Monday, March 30, 2009

Redemption 2009, Memphis, TN

Hello, Friends!

I'm SO SORRY I didn't make it to update on Sunday (or even earlier today) as I had said I would. It seems that I got a bit of food poisoning on Sunday. I was up most of the night last night (Sunday night) and have not completely shaken it today. (I'm SOOOO TIRED!) Enough whining, though! On with the news, eh? ☺

So my big secret was that I went out of town this weekend. Our sweet friends from Habitat for Hope pulled together a retreat for a few mom's they've worked with from St. Jude and from Lebonneher. (sp?) Mrs. Priscilla Shirer was in Memphis and we all gathered together to attend this event! (Have you heard of Pastor Tony Evans? Priscilla is his daughter... he's one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE preachers! He doesn't "sugarcoat" the word, he just puts it OUT THERE!) It was a wonderful, WONDERFUL event! She was speaking on racial unity. I think it was Priscilla who suggested we look around, "because THIS is what HEAVEN is gonna look like"! (It was AWESOME!)

Oh, and don't let me forget to mention that Mrs. Shirer's brother, Anthony Evans lead the singing... I found a video of him on YouTube. (Nothing like being there of course.. but OUTSTANDING nonetheless!) ☺

My mind is still racing with thoughts and I truly don't know where to begin. =-)

I suppose I could start with the fact that this trip almost didn't happen for me. See, I let FEAR take root... I couldn't stand the thought of going to Memphis without Link. (For any of you that might be new to my blog.. Memphis is where our son went HOME to be with JESUS) It's his TRUE "birthplace" of sorts.. amen?

Memphis holds COUNTLESS HAPPY memories for me.. it's where Brent LOVED to be. (He ABSOLUTELY LOVED St. Jude and couldn't be happier than when he was in that hospital!) I thought to myself the day we made the very first trip home without him, that I'd NEVER be able to go to Memphis again, much less step foot back in that hospital. (This trip was my second time to do both)... I'll share more on that in a bit.

THANKFULLY, Mylissa didn't give up on me. She called and texted and even offered to have Link & the boys stay at their home while we were at the retreat. My SWEET HUBBY agreed because he knew how BADLY I wanted to be reunited with my sisters - my St. Jude sisters!

I REALLY NEEDED this trip. I've felt SO ALONE in recent days... I have LOTS of people here that love me, and I don't doubt that... but when it comes to "heart friends"... well, that's a different story. See, I want so badly to be able to talk freely about Brent... I mean, if what I'm wanting to say is relevant to the conversation. However, I don't always feel free to do that. I can tell that it makes some people uncomfortable. (At times I feel like some feel I should be "over it") Well, for those reasons alone this weekend was JUST WHAT I NEEDED!

I realized that GOD has me in the season I'm in so that I will draw nearer to HIM.

HE should be my EVERYTHING.... and honestly, I'm a bit stubborn... sometimes it takes being in a place that I don't want to be for me to TRULY CLING to HIM.

As you can see.. I did some "letting go" and surrendered my feelings to the LORD. I asked HIM to FILL my HEART with HIMSELF. I asked HIM to let me be CONTENT with where I am... and most of all, I asked HIM to use me. I said over and over again that I wanted what Brent went though to matter. Because of Romans 8:28, I know that his life, and what he suffered DID matter! ("And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.") I know that GOD has brought us through what I believe to be the one of the most painful things a person can experience in this world. (Honestly, the only thing that I can imagine that would be worse, would be for my son to have left this world without JESUS) Because of where I've been, and how the LORD has carried me.. I KNOW that I can be used to help others... and I sure don't want to miss it because my eyes aren't FOCUSED on our LORD!

Yes, it was AWESOME to be able to talk about Brent FREELY to other ladies, I mean, SISTERS that have walked in my shoes. (There were ladies there that have lost children and some who are still in the fight) It truly was JUST what I needed!

