Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Because of Christmas...

I spent this morning at Forrest General E.R. with Jon Brent and Ally. Not because of any emergency, but because they both started running a fever during the early hours of the morning. Ugh. Our normal pediatrician's office was closed today due to it being Christmas Eve. I chose to go to the E.R. due to the fact of a dear friend who works there and she assured me we'd be in and out quickly. I wanted to get the kids started on an antibiotic ASAP!

As I waited for the doctor a perfect stranger walked in the exam room. She was from the business office and was just doing her job by making sure all information in the computer was correct. For some reason, it wasn't noted in the Forrest General computer system that Jason was not living. I quickly informed her that Jason died in July here in this very hospital. I must admit that I was a little frustrated over having to go into this with her, but quickly my attitude changed. The kind representative began to apologize over and over. After getting the pertinent information and signing all necessary forms... by the way, I think I have signed these forms enough because of Jason that I could sign them perfectly on the designated line with a blind fold on! Anyway, as she left the room this Forrest General employee said, "Mrs. Weathers, it's because of Christmas that you'll see your husband again!" Wow.

A truth I knew, but at that moment I needed to be reminded of it. Throughout today I have thought of that statement,"It's because of Christmas..." Although in many ways I'd like to totally skip Christmas this year, it is because of CHRISTmas that I CAN press on during this nightmare I am living. It's because of CHRISTmas that He has brought me HOPE of a future that is to come! It's because of CHRISTmas that Jason and I even ever got together almost 16 years ago. It's because of CHRISTmas that we were blessed with these precious children. It's because of CHRISTmas that I am blessed to have such wonderful friends and family encouraging me through this journey. It's because of CHRISTmas that we all have Easter. He had to come as a baby so that one day He could die as a man on a cross. Not only would He die, but He would raise again so that DEATH was forever conquered. What a God we serve! So, it IS because of CHRISTmas that one day not only will I see Jason again, but I will see HIM, the King of Kings and Lord and Lords and spend all of eternity with them both.

Dear ones, Merry CHRISTmas! Although this season is most difficult for me, I am so thankful that it does take place. I pray you and your family have a most blessed CHRISTmas! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your love and support. May God bless you all!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Birthday, Anna Lea!

December 21, 2001, at 10:53 p.m. Anna Lea Weathers made her grand appearance. I know every parent says this, but Jason and I were SO very thrilled at this blessing that arrived in our life 7 years ago today. She was everything we had hoped and prayed that she would be. I remember Jason praying with me as we drove to the hospital early that Friday morning and the excitement is his voice over the upcoming birth of his daughter could not be contained. Most of you know that Jason was pretty even kill most of the time, but he was so thrilled. After all of our family left the night she born, Jason and I just held her alone together thanking God for this precious baby girl. I remember Jason holding her in his big strong arms saying over and over again, "I can't believe she's mine!" And was she his! She was the spitting image of her daddy when she was first born. Jason and Anna Lea had such a close relationship. I wish I could fully describe to you in detail the love he had for her and it was so evident in so many ways, but I could see it in his eyes. I could see it each and every time he looked at her. She was his Anna Bug which later he shortened to just Bug. I can't believe 7 years have come and gone. Anna Lea has brought so much JOY to our lives and I am so proud that the Lord has allowed me the opportunity to be her mom.
I woke up this morning with such a heavy heart since Jason was not here to celebrate her 7th birthday. Not only was he missing her birthday, but something even more exciting and special. Anna Lea was baptized this morning in church and my dad had the honor of doing it. Oh, how I pray the Lord allowed Jason the opportunity to view her baptism from heaven. Almost 2 years ago, Jason and I had the privilege of leading Anna Lea to the Lord while sitting on our couch in Naples. It was such a holy moment and one that I will forever cherish. Jason and I had both prayed FERVENTLY since the day Anna Lea was born that she would choose to follow Jesus. I am so thrilled that she has chosen Jesus even at this young age and pray she'll continue pursue Him with her whole heart for all the days of her life.
Another REALLY exciting thing happened today and that was Sherri (aka ReRe) was also baptized. How special for the two of them to be baptized on the same day! It is so incredible for me to see all that God is teaching Sherri and I am so thankful that she too wants to follow the Lord. God is so good. Jason loved ReRe so much and I know he would have been beaming with JOY today to see these two following Jesus TOGETHER.

