Wednesday, June 4, 2014

His Eye is on the Sparrow

It's been more than three weeks since Ben passed away. I honestly thought it would get easier.
 
Not quite yet.
 
We have periods of intense faith. Confidence. Ben is whole again. Healthy. With Jesus. There is no greater comfort than knowing that to be true. We have hope in God's promises. And that comforts us immensely.
 
But then we have periods of intense pain. Especially when we remember the little boy from before the headaches. The laidback, goofy, and self-sacrificing little boy who was such a huge part of our family. The peacemaker. The teacher. We feel hurt to feel his absence, pain to remember what he had to go through, and anger to think about life in the future without him.
 
I had to look up the seven stages of grief today. I wondered where exactly I fit on the spectrum.
 
Looking it up gave me words to talk about it with Andy tonight. To describe where I felt like I was in grieving our son and see where he was.
 
This website describes seven stages of grief including:
  1. Shock and denial
  2. Pain and guilt
  3. Anger and bargaining
  4. Depression, reflection, and loneliness
  5. The upward turn
  6. Reconstruction and working through
  7. Acceptance and hope
As it turns out, I'm not in any one stage. I'm in a constant flux of almost all seven stages, all at the same time, changing from one minute to the next.
 
As much as our emotions fluctuate, we've seen the same in Jack. He is only five, though, so he mourns much differently.
 
Jack is our firstborn. Independent and impulsive. He is a thinker and very passionate. And so we've seen him act out - on both ends of the spectrum.
 
The same sweet boy that offers us cold glasses of water, extra pillows for my back, and patiently teaches Meg how to play badminton... is the same boy that makes unrealistic demands, uses a nasty tone with his mom, and loses his temper on a moment's notice. We can see him working out his grief, learning to manage without his twin brother at his side, and navigate through an otherwise familiar world. He's just as volatile as we are. His emotions are just not as sophisticated as ours. We guide, comfort, correct, and pray for wisdom to help us discern when to use each.
 
I took the kids to the town park the other day. It was a relatively last-minute decision, so I hadn't organized anyone else to meet us there. It was one of the boys' favorite spots. A lake with snakes, ducks, fish, and frogs, as well as a playground for Meg. I was extremely exhausted, (being six months pregnant will do that to you,) waddling around the park, trying to be sure Jack didn't jump into the water to find another water snake for himself, while also entertaining Megan who just wanted to ride on the swings. And Jack wasn't listening. "I'm NOT leaving until I find a frog!" he insisted. I just about had it. We had already been there for almost two hours. I didn't pack any lunches because I was at the end of my grocery week and so we were all hungry. It was getting close to Megan's naptime and I wanted nothing more than to sit down. "We can't go now!" Jack cried. "Then who else am I going to play with today?" I somehow managed both kids into the van and we headed home. Jack was sad when I admitted I didn't have energy to find him another playmate while his sister napped. And I was angry.
 
Angry that I had to worry about finding my son additional playmates. I never had to do that before! I worked hard to teach my boys how to play nicely with each other. For the past two years or so, I felt like my hard work had paid off (although it was probably just because of who they were.) Jack and Ben played beautifully together, complimenting each other very well. When they did have a conflict, they seemed to resolve it relatively quick. It was so easy just to send them outside for them to entertain themselves while I enjoyed watching from the sidelines. We went on play dates all the time, but they weren't anything I had to construct more than once or twice every single day!
 
I sobbed. And sobbed. The whole way home. It's a good thing there weren't many cars on those back roads I took home that day. Because if there were, I would have had to pull over to recover. I almost did.
 
Why, God, did you have to take Ben? Jack needs him! I need him! I hate the fact that I have to work so hard to entertain my firstborn these days. Especially while carrying for this new life inside of me. He never needed this before. Why did you have to take Ben?
 
Driving by the cemetery where Ben's body is buried didn't lighten the tears either.
 
I was so angry with God. WHY did this have to happen?!? Couldn't we have all learned the same lessons if You would have given him the complete physical healing we had so desired at the end of it all?!? You would have still gotten the glory!
 
I let Jack watch Curious George while Megan napped and I laid down on the couch next to him. I was spent. Sad. And not knowing how we could ever reach the other side of this nightmare. Near the end of the first episode, Jack came over and started snuggling into my lap. "How is the baby feeling?" he gently asked. "Can I get you anything?"
 
Oh, the forgiveness of a five-year-old. So resilient. So sweet. It was as if he had forgiven my frustration earlier. He wanted to move on, too.
 
