trust

Up at 6 again. I hate this. My bed was my comfort, where I could wrap myself in a cocoon of warm blankets and forget that the world exists. Now its only a comfort if I’m asleep. When I’m lying in bed awake its when my mind processes things. Terrible, horrible things. The way I saw my beautiful, strong handsome boy moaning in the snow covered with blood. In the ER after the life had gone out of him and it already didn’t look like Lucas. I could barely touch him. He looked beaten up, battered, like he had suffered. Pictures of things no one should ever see. No mother especially. I try SO HARD to think of something else but…I can’t.

I put some music on and pretend I’m on a beach. It doesn’t work. I’ve been on so many beaches with Lucas. It seems there is no escape.

I was told yesterday I should write in a journal. This is what I want to write:
NO.
NO.
NO.
NO.
NO.
NO.
NO.
On every page. Then,
This is not fair God.
This is not fair God.
This is not fair God.
This is not fair God.
This is not fair God.
On the other side.

They say God doesn’t give us more than we can handle…..really?
So for the rest of life I have to have nightmares of crumpled bodies. Every time I see my family sitting around the table there is someone missing. I can’t look at pictures of him right now. Every vacation, holiday, birthday,graduation- that tall comforting presence will not be there. Seeing anything that had to do with him- gyms,workout clothes, protein shakes, baseball gloves, violas, snowboards, hunting bows- I could probably name a thousand things right now that will cause me heartbreak. I still have to go through his clothes. His ginormous shoes. See the hand prints they made of him in the hospital. I can picture them in my mind- his hands were BIG. Long thin fingers that were skilled at so many things.

I know I will go on. Yet I feel like God has given me too much. Too much.

Who am I to judge what God deems right?

In the Bible he tells the story of Job, man of God. He was a devout and faithful servant of the Lord who lost EVERYTHING he had. His crops, his livestock, every one of his ten children.

Do you know what he said?
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”
Job 1:21

I don’t think I can handle this…but God does.

trust2

Frog and Toad

One of Lucas’ VERY favorite books when he was little is Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel. It is a book about friendship.  I had kind of forgotten about it until my 2 year year old pulled it out of the archives the other day. I hadn’t seen its tattered pages in quite sometime.

As I was reading it to him, tears were rolling down my face.  It is a “Lucas” book.

The first story is about how Toad doesn’t want to get up in the spring and enjoy the sunshine.  Frog comes over and tries to get him out of bed but Toad just won’t budge. He is grumpy.   He eventually has to change the calendar page to get Toad out of bed.  He wants his friend to enjoy the beauty and glory of spring.

The next story is about how Frog is not feeling well.  The roles are reversed. Toad comes over to Frog’s house and sees he is looking “green” (that part always makes me laugh) and tells him to get in bed and makes him a cup of hot tea. Then Toad wants to tell Frog a story to help him feel better.  He walks in circles, dumps water on his head, and bangs his head on the wall to think of ideas.  Until he is feeling sick.  So Frog gets out of bed and tells Toad to get in. He then proceeds to tell Toad a story.

The stories go on and on: Frog tries to protect Toad from embarrassment in front of the other animals when he wears his bathing suit.  Frog helps Toad search high and low for a lost button.  They collect numerous buttons during the search so Toad sews Frog a special button covered jacket.

Every story is full of Frog and Toad putting each other first.  What happens then? They are GREAT friends.  Inseparable friends.  They know the other will always have their back. What a powerful message.  I think about friendships a lot because Lucas struggled with that. I know that he knew how to be a friend. He just didn’t feel like he had many true friends at school and it caused him great sadness.  All I have heard since his passing is that he had many people who liked him respected him.  Considered him a friend.  If only he had known.

If only he had known.

I thank God he had Christian and Jakob.  Their friendship ran deep, through many trials.  They experienced life together.

My take on all this is not only is true friendship selfless but you need to tell others and show others that they are your friends.  Invite them to hang out or go to a game or a movie.  Make them feel included.  You NEVER know who is lonely. Very few show it on the outside.  Yet that invite to experience real human interaction may be the one that keeps them afloat.  As the old saying goes, To have a friend you must be a friend.

friendship

light on a dark path

Yesterday was bad.  I wasn’t a blubbering mess all day, but being together just with my husband and kids (which hasn’t happened in over two weeks) was difficult.  Everyone in my family is going to grieve differently and we were seeing all kinds of grief. Anger, irritability, crying at what appears to be nothing, general grumpiness.  For me I was just tired all the way down to the marrow in my bones.

