Friday, March 19, 2010

Reflect:ions

This past Wednesday, March 17, would have been Luke's second birthday. Tomorrow, we will celebrate his life with family and friends. Lots running through my mind. In no particular order, here are some thoughts. Feel free to comment with thoughts, quotes, Scriptures, stories, etc. from your own experiences... and go LIGHT YOUR WORLD. :) 
  1. We are all part of a much greater story than our own.
  2. Every life is a gift, every child a miracle. In Divine terms, there is nothing cliché or run-of-the-mill about those words, but it is so easy to forget that. 
  3. Life is vapor. (James 4:14)
  4. This life withers and fades; God's Word never will. "The grass withers and the flower fades, but the Word of the Lord remains forever." (1 Peter 1:24)      
  5. We will see our Little Man again. "I will go to him, but he will not return to me." (2 Samuel 12:23) "It is not the will of My Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish." (Matthew 18:14)
  6. Today, 25,000 parents around the world will lose a child. Tomorrow, 25,000 more. And the day after that. And the day after that. That doesn't make losing Luke any easier, but it does offer some perspective. 
  7. Years ago, I remember praying, "Whatever it takes, Lord." I had no idea.
  8. "Life is hard; God is good." (Alistair Begg)
  9. Grief and brokenness, hope and joy can occupy the same heart. We do "not grieve as others do who have no hope." (1 Thessalonians 4:13)
  10. Hope is not crossing your fingers or a wringing your hands. It's not sweating things out or waiting to see if everything is going to turn out alright. It's not a 50/50 proposition. It's definitely not a wish. Hope is future, but it's certain. It's "waiting and aching" (Al Andrews).
  11. Assurance. "We rejoice in hope of the glory of God." (Romans 5:2) 
  12. Transformation. "More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope." (Romans 5:3-4) 
  13. Comfort. "And hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." (Romans 5:5) 
  14. The harsh reality is that God does allow things in our lives that are far, far beyond our ability to handle... but His "grace is sufficient" and His "power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9) 
  15. Death is horrible. God agrees. "The last enemy to be destroyed is death." (1 Corinthians 15:26)
  16. Jesus said, "It is finished." Victory, then, is certain but it's not yet complete. For now, death stings. ""When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" (1 Corinthians 15:54-55) Our hearts hope while our hearts hurt.     
  17. Suffering is not anomalous to the Christian life. "Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you." (1 Peter 4:12) "For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in Him but also suffer for His sake." (Philippians 1:29) 
  18. World=tribulation and fear. Christ=Conqueror and peace-giver. "I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33) 
  19. On May 28, 2008 Nicol and I didn't care one iota about a dream house, dream cars, dream jobs, or anything else this world has to offer... just didn't matter. 
  20. Some of the best counsel we've received: "Sink into the pit. It's okay." (Jan Silvius) Speaking not of giving in to despair, but rather of feeling the sorrow. And why not? Jesus was "a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief." (Isaiah 53:3) 
  21. I have discovered the fine line between pouring my heart out to God (venting, if you will) and honoring Him while expressing my sadness and anger. Yes, my Father can handle it. And though it can be hurtful to this Daddy's heart, I too can handle it if Summer is disrespectful to me. But it is disrespectful nonetheless.   
  22. ................

28 comments:

JD said...

I was praying for your family yesterday, Luke's life touched our hearts.

Our #22 would be summed up in part of a letter I wrote to my daughter this week. March 25th will mark the 11th anniversary of her passing.

"Grief changes along with perspective...

It isn't that you have missed the life we feel you should have had, you are living the life you were meant to have.

It is not you that is missing from where we are, it is us that are missing from where you are.

You've achieved the dream I pray for all my children; for their lives to lead them Home. This was the way it was meant to be all along, but somehow, along the way, we made up our minds that parents need to get there first... even though Jesus clearly said "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." (Matthew 19:14) Oh how foolish I have been in not letting you go."




Praying for your family during this difficult time.

Jennie said...

"Remembering it over and over leaves my soul downcast within me. But I will call this to mind, as my reason to have hope: The favors of the Lord are not exhausted, his mercies are not spent; They are renewed each morning, so great is his faithfulness. My portion is the Lord, says my soul, therefore will I hope in him." Lamentations 3:20-24

This verse is what kept me going after losing our 2nd child in 2 years. And with the 1st bday of our 3rd just days before the loss of one of our babies, it's a bittersweet time. You and Nicol prayed for, and Luke is remembered.

Daddy's Dream ~Mommy's Miracle said...

Braxton's would have been 2nd birthday passed in February. The day was not easy, but we are still here. Praying for your family!

LauraBo said...

I remember when I heard about your loss and also Todd's. My heart went out to both families and my prayers. There no words but just know you are loved.

Adoption Mama said...

March 17th is an important day in my life as well. On this day five years ago we received our fourth adopted child. Elisha was a 10 month old special needs baby, who brought such joy to our hearts. Because of the laws in Florida, the birth mother had 3 days to change her mind. On the third day we received the dreaded phone call. We had to give him back. THEN, two weeks later, he passed away in her care. We found out through a police detective who contacted us for information. There was lots of suspicion surrounding the birth mother. We have never found out what happened to our beloved Elisha Daniel, but we do know we will meet him again.

Because of him, we now have our fourth child. Before we had him in our home, we were "done" adopting. He opened our hearts and now we have our precious youngest.

God knew what he was doing...even though the pain was severe, you see, when you bring a little needy one into your home, you love him immediately just as if he was your own.

Now, I face another trial. My oldest son, who is 13, had to go to a boys' ranch last summer. Please pray for him. There is more info on my blog. Just click on his picture.

Thanks for your transparency and humility that has encouraged me today.

Anonymous said...