His faith is just beautiful, too. The other night at bedtime, I asked him if there was anything he'd like to pray for. He said he wanted Jesus to heal his bad cough. Then, with the next breath, he added, "But if I die, I'll be able to see Ben!" Sheesh, talk about a silver lining!
 
Today while driving, Jack and I started talking about Ben. I don't even know how it all began, but I do remember saying something about how Ben's tumor wasn't like having a cold or a bad cough. "The doctors knew that Ben's bump was serious. They told me and Daddy that he probably wouldn't be able to walk or talk after a while. And that they thought he was going to die." I suppose I felt it was important for Jack to know that Ben's death didn't really take us by surprise. That Jack wouldn't receive a similar fate if he complained of a headache. My heart just sunk to feel his deep hazel eyes stare into the back of my head. And my emotions took control.
 
"Sad tears?" he asked. We talked again about how it was okay to cry sad tears because of how much we would miss him. How we will always miss him. But those sad tears are also happy because we know he is with Jesus. And that there truly is nothing better than that. "But I will work hard to distract you from sad tears, Mom!" he told me.
 
Ben is with Jesus. That's all my firstborn needs to hear before he snaps back toward optimism.
 
The faith of a child. So simple. And yet so profound.
 
But God is not only using our son to help heal our pain. Even in the midst of our grief, God seems to have been going out of his way to show us signs of His presence.
 
This spring has been a (surprising or perhaps not-so-surprisingly) good one for wildlife around our house. Snakes and frogs have been unusually large and colorful. Butterflies have been prevalent and meaningful. Even squirrel, chipmunk, robin and bunny sightings have brought an incredible amount of joy to my kids. And in turn, their parents.
 
Yesterday, Jack caught a huge frog, "Kermit," at my sister's house. Meg really enjoyed him, too.


Today, Jack rescued a baby bird who fell out of a nest. "MOM!!!" he came running up to me on the back deck, "Look what I found! Dad will be so excited! And Ben would've been so 'frilled!" He said birds were his favorite because they could fly. Just like Ben.

 
Jack was really excited to show Andy when he got home, which thankfully, was only ten minutes later. "Is it a sparrow?" Andy asked. Curious, I looked up pictures on my phone. Without realizing, I started humming that old familiar hymn from my childhood. Initially, my thought was that it was a robin. But then I realized that baby sparrows had that little yellow stripe under their beak.
 
"Yes! It is a sparrow!" I told them excitedly.


We named him Jack. Jack Sparrow. heehee
 
And then I started crying again. God sent a sparrow. To our house. To my son. To my family. To remind us that He is caring for us, just as He cares for this sparrow. Oh, the symbolism was just too much to be a coincidence!
 
Here are the lyrics of the song:
 
Why do I feel discouraged?
Why do the shadows come
And why does my heart feel lonely
And long for heaven and home
When Jesus is my portion?

A constant friend is He
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He watches me
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He watches me

So I sing because I'm happy
And I sing because I'm free
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He watches me

So I sing because I'm happy
And I sing because I'm free
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He watches
And I know He watches
And I know He watches me
 
And here's a beautiful video, too.
 
We still feel anger. Peace. Sadness. Hope. And I'm sure those feelings will continue to fluctuate as we experience life without Ben. We grieve much because we loved much. That little boy's death left quite a hole in our hearts. But it always seems to come back to God. The fact that He has not abandoned us. He has not left us without hope. He is big enough to control the universe and yet small enough to live comfortably in each of our hearts. And send us reminders that He is still there, still in control, still loving us along the way.
 
If He loves a little sparrow enough to care for its every need, how much more does He love us?
 
It is almost unfathomable.
 
Thank you for the reminders of Your love, God. Keep sending them. We are very grateful for each and every one.

64 comments:

  1. http://www.mybrokenfiat.com/uploads/7/3/4/6/7346785/783085.jpg?297

    How we think grief works... how it actually works.

    You've got my prayers and love. Wish I could post that as an actual picture, but it doesn't come up in the comments.

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    1. I did see the link. Thanks, Gina, I think that's exactly right! Kinda grateful there's no "one right way" to grieve. Because my emotional self would probably just defy it anyway! ;)

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    2. Mindy I look forward to reading your blog it inspires me so so much, over the months I felt I knew ben even though we never met. ..I cant Imagine wat you must be going threw with every possible emotion you could think of and your pregnant which cant be easy.I pray and think about you and your family every day and ben who was to young to die .. I just dont know what to say really about losing a child all I know is you have been so strong and dont feel upset if you get angry with god your only human, a mother who has lost a child..

