Sunday, November 07, 2010

Another Weekend Recap

My heart is so full tonight. I hope I can convey why. Here's a little (but you know it won't be short) recap of our weekend. If you only have a minute, skip to the Sunday part.

Friday:
I groan every Friday morning when Curt goes to work because it feels like it should already be the weekend and he should be at home with us. When we lived in Irving Curtis had Fridays off, so I think it stems from that.

Anyway, on Friday I got to join all the LPM girls for Evangeline's birthday lunch at Tea for Two. We had a great time celebrating Vangie. Michelle injured her foot training for a marathon, so we had lots of fun with her crutches. It was a cold day and I was obsessing over Michelle's bandaged foot and her bare toes poking out. I kept wanting to find her a big pink, fluffy grandma sock (which she would have LOVED) to put over it. Michelle would want me to tell you that she was late for work that morning because she had to paint those toe nails. On Friday night we got brave and took the kids to a pizza place, which turned out surprisingly well.

Saturday:
I bought a new pair of jeans in August that I really liked, but they quickly developed a hole in a very unfortunate place. I was nervous about trying to return them but, come on, after two months that is ridonkulous. What I did not know is that those jeans had been taken off the shelves for being defective and the store refunded my money without any problems. So this weekend I needed to get a new pair and I was determined to get them at a length I could wear with flats. After almost five years of motherhood, I am finally giving up on wearing heels. Except for church or other occasions when I'm not chasing and carrying my little ones, I'm going with flats or much lower heeled boots. I think I gave it a good run, but I just can't take it anymore.

On Saturday morning I went to Nordstrom to take advantage of the Half Yearly Sale for my denim purchase. It was a total failure. After trying on like twelve pairs, I abandoned the Nord and headed elsewhere. With the help of an amazing saleslady, I found a pair that I liked and took the plunge and am having them hemmed. Eek! I've never done this before and I'm a little nervous. We'll see how they turn out.

That night Kristy and Drew and their kiddos came over for dinner. I made enchiladas and they brought dessert, which ended up being a ding dong cake! Give Him praise, children! Since we had a legit cake, a little boy in the house whose second birthday is this Wednesday, and a stash of fun birthday decorations and candles, we had a spontaneous birthday celebration for little Levi. There weren't any presents but there were lots of balloons and party horns to amuse the kids. (Kim Safina, you made that possible. Thank you, sister!) The boys spent lots of time on the trampoline in the backyard. My heart was so happy seeing Jackson play with his friends. We had a great time.

Sunday:
Our Sunday school class was brimming over with couples today! We seem to be growing every week and it's so neat. Before the church service started, we got to go on the children's floor that's being remodeled and write our kids' names on the foundation. Curtis and I found a corner far away from everyone and knelt down on the floor. He wrote Jackson's name and I wrote Annabeth's. Curt said, "Okay, we need to decide right now if we are having any more kids." Because if we were, we would need to write "Future Baby Jones." In case you are wondering, we did not write another name down. If it happens, we'll just have to figure something out! Then we held hands and prayed for our kids that they would love Jesus and that they would use their lives to serve Him. I wish I had a recording of everything Curtis prayed. We were both weeping before the Lord out of love for our son and daughter and in the joy of bringing them up to know Him. It is the most important thing in our life.

Unfortunately, tonight I went to the funeral visitation of the mother of one of our Sunday school class members. It was heartbreaking to see our friends grieving the loss of this precious woman who means so much to them. I arrived at the same time as my friend Allison and I tagged along with her.

Allison and her husband suffered the premature birth of their twins two years ago this January. If you read my blog back then you may remember me asking you to pray for them. They lost their precious baby daughter, Kate, at that time. I'm so blessed to tell you that Allison is unexpectedly expecting another little one. How great is our God?

Tonight I watched my precious friend minister comfort to a deeply hurting family. Her words were so sincere and full of grace. She had an anointing of compassion and a beauty that surely only comes from walking down that path of suffering and remaining faithful to the Lord. When I got in my car it took several minutes before I could even turn on the radio. I just had to be silent and meditate on the fact that our suffering and our comfort are not just for us, but for others.

If you'd like to share, how has God used suffering in your life to comfort others? Or how have other believers comforted you with the comfort they have received?

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.
(2 Corinthians 1:3-7)

48 comments:

Kelli said...

