No If About It

Have you ever noticed every story told has a prologue?  Look at the Old Testament.  It must prolog the New Testament or there would be no order to the word of God.  If Jesus’ birth was not proclaimed in the Old Testament we would not have the beautiful “Christmas Story” in the book of Luke.  All the prophecies in the Old Testament are proven in the New Testament.

Sometimes Broadway shows will have an actor narrate the prolog.  That sets the stage for what we are about to see acted out.

Sommer’s story has a prolog that started six months before she died.  I want to tell it to you because I see God’s beauty everywhere in it. That being said, it is painful to write.  I think it’s because I could say “Oh, I should have seen this coming.”  But God does not work like that and that makes Him the Supreme Ruler over Heaven and Earth.

Grab the Kleenex box for I know this momma will need one.

In late July of 2016, we had two young couples move in around us.  Both expecting babies.  I met the first couple earlier but not the second.  It was obvious they were self-moving and bring truckloads after work.  I didn’t want to get in the way so I waited.

A new super-plus HEB had just opened and I wanted to check it out.  It was an instant sensory overload for me.  Too many choices.  Bananas, Dole, Chiquita, organic or not.  Too much pressure and I was shopping with one of our daughters who believe in grasping bananas and “calls it good.”  Green, yellow or brown all the same to her.  The list said bananas and she picked bananas. Done!

I went to the bakery counter to look at creamed horns, my hubby’s favorite “little something” before going to sleep.  I didn’t have my glasses with me and so what looked like special creamed horns from the new super-plus HEB looked yummy.  I thought they had chocolate drizzle because it was a new store and they wanted to stand out.  After all, it was “Super-plus” shopping.

We get home and my helper is flying around the kitchen putting things away when I read the label on the creamed horns.  They were cannolis!  I thought to myself, “I can not feed this to my husband he’ll have a heart attack.” So I put them in the freezer.

Two weeks later I came from the meat market with my meet for the week and needed the space the cannolis’ were taken up.  As I stood up from inside the freezer I looked out my back window and saw the garage door up at our new neighbors and said to myself, “Guess who’s coming over with cannolis.”

I grabbed my sun hat, put on some tinted lip balm and stepped out the garage door.  It was incredibly hot outside and I was melting.  I reached their front porch and thought “Please come to the door, please come to the door, please, please, please.’ The door swung open and there stood a man a foot taller than me.  I was startled and just about through the plate of cannolis into the air.

I introduced myself welcomed him to the neighborhood gave him a card with the home phone on it and was turning to leave.  He invited me in to meet his wife and the dogs

During our conversation, I learned he was an Army medic and was wounded.  Shot in the back while rescuing a wounded man.

Now, let me walk you through what “IF” scenario.

  1. IF I had had my glasses with me in the store I would not have bought cannolis.
  2. IF I didn’t need the freezer space I would not have met the neighbors until Christmas when we take cookies around our little hood.
  3. IF they did not invite me in to chat I would not know Chester was a retired Army Medic, and retired EMT both were about to come in handy on November 28th, 2016 at 1:50 a.m.

God does not work in “if’s, should have, could have or would have.  He works on His time and He is never late.

God works in divine appointments and I don’t want to miss those moments when they come my way.  Say “Yes, God” I work for you today take me where you want me and help me share with someone how beautiful and incredible you are.”

There is a God of the universe and He loves you very much.  Tell that to someone then step back and watch God work miracles.

For His Glory!

Blessings,

Heidi

Not Our Home

Grief is a powerful thing.  I have said this before but I will say it again….It is a lonely place to be.  The first six months people are there for you as much as they can be.  But the truth is they go on with their daily lives whilst yours is broken. It feels like you have just finished a huge 1,000 piece puzzle and someone comes along and pulls the felt mat out from underneath and the pieces fly and drop everywhere some barely hanging onto the others but for the most part, it is gone.