      God bless the Sauer family

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  2. Oh Mindy, my heart just aches for you and Andy, Jack and Meg, while at the same time rejoicing that Ben is completely healed. What sorrow. I hear your heart. I will go to bed with your family on my mind and in my heart, and prayers for you all on my lips. My grandsons are 5 and 4 and an our almost 6 year old who is in heaven. I love to imagine that Jay and Ben have already met!! It is my prayer that you will feel the strong arms around you all …. ONLY. GOD. Love and prayers from Manitoba, Canada.
    Joy

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  3. Your words continue to touch me. Thank you thank you for writing. Grateful for you and praying for you!

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  4. You are so strong Mindy!! I love how God speaks to you!

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  5. Thinking of you and still praying for you every single day! You, your family, & your Ben are very loved! I hope you can feel it... some way... some how. ♡

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  6. We continue to pray for your family...what a precious gift you have in Ben and your children...God is good...He loves us...so hard to fathom at times ...Thank you for sharing!

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  7. Mindy, I've been following your blog for several months now and am always amazed at your quiet faith. I've been helping my mom during her slow decline into death and feel so very weak sometimes. You always seem so strong to me. The other night I realized that my mom would not be there to comfort or care for me when I die (an odd thought to have, but I think as our parents decline, our memories of childhood become stronger and we long to be little again; at least I have). In a way, Ben was lucky to spend his last days surrounded by your love and in your arms, before moving on to Jesus. From one great love to another. You and your family are always in my prayers.

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  8. I am from Missouri and have been following this story for quite some time, but haven't ever commented before. You are such a beautiful person Mindy. So strong. I spent some nights holding my almost 2 year old tight, while I sobbed and prayed for your sweet Ben. I have a nephew that is just a few days older than your boys, and the resemblance is seriously jaw dropping. I just can't imagine. I was heartbroken the day Ben passed. Your perspective and the way you look at things is truly inspirational. Im only barely 21, and I have sinned my fair share and then some. You have seriously strengthened my faith. Your family has changed my life. I will always keep you in my thoughts, and you'll forever be in my prayers.

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    1. Such a beautiful comment. Your words touched me deeply tonight. Thank you, Kaitlyn. May God continue to bless you and your almost-two-year-old!

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  9. I couldn't sleep tonight ... though I'm sure our littlest will have me up in a few hours. I've been missing reading your blog and was thinking of you earlier today, wondering if you would post, but saw nothing when I was online before dinner. Got caught up in reading a book and just went online and there it was. I can't explain the peace it gives me to read your words, His words through you. I'm not sure I even get it. But thank you, for sharing, for obeying, for praising Him all the while acknowledging the storm and Who controls the storm. You are a daughter of the King, and your life matters, your feelings matter, your words matter. You are loved, yes, so much more than the sparrow. And so is your beautiful family. May God uphold you all with His right hand and continue to sustain you as you learn to walk the path of balancing seeing the seen and the unseen, and trusting Him with it all.

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  10. God's arms are around you and your family Mindy.
    That song was sung at my mother's funeral 13 years ago. I love that song.
    You'll feel better some day. You'll never forget Ben either, Ben will always be with you in spirit! God sent you these wonderful surprised of nature this week. God loves you!

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  11. So grateful for you. You just don't realize through all of your pain you just keep healing and healing and healing. I wish you could see how every night I can't sleep because of worry suddenly you post again and God draws me closely and says. .. my daughter, learn from Mindy. Watch how you can turn this around for my glory. Praying for your peace. And God bless your precious family. Thank you for all you give even in your time of sorrow.

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    1. Such encouragement. Thank you. May God continue to carry YOU in His strong and capable arms! <3

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  12. Mandy, On May 5, Ben's birthday, I had to say goodbye to my beautiful daughter who died after a 10 month battle with cancer. And you are right. Nothing can prepare you for that moment when you realize that they are gone! Like you I was both a school teacher and gave birth to multiples. Katie was a triplet who has both a brother and a sister who was her best friend. EVERYTHING you write resonates in my own heart as I, too, learn how to live in this world without my precious daughter. My tears flow often from grief and I also feel the pain from her physical absence all the time. And like Ben, my Kate was the most compliant, easy going, self sacrificing child out of the bunch. She was a complete joy to raise and, as you have found, everything else in this world seems meaningless now. Even my faith, which has seen me through so much over the years, is shaken as I wonder why Kate could not have been healed. I know that God heard the thousands of prayers that were lifted up on her behalf that He might be glorified! My only comfort is knowing that she loved the Lord as her Savior and that we will be reunited someday. But that day seems too far off right now. I am sure that both of us have many others supporting us in our grief, however, if you would ever like to connect with another mom who is in the exact same place that you are I can be reached at jsprik@hotmail.com. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, feelings, and grief in such an honest way.
    With God's Love, Julie Sprik

