Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Tatoo??? - The Club Part 2

Last month, I wrote a little about this "club" to which Bob and I now belong.

The second family who has greatly influenced me during this crazy journey is the Chapman family. When I first heard the tragic news of their daughter Maria's death, my heart broke for them. This sweet and beautiful family found themselves at the beginning of a very long and difficult journey -- a journey which will last a lifetime, I believe.

There were so many eyes focused upon them - wondering how they would react and respond. How would a family whose mission was to serve and glorify the Lord handle this tragedy?

I watched their recent interviews on Good Morning America and Larry King. I found myself almost chuckling at their answers. It was as if someone was reading from my journal. They were so honest in sharing their confusion, their questions, and their heartache. They didn't try to be "Super Christians" but admitted that they do not understand it all. Yet, they are trusting God and believe He is Who He says He is.

I could relate to Mary Beth especially when she spoke of the "good" that may come out of this tragedy. During those first days, she didn't care. I understood.

In the early days after Robbie went to heaven, people continued to speculate about how God would use this. We had hundreds of people at the memorial services in Tennessee and in Virginia and knew of at least one father who had turned to Christ in those early days because of our story. But at that time, it didn't matter to me. At one point, in frustration, I yelled, "I don't care if this sparks a Billy Graham crusade. I just want my Robbie back." Mary Beth made a very similar remark in her interview. As a mother, I was more concerned about the earthly absence of my little boy than a stranger's eternal destiny. That may seem utterly selfish. But it was the truth.

Now, I can say that I love to see how God is using our story for His glory. I hear people share how they are seeking God more, living life with an eternal perspective, changing their priorities, and spending more time with their children. Then there are those who have seen that their "god" could offer them no hope in a similar situation, and they have turned to Christ. That is truly amazing.

At one point in the Chapman's interview, Larry King pointed out that Mary Beth had since gotten a tatoo. It was on her forearm, but I'm not sure exactly what it said. She did not look like a lady who would have a tatoo. But I totally got it! After losing Robbie, I wanted so badly to remember him at all times, in all things. Some dear friends from college sent me a bracelet with Robbie's name on it. I received it on April 18 and immediately put it on. A few hours later, I went into labor and had Eveley Joy. I have rarely taken it off since then.

I used to see big trucks or cars with the odd message on the rear window saying something like "We'll always remember Theresa," or "Never forget Jeff." I probably thought those were weird at the time. But now, I get it! Sometimes I want to yell it at the top of my lungs.

I feel that the Lord gave me the word "Homesick" to help me express these feelings. I miss my Robbie every minute of every day. At the same time, I know he is in the safe and loving arms of Jesus. I can't wait to be reunited with him and, so, I am Homesick. That is what my license place now reads. And, who knows, maybe a tatoo is in my future...! =)

As members of this "club" we all have different stories with various layers. As Emily Chapman said in the interview, a single day can begin with bright and sunny moments and end in depressing darkness. But one thing is for sure. The joyous moments only come by focusing on the Lord - on His great gift to us, His Son, and the truth of His promises. Without Him, this would truly be a tragedy.

Years ago, Steven Curtis Chapman wrote this song "With Hope" after a friend lost a child.

This is not at all how
We thought it was supposed to be
We had so many plans for you
We had so many dreams
And now you've gone away
And left us with the memories of your smile
And nothing we can say
And nothing we can do
Can take away the pain
The pain of losing you, but ...

We can cry with hope
We can say goodbye with hope
'Cause we know our goodbye is not the end, oh no
And we can grieve with hope
'Cause we believe with hope
(There's a place by God's grace)
There's a place where we'll see your face again
We'll see your face again

And never have I known
Anything so hard to understand
And never have I questioned more
The wisdom of God's plan
But through the cloud of tears
I see the Father's smile and say well done
And I imagine you
Where you wanted most to be
Seeing all your dreams come true
'Cause now you're home
And now you're free, and ...

We have this hope as an anchor
'Cause we believe that everything
God promised us is true, so ...

So we can cry with hope
And say goodbye with hope

We wait with hope
And we ache with hope
We hold on with hope
We let go with hope

We have HOPE because:

"I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Romans 8:38-39


Kristen said...

What a 'real' post! I say go for the tatoo....I will even go with you!

QuEEn oF tHe cAstLe said...

What happened to Robbie? How did he die??

Ryan and Marty said...

There is a blog I read that quite often makes me think of you. After reading your post tonight, I wanted to share it with you.
She is the wife of the lead singer of Selah, and they live here in Nashville. Their story is not exactly the same as yours, but they are walking a very similar path. Think of you and pray for you often.


Clare said...

amazing post lauren! you always bring me back 'home' literally in so many ways when I ready your blog. thank you for sharing little pieces of your brain with us, we are always wiser because of it!

i love the tatoo idea, what a wonderful way to always remember!

Anonymous said...

I'm right there with you, Darlin'.

Anonymous said...

I promise you that we will always remember our dear grandson, "A Mighty Warrior". Dad

Allie Carpenter said...

No No No, no classes like Mr. Swygert!!! Have mercy he was a character! I am taking Classroom Management for exceptional children right now. We just put a bid on a house today! Please pray for us! We are so stressed!

How are you feeling?