Thursday, July 28, 2011

Dear Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you so much for the card you sent a couple of weeks ago! I wanted to somehow let you know that I received it, and that it has been sitting on my computer desk ever since as a reminder of God's continuous work. My curiosity was peaked as soon as I pulled the card out of the mailbox and saw a hand written envelope all the way from Texas. I sat in the van and read, and reread, (nearly in tears) the sweet words you wrote. I was humbled, and overjoyed, and encouraged in God's work all over again.

You are an example of His faithfulness to His children. You are evidence of God's provision to carry us through this suffering. You have reminded me again that He has not left us alone in this, but has called up many, many dear souls to help carry us through. God has answered your prayers and has given us great joy in the midst of the pain. All those times that He has put us on your heart, and you have responded in prayer or even in something as simple as writing a note, He has moved. You give me hope in God's promises~ that He is doing things beyond what we can imagine to glorify His name. Thank you for being faithful! Terri

And, to all you other faithful ones that God has called upon to carry us at this time~ Thank you! I see first hand God working through you. Don't doubt the effect of your prayers or the words that God gives you to write. He promises that not one of them will be forgotten. You are in the front line of the battle zone with us. What a pleasure it is to be here with you for such a glorious cause! May God give us the courage to continue to fight the good fight for the glory of our King.

Hebrews 12: 1-3
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Matthew 10:42
"And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”

NIV (Bible Gateway)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

It Dawned on Me

It realized tonight that there are five months worth of pictures without Trent in them. I realized that a lot of my pictures have stayed hidden in the computer since Trent died. It hasn't been top priority to record details and enjoy photographs this summer. All those vacations and special times have a hidden pain to them now. They are all records of firsts. Firsts that are hard to do and I am not so sure just how to process them some days.

We received an invitation in the mail the other day for a picnic for survivors of loved ones who have made organ donations. I almost laughed. Then I almost cried. I remembered again how we got on their list... how is this real? What would you talk about at a picnic like that? I know the intentions are good, but maybe I should suggest that they wait a bit longer before mailing out invitations to families who have just lost children. There is still too much pain at this time to remember the precious gifts that were given.

Then I had to call the bank to make a simple transfer of funds. And it almost ended up with both myself and the poor clerk crying before we were done. Did you know that a deceased person couldn't earn dividends on their savings account? I didn't, either. And why did nobody call to let us know that little detail before now? All these little details are still so consuming.

I found myself praising God after the Duluth hospital called this morning. Actually, it was hours after I heard their message that I praised God. I saw the name on the caller ID and let the phone keep on ringing. I remember the last call we got from there. The nice lady told us that they had made plaster hand prints of Trent's hands and wanted to know our zip-code so they could send them to us. I felt the wind knocked right out of me. It was worse than hearing the news of Trent's death for the first time.

In my own little world I am dealing with this. With God I am dealing with this. With the public, or with people who love me too much, or with fresh reminders in so many odd ways, I go down.I thought about the person's job it is to make plaster casts of the hand's of children who die. I thought about the hands that have handled all these details without us even knowing about it. I wondered if they had children. I wondered if they think about eternity. I wondered how I am going to open that box next week. I wondered why she didn't have our zip-code. I wondered about God's promises and what Trent is doing in heaven today. I wondered how it will be when I have been there for five months.

Today, God has me here. I trust Him for that. Today was even a good day... all things considered. I worked, I ate, I dared to dream a bit, I loved deeply even though it scares me, I felt emotions through the numbness, I longed for things unseen, I cherished conversations with my daughter about God, I wrote, I took pictures, I cared. Then I crawled into bed and watched a movie with Rob and ate half a bag of Cheese-puffs.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

What I Miss, and More Rambling

It dawned on me recently what I miss so much about Trent being gone~ it is the loss of "us". The "us" that was our complete family with him. Who we are is broken. There is a gap, a missing part, always an open seat or an extra piece of pizza. What Trent brought to our family dynamics is missing. The sayings, the looks, the expected... they're not there anymore. Nobody wants to go fishing, or trap gophers, or make lunch, or sort tackle or hunt down that red squirrel anymore. There are no more barking coon dogs to shush or live traps to check. The four-wheelers have sat in the garage most of the summer and we haven't seen the cabin sight or played at the pond for months. Nobody is excited to see if the potatoes are getting big yet and we can't hardly force ourselves to even consider browsing the Fair books for entries this summer.

