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Friday, May 27, 2011

Peace

We celebrated Sam's life today and laid him to rest beside his granny and papaw.  It was a celebration of a life well lived!!!
We heard testimony of people from all ages and walks of life who were impacted by knowing him.  We heard of his devotion to his family and to God, of how he wanted to follow Jesus, and of his servant heart.

We were so blessed.
And we had to laugh!
He was just our Sam!
The noise of our home.
The kid who kissed us goodnight (what 17 year old does that!?! :-D).
The one who poked his sister Emily 'til she bonked him on the head. (No injuries, just laughter!)
The one who mocked his little brother Will until Will screamed, "Shut up, Sam!!!"
The one who, when asked to unload the dishwasher, said, "I don't believe I will!!" then laughed and cheerfully obeyed.

As we viewed him for the last time, Jeff and I both felt the loss of our responsibility as a parent to him.  It is no longer our concern that he is home safe.  No longer a worry that his studies aren't complete, that he prepares for the ACT, does his chores ("Hey Sam! Did you...!?"), eats or drinks or... 

And we wept.

I thought about tucking him into the quilts I'd made for him when he was younger! But no, I'll hold them close in the days to come, breathe in his fragrance ("A little too much Axe, Sam!!" lol) and remember.
We have been able to find purpose and joy and laughter amid all the grief, and people tell us "You are so strong!"

The truth is, of course, that we are not.

But we agree with the apostle Paul who said, "'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Corinthians 12: 9-10)

And His strength came to us from people all over the world praying for us!!

We are so very grateful for our amazing family! Our remaining two children and extended family who ministered and blessed us in incredible ways.  Our Faith Family -- a former pastor and current pastor who phenomenally presented the Gospel of Christ while celebrating Sam's life, and staff and friends who gave and gave and gave.  Our Quilt family, awesome ladies! Our Blog family -- Oh my word!!! what an outpouring of support and sympathy and love.

Yes indeed, when we are weak, HE is strong. Mighty to Save! Awesome in power! Phenomenal in grace!

And Sam's legacy begins...
The gift of life to others through organ and tissue donation.
The gift of inspiration to, as his godmother says,(and he quoted on Facebook :-D), "Be different! Do better!"
The gift of joy, in running the race well and finishing well.

He loved the story of Eric Liddell, Olympic runner featured in the film Chariots of Fire.  Two quotes were among his favorites --

"I believe God made me for a purpose, but He also made me fast! When I run, I feel His pleasure."

But the one that gives me the greatest peace is this one:

"We are all missionaries.  Wherever we go, we either bring people nearer to Christ, or we repel them from Christ."

Without a doubt, our little Sam brought people nearer to Christ.
So we grieve.  But we bid him GODSPEED!  Run home, baby!

Thank you, Father God, for giving him to us.
Thank you, Father God, for making his life count!!
Thank you, Father God, for the life that remains for us with Emily and Will.

And for Your peace, Lord, that passes understanding!!

Blessings,

50 comments:

Shelley said...

Oh Mary Lou, my thoughts are with you and yours, my heart is full with the love of God that is shining thru you at this time. Peace to you, my friend, peace and grace.

karenfae said...

so very, very sorry for you and your family. My thoughts are with you.
Karen

Sarah Craig said...

I was thinking of you and praying for you often today - and will continue to do so. {{{{{{{{{{HUGS}}}}}}}}}}

Tonya said...

I know you are having a harder time than we think...who wouldn't? But your testimony of faith is amazing. I am wiping a tear from my eye, and wondering "What if it were Seth? Would I be this strong?"

Many big hugs and prayers to you.

jess40741 said...

Mary lou, I praise God for the peace & strength He blessed u with. I finally understood what the bible was talking about when it talks about the peace that passes understanding when everything came about with Jamie. God simply amazed me in the way He surrounded us & we just knew He was working everything to His perfect will. And now God continues to amaze me as I see Him surrounding your beautiful (inside & out) family celebrate a life well lived by your amazing son. I remember not long ago telling u how much I admire you for what an amazing mother you are. Your reply of course was that it had nothing to do with u at all, but was simply the grace of God. I pray He continues to shower you in His grace as your carry out your own legacy. Love you!
Jessica Grimes

The Civil War Quilter said...

Oh, Mary Lou, my heart truly goes out to you. I know your loss. My beautiful daughter, Elizabeth, went home to the Lord when she was 17 yrs. old. She had a brief bout with cancer. She loved the Lord and was faithful. He rewarded her with a swift painless death. My heart aches for you at this time of sorrow, but as a Christian speaking to another Christian, I know you can find joy in knowing your son is safe at home with his Father in Heaven now. He sounded like a wonderful boy and you were indeed blessed to have him. I will be praying for you and your family.

Anonymous said...

