The Giving Away


There I stood at the closed front door of the church on Nixon Street awaiting my que to walk down aisle.  My feet were swelling against the ivory colored granny-boots my mom thought looked so good with my dress.  My dress was a beautiful blush color complete with tiny pastel ribbon flowers adorning the lapel.  The wearing of pink in those days meant something, it meant the absence of purity.  Although I didn’t need the help of the dress to alert anyone to my impure state, for I was standing and waiting to walk down the aisle 9 months pregnant.


Standing and awaiting the opening of the church doors at my father’s side, admiring how dapper he looked with his pink rose boutonniere and his sharp Italian suit,  I felt loved and safe.  Every strand of my hair hand been curled into ringlets and a wreath of baby’s breath crowned my head and a golden locket from the groom graced my neck.  I knew that I should have felt like the most beautiful girl in the world on that day but I also knew that obedience and purity is the invisible attribute that gives a bride her glow and her radiance.  The blush color of my dress matched the blushing embarrassment of my spirit and the reality of my current situation could not be overcome with romanticism.


With my arm wrapped anxiously around my fathers strong arm I looked into his eyes and began to cry.  “Dad, I’m really sorry!”  “Sorry for what Aim?”  “I am sorry for how I look, for what I have done, that you have to walk me down the aisle this way.”  My dad started to cry ” Oh Aim you are beautiful, don’t cry honey, I am honored to be your dad and walk you down the aisle.”  I knew he wasn’t lying my dad had made the choice to be my dad just eight years earlier.  And I had tested every boundary of his fatherhood since then. He had  searched for me when I ran away.  He had picked me up from jail.  He had rescued me from abusive situations.  He paid for me to go away to school so I could graduate.  He adopted me and certainly paid the price for all of my mistakes and now he was walking his wayward daughter, dressed in pink, down the aisle and paying the price for the wedding. I still don’t know how he could  feel honored when I had not honored him?


Above all, keep loving one another earnestly for love covers a multitude of sin. 1 Peter 4:8

My father had considered the cost and paid my debt with grace.  He was giving grace to me always and in abundance.  He was covering my shame with the healing balm of grace. He was covering a multitude of my mistakes with his love. My father was honored because of who he was not because of who I was or what I had done. I was my fathers beloved child, I was simply loved by him.


I can’t tell you what happened in that moment when our eyes tearfully met, but it was most likely a miracle.  The church bell rang and the doors opened and as we walked down that aisle, my countenance was changed.  The strength of my father was beside me, guiding me and shoring me up as we walked.  My dress was still blush my ankles were still swelling and that six pound baby was still taxing my tired body but I was radiant, I was glowing, I was a beautiful bride.  All mistakes had been forgiven and I was adorned in LOVE!  I would go forth and try to do better because I had been changed by GRACE!









Grieving With Your Heart


If I am going to be honest, I’ve had a bad week, a sad week, a week that makes you want to climb back in bed, draw the shades and forget the world exists.  And you would think that my state of sadness would come from my own grief but it hasn’t, it has come from my very best friend.  He is missing his son.  He spoke it to me a couple of nights ago in our daily after work conversation.  The speaking of it brings me to my knees in pain for him, not because I don’t have my own deep missing but because he is suffering with something I am so well acquainted with.  His heart is breaking and I know how every fractured piece feels.  Emotionally, I am on the floor in a puddle when he says it and rendered useless to help him except to say “I am so sorry, I know how you feel, I miss him too.”

I love my husband, I respect him and he is the love of my life but before we get to crazy here this is a hard-fought for love! No princess fairy tale stuff went on during the making of this marriage.  My marriage has been a death sentence, death to self mostly.  I am a strong-headed woman and Jason is an even stronger leader.  I have hated him at times with a complete abandon and loved him more times the same, but I have never loved him they way I love him now.

Laying  to rest our son together and sharing in that heartbreak has truly made us friends.  There is no person on the face of the earth that knows how I feel more than him.  He needs no explanation for a bad day or instant tears he already knows.  Harsh or foolish words are easily forgotten between us now because everything suffered is held up to the light of what we have endured and it blesses me.  I know that takes a lot of guts or something else to say but I am truly blessed with this gift of grief and I am truly blessed to grieve with him.

