Monday, January 19, 2015

Songs in the Night: The Promise of Winter Wheat

Songs in the Night: The Promise of Winter Wheat:      I love the green blush of winter wheat tinging a dull brown field in cold January. I start thinking of seeds and growing things, young...

The Promise of Winter Wheat

     I love the green blush of winter wheat tinging a dull brown field in cold January. I start thinking of seeds and growing things, young calves and earthy smells. Glancing across a highway-side field of tender sprouts, I smile as I recall my grandparents' farms of forty years ago in Baylor County, Texas--memories evoking thoughts of farmhouse Christmases with family bunched around an oilcloth-covered wooden table in a sun-splashed kitchen, and through the window the expanse of a field of winter wheat spanning the nearly mile-long stretch from sheet-metal roofed house and barns to river--a broad green carpet on a frosty day.

   I recall the two-mile drive out onto the gravel road, past the mailbox and over the hill to the highway and tiny community crossroads where,  in my mind's eye,  I turn the corner by the cotton gin and pull up to the pick-up crowded parking lot of a white-washed country church surrounded by those fields of green. Inside, the pews are filled with the faithful, familiar faces of Red Springs--many who have known me since my infancy and prayed for me and my family through the struggles of the years. I may not recall their names,  but their faces are dear; they hug me, shake my hand, and pat my cheeks.  Our family crowds into a pew towards the front on the left side  with a view out the window to the fields. I can't picture that pew without seeing my grandma there and my aunt at the piano playing the hymns up front. The worshipers are faithful, though the season is cold and unfruitful. The green fields bring forth a sigh of hope for a future spring.

     When I spent my first northern winter isolated from family in sub-zero Iowa in a drafty old house with a new baby, Grandma wrote to me about her crops and cows and plans for the spring, including news about her church and our family. A daughter of a preacher/farmer, a daily Bible reader, and a widow, she lived alone on her farm from her early sixties and battled diabetes with twice daily insulin injections, but it was she who encouraged me when I felt sorry for myself--she with her  description of twin calves frolicking in the field of winter wheat and her plowing her garden in preparation for spring planting. She reminded me of my blessings and told me to focus on my priorities and day to day responsibilities and let God handle the rest. Precious are those practical, time-worn letters and the memory of my Godly, wise grandma conveying her word-pictures of the winter wheat.

   The rolling green gives way to roadside drabness as I drive, but my thoughts continue pondering the promise of the winter wheat. Not only is it January outside, but I am experiencing a winter of sorts in my life circumstances and a dullness in my spirit. The fresh green of the field sets my heart to pondering, and so I write.

     Wikipedia informs me that winter wheat actually requires the cold months to be able to head out in the next season.(1)  Without thirty to sixty days of the dreary days of winter, the plants won't undergo "vernalization" and make grain! Those tender green sprouts are a promise of the golden wheat in the summer, of warmth  and harvest, of new life; but, the growth comes after those months of chill, and the golden grain after the waiting.

     Perhaps I am like the winter wheat and am undergoing "vernalization" in this season of waiting and enduring. Yet, I must not wish this time away, because doing so might sacrifice the fruit of the harvest later on. It is a time for me to be still, read God's Word, worship Him,  and let my roots grow deep. Like my grandma and the faithful saints in the country church, I need to get my thoughts off of myself and my circumstances and look out the window to see the bigger picture, and to trust that God sees the biggest picture and knows what He is doing.

    When my son died, someone gave me a framed scripture passage which I keep at my office on a wall where I see it frequently:

" For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace." 
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, English Standard Version (ESV)

       This season, this time, is for a length and purpose of God's choosing. I need to trust Him with it and have faith that He will accomplish His purpose. Two verses later in this passage, the writer continues,
 "11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end."   I may not know in my lifetime what business God is about, but I know He is about His business, and He will make it beautiful.

