An attempt to declare the Glory of God for what He has chosen to do with our lives. A legacy to leave to my children in the telling of it.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Seeing God

I feel like I should have a beautiful, poetic blog post somewhere inside of me just bursting to break forth. It seems that I should be able to wax and wane the glories of God and nicely package up all that He is doing in my life, heart, and soul. Then I realize that God does not fit into nice, pretty, little boxes. And then I realize that there is no point in forcing it, so I get another cup of coffee and do what Sherry has told me so often, I just let it flow.

Not much is flowing these days. I long to write, but so often there are no words. I have wrote myself out again it seems lately. There are times that I have a glimpse of God and His work. Somehow I can grasp the big picture: creation, salvation, mankind, redemption, a trumpet, a returning Savior. Other times I can barely see Him through the fog.

Since Trent's death I have been abiding in Jesus like never before in my life. I envision myself in the palm of God's hand. Just curled up there; protected, surrounded, padded, held, cherished.

I was thinking of my earthly father this morning, and realized God's goodness in taking him to heaven when I was only 18 years old. I can vaguely recall an earthly father's love, and of those recollections, very few of them being tender ones. I watch first hand, through Rob, a father's love being poured out on our children. This husband of mine, who grew up with alcoholic parent's and never learned by example how to be a godly father, has been used as a vessel for God's love. I envy my children in one sense to be loved by their earthly father in this way. I look ahead some days and anticipate the strength in them because of it, and then I wonder what God is preparing them for through it. Who can fathom the ways of the Lord, who can understand Him?

Some days I feel as if I am just being held here in this time of waiting. Waiting on God to move again, waiting for direction, waiting for the promised joy, or for the tears to stop, or for the pain to end. Waiting for my own eternity to appear. Waiting for this to be made right. But then I realize that God wants me here. He wants me to feel this, every part of it. He wants me to live now, He wants me to be obedient now, He wants me to abide in Him now, He wants me to put my hope in Him now and look forward to "that day" all the more. He has granted me this time of rest, this time of soul searching, this time of pain, this time of decision making.

I long to be used by Him. I have a friend who longs to suffer for God. For many years, now, she has been asking Him to take her deep. And she wonders why He hasn't. She fears that she will fail when He does call her to go deep for the sake of the gospel. Most of us would wonder why God would make us suffer. Most of us don't want to go deep. I can testify to her that she will not fail, because when God takes her deep it will be Him revealing His faithfulness to her, not the other way around.

So I simply abide. I do the chores, and I abide. I love my husband and my children, and I abide. I read the Scripture He points me to, and I abide. I try to listen and go where He calls me to go, and I abide. I repent, again and again, and I abide. I wonder how He will make this all right, and if what I have done today is enough, and if I should say more or say less, or if it's me or Him, and I abide. When He calls me to move, I will move. When it's His time, He will bring it about. Again, today, I go forth in trust with my Savior who leads me where He wants me to go.

My Sweet Little Dumpling Cakes

Our children do not have many toys. They do not have their own cell phones, or ipods, or DS games. The boys did buy a used X-box with their own hard-earned snow-shoveling money, but it is only used by permission. Our televisions are on their last legs. To watch a movie you can either choose the antique floor model that is mostly green in color, that is if you can get the cord to stay plugged in, or haul the 15" model up and down the stairwell depending on who's trying to work quietly where. And then, of course, you have to haul the half-working DVD/VHS player along as well, because there is no outside antenna. Our deprived little kiddos don't even know what real TV is or why you can't fast-forward through a commercial. But they do have their very own chickens, and goats, and rabbits, and horses, and forts, and paint-sets, and a library overflowing with books. And they are rarely ever bored. So what do they do all day you ask? They create inventive games~ like swinging from the trees.

Little Monkeys!  Some days I feel like going out there and swinging off the branches with them!

Sharing our Story

Today I am sharing our story over at Ann Voskamp's sight, A Holy Experience. If you have never visited her blog, you should. It is a feast for the eyes as well as the soul. Sherry directed me over there the other day and I have been blessed by it. Amongst the other encouraging posts, she hosts Walk With Him Wednesdays. Today's topic was The Practice of Faith, where you can link up to share and encourage others in the world-wide-web community. If I was savvy enough to actually know how to place the button and the link here, I would (sorry, pretty much clueless when it comes to all those little details).  Feel free to share, too, if you are so led.