Being blessed does not diminish the tragic torture of it all.  When people say to me ” I can’t even imagine what you’re going through.”  I kind of have to agree with them, I mean I can’t imagine what I am going through, its brutal!  Grief is a club we don’t want to belong to, nobody signs up for a course on suffering.  “Um, Hi Yes I am interested in having my heart smashed into a thousand pieces, do you have any idea where I sign up?” Said no one ever!!! But to the child of God who suffers rightly, oh the Glory and faith that abounds.  I praise God that I have not had to endure any of this alone, but I especially thank God that I haven’t had to do it with out Jason.

My heart is overwhelmed with sadness when I think about possibly having to be without him someday,  who will know of my very distinct pain and who will comfort me…..and then I am reminded of my faith,  of my God and his promises.  I have a Savior well acquainted with grief and every heartache I have ever felt even the ones he has caused.  I have a Savior who is near to the brokenhearted and a Savior that has been broken.  He calls me beloved even when I am foul and he will never leave me, his suffering with me is long.  I have a Spirit who is a heavenly comforter and I am never alone.

Does my gift of faith diminish the pain of my great loss?  No and I wouldn’t want it to but it reminds me that I am eternal, the longing for joy is constant and God is good!


Bearing The Breathless Birth


July 24th 2015 is a day that I will never forget, it was a smoky hot evening and the sky was starting to share glimpses of that spectacular orange color it displays during wild-fire season.  I was happy with a full belly and merry heart after being on a dinner date with my husband and although everything in my life was not perfect,  I had this overwhelming amount of Joy!  Walking home from down town as we often do my phone began to ring as I looked to see who was calling I was sort of alarmed, one of my oldest and dearest friends was calling, except she is the kind of person who texts and doesn’t call.  I answered the call and my heart was soon draining of every ounce of Joy it had been filled up with that evening.  “I think I am losing my baby!”  “There is no heartbeat!”  “I am on My Way to the hospital!”  “I need you to come!”

I remember nothing about getting to the hospital and nothing about finding the room I only remember coming into the room and enveloping my husband her husband and her in a huddled tearful prayer.  Prayers are so different, honest and heavy when you are truly  at the end of yourself, when you see just how small and powerless you are. When your life goes from joyful to tragic in one swift moment..  Praying heartily for God to change His mind, for Him to grant live birth, for Him to change every second of these awful moment with tears and petition and broken hearts we wept and prayed and embraced.  There we were four complete individuals unified by our hearts desire for life.  We knew the knowledge of good and evil and we were crying out for the good while slugging it through the evil.

Sonya would labor throughout the night and we would cry throughout the night.  We would laugh some and remember old stories trying to pass the time and oh how  I wish I could paint a picture of the silent prayers traveling upwards toward heaven on behalf of mother and her child.

The early morning came and the baby was coming Sonya was ready to deliver and I was still hopeful, hopeful that every doctor sonograms and gut feeling was wrong.  Sonya began to push and I held her hand I wanted desperately to make this better so I began to tell Sonya of all the heart breaks that her sweet baby would not have to endure on this earth, my wise and kind friend asked me if I could tell her later of these things.  She wasn’t ready for the hope before the heartbreak.  I would soon understand how important it is to grieve before we rejoice.  And since we are His children we are His heirs,  In Fact together with Christ we are heirs of Gods Glory.  But if we are to share his glory, we must also share in his suffering. Grief before Grace, Heartbreak before Hope Repentance before Redemption.  This is the pattern of heaven,  the pains of labor will come before the joys of new birth. The pain of labor came and Emmie was born with a bountiful amount of heartbreak.  I can think of nothing more devastating than to hope for and labor for a baby only to have that hope completely snatched from the heart.  When she entered the world without her breath it’s as if we all were punched hard in the stomach and the wind was knocked out of us, especially her sweet mama and daddy.



There she was lifeless,motionless and breathless and there I was hopeless.  I knew that we served a God of miracles and that we had a tremendous amount of faith and yet there we all were beholding a breathless baby.  She was fragile and so tiny and parts of her skin was not fully covering her flesh.  A fresh dose of hell had been hurled at my oldest friend and faith laid shattered in a plastic bassinet with a pink beanie on her head. When tragedy befalls a christian so does darkness you feel like God has abandon you. You feel like He has put you out on the back porch in the black of night and left you there.  You feel like you can’t trust Him, like you knew all along he was holding a grudge, like He was waiting till that perfect moment when you had complete peace and joy in Him to snatch that rug right out from under you.  And isn’t that the way of the enemy, the way of our untrusting flesh, to swoop down on us while we feel entirely alone grasping for breath and our hearts are spilled out in broken pieces. “Did God really say, “You must not eat from any tree in the garden?”  “You Certainly will not die”!  “For God knows that when you eat from the tree you will be like Him, Knowing good and evil”.  Genesis 3.  Our flesh says, ” You can’t trust God in this!” And our flesh is right we have no ability to trust God with out The Spirits help  and this is the time of battle in which we must set the eyes of our understanding on things we cannot see.  This is where because of help from the Holy Spirit and the Love Of The Body we take our shattered pink beanie faith and say I still trust in a God I cannot see.

