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Jan 18, 2010

Edited/Question to Myself...

Edited to Add: I so appreciate the thoughtfulness which with you offer comforting words to me as you read what I write in my pain and loss. To Rebecca S. ~ I think you have recognized something you relate to in me. Perhaps it is because I am also a pastor's daughter and know very well the "ministry life." It is an unfamiliar place to be in...needing ministry from others. Somehow when Andrew was here and even a couple of weeks after he went to heaven, I had finally gotten to the place where I knew I had to rely on the Body of Christ to meet my needs. For that is most often how God meets our needs...through the hands, words and even checkbooks of His people.
For some reason, now I feel that I should be able to "pull it together" enough to at least act like I am "myself" again. To smile at people, even though the gravity of grief keeps my face in a perpetual grimace. To hold a "normal" conversation as though Andrew were just up the street skateboarding with his friends. To freely lift my hands in praise although my joyful emotions are "strait-jacketed." So I just want to thank you, for coming here to check on me, and to patiently read what I pour out. Just like many of you, writing helps me process my life.

And so...I write. I write with Andrew's pictures leaning against the monitor and with his paintings propped to the side of my desk. And in between writing and "doing life" in this house, I wander through the rooms and I see Andrew everywhere. And I ask God to let me really see Andrew in my dreams at night. And I ask God to let me see HIM and HIS purpose again in my life and in my family's life until we are all reunited on the "upside."
My love & gratitude,

~~~~~~~ (photo by Linda Charlene)~~~~~~~~

Question to myself:

Can I learn something from me? I was revisiting my speaking topics a few days ago listed here.

And I wondered, "Can I learn from me?" I developed these speaking topics in preparation of applying to a speaker team. I carefully pulled from subject matter that I had previously taught to women's groups, Life Groups and Wednesday night Bible classes. I reworked, reviewed, researched and wrote.

Just when I was getting everything ready to submit to the speaker organization, 2009 hit! And I do mean hit.

My husband had a traumatic ski accident on Jan. 1, 2009, requring 10 days of hospitalization in CO, skin grafts, hyperbaric treatments and Percoset. I was teaching part time, homeschooling my precious Andrew and all the other things a wife and mother does AND MORE.

Then my husband's pay was cut in half. Then my husband and most of his coworkers were laid off.


And now our sweet boy is in Heaven and who knows when we'll see him again. Soon, I hope.

And so back to my question. "Can I learn something from me?"

I still want to be whole-ly His.

And I want to be diligent in keeping my heart.

I am especially concerned about being a resilient woman in the midst of missing Andrew.

So maybe the teacher can teach herself. I know one thing. I will not let the Enemy keep me down. I grieve and I mourn but I know Jesus is here in the middle of my storm. He never left. I have His promise on that. Every morning, reality hits before my feet hit the ground and every morning the reality of Andrew not being here hurts.

I emailed a friend today to tell her about a speaking opportunity I have (with Alisa) in NC in August. I told her this:

I just don’t feel like I have anything to say, except “You need Jesus.”

“Life is sometimes really hard.”

“And in conclusion, you need Jesus.”

I don’t think that would take longer than 10 seconds to say.

I told Jesus a couple of days ago, "If you give me something to say, I will say it. Otherwise I have nothing."


  1. I don't have the words to communicate my feelings - please know you are in my thoughts and prayers and I know so many others.

  2. Melanie,

    You don't know me. I began following you in the most turbulent of your storms. I have prayed for you and I will not stop. I hope you will not be offended. I am speaking from my heart. Just keep being you and being real. People want to know the truth. Your journey has not been easy, but you are making it through, by clinging tightly to your Heavenly Father for each breath you take. That is what they need to hear...they need Jesus, b/c without him you would have likely drown in your storm! As a mom and grandmother, I believe this to be the truth. I am in tears as I type this...it takes me back to a time when many things in my life were turbulent and just when I thought it could not get worse, my baby sister was tragically killed (20 years ago). I, too survived....only because my Heavenly Father carried me on those days when I thought it was impossible to even take a baby step. GOD will indeed use you over and over and over again...in coffee shops, in grocery stores, and most assuredly at your August speaking engagement! Just keep being real and GOD will use you like you have never been used before.
    Continuing to cling to my Heavenly Father,

  3. Oh, sweet Melanie. My prayers have not stopped for you and your dear family.
    As much as you are hurting, know that you are also encouraging to so many people.
    What more do people need to hear than that they need Jesus?

    big hugs....

  4. Melanie,

    The answer to your question is Yes. I think you already are.

  5. You know what??? You are in the deepest part of your life right now. To lose a child is to lose part of your heart, your very being. But, You have a story that can teach.