God is good and continues to be so faithful to our family. It has been a hard day, but good all in the same. I know there are many more of these days to come, but how thankful I am to have Jesus gently holding me through each one. I found it appropriate that the last song we sang today was, "Lord, I'm Amazed by You." I do stand amazed. I pray you do the same this week leading up to Christmas.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Busy Few Days...

The last several days have been incredibly busy. The busy weekend actually started on Thursday when we woke up with SNOW in Hattiesburg. I am not sure if I totally believe this global warming thing because it has snowed in the 'burg twice in 2008! I am guessing we won't see snow for another decade now.

Anna Lea turns 7 on Sunday, December 21st. We celebrated a little early on Friday with her first slumber party. Whew... I am still tired! I have included some pictures below of some of the excitement.

Snow in Hattiesburg...
Anna Lea 's snow DUCK that she built with Uncle Brad!

Our house after some of the snow started to melt

Uncle Brad and the kids in their "redneck" snow attire...garbage bags!

The SLUMBER party...
Lots of giggles and screams...oh, to be 7 again!

Anna Lea and Jon Brent's gingerbread house

Sweet baby Ally
Even with all of the busyness of this time of the year, I still find myself missing Jason so much. Sometimes I think I am taking steps in the right direction toward healing only in the next moment to feel like I have taken two giant steps backwards. I guess that is all part of the grieving process. As I have said before, grieving is such a tricky process.
Sundays are one of my hardest days. I think I have shared this before. This morning as I was getting dressed, I was totally overcome with emotion. I have this drawer in my bathroom where I have placed some of Jason's cologne. I was putting something else away and came across it. I rarely open the drawer. I took a quick sniff of the cologne he wore most of the time and just became so very sad. At that moment I just wanted him here with me. I began to cry and even began to cry aloud to the Lord. More like shouting with tears. Was I mad at God? Not at all, but I just felt the need to speak loudly. I am certain He could have heard my heart even without words. Let me say this again, I have never been angry with the Lord for He is the ONLY constant I have in my life. How could I be mad at the person that is carrying me daily if not second by second? Within seconds of my breakdown with God over why this had to happen, I felt His presence. There was His peace. The peace that passes ALL understanding.
For me when I am at my lowest, praising God in song is so very comforting and helpful. I turned on my IPod while I attempted to re-apply my make-up. The song that came on was Sing to the King. God has a way of providing just the right song for me at just the right moment!
For His return we watch and we pray...we will be ready the dawn of that day...We'll join in singing with all the redeemed...Cause Satan is vanquished and my Jesus is KING!
Those few words helped me put my grief in perspective. The King will return for me! This hurt and pain I am experiencing will be NO more. We WILL sing with ALL the redeemed and that includes my sweet Jason!
Tonight as I was checking my email, I had received a forward of one of Beth Moore's entries to her blog. I usually read her blog because in case I haven't mentioned it before, I am a HUGE Beth Moore fan! :) The forward couldn't have come at a more perfect time for me. I am going to include a portion of what she wrote.
Girlfriends, Jesus is so worthy of our trust no matter what has taken us by surprise. Picture that, when the enemy asks for a little extra access to you, the only reason why God may have given him permission is because He knew you'd prove faithful. Do the thing. In the unseen realm, angels are cheering and demons are jeering. You are in the stadium and the bleachers are full. (Hebrews 12:1) Take one for the team if you have to. Be strong and courageous. Be willing to show people how it's done. Don't look for a leader. You are the leader. People are looking to you. Be deliberate. Make sure they see Jesus. We're not here all that long and then there's BLISS. Forever bliss. (Beth Moore)
I love the last statement so much that I am going to write it out again..."We're not here all that long and then there's BLISS. Forever bliss!" This promise from the Lord is what keeps me going day after day. I pray it does the same for you, however, I also pray that because of this most difficult journey that I am on will only point others to Jesus!
May this suffering not be in vain, oh Lord! To YOU be all the glory for you are so worthy of it all!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

It's All Yours, God

I did something today that I never thought I'd be doing at this phase of my life. This afternoon I took Anna Lea to pick out something for Jason's grave that had a Christmas look to it. Today as we walked the aisle of the store looking, Anna Lea would blurt out, "mom, this would look good on daddy's grave." We got a few stares. I tried to shh Anna Lea because I hate to make people uncomfortable. I am sure it must have been an awkward moment for a couple of shoppers who were close enough to hear Anna Lea. It isn't everyday that you see a young child picking out something for their daddy's grave at Christmas.