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    1. Oh, Julie. My heart just aches for you. The pain. The heartache. I've had a taste of it, too. And it is just horrible. Praise God we have a good God. A loving Savior. Who wants nothing more than to hold us close and weep along with us. I hate that we have to walk this road. It really does feel like a nightmare. But I try so hard to rest in His peace and rely on His supernatural strength. The road ahead doesn't look so easy. But we will walk. One step at a time... with Jesus by our side. Many prayers for you and your family. <3

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  13. It takes time and there is only His time and you will know when time is near that you realize you are closing only one chapter to begin the next. It took me 10 yrs but it was worth it and I am ok I made it - it was never easy and it hurts still. You don't stop loving something when it dies if you loved it to begin with. And you don't stop mourning it just doesn't hurt so bad but its always gonna be there. Sometimes you forget about it and then boom you know and its ok. So let your heart guide you and your soul heal. Take as much time as you need without anytime schedule or process. Each grieve differently and for differ whatever maybe that list had 100 on mine somedays felt like they would never end but they did. Good luck you are in the best hands because I fell upon my knees begging God to have mercy on me - he did. He wants you to attain I think a deeper understanding of something so " life impacting" spiritually too. Neglecting to acknowledge it only prolongs the process everyone is hurt my the loss. Holding everyone together is the one thing that will heal each of you as you struggle independent of each other and together as you heal from a loss words simply can't describe.

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  14. I have followed your story and blog for some time now....I pray for you, Jack and your family. I have a 6 yr old son who greatly reminds me of your sweet Ben and Jack. He is in kindergarten and gained very little knowledge of Ben and his condition (Blue for Ben, etc) through school but he is very curious so I told him more about Ben....my son quickly related to him (he is an "old soul", extremely caring and selfless too) and would often (still does to this very day) refer to Ben, ask about any updates on his condition, etc. Shortly after Ben's passing, my little guy found a frog in our backyard. He kept it in a box in our garage and made numerous comments about how he wished "Ben could see it too!...Ben likes frogs just like me mommy!". The morning after Ben passed I informed my son and he insisted on wearing blue to school that day....for Ben. He went on to say that he knows Ben is "much happier now running around heaven" and is "having a big feast with Jesus!". Their innocence, faith and beliefs are so simple and solid. They are also so beyond their years....it's quite amazing. I pray that little Jack can find his way and your family find some peace. Thank you for all that you have said, shared and done. You're an amazingly strong woman and mother. ♡

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  15. I love how God sends us reminders of his love like you and your family have experienced after the loss of your precious little Ben. When my mom died, a day later as I was grieving, I heard a noise and looked out and saw a hawk right on the wall outside the window. Never saw one before there but I knew God sent it to me. Whenever I saw hawks after that, I knew it was God's reminder of his love and protection. Hubby had a similar experience after his dad died. Hubby liked watching the herons we would see where he would walk our dog. The weekend after his dad passed, as we were pulling into where our church meets at a local high school, I looked on one of the fields there and standing tall and upright was a heron. Never saw one before then and haven't see one since then. I knew God sent that heron for my husband. He truly is faithful in every aspect of our lives.

    I know this is very hard for you and your family to grieve; I do admire that you are willing to share it in such a public forum. Continuing to pray for you all.

    Betty

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  16. Mindy,
    I have a friend who lost both her sons to cancer. Her name is Laura Krum. Her and her husband are believers but the sorrow & pain are too much to bear at times. This year her one son would've graduated from high school. The school is going to give them an honorary diploma at the ceremony. She post lots of pictures on her facebook page of the boys. I know it helps to keep their memory alive. You never totally get over the death of a child you only learn how to get through the day. One day at a time. God is good and will give your family the strength you need to cope.
    God Bless
    Jessica

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  17. from one angel mom to anotherI know the wide range of emotions you are feeling right now. Although my circumstances were different, my son was only one month old when God called him home, the loss of a child still hurtd our hearts just as much. my son Moses was also a twin (his brother is now 8) who had Down syndrome and a severe heart condition. I went through all the ranges of those emotions as well from being angry at God to understanding that He has a greater perfect for Moses' life. I don't think that time heals all wounds but I can say 8 years out that it does get easier as time goes on. our children are never forgotten and we talked about Moses often with our 8 year old Abraham and our 4 year old Kennedy. my sister know that all those emotions are okay even being angry at God is OK. you can trust Him with your emotions and know that nothing you can do will take away His love from you. You are in my prayers.

