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When Mama Loses It CV Lay-Off Day:32

When I was a new mom, I promised myself that I would not use the term, “shut-up” when disciplining my children. And then, one day, I took Justin and Sarah to ROSS; they were probably around six and four years old at the time. As I turned for a quick second, Justin and Sarah decided that it would be fun to hide in the middle of the racks of clothing. When I turned back around, they were gone. My heart dropped as I called their names until I heard a familiar giggle. In the blink of an eye, my fear turned to anger. I grabbed my purse, took their little hands, and marched them directly out of the store and to the car. As I worked to buckle them in their seats, they began to protest and whine. I slammed their door, got in the driver’s seat, and shocked all of us when I yelled, “SHUT-UP!”

I was devastated. I did exactly what I didn’t want to do; I lost my temper and used the very phrase that I had worked so hard to avoid. Once we were almost home, I apologized to Justin and Sarah and asked them to forgive me, to which they readily offered me grace.

When our daughter was nine, the Lord added to our number, and our third child was born. After Sammy, we had two more boys, Luke and Josh. Let me just say, having three boys back to back is much different than having one boy and one girl. My boys’ energy is off the charts; they wrestle, they’re loud, and I’m not even shocked when another something gets mysteriously broken. Although I have been a mother for twenty-three years, I still face some of the same challenges that I did as a young mom. 

My husband and I often say that this parenting gig is not for the faint of heart; it’s the hardest and most rewarding job you could ever have. At this time, two of my sons are struggling with anger rooted in the loss of their big brother. It’s quite a challenge to deal simultaneously with discipline and grief. The best thing I can do is pray and ask God for wisdom beyond my years and for eyes to see how to best minister to their little hearts.

Sadly, I lose my patience more times than I care to admit, and “shut-up” still erupts from my lips before I can stop it. In such times, the apostle Paul’s words deeply minister to my weary soul, 

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV

Isn’t that a beautiful truth? We boast in our weakness, for there, His strength is made perfect. Now that’s a good word. 

Until tomorrow,

Missy

p.s. Dear Mama, if you are feeling discouraged and worn out, here’s one of my favorite songs by Andrew Peterson, “Be Kind to Yourself.” I hope you love it as much as I do. 

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Tender Mercies in the Morning CV Lay-Off Day: 26

This morning, the birds serenaded me out of bed extra early. Grabbing my Bible and journal, I crept downstairs. After opening the blinds by my favorite blue chair, I headed to the kitchen for my first cup of coffee. None of this is ordinary, because 99% of the time, Tim wakes up first.

I had just a few minutes in the Word before I heard movement upstairs. Soon, our resident early riser, Luke, joined me. As he snuggled in next to me in my chair, his little hand started caressing the onion skin pages of my Bible that lay open on my lap. With his raspy morning voice, he began asking me questions about the Bible and what I was reading. After answering him, I asked him if he’d like me to read Psalm 18 aloud. With the shake of his head yes, I told him,

“This is a Psalm from King David.”
“King David? Who was he?” he asked.
“Remember David; he’s the one who fought Goliath?” I replied
“Oh, yeah.”
“Well, this is a Psalm he wrote. ”
“David, Luke David,” he said.
“Right, we named you after King David, Luke.”
“Why?”
“Because David was a man after God’s own heart, and that’s what we are praying for you.”

As I proceeded to read Psalm 18, he let out a contented sigh and snuggled in a little closer. There it was, that was the reason I awoke so early. It was for that sweet connection. Because a short while later that morning, Luke’s beta fish (who he talked to every night) died. And then to make matters worse, his turtle bit him drawing blood.

Typically, these two things together would have ruined his day. Because since losing Justin, little losses are expressed in considerable ways. But this time, while he was initially quite distraught, the day was not lost. To my surprise, after a short time, he moved on and enjoyed the rest of the morning.

