The following is something I wrote in 2005, shortly after losing my second born child -- a son that we named Joseph Samuel.
Let's go back a decade or so. A little over 11 years ago. There are events in everyone's life that they will never forget. I will never forget August 11, 1995. I remember where I was, what I was doing, and who I was with. I even remember odd little details that seemed unrelated to me at the time, but tied in oh so tightly after I found out what else was happening that day. After I found out what was happening where I wasn't , to someone that I wasn't with who I loved more than I could realize at that moment. I wish that I had the courage to tell Melvin how great I thought he was. How much I admired him as a brother in Christ and actually verbalize to him how much he meant to me. I thought about him everyday for the longest time.
Then ten years passed, and there were fewer times that I thought of him, but I never forgot. And then came August 11, 2005, another day that I will never forget. The last Doctor's appointment in my pregnancy with Joseph. The last time I heard his heart beat. I remember what it sounded like, I remember talking to the doctor about inducing labor on the 18th if natural labor didn't occur. I remember talking to David in the kitchen after supper about nothing important or in particular, just chit-chat. Then I had a dream that night. A dream that was odd, but considering the date, not really too significant in any other aspect than a memory of an old friend. I almost remember the dream more than the rest of the day. I was sitting beside Melvin, just talking. About what, I don't remember, not important. Then, he gave me a hug, kissed me on the cheek, and told me everything was going to be okay. I thought nothing of it, until the next week, Wednesday, the 17th -- when it all tied together. I went in for a checkup and to ask a few last questions before we induced, and the heartbeat was gone. Then I knew why everything happened the way it did on the 11th.
When something like that happens, it changes you forever. I will never be the same, but I am still so much the same. I still believe that God is in control. I still believe that God loves me and He has my life all planned out. And He is here with me always, hurting with me, and holding me, and helping me to rejoice in the great things that are happening in my life, and in the lives of the people I love. But don't think I didn't get angry. I yelled until I couldn't talk. I told God that I didn't care anymore, and I was going to do whatever I wanted from now on. But, you see, the problem with turning your back on God is -- He's everywhere! So I turned around, and there He was. Not waiting on me to come back to Him, still beside me, holding my hand, walking with me, and carrying me when I couldn't go on.
I am not a sad person, and I hate it that when some people look at me, they think I must just be so sad. Yes, sometimes the heartache is overwhelming. Unbearable, and actually, physically painful. But this is God's plan for my life. He is molding me into the person that I am to become. He's not finished with me yet. There will be more trials, and more victories, more tears, and more laughter. And I am waxing philosophic, because a broken heart cannot be contained. When others feel their hearts to be full, they overflow. Mine flows always. Every event in my life is precious, because I know that no matter how insignificant it may seem at the time, the memory could be so very significant. So, now when I think there is something I want to tell someone, no matter what it is, or if I really even know them, I will tell them. There is no such thing as a life without regrets. If you never take chances, or do crazy things, you will regret it. Now, when someone touches my life, I tell them. No matter how strange it may seem to them or even to me. I think it is important that we all know how we affect others. I am so thankful for all the people that God has brought into my life. Each one is so important, and I love them all so very much.
Trust in the Lord -- That is what it said on the little white cross. On Thursday, August 18, 2005, we went shopping. We had to buy a suit for Joe, and we wanted something small, and special to place in his tiny white casket. Something meaningful that somehow summed up what we felt. I thought we would never find it. But sitting there in a glass display was a little white cross with those simple words. "Trust in the Lord. Pr. 3:5".
