Sunday, August 23, 2009

One Day Further....

You know when there is something exciting that you are anticipating you might find yourself counting down the days till said event occurs. For example, tonight there are tons of little 5-year-olds too excited or anxious to sleep because tomorrow is the first day of Kindergarten... their first day of school with big kids. Or the teenager who is just a few weeks from turning 16 and being able to show his/her independence by obtaining their drivers license, and the thousands of first year college students who will, over the coming weeks, uproot themselves from their hometown and will plant themselves in a completely new city, state, and/or country to begin their education that will help mold their future careers. Those are the ones you know are counting down the days till a new chapter begins... or a new sense of "freedom" is found.

But what about those times that you may find yourself secretly counting down the days, or it may find its own way across your mind/heart. That's where I've been over the last few weeks. Some know what is going on, many don't... and that's okay, I share it with you my dear readers because after all it is a matter of my heart : )

As of yesterday (Saturday, August 22, 2009) Nathan Ryan reached the age that his older brother, Billy Jr. was when he died. Which means today (Sunday, August 23, 2009) he is one day older than Billy Jr. It's kind of a strange feeling. Mostly because the last time I held and loved on sweet Baby Billy he was only 2 months old. Nathan is laughing and cooing and playing with me and I can feel him and love on him at 5 months of age. I didn't get that opportunity with Billy.

I'll make this short and sweet, it is not my intention to bring pain to anyone's heart, but rather hope and peace... We (my family) are so blessed by the birth of Nathan Ryan and the joyful heart that God has placed within him. These last few weeks have been bitter sweet and I treasure all the moments I shared with Billy and I trust that he knew who I was. In the same way I treasure every single moment with Nathan (even the moments when he is inconsolable) and I know when he looks at me with his great big smile he knows who I am, that he can trust me. It's hard to cry when you've got this adorable face looking up at you...

Nathan Ryan Darnell age: 5 mos.

" 'For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.' " ~ Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A New Perspective... A New Life

I had the awesome privilege of having lunch with an incredibly wonderful woman of God today. She has been walking through some stuff with me only recently and the revelation that comes through my meetings with her is absolutely amazing and so difficult to put into words... but alas, I will try as I feel led.

We were discussing some life issues and past relationships that I've been dealing with and working through the residual effects. She made a comment about who I was before and who I am now. The revelation that God wanted to share with me through her was that I was one person before my nephew died and now I'm a completely different person. Now, I heard that the loss of my nephew would change me, but I had no idea until just recently. There is joy with that, but at the same time there is some pain. I lost a few relationships in the months that proceeded Billy's death and there are times when I wish that those people could see me now... could see that I did indeed walk out one of the absolute darkest hours of my life, and I walked it out with my relationship with God and my faith intact. Actually I have to say it is greater and stronger than ever before.

I walked away from lunch today feeling reassured and affirmed that I'm on the right path, I am loved, and ultimately I'm good enough... even if it's just in the eyes of the Father. I still can't put everything into words, but I think for now bits and pieces will have to do until the rest of it falls into place. I almost feel at times as though I'm just an observer and for this season of life I have the great honor of witnessing as God continues to build upon my testimony. I'm grateful that the tears I cry now are no longer just tears of pain, but the tears of joy have once again returned... my heart is truly happy, I'm happy and on somedays it is a strange place to be.

My last thought I want to share with you tonight is actually a song. Many of you know me and know that at times life rolls around to a song... and then it plays in my head over and over again and on occasion comes out of my mouth. The song playing in my head right now and on most days is this...