My prayers are being answered right before my eyes. I am witnessing the Lord healing my little boy’s heart. And on this Monday, that gives me every reason to smile.

Until tomorrow,

Missy

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-24 ESV

 

 

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Operation Keep Mama Sane: CV Lay-off Day:13

It was meltdown central at my house today. Tears were abundant, emotions ran high, and this mama right here was on the verge of losing her ever-loving mind! 

I have a feeling I’m not the only one experiencing this craziness.

In all seriousness, it was a tough day. We started off on a good trajectory, but with each outburst, my patience dwindled, and I grew more irritable.

You know the old saying, “You can catch more flies with honey”? Well, there’s a Proverb that says it even better, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1)

I feel like I need to plaster that verse all over my house, right. Ultimately, I need the Spirit to give me the grace to respond with gentleness instead of reacting out of my irritation.

Because on our very worst days, I want to point my boys to the Lord who is “merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” (Psalm 103:8) Yes, that entails appropriate discipline, and it also means I need to make adjustments given our circumstances.

I learned the saying, “improvise, adapt, and overcome from my husband, who served in the Air Force. I think it’s time I improvise with a new plan for our week to adapt to our “Stay-at-Home” order. Hopefully, together we can overcome serious cranky grapes!

So, to boost morale around here, I think it’s time we lighten things up and have a little fun. Here are ten ideas I’d like to implement over the coming days.  I’ll let you know how it goes, the good, the bad, and the ugly. 🙂 


Operation Keep Mama Sane:

  1. Suprise the boys and set up our long folding tables on the back porch and enjoy lunch with a different view
  2. I found a sidewalk chalk recipe that looks super easy. We have cute silicone fish-shaped molds that should work perfectly. You can also use empty toilet paper rolls for bigger pieces. 
  3. Walk our neighborhood as a family 
  4. Visit the cemetery. I know that sounds a bit bleak, but the boys love it there, and it’s part of our new normal.
  5. Make a large sign to hang over our garage to cheer our neighbors on their daily walks
  6. Play a round of laser tag in the dark 
  7. Have a jumping contest on the trampoline, who will last the longest? That oughta wear them out!
  8. Play charades 
  9. Spend an evening around the firepit
  10. Make cards for Grandma and Nana

What about you? What seems to be working (or not) at your house? 

Listen, we’re all in this together, and there is much grace to be had. Mama, take heart; God sees you. He understands how your discouragement and exhaustion. Friend, it won’t always be this way, He will see us through.  

Until tomorrow,

Missy

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Grief & Thankfulness

An Unlikely Combination

Since the beginning of November, the act of having a thankful heart has been at the forefront of my mind. I have pondered and wrestled through some deep waters trying to figure out how to change the trajectory of my less-than-thankful heart. Circumstantially, day to day life is complicated.

We are almost 16 months out from losing Justin and every day presents a new normal. Waves of grief come crashing in with little to no warning.  One moment I am laughing and the next second a dark cloud of sadness makes an unplanned visit.  My heart aches as I witness my children grieve the loss of their big brother and my husband lament for his firstborn son.  Consequently,  superficial thankfulness is not an option.

A few weeks ago, I began asking God to help me to have a heart filled with praise and thanksgiving. Each day, I have attempted to be intentionally thankful. It’s been a  struggle because my prayers and praise felt hollow, and lacking in fervor.  One morning,  I read Psalm 103:1, Bless the LORD, O’ my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!  You know it never occurred to me that King David exhorted himself to bless the Lord with his entire being; this right here, this is what I want!

A few days later I read Psalm 118:1, Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever. I thought, okay, my heart can relate to this; I can praise the Lord for his goodness. And, the fact that his steadfast love endures forever totally amazes me. A little while later, I pulled up Strong’s Concordance and what I read next, BLEW MY MIND!

Give thanks (3034) ) to throw, shoot, cast 1a) (Qal) to shoot (arrows) 1b) (Piel) to cast, cast down, throw down.”

