Finding Joy Through My Tears

This blog is to share my journey with God through the heartache and pain of losing my son, Chandler. An outlet for me of sorts. Follow me on my road of grief to healing through the Lord.

13 Weeks Today…

Its 7:09 pm right now…. 13 weeks ago today, Chandler was pronounced deceased at 7:20 pm. Although, he had actually passed away around 4:00 pm on this day.

My heart is still as broken as ever. I have thought of him all day today, yesterday, the day before that, and so on… Most times, all day, every day. My heart is so heavy this day.

I remember him exactly the way he was before this happened. I remember him exactly as he was the day this happened. I, also remember exactly the way he was after this happened. And, now I remember the emptiness. Of not seeing him at all. Not talking to him.

I often think of how final death really is. When God comes and takes one of His children home, the door is closed. It’s the most final thing I have ever experienced. I do not even begin to understand how final it is. I, only have a glimpse… 13 weeks out, just a glimpse. The thought of an entire lifetime seems eternal. Like it will never get here. I often find myself asking God for 5 more minutes… Just long enough to talk to him again. Tell him more things that I feel like I forgot to say while saying goodbye.

I ask God to give him messages a million times a day. I ask God to give me peace to know that he is ok. I ask God why it had to be my child. I remind God that His Word says that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us when we have no words. That our groans are given to God from the Holy Spirit Himself. Most times, I can’t even get the words out to God on how badly this hurts.

He has given me the knowledge to know that five more minutes wouldn’t be enough. I know that 5 hours, 5 days, 5 years, a trillion years would never be enough time for me to be with Chandler. I guess that is why death is so final. Because, no amount of time will ever be enough.

I try to understand. And, what is so frustrating to me is that I know God’s promises. I know where Chandler is right this very minute. I rely and meditate on God’s Word. And, it does bring me peace. But, this hole in my heart tends to just take over.

I do not understand why this happened that day. I dig for answers and come up with nothing. I do NOT understand God’s plan in this. And, then I feel guilty because I do not understand His plans for this.

But, then I remember… I do not have to understand His ways. I just have to trust Him. Trust Him with the fact that He is now taking care of Chandler. Trust Him that He will protect my sweet Alyssa and Sara. And, I have to trust Him that He will do something with this shredded heart of mine. His Word says that His ways are not our ways. I have to trust that His Ways will help me.

I yearn for Chandler in a way that I cannot describe in words. Even right this second, I can barely take my next breath because I miss him so badly.

I find myself wishing that I had done things differently. If we had just moved when Greg wanted to move when they were smaller, I wouldn’t be right here today. Things would have turned out different. We begged him at one point to go and stay with Greg’s Dad and Stepmom for a while. What would have happened if we had just made him go?

Why can’t I grasp that God’s plan was carried out here? I know that in my heart. I tell myself that his race was finished here. His work was done and it wouldn’t have mattered on where he was or where we lived.

Sometimes, I can accept that truth. Today, I can’t. Maybe, I will tomorrow. I just don’t know.

I wanted so many things for his life. For him to know true happiness. I wanted to hold my grandbabies. I wanted to see him excel just like I knew he would at anything that he did. His heart was kind. He would’ve changed the world.

But, even as I sit here and type this…. I know in my heart that he did change my world. He changed it for the good. Every, single day… it was for the good. We had some rough spots and the last few years were tough but I know that he knows now that everything Greg and I did, we did because we loved him. At times, he thought we were ridiculous but we just wanted him to be ok. We wanted him to be safe.

I know that there were many more things that I feel like I should have done. I talked to him about that 13 weeks ago today as I held his hand by his bedside. I asked him to forgive me.

I just want to say to the parents that read this blog. If you feel in your heart that something is not right with your child, act on it. Your instinct is probably right. Don’t second guess yourself and do something drastic if you need to. Just move. Stand up. Intervene.

I feel so vulnerable and horrible for saying this to the whole world. But, I did not act on some of the flags that I knew in my heart were raised for a reason. I always thought that nothing could happen to my children. I was wrong. One of the major reasons that I decided to do this blog is to speak out. To let you know that you are not sitting here reading this blog by chance.

Someone is reading this today and they have the feeling that something isn’t right with their child. I am praying for you. You can do what you need to do. May God give you the courage and wisdom to stand up and move. Tomorrow is not promised. We only have today.

And, I’m going to have the courage to stand up and ask you all today to please pray for me and mine. We need extra prayers today.

Much love and blessings, Brandi

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This Is Not Our Home…

I truly have to say that I am so very blessed with such wonderful, godly Christian women in my life. There is no way that I could still be standing up today if it were not for them. They listen to me rant, cry, and at times they make me get up and live. They remind me often of what God’s Word says and how I have no choice but to hold on to His promises.

I have one fantastic friend, who always will let me bounce my ideas on what I feel like God is trying to teach me and she will give me her honest opinion. We have been doing that a lot lately. And, as a matter of fact, in the very near future she is going to be a guest speaker on my blog. She is going to give you a very personal perspective on someone watching from the outside during the loss of Chandler. I know it will be wonderful!

