*Leaping* for Joy

Tonight I am blown away and humbled.

We are going into our March adoption fundraiser with 30–YES THIRTY!–registered participants. Thirty precious people, reading their hearts out, to help us on this adoption journey. Each of those 30 people will have numerous sponsors behind them to encourage their reading and to support our adoption. This is crazy exciting and super encouraging!

God is so good.

When we worry about the details, when we’re scared about the future, when we’re unsure how He’s going to provide, but are willing to submit anyway, He shows up and gives far more abundantly than all we can ask or think. He surrounds us with encouragement and blesses our desire to obey. He uses dear friends to hold us up and carry us. He gently comforts and reassures us. He follows through on his promises. He provides.

Ephesians 3:20

This evening, He laid these words of Ephesians 3:20 on my heart and as I opened up my Bible to read it, my eyes fell to verses 14 and 15 first: “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named.” He is sovereign over all and he knows and names every family and each member of them. He knows precisely who makes up the Hodgson family on earth and in heaven.  The children we have not yet had the privilege to meet have been named by God as “Hodgsons” before the creation of this world! He’s got this! Chapter 3 goes on to talk about the “love of Christ that surpasses knowledge”. He loves us so much! God’s word was such a gift to me this evening and I hope that somehow, if you’re reading this, it encourages you as well.

Tonight I have tears of joy and thankfulness and my heart is overflowing. To God be the glory!

On Family Pictures & Waves of Grief

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Hodgson Family ~ Fall 2015

Family pictures are a tricky thing for me. I treasure photos greatly. I enjoy the art of taking pictures, looking and re-looking at pictures and capturing precious moments. However, whenever it comes to family photos, though there is a smile on my face, my heart is divided. I can’t help but think of our precious sons who should be beside us in our family pictures. It almost seems wrong to capture a “family” photo without them! However, this is our family, at present, and I desperately want it captured nonetheless. I even go so far as to think, “What if this is our last family photo together?!?!” Because sometimes it is, and we just never know. On the flip side, I thank God for the family I have here and that gives me reason to smile and capture this moment. I suspect I will always feel the void, the struggle and the pangs of sadness.

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Christmas 2011 ~ Our Last “Family” Picture with Andrew

I didn’t anticipate grief flooding in this Christmas season. The waves definitely come fewer and farther between, and this one came unexpectedly, seemingly out of nowhere. Dear friends were sharing their burdens of loss and pain during Sunday School one morning. Their hearts echoed what was all too familiar to me. I bit my lip and wrestled through class, thinking I could hold it together because I’m typically not much of a crier. I ducked my head and made a beeline for my spot on the pew for service,  I just couldn’t shake this deep sorrow that filled my heart. Images of the day we lost Andrew flashed through my mind. The throbbing ache in my arms, desperate to hold my children close, was there. I wondered and worried about how my surviving children would deal with the deaths of their brothers into their adult years. The memories, thoughts and tears wouldn’t stop. This Christmas a dear friend gifted our kids with Christmas outfits, and I kept thinking, Andrew and Isaiah should have matching outfits too! It just didn’t seem fair. I simply could not hold back the tears that came in torrents down my face. I had to walk out of that service and go home. I felt unable to stand up under the weight of the grief. It felt so bizarre to be feeling these gut wrenching emotions, seemingly out of the blue. I suspect these moments will always come. It’s all part of the journey. I’m still not used to it and am surprised by grief.

Sleigh Family

December 2015

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Four Beautiful Children in Christmas Outfits

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Christmas 2015

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Here’s to 2016! Happy New Year!

In 2015, family pictures, Christmastime and ringing in the New Year held another new set of emotions for me. Throughout the festivities, I kept wondering if, perhaps, this was our last Christmas as a family as we now know it. Would we be sharing our celebrations with a new son or daughter next Christmas season? If God would allow us to add to our family in 2016, we would be so grateful. I treasured this season with my family a little bit differently, not knowing what 2016 would hold.

By the grace of God, and with hope, I do know Who holds 2016. I’m thankful for His faithfulness. I’m trusting in His provision and timing, glad that He can see the big picture that I can’t. He gives and takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Reflections on Mother’s Day

Today is Mother’s Day.

Since I’m a thinker, I did a lot of thinking while my children and husband did their best to spoil me. In no particular order…this is a glimpse of what I thought and felt today.

I thought about Mother’s Day three years ago when grief threatened to crush me. That made my heart ache even more for others out there who are feeling crushed by the weight of today.

