I mentioned A few weeks ago that I attended a simulcast of the if: gathering. It was a really impactful day for me but one specific story has been absolutely haunting me since the moment I heard it. A woman named April Lost her two young sons in a tornado in 2014. She herself was badly injured and didn’t walk for months. She told of lying on top of her children in the bathroom and calling out to God for him to protect them as the tornado ravaged her home and community. She woke up a few hundred yards away, barely able to move, and continued to cry out to the Lord as she had no idea where her sons and husband were. Both of her sons died from the tornado that day but she was still so eager to proclaim God’s goodness in the midst of this incredible loss. If you would like to read her full story, check it out here.
As I said, this has been totally haunting me. As I’ve thought about this, probably daily, a few things have been clear to me.
- My children are on loan to me. This story in particular has caused me to think about lots of different areas of our lives as a family and how I’m called to protect my children. It has heightened our family conversations about where or how we will educate our children. Will that be small private schools? Homeschool? Our local neighborhood school? How do we keep them safe and at the same time allow them to experience this life and trust God with their futures. That does not mean that I want my kindergartner to be huddled in a closet for active shooter drills, learn trivia for tests, or miss out socially so the jury is still out.
- April spoke about how every parent wants their children to be happy, healthy, to have a joy filled life. Although her sweet boys did not have much time on earth, her wishes for them while they were here came true. I’m a big reader and one theme has been going strong throughout several authors, and that is to raise your children to be kind. April’s story has pushed me to strategically think about the character traits that we want our children to have and the ways in which we can teach them. Over and over, it comes back to the fact that they will learn from what they see. Great. So are Dee and I kind to one another, kind to the outcast, do we care about things beyond ourselves? How are we teaching our children to be kind? One thing that was clear to me from April is that her children knew that she believed in God and that it was worth it to her to scream out to him on their behalf. I’m praying for my kids 3 billion times a day but how often are they joining me in that?
- There is some more room at the table. I came downstairs yesterday and Dee had placed our five month old, Jay, in a highchair. Elle was sitting next to him in her own chair. She and Dee were eating breakfast together while Jay played. It took my breath away. My sweet little family all sitting together at the table for the first time. I totally swooned. I’m obsessed with these three people and there was something so beautiful to me about seeing my little family for the first time of thousands at a table together. Most days, I really want this to be it. It’s so comfortable. I really love our family of four but I also dream about who else could sit at that table one day. I’m done getting pregnant but is there another sweet face through fostering or adoping that needs to be at our table? Surely they are no less darling or funny or great, and they may not have a table. So although I’m in love with my party of four in a couple of years couldn’t it be a great table of five? I hope so. I’d love to experience life as five.
So while I’m randomly weeping about April and the life she’s living I’m also so filled with hope. I’m not sure how long I’ll get to live with these people who walk around with my heart but I know I want to do it well and to teach by example that our God is worth serving in the midst of nightmares and to be thankful that it doesn’t end here. Really, I could be 100 years old and weep that I didn’t have enough time with them. I’m hoping for that scenario!
Kitchen renovation plans coming soon!