Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Happy 4th Birthday, Jon Brent

Four years ago tonight sweet Jon Brent Weathers was preparing to make his grand entrance into the world. I woke up around 3 a.m. that Saturday, May 28, because I couldn't sleep as I was most uncomfortable. Shortly after I awoke, I realized that it was time to head to the water broke! I woke Jason and told him that it was time to go and his response was, "are you sure?" Of course I was sure! At 7:53 a.m. Jon Brent arrived! So perfect with such pretty lips and his daddy's nose. Actually, everything about him looked like Jon Jason! See for yourself:

We were so very excited that God saw fit to give us this beautiful baby boy. Jason was most proud to be a daddy to a son and immediately began calling Jon Brent his buddy. He really was the most perfect baby. He would just sit and look around as if to be taking the world in around him. It wasn't until he was about 9 months old that his real personality started to shine. His expressions were and continue to be so animated and his love for life is HUGE. He is somewhat sensitive and can become emotional if/when life doesn't go his way, but he gets that honestly from me. He is much like his daddy in that he loves order with his things. He likes for everything to be in their place. Even when he eats a snack he sometimes will line the food on his plate in perfect order. The older he gets, the more he looks like Jason. What a blessing! He does have my brown eyes, but all other features are more like his daddy's. One of the most unique traits of Jon Brent is his voice. He only knows one volume and that is LOUD! Jon Brent lives life LOUDLY! Jason was much like this as well...ha! Those that knew Jason well know that is a joke for sure.

Lots has happened in the life of this sweet little boy over the last 4 years. A move to Naples, Jason's diagnosis of leukemia, a move back to Hattiesburg, the birth of a baby sister, and less than 2 months after his 3rd birthday, the death of his sweet daddy. Jon Brent has remained such a joy to all of us during all of these MAJOR transitions. He talks of his daddy daily. He remembers some things about Jason on his own and loves it when I remind him of special things his daddy would do with him. He asks lots of questions about why Jason had to go to heaven, but he is always accepting of all the unknowns. He believes with his whole heart that Jason rides motorcycles in heaven!!! Ha! I have no idea where he comes up with such things...

I strolled down memory lane tonight looking at pictures of the last four years of Jon Brent's life to include in this entry. I hope you enjoy looking back with me.

Happy Birthday, Jon Brent! Thank you for the JOY you have brought and continue to bring into my life. I am so blessed to be your mom. I can't wait to see what God has in store for you! I pray you will always choose the path of righteousness. I pray you will love God's word deeply and seek Him all the days of your life. I love you THIS much! :)

Monday, May 18, 2009

His sovereignty

Not a long entry tonight...just wanted to share something I have read and re-read and certainly can cling to each and every day. Before I begin, thank you for still hanging with me on this blog. I'd really like to write more, but with 3 kids, time just doesn't permit. Usually when I do sit down to write, it is after 10:00 p.m. My eyes begin to fail me at this point of the day! I will say it is still an incredible blessing to me that you still share in my journey. I do joke about this being therapy for me, but it really is such a great outlet for me.

As I look back over the last year and a half, I stand amazed at the journey. I stand amazed at our Lord! His hand at work still blows my mind even in my deepest pain. Last week I spent some time with one of my very best friends, who lives out of town. God bless her for her faithfulness to me each and EVERY time I text or call, which has been numerous over the last 11 months especially. We had spent almost the entire day together when she commented on how we both had made it through the day without a major breakdown. Please don't misunderstand...the loss of Jason and his memory was discussed continually. I was somewhat taken back and even asked her if she thought that was normal.

I knew the answer to that question, but for a brief moment I was somewhat worried. Why would I worry about this? It is yet just another way of how my God is ever present and is continually healing and mending my heart. I still miss Jason more than words can express and sometimes my emotions are all over the map, but He remains faithful and His grace is always sufficient.

I know after Jason died, but less and less now, I would replay every medical decision during his illness and especially the last 4 days of his life. I would allow myself to play the "what if" game. You know the game.
What if MD Anderson or UAB would have done this or that?
What if I would have insisted that he stay in the hospital with the pneumonia?
What if I would have stayed with Jason on the day he went into cardiac arrest rather than taking the kids swimming?

You get the point. I have had to take these thoughts captive each and every time. Not only have I had to take each thought captive, I've had to say aloud, "Lord, I trust your sovereignty."

The excerpt below is taken from Beth Moore's, Praying God's Word:
My God is in heaven, He does whatever pleases Him. (Psalm 115:3) Lord, sometimes my only answer will be that You are sovereign. Your word says that the death of Your saints is absolutely precious to You. (Psalm 116:15) One day I will have the answers. Until then, I must trust that You have power and dominion over all things and that You know best. Help me to believe this even when I don't feel this.