What?!? I promptly called Tim out of his office and practically shouted the definition to him. How have I never heard this before? I mean, do you see what I see? I love the picture of throwing down arrows of thankfulness. Doesn’t this give “Girl, we gonna throw down” a whole new meaning? HA!

Admittedly, that morning, I was excited about my discovery, but when the afternoon showed up, fresh waves of grief appeared, and my enthusiasm came to a grinding halt. Later, I asked the Lord about that, wondering how to maintain thankfulness within sorrow and suffering.

Today, I think I got another portion of my answer. It is entirely possible to be thankful for the more trivial things in life because every good and perfect gift comes from God. But, the deep abiding thankful and praise filled-heart which every believer longs for ultimately comes from remembering our redemption, the beautiful Gospel. When I recall how he called me out of darkness into his marvelous light, it is then my heart brims with joy. When I consider how God called me, a marginalized and selfish teenage girl to be His child, I am overwhelmed by his grace and mercy. It is here I can throw down arrows of praise and thankfulness and say, “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” 2 Cor 9:15

I’ve learned something new. Genuine praise does magically appear on our lips; the transforming work of the Holy Spirit produces a heart filled with gratitude and thankfulness.  Therefore, the fastest way to true thankfulness is to preach the Gospel to ourselves. It’s that beautiful truth which enables me to lift my eyes heavenward and throw down those arrows of praise to the King of kings and Lord of lords!

With this in mind, I am holding the Apostle Paul’s words close to my heart:  For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39.

Forever held in His grip,

Missy

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Walking Through Grief

Our bedroom has a revolving door most mornings; today was no exception. Joshua, our youngest, climbed into bed with us after a middle of the night potty accident. He gives the sweetest wake-up calls, usually greeting me with a hug around the neck and multiple kisses; first my cheeks and then two more, one for each closed eye. He finally makes his way out of our bed, and I breathe a sigh of relief as I hear his little feet padding down the stairs to see his Daddy.

Moments later, again the door opens, and I spy our sleepy-eyed Sammy boy, he’s nine-years-old, and a notorious cuddler. He melts into my arms, and I kiss his little cheeks say, “Good morning, Buddy.”

While he lies next to me a moment longer, seven-year-old Luke makes his effervescent appearance, throwing on the light while simultaneously releasing a newly captured butterfly into our bedroom, where I am sure it still hiding. After yelling, I mean telling Luke to turn off the light, I call him to me and greet him with his morning hugs. He melts and breathes an audible sigh of relief as I rub his hair and say, “Good morning, Lukie-bug.”

It’s 7:00 a.m., and it’s time for me to start the day. The big boys head downstairs, and I pick up my phone. My heart freezes as I read the devastating news, sweet friends lost their baby girl this morning. Tears pour down my cheeks, and I pray for them, pleading with God to comfort them and to be near. I feel entirely inadequate to write anything of worth that might be of help to this dear sister. It doesn’t matter that I am a Mom who lost their child, there are just no good words.

Heavy-hearted, I willed myself out of bed and went downstairs to help with breakfast preparation. I couldn’t help but think of the first hours we found out we’d lost Justin. I remember the peace within the chaos, the whirlwind of emotions, the disbelief that he was gone, and the dear people who surrounded us. I shared the news with Tim, and we took a moment and prayed for their sweet family, again, with fresh tears. Oh, God, please be near to them.

Breakfast prep was underway; two were having Malto-meal, one wanted cold cereal, and of course, everyone wanted eggs. One of our boys who has been having an issue with a quick tongue landed himself in time-out after making a snarky comment to one of his brothers. Said child has a sharper wit than I could ever dream of having; no doubt he inherited it from his Daddy.

Finally, we all sat down to breakfast and thanked the Lord for our food and a new day. It was a relatively peaceful meal, indeed a gift. The boys went out back to play, and Tim and I shared our morning cup of coffee together. Oh, how quickly the times passes once we sit down together. Before I knew it, it was time for him to begin his work day, He has a whole 10-second commute since he works from home. With a kiss and a hug, I am on my own.