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  18. Oh, Sister. God is using you and your family in a mighty way to speak to his people. The Lord is walking with each of you every moment of the day as you go through the process of beginning a 'new life' without Ben. One day at a time. Continuing in prayer for you all. God is good.

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  19. Mindy as a mother of three I could never imagine the pain of losing a child, but I know it's understandable to be angry to get mad and yell and scream and then cry and wonder. I truly believe the sparrow was Ben checking in on you all :-) the lord works in mysterious ways. I'm so happy that you are keeping the blog! Thank you for sharing this journey with us. Sending more prayer from South Buffalo :-)

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  20. What a sweet reminder of God's unfathomable love for us that He would send a little sparrow to show His care for your family. I have had similar experiences with sparrows too. I also view them as directly from God's hand to my heart.

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  21. God holds us when the day s seem bearable or reminders of our sainted children seem to overwhelm. One of my children often tried to comfort me when I was sad after losing Gabriel. Black squirrels were my sign from God. One day at the cemetary, God and I were fighting about ho w unfair it was. Suddenly a black squirrel came running across the grass with a mylar ballon in his mouth that had deflated. It said I love you so much. Since then black squirrels seem to have populated my neighborhood. It reminds me that God's love is so big for us that He can deal with our anger and tears much like a loving parent. Your family is in my prayers.

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  22. A few years back my Mom went through a medical situation that we didn't know if she would make it through. I also kept thinking of the song His Eye is on the Sparrow. After everything was over my sister and I got sparrow tattoos to help us remember He always cares. I ran across your blog the night Ben passed away and read the whole thing start to finish, crying all the while. I was so sad to read he had passed away. I am so encouraged by how you are sharing your journey. You are loving God while going through the unthinkable. I'm so sorry your beautiful son passed away. I'll be praying for your family.

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  23. God hold you, comfort you and continue to give you tangible 'breadcrumbs' as we wait for Heaven. In God's Love, sheila

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  24. Thank you for continuing to share.

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  25. Mindy,

    I continue to be so encouraged by your words. I can't tell you enough how much God has moved me to be closer to Him through your writings, Benjamin, and your whole family. This story has allowed me to witness God's goodness to other people in ways I never would have before! I look forward to your updates and am thankful to the Lord that He is still encouraging you to write. I think of all of you everyday, and you will all continue to be in my prayers.


    Last night I had the strangest dream. I was talking a walk in my neighborhood. At the end of the street was your house and you had a few home decor items on your lawn you were looking to get rid of. I came over and just started crying. We ended up sitting together on a porch swing on the side of your house and started talking about Ben, this journey, and how God is revealing Himself though all of it. The pain, sorrow, hope, joy, God's promises and so on. During the conversation Jack came out with your father. You father said, "We were just hanging out in the backyard. We caught a frog and wanted to show you". Jack, upon seeing me said, "Hello" as if he knew me and I wasn't a stranger. He then told me, "Ben is happy you came to visit, you both shouldn't be sad!". Then he went about his business, and the dream ended.

    When I woke up the first thing I thought was, I should check the blog. And, alas, a new post. Birds are one of my favorite animals because they can fly, but mainly because they remind me of God's promise that He will always take care of us. I am given hope when I see one!

    I will continue to pray for you as you all go forward on this path. Love and prayers, Alexandra in LeRoy NY

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  26. I have not been on your journey and my heart aches with you. I have followed hundred of women through their grief and one thing I know for sure is that there is Hope in time. Your time and God's time.....((HUGS))

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  27. Mindy I must warn you not to allow any more vaccines for you or any of your children. The harm done by them has destroyed many families...

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  28. Reading this post made me weep for your family, especially sweet Jack. Having twins myself, although much younger, and a three year old son as well, I can't imagine going from a constant playmate to not having one. But your story is beautiful, and I do believe God sent that sparrow just for Jack and your family! Maybe Ben asked Him to send it. :) Thinking of you and praying...

