Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Power of Love and Hope

I spoke in church today and thought I would share. . . 

I spoke over a year ago and since then have given birth to twin boys. These boys have given our family a run for our money and something tells me this crazy year won’t be the last. Our twins were a miracle to us and have been an enormous blessing. While in a time of our lives when sadness and grief was consuming us, God simply and plainly told us, if it was our hearts desire, we would be blessed with two boys. That is a story that is special to my husband and me. I won't go into details, but you can see that it is a story that exemplifies the power of God’s love for us, that he knows each of us personally, and how that love can bring us all hope.  

Many of you know our oldest son passed away in a boating accident 2 1/2 years ago. Today I want to share with you a little of how our son lived. The meaning of the name Maxwell is described as “Great” and “Capable.” Those two description fit him perfectly. He was “Great.” His teachers would describe him as a great leader. He had a greatness about him that was honest and humble and people would follow him because they felt that greatness in him. Max was very “Capable.” Not only was he in the gifted programs and always tested extremely high at school, he had a gift for music. He was “Great” and “Capable,” but if I were to add one more meaning to the name of our son Maxwell, it would be “Love.” I was proud that my son was great and capable, but what brings me to tears every time I think of him is his love. . . His love for me, his love for others, and his love for his Father in Heaven.

In 4th grade he was invited to a classmates birthday party. I knew the boy only a little from visiting Max's class, but I knew that he was not one of the popular kids. But, Max being a friend to all was not deterred in the slightest. Ryan and I had other plans and a party of our own to go to, so I asked Max to skip the party and told him we could send a gift to the birthday boy. Max was so adamant about going that I finally agreed. When I took Max to the door, I saw the house was full of decoration for the party but empty of any friends. Max was the only one who had shown up. When the boy saw Max, he lit up like his birthday party was about to be amazing. The thought of what could have been a horrible event in a young boys life, made me so grateful for Max and his love for everyone. A couple of weeks before Max passed away he and his sister Abby attended a surf camp. There was a boy that was always around Max. Always asking him questions, trying to drag him from place to place, and wanting to constantly be right next to him. At a lunch break on the last day, I sat next to Max and asked him if this new found follower had been behaving like this all week. Max stated that he had. I commented at how annoying that probably was. He gave me a look that was a mixture of surprise and disappointment. What he innocently and simply said in response was, “He has a good heart." That's how Max was. Always seeing the good in people. Max was the way he was because of love. He truly cared about and loved others.  The power of Max's love for people was just that... Powerful. It was simple and sweet and true. 

“I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” -Hebrew 13:5 

When Max left this world, I was at a loss. More than a loss, I was broken and shattered into tiny pieces, but with that tragedy came an abundance of love. At his funeral, people came far and wide to support us and honor Max. The speakers spoke from the heart, the music carried a sweet spirit to each person, and the flowers were beyond breathtaking. When my sister died when I was young, my mom did not want to see flowers for a long time because it brought back the haunting memories of her daughters death. For me, the flowers at Max’s funeral represented life. When I looked at them, I saw something blooming at its peek, cut from the life it was living and now serving a greater purpose than it was before. I have since contacted the talented friend who arranged these flowers. She described the event of arranging the flowers for the funeral as something spiritual. She and her loving daughter felt Max’s presence and spirit guiding them throughout the emotional process.  

“The best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even heard, but must be felt with the heart.” -Helen Keller 

The story I am about to tell has been heard by few but I tell it now and I ask that as I open my heart, it be respected and received as it was intended. The intent is to describe    to you the power of love and of hope. 

After the funeral, my husband, our two girls and I went to Australia to rediscover ourselves and find peace. While there, I found myself laying in a hotel bed, in another country, and the son that I had cared for and loved for 10 years was gone. While tears were gracing my cheeks and with a prayer pounding in my heart, I drifted to sleep and started to dream. I believe this was more than just a dream. . . I felt light and weightless unlike the heavy load I was carrying only breaths ago. I found myself standing across from my son, he was beautiful and almost vibrating with color and light. His eyes were crystal blue and his hair was golden, like it had been washed in the rays of the sun. I was aware that he had died and I was looking at him, memorizing him like I wanted one last look before he was really gone. The scene around us was endless white and peaceful. In that moment, I started to feel my heart ache as I remembered his death and his departure. Then, without touching me, I felt him pull my attention to look at him in his light filled eyes. He looked at me and I could feel him looking deep into my soul. He smiled and spoke to me without words, but what felt like a pure form of communication, and told me to look at a bouquet of flowers he held in his hands. He held beautiful flowers and I noticed they were the same flowers used at his funeral. Again, communicating without words, he beckoned me to come closer and smell them. I stepped closer, I was close enough now that the flowers were the only thing between us. He lifted them to me and I inhaled. I closed my eyes and as I let the amazing sweet scent fill my lungs, I felt an incredible joy unlike anything imaginable and a euphoric feeling of pure love. The kind of love that is warm and endless and can lift you up no matter how deep you have fallen. The feeling flowed into my nose and my heart pumped the love and joy to every part of my body. I looked at him and his face lit up in satisfaction, knowing what I had just experienced. In words unspoken, he let me know this is how he feels every moment and he wanted me to feel how happy he really was. He had given me a gift. I woke up enlightened with my prayer answered and hope resting in my heart. 

This experience along with many others, has shown me that we will all have trials in our lives, but that they are small when compared to our eternal life. Understanding this challenging concept will help us feel joy and hope amongst the sadness and despair we sometimes find ourselves in. 

God loves us, and with that love comes hope. My prayer is that through love and its powerful force, we can have hope that our broken hearts can one day be mended, that our faith in God can be restored, and that our lives may have more joy and fulfillment because we have allowed love and hope to enter it. 

Stay tuned for more living . . .