Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Unfailing Love

I was working around the house the other night after the kids went to bed. As I worked, I decided to listen to my IPod. A song came on that I had not heard in quite some time by Chris Tomlin entitled Unfailing Love. Here are the lyrics. Listen here.

You have my heart and I am yours forever
You are my strength, God of grace and power
And everything You hold in Your hands
Still You make time for me
I can't understand
Praise You God of earth and sky
How beautiful is Your unfailing love
Unfailing love
And You never change, God you remain
The Holy One of my unfailing love
Unfailing love
You are my rock the One I hold onto
You are my song and I sing for You
And everything You hold in Your hands
Still you make time for me
I can't understand
Praise You God of earth and sky
How beautiful is Your unfailing love
Unfailing love
And You never change,
God you remain The Holy One of my unfailing love
Unfailing love

It is a beautiful song with such simple lyrics. I spent time recently reading through old emails. I came across so many emails that I had sent and others had sent me during the 7 months of Jason's battle with leukemia. As I read through those emails, I was filled with so many emotions. Obviously, sadness engulfed me, but one other emotion that took hold of me was thankfulness to our Lord. Most of the emails I sent were all sent at a very low and dark times. I was writing most of my prayers, thoughts and feelings on the caringbridge site, but some things I kept between close friends and family. Read below a portion of an email I sent out to a few friends the day that Jason went for his first consult at MD Anderson. A little background information...Jason had just gotten out of the hospital after being there for a total of 6.5 weeks. He was released from the hospital on a Sunday and exactly 5 days later I was admitted to the hospital to deliver sweet baby Ally. Jason left for Houston when Ally was 7 days old. Whew! My hormones and emotions were running wild! Read email below. Written on March 3, 2008 at 2:16 p.m.

Dear Friends,
Ok... here I am again. Needing prayer... that's all I am good for these days. Jason in Houston now. He had a pretty bad a.m. and is having or just had the biopsy as I type this email. I am thankful that his dad and brother are with him. He heard the very scary talk today from docs and others about the transplant and all that could possibly take place from that. Not sure how much any of you have read on bone marrow transplants, but it is a very risky procedure. Lots of complications can occur and it isn't always a "sure" thing as far as even engrafting to his body.

I've read where some patients have to have many transplants. Oh, how I pray we're not in that category. I am so tired and emotional right now that I know that me being in Houston would have been a disaster, but oh I wish I was there to comfort him after hearing all the bad he heard this a.m. I have read TONS on bone marrow transplants, but Jason has chosen to stay in dark and I guess I can't blame him if it helps him to get through this time. However, he heard it today. Dr. Bellare and I both warned him that what he'd hear today would scare him and it did. I know they have to tell you the worse case scenario, too.

Dr. Champlin told him he needed a transplant ASAP - possibly even by the end of the month. Hopefully in about 10 days we will hear if there is an initial match. Please pray that there is a perfect match. Un-related matches are even riskier than related match (meaning brother/sister). We were hopeful that he'd be able to finish school while awaiting transplant, but doc in Houston says that isn't possible right now. He says he'll have to continue treatment every so many weeks until a match is found. That is so hard on his body and I can't even imagine how he could physically do it several more times. Very disappointing in so many ways to say the least. He is so close to finishing school. Of course, that means that much longer we are not employed and have no income. That stresses me out a little, too. Trying not to focus on $ b/c I just want my husband well. We'll figure out $ later. Oh, and to top it off, $500,000 is the what they said transplant would cost. Yikes. Anyway, I am rambling right now b/c that is how everything in my head is ... all jumbled up.

Please just pray for me emotionally right now. Obviously, pray for Jason, too. Pray for a perfect match. Pray for J mentally, too. I know he is totally overwhelmed right now. I can't even imagine what it is like for him. Pray for logistics of having to temporarily relocate to Houston, which causes me GREAT anxiety. Literally. Not knowing if my kids can come or how often I'll see them makes me sick to my stomach. Finding a place to live and how we'll pay for that is a need, too. I know God is in control, but I feel as if everything is caving in around me right now. I know this isn't too big for him. I mentally know all of his promises, but my heart isn't grasping them right this minute. I assume these are all very normal emotions that I am feeling. Having just had a baby probably makes me even more emotional, too. Darn hormones. I need my husband well. Our precious children need him well. Oh, how I pray that the Lord's plan is to heal him. I am not sure how I will make it if it isn't a part of his perfect plan.

Wow. Just reading this email again brings back so many feelings, yet I see His hand so clearly now, but in some ways I couldn't see Him then. I see His provisions for us as I look back. He didn't make a way for a match immediately. He didn't arrange housing in Houston. He didn't provide many of the needs I mentioned above because our Sovereign Lord knew that on July 12, 2008, his battle on earth with this disease would come to an end. He didn't meet those needs in our time because His time is different. His ways are not our ways, but regardless He WAS so faithful the entire time. He was working in ways I couldn't see or even imagine and although we so badly wanted God to heal Jason through a transplant, God had a different plan.

Now back to the song I posted at the beginning of this post. His unfailing love never ceases to amaze me. He never changes. Even when I couldn't grasp his promises, they were still true! He was and IS my strength...God of grace and power. He is my unfailing love. I continue to stand in awe of who He is and how He works. May I never get over Him!

