I read a letter Milo & Erin Wilson wrote to their son Josiah at his memorial service last night. Thought I'd share it with you...
The day you were born, your mommy and daddy were so scared. We were scared that we were never going to have the opportunity to see our precious boy none the less hold you. But the moment you were born our fears turned to joy. Mommy got to hear you cry, little did I know that would be the only time I would ever hear your precious voice. Your poor Daddy had to wait in the hall outside the OR because the doctors would not let him in, but he got to see you first, as an entire team of doctors wheeled you by on the way to the PCICU. We waited for hours and hours to hear if your first, of what would be many, invasive heart procedures was effective and we could have you for another day. When the word finally came that the doctors had success and you were stable, mommy and daddy were overjoyed. We remember the feeling so clearly it was a moment of the most real and authentic worship we had ever known. We were just both so aware at that moment that God, your Creator, had granted us another moment with you and we were so grateful. Those first few days were so scary. We were thrust into a world we had never known existed and it was so overwhelming. But the amazing doctors and nurses in the PCICU were incredibly caring and spent so much time with us teaching us about this whole new world. We learned a new language, a new culture, and a whole new way to live, where you make each moment count because you are not guaranteed your next.
When you were 13 days old you underwent your first open heart surgery. The night before, your surgeon told us that we could delay your surgery if we weren’t prepared to lose you. We told him that we would never be prepared. We were once again so scared, we cried and cried over you. We had to step away from you for a moment and take some time to eat. As your daddy and I sat on a bench outside the hospital we prayed and begged God to protect you. God gave us a sign at that point in the most unlikely of ways. In the bottom of our fast food bag was the most perfect, heart shaped jalapeno popper! Mommy and daddy laughed so hard, we were stunned and truly believe that God gave us an incredibly silly sign just so we would laugh and be at ease. It worked! Because of your surgery the next day the staff let us hold you for the very first time that night.
God saw you through that surgery. You did so well and began amazing the doctors with your strength. Those first couple of weeks turned into a month and it was then after several attempts at breathing on your own that we began to realize just how damaged your lungs were and we settled in for the long haul in the PCICU. One month turned into two months which turned into four and on and on. You had some really great days and some really really bad days and the roller coaster ride continued. It continued for 8 wonderful months until this past Sunday when you were so unexpectedly taken from us. Our hearts are breaking because we miss you so much but Daddy and I have said over and over that we were never guaranteed day one with you and yet we got 249 days with you. 249 days worth of love and memories that we will cherish forever.
You have taught us so much in your all too brief life on this earth. The constant theme through all you have taught us is love. You taught us how to love you even though we never got to hear your voice or feed you a bottle . You taught us how to love your sisters more deeply and never take a moment with them for granted. You taught us how to love each other through pain and suffering. You taught us how to love other people exactly where they’re at, if they are broken and hurting or if they are rejoicing because of victory. You taught us to see the beauty in each moment. We will never forget the first time we saw you smile 10 minutes before doctors wheeled you off for your second open heart surgery. It was like you saved it specifically for that moment to let us know you were going to be okay. We will never forget the day you got your trach, when you were 5 months old, and for the first time in your life mommy and daddy got to see your beautiful face, free from tubes. It brought us to our knees as we thanked God for the most precious cheeks that we could now kiss. We will never forget the 3 days we had you at home and we were a complete family of 5. We had begged God for that opportunity and although it was the craziest 3 days your mommy and daddy have ever experienced, we will cherish those moments forever.
We miss you terribly but we are at peace knowing that you are now free from the tubes and the monitors, the medications and the surgeries. You are now whole with Jesus and are experiencing life to the fullest. Your heart is perfect and your lungs are pristine. We rejoice that we will one day see you again and that we will finally hear your voice calling us, Mommy and Daddy.
You are our precious, sweet, angel boy. You are our son and we love you all the way to heaven - and back.
- Mommy and Daddy
Friday, January 29, 2010
Monday, January 18, 2010
Why I'm fasting for 21 days and reasons you should too!
