We have a thing with PERSEVERANCE in our home... for the last 7 years we have had to persevere through some of life's most challenging things- losing our son, losing my health and my career, losing our businesses in Hurricane Katrina just 5 weeks after we buried our son... That was just from July 2, 2005 to August 29th, 2005!
Can you imagine what came next?
Well... let's just say it was the most challenging times of our lives!
And there are days, honestly, it still is.
I have said to many bereaved parents that although today may be a hard day, and tomorrow and yesterday... I made it through the WORST day of my life and that was the day I kissed Matthew goodbye. Period.
There has never been or will ever be (God willing he keeps my boys with me) another day that will compare that moment, that day, that feeling of letting go and giving him back to God. Period.
I made it through that day with GOD, my husband, my family and wonderful support of friends. (as I do so daily)
And yes, there are some days that the hurt is there, incredible pain and sting of death, like the daunting memories of being very pregnant this time 7 years ago... and on June 28th, 2005, I worked my very last day as a healthy, hairdresser whose belly was so big it hit my customers in the head when I was cutting their hair! I had to stand 3 feet away for a man's haircut! Matthew was a big boy!!! SO, don't think for one second that the memories aren't flowing and that the anxiety of Matthew's birthday is not settling in... because the raw truth is- that it is.
When I lose my focus on the 'prize' which is being reunited in heaven with Matthew, I get lost... really lost. And it is then I find it hard to persevere... because the abstract pain of losing him becomes too much for me to handle... so when my focus is on the prize, perseverance is not always easy, but I must say, I do my very best to press through knowing the result will make me stronger and more compassionate for those who are hurting.
Nathan, ALWAYS reminds me to PERSEVERE! At my bedside, many, many days, even at the age of 5, (when I was so, so sick) he would lean in and say, "Mama, you just have to persevere... don't give up, please mama." And that friends is enough to motivate me to stand on my head for 7 hours if I had too! Of course, if I ever did that, I would like some red bottom shoes as my prize... just sayin'!
Back to the point... A while back, RW and I were talking about a big decision we had to make and face... and I was freaking out a bit because I was scared... and didn't want to be disappointed and I wanted to quit. We were talking over and over and he was so awesome in encouraging me, but I just was on the edge...
(insert this- a few weeks before this, my boys and I were making a collage for Nate's room- we took newspapers & magazines and cut out words that would encourage Nate daily to persevere... and at the time, this was sitting on my desk- now back to story)
I told RW I just wanted to quit and I was too scared to keep going... well... what do I speak of a lot in my book? FEAR! God HAS NOT given me a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind! I cannot tell you how many times I have been wheeled into surgery repeating that scripture! But I was full of FEAR! And full of wanting to QUIT! WHY??? Because I LOST MY FOCUS! I took my eyes off of the prize!
And I finally just hugged RW as we were sitting on the edge of the bed and looking straight at me were the very words on the collage we were making to 'encourage Nate' as he is learning to persevere through life as a pre-teen... and low and behold I found this very thing we made for him, speaking to me.
As I squeezed RW's neck, I turned his head around and we set our focus back where it needed to be and PERSEVERED through our decision... and stepped in faith and out of fear! (Get that friends- AS YOU STEP OUT IN FAITH YOU STEP OUT OF FEAR!) I knew deep down I couldn't quit and didn't even want to, but I was afraid to persevere! But God knew that... and He had my back!
It may be found in something as simple as a homemade sign... but it is there!
I am 6 days away from Matthew's 7th birthday in heaven... I know I have to persevere through this time... and that when July 2nd comes, the day Matthew came and left me, it will be followed by July 23rd, the day I held my baby for the first and last time... the day I kissed him hello and goodbye. The day the dirt was freshly piled in that heartbreaking heap on the ground...Seems so not fair and so wrong, yet I know where my prize is and I will persevere until the very day I get there!
Don't quit today! Don't give up! And persevere! You are so worth it friends!
Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.