Sure you could start over.  I have a dear, dear friend whose husband died unexpectedly February of 2018.  Her brain was on overload and no sleep.  One day she asked me if I thought she should marry again someday.  No judging. It was a fair question even though it was too fresh after his death to be thinking that, and she knew this.  But when you’ve been married over thirty years you get used to things.  Let’s just say you watch each other grow older.  She and I are in our early fifties.  I told her I probably would not want to have another man see me in the buff if you get my point. She did have a very good point she didn’t want to grow old alone.  I told her my daughters would have to give me their blessing if I was in her shoes.  Both of our kids are adults now and one day God willing they will marry and have babies of their own.  For the record, I am in NO rush to be a Gammie.

Grief is grief, no matter who you’re loved one, was to you.  But I have to say the death of a perfectly healthy 22 years-old for unknown causes takes the cake.  You don’t get back a daughter.  It’s not like I can have another baby and even if I could a new baby would never replace our Sommer.

I had three women, whom I consider to be Godly women, say to me on different occasions: “God must have been protecting Sommer from some evil thing that would harm her.”

I’ve looked and that is not in the bible but I did ponder that for awhile, then had a tug of war with God.  Remember playing tag, Red Rover, and tug of war at kids birthday parties. Great times.  I knew of a young couple that played tug-of-war while she was having contractions.  Pop! Their baby was born in five pushes.  That’s amazing to me because I pushed for hours with my three.  The saying that the pain goes away when you have your newborn placed on your protruding tummy.  Not so much for me.

My tug of war lasted an hour in my prayer closet.  I was angry with God for taking Sommer away from all of us.  “Why, God, would you even think about having someone harm her in some way!” I screamed.  “What sort of God are you that would give approval for something evil to happen to her?”

Then came the small still voice of The Holy Spirit say: “Ok, Heidi, you want her back and if I told you the awful thing that I approved would happen do you really think YOU could protect her the way I am now?”

I was moved to tears of praise for how magnificent our God of the universe really is.

No, I can’t protect anyone I love from God’s will.  I do pray, however, Jeremiah 29:11

“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”

Sommer’s plan was to go to Jesus at a tender age of 22.

We can not truly understand heaven and what awaits us as born-again Christians.  The Bible gives us a hope and we need a longing for heaven and not worldly things.

“In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.” John 14:2 KJV.

I have yet to read in His word anything about cleaning these mansions.  We get a new body but not a new wardrobe.

Sommer is in Heaven.  Where she belongs.  No looking back, no tears and no pain.

Yes, God, I struggle with not having my baby girl, best friend, first born.  But having that blessed assurance she is with Jesus and one day I will join her and she will say, “Hey, mom you gotta see this…”

For His Glory!

Blessings,

Heidi.

Angels Watching Over Me

Psalm 91:11

I used to be afraid of the night.  Or being alone in the house at night.  I would lay in bed and hear every little sound and freak out.  I was not sleeping with a baseball bat or had dead-bolt locks on our house I was just unsettled.  I would toss and turn over and over.  Sleep would eventually envelop me until I heard two cats having a fight or a dog bark in the night.  It was insane.  I would wake up the next morning completely exhausted and my nerves were frazzled.  I was frazzled.  This started in childhood for reason beyond my control and it stuck with me into adulthood.  I took this into my marriage.  I was not in the house alone but if something woke me from a sleep, more like a snooze, I would have the same childhood fear.

I didn’t have the happiest childhood, in fact, most of it was very traumatic.  My dad drank a lot and would come home very late at night and the fighting would begin.  It was horrible and I am so thankful God heard the prayers of a little girl and blessed me with a wonderful husband who loves me and protects me and our daughters.  God has given me a beautiful life.  When Sommer died I didn’t know if I would ever have a beautiful life again. I have felt at times that God let me down. He took away one of the most beautiful women in the world. My first born.  My little buddy.  She was the “Head of the Posse,” that’s what I said to my girls I was the sheriff and they were my posse.

The first time my husband traveled for work I could not sleep so I called a friend.  She already knew I had a sleeping problem because we discussed my fears before my husband left.  She told me to imagine angles guarding my house.  She asked me what I thought of when she said angles?  “Little cubby cherubs floating on clouds,” I said.

