I panicked when our friends Jay and Jamie went to our home and so graciously cleaned up the house for our return.  Jacob’s bottles were on the kitchen counter and had leftover milk in them.  I planned on NEVER washing those bottles!  A few months later we had the cable man over for some repairs and he went to turn our TV stand away from the wall.  I SCREAMED at him to STOP and he almost had a panic attack.   I had to explain that my baby boys hand prints were there and I didn’t want to disturb them.  That poor man sat there and almost cried.   I researched ways online to pull his hand prints off so that I could keep them forever.  Confession:  I tried what the internet told me:)    I even asked the cable guy if he had any ideas.  I’m sure he thought I was losing my mind…..and I was!  More on that another time.  I didn’t windex the patio door for almost a year because Jacob would stand there and watch his daddy cut the grass.  His little hand prints were all over the door and I would sit at that door and put my hand over his hand and I could swear I felt his presence.  When I finally had to clean the door it was as if I was letting go of him all over again.  I was accepting that he was gone. 

Still to this day, I want to preserve every part of DNA from my boys Matthew and Gabe.  I fight the fear still.  I think “but what if”.  My feisty 7 yr old leaves behind more DNA for me to have to part with!!!  He’s forever leaving his mark.  He is always barefoot and dirty.  He climbed in my car a couple of weeks ago and left his presence there for me:)))  I want to wipe it off but my heart won’t let me.  I have this thought that says “but what if that is the only thing you have left of him”.  DARN YOU FEAR!!!!  I STILL FIGHT!!!  But that is the good news.  I STILL FIGHT!!! I will not give into fear because I know that this does not come from God.  I am to be living in the moment and not thinking ahead or thinking what if.  If I do then I won’t fully LIVE here.  FEAR comes to STEAL. 

I will wipe that footprint off shortly and when I do I will remember that THIS SEPARATION is temporary and I will hold Jacob again and will kiss his chubby feet and his little hands!!!  THIS I KNOW FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO!  Some of you reading may have different views.  I’m not sure how you get through even one day of separation.  My heart aches for those mommies.  If I did not know I would see him again I don’t know that I would have made it one day without him. 

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CHOOSE to learn or teach in EVERY moment!

Today my son played his playoff game and they had to win in order to get to the Championship game.  We’ve had a GREAT season with only ONE loss!!!!  Today we lost the one game that mattered.  It’s a sad sad day!!!  I cannot lie.  We have played for four years and no loss has hurt this much.  I think it’s because I just knew going into today that we would be in the championship.  Boy did God teach me through today’s outcome!  Here is what I learned:

1)  ONE moment does not define you!  A loss or win does not define you….One play does not define you….it’s a series of moments that matter that get you to that BIG game!  All of our choices get us to these moments in life.  We can’t blame one play, one player, one coach for a loss.  If you lose by one point because in the last 10 seconds of the game you fumble the ball, well guess what….had you not let them score on you all those other times and had you blocked the way you should then that one moment would not matter.  It’s the journey that defines you.

2)  We need to accept responsibility!!!  Our society is so bent on BLAMING someone other than ourselves, our child!  We want to blame a coach for the plays that he called…we want to blame a kid for not playing his best…we want to blame a “bi-week” for us being off our game.  We need to accept that we ALL played a part in the win or loss!  A game is not won or lost because of ONE player!  A game is won and lost by the TEAM.  If you don’t block, then he can’t score a touchdown.

3)  Every single moment is a “teachable” or “learning”  moment….good or bad!  I hear people say and see people post “you learn more through a loss or through tragedy”.  I disagree!  EVERY single moment is a moment to learn something!  If you win then you learn about being humble and about hard work paying off.  You learn that pride will try to rise up and you learn to use the gifts and talents that God has given you.   If you lose then you learn about character and about how to adjust your “game”.  You learn to not blame and to accept!  You learn that you need to get better!  Saying that you learn more through loss is a cop out!  Don’t ever accept LESS THAN the best!  Choose to learn no matter what.

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stopping the disobedience TODAY!!!

It’s been 2 years since I started this blog!  Today is my first post since….I have disobeyed God so many times that I cannot tell you.  He has urged me to sit and write, to share what He has put on my heart.  Why have I disobeyed?  Well, because honestly, it’s hard to write about what He wants me to.  It’s bold, it’s heart wrenching, it’s dangerous….someone may not like me!  Someone may have a different view/opinion.  But you know what…..it’s okay.  I have come to the conclusion, and I have accepted that we all arrive at different times and that God shows each of us things in His way and in His timing!!!  I just have to be a voice and allow Him to use me.  So…..that’s what I am going to begin doing.

Now, one disclaimer…..I have friends of OTHER faiths!!!! And I hope that you do as well!!!   I love them!!!!  I hope that my friends will not avoid my blog because it’s coming from a viewpoint that they may not believe in.  My blog will be filled with LOVE, ENCOURAGEMENT, MOTIVATION, AND POSITIVITY!!!!  I do believe that Jesus saves and that He is the way but I also respect others views and feelings and opinions….I ask you to do the same.  If you know of someone that can benefit from my post, then please share with them.  I want to be a LIGHT and I want the world to know that there is HOPE & HEALING!  There is also MUCH VICTORY!!! 

Love each one of you!