Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Beauty for Ashes

"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me...to grant consolation & joy to those who mourn in Zion - to give them a garland of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a heavy, burdened, & failing spirit - that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified." Isaiah 61.1 & 3

How can one measure this past year? How do you put to words all that has transpired since that Sunday when Jesus welcomed Isaac home? I awoke this morning to a flood of memories, remembering each moment of that last day with our son. I'm so grateful we were home with him. I'm so grateful that Jordan & I were together with Isaac that entire day. I'm so grateful that those final moments were peaceful for our boy & the room filled with the sound of instrumental hymns & the prayers of family & friends. Yes, I wish there could have been some other way...that God would have miraculously healed Isaac's heart & body, that the doctors would have been baffled to find four chambers pumping away instead of three. But just as He promises to know all our days before even one of them begin (Psalms 139), I know God's plan for Isaac was perfect & that our son lived out the life planned for him to the fullest.

Nevertheless, this past year has been the hardest of my life. You hear of tragedies in the world, of the loss others incur. They grieve you & pull at your heart. But when your own sweet child, whose life you've completely trusted to God with genuine hope that the saving miracle will come...when his journey ends...when his gain comes at your loss...when his healing comes on the other side of eternity...it hits you with a force you can't describe & rocks you to the core. True, I'm forever grateful that Isaac no longer has to suffer, to undergo surgeries, to be bound by the machines that keep him alive. I'm overwhelmed to know this very moment, he is perfect in heaven with Jesus. But it doesn't change the physical loss of him here on earth. All those dreams, all those hopes, reduced to ashes on the ground. Completely spent. Burnt up with no life of their own remaining. Ashes.

If I could express one thing today on the anniversary of Isaac's death...one truth that I've learned through this year...it would be this: God is faithful to give beauty for ashes! He is true to His Word. God has taken the ashes that remained from our journey & all that died on August 5, 2007, & He has brought forth true beauty from them. He is not ignorant nor indifferent to what we go through. HE CARES about what has died in your life. HE CARES about those things that are now only ashes on the floor. This year has taught me first hand that treasures are to be found in suffering. Though the journey can be almost unbearable & the pain more real than you ever imagined, when you elevate God above those circumstances & choose to trust His Word, precious gifts are to be found. And on the days when you don't feel you can hold on any more, God's grip on you is even tighter. He will never walk away from you nor let you go! (Isaiah 54.10 & 30.18) God is mighty to save, He is faithful to complete the work He has begun in you. Our Lord gives beauty for ashes. He takes the remains of what has died in your life, those fragile pieces of dust from the dreams you once had...even when it is with the smallest of faith, when you lift Him up above the physical despair that surrounds, He brings forth the most beautiful treasures to be found. Peace. Joy. Hope for tomorrow. And the experienced assurance that He IS true to His Word & He IS faithful to never let you go. Were I to write all the treasures that have come forth from our ashes, you would not have time to read them.

"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me...to give a garland of beauty for ashes...that He may be glorified!" (Isaiah 61.1&3)

45 comments:

MilePost13 said...

We love you guys!!!

Patti said...

Dear Patience,

You a beautiful gift in expressing yourself! Please know that there many of us who have never met you, who continue to lift you and Jordan up in prayer!

Patti

Julie Miles said...

Patience and Jordan,

You're in my thoughts and prayers today. It's hard to believe it's already August again. Monday marks Ethan's first birthday and Wednesday marks the anniversary of his Norwood surgery. I was just thinking about you this morning, knowing the anniversary was growing close but not remembering exactly which day. What a beautiful tribute to your sweet little son and what a testimony of how God has used your journey to glorify Him, even though it was not an easy road for you. Thanks for your strength and encouragement - you have forever changed our lives for the better. To God be all the glory and honor and praise forever!

Gina Witcher / Runnermom4 said...

Patience,

As usual your posts always bring me to tears. Your post speaks volumes to us. Though we have not had to bear the pain of losing a child, the past few years have been very hard for us,... and I often sit and ask God "Why?" and "What?" and "Where?" and "When?" I ask him what his purpose was and is... but even while we sit with so many questions unanswered your post reminds me of all the things I know and hang onto ... treasures are to be found in suffering; God will never give us more than we can bear; and He promises to be there with us... and He promises to make something beautiful out of our suffering if we will walk with him through it and trust him. Thank you for sharing your continued journey with us.

Anonymous said...

Thanks!!! I really needed to hear that today.....

Anonymous said...

Still praying for God's strength and peace for both of you. Thank you for your honesty! I can't even imagine how hard this year has been. Do know that you are still thought of and prayed for often by many people!

