The day school got out last year in May 2008, the road leading to our house was destroyed, broken up, all the way down to the dirt. I mean completely destroyed as the bridge that we cross over to get to our street was actually no longer there. People that had driven by would say to me, “What has happened to your road? That is terrible.”
Some of you might even hate those orange cones of construction that we have all over this city, but when you live in a house full of boys like I do, you see the project as quite fascinating. Every day we would comment as we were pulling out our driveway, “Wonder what the road looks like today?” We would wonder how we were going to get out. You see, after they tore up the road and closed it, they made us a temporary private road to access our neighborhood street. Sometimes this private road was u-shaped, slightly curved and other times took a sharp right as you had to dodge the caution tape, the orange cones, the ten foot drop off, and the existing telephone pole that was now in the middle of the road. The menagerie of large equipment trucks, machinery, caterpillars of every size made it exciting to see. We’ve never seen those things working so up close. Just ask Mason, my second son, how one of those front loaders comes out of a creek bed at a 75 degree angle. As I thought about that "broken road" I was reminded again…you know, it is all in how you look at it. You know, your perspective. Like Mama told you, “There’s always two ways to look at it.”
On Jan 31, 2008, I underwent a major perspective change as my precious fourth son Brock died during his afternoon nap. For you can imagine, all the hopes, dreams, ideals, plans and thoughts I had about my life and his all came crashing in. For in the Bible Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in a man’s (woman’s) heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Wait a minute…this was not in my schedule. I had no choice in it. Not one plan, thought, worry or detail could change what happened. For Brock’s life was complete. Although it seemed too short to me, I could not add or take away one day to the life God had for Brock. I had to abruptly let go of the way I thought it should be and ask God to lead me ever so gently down this “broken road”. I use the word broken because I know that is what it is in the world’s eyes. But in God’s kingdom, things are so upside down. Although I would not have wanted Brock to die, it has been a privilege to walk this road with the Savior.
My perspective about spending time with the Lord is no longer the same of, “Oh Lord I woke up late again,” “Oh I’ve got to do better on my quiet time, I’ll have time later.” My cry became, “Lord you are it.” His word is my lifeline. I wake every morning running to Him so as to take every horrible thought captive and give Him every ounce of the pain. I have come to love Psalm 42: 1-2 “As the deer pants for streams of water so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” He is good, faithful, so big and yet so intimate. He is Truth. All the things I had read and hoped about Him I have now seen with my eyes. Shortly after Brock died, Drew and I both commented on how we felt like to live the rest of our life without Brock felt like we had been handed a “death sentence.” We used those words. Then in my quiet time that morning I read the Scripture that Paul wrote in 2 Cor. 1:9 “Indeed in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.” We both looked at each other with tears in our eyes. Lord, keep us always relying on You.
My perspective now is I can’t miss my time with the Lord. I imagine He wakes me up in the morning wanting to talk with me and tell me what riches He has in store for me that day. You see, much like us when we would drive out our driveway wondering what new road they had just for us that day, I can’t wait to see what the Lord has for me. I’ve learned to let go of my schedule and be open to what God has for that day. I welcome interruptions by well wishing friends, friends in need, my children, my husband or myself when I just need to fall apart in my emotions. Relationships are so important. My relationship with the Lord and Christian family and friends are eternal.
I know often we spend lots of time planning our days, months and even year. Sometimes we can get ourselves in a tizzy over how it will all work out. As I have tried to look ahead at my days, God constantly reminds me, "Unh Unh, right here, Keep your eyes on Me." Like in Matthew 6:34, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." I am not coming down hard on schedules, in years past, I had mine all typed out too. Just ask God to show you how much time to spend on the planning so that you don’t waste precious energy - physical and mental on something while you are missing what God has for you. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future…" He knows and He’s waiting for you to trust Him enough to ask.
That leads me to my next point. Trust Him! Trust Him enough to let Him be in control. Trust Him enough to know He is in control whether you let Him or not. God is sovereign over everything! While I can’t understand why Brock died and can’t make any sense of it, I have to trust that for some eternal reason, He allowed it. This summer we took a trip to Buena Vista, Colorado to Young Life’s Trail West Family Camp in an RV. We had it parked in our driveway getting it ready to go. Well, with our road under construction, my children and all of us for that matter became very concerned that we would not be able to get the RV out of our “broken road” when the day come for us to leave. Some days it was so narrow and tight we could not have gotten through. We were so worried that Drew decided he would go and tell them, “Now guys, we're leaving on Thursday. I need you to make sure the road will be wide enough that morning.” Well, after talking with some not so reliable sources, we decided to just trust that God had prepared this trip for us and the road would be open that day,… and it was!
