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Aug 26, 2010

What Would You Like To Hear?

Edited to add: (Thank you so much for your feedback. It's helping me. It really is! I'm feeling like a woman inspired. Please continue to add your input.) 

In about 3 weeks I will be speaking in front of an audience again for the first time in a year. I was scheduled to speak at a ladies' annual tea in the Baltimore area last September. However our world turned upside down when a year ago this same week in August we received the crushing news that our wonderful youngest son, Andrew, had brain cancer.
Andrew and Avery in background ~ just a few weeks before the diagnosis and without any symptoms

At the beginning of this month I asked God to help me (and our family) survive this month. I anticipated there would be some very hard moments, especially as we neared the actual "anniversary" week of the diagnosis.

Flashbacks of hearing the pediatrician give me his opinion of why Andrew had lost the use of the fingers on his left hand feel like a punch in the gut. The doctor had examined Andrew, then sat on his rolling stool at a computer screen. He talked as he scrolled through some information. Then he swore. "Damn!"

And I knew it was bad.
Andrew at Shands (3rd surgery) ~ a visit from Ted

I wanted to shield my beautiful 12 year old son, my baby, from ominous news. On the way from the office to a quickly scheduled mri, we held hands. I remember telling him that everything would be okay and we would find out what we had to do-do it, and no matter what...we were in it together.

I never could have imagined that day, that within 4 months, we would see Andrew's body lying in a casket. The last thing I did, before they asked us to leave the body and drive to the grave site, was to ask for a pair of scissors. My pastor brought me a pair.
I remember the quizzical, somewhat fearful, expressions on the faces around me.
I took the scissors and cut a piece of Andrew's hair. I needed a part of his physical self to keep with me.
I put the hair in a tithing envelope.
When I got home a few hours later, I put the envelope in my jewerly box - the one Andrew picked out for me for Christmas a year before.

And now it's been one year from the diagnosis and 8 months and 11 days from his passing to Heaven.
On spring break vacation with Dad in the pool

And in a few weeks I will stand in front of a group of wonderful women. Women who knew the storm we lived through. Women who fasted, prayed and gave a love offering to our family.
And I will speak.

So, I ask you, if you were sitting in that audience on September 18th, what would you want me to talk about?
Are there any questions you would ask me?

Yes, I have prayed. Yes, I have studied. Yes, I have thought about what to say.

The theme is "A Woman Inspired."
(There is an online conference site with this name but there is no connection between it and the tea.)

What a happy day! Mother's Day '09


  1. Melanie, what I would love to hear is how God provided you with the strength moment by moment. I can only imagine what it would be like to lose a son. I'm sure there were moments when you must have crumbled in pain. But how did you get up again? Were there any examples of how God provided just what you needed for that moment? I would also want to know how to provide love and comfort to someone going through such a devastating loss. Many people don't know what to say and I think sometimes it's actually better not to say anything but to just be there for the person. These are questions that only someone loke you who has walked through this valley can answer. And lastly I'd want to ask how you go on. How do you continue life and being a good mom to your other children?

    I hope this helps. I kind of think these women will just want to see that you are OK and trusting God. You bring glory to Him as you've gone through a very devastating time.

    Sending you a hug,

  2. Melanie:

    If I were in the room listening to you, I would want to hear what I've heard on these pages, your heart. I love that you haven't tried to gloss over any of it, but shared the reality of both the numb existence for awhile, and the few words that like a tiny flicker, have become stronger in your heart... that God is God even when we have no feeling or understanding of what He is doing. I would love to hear how hope in Him has allowed you to continue.
    I am so sure that these women will be listening for things that will help them, where they are, or may one day be. I am also sure that they will hear that from you.

    This is a new step in your journey, and I just know God has given it to both you and these ladies, and there will be so much more!



    ...celebrating Andrew with you today!

  3. Hi Melanie.
    I think the last comment sums it up. Go back to your posts since the DX. You never sugar coated anything. That is what I really love about you. You know I have been there and to read what you write is so wrenching but true. That is what I think these woman would love to hear. God gifted you and I believe when you are standing up there. When the moment comes for you to speak. Your words will come out like a song. You are going to do great. I only wish I could be there. I know that this will be amazing!