Why would a loving God allow this to happen?  Our Loving God knows that this place is not the end of existence, that death can not hold us and that Emmie is alive with Him.  This world and all its heartaches are nothing in comparison to the Glory and Joy awaiting us.  Our God knows that a still birth is not the end of life, it is the beginning of life in heaven.


Sonya asked to hold her and we took pictures and cried some more.  About an hour went by and it was time to let Emmie go and I cannot begin to put into words what it felt like to have to watch Emmies mom say goodbye to her.  Beholding the death of a child, the death of the hope for its life while all along God is holding your child, it is a game of endless Tug of War.  It is a game of Tug of War that wakes you at night, that makes you cry tears until your forehead burns and that bruises your heart every day of your life. It is a game that Sonya myself and countless others will play until we are also buried.  Our hearts are in heaven while our flesh lives here. Life is eternal and the evidence of this is no clearer demonstrated than in a mothers heart and memories and longing for her child. Children are a gift from God beautiful bundles of sorrow and Joy!




Kissing The Wave Kicking The Current


Descriptions of grief experiences come at you like the waves of the ocean when you experience loss.  Every man is a story teller who needs to be heard.  Our grief stories stick to our bones, rattle our Ebenezer stones and forever make us empathetic to fellow story tellers who have suffered like us.  In great empathy we bring forth offerings of  our own tragedies and redemption’s to present to the sufferer, in hopes of alleviating pain, lightening the load or just weeping communal tears. This is evidence manifest in our flesh of an Empathetic Creator.

I have heard grief described in so many different ways over these past two years, the loss of a limb, a constant ache, being in a fog, total disbelief, ANGER and also a moment in time where all time is now measured by.  I like that last one because it rings so true in my soul, but grief to me feels like being moved and washed over and sometimes carried along by the waves of the ocean. Charles H. Spurgeon wrote, I have learned to kiss the waves that throw me up against the Rock of Ages.  The wave after wave of painful sufferings, dark lonely nights, doubting the purpose of existence and inside weeping from a broken soul can definitely slam us against the rocks and leave us disoriented and confused.  But our hope lies in kissing the wave that may have been meant to destroy us and clinging to the rock that was sent to save us.

Being a sojourner in the sea of grief and maintaining a clear mind means we must keep our eyes on the horizon of hope.  What is that hope?  That hope is purpose “and we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Just as if we were literally in the ocean we would look to the horizon to give us direction the eyes of our understanding must be focused on God working even this horrible tragedy out for our own good and His Own Glory.

We must learn to Kiss the wave but Kick the current,  our minds survival on the sea of grief depends on us accepting the waves and letting them wash over us, maybe this means really shedding tears, wherever you are and not caring.  Maybe this means being angry with God and expressing yourself in honest prayer, “why are you downcast oh my soul”, “I am worn out by grief; every night my bed is damp with from weeping; my pillow is soaked with tears.”  Maybe it looks like days of not doing much so that you can give yourself rest. Maybe its pulling out all those beautiful photos of your once happy family and just…remembering.   For me it meant quitting a job working with people I loved and coming home to write my story.

The waves will ebb and flow and while we let them throw us upon the Rock we cannot let them pull us under.  We must kick the current because we could drown in grief if we did not!  How then do we stay afloat on the ocean?  We kiss the wave, ( we accept the present suffering) .  We Embrace The Rock (Father God who is in complete control of EVERY situation even our tragedies and failures).

Do you have cancer?  Kiss the wave Cling to the Rock!

Did you deliver a baby with no beating heart?  Kiss the wave Embrace the Rock!

Did the one you love break your heart and share his bed?  Kiss the wave and hold on with gritted teeth to the Rock!

Did someone harm your child?  Oh dear heart can I be bold enough to say kiss the wave and be thrown upon the Rock!