So proud of you for embracing the flat.

Caroline sure loves that family of four kids. She always wants to know when she can play sometime with "her boys".

What an abundance of blessings you encountered today.

Jana said...

Not only has the sudden death of my Dad given me the chance to relate and minister to others, the events that have unfolded since then have been no less amazing. My Mom has remarried and I am now part of a step-family. And I have been able to help a friend through a very similar situation. I can't say that I am glad my Dad is gone, but I have been a part of so many things that I just wouldn't have understood otherwise. I miss him. But I know where he is!

Sara@www.tablegrace.net said...

I would love to have you come along us in prayer. God is using my recent diagnosis of Stage 4 Lung Cancer at age 47 and having never touched a cigarette, in ways we could never have imagined. We are changed forever.
http://www.tablegrace.net/?p=2423

k and c's mom said...

After a 7 year battle with cancer, I lost my husband 16 months ago to that awful disease. God has brought so many people into my life who have lost loved ones in the same way. I realize that words of hope from someone who has walked the same path and is able to say with absolute certainty "God IS enough" is a powerful tool for the Lord to use on hurting hearts. Thank you, Lord, for making our darkest hours into light for others who are hurting.

Angela said...

God has totally used the loss of my baby boy at 17 weeks to 'one' draw me closer to him (in a real way) and 'two' to have a heart for others dealing with this.
I read a powerful book after the loss that focused on Romans 8:28. For all things happen for good for those that love the Lord....
We have to believe this!
I pray for your friends family. And I do hope that my life and experiences may minister to someone else in their time of need.

Thanks for this reminder that God is good all the time, even though sometimes we just don't understand.

Beth.. One Blessed Nana said...

Amanda, even though I am 48 years old, the death of my precious daddy 16 years ago is still so very painful for me. He was 58 years old at the time and his death was so unexpected.

God has enabled me, through that tough trial and hard times, to be able to truly minister to those who have lost parents. It is something that you can only feel so deeply if you have experienced it. God is so good and He is so gracious and merciful. I praise Him for what He has done for me and through me.

Love to you!

Spicy Magnolia said...

What amazing testimonies people are writing in response to your question, Amanda. Oh, that we would be like Jesus to each other.

Organize U said...

I just love the Body of Christ. Four years ago I was run over by a car crossing a road and thus began a rebuilding season, a longsuffering season, a waiting season, a walking by faith season,and a believing God through much physical pain season.Little did I know that the Lord would expand my territory of compassion to so many women. Women who suffer with chronic pain, women who have endured numerous surgeries and women who have felt all alone in their seasons of adversity.
God is good and His mercies are new each glorious day : )

Michele said...

Wow,Amanda, what a weekend.
You need to remember this post and return to it whenever you are having a difficult day and question your parenting ability.

You and Curtis are awesome parents because you love God and are teaching your children to love Him by loving them.

May God continue to bless your family

balmingilead said...

Love to know the jeans you ending up buying as I myself am on a quest for a new style.

In the last year, my family has experienced the increasing insanity and grief of a member who is an alcoholic in search of God.....and we are also reeling and coping and learning to love a member who has announced his alternative lifestyle of choice to the surprise of us all. As I am particularly close to both of these family members genetically, it has been a lesson in loving people despite their sin, and giving grace and mercy instead of condemnation.It has caused me to gravely look at my own judgemental and hypocritical heart.....I thought this would never happen to us - that we would never have to deal with THAT sin. But I see people differently now,and while I don't agree with these sins, I have a different perspective and insight into the brokenness of us all...most certainly me included! In my grief over these family members, I am comforted by the blood of Jesus that covers us all. In spite of it all.

Tabaitha Kaye said...

I read the whole thing (I too wrote two long posts this weekend on how God is working in our lives through trials and suffering) and Sunday was my favorite part. The memory you made with Curtis today and praying for your kids and their walks with the Lord is something you will never forget.

Michelle said...

Just want to say I actually work at Nordstrom in the TBD department, and I love encouraging women daily when they feel good about themselves in their jeans. It sounds silly, but women like to feel good about how they look, and they are so happy when I pick an outfit out for them and they feel pretty in it. It's a great job. (Side note, which jeans did you get? I am going to guess Paige Laguna Hills.)

Shellie Paparazzo said...