First of all-  church.  I will never miss church again unless there is a typhoon, hurricane, or 7 feet of snow.  However getting my children ready is like running a marathon. OK, a short one but its a short uphill one.  They don’t know what to wear.  They don’t want to wear what I pick out.  Someone forgot to shower….hmm how can we cover that one up.  Where’s the other sock.  I lost my coat.  I don’t want to go.  Then everyone is finally in the car and I can’t find my purse, I need a waterbottle, and a safety pin.  With all the mounds of junk in the house I can’t find one safety pin.  Getting ready for church is a less than desirable activity.

So we finally make it to church, and of course that is awesome.  I feel the word to every song like its beating in my heart. One song about Jesus laying down his life almost broke me down but my friend Steph was there to hold me hand.  The preaching is always so spot on. Jeff Manion is a superstar preacher.  In his humble, gentle way he weaves an intricate tapestry of God’s word and our lives in a way that makes it feel like he is speaking only to you.  If you are not feeling as inspired maybe you should try Ada Bible.  It leaves me in awe every time.  Like a laser pointer of God’s grace and love and mercy is pointing right at my life.

So after getting lunch in the bellies of four cantankerous children my husband said “we are going to go to the gym.” I could have said no but I didn’t want to.  I knew he needed me to help the kids get ready for swimming, Well mostly he wanted me to work out.  Ugggggghhhhhhhhhhhh. NOOOOOOOOO.  So after he got them in the pool, instead of heading to the elliptical I decided spur of the moment to go in the hot tub.

That was a very good decision.  It felt like the jets and hot water were just soothing away all the pain.  Then someone next to me, a Mom and daughter started talking about basketball.  Lucas had played some basketball until his head injury (a MRSA infection,he had to have blood clot removed, had skull removed then put back) when he was ten.  Then he played one season last year.  He tried out for FHC’s team and made it but ultimately decided not to play because he wanted to focus on academics.  It was a struggle for him to maintain his grades the last couple of years because he was having memory and focus problems most likely from the previous infection.

So as this Mom and daughter are talking and sitting in the hot tub, it feels so healing but tears are starting to stream down my face.  Then I hear her say something about a game for Lucas.  I immediately sit up, open my eyes and say ‘that’s my son!”

Then I learned who the daughter was.  It was Annalee Konsoer-Rose.  I am sure many of you have heard of her.  She is a FHE senior and outstanding basketball player who has been battling a spinal cyst.  After talking with her for minutes I knew she was an old soul like Lucas.  She has that heart for others.  She had heard of Lucas and immediately felt a connection. She was trying to come up with something to do to honor him at her school.  She offered to distribute the Live Like Lucas bracelets.  I was so blessed to have spoken to her.  I knew immediately God has sent us to the same place at the same time.  As we were talking in the hot tub and I was telling her more about Lucas’ life and what kind of kid he was, everyone in the hot tub started crying.  I told them about my blog.  God touched other lives and I was encouraged by a simple hot tub visit.

So my bad day wasn’t so bad after all.  Its just getting through those tough moments.  Its about building up the resolve and determination to carry on.  Beautiful things will happen.

I think of my road as rocky, thorny, sometimes smooth and sometimes quicksand.  Uphill and downhill.  Jesus does not promise it will be easy.  He promises he will hold my hand, guide me, and light the way.

As David says in Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”

 

Don’t be scared, be Lucas

Someone just told me “don’t be scared, be Lucas. Be the momma he would want you to be.”  I couldn’t agree more- especially about the be like Lucas part.  I have already changed so much.  I hope to be so much more Christlike.  Lucas-like.  My daughter said to me last night, through her tears, “Lucas was like Jesus. He wanted to help people.”