On Friday February 18, 2011, God did the unthinkable in our life: He chose to take our 12-year-old son, Trent, home to heaven in a skiing accident.

It is only considered “the unthinkable” because our plans are not God’s plans, and our ways are not God’s ways.

Before Trent was born we had entrusted the Lord with his life and had asked Him, above all else, to bring salvation to our son. Our greatest desire was that he would be used in a mighty way for God’s glory, and that God would let him dwell in heaven for eternity.

God answered our prayers that Friday in a mightier way than we could have imagined, and we have been rejoicing in His good works and His mercies ever since.

Trent was a boy who truly lived. From the very beginning he did what he loved and enjoyed to the full the gifts and skills that God had given him. In his short life he saw much of this world, traveling as far as India, the Bahamas, Bass Pro Shop in Missouri where he explored his favorite destination on his golden birthday, as well as many family camping trips. God instilled a love of hunting and fishing in Trent, and a joy of the great outdoors. Since he was little all he wanted was to turn 12 to be able to go deer hunting. During his 12th year God allowed him to shoot two deer. Trent loved to pick on his siblings Alexis, Cole, Grace, and Micah, to protect his mother, to snuggle with his father, and to be with his friends, especially his best friends: Thomas and Samuel. He tried everything that interested him, even carving his own long bow and succeeding in taxidermy. In his short years he lived life to the fullest.

But as we are all destined to, Trent also died. On Friday, February 18, 2011, we said goodbye to our son as he left for a skiing trip with his friends, not knowing that he would never be coming back home. God says that He knows the number of our days, that He has created each one, and that He will do what He pleases (Psalm 115:3; Job14:5).

God’s standards to enter His kingdom are high: He expects perfection. Trent was not perfect, not even close. God graciously provided His perfect Son, Jesus Christ, as the atonement for our sinfulness and requires that we simply believe and acknowledge Him for it.

For most of his life Trent struggled with his own sinfulness before God. He knew that he was not right before God, and nothing he could do would ever make up for the sins he had committed to make him worthy to enter heaven. In the spring of 2010, God graciously chose to bring salvation to Trent through repentance and the saving grace of Christ Jesus. Trent’s life was transformed and we enjoyed the young fruit in his life as we watched God work.

It was with great peace and much rejoicing, then, that we as his family have sent him off before us and accepted God’s perfect plan for Trent’s life. Our longing is that God would be glorified in what He has done to wake up many to the realization that we are not guaranteed any number of years in this world (Psalm 39:4-5).

On Friday morning we had our son; on Friday afternoon he was gone.

What we have asked so many people since the accident is: “What if it had been you? Where would you be right now?”

We diligently raised Trent up to know his sinful state and taught him what the Word of God says because we know the implications of denying Christ now, and God was gracious to answer our prayers and to save him. Scripture says that the gospel will go forth with much sorrow and heartache. Please let Trent’s short life be a wake-up call to you. We are rejoicing in the sorrow because we know where our son is and that we will one day be with him again for eternity because of our own salvation.

God's mercies are new every day and His peace does surpass all understanding (Lamentations 3:22-23; Philippians 4:6-7). God has been so gracious to us by blessing us first of all with His peace in His perfect plan. The family and friends who have surrounded us and have lifted us up in prayer are amazing and another testimony to God’s goodness.

It is with great rejoicing that we release our son, Trent, age 12, to our Heavenly Father. Dance before your King, my son.

The Romans road to salvation:
Romans 3:23; 3:10-18; 6:23; 5:8; 10:9; 10:13; 5:1; 8:1; 8:38-39

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Fair Pics

Whew! We made it through the busy Fair weekend last week with lots of blue ribbons, red ribbons, and even three purple Grand Champion ribbons! Grace won a purple ribbon for her doll, and I won a purple for my recycled jean bag and my Garlic Parsley Goat's Milk cheese.

Cole and Grace showed rabbits for the first time ever.

Yay! Blue ribbons!

Rob got to work for the Dairy's booth one day.
And of course we all enjoyed the critter barns.  