Yesterday (Sunday, January 17) I embarked on day 1 of a 21 day partial fast. I preached a message to our church encouraging them to join me in this spiritual discipline we don't talk about much in the church. But, if Jesus, Moses, David, Elijah, Esther, Daniel, & Paul practiced it, then maybe I should too. Now I know there is never a good time. My wedding anniversary is coming up during this fast. Oh well, no spending 50 plus dollars on a meal this year. We all have things that will be in the way. Nevertheless, we just need to do it.
I believe that fasting is part of the big three. Jesus says in Matthew 6 to give to the needy...when you pray...and when you fast. He assumes you will do all three. I confess I've been doing more like two out of three. You can guess what they are. I enjoy eating!
Here's what I firmly beleive: If you want to experience spiritual breakthroughs in your life, to go to the next level in your personal walk with God- then you must commit yourself to prayer and fasting. Dr. Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade stated, "Fasting with prayer is a spiritual atomic bomb in its potential power."
I need breakthroughs in my life. You do too. I need more of Jesus in my life. You do too. If you've never experienced fasting, then why don't you try it. Are you spiritually dry? Try it! I believe it is a great gateway God uses to draw us closer to Him and allows us to enjoy spiritual breakthroughs in our lives that have been holding us back far too long.
at 1:52 PM
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Lots of information to share with you today...
1. Haiti Disaster Relief
The disaster relief group of the South Carolina Baptist Convention has established a relief fund for victims of the Haiti earthquake. Cliff Satterwhite, director of South Carolina Baptist disaster relief efforts, said "100 percent" of donations will go directly to aid victims and no money will be used for administrative costs.Satterwhite will be part of a conference call at 2:15 p.m. Wednesday with Baptist Global Response and the North American Mission Board as Southern Baptists assess the scope of the tragedy and plan initial responses.
Contact number for SC Disaster Relief: 1-800-723-7242.
2. Awaken 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting begins this Sunday (January 17 - February 6)
Please do everything you can to be here this Sunday as I share everything I've learned about fasting in a two part series beginning this Sunday. We will be joining hundreds of churches all across America in this 21 day fast. As I shared in my state of the church address last Sunday, we've got to break down spiritual strongholds with prayer and fasting. Pastor Ronnie Floyd from his book, The Power of Prayer and Fasting: God's Gateway to Spiritual Breakthroughs defines fasting as "the abstinence from food with a spiritual goal in mind. It is when I pursue the God of Heaven to do something powerful and supernatural in and through my life." I know God will do some mighty things not only in your life but in the life of our church.
3. Church Health (C.H.A.M.P.S.) Collaborative Workshop this Friday night and Saturday morning at Taylors First Baptist
Please let me know a.s.a.p. if you will be attending our workshop this Friday at 5:30 pm in the fellowship hall of Taylors First Baptist. We will meet until 9 pm Friday night. Saturday morning we will meet again from 8:00 am - 12:30 pm. The workshop will be led by Don Matthews of the South Carolina Baptist Convention. Many of you took the church health survey last summer. We will be sharing the results of that survey and will have breakout sessions during the evening.
Childcare will be provided.
For more information or to sign up, please call me (630-9459) or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. We're moving to Blue Ridge High School!
Doors have opened once again for us to move. We will get in on Sunday, January 31. Our worship service time will remain the same. We will have a time of prayer walking through the building and commissioning. On Sunday, February 7, we will officially open our doors to the community again with a "y'all come!" We will do major advertising in the community and will kick off a new message series entitled, "It's a new day for financial freedom."
Please pray for this move and our goal of having 200 people that Sunday on our Big Day! Remember, numbers represent people. We have set an attendance goal in order to see as many people come to know Jesus Christ and as a statement of our faith in God. Goals are simply statements of faith. I believe God is going to do some great things in the life of our church these next few weeks as we collectively pray and fast. Hold on...let's see what God does!
See you Sunday!
at 1:55 PM
Thursday, January 07, 2010
Ridgeview State of the Church Message This Sunday
I am looking forward to being back with you this Sunday as I share my heart and vision for 2010. Years ago, I read a book entitled Good To Great by Jim Collins. He states that all organizations that made the leap from good to great must face the brutal facts. We are going to confront Sunday some of the brutal facts at Ridgeview: the good and the not so good. This is one of the most important messages I will lay out all year. I can't wait to share with you what God has laid on my heart. I also have some great news to share with you. Don't miss this Sunday!!!!!
at 9:24 AM