I dreamed forward to a day when a beautiful, brown-skinned sweetheart would call me mommy.

I remembered my precious boys who I carried in my womb and cradled in my arms but never had the chance to hear them call me mommy.

I thought about my own mother and how she has impacted me and taught me so much about life, love, dedication, hard work and commitment.

I thought about my husband’s mother. She must have done something right because he is a treasure and I am forever thankful to her for how she mothered him.

I wondered what kind of a legacy I am building for my own children and what they will remember about me when they have children of their own someday.

Mostly, I admired the sweet, amazing people who call me mom Every. Single. Day. I am so thankful for them and for how they fill my life with such joy and goodness. I love how they make me realize my need for a Savior and how lost I would be with Him. They see me at my very worst and love me anyway. They were eager to serve me today and show me special love and adoration. These kids are amazing, wonderful little people who I pray will love Jesus when they are big people. May God grant me the grace to do right by them and lead them to Him by my example.

I am so thankful for this gift of motherhood. The good. The bad. The ugly. And the beautiful. God is so good!

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Our Story – Chapter 1

CHAPTER 1 (Ben’s words in BOLD.)

When I was a little girl, I met a cute, blonde-haired boy on the playground who would someday become the father of my children, my best friend, my hand to hold, my shoulder to cry on, my embrace to find comfort in and my better half. Here is our story of an elementary romance, jail time, unspeakable losses, God’s provision, redemption and the body of Christ. A story that is so laced with Grace only an Amazing God could have so beautifully orchestrated it. All the glory belongs to Him.

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Little Benji

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Little Stephanie

I first met Ben when we were in elementary school. We attended a small, Christian school in Cadillac, Michigan where he was two grades ahead of me. I was the new girl at school, having just moved to town. He says that the first time he saw me he thought I was really pretty. He became my first little boyfriend. (You know how it is in elementary school, you are “going out” but you rarely ever even talk to each other and there is a whole lot of giggling involved.)

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First Love Letter

Being at a small, Christian school our families knew each other well and God was knitting us together even then. However, this elementary romance ended when Ben’s family left for public school when he was starting 7th grade.

Our lives took entirely different paths at this point. I attended the Christian School through 10th grade, was home schooled in 11th grade while I attended a vocational school half days, and graduated from public school before heading to a university to pursue a degree in Graphic Design.

I grew up in a loving Christian home with lots of “religious influence”. I went to a Christian school and attended church functions all the time. I thought I had a “relationship with God”, you know with memorizing so much scripture and being such a frequent churchgoer. My family left the Christian school and church behind after I had completed my sixth grade year and we joined the ranks of public education. I really started to hang with the wrong crowd in high school and we did a lot of partying and drinking. It was all about me at this phase in my life. I saw no need for God in my life.

My relationship with the Lord has always been a big part of my life and I have been on a faith journey since accepting Christ as my savior when I was seven years old. In my school-age years, he taught me and grew me through experiences such as a back surgery when I was 15, a boyfriend who broke my heart, a volunteer position at a local pregnancy resource center, friends who faithfully encouraged my walk with the Lord and a family who loves God. I am so thankful for this foundation, because when the storms arise, it’s imperative to have that foundation secure. I didn’t have the slightest clue how stormy it was going to get.

After high school I joined the Marines and continued to party. I was involved in such risky behavior, I should have been dead. But, God showed extravagant grace to spare my life time and time again. After boot camp, I had what most people would think was a wake-up call. I partied so much and, while intoxicated, ran someone over with my truck. God was watching out for me by not allowing the guy to be injured or worse killed, but I didn’t appreciate this grace until much later in life. Not only did I not harm the guy, I was allowed to continue a somewhat normal life without any jail time.

We lived in the same, small town, so Ben and I would run into each other from time to time or our families would see each other around town. However, we had pretty much no real contact until one weekend in the fall of 2001 when I was home from college. My dad handed me an envelope that had arrived for me, hand addressed with a stamp in bold, red ink, “Mail originating from Manistee County Jail. Not responsible for content.” That seemed strange. I definitely didn’t know anyone who would be sending me mail from jail! Lo and behold, it was a letter from my long-lost, elementary friend, Ben. I hadn’t heard from him in years! I didn’t even know what he’d been up to. No good apparently! His letter was short and sweet. It was just an effort to reconnect, a yearning for friendship, a stab in the dark for a listening ear. Ben had been sitting in jail for quite some time and, quite frankly, had exhausted his list of family and friends to write letters to as he grasped for ways to pass the time.

