Sunday, July 30, 2006

Always be ready to give a response...

My faith has taught me from the time I was a young girl to always be ready to give a response for the things that you believe. I don't remember many instances while I was growing up that I actually had to defend or explain my faith. It was a part of who I was, and most of my friends believed the same things I did, so it wasn't a big deal to me to be outspoken about my beliefs.
I rarely questioned things that I read or heard, in church or in college; it just made sense to me and it seemed really clear. I knew what was "right" and I knew what was "wrong", and I tried to do good and not do wrong. I knew that God loved me and that because I believed in Him I was going to go to Heaven. My faith was a deep part of me- but it was almost always easy. Easy meaning, I didn't question it that often. I just knew and believed.
As I sat and watched a video of one of Teagan's memorial services last night, I realized that my "easy faith" was being tested more than it had ever been tested before. But, as difficult as the death of Teagan was to me and my family, it didn't shake my faith. I realized that I was "lucky" to have had this faith all along in my life, for when my troubles came, it was something that seemed to come naturally.
I spoke of this faith at both of the services we had to celebrate and remember the life of Teagan. I wanted everyone to know that I would be okay in life, even in the face of a devastating life change. I wanted everyone to know that I was going to put all my trust in God and just sit back and see what He could make of it.
It was much more clear to me as I watched the video of myself and my family, five years earlier. It actually hurt me to see myself and be reminded of the depth of my pain, physical and emotional at that time. I was clearly hurting...but I had my faith. And I see now, that it was more than enough to get me through that time in my life.
I'm also reminded of what mattered most to me in those days shortly after Teagan died...I wanted to go through life and notice the details. I spoke about that at her services too. About how we seem to go through our days and miss a lot of the "important" things- because we're not really looking, or because we're caught up in so many things. I was so thankful that I had savored my time with Teagan, even though I had no idea it would be cut short. I talked about how instead of watching tv, we sat outside and watched the ladybugs crawl around, and we watched the trees and noticed them changing colors from day to day. Teagan even commented to me on the day we saw the yellowish-green leaves dotted with red that "God must have gotten new paints last night!"...she was so excited. =) I think too many times we miss the things that matter most. You can never say "I love you" too many times. You can never take back an afternoon of just looking at the world around you and enjoying the wonder of creation- so full of colors, beauty, diversity, sounds, smells, and textures... from the orange-colored peels of carrots, to the rat-a-tat-tat of a woodpecker on a tree. From the sound of a cool wave crashing on the sand, to the taste of creamy whipped cream on your tongue. We miss so much not because we're not exposed to it, but because we take it for granted and we fill our life with so many things. Cell phones and timers, car horns and screaming kids. I understand that they are a part of life. I just want to remind myself to take time for the "really important" details of life.
No wonder Teagan had such joy and happiness in life. She soaked in all the little details, and tried not to miss a thing. Even if it meant staying up very late to wait for a kiss from her Daddy. I'm sure he doesn't regret that she lived for the details of life. He's got sweet memories of those kisses to bring to mind whenever life gets a little overwhelming. And we've got more kisses to give and to get from all our other kids- that we never take for granted. It's the littlest details that matter the most.
And in case Teagan gets wireless internet connection in Heaven and she's googled and found my Nitty.Gritty. blog, I just want to say, "Guess what? You're still the love of my heart."


Sheila said...

My faith has NEVER been tested like yours, but I surely hope if it is, I will be able to so accurately reflect God's grace :) Thanks Jody :)

Anonymous said...

I have tears in my eyes, but joy in my heart for you and your family on this day. Your sweet angel is in the arms of the Father waiting for a joyous homecoming with all of you. My little angel on earth is almost 4 1/2 and I don't want to even dream of life without her. I too take every moment with her as a precious gift. God Bless all of you.

Friends in SSM. said...

I admire the faith that you have. I was raised a Catholic, very involved in the church. Three years ago, something happened that tested my faith. Unfortunately, I have not been able to make peace with God yet and have stopped going to church. I hope that one day, I can be in your shoes.

annette said...

Jody, such power in your words. I am a grandmother and I always felt being older & wiser made me look for and enjoy the small things in my little ones life...praise the Lord for you telling it how it really is and how it should be.

You continue to be in my from a new friend.

Anonymous said...

will you be sharing the video with us?

Jenny said...

You have more Faith then ANYONE I know Jody!

I still cry and get angry thinking about your day. I still want to kick that woman, but you don't. That is such a huge example to me.

Teagan has taught so many people so many things.

I am going to go out and see if God has opened some new paints in my yard :)

Here are the words to a song about Faith that I like.

Faith is knowing the sun will rise, lighting each new day.
Faith is knowing the Lord will hear my prayers each time I pray.
Faith is like a little seed:
If planted, it will grow.
Faith is a swelling within my heart.
When I do right, I know.

Faith is knowing I lived with God before my mortal birth.
Faith is knowing I can return when my life ends on earth.
Faith is trust in God above;
In Christ, who showed the way.
Faith is strengthened; I feel it grow
Whenever I obey.

Debbie said...

Wow, another great testimony. As I write this, I am listening to "testify to love" sung by Winona Judd. The song was originally done by Avalon. I can't help but think that song fits you perfectly-your whole family including Teagen. Sometimes, we have the pleasure of having people, in your case, Teagen, teach us these invaluable lessons. I can see you are still learning lessons, even though she's with God.
Keep sharing..

Remember, you'll always miss her. "But her love is like the wind. You can't see it, but you know it's there"
-from a walk to remember

Also, I really liked the part about your faith being so easy, but now it's not.

I can relate.

God bless you,

Stefani said...

Your post touched my heart deeply and gave me a lot to think about. I admire your strong faith and wonder if I would even be close to being strong. Thank you.

cheryl said...

WOW. just wow. you are an amazing person...i can tell that just from the little bit i've read.
God never ever leaves amazing is that?!!?

NancyJones said...

God Love you and God bless you and I pray that you remain full of Joy and love and have nothing but happiness in your life to come. I have a little girl 3 named Isabella too. We have been through alot (not the same by any means as you) with a severe tragedy in our life 11 years ago this august 28, I know it NEVER gets better but it does get easier and You have a beautiful attitude and spirit. Your angel will remain with you forever and I love how you celebrate her. I would love to meet you one day and Just hug you to pieces but I know that hugs can sometimes be painful so I will just give you warm soft hugs here If you ever need a shoulder PLEASE feel free.

Michael and Erin said...

I am moved by your family's story and by your amazing faith. i can't imagine losing my daughter but should something happen, I hope that I find my faith in God is as strong as yours. May God bless you and your family. You all will be in my prayers tonight. God Bless.

Olivia said...

You make me want to be a better mom and not let the "little" things get in the way. You make me not want to be afraid of what could happen, because as long as you have faith, GOD will see you through. I don't even know you and my heart hurts for you. Thank you for sharing your story. You inspire me. God Bless.

Magnanimity said...

wow. thanks for sharing.

BooMama said...

Someone linked to this post on my blog...and wow. Bless you. Bless your family. Your strength and your faith are inspiring.

Lori said...

How touching! Thanks for sharing it!

Big Mama said...

I found this post through Boomama's site and wow. I am inspired by your faith and your heart. Thanks for sharing your story. God bless.