She told me that God’s angles are huge with wingspans wider than an eagle.  She gave me a visual and a prayer to hold onto to help me sleep.  The visual was Shaquille O’Neal size angles guarding every door and window. And the prayer was:

Psalm 91:11

“For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.”

I meditate on that verse even today.  When my mind races to that night we found Sommer unconscious and unresponsive.  It is like a vinyl record stuck and playing over and over until someone would push the needle forward.  In this case, it was the bible verse.

Psalm 121:3 tell us:

“….he who watches over you will not slumber.”

I have found comfort in this verse as well.  When our girls were little, around 4 years-old, they each developed a fear of the dark.  By the time the 3rd one became that age I was a pro at the “I am afraid of the dark” problem.  I typed out Psalm 121:3 and laminated it and tacked it up above their headboard so they could see it “watching” over them.  We would memorize it and repeat it if they woke up.  It took about a week for them to get the hang of memorizing the verse.  We talk about it sometimes.

Psalm 91:11 ….”For He shall give His ANGELS, notice the plural, more than one.  That is beautiful.  God cares so much for us that He gives us more than one guardian angel. All angles are commissioned to watch over us. What comfort that is to me.  We who are followers of Jesus Christ we can be secure in the thought that we are always in the company of angles.

Those angels are not limited in any way.  They work overtime and watch over us “in all our ways.” The protection here promised is exceeding broad as to place, for it refers to all our ways, and what do we wish for more? How angels thus keep us we cannot tell. Whether they repel demons, counteract spiritual plots, or even ward off the subtler physical forces of disease, we do not know. Perhaps we shall one day stand amazed at the multiplied services which the unseen bands have rendered to us.

When Sommer was in the hospital and off life support I could feel angels all around the room.  So many Godly people praying her into heaven amid tears there was joy and that can only come from the presence of the Lord.

For His Glory.

Blessings,

Heidi

More Jesus Less Me

1+1=2.  It is a mathematical fact.  Simple math but always true.  Math has never been my strong area.  Aske me to speak before 500 people it’s not a big deal for me.

One of Albert Einstein’s revolutionary scientific papers published in 1905; E=mc2 was introduced; where E is energy, m is mass, and c is the speed of light in a vacuum.

Since then, E=mc2 has become one of the most famous equations in the world.  I say, “Well done, he.” God did not wire me that way at all.  In fact, when I was first married I really thought:

“How can we be out of money when I still have checks in my purse?”

Needles,s to say, at the time it was not funny to my sweet husband or the bank.  Ugh!

Go ahead and laugh, it is funny now.  But my, still sweet husband, just rolls his eyes when I tell the story which is not often.

I am “God wired” to connect with people.  Meet them where they are physical, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  These things drive and strive for me.

Drive me out of myself and strive to be more like Jesus and less like that “old man inside of me,” not easy most of the time.

We live in a fallen world.  I said this to a friend and she had no idea what I meant by “a fallen world.”

I tried to explain that we live in a fallen world because of sin.

“Whose sin?”

We can blame Mr. Adam and Mrs. Eve. The moment Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, they brought sin into the world¾and deadly accidents and murderous acts soon followed. Cain, the very first human baby, grew up to become the very first human murderer (see Genesis 4:1-8). And accidents have plagued humankind ever since the race was driven from Eden. Sin entered our world that day and it has been getting uglier with every generation since the dawn of time or Adam and Eve.

None of us are exempt from sin.  We all have a sinful nature within us and even the godliest among us has a problem with it.

I love the story of Corrie ten Boom and her family in the Netherlands in World War 2.  Corrie ten Boom and her family helped Jews escape the Nazi Holocaust during World War II and, by all accounts, saved nearly 800 lives.