    I know...(believe me I know) when you say that Jesus is there in your storm. I don't think I could have made it day to day with out him. The wounds are so fresh for you right now. People say it will get easier. I hope you don't mind me saying this but that is not true. It never gets easier. It is just that you know you are one day closer to seeing him again.
    That hope that we carry with us is what will get you through every day. That and our Heavenly Father's promise. He will fill your heart with things to say. Just like he filled your heart with things to say when Andrew was laying next to you. I know how hard it was with my son. Jesus just gives us the words and and when we listen, ""like you do"" they will be spoken out of faith and pure love.
    I will continue to pray for you. Our boys had something in common. They both had the same diagnoses. Now they are both with our Heavenly father. We will see them again. Until then we need to keep them alive in our hearts and in our life.
    Continue to talk about him. Let the whole world know about Andrew. I think I have told everyone who comes through my path about Jeremy. I will until I am holding him again.
    Gods peace.

  6. I agree with Regina. You have already ministered to people even while you were dealing with this awful cancer. If August comes and you don't have the words, so be it. You will never stop grieving your beloved son, but the pain will not be as intense as time goes on. And yes, Jesus is there with you. In the meantime, let your body, mind and spirit heal. Let the Lord minister to you. Don't rush the process of healing. Lay your head into the lap of Jesus and be comforted. Be assured of continued prayer from me.

  7. Follow your heart. If you're ready to publicly speak again, go speak! But if you're not, don't unless you feel God is telling you too.

    But your ministry is enormous even without your speaking engagement. Your faith in action is speaking to people every day.

    Love you!!!

  8. Oh, Melanie....I found your site by accident, just before Andrew's diagnosis and have prayed and continued to keep you and your family in my thoughts...your faith is so inspiring even walking this current walk "thru the valley". I agree with so many words that have been expressed from Andrea and from the Cathy who lost her son Jeremy...people need to see the reality of your pain, you would not be real if you tried to act as though everything was rosy. People walk thru storms and they need to know...Jesus is the answer in that storm they are in. But it is your pain and your loss that will help them see that what you have is REAL....Jesus is real and not a figment of imagination or some Santa Claus...and they will know because of what they see you going thru. God will give you the words and He will also put the ones there who REALLY need to hear it. My first husband was killed in an automobile accident four years after we were married....its been 30 plus years and there are still times when I don't even know how I lived thru those first few months......But God carried me thru it just like He is carrying you. As you go forth, God will put many in your path that need to hear what only you can share with them. He will continue to use Andrew and the life he lived to glorify Him. Thank you, ...thank you so much for all you share...for being real...and for being faithful...it is a living testimony that our Father is more than enough!

  9. Hi Melanie: Please do not stop doing what you do, sharing your pain. You have ministred to me in ways you can not even imagine. God is still in this. Blessings, Martha

  10. The honest, from the depths of your heart thoughts that you continue to share, keep on blessing me. You probably will be given more chances to share in the future, and even if you don't feel like you have much to share, I believe you have more. You have lived through a great and almost unbearable tradegy. You came out still in love with your Heavenly Father...that is amazing and so encouraging. You are a beautiful vessel and many will want to hear what you have to say.

    My prayers continue for you and your family. This was a beautiful, heartfelt post.

  11. I am praying now for a beautiful word straight to your heart from His...A word for now. I am also praying that the evil one would not steal your words. love you! lisa

  12. Wow...I often think that of myself...I have nothing to say, not necessarily as in being a speaker but rather written word, leading small group, or just in conversation.

    Comforting to hear another soul say it too.

  13. You are so amazingly strong and I so appreciate that you share your deepest thoughts with all of us..the blogging community! 2010 is your year!

  14. Dear Melanie and other bloggers,

    Ms. Melanie, you have ministered and encouraged me, as I have witnessed your walk in faith through all of this.

    I now am walking in my own dark valley. A few weeks back, I found a small lump in my left breast. At first, I thought it would go away. It has not.

    I am 33 years old and the mother of two young children. I am a stay at home mother and I homeschool my children.
    My husband of twelve years, has worked for a restaurant chain for the past fourteen years. Last year, they dropped health insurance for employees(as well as other benefits). We picked up insurance privately for our children (very expensive) but just couldn't afford insurance on us.

    So now, I am scared that I have breast cancer. I did buy a health plan last night and I don't know if we can even afford it. I trust God will meet our needs. I have not been diagnosed, so I hope when I go to the Dr. this is not considered pre-existing. For now, I sit and pray and wait. My mind wonders into dark corners about what could be. I ask God to lift this spirit of fear from me, and be with me as I walk into this battle.

    You are in my prayers continuously throughout my day. Always!

