It’s always been hard for me to imagine how my babies will look and who they will look like, when I am pregnant. It was the same when we were expecting our second daughter in the summer of 2017. I knew she would look like an El. But, would her eyes be hazel like mine and Bakri’s? Would her hair be curly like Maddux and Leeland? Would she have olive skin like Trinity and Leeland? Or would her eyes be blue and her hair be blonde like Maddux?
When she died at 18 weeks gestation, I held her tiny little body in my arms. I remember that day so vividly. I never ever wanted to let her go and yet, I knew that her little body would not keep. And, I could not hold her like this forever. As the days passed, I would imagine her. I would have day dreams of her in heaven. I could see her. I could touch her. She wasn’t a baby at all. In my mind she was a little girl. She was three.
She was the age she would be now, had she not had an undetected fetal maternal when I was 4.5 months pregnant with her. She would have a sweet nature, because, well the Els all have sweet natures as babies. 💗 She would have had a distinct way of speaking. They all do. Each one had their own special way. She is so loved. I wish I knew more of her. But, I know there is someday. And, we are one day closer to that day.
On Wednesday night we celebrated my older sister’s 51st birthday. It was her first birthday since she went to heaven. My momma, brother, and all of our families gathered in the front yard and had a “socially distanced” gathering with 🎈,🍕 and 🎂 as we talked about our Melinda. It’s really hard to lose a sibling. We talked about this with our families that night. Your sister/ whom you’ve known and loved your entire life. Your family. Your first best friend. Your biggest fan. Your everything. Your comedic relief. Your demanding sidekick. Your love. It’s hard. We know she’s happy and she’s with so many loved ones. I never met another soul who would tell you they wanted to go to heaven more than Melinda. She had some of her favorite people go before her. I sometimes wonder about the effects of losing my dad 11 months before she died. They were so close. And her grief was deep. It took her a long time to admit that my dad had gone to heaven. But, she finally did and I know she wanted to go and be with him. On Valentine’s Day, after having a stroke, Melinda went to heaven 💗💗 she was literally surrounded by some of the people on earth that she loved most 💗💗 And, she went to be with Jesus. It was Incredibly peaceful. We know know know that she is in a better place. BUT, it sure is hard to be without her here.
I was really encouraged by so many of you after my last post. Telling you that I’ve had doubts in my life, and that I’ve been discouraged, at times, by the words of others was difficult. It was humbling. But, it was honest. And, many of you said you have felt the same thing in your own lives and that it encouraged you to hear a little of my story.
So, that got me to thinking about the power that we have to encourage one another. When we see gifts in our friends, let’s tell them.
Do you have a friend who is an encourager? Tell him/her. Let them know what it means to you to see them encouraging others and how they are making a difference. Do you have a friend who has the gift of great counsel? Do they listen well and give great advice? Are they wise? Tell them. Are they a gifted photographer, artist, amazing mother or father, teacher, singer, community leader, blogger, friend, etc.? Tell them! I know that the negative words that are said can have such a powerful impact, almost crippling us from doing the things that we should do. But, I believe that we can overcome the negativity, and overcome those that just want to discourage us, by rising above and choosing to encourage others. I believe that God intends for us to do just that. Just a thought for this Friday.
Isaiah 40:28-31 says:
“Don’t you know? Haven’t you heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth. He doesn’t grow tired or weary. His understanding is beyond human reach, giving power to the tired and reviving the exhausted. Youths will become tired and weary, young men will certainly stumble; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength; they will fly up on wings like eagles; they will run and not be tired; they will walk and not be weary.”
And, below I share with you a photo of something I looked at everyday while in Nashville. It reminded me of several special ladies in my life who I love with all of my heart. Ladies that encouraged me every chance they got. I don’t believe this sign in this place was an accident. God is reminding me that He is with me. To wait. To be ready. To encourage others and to be encouraged. Be blessed, dear friends. Love, Rebekah
Seven years ago today, as I made that long walk down the beautiful aisle, surrounded by family and many friends, I could have never imagined this.