That pretty much sums it up for me.  Its not about Live Like Lucas- its really Live Like Jesus.  Sometimes it helps though, to have a real human being to look to who lived and walked among us, in 2015, to really shake us into that life.  My goal Is that everyone who looks at Lucas’ life and wants to encompass his kindness, compassion, authenticity, and faith turns to Jesus. That is what its really about.  I will not stop trying until the day the Lord calls me to heaven.  God is using this to turn people to him.  I feel it in my bones.

I am always thinking about how it took me going into this horrific painful place to get me to realize how to really lean on God. Then I thought, for me it took being at the bottom of that gorge to see the beauty of the mountain tops.  A friend sent this verse to me-

“When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”

I think that is one of the most beautiful verses I have ever heard.

I am praying that everyone is led to that rock.

Fear

I hate waking up and realizing that everything is the same as it was yesterday.  He’s still gone.  I’m scared. So scared.

I’m scared I won’t be able to go on with the rest of my life.  I went to a school event with my daughter last night.  I really, really wanted to go for her.  To show her that she still has a mommy that wants to do things with her.

It was so hard.  I texted a friend last night, I feel like my insides have been carved out and replaced with broken glass.  Everything hurts so bad.  Everything at the school reminded me of him. I wasn’t expecting that.  I had forgotten that an artist by the name of Tom Woodruff would be there; who taught Lucas drawing at Goodwillie.  Lucas was always gushing about “woody.” One thing I am certain about, was Lucas knew who the good people were.  He knew who really cared.  I’m not really sure how I got through the “drawing” section of the evening, because I could barely hold it together.  I just knew I wanted to tell Woody how much he meant to Lucas.  They had seen each other after Goodwillie and talked and Lucas was really impressed he still remembered his name.  Woody treated him like an old friend.  People like Tom Woodruff need to be told they are making a difference.

What I was getting at is I am terrified of going on without Lucas. Going on so broken and hurting.  If a simple Eager Reader Night was difficult how am I ever going to function again.  How am I going to go to basketball games.  Lucas played on an MVP team last year.  I don’t know how I will do watching Brooklyn play softball; so similar to baseball.  Lucas’ love.  How am I going to do ANYTHING.

I am scared of remembering.  When memories of him start flooding back I shut down.  I try not to remember.  As much as possible I try not to think about him, at least not in depth. I can think of his heart, and soul and mind, but not the physical Lucas.  I want to hug his tall lanky frame and mess up his curls so bad,  That is unthinkable pain- remembering the physical.  That is when I am hanging by a rope above an abyss ready to fall in.

Yet I cling for all its worth.  I cling to that rope that is my faith.  I grip is with my entire being knowing God will not let me fall into that abyss.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4

Last night this song gave me so much comfort. Please, please, listen to it and let it comfort you.

He knows

Hope and a future

Today I don’t feel like blogging.  I knew this day would come eventually, where I just don’t know what to say.

So here are the words I wrote for the pastor to say at the Celebration of Life.

“I wasn’t sure if I could write something for this service.  Yet every moment since Friday morning I have felt Lucas’ presence urging me on.  There is absolutely no way I could have made it to today without his gentle voice in my ear.

I am sitting in his room for the first since Friday.  It is heart wrenching and comforting at the same time. His tigers pennant on the wall, his goodwillie snowshoes propped in the corner, his bow and arrow next to his desk.  I smell him.  I feel him.  This boy will be with me for forever.

I always thought to myself, this boy is too good.  Too perfect. The way he hugged and cared for me before I could even ask him how he was.  The way he treated his siblings, always willing to pick up the slack when I was too tired.  I never, ever, remember him complaining when I asked him to watch his baby brother while I made dinner, or read to his little sister Bryleigh.  He would always clean the kitchen after dinner.  He would see the look of exhaustion on my face and say, “you need a hug.” He said the ALL the time.  He was my special guardian angel from God. I sometimes felt like he understood me like no one else in the world.

I don’t think I’ve really even begun to grieve him yet.  The loss of this boy is so profound and deep and wide.  I’m not even sure that I’ve begun to go there.  I know there will not be a day that goes by I don’t feel that ache, that hole in my heart.  The pain so intense I fear it will swallow me whole.

I think it would if I did not have hope.  First of all that he is with his Lord and Savior who created him.  Formed him.  Otherwise Lucas would never have walked this planet.  God knew who Lucas was and everything about him from the dawn of creation. Lucas was God’s gift to me, our family, and the world.

