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.

I’m Listening, I’m Ready, Let’s Go!

I have been thinking a lot about the plans that God has for me. I am earnestly seeking what He has for me to do. What is my purpose? And, I have also thought, “How could He use someone like me?” I am so broken. A sinner. I am someone who fails Him on a daily basis. And, not just once a day. A lot of days, I am absolutely rotten to the core.

But, the Lord has been speaking to me about my life. Things I would rather not think about. The ways that I have messed up throughout my entire life. I have so many mistakes that I feel like they far outweigh the good things.

But, as I look back over my life, I am starting to remember things that I didn’t really understand at the time would play a role in God’s purpose for my life. I think I have known all along the thing that God wants me to do for His kingdom. I have just spent a lot of time thinking that He had chosen the wrong one. So, I have ignored it for years. And, when that didn’t work, I kept telling myself that I wasn’t ready. I didn’t have what it takes to do what I felt like He was asking me to do.

See, I come from a horrible past. And, I want to say up front that it wasn’t because I had a horrible childhood. I grew up in a Christian home with both parents who raised me in church and led me to the way that I should go to be a productive, contributing person in society. It was completely by my own choice that I chose not to live the way they had taught me.

My choices resulted in me being pregnant at age 19. I wasn’t married. It absolutely broke my family’s heart. They knew how hard this was going to be for me to raise a child on my own. But, God has a way of turning things that were meant to harm me into something good. We were all in complete and total awe the day Jackson Chandler Trent was born. Not to mention, that we were head over heels in love with him. He was absolutely perfect.

My sweet Nannie used to always say that Chandler was sent to us straight from God. She knew that he was straight from the Lord. He was such a blessing to us. His birth began bringing healing to our family. And, it brought healing to mine and Greg’s relationship. We decided that we wanted to be a family and that we wanted to raise Chandler together. Once again, Chandler had aided in restoration of my family. He had a way of doing that with everyone he met. He could talk someone into liking their worst enemy in 10 minutes flat. He brought peace to others. He was God sent.

Years went by and Greg and I welcomed two precious girls to our family. Alyssa and Sara. Greg and I both were head over heels for them as well. And, as time has a way of doing things, they grew. We watched them become teenagers. And, Chandler became absolutely immersed in music. He taught himself to play the guitar. He sang so much. I can remember wondering if he could possibly get any louder playing and singing in his room at night. And, yes, he found a way to get louder!

He started learning and singing praise and worship music. There were many times that he played and we would sing praise and worship right in our living room and we would sing and sing. Those memories are so precious to me.

A little over a year ago, I went with a friend of mine to a Women’s Conference. It was truly uplifting and at the end of the conference, we gathered up at the altar and the ladies that serve in this ministry gave every, single woman an old fashioned foot washing. I have only experienced that one other time in my life and it is so moving. It really brings you to humility. After that, we each got up and went to women that were placed all over the church where they would be praying for us specifically.

I went to the first lady that didn’t have anyone standing there. She started praying for me. It was the most beautiful prayer that I have ever heard. Then, she stopped and she said, “I do not normally do this but I feel like God is prompting me to tell you something. God wants you to know that it is His will for you to go forward with what He is telling you to do. He needs you to believe Him and know that this is not your own wish but it is His purpose for you. And, your son will be a huge part of this. In fact, he will be the center of your ministry and it will be blessed beyond measure. He will be one of the main topics of your testimony.” She said this to me. I stood in awe. This had never really happened to me and it hasn’t since.

See, Greg and I had been having some trouble with Chandler at the time like any other parent of a teenage child. My thoughts were, I am going to speak. I am going to share my testimony. I am going to share what the Lord has taught me. And, my sweet Chandler, is going to write the music of my testimony. God will open the doors for me to speak and Chandler will sing there. Hallelujah! I was so fired up. I couldn’t wait to get home and tell Chandler. I came home and just blurted it out to him and all he could say was, “Wow, Mom. I’m speechless.”

During the last year, I watched him grow. He went from a kid that doubted God’s existence to learning that He is real. He was back in church. We were talking about the Lord. We had some of the best conversations about God that I have ever had in my entire life. In my mind, I was just waiting for him to get ready. I felt like I had some things to get into order as well.

Time passed, things were good. Then, suddenly, on June 22, 2013, God called Chandler home. I have wondered for the last 6 months about how I could have been so wrong about my purpose. How could I have been so wrong about Chandler? The woman that told me this was just flat out wrong.

After Chandler passed, I felt an urging to just get his story out. I needed a way to keep family and friends updated so I thought I would blog. I would just update everyone that way. So, I started. And, I had no idea that one person would even read it.

