Love on purpose
There are nights that sleep leaves me to my thoughts. I lie wide awake with words bursting from my heart. I’m certain these words are meant for someone, so I write. A journey is always better when it is shared. It is truly a love story.
Dear friends ~ Love well. Watch the sun rise. Gaze at the blue sky filled with clouds. Hold hands. Look up at the stars. Walk outside, look up and be happy for all that you have been gifted. I believe that our son would have wanted those he left behind to live fully, love deeply, be intentional and to leave an impact, just as he did. How we live life is truly a choice. On October 22nd, 2014 a promise was made. A promise to shine a light wherever God needed. Look for the light, it’s there.
Nine years ago, our family received a phone call that changed our lives. Relatives that had been fostering a boy and a girl in another state, realized they could no longer continue. We had met these children multiple times and had just visited two weeks prior. We called a family meeting with our three children, then ages 15, 12, and 9. We knew these two needed a family and felt they would fit beautifully with ours. By the grace of God we witnessed miracles and within three months our family grew from five to seven overnight! Just before Christmas the adoption was complete! We were blessed with a 5 and 8 year old!
We knew nothing of parenting hurt children and soon discovered, it is NOT easy! We sincerely thought that with love and stability they would be just fine. After a HUGE learning curve, patience and tears, they became comfortable as part of our family. We saw tremendous strides in confidence, love and trust over those first four years. Time blew by.
The impact of the next unforgettable call made the first one seem easy. It’s all perspective. We received THAT call. The one every parent fears. Nine weeks into his Freshman year of college, our beautiful boy was hit by a car, as he crossed the street. The words non-responsive confused my brain. I had spoken to him only hours ago! We frantically drove into the night as we heard the words, I’m sorry, we did all we could. He’s gone.
How could God do this to our family?! Why would He take our son? How will we tell our children that they have lost their beloved brother? Will our youngest two ever trust again? They have already lost so much! Why did this happen?!
This occurred on October 18, 2014. Time and prayer has brought peace to those dark questions. TODAY, I realized that I began this blog the very EVENING of his FUNERAL. I had NO idea it was THAT day! It was all such a blur. I DO remember a talented young mother, whose family we knew, helped me set up a website, facebook page and blog. As we sat on the phone together, she brought it all to life. It was exactly what my broken heart needed. To see something being born, something good out of such horror. Thank you Annie Frey. I will forever remember your kindness.
I never stopped. I continued to write, traveled all over the country for work, coached cheerleading, AND felt called to begin a non profit early the next year, in memory of our son. That SAME year, I began my own company as an ice cream broker. Of course I did! I knew how. I’d been in the industry for years. I was offered a contract opportunity…just as I had always hoped for. I dove in. Moving quickly kept me afloat between the waves of grief that were attempting to drown me. Our lives were moving WAY too fast. Loss added weight onto the Titanic, and me.
The trauma and loss endured by our youngest two children before they joined our family was enormous. After losing their brother, we quickly saw regression and fear take over their little hearts. They began slipping down a steep slope. We tried several programs to help them gain footing to no avail. We were exhausted keeping up with grieving children on top of our own grief. It takes your breath away to hear the sobs of your children brought on by the loss of your child.
In 2017, it became obvious that what they needed most was someone by their side that understood the pain. Emotionally, they were falling apart. In school, their grades dropped. We looked deeply into homeschooling. It was a whole new world. I began teaching them that Fall. I am certain the words, “you are going back to school,” escaped my mouth at least once a week! Time together was truly what we ALL needed. It stopped the merry go round, of everyone (except us) directing our lives, in a hot second. What an amazing discovery!
During this time I had been seeking a new path for income. One that would allow me to stay local for our family. NEVER had I been challenged with employment, however, I was changing fields! Doors opened and closed. It took me months upon months to realize that God had another plan. As much as I like to believe I am in control, He just never seems to check in with me first! The lessons learned have been many.
My dear friend of 40 years kept telling me to stop trying to control, trust and wait for God to show me His plan. She faithfully reminded me of this for at LEAST a year! Last summer, she pleaded with me to take just ONE week away from trying to find a means of income. She suggested I enjoy my family and just PRAY. Sounds easy right?
Due to what we learned through tragedy about being prepared, I obtained my insurance license to help others. I felt I could NOT just sit and pray when I could be out establishing a new business. My fear of not providing for our family, as I had in the past, was tearing me apart. I worked at least 50 hours that week, instead of taking my friends advice. That Friday, I was driving home in the dark when a deer jumped into the driver’s door of my van. That deer hung on to my side mirror, looking directly at me as I hit the brakes. I was horrified! I had never hit anything before. All I could think of was that our SON was hit by a car. Sometimes we need God to look us in the eye in order to see the stop sign. The very next day, I began to stay home and pray.
By last Fall, I was down on my knees thanking God for miraculously providing for our family over the past year. (I still am!) I’m talking about miracles, true miracles surrounding us. The more I prayed, the more peaceful I felt. God began to open my eyes to His grace. He blessed me with friends that referred me to new business clients that I began coaching. I am grateful for both!
My praying friend asked me how I thought life would be, if I had just let go and let God months ago. I can only imagine. Apparently I had lessons to learn about who was in control, even after losing a child. #stubborn
We all have gifts given to us by God. One of a kind gifts that only we can give, just as our heartbeats are unique to us. For years, I wondered if I was using my gifts for GOOD. What MORE should I be doing, in my career or family life? We are all busting busy. Can you imagine wondering about MORE? There was a pressing, persistent feeling that something was missing, besides our son. I wasn’t strong enough to see my weakness. It is in these moments that God comes to us, if we open our hearts to Him. My question SHOULD have been, was I using my gifts for GOD?
Each year I choose a word to focus on. No New Year resolutions, just a simple word. My word for 2019 is PURPOSE. What God’s purpose is for my life, NOT what MY desire’s are. Last Fall I read “The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren. We dove deep for 40 days as our homeschooling devotion. It was life changing! We knew we should share this gift with others. Each week we make a trip to “GoodWill” to pick up any available copies and give them out to others. There is a copy EVERY time we go! (Possibly due to 60 million copies of his book being sold since it was published in 2002.) God gives us what we need, when we need it.
This blog is a passion. The words written here are placed in my heart by God. I write in haste, pouring them out before they escape. “Look Up Be Happy” is not simply about being happy in life. It’s about looking up to our Creator and realizing His overwhelming love for us. It is about being grateful for all that He allows us to experience, good or bad. It is understanding that HE has purpose in everything.
Throughout the early morning hours, He revealed to me, my purpose. I had it all along and simply did not see it. My mission has been to share our journey in this life with others. I pray that it will help those navigating any kind of loss. It is a constant battle to see the light in darkness. With this world pulling us down, we all need reminders to Look Up and Be Happy every moment. Learning to walk by faith is constant. He truly has a purpose for our lives. “The greatest tragedy is not death but life without purpose.” Rick Warren
Peace & Blessings,
I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. Job 42:2