Mary Lou, We LOVE YOU! You and your family are such a blessing and inspiration to me. You gave us praise for the positive influence in his life today, but it was YOU (and Jeff :) who gave him the BEST and most influence. I thought I was done crying today, but after reading this, I'm not. :) I can't wait to hug you and spend time with you again. Maybe this summer we won't get in trouble for being too loud at the dinner table at camp. :0 Love, Rebecca

Sandie ~call me crazy said...

What a beautiful tribute to your wonderful son! I'm so sorry for your loss, but I celebrate that he is Home. Sending hugs, T&P's to comfort you as you go forth.

B-Z-Quilting said...

Mary Lou, as a sister in Christ and also as a mother, fellow quilter, friend, and woman who has also lost a child, my heart is aching for you and your family. My deepest days set in about two weeks later, when reality set in and the finality of our new normal was sinking in. I pray today and will be praying every day in the future, that God gives you just exactly what you need for the moment. I praise God that Sam was such a faithful servant and that you and Jeff made sure he knew Christ's love and grace. Big hugs to you all. Rhonda

Quilt Hollow said...

Mary Lou, you have amazed me again with this wonderful post and your strength in knowing the power of God's word and the strength he has given you and your family during difficult time. I have much to learn from you dear friend. Bless your hearts....

julieQ said...

Praying for you, and rejoicing for your Sam in heaven...I am sorry, Mary Lou...wish I could hug you right now.

Andra Gayle said...

sounds like a young man to be very proud of. I am truly sorry for your loss. I found great joy in just reading your words about him and sincere sadness at his loss. Thoughts and prayers for you and your family.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry to hear about the unexpected loss of your beloved son, Sam. Peace, love and blessings to you and your family. You will be in my prayers...
~Joyce in MI

Brenda said...

Amen. What a testimony of Sam's life. Praying that someone may have received eternal life today. Your son would be pleased if that happened. Praying for your family as reality sets in. What a neat person your son was. Aren't memorial services so encouraging? It does the heart good to laugh.

StitchinByTheLake said...

My heart hurts for the loss of his presence here on earth but rejoices at his presence in Heaven. May God's strength wrap around you like one of your beautiful quilts, keeping you covered in His grace and love. blessings, marlene

pcflamingo said...

What an awesome tribute to your son! You must certainly know that the world is a better place for Sam having been in it, even for a short time. My brother's 19 year old daughter died suddenly almost 11 years ago, and faith sustained him and my sister-in-law in a way that was marvelous to see, and just as your faith is sustaining you. Hugs and prayers ... Pat in Washington state.

Mary L. said...

Mary Lou, my heart continues to break for you. Having walked walked in these shoes, I know somewhat the pain you are feeling, but also recognize the cause for celebrastion in a life so full of God's love. May he continue to comfort you in the days ahead.
Mary

Ariane said...

Mary Lou, I'm praying for you and your family! This post is a wonderful tribute to your son! He brought you all so much joy and was a gift from God! He will be with you in spirit now! Many hugs!!! Ariane

Mrs.Rabe said...

My eyes well with tears at your precious words...still praying...

Lindah said...

Thank you for that wonderful tribute to your son and to our gracious Lord. May His peace continue to lift you up. You continue in our prayers.

The Quilted Finish ph 02 63310084 said...

My heart really goes out to you and your family. I cannot begin to imagine your sense of loss. You are so fortunate to have your Faith to give you strength and comfort. My thoughts are with you and your family. Rowena

Paula said...

well said, Mary Lou!!! A life well lived, a mother's love well given!!! You have inspired me for many, many years......may there be many, many more to come....love you lots and feel your grief....but I also feel your love for God, for Sam, for myself, for the world....for those seeking to know Christ. Thank you for raising Sam so that others could see Him through YOUR son!!! A mother's calling well accomplished!!!

Rebecca said...

I recently discovered your blog through a friends', and was so sad to read of your sons passing. We lost our little guy last year in November to cancer, and although we fully believe and are hopefully anticipating the day we will be rejoined in heaven, we also realize how tough it can be to live it out in the meantime. Sending up prayers for your family!

Becky said...

When I read your post a few days ago, I was so stunned I couldn't even respond. I still have no words. But I do have prayers, and I have been sending them up since you told us the news. God bless you and your family as you try to incorporate this loss into the days ahead....and finding ways to give God the glory in the midst of it.

Hugs, Becky

Crispy said...

You all have been in my heart and mind constantly. How wonderful to hear all the stories of love. Your young man has left quite the legacy.

Love You,

Crispy

Anonymous said...