In May 1940, the German Blitzkrieg ran through the Netherlands and the other Low Countries. Within months, the “Nazification” of the Dutch people began and the quiet life of the ten Boom family was changed forever. During the war, the Beje house became a refuge for Jews, students, and intellectuals. The façade of the watch shop made the house an ideal front for these activities. A secret room, no larger than a small wardrobe closet, was built into Corrie’s bedroom behind a false wall. The space could hold up to six people, all of whom had to stand quietly and still. A crude ventilation system was installed to provide air for the occupants. When security sweeps came through the neighborhood, a buzzer in the house would signal danger, allowing the refugees a little over a minute to seek sanctuary in the hiding place.

All ten Boom family members were incarcerated, including Corrie’s 84-year-old father, who soon died in the Scheveningen prison, located near The Hague. Corrie and her sister Betsie were remanded to the notorious Ravensbrück concentration camp, near Berlin. Betsie died there on December 16, 1944. Twelve days later, Corrie was released for reasons not completely known.

Not only did she survive but she strived to go into the world and tell her story and share the gospel.  Her tragedy did not make her turn away from God who had allowed this evil into her life probably for the same reason He allowed our Sommer to die at the tender age of 22.  He wants us to trust Him more, draw closer to himself and stretch me to mature my faith in Him.

More Christ and less Heidi

Blessings,

Heidi

 

Where is the Good?

Romans 8:28 New King James Version (NKJV)

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

While our daughter was on life support someone, I forget who, wanted to tell me about the above verse.  I was pulled away twice by my husband who needed me.  I excused myself but that verse haunted me.

It still haunts me because I fail to see the good in any of the this.  Our Sommer died 18 months almost to the day my mom died.  Mom died June 3, 2015, and Sommer died December 1, 2016.  Major blow for me and my family.

With mom, it was a “natural order” of this world.  You are supposed to die before your children do.  It’s just messed up the other way around.

My heartache with mom was not that she died but the court battle that ensued with the siblings.  You think you know your siblings until someone dies and leaves an estate to settle.  Sommer was there for me. Mom had asked me to be the executor of her modest estate in 2005.  When I agreed to do it she asked me not to fight with one brother.  I agreed and added that I have boundaries and I will not allow either brother to be nasty with me. We agreed.  Well, the worst did happen and just hours before she died I had hired an Estate Lawyer.  I took one phone call from one brother who cussed me out because I was “in control” of the estate. My humble advice is to have a will written and signed before your 50 years-old.

I say “the good” in mom’s death.  She smoked since the age of 16 and ended up dying from COPD. A terrible way to die and to watch.

I understood Romans 8:28 with mom but not with our Sommer.

I found that verse to be a “catch-all” verse.

You’ve just broken up with the person who wanted to spend your life with and a friend comforts you by saying, “It’s okay, God has a better man for you.”

You just lost your dream job. Again, “It’s better this way. God will show you the good in this.”

When something happens in our lives that does not go our way, let’s say, a new job, a promotion, a prodigal child or marriage breaking up,  Your friends want to make you happy again so they say, “Remember what the scripture tells us.  He works all things together for our good.” Or my favorite, “God never closes a door without opening another or at least a window.”

Sometimes losing a job is the best thing for you.  Perhaps you were beginning to compromise your core values.  It’s called the thousand mile rule.  My husband has experienced this.  If you don’t want to play the “thousand mile game” with the big shots when you find that you have reached a plateau and your career stops at the rung of the ladder you have been perching on while stretching for the next step. Don’t play no more pay raise.

Sommer’s death was good for her.  She is where she strived to be, with Jesus her first true love.  In paradise.  “All things work together for good for those who love Him.” Yes, she loved Him and she showed it by leaving a little sparkle wherever she would go. “to those who are called according to His purpose.”

I love God.  I’ve been called for His purpose. However, I promise you, the death of my daughter was never my purpose.  The death of our daughter has not been a good thing, for me or for our family.

God’s greatest concern isn’t for our temporal comforts but for our eternal joy.  That is a good thing.  Our affliction does end up for our good. Our eternal good. 