Here lately, we have talked a lot about how people come up with the most “churchy” statements that we have ever heard. One of the classic “churchy” statements is, “Just remember, this world is not our home.” Ok, that is true. This world is not our home. But, after thinking this over and over in my mind, I feel like there is a lot left out in this statement.

I was recently listening to a song by Laura Story called “Blessings”. It is a wonderful song. It asks questions in the song…. Strange, isn’t it? But, seriously, that song is straight God-breathed. There is one line in the song that says, “The pain reminds us that this is not our home.” Well, we have talked and talked about that. My friend and I were just talking about the line in the song and we totally just talked about the “churchy” statement, “This world is not our home.”

It suddenly hit me after listening to this song over and over again that we were forgetting the first part of the line. Which says, “The PAIN reminds us that this is not our home.” Well, I am sure that not one of us wants to walk up to someone and say, “Well, I know you are going through horrible pain right now but just remember the pain reminds us that this is not our home.”

But, guess what? That is exactly what we should be saying. Pain in this life can come from all different sources. In my case, it is the death of my son. But, for you it could be marriage issues, financial crisis, a child heading down the wrong path, illness, etc. So, it leads me to ask the question that Laura Story sings about. What if the pain of this life is to remind us that this is NOT our home? Our home, our true eternal home does not come with all this pain. It will have no place in our heavenly home. To me, my heavenly home seems so distant to me. Like, the day will never come. But, it is coming, sweet friends. Another song that comes to mind says, “There will be a day with no more tears, no more pain, and no more fears. There will be a day when the burdens of this place will be no more, and we WILL see Jesus face to face. But, until that day, we will hold on to you always.”

I am tired of all the “churchy” responses. And, as a matter of fact I have vowed that I will not be saying them anymore. Laura Story asks another question in her song. She asks, “What if our greatest disappointments or the aching’s of this life is a revealing of a greater thirst that this world can’t satisfy?” See, I am coming to realize that the world cannot satisfy or help me through my pain and grief. I have to remind myself of this a million times a day.

I have been struggling so much with needing answers to exactly what happened to Chandler. I want to know why he did what he did. I want to know the thoughts that were going through his mind. Why did he even have a gun to his head? I know with everything in me that this was an accident. He did not mean for this to happen. He had no idea of the eternal consequences his actions would have. It has left me paralyzed trying to figure out what happened. But, I am starting to ask myself, “Is my pain and grief to remind me that this is not my home?”

Please, don’t get me wrong. I am not ok with this kind of pain reminding me that this is not my home. Couldn’t there have been something else to remind me? I want my son back. Oh, the changes I would make if I could just get him back! But, what if….. What if our pain IS to remind us that this is not our home?

I watched the Rick and Kay Warren on Piers Morgan the other night and I loved what Rick Warren said when asked if he doubted or questioned God about his son’s tragic suicide. His reply was no, he did not doubt or question God. He questioned God’s plan. I feel that way. I do not understand why it had to be my son in His plan. But, I am determined to see this plan through.

Kay Warren also spoke of a verse that she clings to right now since the loss of her precious boy. I want to share it with you:

“It is the same way with the resurrection of the dead. Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, BUT they will be raised to live forever. Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies.”

~I Corinthians 15:42-44 – New Living Translation

Here is the truth about my sweet Chandler. I am coming to find out a lot of things that I did not know before he passed away. Some, I did know already. And, one thing is he was not happy. He told me so. However, he asked that I just be there to listen when he needed to talk because he was getting older and had to handle his problems on his own. Was he unhappy to the point of taking his life, no. He was not. But, there were pieces and parts in his life that were broken. He was actively trying to find a way to fix those broken places. I know, because he told me.

But, the one thing I do know. He isn’t broken anymore. He isn’t unhappy anymore. He was buried in brokenness and he was raised in glory. Hallelujah! He was buried in weakness but he was raised with strength! Praise the Lord! He was buried as a human body but has raised as a spiritual body!

He now knows this earth was never, ever his home. I think we would all be wise to set our old time “churchy” thinking aside and start thinking eternally. This is not our home. But, as long as we are here, we have purpose here. God has things for us to do. Me, I am going to talk until I am blue in the face about my son. About his struggles. About his unhappiness and brokenness. You know why? Because, someone out there needs to hear it. Maybe someone his age. Maybe a parent who is struggling with the decisions that their child is making.

As I have said before…. What the enemy meant for evil, God meant for good. The enemy cannot silence me from speaking the truth. So, look for more, my friends. I am going to be talking!

