Justin Ryker Swick

Justin Ryker Swick

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Happy 5th Birthday, buddy! See you when I get home.

Every year it seems Justin's birthday gets a little easier, a few less tears each time. His second better than first, third better than second and so on, so I naturally thought, "I've got this" this time. As it turns out, though, five is pretty tough.

 I'm not sure if it's just pregnancy hormones, the fact that it landed on a Saturday, maybe because it snuck up on me, or possibly it could just be that five is tough.

I noticed Ryan was quieter than usual today too, so I'm guessing, five is hard all around. Generally we are able to talk freely about Justin, today I  think it was just easier to not mention his birthday or even speak his name.

  This morning when I woke up my first thought was, "We would be getting ready for a party". Today I would be blowing up balloons, setting up the table, wrapping the last minute gift, and having Ryan run to the store at least twice to get things I've forgotten. Right now we would be in a hustle and I would frantic but it would all be fun and worth it to see him blow out his candles and open his gifts. 

The 5th birthday is such a big deal in a little one's life. It's that first taste of independence, when you really feel like a big kid. This year you get to start big kid school, this year you go to kindergarten. This year we would be registering Justin for kindergarten and Hannah for preschool and life would be crazy and beautiful; but we're not. 

We aren't wrapping gifts and waiting for company to arrive, I'm not in disbelief that "my baby is starting kindergarten", we aren't rushing around to get forms filled out and appointments scheduled for registration, and that's okay, it really is. While this birthday is harder than last I cling to the promise that the Lord has plans for me, that the Lord had plans for Justin and they came to pass.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Death Strikes Twice

I heard the most heart breaking news today. A family, who just a few months ago laid their baby girl to rest due to stillbirth, (I believe), just had to say goodbye to their 2 year old as well in a very, very tragic accident.

 I cannot even begin, or want, to imagine, what this family is going through. I have prayed for them all day, and yet my prayers keep coming up short and empty handed.

I don't know how to pray for them.
I pray for peace and healing of course, and I know that God is big enough, and great enough, to supply all their needs, even emotionally; but my small human brain can't fathom peace after that much heartache. I know it will happen for them, because God IS great.

I am so glad He doesn't have a small mind like me.

As I was reading our devotional with the boys tonight it told us to dream our biggest dream and even that doesn't compare to the dream God has in store for us.  I hope this family can continue to dream and God shows off in a mighty way.

As a bereaved parent it is sometimes hard for me not to give into fear after hearing stories like this. I keep having to remind myself of three things.

One, fear does not come from the Lord. (Period) and I cannot allow it to consume me and steal my joy. When I succumb to nasty feelings, only put in my mind by the devil himself, I miss out on so much. I am not able to cherish sweet times with my kids like learning how to draw smily faces, and nighttime devotionals, songs, prayers, and giggles.

The only thing to fear is fear itself rings true. I instantly have to stop what I'm doing and pray that the Lord will take away those evil thoughts and feelings that oh so quilky sneak up without me even realizing. I refuse to live in fear, and I pray that I am, through Him, able to overcome.

Two, it's all in His hands. EVERYTHING, every life, every breath, every death. He has control of the situation even when we feel like the world is spinning out of control and we are losing everything. His plan is not only good, it is great, even if we can't comprehend HOW it can even be okay at times.

I trust Him. I trust that everything works according to His precious design for each and everyone of our lives.

Three, we belong to Him, all of us, including our children. This is such a hard concept to wrap our heads around sometimes, but our children are only ever lent to us. They were knit together, (by Him) in their mothers womb. They belong to him first and foremost and while NO ONE wants to give them back, sometimes that is the plan, as heart crushing as it is. I have peace in knowing that I will spend eternity with my Lord and Savior and with my children, may they not stray, and when I do, this life on earth will seem as short as a second, a blurp on a screen.

In the meantime, I am asking every prayer warrior out there, please, to start a prayer chain. Please raise this family up. Pray that they do not turn from Him in these tragic days, pray for peace, comfort, and healing. Let us lift this family up so far they feel Jesus carrying them.