Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Mills passed away on a Saturday. It was pouring down rain all day. Storming and flooding so severe interstates were closing. Roddy and I were staying in a hotel right next to Vanderbilt's Children's Hospital. We got a phone call from Mills nurse that morning around 6, telling us Mills wasn't doing well and she didn't think he would make it through that day. After meeting with the doctors at Vanderbilt, when we first arrived there, We were explained to very compassionately that we had a matter of days with our son. We had been there several days straight just holding him. So, although this phone call came at no surprise, the pain that we felt in that moment is indescribable. We knew the outcome, but I just kept pleading with God to change His mind. Maybe this was just a lesson God was teaching me and it was now over, and we could just go back to our happy ending. That this nightmare of pain might somehow come to an end. That Mills would have a chance to just come home with us. I know God carried me through those days, because there is no way I could have put one foot in front of the other. I was on auto-pilot, and while I was suffocating in pain, I also felt nothing at the same time. We made our way to the hospital to hold our sweet baby for the last hours of his life. I didn't want to get out of the car, I wanted to hold him, but I didn't want to let him go. Roddy and I sat in the parking deck before we went in and just prayed, crying out for strength for this day and that He would show up in our family. And He did. In the most painful day of our life, He indescribably did.
They let us take our tiny 2 lb baby to a family room at the corner of the hospital, that was all windows. We stayed in that quiet, peaceful room for hours, watching through our own sobs, as God's own tears streamed down the huge windows that encompassed the room. Praying, struggling for answers, and overwhelmed with grief. Part of me just wanted to run as fast as I could and not face it. Not to face the pain of knowing the inevitable, that we could do absolutely nothing about. The more I truly thought about what I was actually experiencing, the more I felt I couldn't handle this. It was just too much. As much as I never wanted to let him go, holding him for what I knew was the last time, was tremendously painful. Somehow, God's grace gave me the ability to not think past the moment and try to cherish every second I had with him.

Earlier in the week, I had sent Roddy to lifeway to buy some "Praise Baby" CD's because I wanted to rock Mills to this same sweet music I had rocked both Tate and Jon Walt to. The music they still fall asleep to every night, tucked so safe and secure in their little beds. I wanted that for Mills so bad. To be able to feel that security as a child, that his mom and dad could rock him and lay him in his crib as we watched him sleep. But with Mills, this is the closest I would have to that. To hold him as he peacefully entered the glorious gates of heaven, with lullabies that couldn't hold a candle to our Praise Baby. Oh, and I am sure they are amazing! To be rocked and held by a Heavenly Father that's love that is inseparable. It was a privilege I had been given, but in my anguish, I didn't see it that way at all. I wanted him here to listen to OUR lullabies, and it hurt so bad. His life wasn’t supposed to end like this.
My mom, sister and brother n law made their way through the storms to be with us on that day. My Dad was in Uganda and Roddy's parents had been able to be there the day before. And it was as if God had planned the entire day. Set it up just the way He wanted it. They arrived in time to hold him, love him, and have incredible spirit- filled prayer time with him and our family. I don't think anyone there that day can put into words the presence of the Lord that was in that room. Looking back, it gives me chills to think of how ever present we literally felt Him there and throughout that time. He wrapped His arms around all of us and gave us a peace that defies all human comprehension. In the midst of our tremendous grief, this All-Knowing, All-Powerful, Creator was there with us and it humbled us to the core. He made Himself present in our small, insignificant lives. And because of this, none of us in the room that day will ever be the same.

The bible says Jesus was a man that knew what is was like to be overcome with sorrow. In the night before He was arrested, He said "My soul is overcome with sorrow to the point of death."(Mark 14:34) Um, Right there with you, Jesus! Couldn't have said it better myself! It does bring relief to know that Jesus understands what its like to have sorrow pressing the life out of you. He understands the lump in our throat and the heaviness in our chest, and the sickness in the pit of our stomach. He understands it because He has been there himself. It's uniquely through our own sorrows that we can draw close to the Man of Sorrows. He wept with us and held us up for days to come. And is still holding us up.

I share a few small portions of this very intimate day so people will get a small glimpse the mercy and grace that were extended to us in the darkest of our hours. We cried out to Him, and He was there. Everyone who walks with Him has access to this same grace and mercy in which we were shown. You just have to ask. He will not disappoint. He doesn't let go and He IS real. Isn't it comforting to know He extends this grace to His children in the exact moments we need it?
I have had to walk away from this post about ten times before I finished it. The frustration and tears just kept coming. People see me and say "You are so strong!" and the truth is some days I am barely hanging on! But the beauty is I am still hanging! No one can prepare themselves to walk into a room filled with tiny caskets and make a choice of the one you want your child to lie in. No one ever imagines seven years to the date of your wedding, you would be walking around a cemetery picking the perfect place to bury your son, and one day, yourselves. No one can imagine making it through it, because you can’t. He gives us this grace just as we need it and wraps us in His arms in an incredible way in the most perfect timing.

True faith isn’t pretty when you are living amidst it, in fact it as messy as it gets! Its questioning when you feel let down, praising when you are hard-pressed from every side, and loving when you don't really feel like it! I really hesitate to write these truest of thoughts. That people might think I should move on, or get over it. I won’t ever get over it. I will get through it, not over it. I don't think God wants me to get over it, He wants to lead me through it, holding my hand each step. Because, there is part of me that is forever changed and different because I buried my baby at 6 weeks old. God changed our hearts and lives through Mills Thomas. This is part of our story, that we hope to somehow use it for Him, and we are richly blessed in more ways than we can even describe.