God Bless, Brandi

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Women’s Online Bible Study

Hey ladies! I just wrapped up an online Bible Study and I was surprised at how well it went. Bible Study through my blog, participate as much as you can. No weekly meetings… We would gather and discuss through the blog. Just wondering if there is any interest out there. If you would be interested in something like that, please send me an e-mail at branditrent3 @gmail.com. Just want to see what the interest is. Please share with your friends. Just wantedto see what you think. Much love, Brandi

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Lean In… Look Up… Let Go

Have I told you how much I do not like Saturday? Every, single Saturday since Chandler passed away, I go through the day as if it was June 22nd. I look at the clock, watch the times. I think he was ok at this time. I got the phone call at this time. I arrived at the hospital at this time. He passed away at this time. I replay June 22nd every single Saturday. This weekend I have not been out of my house. I have struggled and cried. I have spent a lot of time with God.

I am going to tell you a secret that Chandler would probably not like for me to share. We loved to watch the Lifetime Movie Network together. He didn’t want anyone to know but he loved it. The scandal, mystery. He especially liked the movies that were murder mysteries. I sat yesterday and watched Lifetime Movie Network Mystery movies all day. I held his hoodie and a special t-shirt that I have. They both smell just like him. The girls don’t share our love of the Lifetime Movie Network.

I couldn’t really focus on the movies because I was watching the clock. I prayed a lot. Asking God to show me anything that could help me. In the afternoon, I cried myself to sleep. The very second I woke up, I heard the Lord speaking words over me. Now, please know, I have never heard God audibly speak to me. He speaks to me through my soul. He said the following sentence: “Lean In, Look Up, and Let Go.”

Ok… I get the first two. I have already discussed them on this blog but had no idea that the Lord wanted to put the two together and add a third one at that. I have literally practiced leaning into Him. I had to on June 22nd. I did not have to strive or work hard at it. I just leaned in and He was there to catch me.

The definition of lean is: to rest against or on something for support. To depend or rely on.

I can do that. Now, granted, I have to remind myself a million times a day when the going gets tough to lean in. Stop striving. To stop trying to carry this loss on my own. It’s hard to do when you are in so much turmoil. Grief has so many different emotions and for some reason you feel like you have to carry them all by yourself. But, I feel like I get it when God tells me not to push it, not to strive, to just lean in. I’m good with this.

Secondly, I know I just blogged about looking up instead of to the left and the right. To look up and focus on God, Himself. He has the answers that I need. I have been learning this lesson this week as I have let my emotions completely take over and try to become a detective for the police department. I wanted answers. I wanted truth. I wanted to talk to any and everyone. I spoke to one of Chandler’s friends the other night and actually asked him a ton of questions and as ashamed as I am to admit this…. I was WRITING DOWN what he was telling me. So, I wouldn’t forget one word. That, my friends, is overkill. Did I find answers? No. He gave me peace about how Chandler was doing the last year. He talked about how much he had grown and where he felt like he was. It was a good, peaceful conversation but not worthy of me taking notes! So, the Lord made it plain and simple to me after that conversation that I have to look up to Him for the answers that I need. Honestly, I don’t really like that answer because I don’t feel like He is rushing to give me answers that I feel that I need this very minute. But, He still says…. “Brandi, STOP! You are causing yourself more pain than is necessary. I am the FATHER of ALL answers. STOP looking left to right. Look Up to Me.” I prayed this through with Him and I understand what he means. I understand that He is the Alpha and Omega. The Beginning and the End. He knows all things. I think I can do the Leaning in and the Looking Up.

But, I can tell you right now. We have had serious conversations about Letting Go. I could not believe that He would even ask me to do such a thing. I didn’t get it. I thought about it the rest of the day yesterday and I said to God. “No WAY…. You cannot ask me to let the death of my child go. Why would you even ask me to do that?”

Please know, each blog that I write starts with one topic that God stirs around in my soul. I pray, seek His Word and then He places this burning fire in my heart and I just start typing. What I write comes from things that God is teaching me. I also write from this burning place in my heart that I know that God places there. I haven’t blogged for the last two days because I haven’t had that burning fire to write anything. I have been arguing with God about Letting Go.

I have made a wonderful friend since Chandler passed away. We became friends on Facebook and she lost her son tragically as well two years ago. I feel like the second we started chatting on Facebook that God has placed this special person before me. She has walked the road before me and she absolutely loves the Lord. We have been chatting today on Facebook. I was ranting and telling her about the things that God had lain on my heart. I asked her how in the world was I supposed to let go of losing Chandler. I couldn’t. I wouldn’t.

And, I was also in there telling Greg that I would not do that. And, I would NOT be writing on this blog telling people just to let their deepest hurts and pain go. Just let them go and everything would be ok. I was not going to tell others that because I was not going to do that. It disturbed me. Bothered me. I felt like I was heading right into rebellion and disobedience.

But, I must tell you that before this even started, I have been experiencing something that I knew was going to be very beneficial to me but I just didn’t know when. I am the queen of watching old TV shows on the Inspiration Channel. My favorite is Matlock… I know, I know…. He is just so smart and he finds the truth every time! So, I fall asleep every night watching that show. One morning when I got up, I flipped the TV on and Life Today was on and Beth Moore was the speaker. She was talking about Jacob wrestling with God. It was very interesting and I kept watching it. The next thing I knew, devotionals, books, anything I picked up had this story in it. Then, I was listening to Rick Warren speak in a series he is teaching on right now about grief. You will never guess what story he used in his sermon… You got it! Jacob wrestling with the devil. Honestly, I haven’t thought about this in a week or so.