I just miss Trent. I want him to be here to be a brother to his siblings. I want to be his mother again. I love that kid like you can't imagine. And I miss him more and more with every day that passes. Over five months have passed already. He has been in heaven for five months. One day it will be five years, and ten years, and fifteen years. And I will still miss him. I don't know how to recreate "us" without him. I don't want to recreate "us" without him. We are making memories without him. Life is going on without him. I know where he is. But I miss him.


As I headed up to bed with those thoughts swirling last night (seriously considering deleting them from cyber space and my memory), an overwhelming covering of joy surrounded me half-way up the stairs. Again, in a tiny break-through in the fog of grief and pain, the Holy Spirit reminded me of where Trent is. He is in Heaven! Everything lined up, just for a moment, and my mind went from this temporary world to eternity. I raised my hands and praised the God above. The God who gives and takes away. The God who answers prayers. The God who ordains all things. The God who loves His children. The God who knows what He is doing. The God who will never leave me or forsake me.


The battle continues. I feel like I am being tossed around, looking for my solid Rock to stand on. Grasping for His hand. Knowing that He is there, knowing that He is in control, knowing that really I am in the palm of His hand. The God who put the stars in place knows what He is doing with my son's life. I cannot begin to put into words the pain of my heart. My mind shuts off at the thought of it. I fear going numb. I know I am numb to a degree. The other day I got sun burnt, and as a friend began covering the burn with her super-cream she apologized for the pain she would cause. I literally did not feel it. I suppose numb is a blessing from God, too, tho.

I fight to hold on to the promises of Scripture. I think of Peter in the Narnia movie The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. The scene on the iceberg where Susan and Lucy are holding onto him while he keeps his grasp on the sword embedded in the chunk of ice they are floating on through the rapids. In Hollywood's dramatic version (music building), we see only the river, then gloriously a sword, a hand, and then finally three survivors. I feel like Peter, like I am just holding on.

The younger kids are talking about Trent quite a bit lately. I have been worried about them not sharing. I have opened up conversations about him, but they have not shared much until now. It certainly is a daily topic around here with the rest of us. While packing up Trent's things the other day, Micah came and stood beside me for a little while and commented about Trent leaving us so soon. I don't know why God wanted him to leave so soon, Micah, I don't know why.

I was brave and ventured into town for errands last week. This in itself was a monumental thing~ to pick up prescriptions and stop at the local Dollar store in our small town. The averted eyes and the unspoken topic is hard, but the questions are sometimes harder. I admit, I have let Rob do the local errands and have done quite a bit of shopping at Walmart since Trent died. Two stops, and I ran into two mother's who also lost their teen-age sons in the last year-and-a-half. It is not a group that I wanted to be a part of. It is hard to feel other's pain when your own is so great. I knew exactly what they were going through. Hugs were shared, understanding was expressed in few words, and it has caused many prayers to be lifted up for them.

I am reminded in Scripture to delight in God, in His ways, in His laws, in Salvation, in my weakness (Psalm 37:4, Psalm 1:2, Psalm 35:9, 2 Corinthians 12:10). Who can fathom the mysteries of God (Job 11:7)? His greatness no one can fathom (Psalm 145:3). Yet they cannot fathom what God has done (Ecclesiastes 3:11). His understanding no one can fathom (Isaiah 40:28).

I am going beyond trying to understand the whys of the accident or what God is doing with Trent's short life. Instead, I am ever drawing nearer to this God that I cannot begin to fathom. I love that word~ fathom. The dictionary says it means: To penetrate to the meaning or nature of; comprehend. And: To determine the depth of. To penetrate the meaning of God. Where would you start? With His glory I would think. You would never be able to determine the depth of God and His ways. But, oh, the joy of beginning! Marveling at every new facet of His being. Standing amazed at Him revealing Himself, even if it means destroying who we thought He was, or who we allow Him to be in our lives. How gracious God is when He destroys our idols of Him.

As I go forth in this journey I am reminded of God's reply to Job in chapters 38-40: Where was I when He created the universe? Where was I when He set the earth's footings? Have I ever given orders to the morning sun? Do I think I know the laws of heaven or could set up God's dominion over the earth? I, like Job, am unworthy to accuse God of anything. I, like Job, will humbly trust God to be God.


And since this post is taking days to complete, I might as well throw this thought in here too. Over and over I have heard reference that God knew I was strong enough to do this, that he chose me because {fill in the blank}, etc., etc., {create your own version to satisfy a desired meaning for suffering}. It bugs me to the core because, first of all, it strips God of His sovereignty. It is not as if God is sitting in heaven looking down at all of us thinking "Which one should I pick? Who's strong enough? Who could endure their son dying? She looks like a good one!"