I love the song “Held” by Natalie Grant. The chorus says,

This is what it means to be Held,
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was when everything fell
We'd be Held

And we ARE held! I will be the first to say that trusting Him doesn’t take the pain away. It hurts tremendously. We don't have to pretend we are perfect and that everything is ok all the time, because it's NOT! Yet, we serve a mighty God that restores, heals and makes all things new! When we face these days of immense pain and sorrow, He gives us the grace we need in the exact moment we need it and carries us through. As believers, we have the gift of everlasting HOPE. This is the promise we can believe in and hold onto! Mills is being "Held" today by the same Savior that's holding us up daily! And that, my friends, gives me PEACE amidst a broken heart.

"In the day that I cried out, You answered me, and made me bold with strength in my soul” Psalms 138:3

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Come thy Fount of Every Blessing.....

I was listening to one of my favorite old hymns the other day, Come Thy Fount of Every Blessing. Ok, So maybe it was David Crowder Band-style, complete with steel drums, electric guitar, rocked out version. But, nonetheless, it is an OLD hymn! This Southern Baptist girl at heart much prefers the contemporary versions anyday!I love the words of this verse "Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love. Here's my Heart, Lord take and seal it, Seal it for thy courts above" These age-old lyrics are still so true today!
The past week, I have been really sad. Just missing my little guy and reliving the events that occurred in my head over the past few months. That can sometimes bring me to a despairing place, yet I think part of it is necessary for healing. To not sweep those feelings away, but not to dwell on them either. It is really difficult. So, sometimes these memories are triggered by something, they resurface and I get incredibly overcome with sadness. I know with all my heart that God has a purpose and is revealing it daily. However, the pain and doubt still creep in. I remember the sense of overwhelming abandonment I felt from God right after Mills was born. I felt completely defeated. I was sitting on the porch with my mom in the beginning, when we had gotten one bit of bad news after another. It seemed like we could never catch a break! I was TIRED of hearing the worst! Mills was in Huntsville and we were both bouncing in between taking care of Tate and Jon Walt, and staying in Huntsville with Mills. I remember angrily telling my Mom,"I feel like God is taking everything from me!" As my hands literally clenched everything of familiarity I could hang on to. The life I used to know was gone, and I was scared. Little did I know just how much my life would change in so many ways! I will never forget what she said to me that day, "He doesn't WANT to take everything from you, He just wants to see that you are WILLING to give it." True wisdom spoken from a woman that has lived for serving Him all her life. A mom that wished she could find some way to take the pain away from her child. In that moment, I knew she was right. I didn't like it. I didn't want it. I wanted it taken from me. I was angry and felt defeated. I WASN'T willing, I wanted to have my life back! It wasn't fair! But I knew in my heart she had a word from the Lord that day, and in time He would show me.

Over the next few weeks, He brought me to the humbling place of surrender. Where I WAS willing to give it all. Knees to the ground, everything is Yours, God, it was never mine to start with. It can all be taken from me tomorrow, but I still have Him, HE never changes! I am clinging to your hope, Lord, and waiting on You!

The pain we felt through Mills life has changed us immensely. We are making progress, and the waves do roll in less frequently, but they still roll in. And when they do I stand firm in my faith and pray a hedge of protection around my family.
The enemy "prowls around like a lion, looking for someone to devour"(1Peter 5:8) The enemy despises people who desire to worship Him, especially amidst tragedy. Who yearn to know Him more through the pain and suffering. He loves to attack our thoughts with guilt, insecurity and anxiety. We don't have to experience grief for this attack. It happens to us all daily and can destroy lives if we allow it. That is why I have to put up my shield of faith and realize he is prowling and looking for a place to sink his teeth into!
So when I feel prone to wander, I pray a lot, for God to seal my heart and protect me from the insecurity that tells me I can't do it. That I can't go on, that the pain is too much to bear. The guilt that tells me I should have done more. Or, if I trusted the Lord more, it wouldn't hurt this bad!If God really loved me,this would never have happened. Those are the lies we are told simply to defeat us.
I could have easily slipped into a life of resentment after I lost Mills. Picking myself up and going about my life as if it's all a gift isn't that easy when you have lost something so precious. What God has given us in the form of pain can be given back to Him as a holy offering, one that glorifies His name and gives meaning to our loss. As hard as that is, and I mean it is HARD, that is what he desires from us! And I for one, am not going to let the enemy claim victory on this battle, not on my watch OR my son's life! The ultimate battle is already won. But the enemy is not going to get his foothold in MY battle! For Christ alone is the Author of our salvation, the Mender of our hearts, the Healer of our souls. He loves us more than we can even imagine.

"Grief is like a long valley, a winding valley where any bend may reveal a totally new landscape. As I have already noted, not every bend does. Sometimes the surprise is the opposite one; you are presented with exactly the same sort of country you though you had left behind miles ago. That is when you wonder whether the valley isn't a circular trench. But it isn't. There are partial recurrences, but the sequence doesn't repeat."

Everything, including our pain is HIS, I am just so thankful He will meet us in it!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The healing hand of God...