As we drove away from store and headed to cemetary Anna Lea asked me, "mom, why did daddy HAVE to die?" She has asked me this many times before, but as it does me, the question obviously lingers in her mind. I usually try and give her the "church" answer..."God chose to heal him by taking him to heaven - God is in control - He is receiving the glory because of it -we may never know the real reason, but we trust Him..." She got none of those responses today. My response this afternoon was simple, "I really don't know, Anna Lea."

I really don't know nor do I pretend to know why God would see fit to remove Jason from this earth. I don't know why he didn't see fit for him to be able to raise these innocent children. I don't know why he didn't allow Jason to graduate from Anesthesia school when he was literally months from finishing. His ways and thoughts are so much higher than mine. I have to wake up each and every morning and tell myself, "Stephanie, God is sovereign and you trust Him!" Sometimes I have to tell myself this several times a day.

As we left the cemetary I had the radio on a Christian radio station. The song Yours by Steven Curtis Chapman was playing. I wasn't really paying attention to the song as I have heard it on numerous times. As the tears flowed, I heard new lyrics to this song. Many of you probably remember that he recently lost his daughter in a very tragic accident. Apparently after the death of his daughter, he wrote new lyrics for the end of the song. Read below...

I’ve walked the valley of death’s shadow
So deep and dark that I could barely breathe
I’ve had to let go of more than I could bear
And questioned everything that I believe
But still even herein this great darkness
A comfort and hope come breaking through
As I can say in life or death
God we belong to you.

How I wish I could write like that! It's like he has read my prayer journal...
The song goes on to say:

And it’s all Yours God, Yours God
Everything is Yours
From the stars in the sky to the depths of the ocean floor
And it’s all Yours God, Yours God
Everything is Yours
All the greatness and power, the glory and splendor and majesty

God It’s all Yours, God (all gifts are Yours)
It’s all Yours, God (all our dreams are yours)
It’s all Yours, God (all our plans are Yours, God)
It’s all Yours, God (this whole earth is Yours, God)

As I have hurt today not only for myself, but for so many others facing such loss and pain this Christmas season, this song was a gentle reminder of our reality. The reality is that this earth is not ours. Our family is not ours. Our homes are not ours. Our dreams, plans, material possessions... ALL belong to Him. We are but a vapor on this earth and Praise God this is NOT it! There is something far greater for us beyond this life.

I belong to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I am His. That is such an overwhelming thought. He is with me even now in my deepest despair. I pray I never get over that amazing reality.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Before I begin with about what I intended to write about, I thought I'd share a few of the snapshots that I attempted to take of the kids after church today dressed in one of their Christmas outfits. Usually I would choose to only share the GOOD one(s), but tonight I decided to share some of the good ones as well as the not so good ones. I know many of you can relate to what it's like to try and get 3 kids to cooperate for a picture! I hope you enjoy...

He wanted some M&M's.

Jon Brent was done!

He was trying b/c I threatened him, but it didn't work...

Jon Brent decided he wanted to take a pic...he did good!
I am totally exhausted right at this moment after having had some very dear friends spend the weekend with me here in Hattiesburg. I have referred to them on this blog before, but let me refresh your memory. S.L.A.M. is what we named ourselves in junior high. It was cool then, well, maybe not, but we thought so anyway. :) Laney lives in McComb, Amy lives in Clinton, and Macy lives in Memphis. It is always a big undertaking to find a weekend that we can all escape our daily lives and be reunited. We have been most fortunate to be able to gather twice since September. I can't tell you how good it is to spend time with these friends.

(me, Laney, Amy, Macy)

We usually laugh so much that our sides hurt and this weekend was no different. Last night we sat around my kitchen table and the laughter subsided for a while and these great friends just let me talk and mainly cry. And they cried with me. This particular 'cry fest' began by one simple question and that was, "what is the hardest thing you struggle with right now?" Loneliness. I try so hard to stay super busy during the day... well, let me re-phrase that...I AM super busy during the day with 3 kids- no trying required. I dread the night time routine with a passion without Jason. Once the kids are in the bed, I miss Jason so badly and feel so very alone in this house. As I shared my hurt and struggles with them last night, they did exactly what I needed them to do and that was listen and cry with me. No advice or words of wisdom was needed. Their mere presence was the only medicine I needed. I have been so incredibly blessed to have such an amazing group of godly friends for so many years, but especially during the last year. I pray that one day I can minister to them the way they have all so willingly ministered to me in my greatest time of need. So, thank you girls for sacrificing time away from your family to be with me. Thank your sweet husbands for being super dads this weekend so that we could be together. The laughter was SO incredibly good for me as well as the tears. Also, thanks to Jason's parents and my parents for taking such good care of my 3 for the weekend. The date has been set for our next reunion and I am already looking forward to it!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Good Day

