Thursday, May 14, 2015

Emma's Homecoming

Written in 2007, shortly after we left Emma's last home here on earth...May 22 is quickly approaching. Nearly 10 years ago we said goodbye to our Emma.
 The Lord has continued to be our hope, our peace as we journey on. 
Memories flashed through my mind as I took the last walk through our home before we moved. Lingering at the foot of the stairs my memory held peals of laughter coming from the children’s bedrooms. Looking out the kitchen window was the vivid image of Peyton and Paige caught up in some make believe drama on their swing set. Pausing in the living room the most bittersweet memories flashed. My eyes focused on the spot where Paige took her first steps, then over to the place where Peyton grinned at the camera on his first day of kindergarten. Finally my eyes settled in the corner where my chair had once sat. It was there my mind held the image of my daughter Emma taking her last breath. Her three year old body giving way to the devastating effects of Cockayne syndrome, passing away peacefully in my arms.
After Emma died, it did not seem possible our family could ever call another house home without memories of Emma beating within the walls. But as we have settled into our new house our family is finding Emma is with us always and her memory is not found within a house but instead is in each of us. She is found in the shine which lights up Peyton’s face as he tells funny stories about her. In my husband’s smile when he looks at pictures of her. She is found in the pride in Paige’s eyes when she says “my big sister”. Emma is with us as we meet other children who have Cockayne syndrome and take them into our arms without hesitation. Her lingering laughter fills our new home in our memories. Peyton and Paige find comfort as they climb into the worn chair where I sat holding Emma as she was dying. We celebrate her life as we make memories in a new home.
We keep her memory alive and woven securely into our family’s fabric. Filled with God’s peace and comfort I am overcome with a revelation found in the duality of meaning in a person’s death date. For those left behind, the death date signifies and ending to life on earth. For Emma that sunny day in May was a glorious day. It was her homecoming, the day she returned to her savior – in a perfect body, free from pain. On that day the Lord took her into His loving arms and said “Welcome home Emma, my good and faithful servant.” Welcome home. 
What a homecoming!
Even in the darkest of days, in the pit of despair, walking in the wilderness.
He is with us.
A hope that prevails and is larger than anything we can fathom with our human mind.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Perseverance & What You Didn't Know

 Someone reminded me this morning that God is ALWAYS on time.
Not our time, His. This is true in all facets of our life.

My last post was What I Didn't Know

I felt like I should share more of our story.

So -What you didn't know about me/us:

We didn't think we could have children.
It took seven years for God to give us Peyton.
Lots of testing, tears and crying out to God.
A lot of loss. Mistakes. Regrets. Second chances.

When this little guy was born we thought he was going to be our only child. And that was okay. He wrapped our hearts around his little Batman & Robin, Superman loving self. 

But God had a different plan. See the little squishy baby in the background? 
God gave us Emma girl just 18 months after Peyton. 

Then precious Paige 2 years later.

Life was three babies in just under four years. 

Life was really busy.

One of those babies didn't grow the way other children did. Emma had a rare genetic syndrome that affected her in growth, sped up the aging process, impacted her eyesight, stunted her physically and she never spoke a word but Cockayne never affected her personality, always full of spunk. 
She loved cheetos, and coffee flavored ice cream.

We called her Little Bit. 

Our life as a family of five went on for a while until Emma passed away.

It was dark for a long time afterward, as we grieved and healed.

We never thought we would or could have more children, though I had always wanted more.

Genetically we each carry a recessive gene that causes Cockayne syndrome. And we never ever wanted to watch another one of our children struggle as Emma girl had. We never wanted to have Peyton and Paige watch another sibling die. I know that sounds harsh but the heartache on them was tremendous, especially Peyton. He carries it in his heart to this day,and forever will. 

There was never a time Peyton could really remember not being with his sister Emma, until she was gone from his young life. After she was gone he would ask over and over "Is she really not coming back???" Adding more biological children was not an option for us.

So, it completely took us by surprise when God laid adoption on our hearts.

We were just living life, involved in our community, kids lives and our non profit. 

So to have this little one enter our world, well it was a miracle, a blessing we never expected.

I would lie in bed at night and say "Really God? You are giving us another child?" 

It was a surreal, exciting time.

We didn't get on any adoption bandwagon, adopt because everyone else was, or feel like we were saving the world or rescuing anyone. 

Heck, we were just bringing our little girl home, the one who came in God's perfect timing.

What you didn't know is we never imagined God would put us on this journey again.

We will keep God's command to persevere. 

I could never guess what brings you to this blog to read words I so often chose for my own chronicling of our lives. My place to vent and pour emotion into posts.

But I pray today that whatever you are walking in, you will be comforted. 

 Know each step in front of the other you take in your personal journey,  is perseverance. 

Walking in the darkest times, even if hope is are in His hands. 

Thank you Heidi for sending me this today, and I hope it helps others by sharing:

Because you have kept My command to persevere..." (Rev 3:10)
Perseverance means more than endurance--more than simply holding on until the end. A saint's life is in the hands of God like a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. God is aiming at something the saint cannot see, but our Lord continues to stretch and strain, and every once in a while the saint says, "I can't take any more."   Yet God pays no attention; He goes on stretching until His purpose is in sight, and then He lets the arrow fly. Entrust yourself to God's hands. Is there something in your life for which you need perseverance right now? Maintain your intimate relationship with Jesus Christ through the perseverance of faith. Proclaim as Job did, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him" (Job 13:15)
Faith is not some weak and pitiful emotion, but is strong and vigorous confidence built on the fact that God is holy love. And even though you cannot see Him right now and cannot understand what He is doing, you know Him. Disaster occurs in your life when you lack the mental composure that comes from establishing yourself on the eternal truth that God is holy love. Faith is the supreme effort of your life--throwing yourself with abandon and total confidence upon God.

God ventured His all in Jesus Christ to save us, and now He wants us to venture our all with total abandoned confidence in Him. There are areas in our lives where that faith has not worked in us as yet--places still untouched by the life of God. There were none of those places in Jesus Christ's life, and there are to be none in ours. Jesus prayed, "This is eternal life, that they may know You..."(John 17:3) The real meaning of eternal life is a life that can face anything it has to face without wavering. If we will take this view, life will become one great romance--a glorious opportunity of seeing wonderful things all the time, God is disciplining us to get us into this central place of power. Oswald Chambers