Friday, March 27, 2015

God's Mercies after Suicide~Saint Patrick's Day Upon Rising



 
photo by Jean Ann Williams

Upon Rising

"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty."
—Psalm 91:1

We got up that first morning, anticipating our older son Jason’s arrival from a distance of five hundred miles.
     
We found out later he had stopped in the night to sleep for three hours, and then drove the rest of the way to our home. At six a.m., we opened the door to his knock. His mouth was turned down, and he was ready to sob. His blue eyes were dulled by shock. We, his parents, collapsed into his arms in childlike abandonment. The three of us sobbed within our huddle.
     
Jason’s wife and their three children gave us a few moments to talk with Jason, and then they got out of the vehicle. I hugged my grandchildren, hung on a bit too long, and kissed their faces. My daughter-in-law stood before me, with a pale and wounded expression. The baby she carried inside her belly was barely six months in gestation. My grandchild moved the moment we embraced. Thump. I felt the baby smack against my stomach.
     
I drew back in surprise. “The baby kicked me.”
     
My daughter-in-law stared at me, waiting, I’m sure, for me to sob. Right then, though, my heart felt glad. I thanked God for the unborn child who grew inside the warm and safe place she called home. I sensed this child would be strong of character.

Even in our time of sorrow, Lord, You give me hope for the future by way of a kick from a baby in the womb. In Jesus’s name, I thank You. Amen

A Mother’s Memories

I have stored in my heart my two boys asleep on the bed together when Joshua was a roly-poly five-month-old.
     
It often happened that spring and summer that they napped in the same bed. Jason would sing Joshua to sleep with a Jesus song. Later, I’d take a snapshot of the two in a snuggled position. I have one picture of Jason’s back to Joshua, and Joshua’s leg slung over and resting on Jason’s side.
     
At those moments, my eyes glistened for joy and the honor of being their mother. Of seeing my two sons bonded, the younger learning he could trust the elder.

Father, You’ve blessed me with two sons, and I’m most joyful. In Jesus’s name. Amen

Reader Journal

~Your Mother Memories~

~Your Prayer of Praise~

~A Scripture of Encouragement~

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

God's Mercies after Suicide~Saint Patrick's Day


photo by Rachel Lyn Wilcoxin




Saint Patrick’s Day before Dawn

"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
—Isaiah 41:10

My husband and I woke long before dawn the next morning from a night of fitful dozing.
     
Saint Patrick’s Day had been a time to consider our Irish heritage, but Joshua’s soldier heart had left the battle of life on Earth.
     
I leaned against the headboard and sobbed. Within minutes of waking, the phone rang at my bedside table. Candy Arlington, the coauthor of the suicide survivor book Aftershock, was on the other line. When she identified herself as a friend of a friend, I said, “Please, pray for us right now.”

She began to pray the Lord’s Prayer loud enough for both of us to hear. And I will never, ever, forget how comforting that moment was. God’s tender mercy came in the form of a person, Candy, to meet with us in our loneliest hour.
     
I knew right then, God heard us and saw our need.
     
After the prayer, Candy spoke reassuring words and ended the call by saying she would mail her book to me. Later, I would find hope within its pages. As I read Aftershock, it became clear to me that countless mothers had been losing children since the beginning of time.
     
Eve lost her son Abel, and I had lost my son Joshua.

Father, You sent Candy to us. A divine appointment. You use Your saints to show how much You care and to prove You will never leave or forsake us. In Jesus’s name, I’m grateful. Amen.

A Mother’s Memories

Within two weeks of bringing him home from the hospital, Joshua caught his first cold.
     
More colds and ear infections followed throughout his first winter. The side effects of the antibiotics tore at his stomach.
     
When Joshua was four months old, we moved out of the house for two days and a night and had the house sprayed for fleas, thinking that these insects had caused the red welts on his body. The next morning he had a fever and was covered with even more dime-sized welts.
     
My husband picked up Joshua’s bottle of liquid antibiotics. “What’s in this?” When he read the label and saw that it was cherry flavored, he said we had to take Joshua to the hospital.
     
The doctor ordered a blood test. The results showed Joshua had an infection in his blood system, most likely caused by the cherry flavoring. The doctor prescribed a mint-flavored antibiotic, warning us to allow no other flavoring in Joshua’s medication.
     
I sighed in relief and took my baby home.

Father, thank You for hearing my prayer to help Joshua. In Jesus’s name. Amen.
Reader Journal

~Your Mother Memories~

~Your Prayer of Praise~

~A Scripture of Encouragement~

Monday, March 23, 2015

God's Merices after Suicide~A Short Time Later



Our family when Joshua was 15 years old



A Short Time Later

“I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.”"
—2 Samuel 12:23

The gurney that hid Joshua’s body inside a black bag rolled into our living room. The young men attending paused.
     
I stood. Their eyes grew wide as they watched me, mother of Joshua.
     
The men bowed their heads and rolled my son toward the front door.
     
I reached Joshua before anyone could stop me. “Wait!”

Looking down to where my son’s head lay hidden, I unzipped the plastic to see his gentle and now peaceful face. “Good-bye, my son.”
     
I kissed his forehead. “I’ll love you forever.” I kissed his lips.
     
The emergency people made a move. Joshua’s death bag zipping shut crackled and echoed.
     
No, no, no! I’m not done.
     
The wheels of the gurney stumbled over the threshold of the open door. At the sound of its rattle, my soul shattered into a zillion pieces, and I dropped to the floor.
     
Hands grabbed. Hands settled me on the sofa. I choked on my sobs, not able to catch a full breath.
     
Soothing feminine words. “She’s getting too hot.” A cool cloth reached my cheeks, but I could not stop crying. My throat burned raw with my wailing.
     
My daughter tipped a glass to my lips. “Mommy. Drink this.”
     
Water? Nothing could quench my thirst for my lost child love.

We cannot bear this horror, dear Lord. Hold us. Oh, I know You’re here, God. Hold on to us!

A Mother’s Memories

I enjoyed giving my first two babies lots of cuddling.
     
With Joshua, I showed affection in the same way.
     
Having had problems with milk fever after each birth, I nursed my first two children for only a short time. When Joshua was born, the doctor prescribed a new medication for milk fever that would not ruin my milk. That time, I was able to nurse for much longer.
     
That was a good thing, for my little boy suffered from many illnesses, and my milk sustained him.
     
As Joshua grew into a toddler, he showed affection by patting my cheek and saying, “Ah, baby.”
     
Before bedtime, I had better not forget to give him a hug. If I did, as I turned out the light, he’d say, “Mama!” I would flip on the switch and see his arms outstretched for that hug. Stooping to him, Joshua wrapped his pudgy arms around my neck and squeezed.

I cherish my son, Lord. Thank You for bringing him into our family. Thank You that the older children cherish him as well. In Jesus’s name. Amen
Reader Journal

~Your Mother Memories~

~Your Prayer of Praise~

~A Scripture of Encouragement~