Some wounds likely won’t heal until you see Jesus face to face.  But afflictions have a way of helping o see Jesus clearer even now.  And that’s why we can say that even now we experience the goodness of God in the midst of our afflictions.

Afflictions conform us to Christ.

Afflictions loosen our hearts from “the world.”

Afflictions make way for glory.  And honestly, that’s how I want to live my life.  For the Glory of God.

As I have said before Sommer’s death only makes Heaven much, much, much more desirable.  I’d like Jesus to come for us but I know where I am headed and so did Sommer.

For His Glory.

Blessings,

Heidi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get Real

My last post was pretty raw for me.  I couldn’t sleep that night. I awoke to a sore throat and a nasty cough.  It’s a sure bet I have bronchitis.  I get it every summer and every February along with the flu.

However, stress and grief can affect your immune system. I stay very active and probably just wore out.

Before I started this blog I had prayed about it for over a year. I have to admit when it comes to technology I am not smarter than a third grader. Heck, probably a pre-schooler in today’s world.

We have a daughter who is an accomplished writer.  Some of you may follow her on her social media posts.  As the mother, I never want to compete with any of my daughters.  I  want them to shine and be everything God has planned for them to become.  I am just the mom.

We may both be writers but we have our own style and she is an English & Mass Communications major.  Same arena just different tents. She is going places.  And will continue to rock the world with her grace and charm.

Live Life with Hope is a very personal blog.  I promise to always be honest and nonjudgemental.  This is a site for healing.  I will heal by writing to you and God willing with my honest, raw, painful, joyous, happy or sad thoughts will in some way touch you.  In grief, there is hope and that hope can only come from having a raw relationship with Jesus Christ my Lord. I cant edit my heart or the Holy Spirit.  I write to please Jesus.

When our third daughter was about  15 months-old I became pregnant with our fourth baby.  Here is how I found out about our new baby.

I had been working with a trainer to run another 10K.  I started in March and was ready for my second weigh in, and take measurements to track my progress. That was October.  We were behind because of the horrific events on September 11, 2001. My body mass increased though my weight had decreased and I was running a 12/15 minutes mile.

I laughed and said, “Only I could work my tush off and gain body mass!”

She was expecting her first baby as was another young lady.  My trainer asked if I could be pregnant? “NO!,” said I.  That was the only thing she could come up with and said I should try a pee test.  I stopped at the Walgreen’s on my way home.  A double pack.

Yep, I was expecting a new baby.  My hubby was Guadalajara, Mexico at the time so I told him the news over the phone.  He laughed and then said, “Seriously?” Men!  I was around 15 weeks along. Sadly this baby was not meant to be born.  When that happened I never mourned the loss because it is a very common experience.  I looked at it as being part of Gods plan for me, and our family.  A month later I was expecting, again and again, my body rejected this baby.  That was too close to the first one.  But I didn’t question God about it either.  I made my husband see the doctor because we felt another miscarriage would put me over the edge.

After our Sommer died of unknown causes I was shocked.  Broken. And wanted to know “WHY GOD WHY!”

I have been in my prayer closet screaming before the Lord raw with anger, jealousy, sadness, disappointment, fear and abandoned.

I still have those moments with God and it is totally fine to be upset with God.  He wears big boy panties.

We are made in the image of a loving God.  He gave us the emotions we need to express them not hold them in for a better time. Grief knocks you out in the strangest places.

Grief is a tool used by Satan to draw us away from God. He wants us to turn our backs on God in the same way Job’s wife wanted him to do.  But, Job did not.  He expressed his feelings and God loved him because He is God and Job was not.

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.  Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Isaiah 53:3

 

For His Glory.

Blessings,

Heidi

Air Flights and Bomber Piolts

Some of you do not know the story about how we found our darling Sommer nonresponsive and not getting enough oxygen.  It’s not something I am willing to share but the Holy Spirit in all His wisdom must think otherwise.  I ask you to take my hand and walk with me through this post.