That kind of thinking denies God of His pre-ordained plans for our lives. That thinking reveals that the god we serve only knows as much as we do, and golly-gee-whiz, He sure hopes it all turns out swell in the end, too. It calls God a liar because, ultimately, we are saying that we can do anything in our own strength {of course throw in there a little acknowledgement of help from God to cover up for Him}.

I am not ashamed to say that I put no confidence whatsoever in myself. Does anybody really think I could be doing any of this without God's complete grace? Without His sustaining me? Without Him keeping me from going bonkers? Without total trust in His sovereignty? Without a hope for eternity? On my own I would still be in bed this morning (rather than drinking coffee in my Pj's and pondering deep truths and letting my children eat popcorn for breakfast) or most certainly would have been committed to the insane asylum or at the least have a designated stool at the local tavern.

Stepping off the soap box now~ Lord willing~ as long as I don't trip and fall on the way down.

Friday, July 22, 2011


Feelings, nothing more than feelings
Trying to forget my feelings of love
Teardrops rolling down on my face
Trying to forget my feelings of love

Feelings, for all my life I'll feel itI wish I've never met you, girl
You'll never come again

Feeling, woo-o-o feeling
Woo-o-o, feel you again in my arms

Feelings, feelings like I've never lost you
And feelings like I'll never have you again in my heart
Feelings, for all my life I'll feel it
I wish I've never met you, girl; you'll never come again

Feelings, feelings like I've never lost you
And feelings like I'll never have you again in my lifeFeelings, woo-o-o feeling it,
woo-o-o, feeling again in my arms

Woo-o-o...... Feelings..... That oldie-but-goodie sung by Morris Albert. I'm fighting feelings. Not fighting feeling, but fighting feelings versus truth. The feelings often win.

I feel my mind retreat over certain things. Literally feeling the thoughts sinking to the back of my head. I feel the feelings themselves looking for somewhere to hide in my brain so that the hurt doesn't hurt. Somehow trying to fool itself that it doesn't have to feel these things. When the feelings go to my heart that's when I know I'm not stuffing. Not even my heart I guess, but to my gut. When my stomach curls and the tears flow that's when I know I have allowed myself to feel.

I walked by the computer desk the other day and saw Rob typing. Rarely does he ever venture near the computer so I was curious. He had typed in Trent's name. And many sights popped up. Many sights with obituaries. My son's obituary. News again and again of Trent's death.

Today we bought an antique trunk. More feelings. More fighting back. No more stuffing. Gut wrenching and tears flowing. An antique trunk to pack away Trent's belongings. The sweet couple tried to return our money when we told them why we were buying their beautiful trunk. More precious souls to share the gospel with. I often wonder about why God puts certain people in our paths to share His word with. About the interesting ways that He uses for us to meet.

Someday soon I will take a day and sort all of Trent's worldly treasures from the top of his bed and pack them away. I will feel the hurt. I will miss him intensely. I will trust God. I will remember how long eternity will be. I will see again that none of this stuff goes with us. I will remind myself that God knows what He's doing.

I try to imagine how it was before the accident. I try to imagine if it will ever be that way again. That safe feeling. That content feeling. That feeling that dreams really could come true. That feeling that it would matter if dreams did come true.

The concept of feeling deeply is scary. How far will this go? Are feelings a bottomless pit? What if you never quit falling? But feelings go both ways. The height of joy inclines as quickly as the depths of despair decline. I feel God. I feel His closeness. I feel His leading. I long for Him. Is this journey not worth it for that? For the prying of my fingers from this world. For His mercy to be felt. For the complete trust in His sovereignty. It is worth it to know a bit of the depth of God. To both extremes.

I think of heaven. I think of the difference there if I had never gone through this here. If I had never known God this way during this short time. Would I have fought? Would I have ever been woken up? Would I have ever been granted so much repentance of age-old sins? Or would I have just continued to be content in my own apathy?

One day I will come to the end of this journey. Over and over again I consider eternity. I consider the day of my death. I wonder, "Is it today?" How I long to be found faithful. To have trusted. To have drawn closer. To have felt it all. To have given all. To have held out the Word of God above all. To have led the way. To have never given up.

My thoughts continue to reflect on the importance of transparency. I wonder if I share too much. I wonder if I share enough. I think of God's transparency through Scripture. I ponder how He has laid out Himself through Words. I understand that. I understand the fear of revealing only to be trampled. I read in Hebrews the other day about how wicked it is for a man to trample the Son of God underfoot (10:29). I shudder at the thought. I can relate in a tiny sense as I think of those who trample what God has done with our son. I fear for them. I fight my own bitterness. I long for it to be different. I imagine that it is only my perception in their reactions. I trust God all over again.