I get the boys situated and do a rare thing; I started a movie for them at 9:00 a.m. We haven’t begun our school year yet since it’s only the end of July; when we still lived in Texas, I usually started after Labor Day. I am not sure when we will start-up again, most likely mid-August. Honestly, I can hardly remember our last school year; it’s all a fog. I limped through every single day, and by the grace of God, we survived. Throughout this last week, I made a little progress and started cleaning out our homeschool closet, have mercy! All of that to say, they watched a movie so that I could savor some time in the Word, in the end, this small act produces sanity for this Mama. Today, I am thinking on Isaiah 2:22, ‘Stop regarding man in whose nostrils is breath, for of what account is he?’ This truth speaks volumes for my desire for approval. It’s all vanity, for man is merely like me, we each require the same air to breathe, and we will all answer to our Maker one day. I write in my journal, ‘Self, keep your eyes on Jesus and off of man.’

Well, the boy with the quick tongue landed himself in time-out again. He cheered when his brother fell, because, in his words, he was angry with his him and he deserved it. Once his time was served, we talked. We talked about Jesus’ words, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Incidentally, this is the same child who asked me earlier this week if there was a “special pill” he could take so he could be kind to others. I tried hard not to laugh at that one. In the end, I told him Jesus is the answer, always Jesus. Afterward, he shared with me how he missed Justin and lamented how everything was more fun with Justin. Oh, how right he is. I told him I missed him too and agreed with him, yes, everything was more fun when Justin was with us. We ended our conversation with a hug and both of us determined we would figure out how to have fun without Justin. Because, well, there’s no other option.

As I sit here and write, I am aware that my to-do list is ever-increasing;

  • There’s an unpleasant odor wafting in from the garage; one our boys unplugged the extra freezer in the garage sometime earlier this week. Although my awesome husband emptied the contents of the freezer last night, the stench remains, and I need to find a remedy for that horrid smell.
  • Oh and earlier this week, Tim noticed our kitchen island is rotting at the bottom, most likely from past water damage. I can hardly wrap my mind around that one. That is a massive project, and we neither have the emotional or financial resources for such a thing right now. Help, Lord!
  • Not exactly abnormal for me, but this morning, I had to rewash a load of the boys’ clothes that sat in the washer one too many days, I must remember to transfer that load!
  • And, speaking of laundry, the basket of clean clothes needs to be put away today. It has been sitting there for days, at least they’re folded.
  • Our downstairs bathroom is a terrifying place to walk into right now because it’s frequented by three little boys with very poor aim; a hazmat suit might be in order.

All of these things are typical for running a household; except when you are walking through grief. The most mundane task seems to take every ounce of energy I possess. It reminds me of the time I went to on a mission trip to Mexico for spring break my senior year of high school. We were camped out in tents in this big and beautiful open field. The first day was lovely until it started raining. Soon the vast expanse turned into one massive pit of mud; when we tried to walk anywhere, our shoes became one with the earth as they were promptly suctioned off of our feet. Walking through grief feels a lot like that spring break trip. I declared I would never go back to Mexico; God had other plans for me; a different story for another day.

It’s noon now, and I need to get lunch started. Which reminds me, I have no idea what we are having for dinner, but I better decide soon. We have had a reasonably peaceful morning. I only had to break up a few arguments, and I issued less than five time-outs; that’s a win and boy, do I need a win.

Before I forget, I am transferring that load of laundry, now!

Forever held in His grip,
Missy

 

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The Kindness of a Stranger

Forty-eight Saturday’s ago, unknowingly, I said my final goodbye, and I love you to Justin Paul Linkletter. Today is Saturday; I cry a lot on Saturdays.