Last week, a lady I met told me a story of a couple she knew that had a baby prematurely and he was diagnosed with a lot of health problems. She said, “This couple REALLY prayed, I mean REALLY prayed, and their child was miraculously healed.“ It’s kind of hard to know how to respond to that. I mean, I am thankful that their precious baby was healed. But I could’t help walking away and feeling a little defeated and a lot disappointed. I know this lady in no way meant it this way, but I couldn't’t help but feel the suggestion that if we had prayed more, or prayed more earnestly, or had more faith, then maybe Mills would have been healed too. Some seem to suggest there is miraculous healing power out there for those that have enough faith to receive it. However those of us who didn’t get that miracle we wanted are left feeling our faith is deficient or God is somehow unwilling to perform a miracle.
Shortly after Mills died I read the passage in Mark about where Jesus healed the leper man. The man approached Jesus to be healed and said, If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.” and then it says Jesus, “Moved with compassion, reached out and touched him. I am willing, be healed!” Mark 1 41:42. I remember the great sadness I felt when I read this story. In my heartbreak, I read the words “I am willing” and in my own ears I hear “I was not willing.” to heal your baby.

I know this is an age old question for Christians. Why does God choose to heal some and not others? Why are some shown temporary physical mercy and others not? What's so good about a God that allows so much suffering and pain? I remember the first time I questioned this many years ago when I was in college.. My dad’s best friend and a very well respected pastor in the area was diagnosed with ALS. He literally had armies around the world praying for his healing. Yet, he still died. Its kind of a let down, when this happens. He was a Godly man that spent his life serving the Lord. It’s like, “Wait a minute God, what did we do wrong?” You could have rocked this world for Christ if you had just chosen to heal him. We know you can, but are You willing?
The question resurfaced again throughout Mills’ life. We really struggled with knowing what to even pray. We finally found peace in praying for “God’s will” no matter what. Not just praying for him to live or be healed, just what the Lord saw was the best for Mills life to glorify Him. That’s a hard thing to pray, to let go of your own dreams for your child’s life. We'd like to think that the way God can get the most glory is by doing a miracle we have put on order. We'd much rather have Jesus display His power in our lives through the form of healing and wholeness, success and accomplishment. Not dependance and weakness, those are way too difficult. But through this we realized the peace of surrendering to His will, is worth whatever the cost.

God is teaching me that questioning "Why?" is really an unsatisfying quest. We should really ask "What?" What are you teaching me through this pain? What do you want me to see through this sorrow? We will never fully understand "Why?" anything happens in this life. We aren't capable of understanding the great depths of His wisdom and mercy. I am learning that pain and suffering are a means to know Him with a depth I had never experienced before. He has things to reveal to us in our sorrow that we wouldn't have been ready or willing to listen to before the hurt. We finally are able to get a small glimpse of what He was willing to endure out of His love for us.
I am realizing that God sometimes has a different agenda than physical healing. I believe He is still in the business of miracles.While He still uses physical healing to show Himself, there is much more at stake. His idea healing has to do with the soul. His primary purpose in the here and now is not to heal all the sickness and pain, but to bring us to a place where our desire for our lives is to glorify Him. He values our eternal souls well being much more than our physical health and suffering hearts. A person that experiences the true satisfaction of peace in Him, is a far greater miracle than a person healed of a physical ailment. The people who Jesus chooses to heal, physically, eventually die from something. Whether their bodies aged or the had a different sickness. The eternal soul is much more valuable to Him, and should be to us as well.

I read a book by an author that lost a baby. She says that during the time of their babies short life, a friend told her, “The miracle likely isn’t going to be that God will heal your baby. The miracle is going to be that God will heal You.” Wow, So true! God has worked through Mills small life to give me a spirit of acceptance and even joy in the midst of tremendous sorrow. Hope and peace beyond our human capacity in a way that I can’t explain or begin to take credit for. When God uses the worst things we can imagine for our ultimate good, we are able to see the light beyond the darkness.

So, just like the leper man, Jesus says to us, "I am willing, Be healed." Be healed from the wounded, broken, places in our life. Be healed from our own selfishness and follow Me. Maybe not "physically" healed, but be "spiritually" healed.
I am also coming to peace that Jesus did not withhold His healing touch from Mills. He has taken him to himself, and given us the hope that we will one day meet again. I know our prayers were earnestly felt and heard by God. He chose to heal Mills in a different way. Our hearts were broken in order to be healed. Not an experience anyone would choose for their life, the physical healing miracle is much easier to handle. But would our eyes still have been opened and ears so ready to listen to Him?

I know my biggest search has been for Mills life to have meaning on this earth. That there is a purpose in my loss, that is wasn't random or worthless. Sometimes God allows us the privilege of seeing how He is using our loss in the lives of others and sometimes we must wait. I know I will never see the fullness of His purpose in this life. But I know one thing for sure, in the deep losses of life, expect to find yourself blessed beyond imagination, IF we are willing. I know I sure have, and he is healing me more everyday!

Friday, August 6, 2010


This week, Tate started 3 year old preschool at a new school. He is loving every minute of it! He has a precious class and teachers, so I am really excited about what all he is going to learn! This little guy is one of the sweetest, brightest, and has one of the most loving little heart's I know ! It has been very challenging this year, explaining to him about Mills. Because of Tate's age, we never took him to actually "meet" Mills. However, he was actively involved in praying for him, shown pictures, and knew he was born, just in the hospital because he was too small. Roddy and I really struggled with whether we should have taken him to meet him. We kept waiting week by week, if Mills condition improved, then we would take him to see him. Unfortunately his condition never improved substantially, and we never felt a complete peace about taking him. The sounds of the NICU is one that is forever etched in my mind. Lots of beeping monitors, tubes, noises, and tiny babies in small plastic bubbles. While I'm thankful for modern technology, its a place that brings me back to a lot of pain.Many hours spent beside our baby, when all we could do was just pray for him. A place where I had a lot of heart to hearts with God. A place where I had to relinquish total control of my life and questioned everything that I believed. A very helpless feeling, when we were only allowed to touch him through the holes in the kangaroo bed. I didn't like seeing my baby like that, it was a very difficult thing to process for us, much less for our three year old son. There were many a times we would be there and Mills or another baby would "de-stat" which is what they call the babies stats going below normal ranges and causes all kinds of alarms to go off. There were even times families around us were brought in to say their goodbyes to their babies, and we would just have to leave because it just hit too close to home. It was a very anxious, helpless feeling, you just want to reach in and grab him up and just hold him, and protect them from any harm, but you can't.

