Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thought I'd Share

I have experienced a handful of times now where I feel like the Lord just shows up.  Usually He involves the sun in some way.  The first time this happened, I was driving and one of those triggers took place.  I think it was Walmart.  I was blinded by tears the entire way home and repeated the phrase "remind me that he's with you."  I stumbled out to our hammock in the backyard and layed down with my eyes closed still repeating that phrase.  I must have said it about twenty times and all of a sudden, I felt such a warmth on my face as the sun decided to come out for the first time that day.  I layed there with my eyes closed feeling the brightness and the warmth cover me.  All I could do was smile.  It lasted about fifteen seconds and then it was gone.  All I could say was "thank you."

Nathan and I went up to Mount Sequoya one evening to watch the sunset.  If you live in Fayetteville, you know personally how beautiful this spot is and chances are you might have been up there the same evening.  I turned around to find a sweet old man taking a picture from behind us.  I tried to move so he could get a clear shot and he yelled "No!  Ya'll stay right where you are."  The sweet old man came up to show us the picture he took of us and asked if he could take one with our camera for us to have.  Little did sweet old man know that the Lord was truly using him in this moment to capture a picture that spoke so dear to our hearts.  Little did he know that our precious little boy was sitting next to the artist who painted this picture.  


There have been two times now where I will pull up to the cemetery with the sun behind a dark cloud.  As soon as I walk up to Tucker's spot, the sun has come out from behind the cloud and appears to be shining directly down on me.     

So as you can see from the pictures above, I have quite the obsession now of taking pictures of the sun.  I find myself drawn to it.  I actually watch sunrises now from my backyard.  Part of this is due to the fact that I am doing a 5:30am bootcamp for some reason.   

One more thing...
The girls in my community group decided to start reading this book and meet once a month to discuss a chapter.  The first and last time I had met with them to discuss it was the night before Tucker died.  Tucker and I went that day to the bookstore to buy the book.  He sat up on the counter as I paid for it smiling at the clerk as people commented on what a cute boy he was.  We went home and played outside in the backyard while I ate hummus and carrots and he said "pwease" twenty times for another graham cracker.  As I got into the hammock to start reading the book, he ran over and reached out his arms for me to pick him up.  I put him in the hammock with me while I read, only to look down moments later to find him cuddled up asleep.  I stood up holding him thinking I will go lay him down.  He opened his eyes suddenly, so I decided to just let him sleep next to me.  And he did.  He slept cuddled up to me while I read the first two chapters of "What Women Fear" by Angie Smith.  Little did I know that this author and I were about to have something in common.  

Last week was the first time since then that the girls decided to meet again.  I knew what this meant.  I was going to have face the book, the hammock, and the same discussions with a completely different outlook on fear now.  I walked out to the hammock that day gripping my book, gritting my teeth, and telling myself to remember to breathe as I was trying not be so aware of what was missing.  I sat down and closed my eyes as I asked Jesus to be near me.  I opened the book to chapter 4 and started reading.  The very first page had this verse,
"The Lord is with you, mighty warrior."
Judges 6:12   

Friday, April 13, 2012

Redefining Normal

This was the last picture taken of us as a family. It was a few days before Tucker went to be with Jesus. I am so thankful that the Lord gave us moments like this, knowing full well that we only had days left with our precious little gift.

I think the most common question, understandably so, is "how are we doing." It's a hard question to answer because we can say "okay" and mean it, but it's not the same "okay" as we once were before our world was turned upside down.

We have a very close family friend who lost his daughter about a year and a half ago in a tragic car accident. I was in Big Lots the day I found out, and I still remember the feeling of horror every time I pass that store and have yet to go back there. This past summer we met them in Destin and listened. Our hearts broke for them and I tried to envision what that would be like to lose Tucker. I couldn't. He told me a few days after Tucker died that we would be redefining normal. This completely makes sense to me now.

I am realizing that there is a choice that I have to make daily. I can think worldly or I can think eternal. I can be sad and stay fixated on the things that Tucker and I used to do in this world, or I can choose to believe that the Lord has prepared a place for us and "to depart with Him is far better than staying on Earth."

It doesn't make sense to me because my world seemed pretty perfect when we ate our oatmeal together everyday. When he would say "bweakfast" first thing in the morning. When the only thing that woke me up for a year was his sweet little voice through the baby monitor. When he would lay his little head on my shoulder. When he would take turns cuddling with me and Nathan all throughout the night that last month he was alive. When he would say "pwease" to everything he possibly wanted. When he would run at me full force knocking me over only to find it the most funny thing in the whole world. When daddy would do free throws with him and he couldn't contain his giggles. When he would be a walking dance party every time he heard music. When we would whisper the word "bath" and he dropped everything and ran for the bathtub. When he would say "mama" and "dada" with his head nod.

Seems pretty perfect. But it's not. As Paul said, "to live is Christ, to die is gain." He got it. He endured a lot of suffering but he was purposeful with his remaining days here on earth. It is my prayer to grasp this too. These are NOT just words of comfort that we cling to in times of trouble to make us feel better. These are absolute truths and promises that come from our Maker who IS going to return to us.

Easter. Another common question, "was Easter hard?" Understandable question, but the Lord carried us that day. It was my specific prayer for the Lord to remind us every moment of that day that this is why we can celebrate and have eternal hope. This is why we can be joyful. This is why we can go on living and trusting Him. Every time my gaze fell towards cute kiddos running around in their Easter outfits, hunting eggs and shoving candy in their mouth, I would simply say "remind me Lord." And He did.

I definitely still have hard moments. I've enjoyed being at home during my days. Some people don't understand this but it's truly healing for me to have time to myself, with the Lord and face my fears head on. I have a found my home to be a safe haven again like it once was. It is the place with all the joyful memories of Tucker but also the place where his presence is missing. This has been challenging but I have found the Lord restores.

There are triggers that will suddenly make me burst into tears at times. Usually by myself. I have an entire family who all happen to be psychotherapists who can validate the normalcy in this. Triggers can be anything such as seeing his jug of apple juice in the fridge that I can't bring myself to throw away, or driving by walmart and not wanting to go in because he is not with me, to having to say the phrase "endotracheal intubation" three times to the billing department at the hospital.

We took a trip to Colorado a few weeks ago. A wonderful family offered their house in Crested Butte to us for a week. I found myself thinking about God and Tucker quite a bit as I stared in awe at how artistic and creative our Lord is. In our human heads, it just doesn't get much better than this. That is why Heaven is so amazing to think about. We can't even fathom how beautiful and perfect it is.

This has turned out to be longer than most posts. Nathan is out of town tonight so I felt like writing. One last thing, I can't think of the words that fully reflect our hearts and the gratitude that we feel for each and every single person who has been a part of this story. I have prayed for the Lord to help me in showing my appreciation to each of you. Thank you for loving us. Thank you for loving Tucker. Thanks for caring enough to read this incredibly scattered blog. :)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Glimpse of Tucker

Nothing profound to say except this makes me smile. He is quite the dancer and wanted to share a glimpse of Tucker.

"He will turn our mourning into dancing...." Psalm 30:11