We live in the desert and only get rain a few times a year, today the rain arrived, and we all celebrated. Along with the rain came a cloudy sky matching my mood perfectly. Before I could open my eyes this morning, I was overwhelmed by sadness. I whispered a prayer for help; another day with a heavy heart is much to bear.

Late into the morning, I realized I would need to make a run to the grocery store. Throwing my hair back into a ponytail, I quickly put on a t-shirt and jeans, and washed my face. I drove in a fog of deep reflection filled with thoughts of how much our lives have changed.

It was a busy Saturday at Walmart, and I finally found a parking spot in the last row. Making my way to the entrance, I saw a man with a table decorated with American flags. I gave him a quick smile with a quiet hello. Once in the store, I hurriedly gathered what we needed and paid for our groceries. I was out of the store in record time.

Again, seeing the American flag-man, I walked over to his table. When I looked into his eyes, I was overcome with emotion. I began to thank him for his service but unexpectedly through tears, I told him what a patriot our Justin was. In my mind’s eye, I envisioned all the American flags hanging on the wall of his bedroom. Thusly, the words were tumbling from my mouth as I shared how much he loved our country. I tried to compose myself, but instead, I heard myself telling him how we lost Justin last July. To my surprise, he moved from behind the table and stood beside me. This kind young man put his arm on my shoulder giving me side-hug and went on to tell me how sorry he was for our loss. His compassion deeply touched this grieving Mama’s heart. Surely, his simple act of kindness was a reflection of God’s unfailing love. For, He knows what we need and when we need it. (Incidentally, I never did find out what organization the kind flag-man was with.)

Plodding through grief feels a lot like swimming upstream; it is physically exhausting and the emotions are seemingly never-ending. There is also a spiritual component at play. My faith is being tested daily, and I am forced to examine each thought in light of the Gospel. Otherwise, despair may have its way with me. Therefore, Ephesians 6:16 is a continual encouragement to me, “In all circumstances take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one.” 1 John 5:4-5 compliments this passage well, “For everyone who has been born of God overcome the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world, our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except for the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” Keeping this in mind, I cling to the Gospel and ask the Lord for the strength to hold up my shield of faith. He’s never disappointed.

The loss of Justin is heart-wrenching and filled with hurt. The ache is crushing, and through it all, the Lord in His tender mercy faithfully sustains me. It is most tempting to avoid pain, but it is through that very pain that the roots of our faith deepen. The LORD is surpassingly greater than our greatest loss.

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, He is with me. His rod and His staff they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4

Forever held in His grip,

Missy

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Trusting God in Suffering

It was a few weeks after the accident and our pastor came to our home to spend some time with us. My mind was grappling for answers and our lives were in a whirlwind of chaos. Luke sat with Tim and I for several hours as we shared our hurt, pain, and confusion. I remember pulling out my Bible and opening to one of my beloved passages of Scripture from Psalm 91:14-16:

Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. When He calls to me I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.

In tears by this point, I shared that I felt like maybe God was angry with us and wondered if losing Justin was a punishment of some kind. Why didn’t he keep Justin safe, why didn’t he give Justin long life like Psalm 91 talks about? Did we, his parents, do something wrong? The inner turmoil that I felt was nearly unbearable because every single criticism I ever received as a mother was playing on repeat in my mind. My fears and insecurities were raising their ugly heads shouting at me and telling me that I failed Justin because I didn’t keep him safe. I remember Luke looking me in the eyes and confidently telling me that these thoughts were lies from the evil one. He said that the actual word Satan means accuser and that he was “sataning-accusing” me. He went on to remind Tim and I of the character of God and the beautiful Gospel of Jesus Christ. Oh, how we needed that fresh infusion of truth.

We are now 10 months without our dear Justin. The last two months have been laced with much heartache and trial. There have been several dark days filled with grief added with financial pressures and the everyday stresses of raising a family. Once again, the accuser whispered his lies; “God’s forgotten about you, He’s angry with you, etc.”. On one of those days, not too long ago, I hid in the bathroom for a moment and in tears asked the Lord to please bring us relief because it was just too much to endure. Later that morning, he met me with his Word as I was reading through Mark 1:9-13;

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him.