     An agricultural website tells me that winter wheat is useful for grazing,  for enriching the soil, for weed and pest and control, and for a cash crop. (2) Once harvested it is a high-protein, nutritious grain. I see none of that value now while traveling down the highway watching the fields or as I regard my current state of mind.  But, for now, the sight of winter wheat rests my eyes, elicits fond memories, and reminds me both of the wisdom and faith of my grandmother and the sovereignty of my Lord.
 
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"As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease." Genesis 8:22 NIV

(1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_wheat
(2)  http://www.sare.org/Learning-Center/Books/Managing-Cover-Crops-Profitably-3rd-Edition/Text-Version/Nonlegume-Cover-Crops/Winter-Wheat


Friday, May 9, 2014

Two Vases and a Teacup


     How the years have flown by! As I approach Mother's Day, I sit at home alone today, putting off the list of chores I need to do and remembering the childhood days of my children.
      I  bought my older daughter a pretty crystal bud vase for Mother's Day this year. And, when doing so, I remembered that she at one time gave me a beautiful little blue and white speckled vase in which I could put the wildflowers that she so lovingly gathered and brought to me clutched in her hands. That vase has grown more precious through the years and serves as a vessel in which I  put delicate,  lovely, thin-stemmed flowering sprigs in the spring. 
     My younger daughter fashioned a vase for me from a slender jar, some wire, and multicolored glass beads. That bud vase is also dear to me, and I look for it, especially when I want it to hold a single lovely flower. There have been many days that I have carried it to the office with me to set on my desk where I can share a beautiful flower with my patients.
      I realized today , as I watched the rain drops streaming down outside my window and noticed the drooping flower petals in my garden, that it's not the flowers I treasure so much as the vessels into which I put them. Those vases have become symbols of who my daughters are as persons. The blue one is a simple, round-bodied clay vase textured with raised white dots. The daughter who gave it enjoys having a very simple home with clean lines and a modern touch. She abhors junk-drawers and messy closets and is much more of a minimalist than  I. The blue reminds me of her beautiful eyes and of how they sparkled when she gave me the vase. I see her eyes now as she sings to her children and lovingly snuggles them in her lap as she reads stories to them. The vase is a symbol of her because it holds good and lovely things, just as my daughter does. She embodies the lovely, giving spirit of a sweet young mother. She is so beautiful to me as I watch the way she devotes herself to her husband and children and lives out her faith in Christ in daily, sacrificial ways.
     The vase that my younger daughter made is also uniquely representative of her. The colorful beads catch the sunlight, and the wire is twisted around the glass in such an artistic free-form manner. She is so much like the vase--it a work of multifaceted artistry , and she a  free-spirited artist herself-- a young woman of many interests with a sparkling personality. When I add lemon-lime soda to the water to preserve fresh flowers, the fizziness again reminds me of this daughter; her personality is effervescent.
     Both daughters are the bearers of good things--of beauty and freshness,  of life--a fragrance of God's creation and Presence within them. I'm thankful today for those daughters and for the vases that remind me of them. But what about my son and the "teacup" in the title of this blog entry?
     My son and his gift are not forgotten. I don't see him in a bud vase, but I do in the teacup he gave me when he was a little boy. It is a simple white mug bearing a multicolored rainbow heart with this inscription above  it:  "May your day be filled with love". I think of him every time I drink from that cup and realize that this cup is a symbol of him. He was a very loving child and wore his heart on his sleeve. Even today,  he is loving, generous, and sensitive. I value that teacup, but I treasure the son who gave it to me. And, when I read the words on the cup, I realize that my days ARE filled with love--the love of children, a family, my friends, my church, and--most of all--my Savior, Who loved me enough to become a child-vessel of God Himself, lived out His very human life among us, suffered as we do, was betrayed and abandoned as we are, and was broken as He sacrificed Himself so that we might have new life, forgiveness for our sins, joy in each day, and hope.
     I am thankful this Mother's Day weekend for the gifts from my children but much more thankful for the givers themselves. They are a reflection of the Giver of all good things. They are God's gifts to me and to His world. I see Him in them. 

"Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him."
Psalm 127: 3 (New Living Translation)

 Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens.  He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.” James 1:17 (NLT)

 "In the sight of God, who gives life to everything..."  I Timothy 6:13a



Monday, November 4, 2013

Songs in the Night: The Untended Garden

Songs in the Night: The Untended Garden:       I started my garden early this year, in spite of my gardening friend's warning never to put out my tomato plants before Easter. S...

The Untended Garden

     I started my garden early this year, in spite of my gardening friend's warning never to put out my tomato plants before Easter. She was right. I lost some pepper, tomato, and eggplant seedlings to late freezes, and my cucumbers were stunted and never quite recovered. However, I persisted in putting out tomatoes and even planted some late peas, which produced abundantly due to our cooler than average spring.
     Because of this cool spring, my tomatoes were just coming into full production as we were leaving for our two-week summer vacation. I had picked a couple of good pots of green beans also. I encouraged friends to come by and pick whatever they wanted while I was away. Perhaps they did, because there were no tomatoes left, other than wormy, rotten ones, and the green beans were all gone when I returned. The squash had succumbed to the squash bugs, the cucumbers had dried up, and weeds had overtaken the dried-up peas. I even had trouble locating my pepper plants amidst the tangle of weeds that had taken over in my absence. Even my herbs had flowered and lost their pungency as a result of neglect. There was little garden left to tend, and the change had taken hold in such a short time!
     Yet, I knew that I had not cared for this year's garden as well as I had others in the past. My time was divided for the first six weeks of summer because we had workmen in our house redoing cabinets and drawers and doing repair work. We also lost two huge trees that fell during one of our spring storms, and I had to tend to their removal. I was distracted from tending my garden and kept up only the minimum care of it before ultimately leaving on a two-week trip to Nova Scotia. What did I expect to happen? Did I think that it would miraculously take care of itself in my absence? That it would set and bear fruit for me?
     My first thought when I returned home and walked out to my overgrown garden was that it  was a picture of a spiritual lesson. That early garden had been a result of my work and care--the preparing of the soil; the planting and watering of seeds; the weed-pulling, pest-preventing,  pinching, and pruning; and even the protection from the elements when the frosts threatened. This late garden was the result of my not working--my neglect.
     I intended for that garden to bear fruit, and lots of it. I had my mouth all ready to enjoy weeks of tangy, sweet, juicy homegrown tomatoes; crispy, cool cucumbers; yellow straight-neck, zucchini, and pattypan squash; and crunchy green beans. Yet, the only fruit left was blighted by disease, stung or infested with insects, or choked by weeds. None was fit to eat.
     With disgust and despair, I walked away from that garden and virtually ignored it for the rest of the summer, occasionally venturing out to see if I could find a few jalapenos or bell peppers that seemed to keep producing even in the massive overgrowth of grass and weeds. But, for the most part, I gave up on this year's garden.
       God created man and woman and put them in a garden. Again and again in scripture God uses agricultural references to teach us about the Christian life. What was He saying to me through the ruin of my garden? What was my take-home lesson? At mid-summer I wasn't even sure I wanted to know. But, now that fall has come, I am ready to learn.

First, gardens are meant to be tended.

" The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it…" Genesis 2:15

     Generally I am a pretty good gardener.I learned at the side of my grandmothers and my mother, and I benefited from the produce of their wonderful gardens. I go out almost daily to check for bugs and weeds and to see if my garden is getting ample water or if it needs to be fertilized.  But, God is a much better gardener than I.
     God tends His garden as He sees fit. Jesus tells us that He is actually the vine, and we are branches of that vine.

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”  John 15:1-2 (NKJV)

     When God talks of His garden and His care of it, He is talking about taking care of us, His people. Through His attention to us, we grow and thrive.


