Wednesday, October 20, 2010

This Day in History...

October 20, 2003....I was almost made a widow. 

You can read the whole story here & here, but today I have been thinking how different my life would be without my best friend and husband. 

1.  I would NOT be married.  I could not imagine being with anyone other than Eric.  He is my first and only boyfriend, so it's REALLY hard for me to imagine.  Plus, with five children, who really would want to have married me?

2.  I mentioned having FIVE children.  I realize I have seven.  I was five weeks away from delivering our fifth child.  Two of our children would not be in existence today and only two would actually remember their daddy.  How my heart would break if my children could not know their wonderful daddy.

3.  Since Eric's accident, I have lost my father, Anna has been hospitalized, we've had several trips to the ER, Michael had major surgery, and there's been a divorce in my family.  Through all of these things, Eric has held my hand and held me up.  Though I know God would have held me up if He had decided to take Eric home, I am so grateful that He chose to leave him here to be my minister of strength.

4.  If Eric were no longer here, my children would probably be in public school as I worked a full-time job.  Though I often am exhausted with homeschooling, I am so blessed to be able to do it and be home with my family.  Who knows what our crazy life would be like?

5.  Most of all, I would ache with loneliness.  My husband is my best friend in all the world.  I remember waiting for Mercy Flight and praying, "Lord, if You take him, I know you'll take care of me.  But, Lord...he's my best friend.  I don't know how I'll live without my best friend." 

Seven years ago, Eric could have died. Today, I drove him to pick up a truck from a field. I HAVE a husband to drive around.   Though it's the crazy harvest season and he's exhausted & absent much of the time, he WILL be home.

I don't know how long God will choose to allow us to be together on this earth.  I pray it's until we're very old.  I do know that I am grateful for the time we have now and the life we have today. Today I am still able to hold hands with my best friend...thanks be to God.

Friday, October 15, 2010

For Gloria Has Sinned...?

I am going through "Leading Little Ones to God" with my three youngest children, Seth, Gloria, & Zane.  It is a really wonderful devotional book that helps little children learn all about the attributes of God and why we need Him in our lives.

Last week, we began the section which speaks about how sin entered the world and the consequences of sin. The devotional, "What it Means to be a Sinner" begins by asking, "Are you naughty sometimes?"  Both Gloria & Seth, who have recently accepted Christ as their Savior, answered in the affirmative.  When I placed the question before Zane he heartily answered, "No!"

Me:  "You're not naughty, Zane?"

Zane:  "No.  Gloria naughney."    *I personally love his pronunciation of the word "naughty."

Me:  "Gloria's naughty?"

Zane:  "Yes."

Me:  "You're not naughty?"

Zane:  "No.  Gloria naughney."

Me:  "What about Michael?  Is he naughty?"

Zane:  "No."

Me:  "Is Cassia naughty?"

Zane:  "No."

And on it went through the listing of each one of his siblings.  Then, I came to Gloria once again.

Me:  "Is Gloria naughty?"

Zane:  "No." Quickly realizing what I had asked, changes his answer: "YES!"

He still held firm to the fact that HE was NOT naughty.  I believe we have 8 other people in the house willing to testify to the contrary.

At the end of the lesson, we began the review questions.  I looked at Gloria and asked, "Gloria, who sins?"  Expecting to hear her tell me that everyone sins - a fact that she knows - she says firmly, "ME!"

I guess Zane will preach conviction into the hearts of many - and he's starting with his sister!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Sober Thoughts

"Zane.  Zane.  Time to get up."

My three year old, who already had his eyes opened, turned over on his back and looked up at me from his bed.

"O-tay," he said.

"You're going with Mommy & Daddy today.  The doctor is going to fix your eyes."


Telling a three year old in advance about any upcoming surgery is usually pointless.  At least, this three year old.  How does one prepare a 30 pound, 2 1/2 foot child about going to sleep and waking up in pain...but that it's all for the best?

Crossed eyes is hereditary in my family.  My aunt was born with it and began wearing glasses at 18 months of age.  Each of my nephews has it and Zane was diagnosed a few months ago.  In our son's case, the doctor does not believe he was born with it, but it developed over time.  Zane wore glasses throughout the summer, but his eye appointment at the end of August proved the glasses to be ineffectual.  Surgery would be needed.

"No big deal," I thought.  At least we wouldn't have to deal with the patching all of my nephews, my brother, and so many of our friends' children have had to deal with.  Anesthesia?  That's old hat in this family as our oldest son has "gone under" twice.  Sure, Zane was younger and a different temperment, so I knew that a lot of crying (and possible screaming) would be involved when he awoke, but, again, no big deal.  The chances of someone dying under anesthesia are far smaller than the chances of getting in an automobile accident.  I AM NOT a paranoid mother.  The surgery itself was not a concern.  In and out.  Michael had a life-threatening 10 hour surgery with a stay in the PICU and hospital for almost a week.  Seriously, this was looking like a picnic in the park.

Until now.  Zane's smile, his toddling steps down the stairs, and his innocence all began to tug at my heart on this morning of surgery.  As I put on Zane's shirt I prayed, "Lord, please don't let this be the last time I get Zane up and ready in the morning."  On the outside I was smiling and acting like we were just going to have a fun outing.  On the inside, I was consciously jotting down every moment in case something happened and Zane did not come home with us.  Morbid, I know.  Just the kind of foolishness I usually laugh at.  But, I guess a mother is a mother - no matter how many times she has been through various situations and how "logical" she has become.

Zane got to pick out a toy when we got to the surgical center.  He enjoyed playing with his new truck while the doctors, nurses, and anesthesiologists spoke with us.  With my cell phone, I took a picture of his wide, toothless, cheesy grin.  My cross-eyed baby.  Then, the anesthesiologist picked him up and walked away with him.

"Mommy?"  Zane says looking over the doctor's shoulder with his arm outstretched.

I sat there trying to hold back my tears.  Zane didn't cry - he was a trooper.  I wouldn't look at Eric as I felt like an idiot for crying.  Seriously, this was minor surgery.  Zane's doctor does dozens of these every week.  No big deal.  So, why did it feel like I was laying Zane upon the same altar I had lain Michael on two years ago?

Because it was the same altar.

Subconsciously, we moms know that our children may not be here until our old age.  But, we don't let that fear rule our life or theirs.  If we did, they would never leave the house and we would be miserable failures as parents.  But, some days, the realization that we are not promised tomorrow with our little ones stares us right in the face.  It is on those occassions, that I give them over to my Lord once again.  I trust that His will is perfect - whether I hear that precious "o-tay" again or not.

Less than half an hour later, I was holding and rocking my crying Zane-man.  I sang to him through my tears.  I had had nothing to worry about; not because the success ratio was so high - but because my God was in control all along.

Though it is the rare case that children do not survive these minor procedures, there are cases where parents go home with an empty car-seats and hearts broken beyond belief.  There are mothers that I know personally and that I have prayed for but never met, that have lost their children unexpectedly. It is only by the grace of God that they take each breath.  They laid their children on the altar as I have.  Whereas my children were allowed down off the altar (so far), their children were accepted into the arms of Christ.  It is with that realization that my tears flowed when Zane was in surgery.  I know in my heart that God's grace would be given, but oh how it must ache. 

To the mother who has lost a little one:  I am no one. But, I pray for you and many like you.  You are a hero to me for going on with life each day.  Thank you for your example and proving to moms like me that, if we ever have to take the same path you are following, God will pick us up and carry us down it.