I read it once and then I read it again; Jesus was being baptized, the heavens are suddenly torn open, and God the Father is proclaiming, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”. Immediately the Spirit drove him out into the wilderness and for forty days he was tempted by Satan. Do you see it? He was not in the wilderness because he had done anything wrong, the Father was well pleased with him. It was His good plan all along, what a paradox!

And just like that, in a matter of a few moments, my heavy heart was lifted; my despair was replaced with hope. I practically ran into Tim’s office and showed him the passage in Mark 1. I confessed that I had been listening to the lies from the pit of hell and he rejoiced with me as I told him how wrong I had been for entertaining such thoughts. As I write, I am reminded how faithful God is and how much I love his Word, what treasure we find there! I love how it is described in Hebrews 4:12, “The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Through the Word, the Lord in His kindness, revealed the contents of my own heart and showed me my error. I must not lean on my own understanding or allow my emotions to navigate through grief; I must look to my God and his Word. In the early days after we lost Justin, my emotions were raw and although the lies were not matching up with my theology, they nearly over powered me. While in the throes of trials and suffering, it is tempting to live in the emotion, but it is imperative that we press into Jesus and cling to the Gospel, for there we find unwavering hope. We must search the Scripture to know the character of God in order to combat the lies whispered to us by the enemy of our souls.

Every day, I am learning to trust the Lord in new ways. Our external circumstances remain the same, but my hope is anchored in the Lord. There is no peace like the peace that God provides.

Forever held in His grace,

Missy

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There Will be a Day

Nine months is quite a significant number to any mother. I carried Justin, our firstborn, to full-term counting down the days with eager expectancy. I spent numerous hours preparing for his arrival and tried with all my might to imagine what it might be like to be a mother. While I was full of anticipation to meet him, I was also petrified that in some way, I would ruin him. I eagerly listened to radio programs like Focus on the Family, I searched the Scriptures with a new set of eyes for wisdom, and asked as many questions as I could think of to other Mom’s that seemed to know what they were half-way doing. In the early days of his life, my biggest prayer was, “Oh dear Lord, please don’t let me mess him up!”. Truth be told, nothing fully prepares you for motherhood until you are holding your precious little one in your arms and an unstoppable bond transpires.

In the same way, nothing prepares you for your child’s death until you are walking in that very reality. For nine months, I have struggled to adjust to Justin’s absence. In this journey of grief, sometimes it’s the simple things that are the most difficult to bear. I look at his empty chair that sits at our dinner table and I am reminded of the many conversations and outbursts of laughter that once filled that space. I see his portable speaker and immediately can hear the music that once played at its highest volume faithfully blaring throughout our home while he sang out tone-deaf at the top of his lungs. I gaze at his enormous whiteboard etched with co-worker’s names, Scriptures, and beautiful truths and my heart brims with both joy and sorrow. With a grateful heart, I remember that no matter what went on during the day, there was always an “I love you” at the end of the night. I still smile when I think of my twenty-year-old son tenderly saying, “Night, night, Mama. I love you.”

Justin was quite taken with Heaven and talked about it often. I remember him repeatedly exclaiming, “Won’t Heaven just be wonderful!” or “Aren’t you excited to go to Heaven?” I confess that my reply was not at all elegant and I would usually say, “Yes, Justin, Heaven will be so wonderful. But please stop, you are freaking me out. I want you around for a long time.” We cannot go back and change the past, but I do wish I would have breathed in those specific moments with him and lingered there. It is obvious that the Lord in His kindness was giving him a glimpse of eternity. I do not beat myself up over such things, but I do take note of my limited understanding.