Well, this afternoon, I was still thinking about God’s request of me to Let Go. And, out of nowhere…. I remembered. Jacob wrestling with the devil. The story is found in Genesis 32:22-32. And, I suddenly remembered the verse that stuck out to me was the following: “I will not let you go unless you declare a blessing upon me.” ~Amplified Bible

Wow…. there was that term “let go”! So, my mind just started turning and turning and I couldn’t hold it in. I needed to talk to one of my Jesus girl friends quick! So, I ran to get my phone and I saw that my friend had texted me back from my message earlier in the day. Here is what she said to me:

I read your blog and I enjoy it. You are so very wise to let God carry you. There is going to be a grieving Mother who comes across this and reads it. She is going to wonder how you are not angry. (This is me brainstorming.) She is going to reach out to you and you will probably lead her and others to Christ. What a wonderful legacy for Chandler’s life. Keep leaning in, looking up, and HE will help you let go. Hold Chandler so close, hold your girls close, hold Greg close, but hold God so close that you can never let go of His peace and comfort. That just reminded me when Jacob wrestled with God and he said, “I am not going to let you go until you bless me.” Praise the Lord.”

WOW! Did you get chills like I did? Cheri absolutely confirmed that for me before I even reached out to her! So…. here are my thoughts. God wasn’t asking me to let go of Chandler. He was asking me to NOT let go of Him until I get my blessing. I totally listened to what I wanted to. I let God start to speak to my soul and then I shut it down. I didn’t even let Him finish. I just heard “Let Go” and felt like God wanted me to just let go of Chandler and move right along. NO!

I urge you to read the story in Genesis about Jacob wrestling with God. Jacob literally wrestled with God. But, it is important that we see that this wasn’t just a physical altercation. This was a spiritual altercation. Hosea 12:4 tells us that Jacob wept and prayed while wrestling. Jacob was overcoming the man and the man touched his hip and made his hip come out of joint. That had to be painful. How did Jacob continue to wrestle with such pain? I think he probably didn’t even feel the pain because he was so determined not to let go without God blessing him. That, according to Matthew Henry’s Commentary is “a divine intervention – it wounded and healed at the same time. Wrestling believers get glorious victories but they can walk away with broken bones.”

I don’t think that Jacob would have given up if all his bones were broken. He was focused and intended on getting that blessing.

See the definition below for bless and blessing:

Bless – to consecrate or sanctify by a religious rite; make or pronounce holy; to request of God the bestowal of divine favor on

Blessing – A favor or gift bestowed by God, thereby bringing happiness; the invoking of God’s favor upon a person

That’s it! I have been wrestling with God since June 22nd trying to understand. Trying to make sense of what has happened to my family. But, I am tired. I am weary. I am heartbroken. I feel like my world is over. But, God wants me to lean into Him, Look Up to Him, and most importantly….. TO NOT LET GO OF HIM UNTIL I RECEIVE A BLESSING!!!!!

It gives a whole new meaning to this. All along, I have kept crying out…. “What the enemy means for evil, God means for Good.” I have cried out to God that I cannot stand if absolutely nothing good comes from this.

I have already started seeing good things. Sometimes, it’s hard to see those as good things when you are going through something like this. You don’t want to see anything. But like my friend, Cheri said…. If someone could see this blog and be blessed and have a revelation…. To God Be The Glory! God is the author here. He has a message for each and every one of you that are reading this.

I am wrestling with God right now. I am holding on. My hip issue is the loss of my son. I know that I will walk away limping and I feel with all my heart that I will limp the rest of my life. But, I am still going to hold on and get my blessing!

You are not seeing this by chance. What are you wrestling with God with? What things are breaking your heart? Dear sweet friends, hold on. Keep wrestling. Do not let go! Do not let go until you receive your blessing!

Love to all!

 

 

 

 

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Stop Looking Left To Right…. Fix Your Focus Upon Me…

I have started thinking a lot about what message I want to be portrayed in my blogs. One thing I know for sure is this…. I do NOT want you to think that I have lost my child and I am just absolutely fine because I have Jesus, That is not how it is….

I struggle most days… well, at this point every day. Some days are worse than others. Yesterday, was one of those days. I tend to do most of my “falling apart” in the evenings. That’s when I have time to just sit down and let the feelings come. I start thinking of all that has happened and how I feel about it. It honestly drives me to think that I am going insane.

I have recently been chasing down anyone and everyone that I think can give me the answers that I need so that I will know exactly what happened. Was there something I didn’t know about? Was Chandler suffering from a deep depression that I didn’t see? What did he talk about with his friends? How can I get these answers that I need? I feel like I can’t move one step forward until I know everything.