Bailey, Ross, and Jon Brent

Haley, Mrs. Mangum and Daniel
(Ashley's future sister in law, her grandmother, and brother)

Sweet Baby Anderson

Mr. Wayne (Ashley's dad)

Melinda and Nancy
(Ashley's mom and my mom)

My mom, dad, Scott, and Ashley

Brad, Sherri, and Mrs. Debbie (Sherri's mom)

Scott and Ashley

Anna Lea and Ally

Mrs. Peggy, Bailey and Mr. Jon Mark

Well, I made it through yet another first without Jason. I imagined that Thanksgiving Day would be much harder than it was, but it really was a good day. Obviously, there were moments where I felt so lost without him, but overall it was a good day. Thank you, Jesus! I know it was His grace that got me through it. As always, He provided my 'daily bread.'

We decided several weeks back that we needed to change up our normal Thanksgiving tradition in hopes that it would make the day more bearable. I am so thankful that we did. Usually we would eat lunch with Jason's side of family and dinner with my side. I decided to have both Jason's parents and my parents for lunch at my house, as well as the siblings, etc. Don't get too impressed... I did NONE of the cooking. I told everyone I would provide the tea and the rolls. Easy enough! Everyone else brought the food and it was perfect.

Everyone stayed all day and we even warmed up the food again for dinner. I was SO thankful that everyone stayed to keep me busy. Being alone is never good for me right now especially on a significant day. The more the merrier for me. :)

This weekend as we began decorating the house for Christmas, my soul longed for Jason even more than I thought possible. I know my God will continue to be faithful to me and once again see me through this season.

Thanks for walking this journey with me...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Giving Thanks

Last Thanksgiving none of us knew it was our last with Jason. Even though things will be SO different this year and we certainly have experienced such a huge and tragic loss, I still want to give thanks to our Lord for His many blessings.

I am so very thankful EVEN in my great loss. Today I give thanks for my Savior, who has sustained me in both the good and bad days. Today I give thanks for His sovereignty. I don't have to understand His ways, but I give thanks that I can trust Him even when I can't see His plan. Today I give thanks that Jesus conquered death once and for all and that because of that truth, we all will live FOREVER with Him. How that promise gets me from one day to the next without Jason! Today I give thanks for Jason. I give thanks for the 16 years I had with him. I give thanks for our children. Oh, how I treasure them more and more each day!

I give thanks for my entire family. They have certainly done so very much in helping me get through this very hard year. I give thanks for 2008. It most definitely hasn't been the year that I had hoped for, but to God be the glory for all He has done because of Jason's leukemia! I give thanks for His church. Not just Temple, but I give thanks for the entire body of Christ. I give thanks for the opportunity to see the church be the church during this valley. I give thanks for my friends. I am so blessed to have such wonderful friends who have served me in so many ways this year. I am in debt to them all for a long, long time!

I could go on and on, but instead I will include Psalm 138. It sums up my heart on this Thanksgiving day.

I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart; before the "gods" I will sing your praise.
I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.
When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stouthearted.
May all the kings of the earth praise you, O LORD, when they hear the words of your mouth.
May they sing of the ways of the LORD, for the glory of the LORD is great.
Though the LORD is on high, he looks upon the lowly, but the proud he knows from afar.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes, with your right hand you save me.
The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O LORD, endures forever— do not abandon the works of your hands.

Finally, I give thanks for YOU! You will never know how your words of encouragement and prayers have carried me through some most difficult days. May God bless you all!

Give thanks to the Lord! His love endures FOREVER!

Monday, November 24, 2008

I plan to write more this week about the Thanksgiving season, which seems to get overlooked because of Christmas, but tonight I wanted to share a couple of pictures of my pilgrim and Indian. :)

Jon Brent had a Thanksgiving feast at his preschool where he got to dress as a pilgrim. He really wanted to be spiderman, but I didn't think that was appropriate. He still doesn't understand why he couldn't be spiderman. Notice Ally has on Christmas pajamas. (I am guilty of overlooking Thanksgiving, too!)

Anna Lea was an Indian and they made their costume at school. Kentucky Fried Chicken was the menu at their feast! So precious. We had great fun making a turkey for an art contest at her school. I didn't have a clue what we would we possibly do with this large Mickey hand when it was given to us at Disney World... the end result... a turkey!