Regardless if any of those "what if" questions could be answered differently, my God is in complete control. NONE of what we endured while Jason was sick took Him by surprise. I love the last sentence of the excerpt. There have been many days that just saying that I trusted His sovereignty has been tough. However, IF I can't cling to His sovereignty then I might as well throw in the towel. Praise God He always shows up during these moments of little faith and gives me just a small glimpse of His sovereign hand. One day we'll all know why we have to endure such pain on earth, but until then may we all trust that through it all His will is being accomplished --- to become more like Him! Oh, that because of this journey, I'd look a little more like Jesus.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Happy Mother's Day, Mom

Proverbs 31:15-31

She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.
She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.
In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.
When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.
She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
"Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all."
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Mother's Day. I am certainly thankful for a day set aside to honor my mother. I am going to attempt in a very small way to honor her for all she does for me. Nancy Shows is like no other. I call her the Energizer Bunny...she keeps going and going and going and going! Most of her "going" now revolves around my needs. Scott would tell you that I have always dominated her, but I will admit that has definitely been the case over the last year and a half. When Jason got sick, she stepped into overdrive and hasn't stopped. I did excuse her for 5 days when she and my dad went to the beach back in September. Everything fell apart while she was gone so I informed her that she couldn't do that again for a while! Ha!

Every night she calls me and asks, "what do you need me to do for you tomorrow?" No joke! It's almost embarassing to even admit! :) On the days that I work, she arrives at my house at 7:45 a.m. to care for Jon Brent and Ally. Not only does she take care of them, but most days I come home to a "Nancy" clean house along with the laundry washed and folded. Those of you who know my mom well know what "Nancy" cleans means. NO ONE cleans like my mom. And guess what? I didn't inherit that gene!

She willingly gave up a career last year that she loved and excelled in tremendously in order to help me with the kids. The origianal reason she planned to retire early was so that she could take care of the kids while I cared for Jason when he received the bone marrow transplant in Birmingham. The transplant never came, but I certainly couldn't have made it ONE without my mom after Jason died. God knew I needed a mom like Nancy Shows for such a time as this!

The financial sacrifice she makes DAILY for me and my family are more than appreciated. As many moms do, she does without so that we don't have to! The love and time she gives my kids is unbelievable.

I know she never dreamed at this stage of her life that she would be doing what she is doing, but I praise God DAILY for her. She is a rock for me. She is always there. She keeps on keeping on for me even when I am at my lowest and not the most fun to be around. She gets the good, the bad, and the ugly. I know she grows very weary and I pray CONTINUALLY that our Lord would sustain her.

As I re-read Proverbs 31 today, I was once again reminded how this passage truly describes Nancy Shows. Mom, Happy Mother's Day. I hope you understand how incredibly thankful I am for you. I hope you know that not a SINGLE days goes by that I don't thank our Lord that he saw fit to bless me with a mom like you. Thank you for all you do. Thank you most importantly for loving Jesus more than me and continually pointing me to Him! The life you live has to be most pleasing to our Lord. Oh, to be more like you! I know that would certainly make your life easier! ha! I love you MUCH! May God bless you over and over!

1. Thank you Scott and Ashley for being so understanding that I do dominate Nana so much. One day I pray I won't be so needy! :)

2. Also, thanking God for Mrs. Peggy this weekend. So thankful that she raised such wonderful boys in Jason as well as Brad. I know this Mother's Day will be hard for her as it her first Mother's Day without J. Praying you through this day, Mrs. Peggy.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Found Treasures

Tonight as I sat down at the computer I found myself scrolling through documents of Jason's. I have done this one other time right after he died, but tonight I found 2 things that I had not seen before. God is good like that...

The first thing I found was a note he had typed on our 9th wedding anniversary, which we celebrated in Naples. It wasn't a long note, but a simple message. Jason usually had to be in surgery by 6:00 a.m. so he would quietly eat his breakfast in our office at home so not to wake me nor the kids. Apparently that a.m. he decided to type a message on the screen so that when I sat down at the computer this was the first thing I would see. The message simply said,

"Happy Anniversary, Steph! I love you more than I can say. Thank you for 9 wonderful years! I look forward to many more!"

Wow. So thankful to find this tonight even through the tears. A little piece of J. A little reminder of the love we shared. Although very difficult in some ways to see the last part of the message...still so good to see. We didn't get many more anniversaries after the ninth one, but oh how incredibly blessed to have had the years I had with him. Thank you, Jesus!

Another document I found on our computer tonight was an email that Jason saved. The email was between me and my brother, Scott. Jason saved it as "encouragement to Steph by Scott." At first I was puzzled as to why he saved it, but I am so thankful he did. The email was written on August 14, 2006. We had just moved to Naples a few months prior to this and at the time I was experiencing GREAT homesickness over being so far away from home. I was pretty much having a pity party because God had called us so far away from Hattiesburg. I was also experiencing the Lord in a very sweet way, too. I have said this time after time, but how very thankful I am for the time God placed us in Naples. The Lord used that wonderful place to prepare me for the journey I would soon walk with Jason and then the next part of the journey without him. How I went kicking and screaming, but how thankful I am for it now!

Anyway, back to the email. My brother emailed me an email that was most encouraging and although my circumstances are SO very different than they were August 14, 2006, it ministered to my soul once again. I am so thankful Jason saw fit to save this in our personal documents. See below the email...