  " He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers."
 Psalm 1:3 New American Standard Bible

     God's word is like food and water for the seed, and He will cause His garden to flourish and bear fruit.

 "As the rain and snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." Isaiah 55:10-11

     When I looked at the neglected shamble of a garden in my back yard this summer, I realized that I had been too preoccupied with the business of life to tend to it and bring about the result I had hoped for. And, I wondered what God, as the Master Gardener, had been hoping for me during this time. He sends me His living water, His word, His spiritual food. I, however, had been neglecting to receive it. The spectacle of my neglected garden was a metaphor for my untended soul. I could feel the dryness, the lack of growth, the spiritual thirst in this branch of the vine.
     Fortunately, the specter of my untended garden was a jolt to my sensibilities. I knew that God was speaking to me. I finally decided to listen. No matter how stressed or busy I am, no matter how many times I am unable to attend my Bible study class or my church worship services, I can still find ways to connect to the Vine, to drink of the Living Water, and to ask for restoration. So, I consciously sought out a Bible study this fall to challenge me to stay in the Word. Even when I haven't been able to attend due to other obligations, I have an assignment to complete. The lessons forced me into the Word.  I have started  listening to digital Christian books  when I travel or to streaming Christian programs on my smart phone, and I found an old box of books by one of my favorite Christian authors of the last century in my mother's barn that I am rereading. I am up to book number 22 by that author now. And, every time that I am able to attend worship services or choir practices, I do. 
     I am now feeling more refreshed and renewed, and, like the leaves of a drooping plant finally given a refreshing drink of cool water, I can feel myself unfurling, stretching, and reaching out for more.
     One of the reasons we plant a garden, I think, is because we have the Spirit of the Living Lord within us. We yearn to be like our Creator. He loves to see us grow, and our own gardens give us pleasure as well. But, at present, it is more important for me to tend to the garden of my soul than to my withered, sun-parched herbs. Thus, I have dug up the dead plants, pulled out the weeds, and prepared the soil for another season. The ground will lie fallow for this fall and winter, but my inward garden will not. I thank God that he doesn't give up on us and that He holds onto our hand even when we get distracted and tend to loosen our grip. And, I can depend on Him because He is the life that is in me. 

"For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand outside. I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the Lord God is a sun and a shield; the Lord gives grace and glory; no good thing does  He withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, how blessed is the man who trusts in You!" Psalm 84: 10-12

     God will be both my sun and my protection when I seek him. As long as I stay connected to Him and consistently seek His face, I thrive. I will be like the tree planted by the stream of water. 

     I thank you, God, that even in the autumn, when the season is cooling and the leaves are falling, that you bring new growth to my spirit and pour into my life your grace and love. 
  

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

My Grief Journey



My Grief Journey
Judy C. Googins, M.D.
A Speech Delivered at the Annual Day of Remembrance at the Children’s Park of Tyler, Texas
October 26, 2013

