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Archive for January, 2013

For the Schaeper Family

Some phone calls change your life forever in the most wonderful way: “I’m pregnant!”, “We’re engaged!”, “It’s a girl!”. But some phone calls just bring you to the end of everything you know and shake your world to its very core: “I’m sorry, but your cousin Jason died this morning.” 

Sometimes life is beautiful and wonderful, and you think, “How could things ever get any better than this?” Moments when your child takes her first step or you laugh til you cry in bed with your spouse or you drive in the car with the windows down singing really loud to country music.

But sometimes, life is tragic and horrible and confusing and leaves you lying on your kitchen floor, tears landing on the wood floor as you cry out to God, “How could this happen? Why, oh God, why?”

And the painful truth is, we’ll probably never know this side of eternity why.  It is the question we are most likely to ask and the question that God seems the least likely to answer.  We won’t know why God, the creator and sustainer of life, did not sustain my cousin’s heart and breath. And honestly, any answer to the why question would not satisfy this side of heaven.  There is no good reason that a parent should have to bury their child. 

I do know that God sees and God knows and God cares.  I know that He sympathizes with us in our pain because He wept at the tomb of His good friend.  And in His greatest moment of agony on the cross, Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, WHY have you forsaken me?”

No, God doesn’t answer the question why, but God-made-man did ask the very question that haunts our hearts. “Why, God, why?”  

Jesus said that He came to proclaim good news to the poor and to proclaim liberty to the captive and to bind up the broken-hearted.

And we, we are the broken-hearted.  Jesus came for the likes of us.  

Jesus is near to us in life’s victories, but this I know to be true: Jesus is also weeping beside us on the kitchen floor.  He is holding the parents burying their very hearts in the ground with their full-of-life son.  He is there.  He knows.  And He cares.

He knows. He sees. He cares.

It’s in these moments that I cling to His promise that some day, this world will be made new.  That He will wipe away every tear from our eyes and death shall be no more. And I can declare with the apostle John, “Yes, Come quickly Lord Jesus.”

The pain is too much.  The weight is too heavy.  This is not how life was supposed to be.  

******

My cousin Jason was a light.  He was a joy.  I have loved reading the words of his friends and family on his Facebook page the last couple days:

Jason was such a special person and had such a kind heart.

Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Schaeper for giving us all the wonderful gift that was the life of your son.

You were a great friend and person to be around. Something about the way you carried yourself and did your own thing made you one of a kind.

You were one of the most genuine and caring persons I know. I looked up to your ability to always see the greatness in others and in life itself.

A loving, kind person who could make anybody laugh.

You always made everyone feel like one of the best friends when you were around them, and were never shy about bringing it in for a brotherly hug.

One of the most genuine and sincere people I know. 

Your smile was so contagious, and you always gave everyone great laughs. So kind and considerate, always trying help others out or just listen. A one of a kind type a guy.

Shhhh, Jason, don’t tell your cousins, but you were always one of my favorites! Funny, witty and easy to be around. I especially loved how sweet and attentive you always were to Grandma Nichols!

Jason, I love you. You were always such a joy to be around.

Jason, you are so loved. You always had a tender heart and light about you.

Jason, I love you. I remember when you sent Joanne a card right before she passed last year. It had a note of encouragement saying something about “When Pigs Fly”. We put in with her when she was buried. That touched my heart.

You’re a part of pretty much every great memory I have from WVU, man.

Such a great and genuine person. Jason had an infectious personality and he cared about every person he came across.

*****

Thank You Jesus for the gift of Jason’s life.  Please be near to pick up the pieces of our broken hearts as we experience the gaping hole left in our family by his absence.

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Annelise Rose–

Happy birthday sweet girl!  You are THREE years old.  Mommy can’t believe it because three is so … grown up.  This has been the year of you shedding the final remains of your babyhood and blooming into a full blown toddler.  You’ve lost the little baby fat you still had.  In fact, you have, like, abs.  It’s crazy.  Your hair has finally grown.  This time last year, people at the store were still mistaking you for a boy.  Not anymore.  You have, as you would say, long hair to the ground (like Rapunzel, duh).