One day {Lord willing} I will look back and see this path clearer. I will see God's fingerprints everywhere. My hope will be greater. My longing for heaven will be greater. For today, I will be content to wait a little while longer like God has told me to. For today, I will fight. For today, I will feel what God has for me to feel.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Little Numb

I realized the other day that maybe I have gone just a wee little bit numb in the midst of this grieving process. It dawned on me when child number four was sitting in the dentist's chair having his teeth cleaned and finally I heard the drills that usually make me cringe from my eye teeth to the tips of my toes. Somewhere around the third orthodontic referral was when reality started sinking in to push me out of my emotional hiding spot. Yes, we are looking at the potential of three kiddos with braces. All at one time. And I am sure all with one easy monthly payment, too.

I feel exhausted on every level~ emotional, spiritual, mental, physical. Thinking is hard work these days, and I have been doing too much of it. I could work all day in the barn or out in the garden, but brain work does me in lately. Sorry to all of you who have called with simple questions. Talking and deciding things is like rocket science as of late.

My thinking work has been working on the book. God sent this gifted editor {Stop over and say "Hi" to Sarah if you get a chance, and if you need any editing work done she is amazing} to help me out.

I feel like I am in a battle zone. I feel the weight of getting every single word right~ for my own sake, but more so for the representation of God and who He is. I feel the very weight of salvation with each word typed. I fear the condemnation for those who would read the words and still deny Christ. I see the faces that we have seen in the past five months who have ignored God's work, and then I hear the words of the changed lives of those precious souls who God has opened their ears through our story. As I worked late last night on revisions, the overwhelming feeling of the power of the words I was typing hung over me. It scared me. I feel the need to hurry up, and then I let myself hold back and be scared by failure, and finally I commit every word and every outcome again to God; this is His story, He has only given me the words to tell it.

I go to Scripture to be renewed. The life giving words wake me up. They give me hope yet again. They remind me of God's sovereign plans, of His kingdom to come, of how beautiful heaven must be, of where Trent is. He still "is". That's what baffles me. He is still Trent. He has only gone ahead of us and given us a greater desire to be where he is. But "where" is he? Where is heaven? What is heaven? What is it like to be in God's presence?

Lately the pain longs to overwhelm. The earthly side longs to take over. The broken body that I tend to think is immortal wants to consume. The tears threaten at any given moment over any little thing. How are you doing? some poor fellow asked me yesterday~ we both looked away as I fought the tears. He knows how I'm doing. He's doing the same way. He has seen too much tragedy this past year, too. He has lost 2 boys who were like nephews, grandsons, treasured children. He, too, is learning what it is to trust God.

The journey continues. I remind myself of my own words~ God knows what He is doing. He is trustworthy. I go to His Words where He tells me to believe, to rejoice, to look forward to the rewards He has in store for those who seek Him. I do believe, I am rejoicing, I am looking forward. I will strive to live today like it's my last. Like today might be the day that I see my Savior face to face. If it is, would somebody just send that book to the publisher, revisions or no revisions? Love you~ See you when you get there.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What Would Trent Say?

The truck is temporarily broke down so I had the pleasure of driving Rob back and forth to work yesterday as I needed the van for the afternoon. It gave us quiet time to share what God is doing in our lives and to be an encouragement to each other, a very rare thing indeed to have an uninterrupted conversation twice in one day. As I was sharing some of my struggles he asked me "What would Trent say to you if he could come back just for a moment?"

It made me look at things from heaven's view again, from an eternal perspective, from the side of God's sovereign plan.

What would Trent say? I can imagine the beaming smile on his face first. That grin from ear to ear. I can almost hear his giggle as I type this and see those sparkly eyes. He sure wouldn't want to stay for more than a moment after being in the presence of his Savior, not even for his mother. I would not want to take him from Him.

Then I can imagine him saying "Hold on Mom, God isn't kidding! He knows what He's doing. See you when you get here! Love you!" He wouldn't encourage me to lament, or waste my time doubting, or whining, or chasing the world. He would, rather, encourage me to only live for Christ, for the gospel going out, for the complete glory of God. He would tell me to go deeper, to give up everything here, to strive to enter the Kingdom even harder, to tell others, to warn, to encourage, to strengthen.

He would share about God. Things I can't even imagine or comprehend. Things he could probably hardly start to explain in a way that I could understand them. He would make me long to be in heaven even more. He would tell me it's real, that it's worth it, to keep fighting the good fight, to keep trusting God.

