Normally I write about my kids and the wild things they do. But today I want to write about me. I want to write about all the cool things that have happened over the last month or so. It's really been the culmination of God's work over some time but it's amazing to stand outside myself and see all of this come full circle. Warning; this is long because I have to give you lots of background to make my point.
Let me start back when Fred and I first became Fred and I. You see we were young, dumb, wild college kids. We did everything young dumb college kids do. I met him on a sort of blind date at a gay bar. Yes, you read that right, I met my husband at a gay bar. That's a whole different story, for a whole different blog. We dated for a while and decided toward the end of college that we'd been dating long enough we should probably get hitched. So we did. I moved from my parents house to his tiny one bedroom apartment with all my worldly possessions and a 4 year old special needs daughter. At this point Fred had already accepted Maddie as his own and we planned for the future. Church and God didn't really factor into our plans. It wasn't that we didn't believe in God we just weren't really worried about what God had to say about our lives. Did I mention that we were young and dumb? We just carried on through life doing our own thing. We worked opposite shifts for a while to make sure someone could be with Maddie. Sure it wasn't fun but she was our life. We moved to another city, it didn't work out so back home we came. Eventually we decided we might want to have another kiddo, so we decided to get to work on that. Emma Catherine joined the Rosebush clan on October 9, 2008 and we were the Rosebush party of 4. Things were good! We continued living our lives according to what we wanted to do. We even got the sweetest surprise in 2011. We were going to welcome another baby to our family. I was pregnant once again.
Our lives would change drastically on January 17, 2012 in a way we were never prepared for. I started my day like any other day. I got up, got dressed, kissed my husband, kissed my girls and went to work. Hours later into my work day got a call from a frantic, screaming, incoherent Fred. He asked me to call 911 because he went to get Maddie out of bed and she wasn't breathing. I don't know why he called me instead of 911. The only explanation I have is that he was in shock and my number was on speed dial. I called 911 and left my office. I don't even know if I said anything to anyone. I just left in a full sprint. I was nearly 8 months pregnant so I'm sure it was more of a waddle. I left my job on Chamberlain Lane and headed toward PRP. I called Fred back to see if EMS arrived. He didn't answer, a policeman did. This poor policeman asked me to pull over and I refused. I told him I wasn't stopping until I got home to my family. He politely suggest that I stop for a moment and I refused. I asked him to just tell me what was going on. He said the words that I had dreaded since Madison was born. He told me over the phone, while driving 80 on the Watterson, that my daughter was gone. There is no way to be prepared for that. All the breathe in my lungs left me instantly and a piece of my heart died. I somehow managed to ask how Fred and Emma were and he said they were ok. I hung up. I screamed at the top of my lungs in my car. I cried. I called everyone I could think of and some how managed to tell them all that Maddie was gone. I have no idea how I got home. NONE! I was on autopilot. When I got home I was numb. I couldn't speak. I couldn't think. I just sat down. I was met with probably 5 police officers who were nothing but kind to me. They even called one of their chaplains to come sit with us. The paramedics were worried about me because I was obviously super pregnant and my blood pressure was through the roof. Everyone was so kind that day. The next few hours and days were a blur as we prepared to have a funeral for our child. It was rough. I don't know how we made it, I really don't. People were in and out and so very helpful and I was probably a fat pregnant jerk because I was so consumed with guilt and anger that I didn't appreciate any of it.
After everything settled down I was so angry at God. How could he take Maddie away from us? In fact I was more than angry, I was pissed! Why would God bless us with a sweet little boy on the way and then take Maddie away? Why didn't I get to say goodbye? I had not time or use for God. I was angry. I'm not sure why I was so angry at God since he really had no place in my life in the previous few years. I'm not sure what I expected or why my anger was directed at God.
Fred and I carried on with life the best you can when you lose a child. We welcomed Jaxon in March of 2012 just 6 weeks after we buried Maddie. It was so bittersweet to welcome a new baby while mourning the loss of another. Again, I'm not sure how we made it.
In the fall of 2012 we thought it was important for Emma to have some normalcy in her life and hang out with other kids her age so we enrolled her in preschool. We sent her to Christian Academy of Louisville, where she continues even now. While at school she would learn Bible songs and Bible stories. She would come home and tell us these stories and ask us questions. She started to ask to go to church. Again, being the angry pissed off person I was I wasn't really interested in going to church but I thought it might be good for her. So Fred and I started looking for a church to go to. I was skeptical and kind of a church snob. Some churches were too big, some were too small. Some weren't friendly and others the friendliness felt insincere. I was frustrated and ready to give up. Until one day we decided to try this Baptist church down the street. We pass it everyday, and they just built a new sanctuary so why not try it. We showed up on Sunday morning with both kids in tow. Neither one of them were super excited about church. We were immediately greeted by a lady named Pam. Pam opened the door for us and welcomed us in. We must have looked really confused because she asked if it was our first time here. We said yes and she asked us if we wanted to take our kids to the nursery. Now, if you've every lost a child you start to become super overprotective of your remaining children. You rarely leave your kids with anyone! When Pam asked the nursery question it seemed ok so we said sure. She left her post at the door and she walked with us all the way to the nursery. She could have easily just point us in the right direction and moved on but she didn't. I don't know why this was so important but it was. She seemed genuine and seemed to care that we were there. Weird, I hadn't gotten that before. Now, Pam still talks to us weekly at church and probably doesn't even know that she was the reason that we came back the next week. Her kindness that day changed something for me. We've never left that church. It instantly be came home.
We slowly decided to get involved. We started in the nursery because it seemed only fair I left my screaming boy with them each week I should help out. We've now started teaching Sunday School, helping on Wednesday nights, and coaching upwards. It's been so rewarding working with the kids and seeing them grow. We've met so many awesome Christian people at Beechland. They've welcomed us with open arms and made us family. Last year when our home was broken into right before Christmas the church rallied around us. We were overwhelmed with financial support and prayer from people we've barely met. I asked why would people be so kind, the only possible answer: GOD. This was the first time I really got it. I really saw God's hand working.
Just this month Emma decided to go forward at church and get baptized. It was such an awesome, moving, overwhelming experience to see your child make such an important decision. Words can't express how grateful I am to our church for helping her to this decision.
Shortly after Emma's baptism Fred got a letter in the mail letting him know that some one in the church nominated him to become a deacon. Now, if you've know Fred for any amount of time you would have instantly laughed at this notion. Fred and I discussed it and decided that he should follow through on this. He went through the obvious questions. Who the heck would nominate me? Why me? Do I really want to do this? I encouraged him to prayerfully consider this opportunity. I reminded him that sometime others see things in us that we do not see. I reminded him that he has an opportunity to be a leader in our church into the future. Like all good husbands do, he agreed with me. He decided to follow through on his nomination and last night he was ordained a deacon by the church.
Last night we attended the ordination service for the new deacons. There were 5 awesome, faithful, Christian men who stood in front of our church last night and gave their testimony. I mean, really awesome men! I wasn't really prepared for how emotional their testimonies would be, including my husband's and I know his! After all the men spoke, their wives were invited to join them, and the church lined up to pray with each man (and wife) individually. It was so powerful. If felt so awesome! It was amazing to see the entire church come together and lift these guys up. It was moving to see and hear how much Fred (and myself) mean to our church family. It's weird when you're just cruising through life, doing what you feel like you should be doing, you can touch people.
I left there feeling energized and touched, probably more faithful than ever. I'm so proud of my husband and look forward to awesome things to come for him. I felt that he joined a brotherhood of amazing men last night and I can't wait to see the positive things they do for the church. God is blessing Beechland and my family. I'm so glad I got to see that last night.