Year three has been the year of language.  You just have had a speech explosion this year.  You speak to me in full sentences, and you pick up words from everywhere and continue to learn new words every day.  Just last night, you were hiding in your closet and told me that you were hiding because “The dragon is going to get me”.  Where do you come up with this stuff?  We’ve never talked about dragons before.  You must have seen it somewhere.  You just blow me away.

You have a lot of cute little speech idiosyncrasies (some which you’re already correcting…sob!).  My FAVORITE thing that you do is say “my” instead of “I”.  So you’re always yelling, “Mommy, my coming!” or “My have snack?”  You also say Papaw instead of Grandpa, and it’s so adorable.  

You basically make my heart explode every single day.  I just love watching who you are becoming and I love talking to you to find out what you’re thinking and how your little mind works.  You are the sweetest little girl I know (so much so that the name I call you the most is Sweets).  You are vibrant and just love life.  You still never stop moving, but you’re much more controlled now.  And you actually listen to Mommy most of the time, which is just such a blessing.

You have embraced your role as “big sister” and love your sister so much.  You girls have so much fun together…running around, laughing, playing with the dollhouse together, singing, reading books, playing with Play Doh, spinning in the living room, going down the slide in your room.  You include your sister in all your games, and you love to “help her”.  Sometimes I have to remind you that “Mommy is the mommy. You don’t get to be the mommy” because you just want so badly to take care of “Sister”.  (Also, the way you say Maribelle slays me every single time…ahhh!)  You are so generous with your sister.  You give her your binkie when she’s sad.  You give her your snack.  You bring her books to read together.  I pray that you girls remain best friends.  Seeing you together is such a gift to Mommy.

You are brave and fearless, but you also like to have Mommy’s reassurance.  The other day, you wanted to jump off the top of your slide and looked at me to see if it was okay.  I told you that you could try it, but you might get hurt.  You tried and jumped off that thing with perfect long jump form and landed on your feet.  You were proud.  And I was too.

One sad thing this year is that you got scared on a ride at the Pumpkin Show, and you haven’t wanted to ride any rides since, even though you used to love them.  I hope that you get over this fear, but the hardest thing is just seeing you experience a fallen world and missing out on fun things in life because of a scarring experience.

One thing from this year that made me SO proud was that you potty trained.  In one day.  I had prepared myself for this to be the hardest and most arduous thing about parenting so far, but although it was hard work, you mastered it so quickly.  You had one accident on day one and from then on (pretty much) told me every time you had to go and then went on the potty.  It was pretty awe-inspiring to see you learn something so quickly.  I’m pretty sure you set me up for very unrealistic expectations for future children in this department.  Oldest children do that sometimes.

As far as your personality goes, you are fairly shy when you first meet new people, but as soon as you warm up to them, you become such a ham. A very loud ham who sings. A lot. Loudly.  Did I mention that you can be loud?  You sing with a lot of … gusto.  I absolutely love it.

When you made me a mom three years ago, I knew that being a mom would demand a lot from me–my time, my freedom, my sleep.  I thought it would feel like a really big deal, and when I zoom out and look at my life from the outside, it would appear I’ve sacrificed a lot for you girls.  I rarely get an uninterrupted nights’ sleep.  I rarely get to eat when I want.  I stay home almost every night while you sleep.  I have little time to do ministry, which I loved.  I have stretch marks on my previously unscarred stomach.  I die a thousand little deaths every day to meet your needs instead of my own.

Bu honestly, when I think about being a mom, the thought that pops into my head, my natural gut instinct thought is “I never made a sacrifice.”  I know a missionary said this once (probably Jim Elliott…he gets credit for all the good missionary quotes), and I always thought it was crazy because he lived far away from his family and gave his life for the advancement of the Gospel and sacrificed so much.  But I think I understand it now.  He never made a sacrifice because what he got in return was so much greater than what he gave.  He never made a sacrifice because he loved Jesus so deeply that giving to Him was a joy.  I understand that now.  I understand loving someone more than I love myself.  I understand that because of the way God has used you.

And because I love you more than I love my to do list when I hear you call to me with one of your three favorite phrases of the moment:

Mommy, come here!

Mommy, come play with me!

Mommy, come sit with me!

I’ll come, sweet girl.  I will always come.  

Love you.

Mommy

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