Through the holidays, I haven’t blogged much. The holiday season has been heartbreaking for my family. I woke up this morning relieved that Christmas was over. No more pressure. I felt like I could breathe.

I haven’t thought about the woman at the conference at all. She has never entered in my mind until this morning. I thought of her words. I feel like I know every word she said to me by heart. And, as I laid in my bed, I asked God, “Why do you want me to remember this now? What purpose does it serve for me to remember this? He won’t be with me in whatever ministry I am supposed to do.” And, then…. Then, I felt God in a way that I haven’t in a while.

He whispered over my soul, “Chandler is the biggest part of your ministry. It just wasn’t the way that you thought it would be. He was so special, my child. And, you have to go out and share your testimony. I want people to know about him and the impact that he had on the people he touched. I want people to know that I gave him to you to get you to the point where you could carry out my purpose for you. You are there. And, Chandler’s work was done. Get up, child. Go. I will open the doors.”

My response today, “Father, I will go. I am hurt that Your plans were not mine. But, I will go. Father, you are right. He was one special boy. And, because of him, others will know about You. I am going to go out and I am going to tell our story. I am going to tell others what You have done for me. I am going to tell others what You can do for them. Father, I know if it is Your will that You will begin to place opportunities before me. That the doors will be wide open. I trust You. I surrender to Your will. I am ready.”

I am ready to step out in faith. I am ready to tell my story. I’m excited to see what God will do. What doors He will open. 2014. I will surrender to the call that God has placed on my life.

I’m ready to go!

Much love, Brandi

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Christ Our Savior is Born…

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I didn’t realize it had been so long since I posted! I started thinking about it today as I drove home from work. I won’t tell a lie…. I have really been struggling lately. I feel like depression has become a new part of my everyday life. Even though I keep telling myself that my depression is situational, I secretly pray and hope that is the truth. I feel deep down that it could never possibly go away.
Of course, to everyone else I look like everything is ok. That, I am so strong. That, I am learning how to live with the loss of my only son. Not true. I do not for one moment want anyone to think that I am a super woman who is just gliding through this mess called grief.
I think about how difficult the holidays will be. Other people think the same way I do. So many have reached out to me just to let me know that they are praying for us during the holidays. My biggest fear is that prayers will stop after they come and go. Our family still needs those prayers desperately.
I haven’t been able to get out among the hustle and bustle to shop and enjoy the season. I have done all of my shopping online. It’s just too hard to go out and see things that I know that Chandler would love. I have this great need to buy things for him. I think about what he would want this year. Even though that seems so crazy because I know he isn’t here, I still feel like I am leaving him out this Christmas season.
And, then…. I think…. Why am I so worried about the holidays? Why do I dread them so much? I learned through his birthday and Thanksgiving that it doesn’t matter what day it is. If it’s a holiday or not. I still feel the same. It is horrible and painful to live life without Chandler. I miss him so much. I am back to begging God to give him messages for me a thousand or more times a day.
I have come to realize that the only way that I will get through this month is to focus on the reason why there is even a Christmas in the first place. To really, really relish Christ’s birth. To immerse myself into really reflecting on His birth, His sacrifice. If that little baby wasn’t born in that manger so many years ago, I would not have one ounce of hope that I will see Chandler again. But, not only that. I would have no hope at all. We would each and every one walk around filthy in our sin.
Honestly, I feel like I have never just really stopped and just enjoyed the birth of Christ. I think about Isaiah’s words when he said many years before Christ was even born; “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” ~Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)
He was born to carry my sins. He was born to be my counselor, my God, my Father, and my peace. And, He has faithfully been all of these things to me. Especially, the last 6 months. So, I am choosing to focus on Christ’s birth. Which brings me to the Cross. The reason He was born. For me, for you, for Chandler.
I have to trust what I know to be true. I say this to myself over and over again each day. He has never forsaken me. He has never left me alone here to deal with this grief by myself. I can feel His presence like never before when I am curled in a ball crying out for my child. He is here. He has every tear I have shed in His nail scarred hands. I am thankful that I am His child. And, He is my Father. Because of His great love for me, just like David, I know that Chandler will not return to me BUT I will go to him one day. And, what a day that will be. When I can lay my eyes on that precious boy again!
So, I will keep moving forward. One step at a time. And, I am going to choose joy if it’s the last thing I do. I won’t give up. I will keep running the race. Until, He calls my name and I go to meet my baby again.
Until then sweet boy. Your Mama loves you. I miss you so much. We all do. I know you are there rejoicing tonight. Play one for me on your heavenly guitar. I love you to the moon and back and then some…..
Blessings and Merry, Merry Christmas,
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.