I've never seen the point of heels. I can't walk in them. I'm totally hopeless. Besides they're not good for you anyway. My mother always said I needed to wear them because I'm short. Well, God made me that way and last time I checked He claims he doesn't make mistakes, so I'm fine with being short!

Anyway, to your question. I nearly cried over this one, because I thought, "Your Mom!" instantly. I've always wished I could be closer to her. I don't have many friends here who have suffered from childhood abuse as I have or at least they're not admitting it. I figured I was damaged goods and would never be okay until I stumbled on one of her bible studies. She gives me such hope and God has done some amazing things in my life in the last few years! Right now I could really use some comfort because I'm dealing with the whole holiday season thing and not having family who truly loves me (as they are all still very emotionally abusive to me).

Amanda said...

Wow! I just typed part of that same scripture out tonight ( I don't know why I didn't type it all out) as I am speaking to the MOPS group I am in tomorrow b/c we are starting a NICU Outreach. I have had two NICU babies - our first little girl only lived 17 hours and our little Princess who came along almost 4 years later was in the NICU to learn how to eat. God has really used the loss of our precious little Kate and a miscarriage I had to help me reach out to others who have gone through similar situations and now to be part of this NICU outreach to help those parents during a time when they probably thought they would already be home with their little ones.

Marc and Charity said...

I seriously need this Ding Dong cake you keep speaking about!

Amazing testimonies written here!

Village Sister said...

When the Lord suddenly called my 8 yr. old daughter home 11 yrs. ago, I could never have imagined how He would make Himself known to me. Nor could I fathom in the agony of my pain how I was going to survive much less be useful to anyone else. But He patiently bathed my heart & mind with His love, comfort & strength.
The strength He gave/gives me continues to astound me as He entrusts me with opportunities to reach out to others. God is so very good.

Becky said...

My oldest daughter was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at two weeks old. She is a thriving three yr old (on Thurs. 11/11!) and is one of the greatest joys of my life. I have been a Christian since I was 5 yrs. old. I was raised in a Spirit filled home, but her diagnosis was a turning point in my life. It has caused me to totally depend on the Father. This was the first time in my life that I could not look to my parents to tell me everything will be alright. For 27 years I walked under their covering and protetion. I have learned to draw closer to Him. I know the meaning of "peace that passes all understanding", and my husband has risen up as the spiritual leader of our home.

I am covered by his blood, and in that blood I am overwhelmed with peace, comfort, and forgiveness. There are a lot of people who love my daughter so much, and through God's grace and protection on her life, they are also coming to know Him in a more intimate way.

I will never be thankful for CF, but I am grateful for what has come through our "suffering". Our suffering will never compare to what Jesus suffered, but we choose to trust Him to walk this walk.

We give all the glory to God for her health. Many blessings!

Brooke said...

Mine is more of a how God used others to help me through the loss of my father.

My dad passed away 4.5 years ago. I was 24 years old and pregnant with our first baby, and both families first grandchild. It was a very sudden, and unexpected event. My dad and I were very close, much more than with my mom.

Crazily (we know it's God that planned this) my MIL's father passed away when she was in her upper twenties and pregnant with her third (had baby, my BIL, 1 week after his death). Our dad's were both 56 when they passed away.

Also many events leading to this were all taken care of by God, knowing that some of those decisions couldn't have been made by my mom alone.

It is still sad to not have my dad here enjoying his 3 beautiful grandkid, and our special dad/daughter bond. But looking back, even shortly after his death, it was obvious that it was meant to be. Hard as that is, God's plan was perfect for that time.

Thanks for allowing us a window into your life and motherhood!

Sallie said...

After living an idyllic childhood, and fairly charming married life, in the last 4 years have lost my sister to suicide, my precious mother-in-law to cancer, my Daddy just this past spring, and we are left with my mother who has Alzheimer's and my precious father in law who has Parkinson's. It still amazes me to even write that..?? Yes, it's just that time of life, but has truly made me more compassionate for others in their grief...and also that you truly DON'T GET IT until you have walked through it!! The only way to deal with it all is to look toward heaven and rejoice that someday the pain and suffering of this life will be over and we will all be together.
God is truly a healer of the suffering hearts!

angie said...