  4. My dear Melanie, I prayed for your family last night...God put you on my heart around 3am when I was up with my own sweet son. I can't imagine the pain of losing Andrew. If I were sitting there listening, I would just want to hear so much of what you've shared with us here, your heart...the good times, the bad times and the in-between times. I would want to hear all that God has placed on your heart. You have such a beautiful and honest way of sharing, you don't gloss over the yucky times and you are so eloquent in sharing the beautiful times, the memories, the moments shared with Andrew, just like you have here. Your love and trust for our King will shine through, just as your love for Andrew is always so very evident.

    May God continue to bless you as you bless everyone you come into contact with.


  5. Dear Melanie,

    I've been reading your blog since that day and I want to tell you the Lord is shining through you. Prepare your remarks but be prepared for the Holy Spirit to work in you and guide you. The Lord is able to make us stand and stand you will in Him.

    His work is beautiful and I can't wait to meet Andrew and your family in Heaven.

  6. Melanie....I echo the other ladies....your "realness" through your blog posts was unbelievable! I would also share with the ladies how you kept your faith...regardless of anger, doubt, or any of the other emotions you experienced that I can't imagine. As women, we tend to focus on feelings so much....what did you do, when you just didn't "feel" it anymore? I will pray for your presentation...and for you.

  7. Say what you just said. Tell how the Lord was with you through this, tell honestly how sometimes even that didn't seem like enough...be real. That is what they NEED.

  8. I would want to hear anything you would like to share, Dear. I know they love you. I pray God will lead, guide and direct you, and give you wisdom and strength to share from your heart. I know you can do it, and it will be wonderful. Love and Hugs ~

  9. Hi Melanie. Wow, a whole year already. I remember crying so hard for you and him when you shared it with us. I love that you kept his hair. How sweet.
    I would ask you...
    How have you stayed true to God? I know you've probably asked God all the "why's" that have come to you, but how have you not turned your back on the One that could've healed him on earth?
    I just look at you and you keep running Mel. Not just physically, but spiritually. We all go through hardships, but losing a child takes that term to a whole new level and yet you STILL keep running after your King. You still trust Him, believe in Him, but HOW? Or maybe I should ask "why"?.
    You know I love you!

  10. I would want to know how God made Himself visible to you and your family through these times. God is the God of all comfort. How did He comfort you?
    I would want to hear your perspective on eternity. Life is a vapor, what does that mean we should do?
    And I want to know how not to be afraid. Even if mountains were to fall into the sea. What perspective can you share that can communicate to women that God is worthy of our trust with our children, our lives and anything we have to face? Life can be scary and it seems to be getting scarery. It would be nice, if I were one of the women in your audience, to leave with more peace and less fear.

  11. I would want to hear that He is there in the midst of my darkest moments, even when everything tells me He isn't.

    That it's okay to express pain and fears honestly to Him and to our brethren. And that we have to love and believe and pray when our sisters who are in darkness can't. That we can't just close our eyes and pretend their pain doesn't exist.

    I would want to hear that Jesus weeps for us in the dark times. I would like to hear the story of John the Baptist in Matthew 11:2-6.

    But ultimately, I believe He will give you the right words for this time. You are real. Honest. Your words ring true. He will fill you with His Spirit and His love and His breath and you will speak in His strength.

  12. P.S. And Andrew will be right there with you. And he will be so proud of his mama.

  13. I would love to hear everything you shared on the blog....your realness in the storm touched me...

  14. Every time I see your little guys picture on my sidebar favorites my heart instantly saddens. I cannot believe it has been a year since he was diagnosed. I will never forget the nights that I had you and your family on my mind and heart as I prayed for you before falling asleep. As to what I would want to hear you say if I was in your audience? I would want you to tell me how it is that a year later you are still beautiful,you still have a warm, caring smile and you carry on with life...how did God carry you through? And how is continuing to carry you through? You have blessed, inspired, and brought me to tears, while always sharing just how it is and sharing your heart. I have learned so much from this blog and from our Heavenly Father and His promised love and care. I am sure the ladies will leave feeling thankful that they could attend.

