Saturday, February 28, 2009

February 28, 1998

February 28, 1998

2.28.98 - A date I will forever cherish. Just thinking about the day makes me smile, but at the same time it also brings great sadness. I never imagined I'd be spending our 11 year anniversary alone. Jason and I started dating our junior year in high school. I knew immediately after we started dating that this was the man God wanted me to marry. Oh, how thankful I am that God chose ME to be the wife of Jon Jason Weathers. I will never get over that blessing.

Out of all the firsts without Jason, this has been the toughest. Part of me wanted to block out this day yet I couldn't do it. You see, February 28, 1998, was the happiest day of my life. It was all I prayed and dreamed it would be and so much more. Jason and I wanted our wedding ceremony to be a time of worship and to only glorify our Savior. We wanted every song sang and every word said to be God honoring. I believe that was accomplished.
I remember as I stood in the back of the church awaiting the appropriate time for me to enter the worship center, I truly worshipped as Brett and Alesia Valentine sang "You Are Awesome in this Place." I was totally overwhelmed with His presence at that very moment. As I walked down the aisle and I saw ALL the many people who came to share in this time of commitment to our Lord and each other, I became even more emotional. I held tightly to my dad's arm yet could not wait to get to the alter so that I could take Jason's hand.

Jason joined me with being somewhat emotional on this day. As we said our vows, we both cried tears of joy in that God had brought us together. "In sickness and in health, until death does us part..." Wow. I thought "sickness" was referring to the common cold, the flu, stomach virus, etc. I thought the major sickness might possibly come in our 70s or even later. Leukemia? Never crossed my mind on 2.28.98. Death? Obviously, I never dreamed death would come at 33. I just knew we would grow old together and celebrate this day for MANY years.

As we left the church after my dad had pronounced us, Mr. and Mrs. Jason Weathers, we were both ecstatic. I remember as we drove to the reception we both kept looking at our hands and saying to each other, "I can't believe we are married!" Of course, then we were saying, "did you see...?" "Can you believe ... came?" It was so exciting for us to be at our reception and have so many come in support of our big day. So many that came had a profound impact on who we were in Christ. So many of these same people walked with us through the most difficult days of our life and marriage while Jason battled leukemia.

An ironic part of our day was that one of Jason's groomsmen and great friend, Stephen Hatten, was battling leukemia himself at the time. He had been so very sick and prior to our wedding had gone through a bone marrow transplant. His mom reminded me not long ago of his determination to be in our wedding. He was weak and frail, but he made it. Stephen met Jesus face to face less than 3 months after we married due to a relapse of his leukemia. Even in my pain today, I rejoice in knowing that Jason and Stephen are worshipping our Savior together right and in person!

I opened a devotion book today that I do on occasion and this was the verse:

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-22

This verse just so happened to be one of the verses that Jason and I had chosen for our wedding program. Coincidence? I think not. Here is what followed the scripture:

"Instead of raging against the Lord for the way He manages our lives, let us carefully consider all the benefits He bestows. Take a piece of paper; sit down alone in a quiet spot; write down one by one all the good things - the delights and the pleasures He has made possible for you. List everything - the sound of music, the laughter of children; the sunrise/sunset, the scent of a rose, the clasp of a friend's hand, the loyalty of a dog. If one is honest, there is no end to the list." (Phillip Keller)

Hmmm... a word from the Lord? Absolutely! Yes, our Lord chose to take my Jason home at 33, and I certainly don't pretend to understand His ways. Even still He gives me many things to be thankful the top of my list are the 3 little Jason's that sleep soundly right now. 2.28.98...I never dreamed then I'd be the mom to these precious children. Thank you, Jesus! May I be found faithful to our Lord as I parent them without Jason! So, as I close this 2.28.09, I am very mindful of the great love our Lord has for me...even in my grief. He is faithful. I say this over and over...His grace is ALWAYS sufficient. Today is no exception. " him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus for all generations, for ever and ever!"

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Happy 1st Birthday, Allyson Laine Weathers!