On November 28, 2016, around 2:00 in the morning my husband crashed through our bedroom door screaming my name.  You know when someone in the family uses your full name there is trouble.  He followed it with “Get up she is not breathing!”  I rolled over and the family room lights were shining in my eyes.  My mind was still stuck on him calling me “Heidi!”

I saw Sommer lying on one side of the sectional and my Father-in-law breathing into her mouth.  My husband was begging her to wake up.  I screamed, “Get her on the floor she needs CPR!” I then ran out of the garage and next door to my neighbor whom I had just met and knew he was a retired Army medic.  I started pounding on their front door as I called 911.  Note to self, put “Emergency” in your cell phone contact it saves time when you don’t have your glasses on and you’re in the dark.  He finally came to the door and being a “Good ole boy from Texas” he brandished his gun.  Yes, I screamed.  Yes, I almost wet myself.  I told him Sommer was not breathing and he took off in a sprint and was in my house and working chest compressions before I made it back inside.  I came into the kitchen and everything went into slow motion.  A gun was on my countertop.  Chester was bare-chested and sweating.  I cried out to Jesus.  Begging him “No, Jesus, No!  He heard me.

I remember going to my closet to get dressed.  Debating with myself do I wear a bra or a wired cami.  I keep a small case packed in case of emergencies’. I grabbed it and put some things inside, slid on my Converse shoes and went to the car and waited for Chris.  I remember a Sherriff coming to ask my name and how I was related to Sommer.  I could not think. We followed the ambulance to the local hospital five miles away.

I am not sure if I saw her there or not but suddenly a flight crew arrived.  The nurse had given me a blanket because I was in shock.  Literally.  I didn’t get the picture.

Our house is on the flight path from Seguin Hospital to San Antonio.  I hear it fly over every day. Sometimes two or three times a day.  Funny, I never noticed it before. When I did see our Sommer, she had a tube in her mouth and she had her creamy complexation back.  I talked to her and kissed her.

I came out of the curtain and stepped over to the flight crew and introduced myself and said I would be riding with her and thanked them.  I walked away.  They avoided eye contact with me after that.  Our Youth Pastor and his wife arrived from Cibolo to be with us.  I don’t know why but I smiled and said ‘Hi,” as if I had just seen them in the store.

The reality was starting to set in.  “Oh, my God what the….in my past and sometimes present life I am an F-bomber pilot…need I say more?

I did not ride with her to Methodist Hospital at Stone Oak, our second daughter did. There was a care-a-van to that hospital.  I did not know that at the time.  I just knew I could see the flashing tail light of the helicopter and I felt as if we were following a star.  We were, and her name is Sommer.

I want to tie in my last post about saying things to people in grief that are easy off the tongue but damaging to the heart.

Going to church is hard on me.  I see my daughter, Sommer in every little kid’s face.  She grew up in that church.  I watched her go from ponytails to a cute short bob in 17 years.  She is EVERYWHERE IN THE CHURCH. EVERYWHERE!

Last Sunday a woman I barely know broke into a private conversation I was having with a woman whose husband died tragically and suddenly.

I said, “Amelia, the second year seems harder for me than the first.  I cry every day.”  She got it.  I told her that it’s not the natural way life goes.  Your kids should outlive you. The other woman said to me, “So, you think God was wrong!?” The back of my brain is thinking ‘what the…bomber pilot.  The Holy Spirit said, “NOT HERE.” I explained that I felt it was just not the order of life. “So, you do think God was wrong!?  The bomber pilot in me was ready for take-off.

God loves bomber pilots. F-16. F-18. F-14….and just plain ole F-pilots.

“That’s not glorifying God to be THAT type of bomber pilot,” you might say

That’s the beauty of His grace. His compassion. His unlimited LOVE.  And I am just a recovering sinner that’s not there yet.  But, GOD WILL GET ME THERE! I know this is true.

Prayer without complete honesty, being naked before the Lord is an empty prayer.

My grief is real. I am in trauma 101.

I worship a living God who will work this out for me in His time.  His time!  And God is never late.

Pass the tissues, please.

Blessings,

Heidi