I imagine that Job felt the same way as I do right now. He lamented to the Lord and begged to know why every single thing he had was taken from him in an instant. He probably thought most of the things that I have thought. Asking the same questions that I am asking. I also know that Job never really got an answer. He didn’t know that there was a huge spiritual battle going on all around him. He never knew why this had happened to him this side of heaven. And, that, ,my friends is a hard pill to swallow. I feel like I need all these answers and that if I just had them that I would be ok. I tell God this all the time. I ask Him to send me this huge revelation that gives me all the answers that I so desperately seek. He hasn’t. I don’t know that He ever will.

I love the verses in 2 Corinthians 1:3-11. Verses 8 and 9 speak very well to how I feel:

“We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we have suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death…”

No, I am not in the province of Asia, but I am in the darkest, deepest pit I have ever been in my entire life. The pressure is unbelievable here in this pit. It is far beyond my ability to endure. I have despaired of life and at times I have felt like I am going to lay down and die from a broken heart. I feel like I have been given a death sentence since I lost my son. But, I have to choose to keep reading…. Keep looking… The rest of the verse then says:

“But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.”

I had a rough day yesterday. I felt like I had been given the sentence of death. But, the Lord poured fresh words over my soul. I feel that way because I am relying on myself. Don’t misunderstand what I am saying. God does not expect me to walk around like everything is just fine. He is the author of everything! He is the author of grief. Grief has it’s purpose in my life right now.

But, I have to look at the rest of the story…. He wants us to rely on Him, not ourselves. He is a God that raises the dead. So, he can handle my grief. He just has to continue to remind me (non stop I might add) to rely on Him, not myself. When I rely on Him and look UP, not to the left, not to the right…. HE WILL DELIVER ME! And, notice the importance that Paul places on others praying for those of us who are going through these struggles. The Word tells us that “the prayers of the righteous availeth much.” I could NOT stand without the prayers that have been lifted for me, Greg and my family. We could not move without you interceding for us. Sometimes, we don’t even have the strength to pray. We need the prayers of others to intercede on our behalf.

Last night I went to bed crying…. I was heartbroken and needed answers. I woke up with God speaking over my soul. He wants me to stop looking from side to side. He wants me to stop chasing after things that I have no control over. He wants me to look up. To Him.

In life, we may be just like Job. We may never know the answers to the painful things that happen to us or to those we love. Am I ok with that? No, not really. But, I have to trust that God knows best. Maybe, He knows that we can’t handle the truth. Maybe, there is a huge spiritual battle going on around us. If that is the case, I want to do good on God’s team. We do not know why or what is going on when bad things happen to us. But, we need to look up. Fix our eyes on Jesus. The one that can deliver us.

I think it is very important for you to know that I’m not ok. I miss Chandler and would give any and everything to have him right here with me. I don’t want to be in a spiritual battle. But, I am. So, I will look up. Focus on Him. And, even though I am a Jesus girl…. I have to be reminded to look up many, many times a day. But, I do want to be the Jesus Girl who learns to keep my focus on Him. To be the kinda girl that doesn’t have to be reminded over and over again to look up.

Thank you for letting me spill my heart today…. And, most importantly… I don’t know what you are going through or facing today, but look up and lean in. If you do that, we will make it through today! And, that’s what we do. Make it through each day one at a time.

Much love, Brandi

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Let’s Take A Small Break…..

I just feel like I need to pause today from my story. I fully intend to walk you through every aspect of my journey. But, today, God has focused my attention on something different. He has directed me to speak directly to those of you who are reading this blog that may be going through something equally as devastating as I am. It’s just not in the same way.

I feel like the Lord has blessed me with more people reading this blog than I could have ever imagined. I expected my closest friends and family to read it out of obligation. But, I am starting to see that God may have different plans for this simple, little blog.

The truth is we are all hurting and burdened by something in our lives. It may not be the loss of a child. It may be a broken marriage. It may be a child that is very much alive that is going down a path of destruction. A path that you cannot seem to understand. A path that you don’t want to believe is happening. There are so many different heartaches and problems and devastation in our lives.

I am hoping that by my sharing the things that the Lord has taught me over the last few months that it can help you to just receive revelation from God.

Sometimes, we feel we cannot surrender the things that are absolutely weighing you down. That it is too painful to let go. Too painful to even think about. My response to that is we live in a broken world that so many things are going to break us. You need to know that you do not have to strive in God’s presence. You just have to lean in.

I have started to use the phrase “Lean in to God” a lot since Chandler’s accident. The definition of leaning is “to cast one’s weight to one side for support.” Beloved, God is our support. We just have to lean in to Him.

I had no choice in that hospital room laying with Chandler talking to him, trying to be strong for him. Being his Mommy. Yes, his Mommy. But, the whole time I was absolutely leaning into God. I didn’t have to strive. Just lean. It’s painful to surrender because so many times we don’t understand why. We may never know why for a very long time. We may never know why this side of heaven.