When I first saw those words, they were exactly what I needed to hear. I had been telling everyone else that God was in control, and that He had a plan, but I wasn't listening. But there was more. I knew there was more to Proverbs 3:5. So, when we got home, I pulled out my bible (it had been too long) and looked it up – "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;". That was it! I could not, would not ever understand, but I had to trust God. Whenever I talk to anyone about Joe, I always tell them that I will never understand why. Even if I knew why, I could never understand. If I got to sit down with God Himself, and He looked me in the eye and told me why, I'm sure I would want to tell Him to His face – "That's not good enough!" Pretty defiant, right, but this is my baby we are talking about. My little boy, and I got cheated out of him, because for some reason, God's plan for his life was short. Whatever Joe's purpose in life was, he accomplished it in those 38 weeks. In silence (except for the hiccups), and hidden from the world inside of me, he accomplished God's goal for his life. He must have really been something! For me, his passing gave me a deeper understanding of what God did for us through His Son. I don't know exactly when Joe died, I just know that he did. When it was actually happening, I didn't have a clue. And there was nothing I could have done to stop it, because I didn't know. But when Jesus died for us, God knew. He knew exactly what was happening, and He didn't stop it. When Jesus cried out "Why have you forsaken Me!!" , God still did nothing! He did that because He loved US so much. His son had to die, so we could live. That's amazing! Can you imagine loving someone that much. We all have people we love, and people we love so much we would die for, but would you give your son? There lots of people that I would sacrifice myself for, but very few (if any) that I would give my son for. I love David and Matthew, but it would still be a tough decision. But that brings in the Holy Trinity. Jesus was God's son, but also part God Himself. So, God was giving Himself (in part) and His Son (in part) and us (Mary was human, right). He sacrificed EVERYTHING. Everything that He was, and everything that He loved, just so that we could have eternal life in heaven with Him. And I'm so glad He did. If I had to live the rest of my life not knowing if I would ever see Joe again, I could not live. But I know I will. And for now, I can comfort myself with thoughts of him in heaven. In case you were wondering, this is what I see: Joseph sitting on God's lap, Joe and Jesus, walking and talking, Joe and Melvin playing basketball, Joe and GomGom baking homemade bread, Joe and Grandpa working on an old truck, Joe and Grandma sitting on the back porch, Joe and Dada planting watermelons, and Joe and David's grandma sewing a quilt. And I am so jealous of them now. But I know I will join them one day, when God's purpose for my life is fulfilled. And as much as I miss everyone, I hope it is not too soon. I still have two other boys to take care of, and I think they need me.
Which brings me to the rest of the sentence. Proverbs 3:6. Did you notice the semicolon at the end of verse 5? I did. I noticed it more than a year ago, but I just took what I thought I needed. The complete thought reads: "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 paths." End thought. I thought about that part every now and then, but one night when I couldn't sleep, it was presented to me again. Sunday, November 5, 2006, I was laying in bed trying to sleep, but I couldn't. And I really was trying! I even took some Nyquil (I had a cold), and that didn't work either! So I was watching tv and Joel Osteen came on. Usually I would change the channel and watch something funny, but I thought okay, this might put me to sleep. I know that's wrong, but I'm trying to be honest. Be honest with yourself, you would probably think the same thing. So he did his routine -- told a corny joke, then held up his bible and said "This is my bible, I am what it says I am, … I am about to hear the word of God, I will never be the same." Sorry, I don't remember the whole thing. And don't get me wrong, I really like Joel, he is insightful and sincere. That night, he began with a verse, the verse he would base his message on, the verse I had been avoiding. Proverbs 3:6. He really pounded that "in ALL your ways" part. Example: at work, cooking dinner, shopping, driving, EVERYTHING. Yes, we need God's help all the time, and He WANTS us to ask for His help, ALL THE TIME. For so long, I thought I was just doing my best not to bug God. But, on the contrary, I was avoiding Him. In essence, telling Him I didn't need Him. Yeah, I tried that, in a total sense. Tried to avoid God, and be mad at Him for having what I thought was such an awful plan for my life. But that worked for like 5 seconds. I need God, in all the little things, everyday, not just that one really big thing. Because that one really big thing affects all the little things everyday. So now I'm trying. Trying to acknowledge God in all my ways, in order to walk on the "straight and narrow" and stop taking all these detours. Whenever I get mired down in self-pity, I think of James 1. That is what I want to be like. Life is not perfect, but God is, and He has a perfect plan for our imperfect lives, and if we will just trust Him, we can one day share heaven with Him.
That is what is on my mind now, just thought I would share it with ya'll. And there is a little white cross sitting on the window sill between the kitchen and living room in my house that is identical to the one with Joe's body. It reminds me everyday to trust in God, and remember the rest of the verse too!