Sunday, April 26, 2009

Long time no blog...

Long time, no blog because of:
wedding fun!

Lindsay, Anna Lea and Jon Brent prior to wedding

all the cousins at rehearsal dinner for Haley and Daniel

Jon Brent, Haley and Anna Lea at rehearsal dinner

all the cousins at Haley and Daniel's wedding

It's been over a week since I visited therapy here on my blog. Not necessarily because I didn't need it, but really because things have been SUPER busy the last 2 weeks. Jon Brent and Anna Lea had the incredible honor of being in 2 weddings over the last 2 weekends. The first weekend was Jason's first cousin, Lindsay and her groom, Robert. The second was my sister in law Ashley's brother, Daniel and his bride, Haley. Both weddings were beautiful and we felt blessed to have been a part of both. I must confess it is a little stressful when your kids are in a wedding. My fear was that my sweet little innocent children (Ha and bigger ha!) would somehow ruin the big day! God is good...and prayers were answered...along with a bribe of a brand new bike if they did exactly what they were supposed to do! Sorry to those who disagree with bribing your children...sometimes it is necessary and usually always works. :)

Last Monday after Lindsay and Robert's wedding and a week before Haley and Daniel's wedding, Ally started to run an unexplained fever. At the time of the onset of fever she had no other symptoms other than the fever. No out of the ordinary fussiness which usually signals to me an ear infection. I don't think I mentioned this in previous entries, but 2 weeks before she did the exact same thing. So, when the fever returned so quickly I began to panic. Now, let me explain...

Fever in one of my children prior to Jason's illness would have never greatly concerned me, but since we discovered Jason's leukemia by an unexplained fever, I must confess I now have great anxiety anytime the thermometer says anything over 100.6. Monday's fever shook me to the core. Fear totally overcame me. I was scared and anxious to the point of feeling paralyzed. I called my dad and thankfully he answered. My mom had gone out of town for the day and I just needed to express my concern to someone. Immediately when I heard his voice on the phone, I fell apart. He reminded me that I was drawing conclusions to something that wasn't necessarily there. He was right, but I was scared. Really scared. I started feeling like I did the days leading up to Jason's official diagnosis. My mind was going places it shouldn't be going. I wanted to cry out to the Lord, but I literally felt paralyzed.

Fear is a crazy emotion we experience. God's word tell us many times over and over not to fear. I was in sin that Monday. I allowed thoughts in my mind that I should have taken captive to the Lord. A few minutes after I called my dad he called me back and told me that my pediatrician would be calling my cell soon. That's what dad's do...they fix things for their children! He was trying to 'fix' this for me. My sweet pediatrician did call about 5 minutes later and instructed me to come in right after lunch. He calmed me down some and told me that he would do a CBC (complete blood count) just to ease my fears.

One o'clock couldn't come soon enough for me. He examined her and said her ears were perfect, but her throat was a little red. He thought for sure this was something viral again, but a CBC would be done to rule out what I was fearing the most. As I waited for them to draw her blood and then wait for the results, I held her and thought to myself, "how in the world will I get through this if my sweet baby Ally has abnormal blood work?" Satan was having a hay day as I had given him a foot hold into my heart and mind. The lab tech could see the fear in my eyes and she tried to calm me down. I apologized for being so fearful. She knew that Jason had died of leukemia and she completely understood how I could be so apprehensive over an unexplained body temperature. I watched every move she made in the lab with Ally's blood. Unfortunately, I had seen this process way too many times. I knew exactly how long it would take to get results. I knew how she would put the blood in a machine and after a few minutes a report would come out of the printer. I watched that printer like a hawk. I saw her look at the results and immediately she looked at my with a smile..."she has plenty of platelets and she is not even close to being anemic!" Low platelets and low red blood cells, which causes anemia, often can mean something is seriously wrong with the blood.
"PRAISE JESUS, " I said out loud! As I drove out of the parking lot, I was still so emotional, but this time I was grieved with how I must have disappointed my Savior on this day. Worry and fear had consumed me. I was quickly reminded of the passage of scripture in Philippians 4.
"Don't worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable- if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise- dwell on these things."

NO thought I had that day fit any of those criteria set in Phillipians. The peace of God couldn't rule in my life that Monday because neither my heart nor my mind was being guarded by the Lord. Oh, how I confessed this to Him and pleaded for forgiveness. My God is good and always faithful. Why did I doubt for one second His love for me or His faithfulness? He has been nothing but faithful over the last year.

I have been told by several individuals that what I experienced last Monday was common for those who have just lived through what we've lived through, however, I SO wish I would not have allowed fear to dictate my heart and mind. Leukemia has changed me, but I don't ever want it to grip me like it gripped me last week. I am so incredibly thankful for God's word. I am so thankful for my Savior's unconditional love for me...even when I am in sin, He loves me with an unbelievable love.