Was at that same visitation last night - saw you leaving as we were waiting in line ... thankful for your Sunday School class as I have prayed for people to come alongside and carry their family well. The youngest brother was Director of my Bible Study class while I was a teacher in 2009. Such a sweet family who loves Jesus.

As a 5'9" -- who's always loved heels, I'm slowing moving from 3" to 1.5/2" heel and/or flats. Not b/c I'm a mom; just b/c! :) ha!

Blessings!

Peter and Nancy said...

At our church this weekend, we had a guest speaker who talked about God walking with him & his wife over the last five years after losing their three young daughters in a plane crash.

It was truly awe-inspiring to hear that 6 mo. before the crash, this man and his wife had a time of annointing in the Holy Spirit. They started to love and pursue God in a new way at that time, which he now realizes was preparation for the tragedy.

Now, he and his wife share the story to help others realize that God truly is good, and will allow tragedy only because He wants to redeem it.
Nancy

Rebecca said...

Being chosen to have a daughter with the most complex & fatal congenital heart disease...carrying her while knowing all she would endure as the enemy tried so hard to convince me to take her life from her...living in a hospital for the first month and a half of her life with her...loving her in our home with her big brother doting on her every move...and losing her suddenly only three weeks later. On the day Jesus took her to Glory, we committed to Him to honor her memory by giving to others...the first batch of Annabelle Baskets were delivered to the PCICU at MUSC in Charleston, SC exactly one month later. Now, two and a half years later almost 600 Annabelle Baskets have been distributed throughout this country ministering to others in their time of greatest need...placing precious baby items on their sweethearts &, most importantly, scripture in their hands. We've been blessed with another baby boy, Luke, who is now 14 months old. His name was given to us through your mom's study, Jesus the One and Only...an older study I had tucked away and wanted to do on my own as my grief was still too raw to comfortably be in a small group setting. For the first time in our lives, we were struggling to get pregnant (combined with the recent loss of Annabelle it was too much). I turned to that study & on day 1 began reading in Luke of Elizabeth's pregnancy with John & Mary with Jesus. The Holy Spirit filled me with peace & I knew that God had another baby for us. Loss, redemption & continual healing...through all of it, even this morning when the pain of losing my girl seems so fresh, God is faithful.

Denice said...

I had two miscarriages many years ago. I can't count how many people God has put in my path to comfort and talk to who were going through a miscarriage or facing a possible one. Before mine, I hardly knew anyone who had been through it because it isn't something we talk about a lot. I am thankful that I can help others who are going through the same thing.

Nancy said...

Oh, my, how the stories shared here have offered comfort! Thanks for the invitation.

I also just wanted to share this with you...when my husband was a teenager the church he grew up in remodeled. They had all the kids in the youth group at the time do the same thing - sign their names on the foundation. The message being that it was up to them to help build the church once the construction was done. That was 30 years ago.

A couple of years ago that same church, because of growth, remodeled again. In the tearing down phase of the construction they found the signatures of those former teenagers. They took pictures of those signatures and sent them to the original owners.

I didn't know my husband back then and never knew anything about his signature on the old church foundation until I saw the recent picture. I can't begin to tell you how my heart was blessed when I saw that picture of his handwriting so many years ago. At the time he probably thought very little about the event other than it was just a cool thing to do. Today, he's in the ministry giving everything he has to help build up the bride of Christ--and I know you know the struggle and comfort involved in all of that. I just pray that in 30 years, your children(and their spouses!) will look back and thank Jesus for the love their parents poured into their foundation.

Siesta OC said...

What a blessed recap! Smiled and teared up.

I went thru such a trench of depression about 2 1/2 years ago. But the beauty is I met GOD there like I never had. And HE took every distraction away. I had no friends, no family close, no money, no hope and no joy. But when HE met me there, I started to have hope and He carried me and I was changed. Now 2 years later, I am able to tell someone, you WILL make it. HE will carry you! If you had not self help book, no support group, no anything, JESUS HIMSELF would heal from the inside. HE uses those things but HE dosen't need them. HE IS THE LORD, AMEN!

Amber Cessac said...

Well... We wrote "Baby Cessac and Future Cessacs" on the floor yesterday. Sooo you can interpret that however you want :)

KR said...

At 4 months old, our son had emergency heart surgery at a children's hospital 80 miles away. My husband and I stayed with him around the clock for two weeks. We were alone and afraid. Our church family didn't come, friends didn't come and most family didn't come. Only a year later did we learn that this is common when a child has a critical illness. People are afraid to come, uncomfortable or figure that there's plenty of people already there.