Psalm 139

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me

    your right hand will hold me fast.

11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.

I would also be in complete despair if I didn’t feel God was going to use this tragedy and bring good from it.  We only see a tiny piece of the puzzle .  A glimmer. Some day it will all be revealed.  I don’t think God wanted to Lucas to die.  He grieves with us.  If is the sinful and broken world that results in death and suffering and pain.  God has plan.  God will use the incredible 15 years Lucas had to change people.  To have an impact.  To heal the broken and hurting.  To spread kindness and love.”

Jeremiah 29:11

11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

This song is so perfect

We belong to HIM

As the days go on I feel like it’s getting harder. Reality is setting in. I was trying so hard to fight off that pain, trying with every ounce of my being.  Not to feel too much.  Not to think too much.  One thing that I discovered is going “out” is very painful.  I was basically just hanging out in my house for the most part for 10 days.

Then I decided to go to Meijer.  I just wanted to feel a little normalcy.  It was exceedingly hard.  Every thing I walked by seem to remind me of him somehow.  The workout gear.  The hunting gear.  His favorite body spray.  Then I started remembering how quite often I would be getting ready to go grocery shopping after dinner and Lucas would jump in the car with me.  We would go to Meijer together, just to hang out mother and son. It was always his idea. My sweet loving boy.  There was so little time for that.  With 5 kids it is so, so, hard to get one on one time with them.  I literally walked through Meijer in slow motion, willing my feet to walk down the aisles.  I didn’t want to stay and I didn’t want to leave.

I drove by Forest Hills Central for the first time since the accident.  My preschooler wanted me to take her to school.  So I said OK.  Didn’t think it would be a big deal, but it was.  Terribly horribly painful.  As I tried to slow down my breathing I thought, those kids need prayers.  So I prayed for them.  I begged God to use this tragedy to change them.  To breathe the breath of God into that school.

A friend was talking to me about the place where Lucas is buried.  I am hyperventilating typing this.  I cannot cannot cannot think about him in a casket.  It makes me want to lay on the floor and scream. It makes me want to go lay down in the snow and cover myself in it.  Just feel the freezing cold seeping into my bones instead of feeling such intense mental anguish.

I have not been doing as well. The shock and adreneline is wearing off.  I know I will make it though.

Someone sent me a beautiful verse that has been comforting to me.

I Samuel 1: 27-28.  “I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.”

Lucas was mine, but yet he wasn’t.  He was always God’s.

always there

I fell apart last night.  It surprised me because it just came out of the blue.  I found his baseball glove, under the couch.

Sometimes when you lose someone you go to this place of such deep agony, such profound pain and sadness, you don’t think you can go on.  I described it to my Mom as feeling like I’m laying at the bottom of the ocean.  There’s miles and miles of water above me pressing on me, drowning me, the pressure is going to kill me.  I literally could not breathe. I felt like the rest of my life was going to be that upward swim, towards heaven.  It would be agonizing slow.  I had miles of water to swim through. I had no oxygen. I knew I was eventually going to get to the top but it would be a terrifying and horrific journey.  It was a very dark place. I didn’t feel like I felt God’s presence, I felt very alone and afraid.

Yet he was there.  I was crying out and screaming “NO GOD! PLEASE! PLEASE! THIS CAN’T BE HAPPENING!” I just kept saying, “NO. NO. NO. NO. NO.  I NEED HIM. I NEED LUCAS.”

Yet he was there, in my darkest hour.  I didn’t feel God at that moment but he was there.  He picked me back up off the floor. I went from a place of hopelessness to hopefulness.  I felt like I could live again.  He will NEVER leave.

Deuteronomy 31:6

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

blessings

I have been so incredibly blessed.  Just over and over I am showered with the blessings of the people around me.  They are being Christ’s hands and feet to me. I have meals for months, message after message after message encouraging me and holding me up. Cards up to the ceiling. People coming in just to keep me company, help me in any way I will let them 🙂  I never could have dreamed in a million years that people cared so much, had so much to give.

God has blessed me in numerous and vast ways.