He collects every tear...He has not forgotten. Luke is alive in heaven with our sweet Jesus, there is no better place! Praying for your family.
Samuel

Teresa G. said...

Thank you for sharing from your heart - you are so encouraging to me. Pain, suffering -- hope and joy -- God continues to lead and I'm so glad!

Judy McNelley said...

Greg ~ these are the words we all need to read, hear, and know without a doubt in our heart that they are true. You & Nicol have served as such a strong example of not only speaking these words, but living them. Thank you for sharing & for agreeing to let me do likewise. These words will touch the heart & lives of all who read them.

Blameless said...

"Peace is not the absense of chaos and pain; rather it is to be in the midst of these things, and be calm in your heart."
-Annonymous

I have this saying on a magnet on my fridge.

-Sarah

Blameless said...

"Peace is not the absense of chaos and pain, but rather to be in the midst of these things and be calm in your heart."
-Annonymous

I have this saying on a magnet on my fridge. Christ has made my heart calm on many occassions when chaos has surrounded me.

-Sarah

Chrissy said...

This is a beautiful post. I so appreciate your thoughts and reflections... and I pray that you and your family will find peace.

momof4kr said...

One of my favorite preachers, Matt Chandler (Dallas, TX) was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor in Nov of this past year. I found this quote from him that I thought was powerful:

"The way God usually brings gospel wakefulness is in times of intense suffering, brokenness, or grief."

Praying for you and your family to have a beautiful time together celebrating your sweet baby boy.

Anonymous said...

Your little Luke has touched my heart. Thinking of you and your family at this difficult time....God Bless

Janet said...

I don't feel like I have anything to add to your list, but thanks so much for sharing what you've learned and gone through over the past two years. Still holding you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

Joy said...

Every time I visit your blog, my heart still aches for you...missing your little Luke. It reminds me of missing my Amelia. But I loved how you described Hope and how it's not a wringing of the hands, it's certain. One thing for certain, we'll join them in Heaven soon. Praise Jesus!

Julie Doody said...

God is BIGGER than ALL my sorrows, worries, struggles and fears!!!!

Emily said...

Thank you for sharing your hope and faith in the Lord. Your family's testimony is an encouragement to many.

Praying for you!

Anonymous said...

I don't really know what to write but I don't want to leave silently.
I pray for you and Luke won't be forgotten, he touched so many hearts.

Daisy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sheila said...

Over the weekend I had been reminded (3 times) in song: It is well with my soul. I'm still pondering this, as I sang it the first time, I asked God to help me make it well with my soul, I want it to be, but I don't know if it is. Then the song was sang again, Yes, Lord, it is well with my soul, thank you. My heart and my head tell me something different, but it is well with my soul. God bless you and Nicol and Summer, lots of decisions to be made. In God's Love, sheila

Anonymous said...

I often come back to your blog to see your beautiful Luke. He really is a gorgeous baby. He has touched me in a way I can not explain. Because of him and his story, I feel deeper and understand the world a bit more. Life is short no matter if you live a month or 90 years. Once it is gone here on earth we continue on with the Lord. Luke reminds me of those things. The truth. I have a daughter who's birthday is also March 17th. I will think of Luke each year she turns older.

God Bless, Heidi P.

m said...

Ah, you have touched my life!! I have prayed for you and Nicol and Todd and Angie since your lives were permanently changed! My heart aches for you, I was at a concert in Portland that Nicol was at with Twila Paris...and I just cried and cried while she sang, because of the strength she showed in Christ alone!!!

Years ago I had a miscarriage and my life was permanently changed by it.

May you continue to find His strength!!!

Very thoughtfully!!

Anonymous said...

This is a heartrending story, perhaps you don't know it.

http://jmm.aaa.net.au/articles/14168.htm

Greetings from Germany

Anonymous said...

I don't have any experiences to add to your thoughtful, poignant post, but I do have a few questions that I hope you might address in some future posts. (You are a wonderful writer, by the way, and I hope you will use your gifts beyond this blog). Here are my questions: I've heard many couples struggle and even divorce after a child dies. How have you both been able to support each other through your loss? Also, has your fame in the Christian music world been a help or a hindrance to being able to grieve your loss? And, has this loss of your son changed how you pray or how you view God? I admire your faith very much, and think you are both so brave to share your story with the world.
Blessings,
lisa

Anonymous said...

As I read your blog and read of Nicol's miscarriages, an image struck me of those babies chasing baby Luke around heaven and what great playmates they must be. I can't imagine the heartache your family feels, but am comforted to know one day you will all be together again.

Samantha said...

I have come to your blog often for encouragement and perspective as we have dealt with 2 miscarriages in the last year. I have been stunned and so saddened by the continuing trial you and Nicol are going through, but your honesty and faith have lifted and grown my faith so much. Now, as we found out this week that we have lost our third pregnancy, I came back to reread this list and am encouraged again. Thank you so much for writing this blog. Thank you for examining your thoughts and this whole process of grief and growth in public format. I have never commented on someone's blog who I did not know, but I felt compelled to tell you thank you for how you are using your journey for God's glory and for how deeply you have affected my journey as well. My son is almost the same age as your daughter, and I really do think and pray for your family often.

The Hull Munchkins said...

Thank you for sharing your hearts on the suffering your family has experienced. I only know about your family from Angie's blog, and then only from the internet... but I can relate to some of our pain.

I'm so sorry for the loss you have been through, first with Luke and then with the tiny babies who went to heaven before you could meet them.

Our family has a 6 yr old daughter who has significant special needs from her premature birth. We have just come home from her 3rd hospitalization in 2 weeks and my heart is heavy. Your thoughts and scripture verses shared encouraged me today.

Hang in there... our perspectives are changing to be more heavenward, thanks to our pain.
-Patty

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say I still pray for all of you often. blessings...