Friday, February 22, 2008, my sister in law, Ashley, drove me to see Dr. Gillespie for my weekly check-up. I went to this appointment with the intent of persuading my sweet doc into letting me have baby Ally that day. Her due date was February 29, 2008. (Funny she was due on leap year! Little did we know what a year this 2008 would really be!) My bags were packed and everyone was on stand-by, including a VERY weak Jason. You see, Jason had finally been released from the hospital after an almost 7 week stay the Sunday before she was born. M.D. Anderson had called on Thursday, February 21, to schedule a consultation visit with Jason for March 2nd. I had just a small window of opportunity to have a baby in all of this craziness! I told Dr. Gillespie of my predicament and his answer was, "let's go have a baby TODAY!" Yea! I walked into the lobby where Ashley waited for me and said, "Ash, we're having a baby today!"

Labor Room 7 was where I was assigned. Seven...a perfect number. Ashley and I called all of the family to tell them I had been admitted. Mrs. Peggy, Jason's mom, was in charge of getting Jason to the hospital at the appropriate time. I had prayed SO fervently that Jason would be able to be there when Ally was born. (Many of you prayed with me in this regard!) God didn't let us down. Labor lasted most of the day, but finally later in the afternoon things began to progress quickly and my mom called Mrs. Peggy to tell her to bring Jason, IF he felt up to it. I wasn't certain he was physically up to it, but exactly one hour before her birth my sweet Jason walked into the Labor Room 7. I was elated and overwhelmed with emotion that he was there! Ally could come. And she did. She was perfect. She was 7lbs and 7oz. Seven...a perfect number!
Jason was the only one to hold her after her birth besides me for a very brief moment. No one would dare ask him to hold her. He just held her and stared at her perfect little face that strangely enough looked just like him and still does! Jason had a little over 2 weeks with Ally before he had to go back into the hospital for more chemo besides a quick 2 day trip to M.D. Anderson. He soaked up as much Ally time as he could. She was just what we all needed. A little bit of JOY.Ally was almost 5 months old when Jason met Jesus. Some days I ponder who I hurt for more...Anna Lea and Jon Brent, who knew their daddy well and miss him incredibly or Ally, who will never have any memories of her own of her daddy. Regardless, how thankful I am that he did live to see her and hold her for even a few months. I am well aware that he could have died during his initial diagnosis and induction therapy. I praise God for each day he had with her. I will tell her one day how he would just sit and hold her and stare into her face for hours and hours. I will tell her that when she was fussy that he would wrap his big arms around her and immediately she would settle down.

It is too soon to know whose personality Ally will have...mine or Jason's. My prayer is Jason's! :) She does look so much like him and I pray each day that remains. That is a gift to me! I know God has to have great things in store for little Ally. I can't wait to see what they are! Sometimes when I look at her I think to myself, she has no idea all that has transpired since her arrival. She has no idea the pain we've felt. She has no idea of all the ways God has showed up and been so faithful to all of us during this incredible loss. All she knows is the love and smiles we give her day in and day out. Of course, she is now experiencing some "no, no, Ally!" :)
So, Happy Birthday, baby Ally! Thank you for being a picture of God's love for us.
I pray you will grow to love our Savior and walk the path of righteousness all the days of your life. I pray you will seek Him in all you do. I pray you will have a deep love for God's word. I pray you would have compassion and show love for others the way Jesus does. I pray you would be content with whatever circumstances come you way. I pray you would love the church as Christ does. I pray you will be gentle in spirit. I pray that you will always have a heart full of gratitude. I pray you would be a woman of great integrity and humility. I pray that your lips will ever praise Him. I pray that you never turn your back on the ONE who died so that we might LIVE! For by trusting in Jesus ensures that one day you will be united with our Savior in heaven and reunited with your sweet daddy. This is a reunion I don't want to miss!

Friday, February 20, 2009

A Rough Week

What a week! Monday night Ally started with the stomach virus and all went down hill from there. Nana (my mom) was the next victim with Jon Brent following. I have felt very uneasy all day, but praying that is all I have. Anna Lea has remained well thus far. Praying that continues. Ally still hasn't recovered fully, but she has started to perk up a little this afternoon.
This was to be a big weekend for sweet baby Ally as Sunday she will turn 1!! (more to come on her birthday on Sunday) The family was going to celebrate her big day Sunday after church, but due to the stomach virus invading our house, I decided to postpone the celebration until next Saturday.