Have your children denied their faith? Kiss the wave, Kick the current, Keep on hanging on to the Rock.

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14





When Mama Went Missing


My Mother sacrificed 24 painful hours of her life the day I was born and many more.  She was 100 lbs soaking wet with a little over 5 foot frame.  She was a tiny thing.  Twenty years old found her married to a strange man for two years and about to have her first child and I am sure she was fearful. True to form I was a rebellious child even in birth, clinging to the walls of my mothers womb I was hesitant to be born, I wonder if my soul & my form which was knit together by God in my mothers womb, had an inclination of what awaited me. A full days labor brought me into the world with the help of some metal forceps and  laid me upon my mothers beating heart. I have heard it said that no man comes to life except through the great sacrifice of another and on August 31, 1972 I gained my life partly because of her sacrifice and we will forever share in that miracle.

The announcement read, Judy Lynn Walker gave birth to 5lb 13oz baby girl named Amy Jo Walker. There we were mother and daughter, we would be friends, we would be enemies and we would both be each others caretakers.  She would be my first teacher and yet I would never fully understand her or what she intended to teach me.  My mother and I were cut from the same cloth, but my how our lives had very different patterns. Her pattern was a compassionate heart break for the world, my pattern was a heart that had to be broken to see the sadness and depravity of the world.

My mother was a singer and piano player and a very talented song writer, she was always looking for her big break looking for some sort of stardom and I always wanted to be the star of her life. She left me a lot to pursue her dreams and left me dreaming and longing for her.  I remember gazing at her for what seemed like hours when she would put on her stage makeup, I thought she was pretty beautiful. She was funny and out going, quiet and at times withdrawn, she was one person on stage and a different person at home, she had a lot of anxiety.  She loved me, she adored my brothers but she also loved the worlds attention.  She needed a man to feel loved, something I couldn’t stand about her, but also ended up needing, and she needed the approval of her dominating mother to feel worthy, she never got that.  She, like all of us, longed to be adored. She, like all of us at times felt so unlovely and shameful.

When I was eight years old I came home to find my mother on the floor of our tiny kitchen, cleaning out the pots and pans cabinet with a fierce vigor, I asked what she was doing and she started to cry and then she started to laugh, to tell the truth she didn’t know what she was doing and this was my first inclination that my mom was wounded.  My mother was a tiny thing with tiny strength and a big heart and she gave birth to a big girl with a strong will and a tiny heart.  At this young age I started surviving  by my own strength and determination while my mother followed her heart.  I started being the parent I needed and started not needing my mother.

My Mom survived the next 32 years of life trying to be present and good.  She was a good nana and she tried to be a good wife and mom and daughter and christian.  Many challenges raised themselves up against her in those years and each one etched away a little at her spirit.  Then my Mama went missing forever when I turned 40.  She walked out mentally on her life, her family and her dreams. Her heart and all the magic she thought it held had left her broken and in pieces.  I became one of her caretakers, her legal guardian and her advocate.  I started trying to will her mind back to health, I wanted it so bad, she did not.  I wanted to be strong for her, “who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this.” Esther 4:14.  I hated the choices she was making,  I wondered why her family wasn’t enough to keep her present and joyful, I had no idea what she was up against.  Her beat up mind started to take its tole on  her on my family and on our faith. My mother who was always rooting for the underdog had become one and had no fight left in her. After three long  years I relinquished my  authority over her life and transferred guardianship to her parents and only saw her again at my sons funeral.  She was broken by the tragedy as she was broken by life.  I was strong through the tragedy by the grace of God but also by the Grace of God becoming like my mother, more brokenhearted.

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The older you get the more you appreciate all that your parents did for you no matter how dysfunctional they were.  You forgive their weaknesses as you see your own. They become human to you.  You commiserate with them and the truth of this sets you free to truly love them.  This Divine Wisdom becomes more precious to you than strength or knowledge or the joy of proving  right.

I miss my mom now and especially on Mothers Day and I always have hope that she will return  some day to me healthy and strong.  I wish I could tell her how much I have learned through my own heartbreak, how being broken has given me an intense compassion for people and how I see that I am most her daughter when I am compassionate. I pray that one day I will tell her what I know now,  it takes the meek the merciful and the mighty to walk this journey towards heaven.  Mostly I hope to wrap her tiny person up in my big embrace and say I love you mom.







