This blog is simply the story about my little life
with my sweet family that the Lord has blessed me with
and the day in, day out things that we do.
It basically is my online diary/photo album of our life.
I'm glad you're here!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

On a happier note....

After sharing my sad news the other day, I want to share with you some of the blessings in my life. First of all though, I do want to thank all of you for such lovely comments of concern. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement. I have felt your prayers! Please keep praying for my son to come back to the Lord and to watch over Brittany and Ridley.

God is so good and so faithful. He is ever present. His grace and mercy are immeasurable. His forgiveness is unfathomable. He brings us joy and happiness. Recently my husband and I took a trip back east to Maryland and New York! We had such a lovely wonderful time. We planned this trip back in November and the timing of the trip ended up being absolutely perfect, God KNEW that we needed to get away exactly at the right time. Our trip was a true blessing.
My father-in-law, Jim, turned 80! He is actually adjusting very well after his wife's death in November. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, but he's holding his own and we have not noticed him declining, which I am so thankful for.
My parents are doing pretty good too. My sisters and I have been cleaning out their house in preparation of moving them to an assisted living facility. I am so grateful to God for these two people!
 We had a lovely Easter celebration at Cameron and Megan's house. Here's Mackenzie taking a picture of his adorable son, Ridley, having his first Easter egg hunt. He loved it! I am very thankful that our family still gets together.
 Beautiful Brittany and darling Ridley. She is amazingly strong and God is blessing her.
 The newlyweds, Cameron and Megan, have been married for 9 months now and are very happy!
 Grayson and Rachelle will be getting married in just 3 months!
 Hayden is doing great!
He is transferring to OSU next fall to obtain his degree in forestry and will be moving out this summer. He's been having fun working on his Jeep. He's still looking for that special someone!
 He took this amazing photo of this big cougar out in the wild when he was up in the woods for his job. This photo went viral on Facebook. I am so thankful that he was INSIDE the truck when he saw it!
 One of the silver linings during this difficult time is that I get to babysit this darling little boy.
When Mackenzie divorced Brittany, she went back to work full-time and I watch Ridley two days a week. I just love him so much. God has blessed Brittany with two other sweet ladies who watch him on the other days at no charge. Ridley has adjusted quite well to not being with Mommy all the time. He is such a happy baby. Brittany has adjusted quite well too.
Grayson and Rachelle bought this place in January. It's an old mobile home on 17 beautiful acres just one mile down the road from us! Grayson lives there now and Rachelle will move in after they get married. They are planning on living in the mobile home for three years and then will build their dream house after that. It's so wonderful that they will be so close to us, but yet they have total privacy, they actually live down a curved road and we can't see there place at all.
One day Ridley and I went down to visit Grayson. Grayson was showing Ridley the cows that are on his property (he's leasing it out). I cracked up when I saw the way Grayson was holding Ridley! This reminds me so much of my husband!
 Our pets, Blondie and MacGyver are such blessings to us!
Ridley loves walking around the property. He always squeals with delight, "OUTSIDE!" when it's time to go out. Blondie is watching over Ridley in this picture!
 It's been so much fun to watch him explore the world and discover new things!
To see things through a child's eyes is just precious to me and it's such a joy to show him new things like mud puddles!
Me on 34th street in Manhattan
So even though my heart has had sorrow and we've been through the ringer, God still gives us so much joy and so many things to be thankful for. I am truly grateful to God for everything. I will praise Him forever.

I will post about our trip soon.

"We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

Hugs, Sharon

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Holding onto God through the storm

