Our Broken Road – Part 2

If you missed part one of our story, click here.

When I left off we had just had Sam’s funeral. I explained how God carried me through the entire service at the church and also at the grave.

There are no words to express how it felt to watch your baby being lowered into the ground and dirt piled on top of him. Getting into the car without him and driving off was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to to do – second only to getting in the car at the hospital the night he died and driving off without him then. Leaving him there in that hospital was the first step in our life without him. A life that I would not have chosen, but that God in his sovereignty has asked me to live.

The next two weeks held many broken times and also many revelations that God gave to me. I’m actually going to write about these times in a separate blog post because I think they each need to be talked about in detail and not just mentioned briefly here. So be on the look out for those posts in the coming weeks.

I will talk about one time now. I was laying on the bed a few days after we lost him, crying and missing him so bad it physically hurt. God gave me a thought that brought instant peace to my heart. The next time I see Sam, I’ll never have to say goodbye again. I’ll never have to be apart from him. God will never again ask me to drive away without my Sam. I’ll be able to spend forever with him.

Forever.

Forever means something so different to me after experiencing this pain. I never really viewed forever as a gift. But that’s exactly what it is. It’s a gift that my Jesus gave me. A gift that cost him everything. But a gift that he willingly gave. A gift of never having to be apart from Sam ever again. A gift of a thousand hugs. A million kisses. And more than a lifetime of love.

There are some things that God prepares you for long before you need them. Looking back now, there are several things that God had put on my heart months and even years before I lost my Sam. Things that God knew I would need at this moment in my life.

One of those things was God put it in my heart to have another baby. You see, I was done. I had four boys. Well above the average size of a family. I viewed Sam as the exclamation point to our family. And oh boy was he an exclamation point. That boy had more personality than his little body could contain. Everyone who met Sam immediately loved him. He kept us laughing all the time with that natural gift of entertainment that he had.

This was our Sam. Full of life. Full of personality.

But about six months before we lost Sam, God placed a desire in my heart for another baby. At first I joked about it with my husband (who was dead set against it), not even really believing it myself. But as time went on, that desire only grew until I knew without a doubt that God wanted us to have another baby.

Eventually Josh agreed and we started trying.

Now a little side note here. In the past, we were blessed to not have any trouble getting pregnant. The first month we tried, we got pregnant. And not one time did I take that for granted because I know there are many people who struggle with infertility and my prayers and heart always go out to them.

But this time was different. We tried for three months with no positive pregnancy test. Month after month went by and while I trusted God and his timing, I was confused. Why is it taking so long? Why have I not gotten pregnant yet?

And then after we lost Sam it all made sense. This was why. God knew the storm we were going to have to walk through. And he knew the grief I would have to face.

When it came time to take a test I wasn’t expecting to see anything. After all, I just walked through the deepest despair that I have ever experienced. But a little over two weeks after we lost Sam, this happened…

I was ecstatic. God gave us a little ray of sunshine on this dark road we were walking. This beauty and joy in the midst of ashes and mourning. Everything was going good and we were all so excited.

And then the unthinkable happened.

A week after I found out, I started having severe cramping. And then I started bleeding.

When it happened I remember thinking, no. This can’t be happening right now. Surely God wouldn’t take my baby right after losing my Sam.

But the bleeding kept coming. And the cramping continued. And I had to face the horrible truth.

I was losing my baby.

I crawled in my bed and wailed and cried and broke. Again. Except this time it was for my baby that I would never know.

Josh was holding me as I was breaking and I remember asking him, “Why? Why would God take both my babies from me?” And all he could say was “I don’t know.”

Because there is no answer. There is no understanding. After experiencing the worst loss any mother could face by losing their young child, I was being asked to face another loss. Just three weeks after losing my Sam.

The whole time I was crying, I was angry and confused. Angry because God could have healed Sam. He could have let me keep my baby. But he didn’t.

But even in the midst of my anger and my confusion, I trusted him. And I loved him. I remember crying, “God, I don’t understand. Why are you doing this?” And then in the same breath I said, “But I love you. And I trust you.”

And you know what. God wasn’t mad at me for being angry. He didn’t turn his back on me. His love once again picked me up in my brokenness and held me. And he gave me another vision like he did before, but this one looked a little different.

I was on my knees, just like the last vision, but this time I was crying and screaming, “Why? Why did you have to take both my babies?”And the whole time I was breaking and angry, Jesus was sitting there, still holding me. Still hurting with me.

In this storm of life that is raging all around me, he is my constant. When you think it can’t get any worse, and then it does, he is there. His love is never-changing. His love is never-ending.

On this road that I’m being asked to walk that isn’t fair and is so very hard, he is here, walking every step with me. Never asking me to walk it alone. Giving me his strength when I’m weak. And when I can’t take one more step, he picks me up and carries me. That is love. That is my Jesus.

And you know what? God isn’t done with our story yet. He hasn’t put the pen down and shut the book on our life. No. Our story is just beginning. And I know something beautiful is right around the corner.

Our Broken Road – Part 1

Life. It doesn’t always work out the way you want it to.

When I was little, I had this vision of the way my life would go.

Married. House full of kids. Always happy.