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Just some thoughts, prayers, and promises during this journey of grief.

Not sure where to start as it's been a few days since I have been able to write, so I'll start with today and try to get this out of my system, hopefully then go on to the good stuff from the past week.

Today's tough. I knew before I got out of bed that it would be a tough day. Little bit's of the week's joy were broken with the tears, the remembering, the missing. But today . . . I'm trying to pinpoint just what it is.

Probably that it was Rob's birthday yesterday. Probably because he had a tough morning having a first birthday without Trent here. Probably because I am too stubborn to let a day like my husband's birthday let me go down, so I wait until the day after. Everything is setting me off today~ picking corn, seeing pictures of children who aren't even mine on the Internet, realizing we passed another month anniversary, looking up and seeing Micah wearing an old shirt of Trent's that he found who-knows-where, seeing the bunkbed that was taken apart and is still sitting in the hallway waiting to go to the garage, finding a football in the yard and remembering the day Trent bought it at a garage sale with his own money and remembering again, and again, and again that it is football season and how we looked forward to games and practices and Trent's excitement this fall, or maybe it's the fact that school needs to begin in a couple of weeks and I don't want to see a schedule without Trent's name on it. Or maybe I'm just tired of everybody being sick and I'm feeling behind on everything from the lawn mowing, to keeping up with the budget, to figuring out what-in-the-world to cook for supper, again.

But the whole week hasn't been that way. It has been a good week, actually. A week of remembering the Promises. A week of joy for a son in heaven. A week of trusting. A week of seeing God's work in action. A week of realizing (just a bit) the bubble that God has us in, where we are being uplifted in prayer, and His grace really is sufficient and being poured out beyond measure.

Did you know that Jesus longs for His children to be with Him? In John 17:24 He says, "Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am." I have been pondering those words, cherishing them, loving God more for them. He knows our longings. He feels our hurt and the depth of our missing our son. He longs for us that way. In God's sovereignty, the waiting is necessary. One day, one day. . .

Isaiah continues to be my steadfast place of joy and hope. God has used those verses over these past six months to encourage me greatly. I am led back there again and again. "I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:9-10 "For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Do not be afraid, O worm Jacob, O little Israel, for I myself will help you," declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel." Isaiah 41:13-14

I have been thinking about the honor of suffering lately. Not just suffering, but suffering as God's children, suffering under His hand, suffering for the advance of the gospel. Zechariah 13:9 keeps coming to mind:

"This third I will put into the fire;
I will refine them like silver and test them like gold.
They will call on my name
and I will answer them;
I will say, ‘They are my people,’
and they will say,
‘The LORD is our God.’”

Somehow I am trying to understand this verse from an eternal perspective. How easy it is to look at this temporary world and think that it is eternal. Eternity is real. This God is real. What He says is real and it is what He is going to base and judge everything on. The realization that He chose me to be put into the fire, to be refined and tested, for the purpose that I would call on His name and have no other hope, to wake me up, to shake me up, to reveal Himself, to prove Himself, to bring glory to Himself, to proclaim hope through my pain . . . what a thought.

And then to realize that I am not isolated here on a little island by myself. God is not only working in our lives with Trent's death. He has caused hundreds, I would even venture to say thousands just from the numbers I know, to consider eternity, their own and their children's, through one twelve year old boy entering glory. How many of them have ignored the opportunity for salvation? But then, how many have been impacted to live for Christ? To change their motives and desires and focus them heavenward rather than worldly. How many children's lives have been changed forever because God has gotten a hold of the parents through this?

Our lives where changed six years ago when close friends lost a young daughter in an accident. The way I live and parent and love my children and trust and long for God is different because of that day. I never thought I would be that mother with that kind of a story to tell for eternity. I never expected this kind of a gift from my Creator. I never knew He was this good.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Ride #30 Baby!

