First of all, thank you for all of your emails and comments. We are still going through and responding to them all. The Lord is truly at work. I thank Him for the opportunity to share one our burdens with one another. Please know that you are always welcome to contact us if you feel led to do so...
.. I just want to share with you what the Lord has really showed me in the past few days. I love love love watching Him work and teach me every day. He is SO good.
Last Friday, Benson and I decided to take our boat out. Benson fished and I laid out (and got terribly burnt by the way...). It felt soooo good to get out of the house and just be together outside for awhile. There is something so amazing about just being still before the Lord, surrounded by His creation. However, even in the midst of an amazingly beautiful day - my mind, as always, is filled with thoughts of my little boy. From the moment I climbed into the boat, my mind immediately began thinking about Luke and how he would never be able to ride in that boat with us.... how I would never be able to put a lifejacket on him or rub sunscreen on his little face.... how Benson would never be able to teach him how to hold a fishing pole or cast a line like his Papaw Tommy...
I honestly try not to think about all the things we will never get to experience with Luke but no matter how hard I try, it is a major part of grieving the loss of a child. There were so many dreams and plans I had for his life and for our lives together. Sometimes, I can't help but think about all those special little moments I wanted to have with him...
... the look on his face when his tiny feet felt grass for the first time.
... the way he would have laughed when I tickled his belly.
... the sound of him saying "ma-ma" or "da-da".
... the expression on his face when he first tasted baby food.
... his first tooth, his first haircut, his first steps.. his first skinned knee that I would kiss to make all better.
So many firsts that will never happen.... so many memories that will never be made.
So, here I was...out on the lake, thinking about how many things I wanted to show him. Benson had fished for awhile and we were about to take off to another side of the lake when a little butterfly landed on my leg. I didn't think much about it at first... I poked at it with my finger and was surprised when it didn't immediately fly away. Benson started up the boat and we took off.... and sure enough, that little butterfly held on. We literally went from one side of the lake to the other (for those of you who know Green River, we went from ramp 1, past the marina, past the state dock all the way to the other side of Emerald Isle) going as fast as our little boat would go. Finally, minutes later, when we stopped... I looked down and that little butterfly was still hanging on to my leg. It was then the Lord spoke to my heart...
"Luke is always with you."
I realized then that Luke is a part of me. He holds a place in my heart that no one else ever will. Every where I go, I carry him with me. Every experience I have in my life, I will experience with him. I may not be able to touch him but I can feel him inside my heart. He was there for that boat ride... he will always be there.
In that moment, I realized that I cannot focus my life on all the things that I will never share with Luke... Instead, I need to live my life the way I would have wanted Luke to live his and experience all the things I would have wanted him to experience. I need to live every day as if Luke were right there with me.
During our last day in the hospital with Luke, I remember sitting next to him looking at his sweet little face without all the tubes and wires. While I was sitting there Benson walked over and stood behind me and put his arm around me... and said, "Luke, this is your mommy... and I promise you, I'm going to show her the whole world."
At the time, I didn't really understand why Benson said those exact words and why they were so important... but I do now.
Luke had twelve days on this earth. Twelve days.
He will never feel sand between his little toes.
He will never feel the wind blow through his hair or feel sunshine on his face.
He will never be able to play and laugh with his friends.
He will never graduate from high school or college.
He will never be able to say the words "I love you".
He will never be able to lift his hands up during worship and praise the Lord.
He will never be able to get down on his knees and pray.
But I can....
....and so can you.
We take so much for granted... every breath, every minute, every day. We take for granted that we will wake up tomorrow and see our friends and family.. that we will have another chance to say a prayer or to praise the Lord with all we have. We get so focused on our problems that we forget to live.
We get satisfied with "ordinary"... waking up, living a routine and doing it all over again the next day. There HAS to be more to this life than that. I refuse to believe that God created us in His image to live ordinary, routine lives. I believe that God has so much more in store for us than we could ever imagine, if we would just allow Him to use us and expect for the supernatural to take place in our lives. He wants to use us to the extent of which we want to be used by Him. We are the only ones who limit His power in our lives because his power is limitless. Romans 8:11 tells us that the same power that raised Christ from the dead lives in us! It is up to us to decide how we use that power in our lives and to what extent we will let Christ have control and take our lives from "ordinary" to "extraordinary".
During Luke's christening service, Bro Brian Rafferty stood over my baby boy and prayed for his healing. He spoke life into Luke, believing the Lord's will for His life. I will never forget the sound of his voice when he shouted out seven words that would forever be repeated in my mind each day...
"In the name of Jesus..... Luke, live!"
Today, my son is not alive on this earth... but He continues to live in my heart. I refuse to take that for granted. I want to live my life and make the most of every moment. The only life that my baby will have on this Earth is the life I will share with him. Just like Benson, I want to show him the world. I want to take him with me on this awesome journey the Lord has planned for me. He is and always will be a part of me.
We have one life on Earth. One opportunity to really, truly live it out loud. To give God everything we've got. Today, I pray that God opens your eyes to realize how special your life is and how special you are. I hope He fills your mind with endless opportunities of what your life could be like if you choose to give it all over to Him. I pray that He gives you the boldness to step out into a radical life of faith and accept the calling He has specifically for you. Accept no excuses - you are never too young, too old, too poor, too uneducated or too broken to be used by God.
Place King Jesus on the throne of your life today.... take risks... serve Him out loud with your whole heart. Live every moment to its fullness, realizing that each second is a gift from your Creator. Dream big dreams, Do big things... Don't ever look back. Make every day worth it.
"In the name of Jesus..... live!"