Wednesday afternoon when I came in from school, I had a message from the monument company stating Jason's headstone had come in and had been placed at the cemetery. Whoa. I wasn't prepared for the emotions I would experience seeing this. I am including a picture. I hope this doesn't "freak" some of you out, but I thought some might like to see how it turned out.

This picture was NOT at all staged. Anna Lea was very moved by reading the stone. I included all of our names on the back of his stone, which is what she is reading. She was very proud that her name was on her daddy's stone. I was really just trying to get the stone in the picture and when I got back in the car and flipped through my camera, I noticed her standing in the background of all of the pictures. In case you can't read what I included on his stone besides his name, here it is as follows:

No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life's first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny

I prayed a lot over what should be written. The Lord placed this song (In Christ Alone) in my heart and I thought this particular excerpt was very fitting. We sang this song at Jason's funeral. It is such a powerful song and one that Jason loved to sing as well. Jason truly had no fear in death. Did he want to leave us behind? Absolutely not, but he was never fearful of where he was to spend eternity. A dear friend told me how she loved how when people read this stone they'd have to ask themselves if Jesus commanded their destiny. I love the thought that even years from now, Jason's death could still be pointing others to Jesus! I know that would make him proud.

My heart has hurt this week for Jason in such a real way. I guess no different from any other week, but it has just hurt deeply. Praise God He doesn't hurt for us! I can't tell you what comfort that brings me each day. Heaven...what a gift and a promise! I assure you I couldn't make it one day without the reality of heaven resonating deep in my soul.

Please check in with me on Sunday for a little blog entry on Ally's 1st year! For now, thanks for your continued prayers and encouragement. You'll never know how you all lighten the load with your prayers and sweet words! So, so good for my soul...

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Jesus, I Am Resting

Most of you know how much music ministers to me as I am constantly writing about how our Lord used a particular song to speak to me. There is a song entitled "Jesus, I Am Resting" that I was introduced to many years ago. I loved the actual music so much, but the words are so very rich. I haven't heard this song in quite some time. I recently purchased a new CD and it happened to be on it.

As I was listening to this song again this week, at first I asked myself, "Stephanie, are you really resting in Him?" I begin to think of what the word rest really means in this context. Listen here to the song before you read the remainder of my post. I have also included the lyrics to read.

Jesus I am resting, resting
In the Joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee,
And Thy beauty fills my soul,
For by Thy transforming power
Thou hast made me whole.


Jesus, I am resting, resting
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.

O how great Thy loving kindness.
Vaster, broader than the sea!
O how marvellous Thy goodness,
Lavished all on me!
Yes, I rest in Thee, Beloved,
Know Thy certainty of promise,
And have made it mine.

Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus,
I behold Thee as Thou art,
And Thy love, so pure, so changeless,
Satisfies my heart;
Satisfies its deepest longings,
Meets supplies its every need,
Compasseth me round with blessings;
Thine is love indeed!

Ever lift Thy face upon me,
As I work and wait for Thee;
Resting 'neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus,
Earth's dark shadows flee.
Brightness of my Father's glory,
Sunshine of my Father's face,
Keep me ever trusting, resting;
Fill me with Thy grace.

I decided to look up the word rest in the dictionary. One of the definitions of rest was to be at peace. Am I at peace with what my Lord has done and continues to do in my life? The answer was a resounding YES! Do I miss Jason terribly? Another resounding YES! Do I hurt incredibly? More than I can even describe to you, BUT I am still incredibly blown away at how much love my Savior has for me.

As I write this post, most are celebrating Valentine's Day. Obviously this is not a day I was really looking forward to as it is yet another first without Jason. I would love nothing more than to be celebrating this day with him. However, as I think about this day I can't help but be overwhelmed with the love of our Savior. This song so beautifully talks about how much loving kindness our Lord has for us...broader than the sea. The vastness of the sea sometimes overwhelms me with my eyes, but to think of it in terms of how much our Lord loves!

As I continue to trust Him, I will continue to rest in our Lord as I work and wait for Thee. Even in the pain. My Lord does satisfy my deepest longings. No one else on this earth can. I am certainly experiencing His loving kindness more and more each day. To Him be the glory!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Dream

I thought I'd share a couple of pictures taken recently. I usually do better taking pictures, but I just noticed I didn't take many pictures in the month of January! What has happened to me?