As you grow older, you realize that always being happy and never being sad just isn’t realistic. Life happens.

Isaiah 43:2 says “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.”

Not If you go through deep waters, but When. Which means that in this life there will be times that we have to go through deep waters. Waters that are so deep you feel you might drown in them.

And that’s the road we’re walking right now. A road that is leading us through deep waters. Waters that are crashing over us with the feeling that these waters are going to drown us. This road that is so broken.

And this is our story.

On July 1, 2017, our 4 year old, Sam, went to heaven.

Let me rewind a few years to begin our story.

When Sam was 2 he was diagnosed with epilepsy. There is no feeling like having to sit and helplessly watch your child have a seizure, knowing the only thing you can do is watch the timer and pray. We spent many, many long nights in the emergency room waiting for Sam to respond to us after his seizures. We kept upping his medicine dose until one wasn’t enough, and we had to add another. All the while me and my husband were praying and believing that he was going to grow out of these seizures and he would be healthy and whole.

For two years we waited. Waited in emergency rooms watching as Sam slept and praying that he would respond. Waited and wondered if a seizure was going to come while we were out in public. Waited on the numerous test results to give us some answers. Waited and believed that God was going to heal our Sam.

There’s something about God though that I think needs to be mentioned here.

Isaiah 55:9 says:

As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

God’s ways are not our ways. Our human minds can’t comprehend God’s thoughts. We can’t begin to understand the why of what God does. We can sit and try to figure out the ways of God, but there are some things that we’ll never be able to understand. And this is one of those things.

Once a month my church holds a Parents Night Out. They watch the kids for a few hours so the parents can go out on a date. It’s a great time to connect with your spouse and the kids always have a blast. On Friday night, June 30, 2017, we dropped our kids off at church. They had a big blow-up water slide and lots of cupcakes. So basically it was Sam’s perfect night. They said he slid over and over on that slide. And at one point my pastor’s wife even got a video of him laughing, saying his pants had fallen down. They then went inside and he ate at least four cupcakes. He had a great night.

The next day he slept in and woke up with a very high fever. If there’s any epilepsy mamas out there, you know that a high fever is no good. High fever = seizure. So we alternated Motrin and Tylenol and tried to keep his fever down. The day went by pretty uneventfully. He laid around on the couch watching TV as we tried to keep his temperature down.

At 8:30 that night I had checked his temperature and it was 104. I gave him a dose of Tylenol and then went back in my room with my oldest son. At 9:30 it was time for his seizure medicine. I walked into the living room and Sam was laying face down on his pillow. I just assumed he had fallen asleep from his fever. I got all his meds ready and rolled him over to give them to him and I immediately knew something wasn’t right. Blood started coming out of his mouth and I called my husband in there.

He wasn’t breathing well, so my husband started doing CPR and I called 911. For the next eight minutes my husband continued doing CPR as we waited for the ambulance to get to us. After they got there and worked on him for a while, they loaded him up on the ambulance and rushed to the nearest hospital.

Little did I know that was the last time I would see my baby alive.

We got to the hospital and they took us to a room and asked us to wait. I’ll never forget that moment. The moment the doctor walked in and told us “Sam is no longer with us”. The immediate pain that swept over me totally consumed me. It was as if every nightmare and fear I ever had as a mother came into existence with those six words.

The next few hours went by in a blur. I remember walking in and seeing my baby laying on the hospital bed. I remember holding his little freckled hand and kissing his freckled cheeks over and over. I was memorizing every single part of him. From his red hair all the way down to his little toes.

The morning after he died, I put this on Facebook:

“There are no words to describe the pain I’m feeling. Such a big hole was left when Sam left us. It’s hard to see beyond the pain right now. There’s been a quote that I’ve held onto since Sam was first diagnosed with epilepsy. And I actually bought a sign with this very saying on it just 7 hours before we lost him. “And if not, He’s still good.” Even though I don’t understand and this pain is excruciating, he’s good and I trust him. I trust him with every part of my broken heart. My Sammy baby, our lives will never be the same without you.”

Throughout everything I had to go through that next week, from picking out the outfit I had to bury him in, to picking out pictures and songs for his memorial video, to celebrating his birthday just nine days after he died, God was with me every step of the way. There were times that I felt like I was drowning in my grief and I would cry out for him to rescue me and I could literally feel him lift the burden off of me and I could feel his peace wash over me.

He gave me a vision during one of these broken times. I was on the floor wailing and breaking. He was kneeling on the floor with me, holding me and he was crying with me. It was like he knew this was what was supposed to happen, but he was hurting because I was hurting.

But I really want to talk about the funeral. I woke up that morning with an equal sense of dread and being happy that I would get to see my baby one more time. I’ll never forget the moment I walked in and saw my baby in that casket. It was a moment of complete brokenness. A moment that I never thought I’d have to experience. But I want to to tell y’all something. I felt him pick me up out of my brokenness and carry me throughout that entire service. I felt his peace and presence completely surround me that day.

It reminded me of Philippians 4:7, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Because the peace that I had in that situation didn’t make sense. But he was there with me. Every step. Every breath.

But unfortunately, our broken road doesn’t end there. I’ll finish our story in part 2.