Mary Lou, amidst preparations for class, daily travel through flooded bottoms, and preparing for an out of town trip I have "kept watch" over you, checking the blog, knowing that you draw strength from the responses left by your quilting sisters and believing friends. Inwardly we grieve and pray, while outwardly, we just keep going with the tasks of living. Know that brothers and sisters beyond all these spoken words continue to lift you up, praying God's sustaining grace through your loss and tears. Psalm 55:22 says, "Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain you." Love you, Beck

AMKreations said...

I'm crying with you and I didn't even know Sam...but I can see what a joy he was to those around. We'll continue to pray as you grieve and mourn. I am so glad that he has run the race and finished his course. What a hope to know that some day you can see him again! God bless you and fill you in the days, weeks, months and years ahead. (((HUGS)))

Lori said...

My prayers are still with you during this time. The post was a beautiful tribute to your son.

soren2go said...

Your blog is a testimony to anyone who reads it. May God continue to be with all of you and give you Grace, Peace, Comfort and Courage.
Leslie in CA

quiltercaroline said...

Dear Mary Lou and family. I have only just read your blog after being away for a week. I am so very sorry for your sudden loss. there are no words I can say other than I went through the loss of my partner suddenly a year ago next weekend. God has been with me throughout and I know He will lift you all even closer to him through the tough times ahead. God Bless you. C x

Colleen said...

Still thinking of you and your family and friends. From such a positive life only more positive things can come.

Nicky said...

I have only just come across your blog but am touched by your loss and great faith. God bless, you, your family and Sam!

Jan said...

Dear Mary Lou , I am sending you my love, my thoughts and my prayers ,from here in the UK .God Bless your family ,and keep those lovely memories safe in your hearts ...love Jan xx

Natasha said...

My thoughts continue to be with you and your family during this difficult time. I find your enduring spirit depite the immense pain to be encouraging and amazing.

Nancy said...

Ohhh, my heart weeps for you and your family. I don't think I could be as strong as you are. I fell apart when my son was taken away because he was in a manic state during one of his episodes with his bipolar. I had to seek professional help because I just couldn't hold strong to my faith at that time.
Your attitude speaks millions about who you are as a person.
God bless

Snoodles said...

Mary Lou, I've been so blessed to read of Sam's precious, faith-filled life. I hope that more than one person will come to terms with their need for Christ, due to Sam's life and due to his memorial service. I am continuing to pray for you and your family in the coming days.
Blessings,
Jacque in SC

Teresa said...

A beautiful life lived, a beautiful life remembered. I wish you, Jeff and the kids peace indeed. I loved the comment about smelling the Axe body wash in his quilts...that smell will probably always brings a cherished memory of Sam back to you. I lost a dear friend many years ago that wore Obsession cologne. I ended up buying a bottle of the stuff and wore a little on days when I missed him the most. When I pass a gentleman wearing it out in public, it still makes me stop and think of him. My thoughts and prayers for peace are with you.

In stitches,
Teresa :o)

Loris said...

What a beautiful, sweet man you loved. God does know pleasure in Sam and in your family's trust in Him through this transition of letting Sam go on before you. My prayers for your comfort and strength continue. The Lord is close in your heart.

Deb said...

Mary Lou,

Bless you and your family during this difficult time.

Tammy said...

Mary Lou, I just want you to know that you and your husband are such an inspiration to me. Praying for your family. God bless you all.

Sue said...

Thinking of you.

Chris said...

So sorry for your loss - loved hearing about your beautiful son. Peace~

Vivian said...

I'm so far behind in my blog reading and I'm in total shock reading your last two posts. I had no idea what you were dealing with in your life until the last few minutes.
Oh, Mary Lou -- I am so sorry for your loss. You've described what a wonderful young man Sam was, and my prayers are with you and your family. My heart aches for you.

notes of sincerity said...

Dearest Mary Lou.
I am so sorry for the loss of your sweet son. You are very close to my heart in prayer.
Sincerely, Trish

kimland said...

Thank you for sharing such a personal thing. What a beautiful life and to know it was well lived has to bring you much comfort. It was only appropriate to have shared him through the donor program, lucky lucky people to now have a bit of Sam with them.

Peace to you and yours...

angiejmq said...

What a beautiful tribute to your son! Our world has lost a remarkable young man, and heaven has gained a wonderful treasure. I pray that as the days and years pass without him, you'll be able to enter into the joy he has now with Jesus. God bless you and your family!

Jackie said...

My heart goes out to you, and my prayers will be for you and your family. I cannot even imagine the loss you are feeling. Your loving words show a faith that will help you through this time. God bless.

Patty Sumner said...

Well said my dear Sister, Well Said!

Colleen said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. Your post was a wonderful tribute to a spectacular young man. You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers.

Wendy said...

I pray for you ... for your loss, for your family, for your peace ... for your everything. I know you have God holding your heart and tears, but you still feel the pain at this time, so I am beyond words sorry for your loss and wish you blessed peace.