Monday, April 26, 2010

Rosewood, Cocoa Butter and Jesus

Our 8 year old daughter, Alivia E'Lise has some very thick and curly hair. Sometimes I have to assist her with the shampoo and conditioning of it and a few days ago she asked for my help. Finally, we got all the conditioner out of it and I told her, "Okay, honey, hurry up and wash your body with soap, rinse off and then get out".

Gene has made himself the water monitor of our home and starts yelling "Turn off the water" in his loud authoritative voice if he thinks we are taking too long. Believing him when he says he will shut off the water himself we are quick to wrap our water time up at the sound of his voice. So to avoid that, I encouraged her to hurry. That is when she said this, "Oh I never use soap, so I'm done".


Thinking I misunderstood her, I asked, "What???"

"I never use soap, I just go like this" and she demonstrated twirling underneath the running water.

"Ummm, you don't ever use soap Liv? That's disgusting."

She started giggling, "Nope, just water".

Oh. My. Goodness!!!!

What the heck?
When I released her to begin taking baths and showers by herself going off of her claim of being a "Big Girl", how did she miss the whole purpose of taking a shower?
I took a deep breath and had to go back to Shower 101 and re-teach the child how important it is to use body wash to cleanse so the body doesn't smell.
"No B.O." has become our new motto.
The picture above is from Easter of Alivia in her smellier days.

I should have noticed that our soap was lasting so long as the girls have a separate shower than the boys do so we're the only ones using it. Or I was the only one using it. Now that I'm aware though, this little girl better be smelling like a mixture of Rosewood and Cocoa Butter a mile away! I don't even know what Rosewood is, but by golly she better reek of it!

Don't we do that with God sometimes though?
We want change in our lives, but we just "rinse" off and by just rinsing off with the minimal to make ourselves feel better, we still stink of our sin.
We have to allow Christ to take our sin and cleanse us as white as snow.
We have to be in His Word daily and allow Him to live through us so that the scent we are left with is the sweet aroma of Christ Himself.

2 Corinthians 2:15 (NIV)

For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.

I'm doing this 40 day devotional right now, "A Call to Die" by David Nasser and this is what I read this morning...

"When our sins are exposed in the light of God's presence, we feel ruined; but when we experience forgiveness in the depth of our souls, we become fresh, clean and new."

I don't know about you, but I want to smell just like Jesus.

And Rosewood and Cocoa Butter.

Those of you who expressed your sorrow over little Logan in my last post, we now know what took his life so suddenly. Unaware to his Mom, he accidentally took too much of the medicine he was prescribed. He must have thought if he took more, he'd do better.
Bless his little heart.
Thank you for your prayers for his family left behind.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Please Lord...not MY child.

Last Thursday I hung up the phone with Gene to answer the other line. The caller I.D. let me know it was our 8 year old daughter Alivia calling. Since school had been out for 10 minutes, I knew she would ask me where her Daddy was so I answered the phone with an enthusiastic "Hi Liv! Daddy just pulled up to your school".
She quietly said okay, but then said, "Mom, guess what?
A boy in 4th grade, Logan...his mom went to wake him up this morning for school and he died."

Gene said it was so sad as they were walking to his truck she started telling him what her principal had shared with them and she just started to cry really hard. She wasn't friends with Logan, but did know who he was in this small school. Her sweet self was just so sad for him and his Mom and Dad.
And she couldn't grasp how he just didn't wake up.
He was fine on Wednesday and dead on Thursday with no explanation.
Just gone.

Later that night she said, "Mom, just think about that...dying so young. It's just so sad."
So we talked about how if she were to die where she would go and she smiled at the thought of being with Jesus. I smiled too, but inside I was ready to burst into tears at the mere thought of losing her.

That night Alivia was in no rush to go to sleep.
And the fact that she was up an hour after her bedtime remained unspoken by both her Dad and I. Along with many of her schoolmates, the fear of going to sleep and not waking up in the morning was running through Alivia's mind.
Logan had so much life to live. He had talked about how excited he was about the carnival the school's PTO was having Friday night.
He had plans and death was not one of them.