Now, I am no longer “freaked out” by one of my children contemplating Heaven, I welcome the thought of how glorious it will be. Justin had it right, his hope was anchored for what is to come. Now more than ever, I long for the day when He will wipe away every tear from my eyes and death will be no more. Gone will be mourning, sadness, and pain. The striving will be no more, and I shall see my Savior face to face. I will touch his nail scarred hands and my eyes will see what my heart has believed! “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12 There will be a day that I am reunited with our dear Justin and we will worship the Lord together. I am certain that I cannot begin to imagine the pleasures of Heaven, but oh how it fills my heart with great joy to think on such things.

As for now, in the waiting; gone are the days when tears were a rare commodity, now it seems I have an endless supply that flow freely from my eyes showing up whenever they please. I am no longer alarmed by their presence, in truth, I have become so accustomed to them gliding down my cheeks that I am convinced that one day, I will have permanent grooves as a remembrance of what once was. I do not loathe these tears for I am reminded that “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” Psalm 51:17 To this I say, Come soon, Lord Jesus!

Until that day,

Missy

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Cultivating a Heart of Wisdom

So teach us to number our days that we might get a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

For the last decade, I have plastered this verse on note cards, I have written it in my journals, it has been highlighted, hearted, and underlined. I have held this Scripture so dear because I wanted to remember how fleeting this life is. Looking back, I am beginning to understand why the Spirit fervently impressed this truth upon my heart.

When Justin was ten-years-old, and Sarah was eight-years-old, my husband began talking to me about the idea of homeschooling, I was not at all interested. At the time, it felt like such a radical move. In deepest recesses of my heart, I felt completely inadequate for the task and I danced around the subject with Tim for quite some time. Through a series of events, the Lord got my attention and confirmed that He was calling me to quit my part-time ministry job and enter the land of homeschooling. I was totally overwhelmed, but the Lord gave me the courage and strength for each task that He called me to. I am not implying that working for a ministry or sending our children to public school was wrong nor am I suggesting that homeschooling our children made me some “super-hero mom”. The Lord called our family to something else for His purposes. Incidentally, our school days were less than ideal, and my weaknesses did not suddenly become my strengths, but He sustained me.

Looking back, my heart is filled with thankfulness and gratitude because now I can see what a gift that the Lord gave me, time. My shortcomings and lack of what I felt I needed didn’t matter; He knew the number of Justin’s days. The Lord graciously allowed our family to spend an amazing amount of time together making Justin and Sarah best friends. That treasured time allowed Tim and I to pour into both of our children before their three-baby brother’s arrived onto the scene. We enjoyed a sweet like-minded fellowship up until Justin’s final days on this earth.

And now, having tasted the bitterness of death, I truly know what a vapor this life is. With absolute certainty, I recognize that this battle we fight to hold fast to what is good is not in vain. The battle I speak of shows itself in a hypnotic melody that threatens to slowly lull us to sleep with simple distractions and misplaced affections on temporal and worthless pursuits. For the glory of God and in His grace and strength, we must stay alert, guarding our hearts and minds closely in order that we do not waste our allotted days on this earth.

I pray that Psalm 90:12 will be forever branded upon my heart in order that I might be transformed by its power to spend my days wisely. I see with clear vision the blessings that the Lord has entrusted to me. Firstly, I think of my husband. Often, I look into his gentle eyes and realize how thankful I am to be married to my best friend. He has a beautiful gift enabling him to see the big picture in ways that I never can. The Lord has used him to teach me think more deeply and to camp out and wrestle with difficult truths mostly likely preparing me for such a time as this. We have been given a beautiful daughter who is full of life, wit, and insight, with an increasing love for the Lord. Lastly, we have been blessed with an additional three sons who promise to keep us young for many years. Their lives are full of wonder and mischief and their tender hearts toward the Lord is a delight. Therefore, I must stay vigilant, even amid my grief, for each one of these are precious gifts and I do not want to squander one day.

To this I say, “Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!” Psalm 15:1

Forever held in His grip,

Missy