Hey Scott. It seems like months since we have talked. I hate that, but I know you are really busy. I hope things are going well for you. I pray for you often. And I don't just say that to be saying that.

Things are beautiful in Naples, but it doesn't really feel like "home" for me yet. It has been an emotional road the last several days, but I am persevering. I must say NEVER has there been a time in my life when I have been so lonely and homesick. I know the Lord placed us here for a reason and I am beginning to see one of those reasons was for me to realize that HE is all I really need. The Lord has reminded me of that promise over and over the last several days. I have discovered that He will never leave me nor forsake me. No one else can make that promise to me. It is very strange to move to a town and not know a soul - literally. You know that every other move we've made things have been made easy for us. People catered to me b/c I was Gary Shows' daughter. They made sure I had friends - in good classes at school -even introduced me to my mate. :) This time that hasn't happened. Jason has been very sweet and understanding, but I know it is hard for him to "be there" for me all the time b/c of his hard schedule. My walk with the Lord is so much sweeter right now and for that I am grateful.

Anna Lea started preschool today. She did good. A little uneasy at first, but I think she had a good time. Jason and I were SO nervous. I think she will enjoy this school once she makes some friends and gets in the routine. She wanted to wear her "Anna Lea" dress so that she didn't have to wear a name tag. Smart, isn't she? She takes after Uncle Scott. She didn't have to wear a name tag either.

Jon Brent is FINALLY starting to take some steps. He took several tonight and then realized what he was doing and sat down. He is so much like Jason, but he acts like me. Poor kid.

Ok, I'd better go help get kids to bed. I guess you are getting "geared" up for Ole Miss football. Go Rebs! :)
We'll be pulling for them here in South Florida. We are coming home the last week in Sept. I know we won't see you since both weekends we'll be home Ole Miss has home games. I know where your heart is! Ha! Love you,


Scott's response: August 16, 2006

My heart has hurt for you every time I think of you. You know that I am no longer an overly sensitive guy. I blame that on some hard times that I had and was only able to survive thanks to prayer warriors like you and Nancy. However, even with your prayers, I still reverted to the humanistic solution and hardened up. That bothers me most of the time, but never more than when I read this email and thought about my thoughts about your situation over the last few weeks.

Steph, I will be honest and tell you that I have not reached out to you because I was convinced that you, your beautiful children and the relationship you have with you terrific husband would be even stronger after this move. I have never been jealous of the unique relationship you have had with our parents, and I have been thankful that you have been able to fill their cup for me and you both. However, I selfishly decided that I knew it all (surprising, huh?) and that this move to Naples would allow you to discover life without the luxuries and downsides of being Gary Shows' daughter.

You see, in 1990, I chose to go to Ole Miss at the last moment. That decision made me what I am today, and I will never regret one day in the progression that led me to August 14th, 2006. However, 1990 was rough. You were able to love me through the unhealthy end to an unhealthy relationship, but you missed the heartache of 1990. I learned to make my own way for the first time in my life. You are right that our moves, while difficult, were always easier because they were God driven and God provided support second to none. In Oxford, I was truly alone at first. I had to make it or not, and there was no church member or church family to call someone and make sure it was corrected.

I have falsely believed that you would come to the same conclusion that I did, and that would be that this would help you define who the Jason Weather's family really was. Not Jon Mark and Gary's kids, but the Jason Weather's family. But, in my now typical hard manner, I lost sight of the fact that even if I was right, there was a lot of hurt along the way. Placing fragile children in the wake of that hurt makes your path 100 times worse than the path God gave me.

I tell you all this for three reasons:

1. You are right that God has you there for a very specific reason. Only He can reveal that reason, and only on His time will it be revealed. I gave a bad analogy to Mom last night. What if God wants Anna Lea to be a missionary to China? She can remember being in a "foreign" place and making her home, friends, identity, etc. at the ripe old age of 4! How much easier it will be in the later stages in life?

2. I am a heartless brute that should be required to slide down a slide of razor blades into a pool of alcohol if my sister thinks she is interrupting my busy schedule at her biggest time of need. Not to mention that she truly believes my heart lies with Ole Miss football. That is only partly true. :)

3. You are going to be okay. I know you know it and don't want to hear it, but you have to remember it. Every day will become easier and easier, and I KNOW that your unbelievable personality will endear you to all that you come in contact with. I have been so proud the last 20 years or so to see you blossom. There is no stranger when Stephanie Shows Weathers is around. That is a spiritual gift that you can cash checks with. Embrace it, trust in Lord and try to find the positives! Mom used to always tell us that we needed an attitude adjustment. That can apply in every situation you face. DECIDE to have that attitude adjustment and let your attitude be one of welcoming the challenges and new horizons with only a scant glance back to what it was like in the past.
The past is the history, the future is a mystery. Today is a gift, that is why they call it the "Present."God bless you sister. You are my hero, and I wish on 20 occasions a week that I were as complete as you!

Thank you for loving me.

Like I mentioned earlier...this email ministered to my soul almost 3 years later and the circumstances are totally different. I am so thankful that my sweet husband chose to save this for he had no idea that I would need to be reminded of these words on May 4, 2009.