Same Old Demon Brand New Dance


Now the serpent was the most cunning animal that the Lord God had made. Gen. 3:1

I was abandon by my biological father at a young age, by the time I was four I had a new father, a step father a demon of a father.  He was a man who had struggled through the generational ties of abuse himself, and was to weak of a man to put them to an end.  He taught me to fear and fear was the reoccurring condition of  my heart and spirit until I was 13 years of age when he finally left.  Unfortunately for me these were the formidable years of my life the years where I  learned my patterns of behavior and how to process my thoughts. I learned to be sneaky.  I learned to never be vulnerable.  I learned that hatred kept me safe from my step father or other people who could harm me.  The most devastating habit I learned was to not trust anyone ever, especially not God.  Now I have to stop myself right here from shouting at the top of my lungs, “BUT GOD INTERVENED”, because that should be the title of my life, but this journal entry is about my demon and how I spot him and how God has intended him for my good.

When I was a Child I reasoned like a child,  1 Co. 13:11

Fear became my biggest demon and my anxious refuge in life.  I was now a young adult making decisions that would effect the rest of my life with the maturity level of an elementary aged child.  I started drinking, experimenting with drugs and boys. I was failing school, getting arrested going to Juvenile Hall.  I knew deep down in my guts that this was not what I was intended for but the demon fear was far to strong an enemy for me.  I ended up in boarding school, my new adoptive father had agreed to send me after I begged him to.  I knew that I had to make a change in my life and thought this kind of place would do it.  Enter in a new dance with the same old demon, the dance of relying on my own strength to keep the demon fear at bay.  I remember the Boarding School Principle calling us into assembly after our first week of school saying, “the reason you are here is to be saved!”  I panicked, to my knowledge I wasn’t saved yet I mean I was just trying to get over the fact that I signed up for a year away from my home town and family and no more cigarettes or drinks or boys…how was I supposed to work on getting saved.  That night in my dorm room I had a terrible nightmare and woke my roommate, she told me again that I needed to get saved, I told her I was so fearful, she told me that The Fear of the Lord was the beginning of knowledge. Prov. 1:7.  Completely confused and dumbfounded I repeated the sinners prayer that night and hurried up and got myself saved. I wanted to believe something miraculous had just happened to me but all the while I was thinking it could also be a bunch of B.S.

Salvation belongs to the Lord. Psalm 3:8

I had a certain kind of man made peace finishing my Senior year in Boarding School.  I passed all my classes with flying colors, made up my Junior year classes too.  I was on honor roll and I was The May Fest Queen 1994,(tiara and all people).  Student Most Changed by God was my title and did I mention I was also saved!  School was over I had graduated and lo and behold I had to reenter my old life, which came back hard at me with the force of fear I hadn’t encountered yet,the fear of failure.  I reentered my old life with a bang and an explosion of self destruction on a path headed towards death. To my shame it was not the death of me,  it was the death of my aborted child.  The demon fear and my unsavory flesh had landed me in bed with, get this, an abusive man and now I was pregnant with his child, the child he didn’t want.  Abandonment, rejection, death, fear.  Same Old Demon Brand New Dance. Why could I not be good and lovely and true, why was I always wrestling with this demon, my flesh and fear?  When would I be free?

For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:2

21 years of age found me in the same predicaments my earlier life had, the fear of being unloved and unwanted and making terrible choices based on those feelings,  I was shacked up and pregnant again.  The guy was different the dance was the same. Because of the tremendous blow to my soul my abortion had caused, I knew I could never, ever do that again and this guy wanted his baby, this guy wanted to get married and this guy wanted to be different than the generation that raised him.  We went to a small church and found a pastor that would marry us and I went into labor 3 weeks later.  Women will be preserved through the bearing of children. 1 Tim 2:15a. Never in my life have I been so scared as when I was giving birth, I remember laying on the operating table certain that when they cut me in half for my emergency c-section I would feel every part,  I knew I deserved to I knew I deserved to die and I told the nurse that I was having a heart attack, so could she please stop trying to cut me open!  She explained to me that I was having a panic attack and that I needed to calm down and I found myself in the most destitute spot I had ever been in, the letting go spot.  The jumping off point the point of surrender and I for the first time ever in my life threw up the white flag.  I had an internal conversation with myself and with my God, I completely acknowledged what God already knew, my life was completely His and He was in control.  I had a beautiful baby girl and she was my Ebeneezer stone of remembrance of a truly surrendered life.

