Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Life Off the Rails

It has been well over a year and a half since I have posted on here. That has been purposeful, but not because I haven't had things to say.  I felt it was time to put a few things to paper so to speak and just talk about my boys a little bit.

For those of you that don't know our family I thought I would give an update. Two of our boys, Jack and Hayes, passed away unexpectedly 16 months apart from each other. If you are so inclined and haven't heard our story you can read about it here http://pastallunderstanding.blogspot.com/2011/05/dealing-with-aftermath.html, and here http://pastallunderstanding.blogspot.com/2012/08/cant-believe-we-are-here-again.html to get up to date. Since we lost our fourth son Hayes, we have had another boy named Judah. He is now 16 months old and is a little ball of attitude like his big brother Jack.

It was watching him tonight that made me want to write this. Judah is spitting image of Jack, and has his attitude to boot. I can't even begin to explain what a blessing he is to our family. If you would have asked me 15 years ago when my wife and I got married if I thought we were going to have 5 boys, I would have said not a chance! I can't say Judah was part of our plan. Honestly a lot of what has happened in our life wasn't part of the plan. Who's life ever goes according to plan?

I would venture to guess that most of us make plans and think our life is going to go a certain direction. How often does that happen though? I'm sure there are many times where life does go the way we plan, but I also know that there are many times it goes exactly opposite.  One thing that I have come to learn is that every person I have ever met has things go sideways at some point in their life. It is part of living in a fallen world like we do, and things going opposite of our plan is part of life.

As I was sitting here tonight playing with Jude, I was laughing at what a ham he is but also a little sad at the same time.  Sadness goes forever along with the death of a child. It's always there because the pain of it never goes away.  That's because you are constantly reminded of what you have lost and reminded of what might of been. Judah is now over a year older than Hayes was when he died, and about year and a half away from being the same age as Jack was when he died.  It's constantly there everyday of thinking of Jack and Hayes when we look at Noah, Drew, and Jude.

I say all of this because I miss my boys so deeply that it hurts everyday, but at the same time I live with joy and peace that is beyond comprehension.  I would have never planned my life knowing that I would marry the woman of my dreams, have 5 boys, but yet have 2 of them die. This is not what I planned for my life or my family's life. I also know that I wouldn't trade the life I have now, even if I knew it would go the way it has.

I don't choose to dwell on the horror of that though because my life is amazing. I don't say that in a cocky way, but to convey that in the midst of tragedy there is always joy and beauty from the ashes. I am blessed to have 3 of my boys here with us everyday, and will be reunited with the other 2 some day.

My point of this post is to say that life is not going to according to our plan often times.  Tragedy will strike, pain will come, and life will go off the rails. In the midst of those moments I hope you remember there is a greater plan. More likely than not you won't have any clue of what the plan is, and will probably question why life has gone to crap. I know I have, but ultimately I always come back to the fact I have never been forsaken. I have a relationship with a God who loves me and ultimately has always brought beauty from the ashes. I see that in the face of my little man, who looks so much like his big brother that he will never meet on this side of eternity.

Life is amazing if you have hope, no matter the storm and tragedies that might hit you. You have to find the source of true hope, and my prayer is that you all do. Don't get stuck in the circumstances of the storm, but instead keep your eyes looking towards the horizon because the storm will pass if you rely on the One who makes the wind and the rain stand still...

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare[b] and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, declares the Lordand I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.
Jeremiah 29:11-14