Once again, I had taken my life into my own hands and got into drugs in the Marines. I failed a random drug test and this caused me to get kicked out and put in jail for 165 days. While in jail, I wrote letters to everyone I knew, with no responses, until I decided to write a girl I knew in elementary school named Stephanie. Much to my surprise she wrote back very frequently. This was just another undeserved grace that God was giving me, but I still wasn’t seeing it.

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We still have every single letter!

This was the beginning of an interesting relationship via handwritten letters and good, old-fashioned snail mail. Letters were exchanged daily as we opened our lives back up to each other. We caught up on the years we missed, shared dreams and confessed sins and struggles. Ben had been raised in a Christian family but had walked away from the Lord entirely. He was not associated with any Christian friends and he wasn’t a part of a church. A sweet pastor from our hometown reached out to him and faithfully visited him while he was in jail. Ben’s heart was softening toward the Lord and he clearly indicated his feelings for me were getting serious. I went with his parents a couple times to visit him in jail and we maintained a friendship across the miles. I was taking classes and working at my studies, but my heart became more and more focused on the mailbox and anxiously anticipating the letters from him, which arrived almost daily. Eventually, Ben was transferred to another jail, then to a transition house, then to his parents’ house on phone tether. All the while, we maintained letters and eventually phone calls and visits. He had won my heart.

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Our Wedding ~ July 2003

After my jail time, and about a year of dating Stephanie, we got married. Stephanie is a very godly woman that I have learned to appreciate more and more through the trials we have been through together.

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Our Story – Chapter 2

CHAPTER 2 (Ben’s words in BOLD.)

We were young and in love, but our relationship was pretty rocky. We were great friends but we fought a lot. We were not on the same page in several areas of our lives and we hadn’t learned about our roles as husband and wife and the importance of respect. Most importantly, we didn’t share a love for God and He wasn’t the center of our relationship.

We dove right in and bought our first home, got pregnant with our first son in 2004 and selected a pure bred Chocolate Lab puppy out of a newborn litter. Things were looking picture-perfect. We began preparing the perfect nursery with coordinating paint colors and a wallpaper border that matched the crib bedding. We were having a baby!

At our routine 20-week ultrasound, my mom met us at the hospital and we eagerly viewed our first-ever ultrasound. It was all new for us and we honestly had no idea what we were looking at. Our baby’s heartbeat was precious and strong. We could see our baby moving around and full of life. We were ecstatic! The ultrasound went on for what seemed like forever and, when she was finally done, the technician left the room for a bit. She returned, stating there was something wrong with our baby and we needed to head to our doctor’s office immediately to discuss the ultrasound results with our obstetrician. We were just sick as we hopped into the car, completely deflated and silent. We arrived at our doctor’s office in a mess of nerves and tears. She was so compassionate, kind and gracious, a real Godsend. Shockingly, our baby had a rare form of dwarfism called thanataphoric dysplasia. “Thanatophoric dysplasia is a severe skeletal disorder characterized by extremely short limbs and folds of extra (redundant) skin on the arms and legs. Other features of this condition include a narrow chest, short ribs, underdeveloped lungs, and an enlarged head with a large forehead and prominent, wide-spaced eyes. The term thanatophoric is Greek for “death bearing.” Infants with thanatophoric dysplasia are usually stillborn or die shortly after birth from respiratory failure; however, a few affected individuals have survived into childhood with extensive medical help. This condition occurs in 1 in 20,000 to 50,000 newborns.” (http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/thanatophoric-dysplasia) This news was devastating to say the least. We tried to believe that God would perform a miracle and heal our baby.

At the young, naïve ages of 21 and 23, we never dreamed that this could end up our reality. Our baby was probably not going to survive birth. After meeting with a wonderful, Christian, high-risk-pregnancy doctor, the results were confirmed and we found out our precious little one was a boy. The doctor prayed with us and we clung to each other and wailed, deep, heart wrenching cries right there in the doctor’s office. It is a very sobering thing to carry a baby to term, knowing that it could all be over when that baby is finally born. We didn’t want that day to come. However, it did, in February of 2005. At just 31 weeks pregnant, I began leaking amniotic fluid and my doctor decided to induce labor. Our precious, firstborn son, Isaiah Nathaniel was born directly into the arms of Jesus. He was spared of all pain and discomfort and we were denied hearing the joyous cries of our baby boy. All was eerily silent as our lifeless son was placed on my chest. The months of his gentle tumbling and poking and kicking inside my belly suddenly came to an abrupt stop and his life was over. We held our sweet baby and introduced him to our family. We spent time alone with him, loving him and rocking him. I watched from the hospital bed as Ben held him close and sang to him. Isaiah was desperately loved and greatly mourned. It is a devastating thing to go into the hospital pregnant and to leave your baby behind, never to come home with you.