    To the prayer warriors that read here, please please pray for me. I beg you please pray for me. I am not ready for this, but No one ever is.

    Thank you,

    Brandi at bbmommy2.blogspot.com

  15. Melanie,
    I hope this does not sound trite but I want to encourage your heart with what I see in your words.
    I believe God's heart is rising up within me to offer these words to you....

    I've been in a place where I've had to speak to a group of women and had absolutely nothing. I've also been in a place where I have had the opportunity to speak to women and been full of words.

    What I discovered in the place that I had no words was how brilliantly Jesus came... and I had no clue, really. It was one of the most precious times that I hope I never forget. It wasn't about what I had in me of myself to offer. It was about the way He loves to show up in our "nothingness"... It was a ripening moment... What those women got had absolutely nothing to do with me. It was all Jesus.
    It was one of the most beautiful moments in my life.

    I know it will be the same for you... He will come....He will speak... it will be beautiful!

    I am so sorry for your loss...

  16. I was given this prayer when our son Jeremy passed away. I thought I would share it with you.

    I am home in Heaven, dear ones
    Oh, so happy and so bright!
    There is a perfect joy and beauty
    In this everlasting light

    All the pain and grief is over
    Every restless tossing passed;
    I am now at peace forever
    Safely home in Heaven at last

    Did you wonder I so calmly
    Trod the valley of the shade
    Oh! but Jesus love illumined
    Every dark and fearful glade

    And He came Himself to meet me
    In that way so hard to tread;
    And with Jesus' arm to lean on
    Could I have one doubt or dread

    Then you must not grieve so sorely For I love you dearly still
    Try to look beyond earths shadows
    Pray to trust our Father's will

    There is work still waiting for you
    So you must not idly stand
    Do it now, while life remaineth
    You shall rest in Jesus' land

    When that work is all completed
    He will gently call you home
    Oh, the rapture of that meeting
    Oh, the joy to see you come.

    Love and prayers to you and yours

  17. By the grace of God go I (us)...Jeff, what a beautiful comforting poem.

    Several yrs ago, a local woman who lost all three of her daughters in a car accident on the way to the grooms dinner of their brother (who got married the next day) spoke (1 yr after the accident) It was the most powerful testimony I have ever heard.

    Only Jesus.

    I love you Melanie, for sharing your heart so openly...

  18. Sis, let Jesus hold you, love you, and gently comfort you right now. The words will come through Him, when you are ready. I love you.

  19. You have a lot to say and to share. Your ordeals have been overwhelming, and yet you have maintained your sanity and your faith. There is much that not only you can learn from you but that many others can learn from you. What do you have to say? Share your story, as you have here!

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  21. Sweet Melanie, you are clinging to Jesus and holding on so tightly, exactly as it should be.

    I respectfully would like to offer my thoughts concerning the speaking engagement. I do hesitate though because I can't imagine the depth of your loss and who am I to give counsel? Lovingly though, I encourage you to share any message that God gives you, but also to allow yourself the time to grieve and to allow people to minister to you. I suspect that every person that is at the conference will want to shower you with support and love. There will also be some that will be in great need and it will be a discipline to not allow yourself to want to rescue them. That is where you will have to guard your heart.

    I was very close to my Mother and she died suddenly while teaching a Ladies Bible Study. I loved her so much, she was my best friend, mentor and a sweet, Godly woman. I found that I could not pray for the longest time. I would close my eyes and say the names of God and think about Him. Thats all I could do. The grief was paralyzing. Oddly enough, I also lost my ability to sing like I used to. I was a first soprano, but lost my voice. (Now I make a joyful noise). In my nievete' I thought that I would grieve and it would be over. It doesnt work like that.

    I encourage you to take it slow and let God do His perfect work in you in His time. His Word and Truth has been deposited into you all of these years. His message will come through, even if all you say is Jesus. You need Jesus. That is the essence of scripture and our hope, isn't it?

    Please rest and allow yourself to walk slowly in this new foreign land you are in. Let friends and family minister to you. In time, your voice will emerge.

    "Be Still and Know That I am God."

    Praying for you...

    Love and Blessings,
    Rebecca S.

  22. Aloha Melanie,
    I am so sorry to hear about your son Andrew, I found your blog as I was visiting my friend Joy in the burbs. It's okay if you don't have too much to say. the Lord will surely let you know when the time is right to say whatever he puts upon your heart to say. The best thing anyone ever gave me in my life's journey was Jesus.

    God Bless you my sister and may God's comforting arms hold you ever so close even in the midnight hours when sleep does not come easy.

  23. Dearest Melanie...You and your family are in my daily thoughts and prayers. Your faith moves and amazes me...I pray that God would comfort and lead you through this difficult time as only he can do..