          Normally, when I speak to a group, I say, “I am happy to be here”, but I find it difficult to say that, because my reason for being here is not just because I am a Psychiatrist and familiar with mental health issues and the grief process, but because I am also a member of this group that is here assembled, this group to which none of us would have willingly chosen to belong. For, we are the unwilling members of a temporary foster family made up of those left behind, those left to grieve, and those left to pick up the pieces and go on when a child dies. It’s as if we have been taken from our true, happy, and whole families and thrust into this one, wherein none of us is complete, each missing a part, and that absent part has left a hole in our hearts.
           We are gathered here today to remember and to celebrate those children who passed on, to acknowledge to each other that we understand, to support one another in our grieving and healing process, acknowledging that the loss of a child is something uniquely painful and devastating—in a way described once by a couple further along in their grief journey than I:
“You never get OVER it. You just learn to LIVE WITH it.”
          My particular grief journey began when I received a page while at work during a group therapy session where I was co-therapist, saying that there was an emergency at home. When I called my house, a neighbor handed the phone off to a policeman who told me that my son had been shot. I, in my shock, asked “which one?”,  clueless that my first-born son was depressed and had decided to end his life.  The officer informed me that the paramedics were working on my son Joshua and that he would be transported by helicopter to a hospital in Dallas.
          When I arrived at the hospital, I was met by a chaplain who took me to a private room. There, I was joined by a physician who told me that they had tried to revive my son, but that he had died. Knowing that I, as a physician, would want to know the details, he carefully explained how my son had been found and the various resuscitation efforts the team had tried. I then went to a trauma room where my boy, one month shy of his sixteenth birthday, lay , still warm, on a gurney—with his hands wrapped in plastic and a small bullet hole in his temple.
          I touched his face, stroked his hair, and tried with some fiber of my soul to say goodbye to my boy already in a man’s body, stretched out lifeless in that empty, sterile room.
          My pastor and his wife joined me there, and they prayed with me. I felt a peace that still astounds me, that “peace that passes understanding”, and, as I left the trauma room, the halls were lined with people who had driven from our church in Terrell to Dallas—people who loved our family and were praying.
          Some of those in the church family cleaned our home that evening and specifically the room where my son had shot himself. They even took his blood-stained clothes home  and washed them and steam-cleaned my carpets to get the blood out. Another family took my other two children home with them, and that is where I told Tommy and Jenny that their brother had not made it, and there we wept and held each other through the night.
          We grieved differently. I have found this to be true in the many people that I see who are grieving a terrible loss. Tommy, who found his brother bleeding on the bathroom floor and called 911, kept seeing the event replayed in his mind like an unbidden video recording and was numb. He kept asking if there was anything else he could have done—he at 13 years old feeling he had failed at being his brother’s keeper. Jenny, at only five years old, but having seen her brother bleeding and carried out on a stretcher and put on a helicopter, took the hand of each visitor who came to the house and explained what had happened, where the two of them  had stood, where Joshua was lying, what he looked like, how her brother Tommy had called the ambulance and tried to cover her eyes and protect her. She talked her feelings through over and over. Tommy kept it inside and later developed Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
          My ex-husband blamed me and responded to my phone call by saying “How could you let this happen?” He delayed coming to be with our other children and wanted to refuse them the right to see their brother at the funeral home after his body was prepared.
          And I—I felt that I was walking around in a war zone after witnessing a blast, where the massive explosion had dulled my hearing so that I couldn’t quite make out what anyone else was saying, and I wondered aimlessly among the bodies, the destruction, and the rubble. Still, I had to tend to the needs of my children and my patients, to continue working so that I could complete my residency that year. Yet, I felt like I was walking around with shrapnel in my heart—like I had an open wound with jagged metal sticking out of it and blood pouring down, and I could literally feel it! Yet, no one else seemed to see it or know that I was in such physical pain that I could hardly breathe. And, that pain was like a burning—burning away the things that no longer mattered and bringing into focus what really did.

Zechariah 13: 9 says

“And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’” 