You were running well who hindered you from obeying the truth? Gal 5:7

I was blessed with 2 more children and blessed to be able to raise them, to be with them for their childhood and to see them grow.  I was growing in faith and failing in faith and wrecking things and having victories. I was trying to raise them as christian kids and trying to raise myself.  I tried very hard to be honest with them and never fake. My husband and I tried to balance the Gospel of Christ with the world my kids had been born into.  We had no desire to raise fairy tale christian kids who have a cake walk life, sheltered from hardships, thinking the happiest place on earth is Disneyland! We knew life was rough they knew it was too. They knew on  whom to call on when they were in trouble, they knew whom all blessings came from. I thought I had prepared them for life, I was starting the process of letting them go…it was painful to watch and experience, God had brought me back to prayers of surrender and white flag moments and jumping off points and letting go…. and then death came to us all.  That mean old demon fear wanted to dance again, he wanted to dance with a vengeance he wanted to dance unto my destruction.

Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?  Though she may forget I will never forget you!  Isaiah 49:15

When your child dies in the middle of the night cold, no phone reception, alone and crushed by blunt force trauma, you kinda start thinking what did I do wrong?  When people say things like what was he doing out late at night?  You start thinking what did I do wrong?  When you know he was wrestling with God and why life was so damn difficult,  you start thinking what did I do wrong? When you feel like God has abandoned you like every father before him you think what did I do so wrong?  When you read that God works all things out even the most terrible, horrible life altering things for my good and His glory, you still think did I do something wrong?  The answer is yes, you did something wrong, in fact you did many things wrong but you cant let the same old demon talk you into the finality of your wrongness. GOD IS BIGGER THAN MY WRONGS.  I do wrong, my children do wrong but we are not wrong. Fear comes to steal kill and destroy, to keep us from running the race to diminish our strong loud glorious voices that offer up breath upon breath of praise to a Glorious God, fear tells us we are wrong unworthy, wrong and unlovable,wrong and nonredeemable but the Truth sets us free from that dance and makes us free to surrender.  I have never doubted myself as much as I have these past 2 years and 2 months since my sons passing and  I wrestle daily with fear and doubt but I have also never believed in the sovereignty of God as much as I do today and I I have never trusted His grace so freely.  I rely on it and remind myself daily of it and have recognized the only way to out dance my demon is to surrender myself to the embrace of my Savior. Every day offers me a chance to dance, wrestle and surrender. Most days I surrender.



19 Green Balloons


As I begin writing this journal entry a whispered prayer escapes my spirit for the courage and wisdom to suffer rightly, and I close my eyes and I am there on that Saint Patrick’s evening bathed in dusk.  19 green birthday balloons tied to my chain link fence, had been there all day through the morning sun and the afternoon tears and the evening when the day was almost put to bed, they were there with one purpose, to be let go, but oh how I wished I didn’t have to.

Letting go becomes very hard in the dog days of suffering, holding on becomes your new purpose in life and you embrace it with vigor.  You hold on to memories cataloging them in the files of your mind, making sure you have the correct dates and times to them.  You start asking questions of loved ones like, “when was that and where were we and do you remember that time we…?”  What you are really asking is, “were we happy, did it matter and did those memories give him comfort on his dark night of death?”  You go through every object of his life like a detective looking for clues or evidence, I remember finding Lucky Strike cigarette butts in his room with about a hundred Pixie Stix wrappers and his teddy bear Sizzle shoved under his bed.  I laughed to myself thinking he was just a little boy trying his hand at the man stuff .  You try like mad to answer the  mysteries of his short life, mysteries that you were not meant to know and things  you don’t have the capacity to understand and my how you weep, you weep and beg and pray.  Each wave of memory, suffering and sadness takes its shot, breaks your heart and sends steaming hot tears rolling down the back of your throat.  You feel like a blow up clown punching bag, you get punched you fall down you rise up.  You start to see the pattern, letting go isn’t the destination it’s just the road trip.

Traveling through the stages of grief one thought often presented itself to me, no matter how dark the road was no matter the black cavern darkness I was motoring through, joy was always on the horizon.  Joy may not have been within my grasp and it still sometimes escapes my grasp but it was ever-present ,even looming at times.  It is as if even in the darkest despair of mourning my soul knew this heart wrenching pain wasn’t the destination it wasn’t my sole purpose, it was but a road trip away from joy.  And like every good trip does it made me long for home.  If JOY was a destination its name would be home and we will spend our entire lives trying to get back there. It would be the place we temporarily leave and yet always long to return.  It will be the place we kick off our shoes, hang up our hat, put up our feet and return to our joy.