We've had kids in this school for over 10 years now and so I called my friend Tammy after Alivia went to bed. Alyssa and Aaron both had Tammy as their 4th grade teacher and she has told us that she'll make sure she gets Alivia next year. But this year, Logan was blessed to have her as his teacher.
She told me as Logan was walking out of her classroom Wednesday afternoon, he turned around and said, "Ms. Schaefer, can I have a hug?"
Her response was "Of course you can Logan" and with her arms opened wide to receive him they hugged each other tight.

For the last time.
Tammy would've never let go if she had any idea of what was coming.
But that's just it...we have no idea what tomorrow holds.

In the book of James chapter 4 verse 14, James bluntly asks us a question:
What is your life?

But before we can think of some intelligent meaningful definition to describe our life, he bluntly answers the question for us:

You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

Oh. Okay, I wouldn't have chosen those words to describe my life, but okay.

Before that though, James makes a simple statement before asking and answering his own question above:
Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.

Okay, so to break it down, we are pretty much clueless about 24 hours from now and our life is here for awhile then just vanishes. Just a mist.
I think of when I iron something and I press that steam button and a burst of mist comes out and then just like that it is gone.
That's how James described our lives. And since all Scripture is God-breathed, that means the Almighty Editor approved James' description that is sure to knock anyone off their pedestal of importance.

So what are we supposed to do with that information?
I can see why people choose to live under the motto of, "you only live once".
I mean, really, what's the point?
Especially if that mist only is here to see 9 years.
99 is much easier to accept than 9 short lived years.

Here today, gone tomorrow.
When I think of the loss of Logan in the 4th grade, how am I supposed to tuck my Alivia into bed each night and trust I'll see her alive in the morning?
How do I sleep at night believing that tonight she'll be doing cartwheels at gymnastics instead of lying lifeless in a morgue?
The truth of it is, I don't know anything. I can plan all I want to. I can stay up all night and make sure she doesn't stop breathing, but the bottom line is, there is only One who knows how many days this child has on earth. And He, not me is in control.

But if I'm real honest here, knowing that God is fully aware of the date and time of when Alivia will push out her last breath doesn't make this God loving Momma sleep any better.
See, I want some kind of assurance here Jesus.
I want to know that I will never have to bury any of my children because in case You didn't know...parents DO NOT bury their children. It is not natural and it is not fair.
This classified information You're keeping to Yourself of when a child's life won't be lengthy...not cool.

A single mom isn't supposed to tickle her 9 year old son in an attempt to wake him only to find him unresponsive... forever.

A mother and blogger named Sumi isn't supposed to be thousands of miles away on vacation from her husband in her home country only to pull her precious 3 year old princess Jenna's lifeless body out of a pool.

A fellow blogger named Mel, who used to share her fashion expertise with us isn't supposed to find out her 12 year old boy Andrew has brain cancer and 3 months later be forced to plan his celebration of life.

NOT supposed to happen this way Lord.
And yet.
It does.
All the time. Everyday.

And after hearing of such tragedies, those of us with our kids still alive, cry for the Mom left without her child to hug or kiss. Our hearts sincerely ache for her.
Then we hug our kids tighter and kiss them more than usual for a few days and we selfishly and quietly plead with God to never let her heartache become ours.
We watch her at the funeral and is she even coping, eating, surviving this loss and we mourn for her mother to mother.
But we do not want to know her pain firsthand.

I have never met little Logan's mom before so I have no idea of what she knows of Jesus.
But the other two women, I've read their hearts on their blogs and realize that they cope because of Jesus. They have hope as they focus on Jesus.

Sumi misses her Jenna

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And Mel her Andrew,

but as much as both Moms want their children with them, they both know that their children are now with Jesus.
Does it make life easier for them...both would probably tell you no, but as hard as life without their children is each day, it is Him Who they keep leaning and crying out to and praising.

In March, Sumi wrote these words: I surrendered Jenna to him again. I told him it’s OK. I am OK with her being with him. My heart is still broken, but at moments like these, all I know is the most indescribable peace. It truly defies words.