This picture of Jon Brent is just cracking me up b/c poor little guy doesn't even own a pair of blue jeans much less camo until TODAY! (thanks, Ellis Ann!) This picture is for Uncle Scott and Uncle Brad. Let me clarify...Jon Brent doesn't wear girl clothes, but I do dress him in clothes that make him look like a little boy and not a little man! I have nothing against those that dress their children differently than me, but I just like to keep them looking sweet and innocent for as long as I can! Ha! Anyway, as Jon Brent ran through the house with this "get up" on, Brad was screaming, "he's free at last!" Free? From what?!?! Ha!

It is these 3 smiles that keep me smiling most days. Look at 'little Jason' with a
giant red bow in her hair...Ally! Oh, how he'd be so proud of this baby girl!

Check out the way Ally is looking at Jon Brent. She LOVES them both so much. Oh, how I pray
my kids always love each other the way they do now.

This one says it all about Ally! My mom caught her one day
destroying a box of tissue.


I have wanted to dream about Jason since he died. Unfortunately, it has only happened twice.
The first time he was in my dream, but he was silent. He never said a word. He was indeed a man of few words, but FEW is the key...he wasn't mute! Anyway, a little over a week ago the Lord gave me the most incredible dream. I say the Lord gave me because I believe it was a gift from Him!
I can't tell you exactly where we were in this particular dream, but I do know Jason was there. He looked incredible. Jason always had a terrific smile, but this smile was like none I had ever seen before. It was breathtaking. He looked so well and so very healthy. I ran to him and he hugged me so tightly. I just kept saying, "I love you," over and over. He began to tell me how happy he was and that he was doing great. He didn't have to tell me because it was written all over that smile. I couldn't stop crying. The neat thing about my tears is they didn't phase him. He just kept smiling. Some may see that as cold hearted, but to me it was just a reminder from the Lord that even though I grieve and hurt so deeply for Jason, he doesn't grieve or hurt where he is!

Then just like that it was over. I woke up to Ally's cries. Reality hit me square between the eyes. Oh, how I joined Ally at that very moment and sobbed. I didn't want the dream to end. I prayed and begged the Lord to allow me to go back to sleep so that I could dream about him again. It didn't happen, but I am most thankful for this gift. I was so moved by his presence in my dream that I couldn't even speak of it for several hours after I got up the next day.

I don't really know why I haven't dreamed about him more than I have, but maybe one day he'll frequent my dreams again. I always pray that the Lord would rule over my dreams and thought process each night. I have been doing that for YEARS since I was a child and would sometimes have nightmares. My God has been faithful.

One of my friends asked me if Jason had a head full of hair in my dream. I am embarrassed to say, I don't remember his hair! Obviously, he didn't or I think I would have remembered that! HA!!

I love this smile of Jason's in the above picture, but in my dream it was EVEN BETTER! What a gift! Thank you, Jesus!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Warning: My entry tonight is going to be jumbled and probably seem like ramble to you...probably most entries seem that way, but please be aware that I recognize my shortcomings tonight. :)

I am listening to a book on CD right now on heaven. Actually, HEAVEN is the book title. The author is Randy Alcorn. I have really enjoyed listening to this book, but I must admit I have been challenged by it in so many ways. I guess in my mind I have thought heaven was a certain way, but obviously my thoughts were not totally based on scripture. Anyway, this isn't what I am going to write about tonight...that must be saved for a night when I am rested up and I have LOTS of time! I do intend to share my thoughts on the book, but that must come at a later date.

There is one point of this book that I'd like to write about for a few minutes. The author of this book believes that those that have gone before us quite possibly are aware of things that are taking place on this earth. He cites a couple of scriptures to back this up...forgive me for not having those handy, but the CD is in my car right this moment and being that it is after 11:00 p.m., I'd rather not venture to my garage to fetch it.

I have always thought those in heaven couldn't see or know what is taking place on earth for that would cause them pain and there can be no pain in heaven. As I began thinking about this possibility I was VERY worried about the thought of Jason being aware of how I was doing dealing with his death. I became overwhelmed with the thought of him seeing me how I was handling certain situations! Ha! (I am not being totally serious here...I doubt there is time in heaven to know EVERY detail of my life right now, but the Lord may be allowing him to know certain things going on in our family.)

