One Year, One Life, One Soul

I never would have imagined myself to grow complacent in this thing called life. To see my life as ordinary, mundane, or even average. Yet, somehow over the last handful of years that is how I have viewed, even acted out my life. Aren’t we called to more? Hasn’t God put us here for a greater purpose?

If you have known me for any length of time, you know that having a family was not on my 10 year goal list when I was in high school or the years that followed. With that said neither was God. When God got ahold of me and opened my eyes to His hand of grace and mercy in my life; when He called me to acknowledge my sinfulness and the truth of His love and His Son, that all changed. My priorities switched and God’s will became mine and I longed for a family, children of my own. He has blessed me abundantly above more than I could ever have asked (2 Corinthians 9:8). Though I know that with my head, some days my heart fails to grasp that truth. The very truth that is interwoven through my entire day, I am blessed with this quiverful (Psalm 127:5). I am called to love them, nurture them and raise them in the truth of our Lord. Why is that so hard to remember? Why can’t I allow that calling on my life to hit home and motivate me to greater things?

Then it happens-that one event, that one moment that puts you in your place and the brevity of life is realized. All of the sudden this passel running circles around me faster than I can blink, isn’t a burden but a blessing. All of the sudden the life with in me is a fragile piece of china, begging to be handled with care, because it is fragile. In that moment, life stands still, priorities are rearranged, and I realize how “everyday” my life has become.

That moment…That event that woke me up….April 25,2014 and the life and sudden death of my nephew Zayden Rufus…Why? Because I too was carrying a child. They were suppose to be born within weeks of each other. My hidden hope, days within each other. They were to be close in age and prayerfully close friends as well. And though I never met him, Zayden left an amazing impact on my heart. My life now has this amazing void that no one can fill. It may be trivial to some but Zayden lived and he died. I was left terrified for my own baby. All of the sudden pregnancy became a high and holy calling and not something to take for granted. My life will never be the same because of Zayden.

With each new milestone my heart has ached for what my in-laws are missing out on. My thoughts wander to where Zayden would be in his development. Would he have started to roll the same time as my baby? Would he be cutting teeth now? Would he be walking yet or content to let his siblings carry him around? For once in this parenting thing, I don’t think about me and my children. I have this daily reminder of a life lost, a soul so precious to God that He needed him more than we did. My daily reminder begs me to pray, calls me to cry, longs to hold those whose lives are missing their son and brother. My daily reminder keeps me heaven focused, life focused and other focused. Because with each milestone my baby makes and I rejoice (though I ponder where Zayden would be too) I wonder more about how Zayden’s parents are? Is his month-iversary anguish or sweet this time around? Are they awake at night wishing he was in their arms needing to be held? Are his siblings missing teaching him to walk? Are they silently aching because they want to be strong for mom and dad?

You see Zayden left me with more questions than I already have as a mom and relative. Zayden called me to Jesus’ heart. His heart for the hurting and grieving. His heart for the never answered what ifs, whys, and hows. Because of Zayden, pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17) has taken on a whole new life. I am not just caught up in my thoughts of where Zayden would be, but driven to pray for his parents, his siblings and the ministry he was (and is) a part of. Because of this one life, I have been called to pray and remember.

Life isn’t fair. God never meant it to be. I have had my eyes opened up to the pain that many of our friends have endured. I can’t see an article come across my facebook feed about abortion, adoption, foster care or miscarriage without getting teary eyed and feeling a hint of frustration for what could have been. Through Zayden I have learned that life matters. I knew that before but now it has a face, a name, a life, meaning. Somehow their loss awakened within me a piece of God’s heart I refused to allow be seen, and that is scary. Why do we stuff those feelings God wants us to have? Those feelings that show us who He is? Those feelings that deepen our relationship with Him and remind us of our dependency on Him?

Unborn babies are children, they are loved and waited for. Their parents have dreams for them, hopes for their futures, ponderings that only a parents heart can entertain. These children aren’t a burden, they are a gift. Each milestone is a major accomplishment, it is one more step into becoming fully God’s creation for His glory. What have I learned over one year?

Each child is knit in their mother’s womb (Psalm 139:14). God has called each of us before we were born. He numbered our days before we were born. He knows every detail about us hidden or seen. I have learned that I need to hold my children tighter, tell them they are loved, let them see me cry, let them hear me pray, rejoice in the big and small victories of childhood, because believe it or not they won’t always be this small. I won’t always be picking up socks off the floor or scattered magnets or wiping noses or pushing swings. I now know that in the blink of an eye things could change and I won’t have these moments. What has one year, one life, one soul meant to me? More than any words written on this page. More than the numerous tears I have cried for what could have been. One year has awakened a piece of God’s heart in my own that I don’t want to let go dormant again. I don’t want Zayden to be forgotten. I don’t want any lost child to be forgotten because they lived. They touched lives. They brought a piece of heaven down to earth and showed us a small part of God.

One Year, One Life, One Soul…..may God help me to hold onto these lessons and help me learn more through the life and in the memory of my nephew Zayden Rufus Ebersole. It is a happy birthday for him, spent celebrating with Jesus.