But, Chandler was far more important to me than my fear and pain. I had to surrender to God. I had to surrender Chandler to God. I have had to learn this painful truth that Chandler was God’s child before He was mine and Greg’s. He allowed us to borrow him. He also chose that it was time to take him from us. Chandler was too important to me not to surrender him to the King of Kings. The Lord of Lords. The Alpha and The Omega. I have to stop and just praise You God…. I know that I did not and could not surrender my son, my baby, the boy that had the best heart that I have ever known to anyone else but You, Father. You are the only One. I thank You that You came and got him and took him with you. I could not have stood for anyone else but You to have him. You knew that.

I have also had to come to terms with the fact that I survived. I have despised that at times. But, I survived. He is not finished with me yet.

My question to you today is “What do you need to surrender?” What is it? I want to share Scripture with you from Isaiah. Please see God’s Words below:

“God doesn’t come and go. He lasts.

He’s creator of all you can see or imagine.

He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch His breath.

And He knows everything, inside and out.

He energizes those who get tired,

Gives fresh strength to dropouts.

For even young people tire and drop out,

Young fold in their prime stumble and fall.

But those who wait upon the God get fresh strength.

They spread their wings and soar like eagles.

They run and don’t get tired. They run and don’t lag behind.”

~Isaiah 40:28-31 The Message

I love how it tells us that even the young people get tired. This has been so devastating for the younger kids to deal with. I know that Alyssa, Sara, Brooke, Carmen, Cameron as well as all of Chandler’s friends have been so worn out and tired from grief. But, don’t miss the treasure in this. GOD GIVES US FRESH STRENGTH! GOD DOESN’T COME AND GO, HE LASTS!

I do not care where you are today…. Grieving the loss of a child, a broken marriage, a broken relationship, maybe you are into something so deep that you have no idea how to get out of. Remember, God lasts. Lean into Him. Surrender. Give it to God.

He will bless that. Please know that I am praying for every, single person that sees this blog.

I am praying that each of you receive a revelation tonight and surrender to the King of Kings.

I leave you with the words of an old hymn that I have loved forever:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus

Look full in His wonderful face

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim

In the light of His glory and grace

 

Thank you for walking this journey with me. I would love to have your feedback and comments. Let’s talk about Jesus!

Until Tomorrow, Brandi

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God, Please Fix This… Heal My Son…

***I want to warn you that I am going to talk about seeing Chandler for the first time in the hospital. I will not be graphic but I do want to warn you that it is very hard to hear. It is very hard for me to type these words. Just wanted you to be aware that today will be a very deep, personal day.***

We walked in the big double doors and down a short hallway. We turn to the right and we see a nurse standing at the doorway. She looked at us straight in the eye. And, I saw the pain on her face. The pity and sorrow that she felt for Greg and I. I was once again, overcome with fear. I heard the awful, loud sound of the ventilator. And, I heard all kinds of alarms and beeping noises coming from Chandler’s room.

Before we could even get to the doorway, she came to us. She hugged me. And, she said, “I am so sorry.”

We walked in the room and I could not breathe. Nothing can ever prepare a Mother to see her child laying in a hospital bed with a ventilator breathing for him. There were tubes and IV’s everywhere. And, there he lay. He looked peaceful, like he was taking a nap.

We ran to him. I grabbed his hand and I fully expected him to squeeze my hand back. To open his eyes and know that I was there. He did nothing. 

I cried out to God right then and begged Him not to take Chandler. To fix him. He was a God that had raised the dead and this was nothing for Him to do. He could fix this and Chandler would be healed. It would be a miracle. I begged Him to show up. To show out. He did not choose to heal Chandler in this world. He did heal him. But, He chose to heal him eternally. He chose to take him home.

During this time, I truly learned the true meaning of lamenting. I had never even gave laments a second thought in all of my Christian life. I didn’t even really know what it was. And, I didn’t even know that I was lamenting to God right there in that room until much later down the road. He has taught me how to lament. And, I will just tell you…. Lamenting is very powerful.

The definition of lament is to mourn aloud. To express sorrow, mourning or regret. To regret strongly.

I began to cry out to God. I begged, pleaded, complained to Him. Notice that I said TO Him not about Him. As Christians, we think that God doesn’t want to hear our complaints. He wants us to trust Him and just live with whatever happens to us. Not true. I heard Rick Warren, Pastor of Saddleback Church who just lost his son in April, say that God loves it when we complain to Him. Because when we complain and cry out to Him, we are still communicating with Him. We are not turning around and walking away from Him. That is powerful. He hears us. He grieves with us. No matter what the situation is. His answer to our pleading may not be what we want it to be but He is still very much there with us.

As, I sat there with Chandler, I lamented to God.

Then, I got up, asked the nurse for a warm wash cloth and I began to clean him up. They did an excellent job there at the hospital caring for Chandler. But, as his Mom, I had to get the spots that they missed. You could barely even see the spots. But, I could. I studied everything on him. He was perfect. The only thing wrong with him was there was a type of Ace bandage wrapped around the wound on his head and his right eye was badly bruised and swollen. And, it seemed like tears were coming out of his eyes. I don’t know if that is what it was. But, I gently wiped them out.

