Sunday, June 28, 2009

Vacation Time

Yesterday began the annual beach vacation with my family and Ashley's (sister in law) family. Ashley and I left Hattiesburg with all 5 children yesterday morning. We made several memories just driving down! We were the first to arrive while all the rest are coming at different intervals throughout the week. The 2 most helpful arrived today...the grandmothers! We are most thankful for Nana and Mo! Don't get me wrong, we are also very thankful for the grandfathers, who will be arriving later.
My usual type blog entry to follow later this week, but tonight I just thought I'd take a few minutes and share just a sample of the fun that is being had thus far. I am so incredibly thankful for this fun time and looking forward to the rest of the week as the entire family makes their way to join us. My very favorite and beach!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

How Deep the Father's Love for Us

Father's many thoughts and even more emotions. I have hurt deeply for my children this weekend as I hate so badly that their earthly father is no longer with them. Thankfully they don't hurt like me. I have shed many tears over the last several days as Father's Day has drawn near. I have also reflected on how blessed I am on this Father's Day weekend.

My dad has been a rock for me all of my life, but most especially since Jason's diagnosis and death. During the entire 6 months that Jason battled leukemia, my dad was so incredibly strong for me. He was always there. I don't say that to sound cliche' rather that statement best describes who Gary Shows is. He was so faithful to visit me and Jason in the hospital. He was always more than willing to stay with him in order to give me and Brad a break. (Even though Jason preferred Brad as sometimes my dad was known to snore and keep Jason awake! haha!) Every time we heard bad news from Dr. Bellare, he was always first to arrive on the scene. His mere presence brought me great comfort. He was with me (along with Sherri) in ICU the morning after Jason went into cardiac arrest. We arrived at 5:30 a.m. only to hear from the ICU physician that based on his initial assessment, he did not believe Jason had any brain activity, but that further testing would be done just to be certain. I wanted to collapse and I could because my dad was there to pick me up and hold me close. My dad has officiated many funerals in his ministry and I am sure having to conduct Jason's was the most difficult one he's ever had to do, yet he did it so willingly. Just knowing he was in that role brought me HUGE comfort. He has stepped up to the plate with my children like they were his very own. Although he jokes with me sometimes about his added responsibilities since Jason's death, (mainly my yard and sometimes the extra kids spending the night at his house:) I know he loves me and the kids with an unconditional love. I know that at any time of need, he is just a phone call away. He certainly gets MANY phone calls, too! :) I am so blessed to have him as my dad. There is so much more to say about him, but the most important thing I can say about him is his steadfast love for our Heavenly Father. His love for Him has been passed down to me and now to my children. What a legacy!

Even as I hurt for my children because they can't celebrate Father's Day with their earthly father, I am reminded that we ALL can celebrate our Heavenly Father on this day. His love for us is more than we can even comprehend sometimes and even greater than any earthly Father could ever give. For that I am thankful. So, Happy Father's Day to my dad as well as the ultimate Father!

How deep the Father's love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
And make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the man upon the cross
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Why should I gain from His reward
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

P.S. Happy Father's Day to Uncle Brad, Uncle Scott, Papa, and Bob-B, too. Thank you for standing in the gap for Anna Lea, Jon Brent and Ally. I am MOST appreciative for your love and sacrifice to them. :)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

(Recent photos of the kids before VBS two mornings)

I have sat down to blog over the last several days (usually late at night), but each time I would begin I just couldn't do it. It's been a very busy week because of Vacation Bible School, which was great, but it has also been a very difficult week for me. I say often that grief is really tricky and the last 10 days have been just that. I had just told my good friend Mary Margaret last Friday that I really felt I was doing so much better emotionally. Anyway, I can recognize several factors causing this week to be rough, but I think a lot of it is the fact that we are approaching July 12th. A year.

Last Sunday our pastor preached a sermon on raising children. As I sat and listened I became so overwhelmed with the task before me in raising my children without their daddy. I was so overwhelmed that the tears began to flow and I couldn't stop them. I kept asking the Lord, "how can I do this alone?" The responsibility is tremendous. This week I was reminded of something someone told me once..."if He calls you to it, He'll equip you to do it." My Lord has called me to a life without my husband so once again I must trust that He'll equip me to raise these children without him. I hurt deeply as I listened to our pastor talk about how important it was for a daddy to "date" his daughter(s) in order to prepare them on how they were to be treated one day. Jason was so good at spending one on one time with Anna Lea and did it quite frequently. (Unfortunately, he never really got to do this with Ally.) Once again my heart broke as I thought about Anna Lea and Ally not having their daddy model to them how a man should treat a woman. During the invitation it was as if the Lord quietly whispered in my heart, "I will be the father to the fatherless..." (Psalm 68:5 - "Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.") What a promise! How I am clinging to this very promise right now!