Sweet Moments with Isaiah

There we were holding our firstborn son, at a small 3 lbs 13 oz, and crying because of the pain of losing our first child. Anger towards God and the world was definitely one of my emotions that day. I couldn’t understand why God would allow this to happen. I blamed myself, because it must be all the bad stuff I had done that caused this punishment. We grieved a lot and rightfully so.

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Our Story – Chapter 3

CHAPTER 3 (Ben’s words in BOLD.)

I was deeply saddened and heartbroken, and my arms ached to hold my precious baby. By God’s grace, Ben and I clung to each other and our loss only brought us closer, rather than dividing us further.

We still continued to argue about smoking and finances and lifestyle choices as together we grieved the loss of our son and navigated the waters of healing. We found out we were pregnant again in late 2005 and much of our pregnancy was governed by fear and worry. However, we welcomed a healthy, screaming baby in June of 2006. What a joy and relief to hold and care for our lively baby boy! The nursery was finally full and our hearts were happy.

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Proud Daddy

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Happy Mommy

What a joy it was to have a healthy boy to bring home from the hospital. This was yet another measure of grace that God was giving me, but I was just not grasping it fully.

We welcomed another son in July of 2008. With a baby and a toddler and both of us working and going to school, things were very busy! We loved each other deeply but were still on different pages on so many life issues. I wasn’t leading our family spiritually or otherwise and Stephanie’s relationship with the Lord wasn’t growing and, while we did attend church, we weren’t in close community with other believers. We did agree that we loved our hometown, we loved spending time with nearby family and we hoped to never move. We had both received an Associates Degree. I had landed a job in the engineering department at a boat company and Stephanie was happy to work part time and stay at home and take care of our boys.

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Sweet Brothers

One day, in November of 2008, the boys and I were at home and Ben showed up mid-morning, unannounced. He held a box of things he had cleaned out of his desk and rushed to my arms, crying. He had been permanently laid off. The economy had gone south and, without warning, nearly everyone was let go from the company. He was left with only a very part time job stocking shelves at a local grocery store. Though we can now clearly see it as a necessary step in the journey God had us on, we were reeling at the time. We ended up moving in with Ben’s dad to cut costs and both of us worked part time, opposite shifts so one of us could be home to take care of the boys. It was a rough year. However, God provided, and Ben found out about a new warehouse that was opening up for the grocery company he had been working part time for. He had always thought he’d like to get into truck driving for the company, but didn’t have the training and there weren’t any positions available. However, with the new warehouse, there would be full time driving positions and they would be willing to train. The downside: we’d have to move out of state, hundreds of miles from home.

So, God provided the opportunity for me to work full time, doing something I thought I’d love, for this amazing, Christian-family-owned company. What an awesome provision it was. Stephanie was 8 months pregnant when we loaded up our things, said goodbye to our home with my dad and our loved ones and traversed the country to settle in for a one year commitment in a new state where we didn’t know a soul. As a gift from God, the job was a mere 3 hours from Stephanie’s sister, who is her dearest friend, and her family. That brought our families many good times and memories made.

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Just Us, Embarking on a New Adventure

We welcomed a baby girl in November of 2009, shortly after settling in to our tiny, new apartment. For the first time, I was able to stay home full time with our children. Ben loved his work but it was taxing on our family as he was on the road for overnights and when he was home he was exhausted. I had my hands full and had only one friend nearby. We found it difficult to find a church we wanted to call home and struggled to meet people and form friendships. A year into his new job, it didn’t look like we would be going home anytime soon, so we moved closer to the warehouse but farther from my sister. Ben’s commute was so much shorter, our home was much nicer with room for the kids to roam and I was blessed to meet a handful of wonderful, Christian friends. The second year was better than the first but we still longed to return home and for Ben to have a job with better hours. A job transfer was possible, but we had to patiently wait for the right opening.