  15. After reading all the wonderful comments, I guess we are all on the same boat--REALITY with the assurance that God's Words are true; he will provide what we need when we need it. When trials come, we wonder how we can go through. And yet, we do, because God gives us what we need. I, too, love to hear details how God came/comes to you personally. I love to hear how he uses people and circumstances to bring about his character and nature. He does this for all of us and it is different for all of us. It brings encouragement and hope. Thank you, Melanie, for putting yourself out there and allowing the Lord to use you even when it is going to bring pain and deep emotions. We all know this is a lifetime process but how wonderful to think that God could trust YOU with this trial. He knew when He gave you Andrew that you would be facing something larger than life!!!! We will all agree, with you, that the HOLY SPIRIT will take your heart and speak to the ladies through you.


  16. Mella~
    I think what you have spoken already on your blog would be perfect. Glimpses of those days. I would love to hear you speak someday. You are an inspiration to me friend! Even tho my sadness is different I saw how you walked in the middle of your darkest hours and several times in the darkness of my night I thought of how strong you were in the most horrible nightmare a mother could face and it gave me courage that I too can make it through the valley! Hugs to you as you face this month! I will be praying for you!

  17. P.S. Melanie...
    I just hopped back over here to see what the comments would be... you have to be blessed by what you are reading here, blessed that God has used you during this year, 'in spite of', and blessed that He is still going to use the days ahead, to draw others to Himself through you... even as HE is enjoying Andrew's company day by day!! And I would add a P.S. to your hubby and son and daughter... you guys are Melanie's earthly support system, and I haven't for a minute forgotten that although I feel I know her, the pain has also been yours, and I am thankful for each one of you!!

  18. Melanie,
    I will be praying for you as you go through this milestone. I cannot add anything else to what the others have said. your faith through the storm of Andrew's illness and death has amazed and inspired me. I will pray that God will give you words to speak.

    love to you, sweet lady.

  19. Hi Melanie,
    Every time I visit your site I think, "How did she keep her faith in God after such an incomprehensible loss?". So I would want to hear you speak about that. Also I wonder how your walk with Him has changed since and how your relationships with your husband and children may have changed.

    I will pray for you as your event nears. But I know you will be a blessing.

    God bless,


  20. Sweet Melanie,
    You show incredible joy admidst unimaginable sorrow. Your faith is truly amazing!! Your story and unshakable faith, speak of our all-powerful, all-knowing, never changing, always-loving God.

    I would love to hear how your walk continues to grow in Him and how you have found the Blessings amongst the thorns.

    I love you dear one ~~ Dawn

  21. My precious Melanie,

    I'm just taken back once again by your honesty, your pain, and your great love for Jesus and the body of Christ.

    The ladies would want to know HOW you get out of bed each day, and how you have found the Lord in a new way through all of this.

    What is like to truly fellowship with the suffering of Christ?

    To be poured out and used by Him in the darkest hours, moments of your life.

    What it means to give thanks in ALL things, to know the God who gives and the God that takes away.

    How you stood, when you had no strength to stand.

    I do know this, these women will never be the same after they witness the goodness of our mighty God in your life.

    I know I haven't.

    Love you♥

  22. What I never tire of hearing, your precious heart, and beautiful spirit sis. I love you dearly.

  23. Dear, Dear Melanie,
    If you just stand there and don't even say a word, God will show up and touch lives. Not that I'm suggesting that : ) but truth, is, He is so big in you, that is enough. I agree with the others...just reveal your heart as you are given to do. Women want honesty. They don't have time for pretending everything is great when they are crying out for an encounter with the living God. You know Him. And He is sending you. Prayers over all.
    Love you.

  24. Hi Melanie! The thing that has been on my mind alot, is did you have to "forgive" God? And if so, how did you? I know as Christians we have a lot of head knowledge about God, but the heart...my heart would have a hard time reconciling everything that occurred last year.

    Love to you & yours.

  25. In one of the gospels Jesus talks to the disciples of how they will grieve and mourn while the world rejoices... Then He tells them that He will come to them again and they will have a joy that no man can take away.... Personally I don't think it was a "feeling" joy... but instead I think it was finding God in their midst to be enough...

    I think it would be a great topic to hear of how you found God to be enough amidst the most enduring grief and sorrow you have ever experienced....

    The struggles, the frustrations, the questions... the realness of grief that leads you to search for the "enough"....

  26. I've been thinking of this incredible post for a few days and I can't even begin to add to it. Just you being willing to speak and be used is an inspiration in itself. God bless you as you prepare, I can't wait to hear about it! I pray for you and your family every time I run outside - keep running with endurance!

  27. P.S. Hebrews 12:1-3:) I'm working on memorizing it:)