And Mel wrote this just yesterday: I am finding grief to be an unpredictable emotion. I smile, laugh, cry and experience disbelief all in a matter of minutes. Sometimes I simply cannot believe that Andrew had brain cancer and died. A year ago this time, he was skateboarding, doing his artwork, and rushing through his math assignments. Knowing we will all be together in Eternity pulls me through many rough and rocky moments. Because, truly, this life is only a breath.

Last night I crawled in bed with Alivia and just held on to her.
When I was holding her and kissing her cheeks I wanted it to last forever and yet I know that the only thing that can stand up to Forever is Jesus Christ Himself. And without Him, tragedy or not, this life is impossible.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that of course, I don't ever want to experience life without any of my kids or grand kids, but I know if I was forced onto that path...I will make it.
Only because I serve a God that is worth anything.

As I type that last sentence above I type it with much confidence as I have the background noise of my daughter's exhaling and inhaling escaping from her bedroom.

But what if it was complete silence pressing in on me and her bedroom was suddenly empty like Jenna's, Andrew's and now Logan's? What if her final day on earth was too soon? What if every mother's nightmare became my reality?

Would I still be able to tell you that I serve a God worth anything?

I only hope that if God were to allow my world to not just shake, but to tremble, that HE is Who I would still choose to worship, even through the deepest pit of pain....
just like Sumi and Mel are doing.
Two beautiful women...two beautiful children...One worthy God.

We love You, sweet Jesus and we know you love us.

Yes, Jesus loves me...the Bible tells me so.

Click here to visit Sumi's blog and hear her sweet 3 year old Jenna singing
"Jesus Loves Me" and listen at the end to what she says to her Mom...beyond precious.

And please click here to visit Mel's blog and read
"Andrew's Message"
that he really wants you to get.
So special.

Be blessed by both of these beautiful children of God.
And also by their hurting, yet God loving Moms.
Two women who take being faithful to God to a whole new level.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Thank you Jesus for


Two years ago today you came into my life and completely took over every vessel of my heart.
I love everything about you Little Girl. From your tiny ears that don't listen to Grandma when I tell you to not take all of my books off of my bookshelf.
To the little toes you let me paint hot pink. Not once, but a few times because you smear the wet paint all over your foot and then say "uh-oh" with such innocence that I believe it was an accident and re-do them.

I love the sound of your voice when you say "I lu you" and how your little hands get into everything.
I love to watch you dance and play with your little sister Juliana; even though we have to protect her from your sweet, yet very aggressive love that she craves.

I love how you can make your bad attitude filled teen uncle Aaron beg you for kisses when you call him "Ewin".
I love how close you are to your Aunt Alivia and how you search the house for her after she leaves for school calling out "Awivia". Over and over again.
And how you melt your way right into your Papa's heart.
And how when your Mommy walks into the room your face lights up only for her.

Or how just now you decided your sleepy and as I'm trying to type this you fell asleep on me.

I loved watching you last week when you put on 2 different high heels of mine and walked outside with your hands on your hips. You had only been awake for awhile and your hair was crazy. You had on one of your aunt Alivia's t-shirts that you wore to bed, but you looked full of confidence and beauty.
You are such a gift from God, Amiyah Elizabeth.
I love watching you fold your hands and pray to Jesus everyday.
I love how you try to use praying without ceasing to get out of going to sleep at night.
I love your prayers even though the only words I can understand are "Jesus and Amen" and yet I'm sure when your prayers of passionate gibberish falls upon your Creator's ears they fill His heart to overflowing.

You are such a gift from the Lord, Little One.

As I look at you, there is a fierceness inside me that wants to protect you from ever experiencing anything Satan has planned for you, but I know I must trust God with your life.
I want to be someone that teaches you about Jesus because of how I live life in front of you.

I'm already celebrating the day you ask Jesus to be your Savior.
The day you want Him to be yours and you His. I hope I see it firsthand.
I pray you grow close to Him and desire Him above anyone or anything else in your life.

Oh my Precious Princess, you have no idea what is coming your way, for God has such big plans for you.

I LOVE YOU Little Blessing...HAPPY 2nd BIRTHDAY!!


Message from Amiyah to our Bloggy Friends...