Spring is here and, believe me, in my life it is so welcome right now. The new signs of life growing from the cold dark ground are such a reminder of the hope I have in the Lord. I am so thankful that we have such a good God who is so loving and understanding. He is in control of everything even when it is not what we want. There are times when we must simply lay down and rest in His arms and wait for His timing as He renews and restores.
I have something I need to tell you. It is very difficult for me, but here goes... eldest son, Mackenzie, has divorced his wife, Brittany.
He told Brittany he didn't think he loved her on July 5, 2014. Our family has been on an emotional roller-coaster ever since. He moved out in October, filed divorce papers in December and the divorce was final a few weeks ago.
Not only has he left his wife and their family, but he is questioning God. It is like a death to me. I have been frozen. I am dumbfounded. I have experienced so many emotions. If it were not for God in my life, sustaining me, I would be a complete mess. I have been so heartbroken for Brittany and so worried about what is really going on with my son. It's just not what any of us planned and it has been so very painful. I want to make it clear though that my son loves his son very much and is supporting him and seeing him regularly.
How can my son walk away from the Lord God whom he has loved and served since he was a little boy? How can he turn from his savior whom he wrote beautiful worship songs too? Whom he has studied. Whom he has played drums for on the worship team? How can my son walk away from his bride? The woman he handpicked. The woman he had prayed for. The woman whom he had a cozy life with. The woman whom he created a new little life with?
My heart aches for Mackenzie, Brittany and Ridley.
God has totally lifted up and encouraged Brittany. She is amazing. She is so heartbroken, but God has given her an inner-strength that surpasses understanding. She is going to be ok. Her and I are very close and I am so thankful for that. She is close to all of our family. She is our family and always will be.
We are trying to find our new normal, which is a difficult process, but we are taking it one day at a time. My son has been quiet. He doesn't seem happy to me, but he says this is what he wants. I'm so thankful that he still comes to our family gatherings. I am thankful that the divorce has been peaceful and amicable. I'm thankful that he is supporting his son. It has been hard to navigate this whole situation, we are just taking it one day at a time. I will always love my son and I want a relationship with him. My husband wants a relationship with him. I want my four sons to have a strong bond again. I want my happy family back again. I pray the collateral damage will be repaired and restored.
In the beginning of all of this, just family and close friends knew, but after the divorce was final Brittany wrote a beautiful blog post about it and shared it on Facebook. Her love for God and Mackenzie is so evident. She is amazing. She truly has taken the highroad.
I would like to share with you her beautiful post. But first, this is what I wrote when I shared her post:

With great sadness and a heavy heart, I'm sharing with you what my daughter-in-law, Brittany, posted this morning. Our family has been through a lot the past 9 months, but I am thankful to say the Lord has held us up and given us strength, comfort, hope and love through it all. While it's hard to understand, my son has fallen out of love with his wife, but our family has not fallen out of love with her her nor have we stopped loving Mackenzie. I am so touched with Brittany's blog post setting the tone of love when she has every right to do the opposite. She was an excellent wife and a great daughter-in-law and she is a wonderful mother. I am so proud to call her my daughter. She will always be my daughter and I love her dearly.
In Brittany's words ~ "I'm sharing my heart today and being real." 

Relying on His Unfailing Love
By Brittany

As I write today, my hope is that through sharing of my own sufferings, someone else may be encouraged. 
My intention is only to share my heart — 
explaining what happened, what God is doing, and how you can pray for us.

“Count it all joy my brothers, when you face trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4.

What Happened

It was seven months ago that I wrote the above verse down in my journal. My heart was filled with hope, anxiety, and pain. It had been roughly two months into a trial that I never expected would come my way. A trial that I was determined would not happen to me…not happen to us.

On July 5th, 2014, Mackenzie told me he no longer loved me or had a desire to choose to love me. Not only so, but he told me he questioned his faith in God and the Gospel…
Crushed. Heartbroken.  Rejected. Disbelief. Pain. Anger. Sorrow. Bitterness. Hope. These are all feelings I have felt numerous times since those words were said. I didn’t understand. To be honest, I still don’t. 
At the time, Ridley was only 9 months old and  he was (and still is) a sweet, joyful, loving little boy. Mackenzie had just started working a new job, one that we prayed for. God had blessed us with the opportunity for Mackenzie to work at a company closer to home and also allowed me to stay home with our son. 
We have an amazing community of family and friends surrounding us and loving us. We are a part of an awesome church that loves Jesus and preaches the gospel every Sunday. I thought we truly were living this dream that we both desired to have. We made plans together.