We sat there in complete shock. We had no rules so people were coming in and out. Before we knew it, there were so many people there. Waiting, sitting, and praying for Greg, myself, and the girls.

Finally, the doctor came in to see us. It was about 5:00 pm. He explained that the reason why we were seeing Chandler’s blood pressure drop was because he had passed away on his own. He felt like Chandler went to be with the Lord around 4:00 pm. He was so kind to us, explaining everything that he could. He then said, “I do not normally do this but I feel like God is calling me to pray with you. Would you be offended?” Wow….. we later realized that there was not one person who put their hands on Chandler that was not a Christian. Tell me how often that happens in the world we live in today? God was there. In our midst. And, He was guiding every hand that took care of our precious boy.

I am so thankful for every, single person that came to us that day. The physicians, nurses, chaplains, friends, family, Chandler’s friends, Security guards, Detectives. I can never thank them enough.

But, I am truly most thankful that the God of the Universe came to us that day. He listened to our cries, our pleading. He is absolutely amazing…. I know that as the nurse lowered the rails on Chandler’s bed and I crawled into the bed with him that evening when no one else was in the room but Chandler and me, He was there with us. He gave me the strength to whisper all the things that I wanted Chandler to know in his ear. How much I loved him, How proud I was of him. How sorry I was that I wasn’t there with him.

He was also there when I told Chandler that it was ok to go home. He was free to go now. God had to be there for a Mother to tell her child that it is ok to go home and be with his Heavenly Father.

I Praise You Father…. Praise You.

I hope you will join me again tomorrow….

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My Precious Chandler

My Precious Chandler

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Please God…. Wake Me Up From This Nightmare

Moments after being told that Chandler’s wound was fatal, time completely stopped for me. Honestly, I do not remember a lot from the week that this happened. I am just now starting to remember exactly what was happening during that time.

The most vivid memory that I have right now is the walk from the ER to the Neuro Trauma ICU so we could see our son. That walk seemed to go on forever. I felt like my knees were going to buckle at any moment and that I would land on the floor. I can remember how scared I was. The fear seemed to escalate with every step that I took. I didn’t know what I would do when I got to the room that Chandler was in. I had no idea what I would see and how I would handle what I saw. I wanted everything to just stop. I did NOT want to walk through those big doors. I knew that when I actually walked in and saw Chandler laying there that the nightmare would be real.

But, as I walked down the hall, I started hearing in my mind words to a song that I have always loved. Right there, in the hall. Even after all I had just been told, the emotions behind it, the shock, the fear…. There was God, plain as day, whispering comfort over my soul. See below the words that washed over my soul. The song is “Not For a Moment”:

 

After all, You are constant

After all, You are only good

After all, You are Sovereign

Not for a moment will You forsake me

And every step, every breath You are there

Every tear, every cry, every prayer

In my hurt, at my worst, when my world falls down

Not for a moment will You forsake me

I look back and I wonder how in the world did I think of those words. Right then, right there. I was in complete and total shock. My heart was broken. My mind was shattered, but I heard and felt those words pour over my soul.

I have realized now that God placed those words straight into my heart. I think I must have said “He has never forsaken me” a million times that day and the following week.

See, that’s the thing with God. He still continues to come to us and teach us no matter the circumstances. He comes to comfort us with His promises. I have never in all my life been in a place of such devastation that I had to make choices so quickly. He started preparing me the minute I ran into the ER that day.

1) He let me know up front that He was there. And, not only for me. He was there with my family, my friends but most importantly, He assured me that he was with our boy the entire time. He knew that I would not be there that day when Chandler needed me the most. So, He stood in for me and He was there every second with him. I am so thankful that I serve an Omnipresent God. The definition of Omnipresent is “present in all places at all times.” This was a time when all of us needed him individually.

2) He also poured over me that I had to trust what I knew to be true. I had to pull out truth from the inside. That was a very hard job considering the situation that I was in. But, here is what I pulled out in that moment:

  • God is Sovereign. Sovereign means that He is control of all that He created. He rules over everything. I needed him on my side knowing this truth.
  • God is faithful. He is steadfast in affection and allegiance to me.
  • He has never forsaken me. Forsaken means to renounce or turn away from me.

Right there in that moment walking down the hall to get to Chandler, I knew God was there. I knew He was with Chandler and my entire family. So, I took a deep breath and I walked through the doors of the ICU and headed to where my sweet boy was.

I had made my choice. I chose God. Although, I did not understand this situation. I had no idea why this had happened to Chandler. I chose to trust God. I chose His Will.

Please join me tomorrow as I talk about walking into Chandler’s room.

Standing on His Promises, Brandi

 

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The Day My Whole Life Changed….