Tate has a very sensitive heart, and he is very perceptive. My fear was that the whole NICU hospital experience would have frightened him more than helped him understand. Had he been older, and needed to meet him for closure, then that would have been different. But at three years old, he wouldn't have remembered seeing him in the future, and it would have only caused even more confusion and fear.
People have asked me how our children were doing with all of this,(obviously Jon Walt is too young) and what we shared with him and what we withheld. As a parent, the natural desire is to shield them from sorrow and keep them from being overwhelmed. With Tate, he had trouble understanding the finality of death. The week before Mills was born, my grandfather passed away. He and Tate were very close, so explaining death and heaven to him has been with two very close family members. We felt like Tate has understood that Papaw and Mills had died. Though not fully comprehending they would never come back. We were told specifically to use the word "died" to Tate not "lost" We did this many times, but as I said he is very perceptive. We would be in town somewhere, and someone would come to me and say, "I am so sorry about your loss" A normal and courteous thing to say from one adult to another. But to a child, the word "lost" means something different. They see things very tangible. One day we were driving down the road and Tate said, "Mommy, we lost a baby, I don't want to be lost." Through trying to hold back my tears, explained to him, that we didn't "lose" anything. We know exactly where Mills is and we will see him again one day. Just like us, children are often comforted by the idea of heaven, but it doesn't provide total relief. Heaven is a wonderful place, but it doesn't fix the hurt. It doesn't fix the hurt for me, and I believe in it! How much more difficult is it for a child to comprehend?

I have really struggled with being transparent with him about our hurt. Like I said, as parents we feel like it's our job to shield our children from any kind of pain. Whether it's divorce, depression, job loss, or death. We feel like we need to put on a smile and let them think we are ok. That life is ok. But the truth is, they know when we are sad and things just aren't right. They know the way we fix their lunch and tuck them in at night. Even the youngest of children sense that. The more we try to hide things and gloss them over, the more insecure children tend to be. We will all experience hurt, unfortunately even our children. When Tate takes those moments to share his heart with me, I try to explain the best that I can. I pray a lot that God would give me words and that I would know exactly what his little heart can handle at this young age. I have told him that Mommy was sad, and that I wish Mills was still here. I tell him that I don't understand why this had to happen, but I reassure him that it is ok to be sad and ask questions about heaven. My prayer is that by being transparent, he will see that I can handle his feelings, and he will be more likely to share his feelings with me.

Several weeks ago, my sister and I were out at the sandbox with Tate. He was busily playing with his dumptrucks and diggers. He looked up from playing and said, "I think Papaw is rocking baby Mills in heaven" We both looked at each other(trying not to bust into tears) like where did that come from? "They are not coming back, you know?" We both assured him we knew and that Mills and Papaw was in a wonderful place and although we miss them very much, we will see them again. Its tough when you get the questions like"Why won't Jesus let Mills come home?" Like Jesus is holding him hostage or something! Wow, the mind of a 3 year old! Those are the questions, I really struggle with answering. I sure don't understand "Why?" But, atleast my adult mind is able trust that I don't need to have all the answers.

With Tate's age, we have had to continually explain things to him about Mills. It wasn't a one time conversation, it has been a process. He still asks questions about "when is Mills coming home?" even though we have explained to him many times. Children that age are very in the moment. We have tried to incorporate Mills into a part of our family in many ways. We made a flower bed in the backyard we call "Mills Garden" We received a lot of wonderful plants from dear friends after Mills passed away that we planted in his garden. It is a great way to involve our children in something that will make it easy to talk about Mills. I know everyone deals with their children and death differently. We can only pray that God will give us the grace to know just what to say to their tender little hearts. Children's innocence is one of the most precious things!I love my little Tater-bug and am thankful for his sensitive spirit. Our prayer for our children is that they would one day know the Lord and love him with "all their heart, soul and mind!" And that we would ALL have faith like a child!

"And He said:"I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children; you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven!" Matthew 18:2-4

Friday, July 30, 2010

Our Bitter-Sweet Summer

slip and slide

Spaghetti Supper Outside!

I love this, just a typical summer weeknight!

Check Spelling
Jon Walt, "Bruster" loves the sandbox, just like Tate!