Now, I couldn't stand the thought of being so close to our beloved hospital without going by to see some of our nurses. We were able to see Mrs. JoAnn (she was Brent's Nurse Practitioner). He ABSOLUTELY ADORED her! We also saw Mrs. Nancy, who would've adopted Brent as her own... ☺ Then of course we saw Sara. She was there the morning Brent went home to be with JESUS. She stood in the room with us just before we left. Link told Sara and Joni not to EVER feel like what they do doesn't matter, because we LOVED them and they made ALL THE DIFFERENCE in the world to Brent and to us!

As I mentioned earlier, my mind is still racing from it all.. the whole thing was bittersweet. SO MUCH FUN and SO REFRESHING to be with my sisters.. and yet so hard to be back in Memphis. (It WAS MUCH EASIER this time though.. PRAISE GOD!!!)

I'd like to say a HUGE "THANK YOU" to those of you who prayed for us. See, the journey up Hwy 55 was in itself, a MOUNTAIN for us. Through GOD'S grace we had an AMAZING weekend! I'd also like to say THANKS to HFH for hosting us, and for continuing to stand beside us. They truly go ABOVE AND BEYOND in their ministry to our family and so many others.

Okay, my friends.. it's late and I'm REALLY tired. I'll try to check in again soon and get those pictures I'd promised posted. O=-)

THANKS again for being here and for your prayers!



Reba said...

So glad to read an update. I wondered how the weekend was going. I kind of guessed what was up based on FB comments, but still wasn't sure. I am SO glad you were able to do that, and even more, that you let God do that. I do hope you know, not that we talk all the time, but I wouldn't think twice if you DID mention Brent. Anyway, I look forward to seeing God continue working in your heart (not that you need the work :).

Anonymous said...

Glad you had such a great time!
Continuing to pray in Seattle!
Psalms 27:1, 4-5 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?...One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple. For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.

Prayer Bears
My email address

April said...

So happy to hear that you had such a great time in Memphis! I know it was hard for you to go back, but God made it possible because He knew that's what you needed. I'll be praying for you, Tonya, as you continue on your journey!

Johnson Party of seven! said...

I am so happy you got to go! What a blessing to be surrounded by people who "get it". I just want you to know that we still talk about Brent all the time. He taught us so much. What a blessing he is to Cooper and me!
Love you!

Greg P. said...

Tonya, it sounds like this weekend was exactly what you needed. It also sounds like you made great strides in dealing with all the emotions that you must deal with daily. God bless you.

Special K said...

What a precious and brave lady you are...I am so glad you had such a wonderful time...

I tend to be stubborn too...thank you for sharing reminds me and helps me to refocus on just what is important...its ALL about Him!

Melanie said...

Oh, Tonya... I'm so glad you went and took part in this event and were able to visit with some of the special people at St. Jude! I can't even begin to imagine how difficult it must have been, but I can tell from your words that it was exactly what you needed. God DOES know exactly what we need WHEN we need it, doesn't He?

How I would love to be able to sit down and talk to you someday! I would so enjoy hearing anything and everything you had to share about Brent.

Have a blessed day, my friend!

He And Me + 3 said...


That was an awesome post and update. God is doing some mighty things in your life and will continue to do so as long as you stay an open vessel. YOu are so special and have so much to offer to the body of Christ as well as those going through the same trials that your family went through.
Hugs my friend!
So glad you were able to make the trip!

Susan Foster said...

How could anyone think you should ever be "over it"? Brent was your son and such an amazing young man. I only met him once and still my heart breaks at your loss. Anytime you want to talk about Brent you just give me a call, I would love to hear from you. Take care and I am so glad you were able to make the trip and had such a great time.

Beth E. said...

Oh, Tonya, I'm so glad you were able to have such a good weekend! I'm looking forward to hearing about it.

I've missed you so much! You've made my day by posting. :o)

Please know that I'm here for you...anytime...and would love to hear stories of Brent. I'll email my phone number to you, if you want! ;o)

Blessings to you...Love you!

Jennifer said...

What a wonderful update! So glad you made the trip and the God obviously blessed in a mighty way!!