What ever situation you find yourself in right now is exactly where God wants you. He will equip you in perfect time. Trust Him to be in complete control. While I would have told you I thought God was in control of my life, I have realized so many times on this journey that my fleshy nature wants to take back control. I am amazed at how I really want to be in control of some areas of my life.
When you’ve had a child die and things seem completely out of control and you can’t muster up enough about you to think anything through, you realize there is not much comfort in thinking you are in control. There is no comfort in thinking that God just steps back and lets you do it your way. This now scares me. I don’t want to be in control! I will surely make a mess of my life.
One day before this school year began, God allowed me some time to look at what I was going to do for Barrett's first grade school year. I had a small amount of time where God met me and helped me see clearly what to do with Barrett. I felt great going to bed, but you know, the feeling I woke up with the next morning was, “that was not enough planning." Is it just me or have you ever gone to bed in complete peace only to wake up the next morning worrying again? I wondered when I would find the time to look at it again. Then in my quiet time I read Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young, July 26. The scripture Psalm 32:8 was the focus. “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.” As I read it I thought, “Oh yeah, I liked that verse years before as one of my "theme verses" for my homeschool year. I think I thought it was sweet to think of me teaching my children. When I reread it on that day, I just cried as I recognized it as God telling me He was going to instruct me. You see, this was something so familiar yet looked at in a completely different way...from God’s perspective.
Finally, now that I more fully recognize and trust God is in control, I see everything as from Him; the weather, His creation, my husband, and my children. Yes, children are a gift from the Lord. It is our awesome privilege as Moms to carry those eternal beings in our belly, give birth to those creatures made in the image of God and nurture them in the ways of the Lord. God is the Author and Perfecter of our children’s lives. He has ordained their life, numbered their days and counted the hairs on their head. He loves you and them. God is in the details of whatever you are going though, it is exactly where He wants you. Ask Him to show Himself in Your circumstances. Ask Him to give you eyes wide open to see Him. Ask Him to help you see things His way.
A few days after Brock died, I was in my bathroom drying my hair, and I thought how life before Brock died seemed so hard. And now dealing with this, I didn’t see how we could take it much harder. I heard that voice in my ear as the Lord said, “Why do you look at it that way?” He was right. His way is easy. The hard part is giving Him control and looking at it from His perspective. He wanted me to do as 2 Corinthians 4: 18 says, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” His way is always heavenly focused. This place is not our home. We aren’t to be comfortable here. I have never longed for heaven in such a way since Brock died. Nothing I can say, do, hear, buy or eat can take away the pain of losing my baby. That pain belongs to Jesus, and He will make it right when all these light and momentary troubles are over.
We now talk about heaven a lot at our house. “What is Brock doing? What is it like?” Randy Alcorn’s books about Heaven suggest that when we go on vacation we study and learn about the place we are going. Are you going to heaven someday? Don’t forget to teach your kids about it as it will renew your passion for living here in anticipation of eternity with the Lord and your loved ones. One day while talking with Barrett about how he missed Brock, I said “Oh, how great it will be when you see him again. Just think of how you will hug him.” He exlaimed, “Yeah, I’m gonna hug him hard. I know you aren’t supposed to hug little kids hard, but Brock will be stronger ‘cause God will make him stronger.” I said, “That is going to be awesome” and then went into the laundry room. Moments later Barrett came in and said “Okay. I want to go to heaven right now to see Brock, but I want to live here with you, too.” I dropped to my knees and hugged him and said, “I understand.” You see, at first, without my eternal perspective I thought, “Lord, why does a little boy have to know the hurt of losing a little brother, his best friend?” Then I found myself saying, “Thank you Lord for the longing in Barrett’s heart for Heaven. May you always remind him of that.”
Back to our road. They worked diligently because they had to have it back open by the first day of school this past August. You see, they understood like we do now that time is short. But an interesting thing was that as we saw the new road coming together, we were amazed at how the plan was to take some curves and hills out to make it less dangerous, yet it looked very similar to the old road…but new. In Ecclesiastes 7:13, scripture says, “Consider what God has done: Who can straighten what He has made crooked?” Much like my life, I would not have chosen this “broken road” but as God’s will, I will walk it by faith, given from Him, the privilege of a new perspective.