Monday, August 10, 2009

(actually written on Saturday, August 15, 2009 - for some reason the date and time not correct...)
I realized the other day that I really didn't blog much in July. It was definitely a BUSY month. Here are some things that happened in a quick synopsis:

*At the beginning of the month I was able to see the broadway play Wicked for a second time in Memphis with my mom, Ashley, Melinda and good friends, Danya and Megan Hogue. It was even better the second time!

*Right after returning from Memphis came the 1 year anniversary of Jason's death on the 12th. It was a most difficult time, but the kids and I were able to go to Destin with Jason's parents as well as Brad, Sherri and Bailey. I don't think I was totally prepared for the emotions I would experience on the days leading up to July 12th. For the first time since Jason's death, I also began to deal with minor health issues that I know were totally related to the anxieties I was experiencing. As of now, must of those issues have resolved themselves. I must admit that FEAR crept in as I began to deal with some of the issues. Fear that something might be seriously wrong with me. I certainly wasn't taking every thought captive...
Praise God, His grace is enough! Once again, He was there! He brought me a peace that only He could provide.

*While speaking of July 12th, let me take an opportunity to thank SO many of you for your prayers, emails, text messages, cards and ALL the love that was sent my way during that week. Once again I was totally amazed and overwhelmed. The memories of Jason that were shared were absolutely priceless. On July 12th alone I had 115 emails! It was unbelievable. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! I will treasure all of them for years to come, as will the children.

*Once we returned from Destin the next big event was my birthday! Many know how I love my birthday and my good friends certainly came through in a big way. Two in particular went out of their way to make my birthday a fun celebration of fun firsts. Kristen and Becky knew that I had a year of some very difficult 'firsts' without Jason, so they thought it would be fun to celebrate my birthday by doing things I had never done that were FUN! Indeed they were! I was most surprised by all of them and most caught off guard, but a good time was had for sure. I am so blessed to not only have Becky and Kristen in my life, but several other really amazing friends. I am so thankful! I am including some pictures of the fun firsts...

My first massage...Why have I never done this before??? Loved it!

My first dinner at a great new restaurant in Jackson...The Auditorium. Yum!

My first trip to the Collins Zoo! Ha! For those that frequent Hwy 49N heading to Jackson
know this place is quite unusual and not many have actually been behind the pink walls!Hilarious! It definitely should rank up there with the San Diego zoo! ;)

My very first motorcyle ride! Even more hilarious, but I absolutely loved it!
This kind man in the picture is a friend of Kristen and her husband, Clay.
He and his wife are in their small group at church. He was a good sport!

*After the fun firsts birthday, it was time to begin getting ready for school. Boo! Summer is always so fun, but with school comes fall and I love the fall because that means FOOTBALL season! Yay!

We are now trying to settle into a new routine since I have returned to work and Anna Lea to school. I must admit that it has been a little more overwhelming than I originally expected, but once again God's grace is enough! It's not the job itself that is overwhelming, but just finding time to do all I need to do as well as want to do. I am still totally in debt to my mom who continues to amaze me with all she does in caring for my children. I told someone the other day to skip praying for me and pray for Nancy! If she goes down, Stephanie goes down! No joking here!

Emotionally I am doing pretty good right now. I still have lots of moments where the grief is just so heavy, but overall my Lord continues to amaze me in the way He is caring for me. Right now it seems like weekends are the hardest. This is a time that Jason was always home and we were always together as a family. I have always enjoyed going and doing on Friday and Saturday nights, but with just me and the kids, I tend to just stay home as it is most difficult getting out with 3 on my own. In time, I am confident that even this will get better.

I am certain my Lord is still working for good in my life. Sadly I must admit that sometimes I wish He would pull back the curtain for a glimpse of what was to come, but this is where I have to rest in Him and continue to trust that His promises ARE true! "For we know that ALL things work together for good for those that love Him..." Not just SOME, but ALL! To Him be the glory!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

New Routine Begins Tomorrow...

I'm back. Well, not fully, but I am back for a brief entry. I promise more to come in the coming days, but tonight I am just asking for prayer. Tomorrow a whole new routine starts for us. Anna Lea returns to school...2nd grade! Wow. Many emotions tonight in my house. Excitement, nerves and the obvious...all without Jason. Tonight during the blessing before dinner, Anna Lea asked God to please tell her daddy that she was starting the 2nd grade tomorrow. She also asked God to tell her daddy how much she loved and missed him. It's so hard to listen to these type of prayers. I generally say nothing...mainly because tears are usually flowing.

Another part of our new routine is I am going back to work full time. I am returning to Oak Grove Primary School, where I worked in the spring, but this time I will be working every day. I am most anxious as to how all of this will work out, but I know my God will continue to supply my every need. I am more than grateful to my mom, who will be keeping Jon Brent and Ally while I am away. She will also have the responsibility of getting Anna Lea to and from school each day as I won't be home until 3:00 p.m. each day and I have to leave each morning before Anna Lea leaves.

This is where I need you...yet again. Will you please pray for an easy adjustment to working full time again? Will you pray for my sweet mom who is sacrificing her life for me and the children? Will you also pray for my kids as they transition once again? My emotions are roaring tonight for many reasons, but I continue to lean heavily on a BIG and GOOD God.

Sunday our pastor preached from a wonderful passage of scripture found in 1 Peter. Once again our Lord knew I needed these exact words.

1 Peter 1: 3-9

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

I am so incredibly thankful for my salvation. I am so blessed by God's word. He's at work and I so want to be used by Him!

Thank you in advance for your prayers!

P.S. Thanks so much for the birthday messages...both here and facebook. I do love my birthday...more to come on that later! :)