I let those balloons go that dusky evening, my husband and I.  We grieved and we watched them travel to the heavens, we watched them travel upwards to the home of our joy and w



Beholding the Bride at the Funeral.


Ten days before the funeral I had my feet firmly planted in the grass in front of the Washoe County Medical Examiners Office.  We had just come out of identifying our son and collecting his belongings, everything that was on his body was now in a simple manila envelope, I held it close to my heart in hopes of feeling some kind of warmth from him, but it was cold, like the photograph we had identified him from.  Standing in the grass I heard my husband come up behind me and say “honey what are you doing?”  I just stood there,  I didn’t  ever want to move, I replied, “my son is in there and I am not leaving him.”   I knew this would be one of the last times I was close to Chile”s body.  I knew this would be the start of the process of saying goodbye over and over again in a million different ways.  Jason sweetly took me to the car where I just kept repeating, “Chile is in there don’t leave!”  I felt the reassuring embrace of both my daughters hands on my shoulders wrapped around me from the back seat.  “Mom Chile is not in there, Mom Chile is in Heaven.” And the Bride was ushered in…


In my faith the body of believers are referred to as the Bride of Christ, now I know to people who are not yet believers this can sound like a weird cult name, I mean it did to me,  but when you think about it, there is nothing more beautiful than a bride and in the christian culture there is nothing as beautiful as the body of believers coming together to administer help and healing to a broken saint.  The minute that the multitude of people in my circle heard that we had lost our son the flood gates of compassion, prayers, food, wine, tissues, lanyard’s, chocolate, flowers, Facebook posts and visitors opened up.  So many people came to our home you would have thought we were having a party, but nothing  could compare to the  supernatural Glory of God that made itself evident on the day of the funeral even in spite of  the Ozzy Osborne music playing in the background.


facebook_1518802041914 Over 400 people came to the funeral,  they were literally out on the door steps of the Brewery Arts Center.  I remember telling Jason I didn’t think we would need a big venue, I mean Chile was very selective with his friends but I had forgotten that Chile belonged to a body of believers who are called to “rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.”  And that is exactly what we did that day!!  The first time in my skepticalhearted, feeble christian walk I began to see the absolute privilege of being called christian.  God with his generous heart lets us be ambassadors of heaven to show the world dim visions of what it will be like.  At the funeral I saw this for the first time in my 25 year-long journey with Christ.  It is as if each person in the receiving line hugged me around my heart and wept tears straight into my spirit.  I felt the strength and warmth of God sent down from Heaven through the people who bore his image and soon this funeral felt like a wedding celebration, where the beauty of the bride makes you weep with brokenhearted joy.  Where your spirit knows  for certain that God is working all things out for those who believe and that He is as near to the brokenhearted, as near as a breath, as a whispered prayer, as a tear soaked cheek.  Could it be that in some of my darkest hours I was actually seeing the pure white beauty of Christ?  Had I been invited to a magical miraculous matrimony where water was turned into wine?  Was the bridal veil being lifted from my eyes to behold the groom of Heaven?  Was suffering an invitation to see the created world through  unveiled eyes?   C.S. Lewis is famous for saying that “God shouts to us in our pain.”  I believe this to be true.  I believe on February 19, 2016 I heard God shouting  with a gloriously booming voice  “Here! Here She Comes!  Here comes the Bride”…..


Photo Credit:  Kippy Spilker

Are You Sitting Down?


I died on February 8th 2016 and everything in my being followed suit.  My preconceived notions of my own strength and dignity died, my ideas about God and His plans for me, died too. To put it in an ancient term I was brought low.  Every thought I had up to that point vanished in one split second.  I stepped out of my morning shower wrapped the towel around my body and ran to the phone recognizing my husbands ringtone.  “Hello!” ” Honey where are you?” ” I’m at home, just getting out of the shower, why?” ” Are you sitting down?”  My heart sank, the words no one wants to hear were being spoken in my ear  by the person I most loved.  “Honey I think Chile was in an accident,  no one will tell me much, there is someone coming to the house to tell us from the Coroners Office . ” “Jason, where was the accident? ” “Washoe Valley.” I howled in agony, “Jason Chile is dead if he was in the accident in Washoe Valley its all over the news.”


