Matthew 22:37-39

Matthew 22:37-39

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Somewhere along the line you develop a picture of what your family should have looked like.  

Reggie Joiner spoke at our church last week and said this phrase along with others that are just stuck in my heart. 

Just because the picture didn't turn out, doesn't mean your story is over. 
There is a bigger story, a story of restoration and redemption. 

These phrases take my breath away.  

These phrases I fight daily to try to get a grasp on. 

Paul tells us in Philippians that he forgets what is behind and strains toward what is ahead. He presses on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called him heavenward in Christ Jesus.

And when I read that my heart fills with deep sorrow and complete joy all at the same time.

Forgetting pictures of what should have been, forgetting what is behind and moving forward towards our prize is easier said than done.  

I want my son, I want to go back to those pictures and to those times. 

Lately I am broken, raw, and depressed.

I am an emotional eater so thank goodness I love to run as well. Basically I want a box of cupcakes everyday and I am not ashamed to admit it. I mean look how ridiculous yummy they look.
When I am down I realize more than ever I run to food. 
Friends, let me tell you from experience it doesn't fix anything and can easily become an idol. Sure it helps my heart for a split second but the pain and agony are still there, also along with the pounds.  

But our great God, He meets me even when I run to that stupid cupcake first.  He meets me in my messiness and puts the brokenness of my heart and my pictures back together.  

And He does it daily.

And He will do the same for you. 

We recently bought my sister's van and it already is such a blessing and we are so grateful. 
But it was one more thing I had to tackle. 

To me the car was easy, there wasn't really any more room in there. Honestly that thinking doesn't make sense because Gavin rode in that car. 

But with the van I look back and see what should have been. 

I see empty seats. 

I see the pieces of our broken pictures but I also can see God's redemption and restoration story in the life of our sweet Israel; our second son we never imagined would come into our lives.

Another thing my family tackled was taking family pictures. This sweet new friend wanted to bless us with her talent and captured my family in the most beautiful ways, honoring all three of my children.  We are so appreciative.

But taking them was one thing, hanging them up is another.  

And it is something I can't seem to do.  

I keep looking back at our old pictures and what our life was.  But when I do this, I miss out on what God has in store.  I miss out on His bigger story.  

So I will start praying for those empty seats in our van and whatever God wants to do with them.  

I will keep one foot in front of the other racing towards that prize of heaven and maybe one day will be able to hang some beautiful pictures of my family on the wall.

In the words of Reggie Joiner,

It is not about your pictures.  

Let them go.  

Turn your back on the pictures of your broken pieces.  

Turn your life in the direction of the story God wants to tell through your life that is bigger than you ever imagined.


Monday, June 10, 2013

Happy 4th Birthday Gavin Pan Conklin!

I thought all day Saturday what kind of party we would throw.  Would it be centered around a certain animal?  Would it be a bee theme?  You loved pretending to be a bee, finding bees in books, and made buzzy sounds even.  Would it be batman?  Would it be baseball theme and share in the love for the game with your daddy?
I let my mind wonder all day thinking about that, wishing and aching to just have you here and planning your party.
And what would you be doing at age 4?  Still picking on your sister of course?  Jumping and climbing on everything?  What would you be saying?  Some times I will call my good friend to ask what her sweet little boy is saying and doing.  Gavin and her son were buddies in Taiwan and are so much alike.

A lot of guilt entered my heart from satan's schemes.  I never threw you a big party and I am so sorry for that.  I so wished I would have.  But satan can't win in my thoughts so I fought him all day long.  And God kept whispering to my heart all day that no party I would have thrown could surpass all that you are experiencing now.  You have complete joy.  You have fulfilled life.  So take that satan.  You loose once again.

So we spent the day celebrating you Gavin and thinking of what you would like to do.

So we started the morning with balloons from my sister and her family.  Thanks for always thinking of my family sweet sister.

We spent the day being together; laughing, smiling, crying or whatever emotion came our way.

This boy will not and I repeat will not take this bracelet off that my sister sent.  We talk him out of not sleeping with it but the moment he wakes up, he wants it on.  Brennan is not letting him live this one down and keeps teasing him being girly.  But that smile.  Melt my heart.

Gavin's favorite color was green.  So Lyndlee decided we all needed to wear green.  You that know Brennan will laugh out loud at this as you know how much he hates being a family that matches.  But he took one for the team.  And low and behold we walked into the restaurant to eat and the lady said, "Oh wow, you all have green on."  You should have seen Brennan's face.  Priceless.

We had to be silly.  Gavin was silly.  Ornery and crazy and silly all the time.  He taught us to love and to live your life to the fullest.  He taught us to make the most of every day and every moment.

My artsy girl had to get her craft on, so sewing it was.  Those precious little fingers that make so many beautiful things that speak directly to our heart and soul.  Thank you God.

We were just missing you baby boy so we decided to relax at home with some ice cream.  Four candles and singing happy birthday honestly just broke our hearts, oh how we wish we were celebrating together.  Soon and very soon.

Balloons for our birthday boy.  Batman, Cars, baseball, and one that said big brother.

Thank you friends for the prayers.  Thank you for the cards in the mail for our Gavin.  Thank you for remembering.  The loss of your child is hard and never makes sense.  Everyday is a new day full of challenges but also full of blessings.  Birthdays are a time to celebrate life but absolutely there is mourning in our celebrations.

Thank you for the donations to ministries in Gavin's name.  We are so honored and grateful that you have done those things.  What a way to honor Gavin's life by helping and loving others.