Sunday, June 8, 2014

Exactly Where I Was

I remember exactly where I was when Jeremiah called to tell me he had been invited to compete in the Warrior Games and the Invictus Games. I was standing in my kitchen looking at a sink full of dirty dishes that should have been washed the day before but when I heard the word London they no longer existed.

It was a short conversation that mainly involved a lot of excited screaming on my end and my brother's even toned, matter of fact, sharing of the facts. Two important competitions in less than a month of each other.

For several days all I could think about was could I get there...was there enough time to save enough money? I vacillated between the thoughts, "I HAVE to go" and "It's ridiculous to think I could go". Besides, I had another trip partially paid for already that was around the same time and I couldn't get enough time off work to go to both. probably just took me a day and a half but eventually, I settled on I HAVE to go. So I cancelled the other trip and my brain started kicking into gear. At every turn and idea I knew the Lord was fueling my creativity.

Fundraisers, t-shirts, this blog. I wanted to help my brother tell his story; our family's story.

In all honesty the fundraiser part of it started out so I could go to London. Is that wrong? Sure, Jeremiah would be competing in Colorado Springs as well but I wanted to go to LONDON!

Turns out I didn't have to worry about how I was going to get over the pond because Jeremiah and Ashley had an extra, paid in full, ticket, which they offered me and I gleefully accepted! All of a sudden the pressure was off but I had already set this fundraising thing in motion so, apart from helping get some family to Colorado, what were we raising money for again?

Then Ashley filled me in on the fact that not all of Jeremiah's training and travel expenses would be covered.

So what started out as an admittedly, partially selfish endeavor has turned into us being able to write them a $300 check for a travel case for his archery gear. And I tell you what, last night when I told Ashley we would have a check for them today, a joy seeped into my chest that I almost didn't recognize.

So, I guess I just wanted to say thank you. You guys are the ones who made that possible.

There is a lot being said lately about Jeremiah and rightly so but this really is a celebration of Ashley as well. She would be the first one to say that the last 4 1/2 years have not been easy, but in the face of all the loss and all the tragedy she has loved my brother well. She stayed when a lesser woman would have left.

She won't be competing in these games. There won't be the potential for her to win a gold medal in London or Colorado Springs this September but as far as I am concerned her treasures are stacking up in Heaven.

So, Ashley, I guess I just wanted to publicly say thank you. Thank you for staying and loving my baby brother well.

I remember exactly where I was when I found out Jeremiah had his first MRI 4 1/2 years ago. I was on the traction table at my chiropractor's office in Columbus, Georgia checking Facebook.

I remember exactly where I was when Ashley called to tell me they were taking Jeremiah to the hospital. I was in my car driving to my Growth Group.

I remember exactly where I was a lot during that first year of Jeremiah's illness, so remembering exactly where I was during all the exciting times of this season is just another blessing of the Lord. Restoring sorrow with joy, tears with laughter, regrets with excitement.

That is what He's who He is.

My favorite thing about this season so far are all of the smiles I am seeing on my brother's face. Even in pictures he looks like a man with purpose.

God is a God of restoration, friends.

I think I had forgotten that in the last several years of my life. Not like forgotten like I didn't know it intellectually any more, but more like my heart had forgotten.

Let Jeremiah's story, our family's story, remind you of the things in your life that need restoring that maybe you have stopped believing God for. I know I have. It can be painful to look back on forgotten dreams and a little scary to begin to hope again.

And then I decided to spend some time looking up verses with the word hope in them. There are a lot of good ones but I landed in the book of Lamentations. Seriously, the whole third chapter resonates. I can't speak for Jeremiah and the rest of our family but it sure resonates with me.
20 I well remember them,
    and my soul is downcast within me.
21 Yet this I call to mind
    and therefore I have hope:
22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him.”
25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
    to the one who seeks him;
26 it is good to wait quietly
    for the salvation of the Lord.

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