"I've dealt with my ghosts and I've faced all my demons
Finally content with a past I regret
I've found you find strength in your moments of weakness
For once I'm at peace with myself
I've been burdened with blame, trapped in the past for too long
I'm movin' on
I've lived in this place and I know all the faces
Each one is different but they're always the same
They mean me no harm but it's time that I face it
They'll never allow me to change
But I never dreamed home would end up where I don't belong
I'm movin' on

I'm movin' on
At last I can see life has been patiently waiting for me
And I know there's no guarantees, but I'm not alone
There comes a time in everyone's life
When all you can see are the years passing by
And I have made up my mind that those days are gone

I sold what I could and packed what I couldn't
Stopped to fill up on my way out of town
I've loved like I should but lived like I shouldn't
I had to lose everything to find out
Maybe forgiveness will find me somewhere down this road
I'm movin' on

I'm movin' on
I'm movin' on"

~ Rascal Flatts, 2000

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Restoration of a Broken Heart

"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."
~ 1 Peter 5:8

What can you do with a broken heart, when every time you try to pick up the pieces and move on it just falls apart all over again? Who do you trust to close up the wound with a tender touch and a painless stitch? Who do you give the deepest part of your thoughts and feelings in the hopes that they'll understand?

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."
~ Matthew 11:28

Sometimes I obtain the title of a blog before the rest of it comes to me. Yesterday I obtained the title "Restoration of a Broken Heart," and thought for sure it was time to write. However, the rest of it wasn't there so I had to put it to rest for the time being... well, I think the time is now. Of course with every blog I write I approach it with a bit of hesitation. I believe my writing is a gift and I pray that God will use it (whether today or someday down the road) to bless and minister to others... so here I am, with great joy and a lot of gratitude to unsuspecting friends that inspired this & God of course.

I've said this a million times and I believe that I will probably say it for the rest of my life, it is a part of my testimony and what is forever etched on the inside of my heart... my life changed forever on March 29, 2008. That is the day that my sweet 5-month-old nephew, Billy, went home to be with Jesus. As days go by and now over a year later I still have moments where I miss him, but more than that I continue to see what God is revealing and digging out of the deepest part of my soul because of that life changing moment. I still don't have the words for it all yet and that can be frustrating because in the moments where I want to share with people I feel so alone and lost in a sea of people because I suddenly don't know what to say and not sure others will understand what God has done and is doing... I suddenly cannot explain the loss and heartache that has slowly but surely turned into joy and dancing.

It is all a process, and probably will be for a while... all I can say is I'm walking out the "restoration of a broken heart." It starts with just allowing yourself to be completely broken and feel every emotion of every minute of every day despite how others may feel or react to you. Then, when we least expect it is when God comes in (not that He ever left) and slowly and ever so gently stitches the broken pieces of our hearts back together. Just like a deep cut, the stitches come out eventually and what remains is a scar... a story to share with others for the rest of our lives. Billy will always be a part of my life story, the joy he brought to those around him, and the sweet reminder and legacy he left with his family here on earth. I praise God that his parents were able to capture some of the most tender moments on camera and share it with the rest of the world. Sometimes when I miss him the most I go back to those videos and pictures and am gently reminded that he is in a better place, he is happy, joyful, and safe. There is no one that could take better care of that sweet boy than Jesus himself.

As I continue to walk out this restoration I also walk out the mistakes that I made and the poor choices I chose in that season leading up to Billy's passing (and some thereafter)... and the words I was given was this...

"When trying to be someone or something we're not, we find ourselves lost in a sea of unknown."

So I continue to walk through this restoration or refining of my spirit if you will. I face the choices I've made, I find I have not been the girl God has called me to be out of an insecurity and hesitation of what others may see. But then I realize I miss me, I miss who I was called to be, and with a huge leap of faith and great timidity I seek God to find the missing girl inside.

One other thing that I realized tonight as I looked around a room of some old friends and new ones (all of which make up the awesome team that is Team Ecuador 2009), I have a ton of blessings that walked out some of the darkest hours in my life... my friends and family that held me up and interceded in prayer for me when I could not. For that I'm forever grateful and I realize that even when I feel so alone I am not.

"And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast." ~ 1 Peter 5:10

*B and I taking a nap @ his home in Colorado (Nov. 2007), he was 3 weeks old here