    Shannon

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  29. His Eye Is On The Sparrow.... that's an oldie but goodie that comes back to me over the years when God allows my life to take an unexpected detour...preemie births, marriage troubles, adoption....God has used all things in my life to teach me that His eye in on me...and He has blessed me more than I can ever imagine. I am most certain that He will bless you more than you can ever imagine. Praying for you during this very difficult time.

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  30. Mindy, thank you for sharing your life with us and the lives of your family and for introducing us to Ben. I for one am greatful to have had the chance to know him and your family through this blog. I havent walked in your shoes as I have never lost a child. But I lost dear friends and loved ones who are now in heaven. The pain never completely goes away. There will always be an empty place in your heart and life where that person used to physically be. My mom told me the other day that sometimes there are times in life especially when we are facing the death of a loved one that no one in this world will be able to go with you to that place you find yourself in with the grief after they are gone, except Jesus. But you already know that. He is the only one who can truly comfort you and your family during this time. You can only comfort each other to a certain extent. Only the Lord can give you a peace and comfort that passes all understanding. Still praying for you and your family.

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  31. "He has not left us without hope" --- Amen Mindy.

    Oh how I pray for you and your family each day. To heal. To fond peace. To get through this. God is speaking to ALL of us through YOU. ♥

    -Amy (Tonawanda, NY)

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  32. I love that song. The author/pastor Rob Bellt alms about in a book he wrote about "God Winks". It's a God moment when He shows us something to remind us He is near, like a sparrow to remind us of something.
    I'm praying for you as well as your family. God bless you

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  33. Mindy Thank you for allowing all of us to walk with you, sharing Ben's life and continuing to share after his death. The depth of your love for God and family is compelling. I, too, am a mom who lives with the loss of two of my children. We are forever changed, both when we become a mom and when we live on after the loss of our beloved children.
    I don't believe my faith was as strong as yours, but I do believe my children are in heaven and it's more glorious then even the most vivid imagination.
    You've already learned that the stages of grief don't occur in order but skip all over and come in every direction. It's a tough journey.
    For me it's not really "easier" at seven and ten years but my coping skills allow me to recognize my grief and allow it to be part of who I am.
    My prayer for you is you is a peaceful journey. Love, Anne

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  34. Thank you for sharing, Mindy.

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  35. Mindy, that was a beautiful post. God uses even the little sparrow to comfort and encourage. Nothing is too small or insignificant or wasted. And one day we will all understand...but we won't care then, because we will have been reunited with our loved ones in the presence of Jesus. Keeping you and your family in my prayers.

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  36. Mindy, prayers to you and your family.

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  37. My brother died 43 years ago (suddenly, at age 20 from acute stem root leukemia, one week after he was diagnosed). My 97 year old mother's eyes still tear up when we mention him.
    You will never "get over" losing Ben. You SHOULD never get over losing Ben. It's unrealistic to expect that somehow you will be okay with what has happened. That does not diminish your love for or trust in God. Knowing that Ben is okay is not going to fill the empty hole his passing has left in your family.
    Please don't expect yourself to somehow accept Ben's passing without experiencing anger and pain.
    God is much bigger than your anger, Mindy. He is not going to be offended at your "fist shaking" and questioning. In fact, because He is your Friend, He listens very carefully to it, as carefully as he gathers up your tears. It is okay for you to say no to God! No, I do not accept Ben's death. No, I am not okay with it? No, I do not like Your will, and I don't want to do Your will. NO. NO. NO!
    It doesn't mean you mean it. It just helps you to be honest, that a part of you, maybe a huge part, is against God's plan, and against His will, and wants your baby back.
    You are human. You are not divine. God knows you. He wants to take what you really are, what you really feel, and transform it. And that begins with admitting to Him what you actually think and feel. He's much bigger than your anger. He's much bigger than your sorrow. It's okay not to be filled with the Holy Spirit, when all you can feel is grievous loss. Remember, all the apostles were still upset and afraid, even after the Resurrection, until Pentecost, and receiving of the Holy Spirit.
    Don't be strong for others, except for your children and Andy. With God, be weak. Be the crushed and broken mom you are.
    Oh, may God bless you and help you. May God bless you in your time of sorrow.

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  38. I know what you mean about not being in any one stage of grieving at a time. My husband was killed at his job and left me to raise our three children, 15, 12 and 8 at the time...I was sometimes ok and then other times angry for being left alone with the kids...I still find myself in various stages and it usually depends on the time of year and what's going on ...or sometimes just a song on the radio....
    I am happy that you are continuing with this blog...I enjoy reading your thoughts and continue to pray for your family.