One of the million reason Tate loves his "Da-Da"

"O LORD be gracious to us; we long for you, be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress." Isaiah 33:2

As our summer is winding down, I though I would post a recap of our summer. I mean, really, how can I put our summer into words? Lots of laughter, lots of tears, lots of moments on our knees, and a whole lot of learning! So, I titled this post "Bitter-Sweet"Summer, but the bitter part is only the healing to the sweet. I found the verse above a while back and feel like it's been our family's motto over the past few months, "O Lord, be gracious to us, we long for you, be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress, " Isaiah 33:2. This summer has been a struggle on all of us, to grieve, find peace, understand, yet soak in each little giggle, sticky faced kiss, and precious hug we receive. Finding a balance between our grief and our joy, which proves to be quite a challenge. There have been many time over the past few months I guess are most described as an "emotional halt" Where I feel like I am standing completely still, and feel absolutely nothing. Yet world around me is like a merry go round spinning faster and faster. I have been told that feeling this way is a normal progression of grief. Almost like an out of body experience. Everyone else in the world is moving on with their life without a care in the world, not you, you are all consumed. It's hard to believe its been almost 3 months since Mills left our arms. Sometimes it all feels like a really bad dream and it never actually happened. I sometimes ask Roddy, "Did all that really happen to us?" But then there are things daily that remind me there was no dreaming to it, what transpired through Mills life was more real than can ever be described. It can only be experienced to be understood.

Shortly after Mills passed away, a sweet lady that has also lost a child, sent a card and she wrote inside it,"Grief is a process, not an address, don't build your house around it" I have thought about that a lot since then, and think there is a lot of wisdom to it. Grief is different for everyone, no one deals with it the same way. We all face it at some point, some sooner than others, some tragically, and some through life's normal progression. Either way, it hurts to the core. It sweeps in and takes up residence for a while, and then hopefully with time, goes away only to leave a painful scar and hopefully some sweet memories behind. Your heart will never be the same, but you learn how to cope and "not to build your house around it" Finding that balance is challenging, and at times feels downright impossible. You almost feel guilty to feel some kind of joy again when your heart breaks inside for the one you love.

This summer has been full of joy and laughter, yet anguish and pain. For I know this man I serve has been mending millions of broken hearts for thousands of years. He's the same God that comforted Mary and Martha when their brother Lazurus died and Jesus wasnt there. He's the same One who reassured David that he was a man after His heart, when he messed up more times than we can count! He is the same Saviour who defended an adultress woman burdened with guilt and ridiculed with shame. He's the same redeemer who time and time again people in this world have come to in their time of need, and He did not let them down. He may not have shown up the way they wanted Him to, but in more ways their human minds could never imagine.

He's the same God who I go to daily for the strength and grace to get me through my day. The only one who sees potential through my weakness. He is the only one who supplies strength to people in times of otherwise earthly destruction. He is the One and only that will piece together my broken story and mend my family's broken heart. So, I wait on Him, not always so patiently, but still I wait. I have found throughout this process that some people really don't know what to say to you about your sorrow and struggle. But Jesus knows just how to comfort people with broken hearts, He really does. He knows just what we need to hear because He knows us better than we know ourselves. He understands the weight of our pain because He himself has dove deep into the depths of suffering and sorrow. He has the resources of compassion and wisdom that no one else has. Fortunatley, Jesus is inclined to speak to us in our sorrow. He's not intimated by awkwardness or hard questions. In fact, the bible says He is drawn to the broken hearted.

So, I lean on this One like never before. This Jesus that has walked this path with so many others with broken hearts and shared in their sorrow is walking with me through mine. Its overwhelming what He is teaching me through this, giving me more and more desire to have a heart like His. And that, is a good place to be! For He is the one constant in life through sorrow and joy. He is the only one that can truly mend broken hearts in a broken world.

"He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds" Psalms 147:3

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Family Beach Trip 2010

Beautiful Jon Walt! Roddy and I have loved seeing his little personality come out over the past few months, and he is full of it! He has such a precious heart and laughs all day!
Both of the boys loved the sand, maybe because their sandbox in the backyard is their favorite!

My sweet Tate

Baytown Wharf in Sandestin is one of our favorite things to do!

My two sisters and their sweet kids, Parker is 1, and Katie Aubrey is 3 months, the newest addition!

Tate with GiGi and GanD

I love this picture, my sweet boys!

We ate at a resturaunt that had a guy singing Jimmy Buffett, so my sisters and I had to get up and dance with the kids, you have to seize these moments in life!

My big boy will be 4 in September, He is so smart, and has the most precious heart. Very affectionate and comes up with the most hilarious things!

Not sure what Jon Walt was doing in this picture, but had to capture it! These little guys are my heart!

My loves, I really like this picture, too bad JW has a mouthful of beads he found! Oh well!

We stayed really close to Seaside, my family loved going there, shopping and eating. It is such a beautiful area. Definitley an area we will return to!

I am so blessed!

Having all girls, my Dad is really enjoying his grandsons!

This year, our whole family was able to get together for a week at the beach. Every year, our families have gotten bigger AND busier so as you can imagine, it is not easy to plan! But this year, was even more needed than any other year. Our family has been through a very difficult time. Not only with the loss of Mills, but my grandfather, Papaw, went to be with the Lord in March while my parents were serving in Guatemala. His funeral was the day Mills was born, so Roddy and I weren't able to go. He was an amazing man that smile always lit up the room. I know God allowed me the privilege of being with him while he was in the hospital in the hours leading to his death. He was very close to Tate, and Tate always loved going to visit, and he always loved hearing "Tate" stories. So this year, was a much needed, relaxing a fun vacation! Well, we had 4 kids under 3, so maybe relaxing is not the best word, but fun for sure! And after the year we have been through, I treasure these moments all the much more! Thanks Mom and Dad for a wonderful time!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Mills Thomas Methvin

I wrote this, the week of June 24th, the week Mills was due, I wanted to post it for those who haven't read it.