I have been following several individuals who had been battling AML over the last year and a half. Over the last 2 weeks, three of these individuals have lost their battle with this nasty disease. On Tuesday night, I learned that yet another one of them relapsed for a 3rd time. Once again my heart broke. I hurt so deeply for these families as I know the dark valley they will have to walk through in the coming days. As I thought about their loss as well as my own, I began to ponder God's ways. Once again, I was reminded His ways are NOT our ways.
Isaiah 55:8-9
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."
His thoughts are so much HIGHER than ours. I believe with everything within me that He is sovereign and that ultimately His plan is far better than mine. If I don't believe that then I might as well pull the covers over my head and not ever get out of bed. He is my ONLY hope! Why did Jason Weathers have to die at 33 and leave a wife and 3 small children? I may never know, but one thing I do know is that we were put on this earth for HIS glory. Yes, it hurts deeply. More than I ever thought possible, but through it all He does sustain me. He loves me with an everlasting love even when I question His ways.
There have been moments this week that I have thought I can't possibly take this pain anymore... only to be encouraged by a text message, facebook message, or friends for lunch/dinner. I am SO blessed to have such GREAT friends who never seem to grow weary of their 'needy' friend these days. Our Lord is using all of these ways to keep me going and for that I am so incredibly thankful.
A friend of mine and Jason's sent me an email the other day with the lyrics to a song that blessed me so much. Indeed I needed these words at the very moment he sent them, too. (Another way God worked.) I want to share them with you, but I also want you to hear the song. Please click on the link...HERE
The video that goes with the song isn't all that great, but the song is so good.
The Valley Song by Jars of Clay
You have led me to the sadness
I have carried this pain
On a back bruised, nearly broken
I'm crying out to you
I will sing of Your mercy
That leads me through valleys of sorrow
To rivers of joy
When death like a Gypsy
Comes to steal what I love
I will still look to the heavens
I will still seek your face
But I fear you aren't listening
Because there are no words
Just the stillness and the hunger
For a faith that assures
Alleluia, alleluia
Alleluia, alleluia
While we wait for rescue
With our eyes tightly shut
Face to the ground using our hands
To cover the fatal cut
And though the pain is an ocean
Tossing us around, around, around
You have calmed greater waters
Higher mountains have come down (my FAVORITE part!)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Anna Lea's blog

Anna Lea and I spent a few minutes this a.m. on the porch just talking about Jason. Jon Brent was busy playing with something and Ally was napping at my moms. We had a great talk. Laughed some and cried more. She misses Jason so much, but overall she really is doing remarkable. I am so thankful to our Lord for this. She really loves "making up" stories in her journal so after our talk, I asked her if she wanted to write something about her daddy for me to include in the blog. She was MOST eager. It took her a long time, but she seemed to really enjoy it. I only helped her spell a few words. Well, maybe more than a few, but who's counting! This is a small glimpse into her little mind in regards to her daddy.

This is Anna Lea.

Me and my daddy always watched movies together. And then we would take a nap. I love my daddy because he was sweet. I think about daddy every night. Once me and daddy went to eat together at panera bread and we had so much fun. We would go on dates like that together a lot. He took me to lots of movies. Just me and him. Mom would stay with Jon Brent when he was a baby. I am sad that he can't take me on dates anymore. A couple of days ago I dreamed that daddy came back to earth. He could not stay long then he went back to heaven. He looked the same but he had hair. Just like he used to have. Hair on the sides. He said Anna Lea I love you. I am so glad to see you again. Then Ally walked in the room and said daddy! Jon Brent ran and hugged daddy. My mom came in the room and she was crying. That was all about my dream. I am so glad that I had a daddy like him. I miss him so much. I miss his hugs. I miss him being around me a lot. I miss all of the silly things he did. I miss the silly things mom would get on to him about. I miss playing on the computer with my daddy. We would play games and listen to fun music. Daddy's favorite music was Jimmy Buffet and my favorite music was Wake Up by Hillary Duff. We would turn it up loud and dance and mommy would get mad because sometimes the music was rock and roll. It would be so loud. It was fun. I miss daddy so much. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I smile when I think about him. I hope he misses me. I know I will see him again one day. That makes me really happy.