I do feel as if my Lord is in the process of healing my broken heart, but I still have moments of incredible sadness because my sweet Jason is no longer with me. I do know this for certain...I am still holding on tightly to my Lord and PRAISE Him, He is continuing to hold tightly to me! Tonight as I was doing prayer time with Jon Brent he prayed a very simple prayer. It went like this:
"Jesus, I miss my daddy. Will you tell him hey? Amen." Of course, tears fell from my eyes immediately, but when I looked at Jon Brent, he was smiling. I have no idea whether or not if a greeting from Jon Brent will be given to Jason by our Lord, but I know this...Jon Brent was smiling. A smile as if to say, I miss my daddy, but Jesus can make it better. Oh, the faith these precious children of mine are teaching me during this time. Tonight I will learn from Jon Brent...Jesus, I trust you as I know you can and will make it better! To You be the glory!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Trust in the Lord

Our pastor and his wife Kimberly are currently in the Ukraine right now where they are in the process of adopting 4 children. One day last week he stated on facebook that he was studying Proverbs 3:5-6 and planned to preach on this passage when he returned. Several people commented (on facebook) that this was their first passage of scripture to memorize. I was one of those individuals, however, I had to put it to music in order to learn it when I was a child. My mom discovered quickly when I was young that I could learn lots of things if she would just put it to music, including how to spell my name.(Don't make fun...Stephanie is a long name!) Anyway, jokingly I told our pastor, Tony, that I'd teach him the song so that he could sing it to the church in his sermon. :) Anna Lea overheard me telling someone about this and volunteered her services.

She actually learned this song not long ago as we were on a plane travelling to Naples. She was quite apprehensive because of the turbulence we were experiencing. Anna Lea loves music and because of this I was able to calm her down by singing this song in her ear. She picked up on it quickly and has sang it MANY times over the last year. Often we would sing it together while Jason battled leukemia.

I thought you might enjoy hearing her sing the scripture. She is quite proud of this as well. :) I've realized I'll need to teach her lessons of humility in the days to come...

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6

Sunday, April 12, 2009 a new light

Last year Jason and I spent Easter Sunday in Forrest General receiving platelets as he had just received a week of chemo the week prior. His platelet count had bottomed out completely and waiting until Monday was not an option. He felt horrible and we were both emotional and very much on edge all morning. (A regret of mine, but that's for another entry.) He was frustrated that he couldn't be with the kids on Easter as it was Ally's first. It certainly didn't rank as one of our favorite Easter's. This year was different for us both.

I thought about last Easter a lot today and all that has changed since then. I thought how I wished Jason could be here to celebrate our risen Savior and then I realized he is celebrating our risen Savior like never before! As I have contemplated the cross this week I have once again become more in awe of the love our Father has for us. I have worshipped the Lord this week in a way I never have. I have felt His incredible love in a way that still boggles my brain at times...not to mention my heart.

"Death is swallowed up in victory." "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15...this entire passage has taken on a whole new meaning this Easter. He has swallowed up death!

I shared these verses of scripture with Anna Lea as we were getting ready for church. I reminded her that because of our Lord's great love for us He sent His only son to die, but not only to die, but to be raised up on day 3 and conquer death once and for all. She asked me what the word conquer meant. Before I could even finish she finished for me. "Mom, because He died, we can see daddy again." Yes! Amen and amen, Anna Lea! She gets it. Do you know how that thrills my soul? Now, if I could just get Jon Brent on the same page! :) In time, I know.

My God is good. Although I miss Jason more than words can adequately express, my soul has experienced healing. I am so incredibly thankful.

Lord Jesus, thank you for the cross! Thank you for what you are doing in my heart. Lord, may I always be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that if I remain in you, your labor is not in vain.

P.S. How perfect is it that Allyson Laine Weathers took her first steps today? Such a sweet Easter in SO many ways! To Him be the Glory!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I am blessed

Friends have always been so important to me. I am so incredibly blessed to have so many great friends who have certainly gone above and beyond over the last year. This group of GIRLS is no different! Meet Mary Margaret, Kaysha and Amy. We were all apart of a supper club (with our husbands) for many years here in Hattiesburg. We have so many wonderful memories together and thank the Lord we continue to make them. The Lord has carried each of us in different directions over the last several years which caused great sadness yet excitement as God's hand has led each of us. Amy and Scott moved to Midland, Texas, where he is on staff at a church. Kaysha and Hal left Hattiesburg for Kansas for Hal to attend medical school. The Lord has recently moved them to Birmingham for a continuation of school. Mary Margaret and Tim are still hanging with me in Hattiesburg and boy am I thankful God has left them here! Jason loved this group of friends so much and was always wanting us to get together more than our schedule allowed. This past weekend the girls met in Birmingham for a wonderful weekend of shopping, eating, laughing, crying, praying, more laughing and more crying. It was medicine for my soul. We also got to take in a Broadway show...WICKED. It was fabulous!

As we sat around this weekend we were able to share all that God was teaching us in the season we were currently in. It was very overwhelming to hear and see all God had done in each of our lives over the last several months. Once again I was able to see God's faithfulness. His hand was evident. There has been pain, disappointment, fear, loss, bitterness, forgiveness, happiness, and JOY. None of the paths He has taken us down have been easy yet in EVERY situation His love and hand was evident. A love that truly never lets go even in the darkest of times.

These girls will never know how "held" up I feel while in their presence and for that I am so blessed. I just wish we could get together more often. So, thank you sweet friends for the incredible weekend. Thank your sweet husbands for the sacrifices they made to make it happen! (We have 12 kids between the four of us!)

Thank you to my parents and Jason's parents for carrying the load while I was away. Once again...I am blessed to have such amazing support around me right now. My family AND friends amaze me more and more everyday. Our God is good to provide these relationships! Oh, how I pray I can be even a small blessing in all of their lives for all they have done for me...they'll never know fully.