          Joshua’s absence left a greater hole than the sum of the three of us occupied that were left behind. There was no cutting up and roughhousing with his brother in the den, no predictable sound of his feet hitting the floor every morning at 6:30 followed by the shower being turned on on the floor above me, no drumming on the counter tops and anything else with a surface, no more kidding me and pointing to a spot on my shirt then tweaking my nose, no more Hawaiian blizzards at the Dairy Queen or strawberry jam at breakfast, no more watching his sweet face in the youth choir at church.
          I struggled with what I could have done, what I should have known, what I ought to have seen--as a psychiatrist, of all things! I felt punished for past deeds of disobeying God, yet I know that we do not have a God Who is punitive and bullying.
          I believed that I was the terrible mother that my ex-husband thought  me to be. After all, I was unable to prevent my own son’s suicide.
          And, I questioned God. Why didn’t He in His all powerful state stop my son from pulling that trigger? Yet, I knew that my God would not strip anyone of his right to free-will for even a moment because He created us free to choose. He is not a bullying, arm-twisting God. We live in a fallen world where we suffer the consequences of sin and of our own and others’ choices. However, one day, He, the God of the universe, will redeem it, and I await that day.
Romans 8:21-23
…"the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”
          I demanded to understand, indeed prayed and looked for understanding in every little piece of paper, in between the lines of Josh’s suicide note, in every face of the friends that came to the funeral or dropped by our house.  But God showed me that I didn’t have to have understanding as long as I have HIM.
Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us
 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him,  and He will direct your path.”
          I remember saying aloud to God and writing in my journal that I would never be happy again, could never imagine myself ever being happy again—but I underestimated my God and the power of His resurrection. For, He has promised beauty for ashes, a spring in the desert, and he understands our sorrows.
Isaiah 53:3 “He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;”
          So, I kept going. Some of my friends and colleagues were not helpful, saying such things as, “At least this loss will make you a better psychiatrist.” Others asked on the sly, with hushed voices and hands shielding their mouths, “What was it? Drugs? Alcohol? Did he get a girl pregnant, or have some sort of breakup?” The audacity. The lack of compassion. Others would say, “Oh, at least you have other children”, assuming that one child can take the place of the other, thereby denying the uniqueness of each one and the depth of my pain.
          My journey included drawing ever closer to my church family, appreciating every chance I have to be with those I love, knowing each visit might be the last one, reading my Bible and writing down scripture promises on post-it notes, then putting those notes on my headboard, on my bathroom mirror, in my car, on my clipboard at work and making them part of my innermost being, reading books about the death of a child-- some of which were not helpful--, and going to counseling and to meetings of Compassionate Friends.
          My first Compassionate Friends meeting was in Houston, months after my son’s death. I could work, see patients who were hurting and suicidal or even hospitalized, and even speak to parents and teens who were considering suicide. Then, at the monthly Compassionate Friends meeting, I would go and cry the whole time. It was as if I was storing up all the sadness and pain and would let it out in that safe place where others understood how I felt and could bear me up. We, in our mutual grief, were not just victims but survivors, and we each dealt differently with our grief. I still see these coping mechanisms in the people I work with in my practice. Some suppress their feelings, like the co leader who could not bear to look at his daughter’s photographs. Some feel they cannot talk about their loss for fear that the grief floodgates, once opened, will allow such a torrent of tears and emotion that the flood will annihilate them, not knowing that the tears will not kill them but will make them more able to handle the next wave of memories and regrets..
          Some talk their feelings through, and some blame others, wanting to be absolved of any guilt or responsibility on their own parts. And, some are just angry—blaming God, the doctors, the other parent. They use the death of a child as an excuse to reject God, Who in reality is the only Being that will never reject or forsake them in their entire lives.
Deuteronomy 31:8
It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

          Yes, God surprised me. He showed me that He could take my anger and still love me. He could tolerate my constant questioning of why and gently point me to Proverbs 3:5-6 as His answer. He brought those Christian friends around, and they allowed Jesus to minister through them to me and my family. God brought into my life another man, a—Godly, delightful, loving man of integrity from my youth that I knew and trusted, who loves the Lord and my children, who delights in making me happy and bringing me joy—including an unexpected surprise—a daughter born to us when we were forty who has been a delight and refreshment to our souls.

Psalm 127:3 New Living Translation (NLT) 

 Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him." 

     Now, years later, I am happy. I have joy again. I have never gotten over the loss of my son, but I have learned to live with it. I miss the graduations, the friendships, the marriage, and the grandchildren that will never be. I am sorry that our nineteen-year-old will never know the older brother until she gets to heaven. And, I still visit the cemetery and have talks with the wind, sing to the Lord, pull the weeds, and pray to my God Who has never failed me yet.




Isaiah 53:4
“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.”