Almost three years later, I go once a month to the same hospital and bring dinner to the families of children having heart surgery. They appreciate the food but it's the fellowship with another mother that really makes a difference. Through this ministry, God has healed so much of my broken heart and the feeling that we didn't matter to anyone. We all matter to him.

Paige said...

About a month ago, my mom woke up with a headache and then the next day was told she had stage 4 Glioblastoma. Without God's divine hand, it's terminal...soon. A lady I know at church came up to me and said she was praying for my mom and me too. She said her sister had cancer and that she understood how it never leaves your thoughts for one minute...even though the world keeps going on. I was blessed beyond measure- for I no longer felt like I was losing my mind or doubting my Abba Father...but simply dealing with a ridiculously tough situation the way any other human would...and that's ok with God- after all, He made me this way :)

Jeannie (HAPPY HEART) said...

Praise the Lord that He never waste our suffering. How beautiful that when we reach our to comfort someone else that we receive healing as well!

Sometimes, I know it is painful to revisit old memories to comfort another but each time that we do the Lord blesses us! The Lord has allowed us to comfort children and adults who going through transplants.

Thanks for sharing that sweet moment between you and Curtis. You have placed your family's future in the Lord's hands that is the very best place to be. :)

Marilyn in Mississippi said...

So much enjoyed reading the recap of your weekend!

As for an area where I feel some kind of personal grief or suffering helps me minister to or comfort others, I feel I have two. First, I lost my mother to breast cancer when I was sixteen years old. So I can identify with those who have to say good-bye to their mothers through death. And secondly,our oldest son was severely injured in Iraq with shrapnel in his head and shoulders a few years ago. He was medivaced to Germany for emergency brain surgery. We didn't know if he would live or if he did what kind of a toll this type of injury would take on him. But God had a wonderful neurosurgeon from Houston,TX,at the military hospital in Germany and I feel God used him to save our son's life. This has given me opportunity to identify with and comfort other mothers who have had children injured in the military.

Good to just have a moment to sit and "visit" with you today Amanda!

God bless you!

Marilyn...in Mississippi

Cheri-Beri said...

I lost my mom to cancer 16 months ago. I can't tell you how I've changed and the depths of compassion I am now able to extend to others. In the months after I lost my mom, two friends lost a parent and I was able to minister to them.

Also, when my mom was diagnosed and in the 16 following months, the amount of love and help I received from those who had walked down a similar path was overwhelming.

I used to be afraid of old people . . . especially those that were sick. God took that away from me and replaced it with a heart to love and serve those that are often looked past in our society.

He is so amazing.

Mommy Dot Com said...

On another post I shared how my family and I have been ministrering to impoverished children. My childhood was similar. I feel I know that world and can relate to the children and to the parents of these children. I very vividly remember how it felt to eat Thanksgiving dinner in a homeless shelter. My compassion and empathy are full so the love overflows. And I am glad. I am glad that God can cause all things to work for His good.

bethany said...

Oh Amanda, I could write a book on this but will not for your sake as well as the sake of your readers!
I have been dealt a hand of suffering this year. Lost my job in April, my house in May and moved to a new town in June. Shortly after my move, I received word that one of my student was hit by a car and killed while another student was hit by a car and Praise Jesus, was spared. I've had some health scares recently but am trusting God for healing and praising Him for a new job. I am in the middle of suffering and don't feel that I am able to help anyone right now but I've been ministered to in such a sweet and special way by my friend and mentor, Colleen. She knows suffering and has been so integral in my healing process this year. I love my sister in the Lord with a deep love and am so so so thankful for the wisdom and love she pours out on me. This comes through the sufferings that she has endured.
I look forward to the day when I can pour that type of love into another!

Carrie Beth said...

I will say that going through my parents' horrific divorce as I graduated high school and entered college was not a picnic. However, I was blessed to serve as a youth minister for several years while in seminary. I cannot tell you how many times my experience enabled me to minister to and relate to countless teens (and their parents). God totally used what Satan intended for evil to give comfort to those who were hurting!
It was through those experiences that I was really able to look back and say, "Blessed be the name of the Lord. HE is the father to the fatherless"!
http://cbmommymusings.blogspot.com

in a world surrounded by men said...