June 22, 2013… A day that will forever be etched in my heart and mind. The day that forever changed my life. A day that my heart was shattered into a million pieces.

It started out like any normal Saturday. We were planning on going to a birthday party. It was Carlee’s 1st birthday celebration.

Chandler spent the night with my Mom the night before. As a matter of fact, he often stayed with her a lot when he was out of school and it was summer. So, he had been there for a while. He always called me first thing in the morning. An early riser, and full of conversation at 7:00 am!!!! This Mama is not a morning person, but I always talked to him. We talked for a long time that morning. He was planning on meeting me, Greg, and the girls at Carlee’s party that day. He also talked about several other things and then he got quiet. And, he said, “Momma, I am gonna come home today after the party. I am tired and just need a break. Tell the girls not to make any plans. I just want to lay on the couch and watch movies with you all.” My heart was happy. I had been missing him so much. Even though we talked all the time, I missed his face. So, we got off the phone and I started preparing for the day.

As always, I am a late planner and am hardly ever organized when it comes to parties… Last minute every time. So, we stopped by Target on the way to the party to get a present. I got a call from Chandler and he asked if I could come and get him. He was planning to come with his girlfriend and she didn’t want to come now. He was a little irritated but it wasn’t bad at all. I told him that I could come and get him but we would miss the party by the time we got back. Which was fine… but, he seemed to be calming down and said that his girlfriend had changed her mind and that they were on their way. Thank God, I told him I loved him before we hung up.

We get to Carlee’s party…. we go in…. and less than 10 minutes later Greg receives a call from my Mom that something had happened to Chandler and she didn’t know what but that we needed to head to UT Hospital. She said that her and my Dad were on their way as well.

Greg and I jump in the car and head towards the hospital. No one would tell us anything. No one seemed to know what was going on or what had actually happened. When, we finally get to the hospital, they take us to that horrible room that is away from everyone else. I’m sure everyone knows that nothing good comes from being isolated in the ER in a separate room.

From there, I start to forget somewhat what was going on around me. While sitting there waiting for someone, anyone to come and tell us what was going on, I begin to hear the Lord whisper over my soul…. “Brandi, what the enemy meant for evil, I mean for good. I am here right now. With you, with Greg, and especially with Chandler. Fall into me. I will hold you up. You will need me now.”

I knew then, that something horrible had happened. And, I kept thinking it’s ok. Whatever it takes to get him better, we will do it. I silently prayed, pleaded with God asking him to protect my son. Whatever it was… heal it.

Then, the physicians, hospital chaplain, nursing supervisor, detectives, and the chaplain for the police department came in the isolated room. My heart fell. I knew. I knew right then it wasn’t going to be ok. Three months later, I still do not know what they said to me. All I know, is that my son had shot himself in the head and the damage was too extensive. They had tried everything they knew to do but he would not survive. They would be moving him to the Neuro Trauma ICU and that we could see him very shortly.

I sat there in absolute shock. What? How in the world could this be real? I just talked to him. Everything was ok. He was absolutely healthy and fine. I couldn’t stand up. The hospital chaplain caught me and guided me down to the chair. I have no idea where anyone else was. It was as if I was all alone in that room. Everyone talked, I didn’t hear them. I found myself begging the detective to tell me what happened. Could he speak? No one knew. No one knew anything whatsoever on what had happened.

Shortly, the detective was able to tell us that he believed that Chandler had shot himself on accident. You, have to know that we have never owned guns. Chandler did not know anything about guns. At least from a responsible gun owner. We had no idea he had a gun. But, he had discharged all of the bullets and put them in his pocket. What he didn’t know is there was one left in the chamber. It was a very old gun and he also didn’t know that it would revolve around again when it was cocked back and it rolled that one bullet straight into the chamber. The detective had talked with his girlfriend who was there on the scene at the time of the accident, he had put piece by piece together. They were arguing and he thought Chandler was trying to scare her or prove a point to her. And, he shot himself. He had know idea the eternal consequences of such an action.

So many people think that Chandler committed suicide on purpose. Believe me, I would tell you if that was the case. And, I can see how people could come to that conclusion because we haven’t spoken out. Only to our closest friends and family. It’s just been too painful.

Again, even during all of this…. The Lord was there with me. I have told many people over the past few months that I have never in my entire life felt the presence of the Lord as I did that day. Not only did he stay with my Chandler, he stayed with me. He never moved.

The reason why I am starting this blog is because I want to get this out. I am ready to talk about my story. Chandler’s story. I want people to know him and remember him. I also want to share my journey with the Lord through this.

In no way, am I a professional at grief. I struggle and my heart is broken. I don’t understand. I miss him horribly. Part of my heart is completely gone.

I hope you will join me on my journey. Each day, I plan to tell a little more of our story and how God has ministered to me during this time.

Join me….. In Christ, Brandi

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Finding Joy Through My Tears

This blog is to share my journey with God through the heartache and pain of losing my son, Chandler. An outlet for me of sorts. Follow me on my road of grief to healing through the Lord.