Now, here is the real TURKEY...Brad! Just kidding. This picture was taken recently and I just wanted to share. I love these two more than I can say. So very thankful for their love and many sacrifices they make for me and the kids. More to come...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


A week ago today was Jason's birthday and I must tell you it was such a rough day for me. I hurt so deeply and so badly wanted Jason here with me on this earth. I wanted to look into his eyes and tell him Happy Birthday. I wanted so badly to sit with him and fill him in on all that has transpired in the last 4 months. I wanted him to walk through the door and greet the kids the way he greeted them each day after returning home from work or school. The weather was so very gloomy on his birthday and that was exactly how I felt. Gloomy and so very sad. I was overwhelmed once again by the all the words of encouragement I received on that day through phone calls, emails, text messages, messages on this blog as well as facebook messages. However, the day just seemed to drag and feel...heavy. I could not wait until November 13 arrived. And it did.

On November 13th the sun was shining so bright and the sky was clear blue. Thank Jesus! I packed and cleaned all morning getting ready for Disney. I had prayed the night before that somehow the Lord would allow me to be genuinely excited about this trip. He once again was faithful. I woke up Thursday a.m. really ready for this trip. We flew out Thursday afternoon with 3 VERY excited kids. I think Ashley and I were just as excited as they were! Speaking of Ashley, let me just take a moment and thank her in this setting. Ashley hates any attention so I know she won't be happy with me about the next couple of sentences. This entire trip was Ashley's idea and provided for by her. She called me several months ago and surprised me with the idea. I was overwhelmed then and I still am overwhelmed at her love and generosity. I wish I could adequately express to you how very special Ashley is to me. I pretty much hand picked her to be my sister in law. :) (Scott, you know you can't argue with that statement!) I SO badly wanted to have a sister growing up and God blessed me BIG time as an adult to have 2 absolutely wonderful sisters in law who have become my best friends. I am so thankful for both of them. Anyway, the fact that she provided this trip for me and the kids is just who Ashley is... so giving. Giving, but she NEVER seeks the applause of others because of that giving spirit. You see, Ashley learned this trait directly from her parents. They also are SO giving to me and to my family.

Disney didn't fail us, it truly was a magical time. It has always been a favorite place of mine and Jason's, but it will now hold such a different place in my heart because of what it did this visit. For 5 days I was happy. Really happy. We talked of Jason a lot, but all happy memories. No leukemia memories. Oh, I can't tell you what that did for me. God used Disney to give me HOPE of what was to come. (Yes, you read it correctly... God used that possible? Some Southern Baptists would disagree with me!) Through this trip the Lord provided me hope for having true JOY again.

Grief is a tricky and rough process. Some days are easier than others. Let me back up and say some moments are easier than others. Some moments I smile/laugh and others I cry... A LOT. Some days I wake up ready for the day while other days I think, "there is no way I can make it today." Some nights I fall fast asleep while other nights I cry myself to sleep for missing Jason so much. The last 5 days I was able to have joy. Yes, I missed Jason tremendously, but for 5 days I had what I would call a reprieve from the heaviness of grief that I have experienced over the last 4 months. I guess it was more like a break from my reality. I can't tell you how thankful to the Lord I am for this break and glimpse of joy.

Recently I read a devotional by Beth Moore that spoke of this very thing. Allow me to quote her directly so not to mess up what God was saying through her.

"Joy may seem to pause as grief takes its course, but those whose hearts are bound by Him will experience it again." She then quotes Jeremiah 31:3-4. "You, O Lord, love me with an everlasting love; You have drawn me with loving kindness. You will build me up again and I will be rebuilt. I will take up my tambourine and go out to dance with the joyful!"

What a promise our Lord provides! I must admit when we landed in Atlanta for a quick lay-over Monday night, my reality hit me square in the eyes and the pain returned. I know this grief is for a season and one day I know He will rebuild me and allow me to be joyful again. The joy He will bring will last for more than 5 days, too. In the meantime, I am most thankful for the break He provided and for the HOPE I have as to what is to come. I will continue to allow Him to heal my broken heart in His time. I continue to lean hard into Jesus knowing His ways are perfect and that He is good.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Just a sample of the fun...

Just a sample of some of the fun we had in Disney. More to come, but tonight I need REST! Disney is NO's WORK! Anyway, I plan to write more tomorrow about the last week and post a few more pictures. Thanks for checking in with me. To be continued...