Sherry LUSOL

The Eckerts said...

Thank you for your encouragement. You inspire so many. We love you guys.

Alli said...

I've been thinking and praying for you guys today. You have inspired me alot through this journey and those were beautiful words of encouragement. We love you guys!!

Alli Tiner

Anonymous said...

omg, i could read your writings all day long- you guys are amazing- and you help everyone who reads remember how amazing God always is. Thanks a bunch. Julie Stephenson :)

The Figs said...

we love you guys dearly. thank you for continuously pouring into our lives so generously & graciously, even when you didn't think you had or could, you did......

thank you!
the figs

*elizabeth* said...

I am praying for you and Jordan and both of your families.
God Bless!

Jennifer said...

Patience, so many people are lifting you up today in prayers. Ever since Jordan passed this blog on to me shortly after Isaac was born, I have come to it daily. (even during the months where nothing was written) I hold you guys in a special place in my heart and mind. It is no doubt in my mind that God intervened in my life when he introduced me to you.

You are so very special and what a beautiful gift you have shared with the world in Isaac. Thank you for sharing your beautiful words and feelings. I can't understand how tough it is for you, but God knows. God knows your suffering and wants to protect you.

And as you so aptly shared with me I want to share with you:

"The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:28-31 (NLT)

Jennifer said...

(btw: the post above was written by the Jennifer "dreams" things. :) )

Rebecca said...

What a lovely post... Blessings to you and your husband today and always.

Anonymous said...

Jordan and Patience,

You have been in my thoughts and prayers all day. I can't believe a year has passed already. I pray for God's strength and peace each and everyday for you. You are loved!

Crystal S said...

I miss him...

Caitlyn said...

I'm praising with you all on this surely difficult day...just know that I'm also thinking and praying for you, Jordan and all who read this website. I just finished reading your post to my husband...Your writings are such a gift to be able to surely impact so many- God has truly gifted you, thanks once again!!

Amanda said...

Wow. I am so amazed at the fact that God is working through you in such an AMAZING way. It reminds me of God's power even if we don't always see it through our circumstances at first. The music video and the his testimony as well as your beautifully written post moved me in ways I can't explain. I love you with all my heart and I'm praying for the both of you!

Marc Figueras said...

I'm so glad that you see this situation the way you do, that God had a plan from the first day you found out that he was coming. I've been so inspired through you guys, to worship using my talents and i'm so glad that i know you and jordan. Otherwise, I would not be where i am right now. You guys have really impacted my life in unexplainable ways. Thank you!

Joe said...

I love you guys.

You truly inspire me day after day. I'm so blessed to be under your leadership. God uses you guys as perfect examples in so many aspects of my life. I'm so happy he allowed our roads to pass, and to have the ability to learn from you.

Plus, you pretty dag on cool.
:)

Anonymous said...

We too are among the many who have never met you, but continue to check in and pray for the two of you. You have touched so many.

Sonia said...

You and Jordan are still in my thoughts and prayers. God be with you both.

a_weak_rose said...

Thank you so much for posting that. . . My broken and crushed heart needed that today.
I still pray for you guys.
God bless you.
Melissa

Anonymous said...

It doesn't seem like a whole year Pai, the video is remarkable, and as usual, you humble me with your faith. I hope to see you soon sweet girl.
Love you - Kateri<><

Jennifer said...

Beautiful and inspired. Thanks for sharing your heart and being so transparent. May God continue to bless you with His treasures!

Wilbanks World said...

You are both in our prayers today-

Thomas & Niki

Anonymous said...

Patience and Jordan-
Just wanted to leave a note saying that I am thinking of you both and Isaac. You are truly an inspiration. It's hard to believe a year has passed. Thank you for posting an update and continuing to teach and inspire me.
Benny

Patty Honeycutt said...

It is so true that God can take ashes and turn them to beauty. But as humans, we still look down at times to see the ashes. We even scoop them up and hug them up to us, because the ashes are still part of the original and beautiful for that reason as well as for what God makes from them. The depth of your pain only reflects the depth of the love you have for Isaac. I love you and think of you so very often.
Thank you for sharing with us!
Patty

Anonymous said...

tears stream my cheeks...my hearts beating faster and pounding harder than before. I had know idea of this journey you have been on patience, i wish i had known, i wish i could have done something. To read all you went through, what was more astounding than anything was your faith...wow.

wow.
you portray the most beautiful and geuine portrait of our heavenly father...what an example you are. what a survivor you are.

I cant wait to meet meet little isaac one day...

you are my hero.

luv,
alisa

Rachel Honeycutt said...