This week, marks a very special ,yet painful, time in our lives. This week, we were were supposed to meet our precious Mills. And to be quite honest, I didn't realize it would be as difficult as it has been for me. I don't know why, I guess I thought it would be like any other week, good days and bad. But the realism of the "what should be" sometimes can overwhelm you. Then I have to remind myself that Mills came exactly when he was "supposed" to come, just not according to MY plan.We met him, loved him, and held him exactly when we were meant to. I know in my heart that God's plan for Mills life is far greater than I can fathom. I am humbled to have been chosen to be his mommy, to have been blessed to have known him, even for the short six weeks. That little guy taught us more than some ever realize in a lifetime!

We often think of blessings in the form of material things, protection, health and happiness. And those are all forms of blessings, but the truth is, some of the Lord's GREATEST and WOW blessings often times come alongside pain and suffering. I like the quote. "When you are sorrowful, look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for which has been your delight!" For a God, as HOLY as our God, to have chosen to reveal himself to my family in our time of need, is the most humbling thing I have ever encountered. To think that, God, that created everything that we can fathom and more, wants to have an intimate relationship with ME, and cares about my life, no matter what kind of sinner I am or how bad I mess up. And he wants that with everyone of us!

I recently read a book titled "Plan B' Its perfect for all you people like me, when something in our life doesn't go according to "OUR" plan. And for all those "Type A's" out there (myself included) when this happens, it can rock your world to say the least! I wanted to share a portion of this book, because it really ministered to me.

"Because of Jesus, suffering is never the last word, We're promised if we put our trust in him, there will be a day when he "will wipe away every tear from our eyes, and there will be no more death, sadness, crying or pain, (Rev 21:4)
That's the promise. That's the last word-that ultimatley God wil defeat the pain and heartbreak of this world. That's he's already defeated it, but we're just living out the aftermath of the battle. That there WILL be a day when all is restored." Plan B, Pete Wilson

When unexpected things happen in our lives(and they will) we all have a choice to make.The choice of Faith. Faith is saying, I choose to believe in you God, more than this circumstance. Because He is the one constant, that never changes. He weeps with us because we can't see what He sees, but one day, very soon, we will see. His compassion is so Great, and He is ALWAYS faithful, even if we don't like the outcome, He has our best at heart. He gives and takes away, and I know that I am called to glorify Him, no matter the circumstances, it doesn't mean I am going to understand it!

I do believe that in one way or another, God answered our prayers to heal Mills. It wasn't here on this earth, the way we wanted it to be, but I have complete faith that he is whole. And we WILL see him and hold him again. I still struggle daily with my false sense of control, but God is teaching me I was never in control in the first place. The only thing we can control is how we respond. We can be bitter or allow God to make us better. I want to be better. As Christians, we aren't promised a "pain free" life, We are promised He will walk with us through every day, during heartache and happiness!

We are still healing, and we still have a LONG way to go. But God is faithful,and He is showing me things daily, that blow me away! Our journey of faith didn't come easy,we had our share of anger and doubt, but we honestly had no idea how to survive without believing God was in control! I am thankful God spared my life, and He wasn't finished with me here just yet :)! I know that God has a plan for Mills life, and in His timing, not MY timing, He will begin revealing that to us. I am thankful for the people God has placed in our life, that continue to support us emotionally and prayerfully and share this journey. And I know in my heart that , "Mills life will not return void to God, it will accomplish the purpose for which he was sent" Isaiah 55:11

"Out of these ashes, Beauty will Rise, and we will know the joy that's coming in the morning!"SCC

Thanks for reading my heart, just felt the Lord wanted me to share this today! Love to all-Rebekah

Eternal Perspective

It overwhelms me sometimes to think of everything God has done in just the past few months. Through my broken heart, He has completley changed my heart and desires. It amazes me the little things that were important to me before Mills, aren't that important any more. Things that used to bother me, not so much anymore. He has replaced these desires and thoughts with something far greater. Part of me aches for the ease of life when there was no need of knowing, Living the comfortable christian life. My eyes have been opened, and there is no turning back. He has shown me there is a much bigger picture than my narrow mind can process. Proverbs 24;12, says"Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act." Proverbs 24:12. Through Mills, He has given me an eternal perspective, that replaces every desire I have known before. He has shown me how much I NEED Him and His grace daily, and I want to know Him better than ever before.

I have read a lot of wonderful books latley and the last two are "Crazy Love" and "Radical" Both of these books describe the "american dream" as literally ruining true intimacy with the Lord in America. How our culture defines success, and God defines success are two totally different things. David Platt says in "Radical" "Wake up and realize there are infinetly more important things in our lives than football and a 401K. Wake up and realize there are real battles to be fought, so different from the superficial battles we focus on. Wake up to the countless multitudes who are currently destined for a Christless eternity." But how quickly we as Christians judge our spirtual lives by church attendance and the "good" things we do. Don't get me wrong, church attendance and good deeds are important, but they are fruits from our hearts, not actions. Christians today like the God that fits into our lives and schedules. We compare ourselves to others, "I am not a hard core jesus freak like them, but I'm not as bad as the guy down the street" Yet the bible says,"All our righteous acts are like filthy rags" Isaiah 64:6. Our good deeds can never outweigh our sins. We give Him our leftovers, and then expect him to just bless our socks off. We love Jesus, and he a part of our lives, but only a part. We give Him a section of our money, time and thoughts, but we want to control our OWN lives.