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  39. I hope someday you think about writing a book, because the power of your words is amazing. The transforming power of Faith is so clear in your family's story; what is painful and sorrowful becomes beautiful through your faith in God. I know someday it will all be understood, you will be whole again as a family, and God will show you how many souls you brought closer to Him. This life is but an instant compared to eternity. God bless you, comfort you and your family.

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  40. Oh Mindy dear, I wish I could give you a big hug and cry with you...your posts are a gentle reminder for me to continue to pray for your family. Now I have a hymn to hum today "His Eye is on the Sparrow, I know He watches me..." Thank you sweet Mindy for continuing to write... with Christian love.

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  41. May our Lord continue to comfort your heart. You may be encouraged by listening to this: Britt Merrick, When Sparrows Fall. He's a pastor, he lost his young daughter in 2013. God bless you and yours...
    http://vimeo.com/58318290

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  42. Thank you Mindy for your heart. I continue to pray for you and your family. I recently watched a video clip of Cheryl Prewitt Salem and her husband Harry (Salem Ministries I think) discussing the loss of their daughter Gabriella (5yr). Cheryl said 2 things God revealed to her: (This is not a direct quote) God cannot answer my questions that come from my flesh because He is a God of spirit. And to quit looking in the past or behind me. He (God) and Gabriella are not there. They are before me. So I must move forward. She said this really helped her on the hard days. Her husband, Harry gave an insight as well. Cheryl has a very interesting history and testimony. Thank you Mindy for you have help me to not feel so alone in my faith. God bless you and your family.

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  43. Mindy your words continue to draw me closer to our lord. Your quite faith and especially strength inspire me to be better. Thank you for sharing your struggle I find myself praying for you and your family at all times of the day. I pray for strength for you all to find the place within your self to place Ben and let the grief pass you will carry him always. Keep looking for the symbolisms our family has cardinals everytime we need a lift one shows up I like to believe it's my mom I still miss her presence. Your amazing mindy your family is fortunate to have you as you are them. I continue to grief with you and pray for you.

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  44. Dearest Mindy,
    I am so sorry for your loss. There are no words...as a sister in Christ, my heart aches with you but also rejoices in the hope and joy that Ben is whole and enjoying the presence of Jesus and you will be reunited again one day. I am also a stay at home mom, and my son will be 5 and starting school in the Fall. You and your family have been on my heart and in my prayers. What a wonderful little boy Ben was, and from the pictures you kindly shared, so absolutely adorable too. You have shared many testimonies in your blogs and have even taught us in many ways. I am trying my best to appreciate every moment with my children, and to hold them close and hug them tight. You write so beautifully. Thank you for sharing your heart - through your annointed words and beautiful pictures. I pray that God continues to give you peace, to guide you, to surround you and cover you. May every day bring renewed strength as you take care of your beautiful family and prepare for your new baby girl in a few months. Thank you for the awesome reminders that God is alive and in control (the sparrow story gave me goosebumps!) and that it's ok to cry and ask why. Sweet Ben has definately impacted this family in Montreal, Canada. Praying that all God's blessings will be yours. With love in Christ.

    - Nadia

    Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

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  45. Mindy,
    I was given your blog by a friend, and i have read it from the beginning.I find myself relating to so many of the things you say. Our stories are different in that little ben had a terrible disease of cancer, but the ending of our stories are the same...we lost a child too. Almost five years ago, my 20 year old son was in an fatal accident. I have often wondered how people without Jesus in their lives would ever survive. I have to say the poem "Footprints" became very true in my life. Too many times to count there were only one set of footprints in the sand and they were not mine. On days when i was certain i was not going to make it through the grieving process, Jesus very tenderly picked me up into his arms and carried me, until i was strong enough to walk again I, too, would often find myself sobbing as i was driving down the road, but those were also often the times God spoke to my heart. God spoke almost from the beginning saying..I know you don't understand why this happened, but you must trust and believe that I am in complete control at all times. I knew at that point i had come to a crossroad, I could either do what God was asking me to do..trust Him with all my brokenness or go down the road of "self pity" and keep focusing on all i had lost. I hung onto to Jesus with both hands because i knew He was the only One that was going to be able to comfort my heart. The first year is the hardest by far. God does give the precious gift of time, which helps to heal the wounds, but yes, our lives are forever changed. I often go for walks and look up into the sky trying to imagine what it will be like when Jesus comes through the clouds with our precious sons with Him, and it will not be only five or twenty years we get to spend with them, but forever. I pray for your family often in that you will always feel God right there beside you helping you through each and every hard and sad moment of missing Ben.
    Deb