I thank God most of all for my new perspective.  I let my  daughter wear high water pants today without a blink of an eye.  If you know me, that’s big. HUGE.

For HOPE. That I will see my son again.  Life passes in the blink of an eye.  Our lifetimes are like grains of sand on the beach of the universe.  I will see him and will know him and hold him again in heaven.  I know that he is at complete peace and complete happiness in heaven.  He gets to see God. Talk to God.  Know God in a way none of us can.  I’m jealous. Its that, “this is not goodbye its see you later” that IS HOPE.

I am blessed with a new community of women that embraced me, comforted me, loved on me, distracted me (in a good way).  I believe Lucas whispered in God’s ear to send them to me.  Before, Lucas was my human comfort.  Now they are, amongst many others.

New life has been breathed into my marriage.  We now lean on each other in a way that we never did before.  We appreciate each other in a brand new way.  Beauty has come from ashes.

I am blessed that I had a son like Lucas.  That he is inspiring others, and it is my hope and fervent prayer that is spreads and spreads.  That others may know his Jesus.

This is one of my favorite verses.  Our pastor always ended the service with it.

“The Lord bless you
and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”

Numbers 6: 24-26

perspective

I used to see life like I was looking in a fun house mirror.  Things were out of shape, distorted.  The thing was though, I didn’t realize how distorted it was.  There were things I felt that should change.  I knew my life was not going the way I wanted it to.  It was the perspective that was wrong.  All wrong.

One the things about being in this new club I have found myself in, this “club no one ever wants to be in” is that there are some strange perks.  I think, personally that having such a huge loss puts everything in perspective.  I feel like its part of why this blog just flows out me.  When you have something “sacred torn from your life” as the Natalie Grand song says, very little of what was important before, matters now.  I feel like I can put my heart and soul out there and have thousands read it, and it people don’t like it? Who cares.  Nothing can hurt me when I’ve experienced a world of hurt.

Back to the perspective.  I used to think that it was OK to be in my own little shell.  I was depressed and had marriage problems a too many kids to keep my sanity.  I was really being closed off.  These things suck just as bad whether you are before or after a life changing experience.  I hope that for me these things get better- a lot lot better.  Yet I will always completely understand how it feels to be hurt and alone and closed off.  I will do my very best to minister to these people.  To try to seek them out.  That’s just it, depression is the great isolator. Those who are depressed want to close themselves off.  If only I had tried to reach out beyond myself more, try to find a community of christian women, try to think of others more and myself less.

Another huge one for me is how to spend my time.  I thought I had a “hobby” but they were time wasters.  There are many many great hobbies.  Mine was dumb.  I kept telling myself  it was okay because I was part of a huge online community where others had the same hobby.  Okay, I”ll tell you- its a certain brand of kids clothes.  I’m sure many of you are like, huh? I just wanted my kids to be super cute and it made me feel good to dress them in just the right outfit.  It also takes a lot of work to hunt down just the right piece because its that kind of brand.  Not even to begin with the time it took to sell it.  I’m sure this all sounds really crazy to you.  I’m going to have new hobbies now.  Playing with my kids more. Reading. Bible study.  If I can find a way to relax that is going to improve myself or others I’m gonna do it.

There are so many other ways that my perspective had changed.   Friends are soooooo much more important now.  A group of amazing Christian women has just embraced me and enveloped me in love.  If only I had leaned on them before.  My family was not as important as it should have been.  I held grudges; that they weren’t there for me enough, didn’t say the right things, didn’t support me the way I needed.  It’s all about forgiveness and acceptance.  We only have one family.  We never know how much time we have with them. Our differences are so minute when we realize we are all children of God.  People are put into our lives for a reason.  Love them. Forgive them.

My marriage before was coming apart because of selfishness.  Neither of us wanted to give up anything.  We wanted to hold our stance and demand we were right and the other was wrong.  Marriage is about sacrificing everything for the other person.  Its not about self, if you give yourself to your spouse and put their needs first they will do the same for you.

I’m in the club no one wants to be in.  Yet the view from here is amazing.

I Corinthians 13:2

Now all we can see of God
is like a cloudy picture
    in a mirror.
Later we will see him
    face to face.
We don’t know everything,
    but then we will,
just as God completely
    understands us.