As I have said before about "comfort zones" God is teaching me a lot. I have really been convicted about where I spend my time, thoughts, and money. It's easier to remain in the safety of where we've always been, doing the things we've always done. But we are missing out on what God intends for us! Through the 6 weeks of Mills life, I literally had to let go of every dream I ever had for my life or my family. I had to let go of everything I tried desperatley to hold on to. And just TRUST, that He was in control of Mills life, my life and my family's life, not me. And his plan, is so much bigger than I can fathom. It's a very humbling experience when you feel God so close, you feel like you could literally touch him. That's how we felt with Mills. He was ever present in our time of trouble. In the weeks following Mills death, I desperatly felt the need to fix the pain, rise above it, and kick this heartbreak to the curb. But the Lord knew what he meant when He said "Be still and know that I am God" And in the stillness, He has taught me more, loved me more and showed me more sinfulness in my life than I could imagine.

So, the truth is, nothing about Jesus life on earth was comfortable, in fact He was hated. True christianity isn't comfortable, it's dying of your selfish desires, wants and needs to follow Him.
And there is nothing about that is easy..

I love this from "Radical", "The gift of grace involves the gift of a new heart. New desires. New Longings. For the first time we want God. We see our need for Him and we love Him. We seek after Him, and we find Him, we discover that he is indeed the great reward of our salvation. We realize that we are not saved just to be forgiven of our sins or to be assured of our eternity in heaven, but we are saved to know God. So we yearn for Him. This is the only response to the revelation of the gospel"

I'm excited to see what God is doing in our family's life. I know He has great things in store. Right now, I am praying, a lot, that God will continue to lift my eyes to Him, and ways I can live unselfishly for Him. With a heavy heart, I am grateful for what God has done in my life through Mills. Being as close as I, my own self, was to death, and then feeling Mills breath one moment, and that next moment He was with Jesus. You realize how close and real Heaven is, literally one breath away. It is impossible to not have your perspective lifted above. I realized how close I was to standing at His throne at 31 years old, and He wasn't really interested about how many church services I attended or what scraps of my life I had thrown His way. What had I truly sacrificed in this life for Him?
So, through my hurt, I am thankful. My heart breaks for those who have gone before me on this path, those who know the agony of losing someone they never really got to know. And my heart aches for those who are yet to tread here, where I am. I pray for them, and I pray that God will lift their eyes to His face and show them comfort that only come from Him and give them an "eternal perspective" only HE can give

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Jon Walt with Roddy's grandmother(MeMe) who just turned 90 in May!

Nana pulling Jon Walt in the wagon

Meme enjoying the sunset

Tate's fish

Roddy's family has a lake cabin in Waterloo. Its a great little place to get away, fish, and watch the sunsets. Roddy grew up coming here, and that is where he fell in love with fishing. He has lots of fun memories here as a child. So, it is neat for him to share that same experience with his boys. Although, we don't get to go often, we love the peace and quiet when we get to! It's a beautiful area, and the best part is that cell phones don't work in Waterloo!:) Ahh, Peaceful!

Auburn Chi Omega Reunion!

The crew, minus a few!

All the Kids

Auburn Chi O Days

Last week, my roommates and a few of my pledge sisters from Auburn all met in Huntsville at Amy's house for a day of catching up! I loved seeing everyone and their beautiful kids. These were the friends that knew me when I was just a fresh faced college kid, with her eyes open wide, a girl who scheduled her classes around "Days of our Lives" and thought she had life ALL figured out:)! Our biggest worries were "who bought the last pack of toilet paper" and "who we were going to ask to the next date party" All we had was a twin bed on cinder blocks, and bunch of text books, that we didn't read! Oh, how quickly we realized times have changed! Not much conversation went on without someone yelling "Mommy!" or crying because they got hurt! But, that's where we all are in our lives, and we wouldn't have it any other way! We did manage to have some "adult conversation" along the way, and I will say, it is an honor to be a part of each of these women's lives. We shared old memories and crazy stories, plenty of "WHAT were we wearing?" and "whatever happened to?" and where we shop for kids clothes. But the thing I cherished most was seeing my sisters in Christ, share where the Lord has brought them over the past few years, and that to me was the best! From the loss of a child, job struggles, to recent international adoption and one in the process of adopting. There is no doubt these women love the Lord with all their heart, and struggle, just like me, to know Him better! So, I consider myself blessed to have the college experience that I did, and so thankful to have these girls to lean on in my life! We hope to all tailgate at an Auburn game this fall! Waar Eagle!

Monday, July 12, 2010

July 4th Weekend

Parker and Jon Walt

Tate loves to drive the boat!

I love the 4th of July! Next to Christmas, it's probably my favorite holiday! I love this mid-summer holiday that is all about hot weather, swimming, fishing, boating, and Great food! Roddy loves smoking ribs and chicken on the green egg, and he is really great at it too! This year, Robbie, Stephanie(my younger sister), and Parker came in for the weekend. We are so blessed to have close family, that are also best friends. Parker, their 11 month old, and Jon Walt are very close in age, so it makes for a very fun and Crazy time! Steph and I took the kiddos swimming on Saturday, while the guys played golf, and then passed them over to the guys, so we could have some relaxing, alone, time at the pool! We also took the boat out with all the kiddos, Parker's first boat ride, and he loved it! I have a feeling we are going to be pulling a many a kids tubing over the next few years! On the 4th, thanks to GiGi and GanD, we went out without the kids for the day and then ended the day at my neighbors awesome firework show! It was a wonderful weekend with family and friends celebrating America's birthday!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

To Know Him, is to Love Him.....