For the past few years the girls and I have been setting riding goals for ourselves. We have this little theory around our farm that the critters need to pay for themselves one way or another, and the horses get by pretty easy the way it is. Being that we enjoy having them around so much we have appeased Rob by at least riding them a significant amount so that he is happy to load hay for them. This year we set our goal at 30 rides~ and we're there, baby!
We haven't done many long trail rides this year, mostly short jaunts, but 30 short jaunts add up quick.
This afternoon the girls and I took the horses out back to check if the electric fence was all up so we could open the gates and let the cows out to graze on the back pasture.
Very few bugs, cooler weather, calm horses . . . what else could you ask for? I even fixed a couple of insulators from horse back~ I felt like such a cowgirl!Alexis had a little bridle-breaking mishap half-way so we let the horses loose and walked the rest of the fence on foot.
Then we opened the cow gate and called "Come Boss! Come Bossy!"
And they came.
There's hardly a prettier sight to a farmer than cows grazing in a pasture of belly deep grass.

Farming on Faith

God really does love His children and longs to give them good gifts. It will never cease to amaze me the ways that He chooses to reveal Himself in our lives. Today was pig loading day. Four of our eight pigs were scheduled to head into the locker plant via a big truck and trailer at 6:30 a.m.. Rob usually handles the loading of critters, but as the clock kept ticking and he had to get to work, my name was getting higher on the list.

When the truck finally pulled in the driveway the driver was not too happy as his morning hadn't gone so well. His comment: "I have faith that these pigs will load easy because they always do here." Rob replied, "That's what I prayed for, too." Would you believe they opened the gate and those four 250+ pound pigs walked single file right into the loading chute and up into the trailer? They shut the door and the driver handed over the cutting slip. Thanks, God, for answering our prayers yet again!

And another farm praise~ not a brag, but a praise, 'cause it's certainly not us. We have the most beautiful corn and soybeans growing in our fields this year. Many people have commented that they haven't seen nicer crops. Our secret? Prayer. We don't farm the land, my brother does, so we pray for him, too. It drives our farmer neighbor crazy to watch them grow so tall from across the road. So we pray for him, too. Thanks God!

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Crimenys! Do you know how many times I have washed these shorts of Trent's since he died? I think there's a little laundry issue going on at our house. I guess that's what you get for letting a 10 year old be in charge of putting laundry away!

Saturday Morning Ramblings

"God whispers to us in our pleasures,
speaks in our conscience,
but shouts in our pains:
it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world."

The Problem of Pain, C.S. Lewis

It's funny how God keeps bringing things over and over and over again in our lives. I have been pondering this quote by C.S. Lewis for weeks now, and then was reminded of it again when I was reading about Elijah in 1 Kings 19 yesterday.

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart
and shattered the rocks before the LORD,
but the LORD was not in the wind.
After the wind there was an earthquake,
but the LORD was not in the earthquake.

After the earthquake came a fire,
but the LORD was not in the fire.

And after the fire came a gentle whisper.

When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face
and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

I Kings 19: 11b-13

Elijah had ran. For more than forty days he had ran. Did he think he could outrun God? I realized I have a tendency to run from God. But God has a way of getting our attention so that we have to stop running and consider Him.

You've got my attention Lord; I'm listening. I have seen Your mighty deeds. I have witnessed Your strength. I have heard Your whisper.

I feel at times like God has me backed up against the wall of that rock cliff with nowhere else to go except to turn around and face Him. "What are you doing here, Terri?" He asks.

Why do I run? Have I forgotten what His word says? Have I forgotten the cross? Have I lost hope? Have I turned to myself and this world for everlasting joy? Have I given in to the temptation to trade the treasures of this world for the treasures of heaven? Have I given in to doubts? Do I think He doesn't know what He's doing? Do I think He won't be enough?

I'm not sure most days how to go beyond missing Trent. I don't want to not miss Trent.

My head is pounding from a summer cold. Grief is harder with added exhaustion. I have been letting myself cry, though. It is easier for the tears to flow and it is easier for people to see them flow. I have rarely felt vulnerable enough to let myself cry in front of anybody, even Rob. It's just the way I am; I barely cry to start with. What I have found are arms that hold me, gentle hands that wipe away the tears, and whispers of God's promises. And then, the tears do finally stop.

Alexis is amazing. Oh, how God has used that young lady. He has been using her to reveal Himself to me throughout her whole life. So often I try to hide my deepest grief and pain from the kids, but God tells her even when I can't say it. I was cooking supper on the grill the other night and heard the door open behind me. She came out on the deck and just quietly stood off to the side, under the eave as it was raining. I turned around and looked at her and asked what she was doing. "God just told me to come out here," she said. And I had just been praying for God's strength.

