2016. A Year to Trust

Proverbs 3:5-6“Trust in the LORD with all your heart          

And do not lean on your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge Him,          

And He will make your paths straight.”

Last year was not easy, and I do not believe I fully got a handle on it. Therefore, I am not sure that I am ready for 2016 or if I ever would be. To be honest, control is something I struggle with. I know it belongs solely to God, but I try to hang on to it. My flesh tends to be more comfortable and at ease among order, planning, and predictability. Those who know me well are probably smiling at that statement. I wrestle with the fact that I cannot get a grasp on my life, my emotions, or my future. I cannot predict what is next or even fully understand the present. At times I wonder if it is the Lord’s way to gently encourage me to submit to Him. It is a lesson that I am trying very diligently to learn. There is a certain freedom to living in the unknown, like swimming in the deep end. It is scary at first, but eventually becomes natural. You learn to trust the water. I need to learn to completely trust my Heavenly Father or life may overcome me.

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I need to trust him with my Future:

Sometimes I don’t know how God expects me to move forward as Jordan’s wife, Derek’s mother, and co-founder of the Claire Parker Foundation when my daughter is not with us. I thought her smell, her laugh, her quirks would still be as vibrant as before, but her memories fade with time just like everything else in this world. My husband and I will watch a video, look at a picture, or share a memory of her that we had forgotten. Claire has only been away from us for 20 months, and it is becoming harder to remember her. What if I move into the future without hesitation and forget her? Stop thinking of her? I am afraid to lose what little of her I have left.

Mark 5:36” But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.”

I believe God loves me. I believe God loves Claire. I believe God gave Claire to me, and will help me keep a piece of her until we meet again in Heaven. I believe it is only by his grace I will cherish today, patiently await tomorrow, and be grateful for the past.

2 Cor 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

I need to trust God with my son, Derek.

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Derek turned 9 months old on Christmas Eve. He is getting closer and closer to the age of Claire’s illness, 10 months. Since Christmas Eve has been sick with high fevers. They immediately take my mind to a place I wish it would not go, fear for the worst creeps in, and my heart begins to race. Will a fever ever be just a fever? Or will it always look like a precursor to Leukemia? Memories come flooding back during his 9 month check-up which included routine bloodwork. I cannot even count the number of times that I drove Claire to our local pediatrician to draw blood and check her counts. Going through the same steps, sitting in the same chairs, looking at the same walls, waiting on the same results was overwhelming. Again fearful thoughts consume me. What if they find something unexpected? Why is it taking so long? Thankfully, the Lord blessed us with normal results, and my tension released. I joke with my husband, saying that Derek is my drug of choice. I adore him. I love him. I desire to be with him. He provides me with purpose, joy, and love. He is too precious to lose. If something were to happen to him, I am afraid what might happen to me. When I find myself “going down that rabbit hole”, I have to stop.

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Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.”

Psalm 112:6-8 “For he will never be shaken; The righteous will be remembered forever. He will not fear evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD. His heart is upheld, he will not fear, “

The mind is dangerous. I must keep my thoughts steadfast on the Lord for only He has control over tomorrow, and the ability to provide me peace through today. If I remain in him He will guard my heart.

I need to trust God with my emotions.

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Why do I feel a pang of guilt during a completely joyous moment? Why do a feel a moment of hesitation when I find myself making a plan for the future? Why do I feel a pit of emptiness in my heart when I have everything I not only need, but could want? Why do I feel a tension rise up through my body when all it wants to do is relax? Grief is complex, and losing a child makes life complicated. Every moment, every thought, every feeling is full of contradictions. It is as if my mind and my heart operate separately, often covered in a cloud of obscurity from the other. This is arguably one of the best times of my life. I am a stay at home mom with my handsome son. My work consists of encouraging other families in Claire’s memory. On a daily basis I am able to talk about the Lord with my family, my friends, and those our foundation reaches out to. He is the center of my day, and I feel like I am on his path doing his will. But I also feel a void, a deep sadness, and sometimes grief to be experiencing all of these blessing apart from her. Not rational I know. That is the heart and mind operating independently. It is difficult, and I am unsure how to cope. So I find myself in prayer, asking God to be everything I cannot, to be my strength when I am weak.

Hebrews 4:16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

One day I was talking to my friend Amanda about the struggles we face on the path of grief. I told her that somedays I feel like a blind man, placed in a round room, trying to find a corner... Lost and in search of the unobtainable. On those days I try to keep the following scripture close by to get me through...

1 Thes 5:16-18:

     Rejoice always;

     Pray without ceasing;

     In everything give thanks;

     For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

I pray that 2016 is a year filled with indescribable peace, uncontainable joy, and a growing love for the Lord for you and your families. God bless.

Connie