We welcomed another sweet baby to our family on our son’s birthday in July of 2011. Baby number five was welcomed with delight. It was especially sweet for me, because this baby pushed Ben to finally quit smoking. After years and years of smoking and then quitting and smoking and then quitting again, this time it was for real. He quit smoking when I was pregnant and hasn’t gone back since. What a gift! Praise God, that point of tension was finally resolved!

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Sea World ~ October 2011

With our first son in heaven and three boys and a girl here on earth, we decided that we were done having children. Our arms were full and I was a tired momma. With no family nearby and a husband who was consumed with his job, I felt I had reached my max. We had been married for 8 years and it had been such a challenging road. We had been through so much together and had grown closer because of it. Ben was a loyal, loving husband, always a gentleman and a great dad but sin had its hold on him something fierce and he refused to submit to God in many areas of his life. That was very difficult for me as I longed to be equally yoked with my husband and share the most important thing in my life. I longed for him to love God and lead our family well. I longed to be involved together in a church and I desperately wished our sons had a godly man to model their own lives after. I knew my relationship with the Lord was being compromised by my marriage. Spiritually, we were a mess.

Still at this point in my life, spiritually speaking, I was just riding on Stephanie’s faith and not my own.

I was very successful in my job and well liked and respected. My company took great care of me and our family. I made good money and we had begun to establish our life away from our home and loved ones. Our family was growing and we were making great memories. Suddenly, the opportunity we had been waiting for arrived. I was able to transfer to a new job that took us within a hundred miles of the city we had called home, the city we grew up in, the area most of our family still lived. We were so excited! Though a pay cut was involved, the job was still driving truck and delivering groceries but was a day job with local routes for the same awesome company. I would be home every night! We were so thankful!

Again, we loaded up our family of 6 and all of our things and headed back to our homeland in November of 2011. The kids and I moved back in with Ben’s dad while Ben started his new job, lived in his aunt’s basement and searched for a house for us. House hunting proved to be a long, laborious process. The days turned into months and we spent hours upon hours driving from house to house and touring home possibilities. We lugged all four children through the snow and cold. We searched high and low to find the perfect house for our rather large family but on a rather small budget. There were tons of houses but most of them needed way more work than we were willing to bargain for. We ended up walking through 74 houses before we settled on a cute home that was already redone and it was only 2 miles from Ben’s new job. It was perfect. We truly felt like the waiting had paid off. We closed on the house on March 1st, 2012 and were anxious to be a family again, all in once place. Ben had been driving to his dad’s on his days off to spend time with us and we had been driving down to hang out with him and look at houses but we hadn’t lived together for over four months.

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Our Story – Chapter 4

CHAPTER 4 (Ben’s words in BOLD.)

The weekend after we closed on the house Ben came up to spend Saturday night and Sunday with us. We weren’t attending church at the time and Ben’s dad had headed off to his church that Sunday morning, March 4th. We had been up early with the kids and were having a relaxing morning as a family. I had nursed our littlest, just 7 ½ months old, down for a morning nap on the bed I shared with him in Ben’s absence, and snuggled him in between a couple pillows. I got up and got ready for the day, as we had planned to go grocery shopping as a family when the baby woke up.

Sweet Sleeping Boy

Nap time was coming to an end and I sneaked into the bedroom to grab something. I noticed the spot between the pillows was empty besides a left behind stuffed bear and stray pacifier. His blanket was pulled to the edge of the bed and I noticed he had fallen off the bed and had gotten stuck between the bed and another piece of furniture. I screamed and whisked him out of the tight space and back onto the bed. He was lifeless and unresponsive. Ben and the other kids came running. Ben hovered over his baby boy screaming and crying while I fumbled with my cell phone trying to call 9-1-1. The other kids, then just 5, 3 and 2, stood confused at the doorway while they watched our flurry of panic. Ben ushered the kids away and closed the door as I followed the instructions of the 9-1-1 technician and moved my sweet baby’s body to the floor and began to perform CPR. The mouth I had lovingly kissed so many times I was now breathing into, willing life into his tiny body, begging God to restore his breath. The paramedics arrived and rushed our sweet son to the ambulance. They left us all alone in the house to wait. The minutes ticked by and the kids, scared and worried, were asking the very questions we were thinking. “Is he going to be okay? Why are they taking so long? What’s happening?” Ben went out and stood near the ambulance and I remember thinking I needed to be strong for these kids even though I was a weak mess on the inside. I knelt down on the kitchen floor and pulled my children into a huge hug and we prayed for sweet, precious Andrew. I told them that Andrew might not survive but that God loves us so much and he has a plan in all of this. I held them close and silently begged God for Andrew’s life to be spared all the while beating myself up for leaving him alone on that bed.