When our friends' little 15 month old boy died in a tragic accident in our church nursery two years ago, it was as close as it could get for me without being my own son (who was in there at the time as well).

This trauma, pain, and grief has made me examine where I will stand in my faith in Christ if and when tragedy and loss strikes me or my family.

Firm. I will stand firm. He is my hope and my foundation. I will make the choice to cling to Him.

Melissa said...

When I suffered a miscarriage last year, a dear, sweet friend who had walked that road a year prior called me, weeping, and told me that she finally felt like God had revealed a shred of why she had walked through such a dark place - to be able to share the burden of grief with someone else. It was so humbling to have this woman to share my heart with, cry my tears with, who wouldn't judge me when I just needed to laugh, or be angry, and understood that sometimes I would just want to sit on the couch and eat soup together and not talk at all. The Lord was so good to give me this friend, and in turn, such comfort during some of my darkest days.

Emily said...

Amanda-I loved the very end of this post. My daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor 7 1/2 years ago at age 5. Two brain surgeries, 132 weeks of chemo, and 30 doses of radiation later, she is still going strong(and sassy). People often tell me that they are encouraged by how I have handled all of it(as a single mom working full time and finishing a college degree). I have always known WHY I do it, but have often found it hard to put into words to them when they compliment me in that way. Your words are exactly what I have always searched for, "the suffering(hard times) and comfort are not just for us, but for others". I have always felt that the Lord chose me for this journey and I consider that the greatest honor, therefore I have always tried to walk the the path proudly to affect others. I try to relay to everyone that they see the struggles she and I face, but they don't often see the many, MANY blessings that He has given us along the way. I also assure them that what they "see" is not me doing a good job, that it is God working through me. It is amazing how many times I have been given the opportunity to share our story with others. I have never been one of those people who were comfortable sharing my "testimony", but the Lord works in odd ways sometimes doesn't He? It was not unto several years after my daughter's diagnosis that a friend pointed out to me that is in fact what I was doing when sharing our story. I was dumbfounded-I had been sharing it easily all along and never realized it! Thanks for being so transparent on the blog....it's one of my fave's!
www.caringbridge.org/visit/shelbimae

katiegfromtennessee said...

I think that I have been comforted by those that have been through similar things in their lives that I have experienced. They have come out of it still serving Him, still loving Him, and still pursuing Him. It is a testament to the perseverance of the saints. His work in us produces in us a lasting change, being His own, bought with a precious price. Redemption. Like you were saying that our comfort and suffering was not meant for just us. That He would use us to comfort others is such a mega blessing. Huge, really.

Blessings much to you today Amanda,

katiegfromtennessee

Katie - a Blessed Mommy! said...

Love this post. Love that verse- first "discovered" it & really began to understand it after the death of three childhood friends all occurring in a year (beginning with our mutual friend, Molly.)

To answer your question, I have found that in mothering two children with various physical disabilities, the Lord has given me so many opportunities to form relationships with other women enduring poor prenatal diagnoses and high risk pregnancy. I find myself meeting with other women who are behind me in the journey of parenting a child with limb differences. I've collected books and verses that I love to be able to pass on to other moms - to encourage them and hopefully to open their eyes to the abundant blessings God has in store for them. I love sharing our stories with them, crying with them, and giving them ideas on how to "do life" with differences.
Also, after the loss of my first baby via miscarriage, I received so much comfort from other moms who knew my heartache. Since then, I've worked with a friend to create boxes of items (scripture books, books on loss, music, etc) which I've sent to both friends and strangers who have experienced miscarriage.
Others have ministered to me both through practical ways like providing food but also through sitting on the couch with me, crying out to our God with tears and begging for the life of my child. Having another woman to come alongside me, to walk or crawl with me on this journey, to cry with me and allow me to vent or scream or fall apart or shout for joy - that is what has brought me immeasurable comfort.
It doesn't minimize the pain or invalidate it or even provide a reason. But, there becomes purpose in the pain when we are able to form relationships with others in similar circumstances, to walk alongside them & shoulder the burden. I think this is where God gets the glory from even our most painful of circumstances.

Georgia's blog said...

