Posted 7 hours ago
It has been so long since we have updated that I don't even know how to start. We are living and enjoying our days, yet we miss Riley everyday in everything. Five months have passed and some days are now easier, but others are still extremely difficult. Paul has been missing her more recently which is difficult to watch. Ella gets quiet at times, but copes with singing and artwork. Ashlyn still likes to talk about Riley all the time. Kirk and I feel we are doing well, but we have little to compare and few to reference. We are forever changed in a way that makes it difficult to fit into this broken world because we see and know how truly broken and imperfect it is. We can recognize many ways in which the devil uses our world to distract us from Him and His Love. This world is broken because I am broken-we are all broken. Too much focus on things that truly don't matter. We struggle to hold our tongue, but feel God has called us to remind others of Him. Being reminded of Him can make this world less broken and we look forward to the day it is made perfect in Him.
Our human brokenness was brought to my attention by Ashlyn a few months ago when we were laying down to go to bed. Ashlyn started telling me that she was afraid she might accidentally say "no" to God. I tried to reassure her that she wouldn't, but she kept on. She was afraid she might not recognize Him and that she would accidentally say "no". Again I tried to reassure her, but she was persistent and after repeating her concern about accidentally saying "no" several times she finally blurted out with tears rolling down her face, "I think there's no chance. I think I'm going to end up in hell." As a mother my heart sank and I prayed I would be able to say what was necessary for her to know the forgiveness, mercy, and love of Our Lord. So I took a deep breath and I said, "Ashlyn you know how much mommy loves you, and you know how if you don't listen to me I keep repeating myself until you hear me. And when you "accidentally" do something wrong doesn't mommy forgive you and try to help you to do it better next time? Well God loves you more than mommy can even imagine loving you and He will not let you "accidentally" say no to Him. He will keep coming back to you until you hear Him. And when you accidentally do something wrong He will forgive you and help you to do it better next time." Not many people are called to have that kind of talk with their 5 year old, but then again not many 5 year olds, yet alone adults, even recognize their sinful human nature. But this conversation sparked me to think about God's patience with us and the persistence of the Holy Spirit trying to open our hearts and minds, so we can come to know Him and His perfect love.
God use opportunities every day to try to open our hearts and minds to Him and to support us in this broken world. One way He has uplifted us and reminded us of His love over the past few months is through the ECU women's soccer team. This great group of girls are special to Riley and they have become even more special to us over this soccer season. As we watch them play, we can see Riley’s spirit on the field with them. The wonderful thing about noticing Riley's spirit is that you can't notice her spirit and not notice His. You can't speak of her and not speak of Him. Tonight we are excited to be traveling to Memphis to watch them play in the conference USA tournament and we pray the girls use all the gifts God has so perfectly given them to play well. We would love to see them win all 3 games this week, but we know it is so much bigger than who wins or loses on the field - it's about God winning in each of our hearts and minds because He has already won the Game for us - He has already overcome this broken world and for this I am most thankful! In Him lies my perfect Hope!
Thursday God arranged a special appointment and I was blessed to meet the parents of a young 7 year old girl (Lydia) who was delivered into Heaven the day prior. Her parents faith, also lying in Him and His gift and promise of eternity, was obvious during our conversation. The next day we were called letting us know that Riley’s bronze grave marker with etched photos had been installed. When we went out to see Riley’s grave marker, amazingly we found that Lydia;s earth cloths were buried just diagonal to Riley’s. It pleased my heart to know a little bit about her and her love for God. Riley and Lydia;s souls seem very similar-both, I’m sure, pleasing to Our Father.
We thank you for all your continued prayers for our family as they continue to uplift us and we ask for you to pray for Lydia’s family as she has 2 younger siblings who are missing her also. And finally please pray for the ECU soccer team-that they may feel His presence on the field this week and that they may play the game of soccer well, having fun and giving Him all the Glory!
Patiently waiting, Kirk and Kelly