Our life has exceeded all of my hopes and dreams. You continue to surprise me and, if I’m being honest, frustrate me. And, I know I frustrate you! But, isn’t our life fun!? Your love is amazing. I remember how it felt to fall in love with you. I thought about you and our future all of the time. I loved everything about you and even though I knew you weren’t perfect, you were perfect for me. You were and still are my very best friend. Even more so now. Seven years and four beautiful children. Our relationship has gone through a huge transformation in a relatively short amount of time.
We had a little over a year as a married couple before having our first son. During that first year we found and purchased our home, a home in the heart of Houston, built in 1928. We only had twenty months with our first child until we welcomed our second son. Around that time you finished law school, passed the Bar and began practicing law in Texas. Just after our fourth anniversary, where we returned to the Petroleum Club (the site of our wedding reception) and spent the night at Hotel ZAZA (where we spent our first night married when it was still the Warwick) our kitchen flooded and we began major house renovations and a complete rehaul on our kitchen. We lived through it all and welcomed our baby daughter that year. Shortly after she was born, we moved back home into our “new” old house.
And, we returned to Hawaii with our three children to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary. That was insane! You’ve supported me as I’ve made time to write music and lead worship at our church. Your support of God’s calling in both of our lives has been instrumental in the spiritual growth we’ve experienced separately and together.
Our children continue to grow and amaze us. And, during our sixth year of marriage, we had our fourth child, a beautiful baby boy.
We spend our mornings telling children “shhhhh!” “Quiet,” so and so “is sleeping.” “Lay down.” “Good morning.” “How did you sleep?” “Go potty.” “I love you.” “Give me a kiss.” …and so on and so on. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I am so tired and wish I could just sleep a little bit longer. And, then I imagine my life without all of this and it’s no life at all. These children, these precious blessings that we’ve been given for such a short amount of time, bring so much joy to our lives. I love that all six of us cuddle up in our queen size bed! You bring joy to my life. I am so thankful for you. You are my husband, my best friend, my love. I love you and wish you a very happy anniversary. Here’s to seven more years of wedded bliss!
I don’t know which is worse: the fact that my child throws himself on the ground and spits at me because I refused to carry him in the sprinkling rain or the fact that I completely lost my patience with him when he did it?
Clearly, it’s my response. I am the adult here. Yes, my child seems to have issues adjusting to change at times. He doesn’t like getting wet in the rain or getting his feet dirty in the mud or fire alarms. These are just a few of the things that seem to really bother him. He’s only four. So, my fear is there is more to come. But, I digress. At the end of the day, I am the one that needs to change. I am the one that needs to have better responses, better interactions and better direction for him. He is just a little boy. But, as a parent I can learn better ways to deal with him and help him to be a better boy.
There is no manual that comes with parenting. We just have to figure it out. Thank God we have some tools and resources to make our jobs a little easier along the way. Have you read “The New Strong-Willed Child” by James Dobson? I haven’t. And, I’m not sure I will. I’ve heard some positive and some very negative things about his philosophy on raising children.
I also saw a book in the church library today with the title “Raising Your Spirited Child” by Kurcinka. Do you have any experiences with this book? I read a little in the library and liked what I saw. First, the term “spirited” which seems to conjure up better thoughts about your child than the term “strong-willed” or even “difficult.” And the brief descriptions I read about the “spirited child” seemed to perfectly describe mine. Here is what Mary Sheedy Kurcinka’s website says we can expect from her book.
Raising Your Spirited Child can help you:
plan for success with a simple, four-step program;
discover the power of positive, rather than negative, labels;
understand your child’s and your own temperamental traits;
cope with tantrums and blowups when they do occur;
develop strategies for handling mealtimes, bedtimes, holidays, school, and many other situations.
Do you have any suggestions for something else we should be focusing on or reading. I believe what God’s word says in psalm 139:14. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
I know my child is fearfully and wonderfully made. I praise God for his wonderful work in our son.