Amanda,

The death of our precious daughter and less than 5 months later my sweet daddy in 2008 still seems so very fresh... But God is good! He has surrounded us with His comfort through family, friends, co-workers and our church family. He has enabled me to minister to others that have lost children. Rachel would be 18 and a senior this year, her friends stay in touch and keep her memory alive. She is still very much a part of the Class of 2011 and again they are such a ministry and comfort to us.

Through this journey He has given me a courage and a strength that I can only give Him credit for! Sometimes it is still so hard to say but I feel priveledged that He chose me for this journey and the ability to comfort others with His love and grace! I am blessed!

Elisabeth said...

I was not raised in a typical church-going family. Because of this, I ended up in many pits & very hard to the world. An angry, burned young lady who had no gentleness & sensitivity in her. Through peoples prayers & intense time under your mother's Bible studies, the Lord reached down and fully pulled me out of all those pits. He chose me, lavished me with love & forgiveness, & taught me to live in victory over the enemy. I'm truly blessed, chosen, adopted, accepted, redeemed, forgiven, & sealed in His love!!! Hallelujah!
Now, I work with and speak to jr. high and high school girls. I relate to those who have more difficult homelives. I am blessed to help girls get out of pits of anger, self-destruction, unbelief, and defeat. I'm living proof for them to see that it IS possible! I teach them about having a passion for Him & His word & living out their calling in this world. If I didn't experience the very things I did as a child, I wouldn't have such a place of understanding to come from. He knows. He works EVERYTHING out for such good!

Lisa @ The Preacher's Wife said...

Just undone by the image of you and Curtis weeping over your children. That's some heritage right there sister. Those children are blessed - as are there parents.

Love to you all!

Annika said...

So I am crying as I'm reading through these stories. So much pain, and so much redemption. The Lord brought my husband and I through a horrible time in our marriage, due to my husband's addiction to pornography. He healed us and redeemed our sufferings and we've come out of it stronger than before. We have huge hearts for people and couples facing this devastating situation, and we have been given many opportunities to tell our story and come alongside others. It gives me great satisfaction to see the enemy get trampled so mightily!

Also, I lost my mother to Alzheimer's disease about two months ago; I had four old friends from high school get in touch with me who had also lost parents very young, and it meant SO much to me.

God is so good.

Also wanted to say that your story about praying for your kids and crying brought me to tears. I pray to have that same passion and commitment to my children as you and Curtis do!

Thanks for starting this thread...been amazing to read through everyone's stories.

niki said...

Amanda, I'm a confessed lurker. I actually met you in 2004 in January, when my husband & i came to Houston w/ Bob & Joy. We(jay & i) laughed at bob & curtis telling funny stories & carrying on (as we both know Bob is known to do. ha!) Anyway, your question on this post prompted me to write. I have had the wonderful blessing of meeting & getting to know an author (Marilyn Heavilin) of a book (Becoming a Woman of Honor) that played a huge impact in my life when I was in college, and she said this to me, "God uses the pain in our lives to cause us to be compassionate and usable to others." I have thought of it over & over -- it is so true. We lost a baby to miscarriage in 2000, and even though it was devastating & I had some dark, dark days during that time, I have had the privilege of walking through that experience with several friends. There is just something about being able to say, "I know exactly how you feel..." God does the pain in our lives, to minister to others & ultimately, bring glory to Him.

The Bargain Shopper Lady said...

Oh wow! I can relate to anyone who struggles with not being perfect and I will never ever judge them. I also won't reject people if I discern they are having a rough day. My trials have taught me to love endlessly and strongly desire for people to be set free!

Deidre said...

I love this recap, Amanda. I love that you prayed over/about your children in such an intentional way. What a gift to them.

The sudden death of my best friend last year (right before the SMT Celebration) has allowed me to minister to someone else close to me this year. Grief is a weird thing. Just when you think you may not make it, God shows you someone you can minister to and, in doing so, helps to pull you out of the hurt. Praise His Name!

Lindsee said...

I'm so a week late, but what a wonderful weekend and great post. This may sounds so petty, but one of the most comforting times was a conversation I had with an older (by only 4 years) and wiser friend who encouraged me in this season of singleness. She'd just gotten married so she'd been there, and for some reason, of all the conversations I've had about that, that one stuck. It was very encouraging to my heart!

The Sages said...

If you're not happy with the jeans you got, I really like GAP's new jeans and they come in three different lengths.