Anyways, one of my wonderful pastors, Kyle Dunn, ( he was my college pastor, but I continue to listen to his sermons via podcasts and videos... I'm apparently liking 'via' today... so he's still "my" pastor, plus Thatcher liked listening to his sermons in the hospital, so he'll always be special to me now!) asked Eric and I to write a little something to be included in a sermon he was sharing regarding death. If you want to see/hear his actual sermon, you can find it here:
http://www.highlandbc.org/college/sermons/2012/Roots (it's part 5) He asked us to write something so it forced me to sit down and sort through my thoughts and emotions. As much as I didn't want to, I'm glad he asked because it brought some clarity of mind. Since, it's November and everyone is on this "thankful thought a day" kick, I thought I might share with you all some of what was shared with him.
Sooo, here you go
What I’ve learned so far along this unexpected road our family is on is how important it is to be thankful in all situations. During Thatcher’s life and especially afterwards what I have struggled most with is a sense of betrayal. It was such an unexpected emotion but came (still does come, and I imagine it will for a very long time) in huge waves. As awful as it is to have to admit, I felt betrayed by God, partially because I felt I did what was asked of me. I felt the Lord urging us to pray and cover our little baby growing in my tummy so that’s what we did, around the clock. When we found out Thatcher had significant brain damage, and they didn’t expect him to make it through delivery, we didn’t cower in fear, we prayed. After he was born, and the doctors said he couldn’t hear, understand, or breathe without help, we didn’t crumble, we prayed and many of you joined us. After God pulled us out of the mire so many times with Thatcher, why would He just take him one summer Friday night? We did what we felt God urging us to do, so then why take our child? I felt betrayed every time I looked at friends’ pictures on facebook, of their little families, knowing God has promised me a family yet both of my babies are not on this earth. I felt betrayed thinking we had been through enough after losing our first baby to a miscarriage and with Thatcher, so sick with seizures, wasn’t it our turn to experience healing? What is easy to see when the explanations are written, but what was so hard to make myself believe is that my feelings of “betrayal” hold no ground. I have forced myself to declare this over and over but only recently do I feel like I truly believe it. An acquaintance from Baylor lost her brother-in-law suddenly, who left behind 2 kids, and my 2nd cousin and his wife awoke to find their 4 month old baby had passed away to SIDS a few weeks ago. Tragedy happens everywhere, all the time, why did I feel it shouldn’t happen to me? God never promised I wouldn’t go through the fire, but lucky for us He did promise He wouldn’t leave us no matter what we are going through. God is not human, therefore does not think as we do, which I am so thankful for! He does not have silly and fickle emotions that I struggle with every day. My Lord is constant, He is good, He is sovereign; these are the promises I have had to declare on a daily basis. There are some days where I don’t want to believe them, but I know those are just my emotions getting in the way. I know these things to be true, I believe them not just in my heart, but with my life! I know His word is true. I am the one who sways and tumbles, not Him, and therefore I have to believe what He tells me, not what I’m telling myself. His word tells me to be thankful at ALL times, and I have found thankfulness is the best weapon I have against the feeling of betrayal. When I feel myself begin to slip into self-pity and feel betrayed for this road we are on, I pull myself out of my thoughts and begin to list what I am thankful for (sometimes out loud, or written, or just in my head). At first it was only: “the time we got to love on Thatcher” and I had to repeat it over and over. Slowly I have been able to add things to the list, even things I wouldn’t imagine I would ever admit to being thankful for, such as, the way He used Thatcher’s life to bring others to Him. As hard as it is to admit, I know had Thatcher not had so many issues, and not struggled so much with life on this side of Heaven, there would not have been as many people on their knees petitioning the Lord on our behalf, so many others finding God again because of the strength of our sweet, baby boy and his life’s testimony. It has taken awhile, and trust me there are many days I take it back, but I am thankful God used Thatcher to bring people all over the world closer to Him. I am thankful that even though I now struggle with feelings of betrayal, self-pity, anxiety and doubt on a daily basis, my heavenly father is patient and quietly urges me to bring these things to Him. These feelings that I wake up with that could easily throw me into a downward spiral, when I bring them to my Lord and Savior, He casts them out and instead covers me in His peace, and for that I am incredibly thankful. I am most thankful that I know without a doubt my baby boy is exactly where He wants to be, will never know what pain is ever again, and one day I will get to join him again!! God showed me through His word that thankfulness would essentially be “my lifeline” during this part of our journey. Thankfulness has allowed me to cling to Him, to His Word and therefore it has allowed me to hope in a time when I am scared to death. See, there is nothing scarier than waking up, realizing your life is completely turned upside down but you are left to deal with the pieces. Yes, losing our sweet baby boy was the most terrifying thing we have ever gone through, and every experience since Thatcher left us has been and will continue to be bittersweet because he’s not here with us. Life is a daily struggle, but thankfulness has allowed us to pick up the pieces of daily life. So when you go though a fire, as everyone will, whether it be health related, monetary related, or something else, find something to be thankful for. Trust that God is constant and He will reveal things and people to be thankful for to help get you through each day.
PS, I cranked this post out in about 30 minutes and I'm a little rusty with blogging so I apologize if it's full of grammatical and syntactical errors.