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Lessons Learned the Hard Way

“Let us love without hypocrisy, abhor what is evil, cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, perservering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:9-15 NASB

There are some who say this is impossible to live by. A lot of people know this verse but how many of us are challenged to live it out day by day. I must say I struggled with it. It seems too much to do, almost, unattainable. But God would not have put it in His word had He not intended for us to strive for the excellence that it calls us to.

Romans is my favorite book of the Bible. It was the book that pointed me to Christ himself as I searched for the answers of life and living. Romans has lifted my spirits in hard times, clarified life issues, solidified my calling to be His child, and so much more. It is such an important book that my husband and I choose to take the scripture above and base our wedding vows off of it.

I never thought moments would come into our lives where we would refer to these vows and use them to steer us back to the right track. The right frame of thinking. It shouldn’t surprise me. Vows are Holy, they are serious, they are a covenant between you and God. Why shouldn’t we be striving to live by them day in and out? We strive to live by our baptism vows each and everyday. How come we tend to grow complacent to our wedding vows?

We have personally come through some very trying days (not because of each other but by others who sought to cause stress and harm), but you know what; God is at work. Whether the people who have hurt us realize it or not, they are instruments of God. His hand is working, writing our story, shaping our lives. This situation has provided for some sound scriptural teachings to our children. It provided the opportunity for us to show them that we get hurt to, and that its okay to cry. It has shown these children that even in hard and trying times, we can respond with Christ’s love and feel a peace that only God can give. Are we still sad? Yes. Are we hurt? Yes. Are we going to allow this to make us bitter? No. Are we going to forgive? Yes. Is forgiveness hard? Yes.

As I work through all that has happened. As my husband and I have talked and processed our thoughts and feelings regarding the past week. I am struck by an odd sense of peace. Really I shouldn’t say odd. God grants us “peace that passes understanding” (Phillipians 4:7)  as often as we seek it and need it. I find myself having pity on those who wronged us. I find myself challenged to define firmly my world view. I am finding an assurance that this trial is bigger then us. I rest knowing that God truly is in control. I smile knowing that our lives rub shoulders with Christians and non-Christians alike, and both are watching to see how we handle being wronged and how we respond. Christ calls us to be peculiar people (1 Peter 2:9) , I am challenged once again to be just that for those whom we may be the only Christians in their lives.

God never promised us an easy road, but He has promised to help us along the way (1 Cor. 10:13). We would  never choose to learn these lessons the hard way but God saw it fit, to ordain a situation that will bring glory to Him in the long run. May we always be vigilant for moments to draw us closer to Him and to see Him in action.

School of Life

The school of life…..Where is it taking you? What have you learned? What are you going to learn? Who is your teacher? Who are your peers? Are you late? Are you always on time? Are you organized? Do you procrastinate? How did you do on that test? Are you failing? Are you an honor student? Do you have a diploma? Do you have a Bachelor’s degree? Or are you going for a Master’s or Doctorate? Are you popular? Are you a bully? Are you the head of the class? Are you forgotten?

The school of life….

Quite the complex schooling. You are always learning, always growing, failing and passing, you will always be known and not known, you will either make time or loss it, you will always aim for higher achievements, but what is the ending?

God orchestrated the school of life for His honor and glory. Am I in the classes I thought I would be in? Absolutely not…but my Principal knows best and has placed me where He wants me and where He knows I will succeed, even if it is through some failures. God is in control. So what do we do with our school record up until now? God has signed off on it with His son’s death on the cross. Christ’s blood has covered that which I have done and continues to cover each step from the time I met Him and allowed Him to be the Master of my school.

It never ceases to amaze me, His hand in everything, His perfect will in everything, His plan in everything. And though we don’t see all the answers or all He has protected us from, He chooses to reveal Himself in ways that are completely undeniable.

As I continue on this journey of schooling my children at home, I am given daily, an insight into how God must view us. Picture your life as a student under God’s guiding hand and direction. Are you willing to be corrected? Are you willing to try your hardest, even if it seems to hard? Are you will to push through the no so fun to get to the fun? Are you willing to listen? Are you willing to change? Are you willing to learn from your mistakes? I deal with this each day with my children. They want to quit when the work seems too hard. How often do I do that to God? They don’t always accept correction. Am I doing the same thing to my Teacher? The boring work is handled carelessly but the fun work is taken with diligence. Do I do that? Do I only want to do the glorious things God has for me or am I diligent in the monotony of life as well as the excitement of life? They quit when they are so close to finishing. Do I do the same?

Maybe it wasn’t my idea to homeschool. Maybe God saw I needed to learn just as much as my children did. Am I willing to learn what He has to teach me? Am I willing to be corrected and redirected? May my focus continue to be challenged, shaped and changed by my Teacher, as my children are by me. And ultimately may they find the peace, joy, and challenge of having Him as their Teacher as well.

I am not perfect but God continues to teach me that He is the ultimate authority in my school of life and with Him in control I have nothing to fear and I can rest in the fact the He knows what is best for me in the end.

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