Only For A Short Time

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My heart is so full of words to say right now but I don’t even know where to begin them. I can feel the Spirit speaking to me and guiding me through emotions and thoughts I have never had to face. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m now in my thirties or if the world has just become darker , but it all seems so much more grown up and real lately.

Let me just dive in here with a little back story. It was December of 2014. I was blogging quite regularly and was contacted on instagram by a reader. She had been reading my blogs and realized I lived in her town and even attended her church. She was a mother of 3 very young children. The youngest child was just 2 or 3 months old. We talked a few times online and then I was pleasantly surprised when she walked up to me at church to introduce herself. I remember feeling so thankful that this beautiful mother , who seemed to be somewhat shy , would fight the awkwardness or discomfort and step out to get to know me. I was no one special.

We then set up a get together one night to talk about marriage and some questions she had about her relationship with her husband and God. It was that night she told me about a doctors appointment she would be  going to that week concerning some pain in her breast. I didn’t think too much of it because that sort of thing didn’t actually happen to anyone you know, it’s just stories that others have. I prayed for my new friend and checked in with her for encouragement but never imagined she’d have to think one more minute on it. I was very wrong.

My friend had a very rare and serious form of breast cancer and she was already almost at a stage 4. My new friend needed prayer, she needed a miracle.

Melissa fought her battle hard. She fought with a smile most every day. She gave everything she could give because she wasn’t just fighting for herself, she was fighting for the babies she loved so so dearly and for the man she promised forever to. She wanted to be here with them so very badly. That was not what happened though and in October of this year, almost two years after we had that first encounter, I said my last goodbye to a friend I didn’t get nearly enough time to know. I watched a mother in more pain and agony than anyone should ever have to face give every fiber of her being to staying here with her babies but she could not make that choice. I watched a young man, not even 30 years old, holding the hands of his three children, stand beside her casket. I’ll never forget their faces. The faith in his heart was unlike that of anyone I’ve ever met. Those babies faces, oh their faces.  It haunts me still. I miss my friend.

A few days ago, my leader and friend in a health and wellness business I work with was participating in a large annual event. When I saw the message on Facebook I was stunned and began to panic. She asked everyone to drop to their knees and pray like they had never prayed before. My first thought was a gunman at the event or that something may be happening in the group. A few minutes later I find out her two daughters were in a very serious ATV accident and they were being care flighted. My heart broke for her family. I stopped everything and prayed for God to work a miracle. Several  minutes after, I found out that their 16  year old did not make it and had passed on to Heaven. Their 12 year old was in ICU. I’ve never met Jana and her family but through team calls, Facebook posts and stories I’ve heard, I knew her favorite job in all the world was being mom and she loved spending time with her daughters most of all.

How do you say goodbye to your 16 year old daughter? How do you cope with the fact that you truly never got to “say” goodbye?

How do you tell a 5 , 3 and 1 year old that mommy will not be back? That she’s sorry she didn’t get to say goodbye?

yes, these things happen everywhere , everyday but right now i am seeing it in my world. It has become far too real to me and I can either push it aside and forget the pain in my heart or I can let it change me. I can let it move me to a place where I am never the same.

I choose the later.

Let me just speak to the moms for a minute. You’re on my heart. Mostly because I’m in this mom thing deep and it’s not easy y’all. Some days I sit and just want no one to ever say mom again. Please! Give me a new name! Mom is gone! Other days I feel so hopeless. How will I ever get my oldest to understand criticism (even the kindest form of it) is not the end of the world and does not mean you are a disappointment! How will I teach my bossy little 5 year old how to rein that in and let it make her a beautiful leader? How do I train this wild, loud and sometimes annoying little heartthrob of a son to be a strong courageous and a spiritual leader for his future family? How in the world will I be able to contain the power and drive my youngest has when she’s already like this at 1??

The days are so long sometimes. I fail so deeply most days. I scream and yell over the silliest of things. But,I’m faced with these two life altering women’s journeys that I spoke of. One, left her babies to this world far too soon as it may seem to me here on earth. One said goodbye to hers at much too young of an age. Their lives have opened my eyes. How quickly we pass through this earth. How short our time is here to pour into the beautiful hearts that have been intrusted to us.

As hard as it is to think about, this moment could truly be my last with them. Melissa had no idea when that last second would be. She didn’t know that last moment she would run  a brush through her daughters beautiful brown hair or that last peanut butter sandwhich she would make for her son. Jana couldn’t have known the last time she would hear her daughter sing or laugh with her on a road trip.

None of us know. We wouldn’t want to know, at least I don’t think , because it would just hurt tok deeply.

I find myself asking what Melissa would do many times throughout my week. Not because Melissa had all the answers but because she knows something I don’t now and that is how fast it goes. When there is the choice for me to sit quietly with a book alone or rather to take time to listen to my daughter’s hand drawn and hand written book, I know what she would choose.  When the kids are watching a movie and it’s a good time to get the kitchen cleaned and the floors mopped, maybe sometimes I should just take that time to be with them. Put an arm around them and just be.

I know there are things to be done and it’s not realistic to embrace every moment and let go of responsibility but where am I missing out on what really matters because of messy floors or an instagram post I just had to finish? Most days I live like I’m invincible, as if I have endless time to pour myself into their lives. The time is short and for some of us, shorter than we know. Melissa only had 5 years of being mom! What would I miss in 5 years if I keep living each day this way?

Its more than just our children, too. Wives, we are not promised tonight with our husbands. We only have the present moment. Something Melissa’s husband said after she died was not to fight over the silly stuff. How much of the short years I’ve had with my husband have I spent fussing over the little things, the things that weren’t worth clinging to? How many hours have I spent wishing he was someone even better rather than thanking God for who I had right now! I’ve  laid in bed far too many nights holding my phone far longer than I’ve held him. I can’t imagine what Justin would give to have his wife in his arms right now and to listen to her hopes and dreams again. Why do I take my time with my spouse for granted?

This year I ask God to open my eyes to what I have right before me. I ask Him to slow me down enough that I can enjoy each day I have  left here. Even in the chaos, the pain, the long nights, I can praise him for life and the health of my family. Oh God, let me not take for granted every short hour here with my family.

Pour life into your people. Pray often with and for them. Tell your children who Jesus is to you and speak His love to your spouse daily. Work on relationships, create memories and forgive!

Most of all, know, know, KNOW that you have believed in Christ Jesus in your heart. Believe that He made a way for there to be no fear in death and ask Him to be the Lord over all of you. Ask Him to forgive you and to give you eternity with Him and then turn around and pray for your children and spouse to do the same! The only hope and grace that has gotten my friends through these moments is the security of knowing where their loved ones are now and that they KNOW they will be joining them with Christ one day. If you do not know if the same would be true for you, please reach out to me or to someone with a relationship with Him!

“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”
‭‭James‬ ‭4:14

 

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