I remember waking up that morning day after the Superbowl, turning on the local news on my radio, sipping my first cup of coffee in bed, my normal routine.  I heard the newscasters say that a young man had been hit by a car in Washoe Valley, it had been a fatality, the name wasn’t being released because the family hadn’t been informed. ” Oh Lord, I just pray for that young man, I pray for his family, Lord please help them.”  After my prayers I headed into what would be ultimately the worst day of my life, not even knowing I had just been praying for myself and my son.


After Jason told me he was on his way to me I hung up the phone.  I fell to my knees and I screamed at the top of my lungs and I wept.  God no!  God no!  This isn’t my story Lord, no!  This can’t be what you have for me.  But it was what He had for me and my soul knew it.  I heard no audible voice but everything in my spirit kept repeating over and over, do you know?  I would answer my spirit, yes I know.  I knew this was happening, I knew God allowed it.  I knew He was good.  I knew this was a temporary circumstance in light of heaven, but I also knew this was awful and I knew the darkness would creep in.  There on the floor of my home I wept, screamed and worshiped.  I always thought in tragedy that all the scripture that I had memorized would flood my heart and comfort me, but I literally couldn’t even remember the 23 Psalm, but my soul knew the song of worship and there I sang the most broken song in all my life, “Oh Lord you’re beautiful your face is all I see and when your eyes are on this child your Grace abounds to me.”  How could my soul know things my heart and my being could not accept, purely by the grace of God I suspect.


Darkness, dreams, restless nights and crashing wave-like pain, this would be my existence for now.  Although, little slices of strength and pockets of joy would show up enveloped in my grief.  Great multitudes of  beautiful humankind were always a hidden treasure in a gloomy day and flowers and wine were never wasted on me.  Joy would be so different to me now so contrast to my tragedy so much, much more powerful and tangible, but I knew My Grief Journey, my heart shattering grief journey, had only just begun……

True Resolve

I love  resolutions, new fad diets, cleanses, cleanings, purging and renewed purpose.  I love the fact that you can wake up on a crisp January Morning and start  life all over again with new drive and fury.  I empathize deeply with posts on my F.B. page of a lover scorn and now a deep fire burning in the postie to never be burned again, the drive to get skinny change perception and find a new and improved person all the while convincing self and us that there is no need for a new man.   Sign me up for that beauty cream that will make me look younger or the 1000 squat challenge.  YES I can do the Dr. OZ Juice Fast for three days, give me a new journal and I will rewrite my entire story.  I have the gumption the elbow grease and I certainly know where my bootstraps are and how to pull them up, but all of this is useless nonsense when the God of The Universe enters my story.


There is an ancient tale of a fellow that loved resoluteness too, he loved schemes and plans and treasure and his mom, he told a lie to his father to get a blessing and ended up tangling with the Lord.   But here’s the thing about wrestling with God no matter how much youcandoitness you feel like you have, You can do nothing without Him and tapping out is not an option and you better believe you’ll be walking with a limp.  I giggle a little when I see on social media the plans of man.  I chuckle when I get all revved up to go take on the day and fight my own battles, because deep down in me, I know I can do nothing without Christ, and I learned this LIFE CHALLENGING & CHANGING TRUTH through TRAGEDY.  Just like Jacob I cried out “oh yeah God you want a piece of Me, Well you’re gonna have to bless me then…Or I will never let you go.”


Stop Lord it hurts!  Please God don’t take me there!  Gracious Father you can not take my child!  Heavenly King if your taking him you’re gonna have to take me too!  Lord I have prayed for this child for his safety for his spirit for his legacy why, why, why?  My heart knows all the pleading in the world can not change the will of God or His purpose for my life or my children’s and when God allowed my  18-year-old only son, six-foot four, handsome apple of my eye to be hit by a car and go on to glory without me in fact while I was sleeping in my bed, you better believe I know I have been invited into a wrestling match with God. So here I am holding on to him exclaiming bless me God and break my sinew.  Learning daily my need to fall down, to be broken, to claim victory in my own weakness, for that’s the place I see His strength.  Learning daily to take my eyes off the world put them on Christ and to not rely on my own understanding.  The world and all it has will try to convince me everyday to ,”Just Do It”, “Change My Destiny” , “Captain My Own Ship” and I daily to the world I will say, ” His Grace is sufficient for me”, “My power is made perfect in weakness” and,” In everything I will give thanks for this is God’s will for me in Christ Jesus.”