This is what I had prayed for… Surely the words he spoke could not be real. Surely this could not be happening. It was. It is. And there was really no explanation. No understanding as to why this is all happening.
As time passed, I pressed into God and His Word more than I ever had before. I prayed harder and drew nearer to Him.
Mackenzie pushed himself farther and farther away from me, from our friends, and our family. I pleaded with him to seek counsel from leaders in our church, to speak with friends and relatives who had also gone through difficulties in their own marriages, to read books, to go to marriage counseling with me, to have a little get-away with me, just the two of us.
Surely these would all help. I believed this because I was committed. 
What I failed to realize, is that a marriage can only be successful if both parties are committed to making it work. 
Every so often, I would speak my mind to him. I would share with him my hopes, my desires, my hurts, my anger. I would try to understand where he was coming from. What happened? What could I do to help? I pleaded with him. Nothing worked and He moved out in October. 
Hope remained in my heart. Speculation about what really was happening filled my mind. Family, friends, and even strangers lifted us up in prayer. Although I have never been in control, I realized at this point, that all of this was truly out of my control.
I felt stuck. I felt as if I couldn’t even plan for the future. I had no idea if my husband would return home to us or if he would continue along this path. I prayed, “help me Lord to be a godly wife, a godly mother, a godly woman…please heal our marriage…please open his eyes.” No change…and from this, the reality of it all began to set in. 
One night in November 2014, as I read the following verse, I felt God telling me that I had to let go and stop yearning for Mackenzie.  “But if an unbelieving spouse separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace.” 1 Corinthians 7:15. 
Mackenzie chose to pursue a divorce and as of March 30, 2015 we are no longer married.

What God is Doing
Throughout this season of suffering, God has been encouraging me. He holds my hand as I walk through this. He gives me an unexplainable strength to keep moving. While many days, I wake up heartbroken and in disbelief, there are also many days that I wake up with a peace that truly surpasses any of my own understanding. He has given me my incredibly joyful, loving, sweet boy Ridley, who is, without a doubt, the biggest reason to wake up each day and keep moving and keep trusting.
God speaks to me through His Word and through encouragement from friends and family. As scripture is laid on their heart, they share it with me at just the right moment.  I am continually in awe of the community that surrounds Ridley and I. So much love has been poured out to us through our family, our friends, and our church. So much love that I feel completely undeserving of.

I am walking on a path where I can’t see what lies ahead. The reality is, none of us can. I’m scared and although I know I am not alone, I often feel very alone. BUT, I do have hope that God will bring good from this. He promises us that. (Romans 8:28) I will continue to hang on to that hope and I will do my best to emulate God’s love.

I titled this blog, “Relying On His Unfailing Love” because God’s love is truly unfailing – He loves each of us just as we are, no matter what we have done. At this point in my life, I am going through a period of great loss and truly relying on that great, unchanging, unfailing love.

How You Can Pray for Us
               Pray that I would have wisdom, patience, and discernment as Ridley grows . That I would continually be seeking the Lord and His strength – may God fill in the gaps where I fail. Pray that I would be able to show to Ridley God’s love. Oh what a precious, amazing gift Ridley is to me.
               Pray that my faith would not be shaken. That, on the hardest of days, I would be able to find rest, acceptance, joy and love in the Lord and in Him alone.

               Pray for Ridley that he would be strengthened through this trial. That he will come to know the Lord and that he would know how incredibly loved he is.
               Pray for our families, that we would know how to navigate this new journey in our relationships. I am incredibly grateful for both sides and the support they have shown.
               Pray for Mackenzie and I as we co-parent Ridley. That our conversations would remain peaceful and positive.
               Pray for Mackenzie, that he would know how loved he really is.

I realize questions may have come up in your mind as you read. Please feel free to contact me privately and I will do my best to get back to you. If you’re inclined to comment, please keep it respectful to both Mackenzie and I. ~ Brittany

The love and support that Brittany received from family, friends, co-workers and acquaintances was unbelievable. It was so encouraging. Both of us talked about how freeing it was to get the truth out there and we felt surrounded and lifted up by the prayers and love. 

This was my comment to her on her post:

Sharon: Brittany, I love you and am so proud of you. I'm so thankful for you. You are such a great example of God's love. You were an excellent wife. You are an excellent mother. You are my beloved daughter-in-law and you always will be. I know God has His hand upon you as you start your new life. I am so thankful that you are surrounded by such an amazing group of people who genuinely love you and care for you. I'm so thankful for our friendship. My heart is broken, but God is holding the broken pieces and He will bring restoration in whatever form that is.
Indeed, this has been one of the hardest things I have ever gone through, but I know, that I know, that I know that God is in control and it will all work together for His good!

Now we wait in the palm of God's hand for His next amazing steps.

"I prayed to the Lord and He answered me, freeing me from all my fears. Those who look to Him for help will be radiant with joy." Psalm 34:4-5a

Hugs, Sharon
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