After what seemed like forever, Ben’s dad returned home and stayed with the kids while we followed the ambulance to the hospital. We were terrified and knew what the outcome was probably going to be but we dared to hope. Our family members arrived at the hospital in record time and many of them sat in the waiting room with us while we dreaded the verdict. The doctor arrived and confirmed what we knew to be true. Our son was dead. There was nothing they could do. Gut wrenching agony came over us as we held each other and sobbed over the loss of yet another precious son. It seemed like a very bad dream that I desperately wanted to wake up from. Ben and I walked into the emergency room where our sweet, lifeless baby was laying on the bed being cared for by a nurse who is a family friend and a wonderful Christian woman. She turned and gave us a compassionate, sympathetic hug and assured us as best she could. We were given moments alone with him as we hugged, and kissed yet another lifeless son. We were shocked that God would have us go through this again. Mommies and daddies should not have to hold the dead bodies of their babies. Not once and certainly not twice. It just wasn’t fair. I cried my tears dry until my head ached and my throat was sore. Our family members came in to the room to say their goodbyes and share their love and sorrow. A pastor from the church we previously attended came to pray with us and agreed to meet with us and prepare a memorial service for him. We stayed with Andrew for as long as they would allow us. We held him close, wrapped in his soft warm blanket and kissed his sweet, soft cheeks, hoping time would stop and we would never have to hand him over. Before we were ready, we found ourselves again leaving a hospital without a baby, leaving a cold, lifeless son behind. The heartache is indescribable.

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Sweet Boy Brought Us So Much Joy!

Only this time, I was plagued with guilt on top of sorrow. The guilt and shame overtook me. I blamed myself. If only I had napped with him. If only I had just put him in a pack and play. If only I had heard him cry out. I remember sitting on that same bed, pumping breast milk that should have been Andrew’s but I was determined to donate, sobbing and crying out to God, “Why God?!?! Why didn’t I hear him?!?! I could have saved him!!” And, clearer than I have ever heard God speak to me, I heard Him say, “Stephanie, I could have saved him but it was his time.” It was a balm for my soul. I knew the scriptures; our days are numbered even before we are conceived. In that moment, I could feel God taking the burden of guilt from me, but I struggled to accept the freedom. I couldn’t forgive myself. I didn’t even want to face people at his funeral because I was sure they were blaming me. I doubted my abilities as a mother and felt certain I was unable to care for my children properly. Obviously, I couldn’t even keep them alive! Recently, Ben and I had been talking about maybe considering having another child or looking into adoption. Now, for me, it was completely out of the question. Clearly, I wasn’t capable and certainly nobody would trust me to adopt and care for their child! I was a wreck. I felt desperate to keep my other children safe so I could prove myself. It was a burden, no mother should bear and it was threatening to take me under.

The days surrounding his death, his funeral and his burial are such a blur. Ben and I were grieving and trying to parent our other children and trying to make sense of everything and simply trying to survive. It was such a gift to me that Ben never once blamed me. Never, even in the heat of the moment, did he breathe one word of accusation. Once again, by God’s grace, this wasn’t going to divide us. My own heart broke as I watched my precious husband break. I watched him mourn and cry and ultimately surrender. In those days following Andrew’s death, he made the choice I had begged God for all our married days. He chose to give his life to God and to lean hard on Him when he knew he couldn’t make it alone. For the first time, we leaned hard on God together and chose to trust him and have faith even when life didn’t make any sense. God showed up as we laid our precious baby to rest and He became our Anchor, our Savior, our Redeemer, our Comfort and our only Hope. Most people don’t get to see God redeem such horrible circumstances in such short order. As a huge measure of grace, I got to see my husband’s life transform just days after losing Andrew.

I’ve buried two of my children and that seemed unfair. The pain never completely goes away; it just gets a little duller. One of the visitors in the ER that horrible day was a former pastor. I kept saying, “Why me God?” and my pastor said something I will never forget, “Why not you?” That hit me like a ton of bricks.

At this point, I began to realize all of the grace God had shown me over the years. The definition of grace…the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God…rang very true. I am not deserving of any good, but God loves to show His grace even though I am very undeserving. It is still a very long grieving process, but I believe that this tragic event was used by God to bring me back to Him.

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