    Love you........Jerelene

  24. You are an absolute inspiration. I'm left speechless.

  25. Dear Melanie, I was going to write this earlier and your addition to this entry confirmed what I was thinking should've been shared. PLEASE give yourself time. Pulling yourself together?...now?... no. You need to heal and you need much more than a month. I suspect so many others are telling you this too so I will just add to that. Dear Melanie, you continue to be an inspiration. Thank you for sharing yourself with us in your heartbreak and grief. I hope your kids and husband are ok too. Love, Lisa V.

  26. I just wanted to come by to let you know that I think of you and what you are going though often and lift those thoughts to the God of all comfort.

    I remember what it like when my dad passed away. I was very close to my dad. As I was trying to tell my grandma that he had passed away, I realized that it would be harder for her to bear than it was for me because she was his mom.

    The healing takes time but it does come. For a while you may feel as though the world is going on all around you (when it should be at a dead stop) and you are not really part of it. That feeling will diminish too.

    I've probably already said too much but wanted you to know you are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Much love!

  27. Dear Melanie,

    I know that each day is so hard for you, but I am so thankful for you and your testimony, your words of encouragement, your transparency, and your true self that you share with all of us. I am sure that it feels like you have nothing to say, but you have blessed me and lifted me up more than you will ever know. Just follow your heart, God will put the words you need for others. God keeps speaking to me that "This is the year for having ears to hear, eyes to see, and hearts to understand." Believing that for you also.

  28. will be back to say something if He gives it to me...and He will. I love who you are Melanie. You are more than a message girl. Much more. b

  29. The words will come. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but they will come and when they do, you will know it. Its okay not to have anything to say, you've just been through a storm and though it has passed it has left a trail of tears in its path. When the time is right for you to speak you will know it, the Lord will whisper the words and you will know what to say. (((hugs)))

    "You keep track of all my sorrows.
    You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
    You have recorded each one in your book."
    ~Psalms 56:8

    Praying for you,

  30. Hi Melanie :) I continue to be so sorry for your family's terrible loss and have prayed and prayed for you all. You made this post on our Daughter's Birthday ... a day that she now celebrates in Heaven where she has been for 2 years and almost 9 months. We have no other choice but to accept God's will for our children's lives and trust in Him with all our heart and all our soul. He wanted Andrew home with Him, but He wants you here on Earth to continue to share your tremendous love for Him. Although your heart hurts more than most people could possibly ever imagine, your Faith has been steadfast. You, my dear, are living life the way God intended it to be lived. I do not believe that your heart will ever completely heal; but I know for certain that God will lead you and your family to brighter and happier days ... He will also give you the gift of allowing Andrew to remain in your hearts always. Take it one day at a time my dear ... God will light the way.

  31. Melanie, please let Britt and Gina know I am praying Psalm 27, Andrew's Psalm over them today. lisa

  32. You know I love your heart and your transparency. One of things I love most about your words here is the idea that we all are processing our thoughts through our words in blogland. So true. In doing so, sometimes we're misunderstood... almost not "allowed" the processing, especially if it deals with issues deemed "unpleasant" or "better left unsaid" by the Christian community.

    Faith out loud and on display. That's how I choose to live it; that's why I love your heart so very much. You've given all of us a precious window into a tremendous grief. We must bend to it, learn from it, walk away from it with a greater understanding about we move forward in our life with Jesus.

    Oh, and I also love that Andrew sits right beside you in his photographs as you write. I think that a very good way in which to pen your heart.


  33. Melanie:


    Choosing JOY, Stephanie
    JESUS ONLY in 2010

  34. Hello Melanie,

    I woke up during the night and you were on my mind. Just want you to know I am praying for Gods love to be like a soothing balm to your soul. I suspect you had no idea of the depth of your soul until now. But Gods love reaches deeper. It will take time. Jesus tells us to mourn with those that mourn and rejoice with those that rejoice for a reason. He knows we will all experience the gammet of emotions at some point and both are permissable. Mourning is a place you will live for some time. That does not mean that you won't have joy as well. Even Jesus asked the Father, Why have you forsaken me? Seperation from those we love brings uttermost pain, we were not meant for death, God created us for life. Death is Satans assault on us, but God brings life, so yes, He is the Victor.

    Dear Sweet Melanie, we mourn your son Andrew with you. And you should take the time, how ever long it takes, to grieve. Grief afterall, is your celebration of his life. And joy will come in the morning. He promises it is so.

    He is holding you in His Arms,
    Rebecca Spencer

  35. You are an amazing human being, sharing with all of us your deep, deep sorrow over the loss of your beautiful boy. May the good Lord hold you in his loving arms as He is now doing for Andrew. I will keep adding my prayers.