And talking about cooking. . . who ever knew grief was such a good diet plan? I stepped on the scale this morning and realized I have lost close to fifteen pounds in the last six months. I am nearly down to post-highschool/pre-baby weight. Guess I don't have to worry too much about that double chin anytime soon. I will be expecting Maddie to pull in with a pot of some kind of kitchen goodness and spoon feed me pretty soon if she catches wind of it. Man does not live by bread alone, do they my good friend? God has been my sustainer. I have longed for Him more than food.

And on to expectations. I feel like I have two heads most of the time when I go anywhere local. Do I talk about Trent, don't I talk about Trent? Does this person know, or do they really not know? Do they want me to say something first, or don't they want me to talk about it? It's so odd to stand around and talk about the weather with people when eternity is on the line.

I still hardly feel like I can put together enough words to carry on a real conversation with most people anyway. There are the one's that have walked this walk with us and we end up closing down the church when we are together. But most people don't know what to do or what to say. I guess I don't know what to do or what to say, either. I don't know if I am expected to act like the grieving mother, or the pious religious woman, or the crazy God lady. I don't know why I care so much about what I think everybody thinks about me, versus what God thinks about me. And then I have heard of a few people who think too highly about me, and I like that even less. I am no different, no better, and no higher; God is only using me in the way He chose.

Maybe someday life will be normal again. Maybe someday I won't be scared of melting into a crying fit while standing in the dog food aisle at the local Dollar store. Maybe someday I will be fifteen pounds on the other side of that scale and will worry again about that double chin.

I'll finish the ramblings with a little more C.S. Lewis because once I started reading his quotes (from here) I couldn't stop.

"Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done..."
--from a letter "To Mrs. L." (50)

"100 per cent of us die, and the percentage cannot be increased."
--The Weight of Glory

"[God] is not proud...He will have us even though we have shown that we prefer everything else to Him."
--The Problem of Pain

"God will look to every soul like its first love because He is its first love."
--The Problem of Pain

"When you invite a middle-aged moralist to address you, I suppose I must conclude...that you have a taste for middle-aged moralizing."
--The Weight of Glory

Friday, August 19, 2011

Life's All About the Fair Ya Know!

The Fair tradition has been going on in our household for several years now. Every year we wonder, "Why do we always do this??" But then every summer we do it again. This year wasn't so bad, considering that last year we had over 200 entries. And, being I am a procrastinator at heart and must enjoy the thrill of seeing just how many things I can accomplish in three days before the Fair starts, it turned out to be a busy week. There was as much character growth as projects completed this week~ myself included! I always try to appreciate all of the new learned skills that the kids get to try, lots of them things that we wouldn't do on a normal basis. Micah was excited because this was his first year to enter. There was lots of baking, cheesemaking, drawing, and quilting.

Photography, of course.
I have been wanting to make one of these cute little bags for months now, anyway, so the Fair was a good excuse.
Grace entered a bag and a doll and amazed me with her new-found sewing skills.

Lot's of posters and drawings and writing.
And a first for this year~ rabbits.
Yet, as much as I strive to live in the here and now, Trent isn't here. I won't go on lamenting over every little thing he isn't here for, because "Better is one day in God's courts than thousands elsewhere". I won't go on about how difficult it was to pull out the fair money that the kids each saved from last year to buy wristbands for the rides, or how Trent wanted to make sure that his best friend Thomas had a wristband, too, this year. I won't go on about how hard it is to ponder that there was no way to realize that this year Trent wouldn't be here to use that money or ride those rides. I won't go on about how difficult it was to stand at that table labeling all of our projects and not looking to see where Trent was. Or how hard it was to watch the ferris wheel go around without him on it, or how difficult it was to sit at a picnic table and eat the Fair food that we only talked about last year. Or how much I miss him, yet trust God's work and only want to be in heaven myself. Seeing the prizes today will be a joy, but I look forward to my eternal prize even more. By God's grace I will do this "first", too. Now.... off to the fair to see my son and daughter experience a good "first" in their lives. Rabbit showing here we come.

Same Chair, Different Daughter