The past few months, I have shed a lot of tears, more than in my whole life combined. I have experienced deep heartbreak alongside an unspeakable kind of joy. I have been down but not destroyed. Feelings of deep loss, yet a deep and peaceful gain. This morning our pastor preached on Job, it was an incredible sermon and the spirit of the Lord was evident in His house today. On the way home, I told Roddy, 6 months ago, that sermon would have flown right over my head! And yet, this morning, I couldn't stop the tears. I never had any reason to question or put my faith to test. My life had pretty much gone according to my little plan. Job experienced the ultimate loss, he lost everything he had, his wealth, his health, his affluence, AND buried his children. Yet he STILL fell to his face and praised the Lord. Most people will never encounter a true Job experience, where your faith is continually tested to the core. I am by no means comparing my family to Job, but I do know what it's like to have your faith TESTED and restored. I do know the realistic thoughts of literally losing every kind of comfort you have known. But to still have Him?, thats the promise! To be in LOVE with Him for Him, and not what he can do for us. To truly realize in your heart that we were created to glorify Him, not for Him to gratify us. On the way home I told Roddy, that although what we have been through has been complete anguish and hell, I wouldn't have changed a single thing about it!
Oh, and you have no idea how that statement brings stinging tears to my eyes! Because, I did question God, throughout this whole journey, My faith and love was strong, yet I still questioned. "God, why didn't you just take Mills the day after he was born, when we got that terrible phone call in the middle of the night, saying "He's not going to make it"? "Why did we have to go through the hope gained, then hope destroyed, and dreams lost, everyday for 6 whole weeks of not knowing and then only to have to give him back to You?" Or "what kind of God, watches a mom hold her precious baby as he takes his last breath?"
But, through this, I now know exactly what kind of God allows these things. An all-knowing, all-powerful, merciful, loving and holy God. You see, It's real easy to have faith when you get your miracle. Trusting Him doesn't mean God will show up the way we think He should. Our God is really not interested in us having a comfortable life at all. What he is interested in, is an intimate realtionship with us. He is a God that sees things, not as our human minds can even try to comprehend. One that loves us SO much that he CHOOSES to have a relationship with us, not because he needs it, because he wants us. A God that gave us 6 weeks to Love, hold and pray over our son. What we saw amidst our pain and agony was a glimpse into both Heaven and Hell. And in the glimpsing, We were given a gift- A 2 lb baby named Mills Thomas

And yet this is the Jesus I strive to know. This is the Jesus that says "Come to me, just as you are" I know how to handle it, bring me your pain and lay it at my feet. So, maybe its not about the "best way" or the "way it should be" Perhaps God is more concerned about taking the "spiritual blinders" off our eyes than giving or taking anything away. Maybe its about a much bigger picture than you and I can see. Maybe its about giving my family an eternal perspective we would have otherwise never seen. This is Jesus. This is why I love Him, "beauty is the mess we are" and that is exactly how he wants us. The Jesus who invites all the questions, anger, the frustration, the heartache, the tears and the sorrow, and says "Come to Me" His love is deeper and wider than we will ever find, and I find myself wanting to be more and more like him every day.

"Spiritual Transformation doesnt take place on Sunday when we get what we want. It takes place on Saturday, while we are waiting. It's what is forged while we are waiting, hoping, trusting, even though we have yet to receive that for which we long" Plan B, Pete Wilson

I will never know exactly why we experienced what we did. But I know one thing for certain, God has shown me I can no longer live the "safe" christian way. Mills forever changed that for us. I know Jesus has given me more reason to love Him, question Him, serve Him, and KNOW Him than I ever have known or desired before. I have no idea how God equips us to get through horrible tragedies, but I know He does. I am living proof. So, to REALLY know Him, is to REALLY, REALLY Love Him!

"For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom; and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength." 1 Corinthains 1 :25

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Hello Blogging World!

I have decided to start a blog! For those of you who know me well, know how "out of my comfort" zone this is for me! But then again, EVERYTHING over the past 6 months has been way out of my comfort zone, so what the heck? Many people throughout the past few months have asked me if I had been blogging the journey we had with Mills. I have met several incredible women who have had similar experiences with the loss of their babies.They were, and still are, capturing the transparency of their pain and able to minister to others through their blog. And, my bestest pal, Andrea, harrassed me to do one, so we both took the challenge on together! To be honest, our situation was such a whirlwind, I couldn't wrap my mind around what I was feeling each day to begin to minster to others or even put that pain into words. I would like to say that everyday we were so strong in the Lord, but the truth is we were overwhelmed with pain. The simplest things in life became the hardest as our lives were completely spinning out of control. The news of Mills health changed honestly moment to moment. One moment we were hopeful, and the next that hope was destroyed, only to find it restored the next day. That is the beauty of this faith journey that God carried us on, and is STILL carrying us on. My purpose in starting this blog is to share what God is teaching me, showing me and to be transparent about our experience. I am not a writer, my sisters got that gene, but I feel the Lord leading me to be continue this journey through this blog. God is teaching me a lot about this "comfort zone" word, and the more I get to know Him and love Him, the more I want to be LESS comfortable. I am no longer content with "ankle deep" faith. I can't be that person anymore.

I also really want to capture the sweetness of our everyday life with our two precious boys. the fun things that we do and the love that we share, and the little moments that leave us doubled over laughing. Oh the joy of being parents! So, here goes my first post, and one more "comfort zone" to conquer!