Mama does think of you. You belong to her heart for different reasons than you belong to mine; I admire you endlessly for the woman of God that you are and I can't imagine a better role model. So, thank you, for the life you chose to live, and the ways you chose to obey God, because they make me a better person and will shape my vision of what a woman of God should be. Thank you for marrying Jordan so you could live here in Clayton, and so you could hang out with us at church, because if you would have ended up anywhere else but here with Jordan, all of us would have been less because of it.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe that it has already been a year since Jesus took sweet Isaac home. There is not a day that I don't think of you guys and lift you in prayer. I pray that the Lord in His devine sovereignty would continue to heal you and hold you close.
In Him Alone, Nikki

Anonymous said...

We can not imagine what you guys have been going through. You have such a talented way of expressing your feelings. We love reading your postings. Please know that we are here for you and we are praying for you. We love you guys!

Hilary & Bryant

Anonymous said...

Patience,
Your words have ministered to my
heart today. And the videos....
wow, what powerful truth and
awesome, authentic worship. My heart is overflowing! Thank you for your honest, faith-filled posting; your words glorify our Father and honor Isaac!
Thank you....
Lovingly,
Lois for Jerry
Lindsay, and Ashley Anderson
PS: Lindsay is getting married
in April at the Naval Academy,
and we are using your wedding
photographer!

Melanie said...

I can't begin to imagine the things that have gone on in your heart over the past year. You and Jordan have been examples of grace and dignity through it all. Today I clicked on y our blog because Alli told me you had updated it and God spoke to my heart and gave me His words that I needed at right this very moment. So thank you for sharing your hearts and lives with us.

The Spears said...

I have read your blog before, but today was given your blog address by a friend of mine who is also a good friend your family. Your story and your faithfulness to the Lord is inspiring. My husband and I gave birth just days after this post to our first boy son Carter. Carter was born at 22 weeks and was only able to live for 1 hour and 21 minutes before going home to Jesus. I don't think we have been through anything in our lives this tough. The one thing I do know and from your blog that you express so well, God is still in control. I am so glad! Thank you again.

Lauren said...

Patience, I came across your blog after seeing you on facebook via Valerie - oh the ever pervasive world of facebook...

Anyways, I just wanted to say I'm proud of you and thankful for God's persevering grace and that He is the God of all comfort. I cannot imagine what you went through and continue to go through. May God bless you and your husband in abundance for your continued faithfulness. Thanks for sharing.

Kelly Brown said...

We think about you often and continue to pray for you all.

Jamie & Kelly Brown
(Brendon's parents)

Crystal said...

Patience,
I just found your blog through your face book account. Your strong faith and trust in our Lord through the struggles you've faced is an inspiration and encouragement. Your love for dear Isaac is evident in your beautifully written posts. I am so very sorry for your loss.

I haven't seen you since High School... it is obvious the Lord has done many great things in your life in the years since I've seen you last.
-Crystal

Pete, Alison and Charlie said...

Hi Patience and Jordan,
I was thinking of you today, so I thought I'd just drop you a line to say hello.
Hope you're both doing ok - I still remember you both every day.
Sending love and an autumn hug from across the pond XXX

Nicole said...

Hello, I just found your blog after skimming the comments on a post on the CFHusband blog. I read your posts with great interest and sadness as my husband and I also lost a child last year. Our daughter had Transposition of the Great Arteries and passed away after a couple of surgeries attempting to save her life. it was good to read your story and see how you've coped with "miletones" like birthdays and the anniversary of death. Those are coming up for us, and it's scary. Good luck to you as you continue to heal, and thanks for sharing through your writing.

the hopkins said...

wow...i simply don't know what to say...

i am new to the "blogging community" and happened to stumble across your blog today (10-15-2008) and am truly touched by your example and peace in God's perfect plan.

we will pray for you guys as you heal and that your testimony may continue to touch others.

thank you for making your difficult journey public...you have touched so many lives/families!!

GinaMarie said...

{{{{{{{{Jordan & Patience}}}}}}}

I have read all 24 weeks of Isaac's life tonight and was so touched. I have two special needs sons myself but not to the degree of his. He was such a fighter! Even tho I read it tonight over a year after he has been with our precious Lord I kept forgetting where he was and found myself hoping he would pull thru and remind myself he had already passed on. Im praying for strength, comfort and guidance for the both of you.
HUGS,
Gina Marie and boys

Rachel said...

Now you really have beauty for ashes.

Congradulations with all my heart.

:)

Rachel said...

12/06/08

Savannah Dees said...

I still <3 you and u r a WONDERFUL singer :) Eliana is so close!! She is gonna be beautiful just like you :)
<3 Savannah :)