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  46. I hope you know that your story, Ben's story, your family's story... has affected so many of us that have never met you. But we are bound together by Christ's Love and our pain and joys in trying to navigate through this life and hold onto His promises for us. I do not know how you do this life after what you have experienced, but wow, you definitely have faith. You are living a degree of faith that some of us may never reach. And maybe Ben's life has brought you to this place. Ben is beautiful. His life is inspiring. His struggle was so difficult. But his triumph so victorious in Christ. I don't know that the road will get easier, but I know that God has an incredible plan for you and your family. He did the moment He created you. We will continue to pray for you.

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  47. Dear Mindy,

    Through your pain, we are healed. Truly.

    I have twin boys that are almost 5. I can't begin to imagine the pain that you are enduring. Yes, even the practicality of how they entertain each other is something to be grateful for.

    I know you didn't ask and I don't really like to give advice that isn't warranted. But, moving forward, and with the birth of your new one, don't feel like you have to orchestrate play dates for Jack. God will send him the friend he needs when the time is right. Whatever puts added stress on your family as a whole is just not important right now.
    Love,
    Michelle

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  48. You are not alone. Keep grieving and continue to have faith.

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  49. Thank you thank you thank you; for sharing your story. For writing such beautiful, honest words. And most importantly, for moving my heart in a way I never thought imaginable. I am so touched and grateful for your story. You have reminded me how important perspective is, and how imperial the small things are. Again, thank you. You, your family, and your life story will forever live on in my heart.

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  50. Mindy, thank you for your words and for sharing Ben's legacy. Ben's life has touched my life so much, and my family and I have read your words and found comfort and honesty to our present situation. My father is sick with the same brain tumor as Ben and it has been an extremely difficult time. You remind us and put so beautifully into words how important God is to our family, how God never leaves us. I want to thank you for your words, and I pray that God will continue to give you and your family strength.

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  51. I found it not so coincidental, that during Jack's 'eulogy', the first animal he mentions is catching 'birds' and you were shocked to hear that. God had already planted this in Jack's heart - and provided a beautiful reminder how much He is taking care of you.

    Continuing to pray for you and your family and am thankful you have such precious memories to help walk you through this tough time.

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  52. I've been reading your story and crying all day. I'm glad that you see so much symbolism in the small sparrow that you "rescued" but please know that it didn't need rescuing. It appears that all of its pin feathers are opened up and that this tiny bird is actually a young fledgling. It's just learning how to fly and it still needs its parents to help find food. Leaving it near where it was found (or in its nest if you can find it) is the absolute best thing you can do for Jack Sparrow as its very difficult to successfully take care of young song birds. As meaningful as it was to find him and be reminded of God's promise, how much more meaningful would it be to let him go so that God can keep his eye on him in nature where he belongs?

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  53. Hi Mindy, just thinking about how sometimes little things like Jack Sparrow remind us of the good in life and the faith we should all have to know there is another side. One that we all meet at someday. On my car ride home from work last night (tues) I found my self just talking aloud and asking many questions, ones that only my heart may answer if I believen; believen his love, faith and grace, I do carry anger, for the whys, but then I read your statements and try to understand the love he has for each one us. I talk aloud every night to Ben, I just can't help it. Hope, grieving, love, happyness, anger, joy for the new life your carrying. And I still cry. Always remember through out my day, of every thing from the first post and there after. My prayers and love to your entire family.

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  54. My heart grieves with you - over Ben - over the pain you have to endure - the pain my sister in law has to endure - and over Kai. Two boys who had to endure too much way too soon xoxo

    www.in-due-time.com

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  55. God bless your sweet and awesome family. Your blog is truly a blessing to all its readers! I am a twin and find it fascinating about how jack has taken on some characteristics of his brother. ♡

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  56. I think of you and your family so often and pray for your healing. Your strength is amazing. God is with you, every time your sad, know that you're close enough to Him that something comes your way to give you a sign that He is with you and so is Ben. Like the sparrow and all the beautiful wildlife around your home. I pray that you continue to find strength in the beauty all around you.. because that IS God telling you that Ben is there..with you always.
    God bless you♡

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