I laughed and told some of my friends/family that if Jason is even somewhat aware of my life he is probably saying, "Stephanie, GET IT TOGETHER! Those are my children you are raising!" Part of my daily grief that I struggle with is how inadequate I feel as a mother right now. Jason and I were a team when it came to raising our children. He was VERY involved in every aspect of their life. Because there are 3 of them and only 1 of me, I feel most overwhelmed each day with all of the day to day responsibilities that come along with raising 3 children... ALONE. Most days I go to sleep feeling very disappointed with myself in the way I handled certain situations with the kids. I beat myself up for not spending enough time with each of them individually. I could go on and on here, but you get the point.

So, I decided after learning that he might be aware of how things are going here on earth that I'd better step it up a notch...for Jason. :) I know of all of my shortcomings without Jason, but I think there are certain things he would be proud of and I decided to make a list. I guess I wanted to make this list just to make me feel better. These are in no particular order.

Things Jason would be proud of IF he was privy to what was taking place here on earth:
1. We live next door to Brad and Sherri. He would have loved that SO very much. I know it has to please him that they are so much a part of our daily lives.
2. Scott and Brad have become good friends who text/email each other regularly. Jason loved both of them so much.
3. Anna Lea and Sherri's baptism had to be a HUGE highlight for him. I remember the day they were baptized and remember not wanting the moment to end b/c if Jason was a part of the "cloud of witnesses..." then I was in his presence. Oh, just to be with Jason again.
4. I have stayed by myself in this house on numerous times and I haven't gotten scared! Jason knew what a chicken I was and this my friends is nothing but a GOD thing!
5. His anesthesia degree that I am anxiously awaiting for its arrival in the mail. I have said this before, but Jason worked SO hard in obtaining this degree.
6. I FINALLY ordered his head stone. I agonized over this decision for so long. This sort of thing would have been very important to him. Those that knew Jason well will understand this.
7. Brad hasn't destroyed all of his things...YET!
8. Jon Brent is more OCD than ever before. This is direct trait of Jason.
9. Ally loves to eat! Jason always thought our other 2 didn't eat near enough and he was right.
10. I have a job. Jason knew more than anyone that all I wanted to do when I "grew up" was to be a stay at home mom. He knew that my major in college was really a Mrs. degree. :) Granted my job is very part time, but baby steps, people!
11. Anna Lea tells me everyday that she wants to be like her daddy. She also told her teacher at school that she wanted to be a nurse b/c that is what her daddy did. That has to make his heart smile.
12. I bought a flat screen tv for the den. Jason had a real LOVE for electronics. He wouldn't be proud of the fact that I didn't buy Sony. He was very partial to this brand. Ha.
13. Jon Brent is FINALLY fully potty trained. I hate he missed that one... BIG TIME. Pardon the bathroom humor, but Jon Brent has a new found love for going to the potty outside. Believe it or not, that would make Jason very proud.
14. I am doing an average job in keeping the checkbook...still a work in progress. I LOVED when I got married that someone would handle all money items for me. I think Jason would be proud of how I have handled MOST decisions. Maybe not the amount of $ I spend on children's clothes, but deep down I know he expects it.
15. The children's education fund that was established in his memory would blow his mind.
16. He would be so proud of all the ways peoplehave served our family since his death.
17. Ally looks more like him every day. I pray that continues.
18. My dad has changed numerous diapers. :) Seriously, I know he must be proud of the ways our family has stepped in and helped in making our life somewhat easier.
19. We went to Destin after Christmas. He loved Destin so much. I visited there right after he died and it was so painful, but this trip was different. Lots of happy memories.
20. We are all STANDING! You may remember from caringbridge that Jason and I had a conversation about 2 months before he died about the possibility that he might not beat leukemia. He was so very worried about me and how I would handle being a mom to 3 without him. He was especially worried about the financial aspect of it. He needed not to worry and neither do I b/c God has been SO faithful.

I could write more, but I'll stop for now. How I wish he was here with me now, but I know his joy is now complete because he is with his Savior. Praise God we're one day closer to joining Jason and our Lord forever!