And then, if there was time, he would ask if we could go fishing.

I sure miss that little bugger.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Never, Ever, Ever

Anyone who trusts in {God} will never be disappointed.
Romans 10:11

Never. Never, ever, ever, ever, ever be disappointed. Doesn't that mean now, too? Not just in eternity, but now, here, today, this moment. As I went to bed in tears last night, and woke up to the same tears this morning, I looked up some verses on worship as I was having a little trouble by myself trying to conjure up worship. I "accidentally" stumbled upon Romans 10:11 and was quickly convicted. Because, you see, I have been feeling disappointed.

Disappointed that my son is dead. Disappointed in God's sovereignty at the core when I am honest with myself. Have my reactions not been screaming that lately, along with my polite heart? Deep, deep down I hate this. The struggle continues to hold God's word above everything in my life. To hold on to His goodness, His truth, His plans, and His wisdom. But lately I have felt defeated, and the worst part, I have been giving in to it. Rob's reaction was the simple question: "Are you fighting?" Head hung low, "No." I have been responding instead. Sulking. Sinking. I forget what the fight is about sometimes.

I praise God for creating His foundation in me before Trent's accident rather than through it. The promises get jumbled. The hopes forgotten under the exhaustion of grief. It doesn't take much to tip the scales. It is so easy to look to today, here, now, to be the answer. God does come here and now, but eternity is where He said it would all be fulfilled. Stand firm. Let the waves crash. Let the attacks come. I hold my head up high as I only have one to give an account to. I hold on tighter to His hand. He has assured me that my salvation is secure in Him alone. In Jesus alone.

I long to be found faithful when I do see Him face to face. Faithful to have trusted Him, even in this. Never disappointed. Knowing that God causes all things to work for the good of those who love Him and have been called according to His purposes. Knowing that He who began a good work in me will finish it. Knowing that He is coming soon, and His reward is with Him. Just hold on, oh me of little faith. I do believe Lord, help me overcome my disbelief.

Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
Romans 10:13

Thursday, July 7, 2011

I ... I ... I

I dreamt about Trent last night. Since the accident I have been asking God for dreams of him. Others have shared their vivid dreams of him and I have been waiting. I actually even forgot that I wanted to dream about him. Sometimes we are surprised when we get the things we ask for. Pleasantly surprised.

We were out riding bike on the road in my dream, the kids and I, when Trent rode up on his orange bike. I told him he was supposed to be dead, and he said no I'm not Mom, I've just been at the hospital. He was just Trent. My Trent. So real, exactly like he was over 4 months ago. Would somebody please stop the nightmare so I can quit thinking that my son is dead? I want to go back to that dream.

I long to feel the enjoyment of life again. I long to be able to sit at a rodeo with my family and believe that something here can be satisfying. I long for that good ol' feeling of quiet summer evenings watching the fireflies without a care in the world. I long to smile and have it be from the inside. I long for lazy content mornings of just relishing in being alive. I long for picnics and horse rides and playing in the pond. I long to go past numb.

I want to walk in the grass and feel it beneath my feet. I want to love my children without fear. I want the joy of just being with them. Making cookies together instead of always working, working, working to stay busy and keep my mind shut off. I want to want to write again. I want to want to take pictures again. I want to want to dream again.

I feel like I am just living my life waiting to die. I don't mean that I am suicidal, I mean nothing in this world brings joy anymore. God alone is my joy and this world demands that I continue to live in it because supper has to be cooked and the mortgage paid. I want my kids to be able to live and enjoy their days while they are here. I don't want to steal their joy here by my pain, by not being here emotionally for them, for always crying over something else.

I don't want anymore firsts. I don't want to cry over cowboys or the national anthem or picking peas. I don't want to doubt. I don't want to remember. I don't want to forget. I don't want to worry if I am pleasing others by grieving right or wrong. I don't want to stuff this. I don't want to miss a single moment of what God has in store through this. I don't want to be of those who shrink back.

I want to be brave enough to cry when I need to cry and laugh when I need to laugh. I want to trust God. I want to hold on. I want to see Heaven. I want to really live, not just go through the motions, until I do see Heaven. I want to know where Trent is. I want to know what God is like. I want to see all that He has promised. I want to draw closer to Him. I want to be obedient. I want to gladly die to myself so that nothing is more important than the gospel going forth.

I just want to crawl into my Heavenly Father's lap and be held until this is all over. I want Him to wipe away the tears now. I want to wait patiently until it is His time.