Saturday, October 6, 2007

not by might

I am sitting in my living room, my husband has taken my daughter to run some errands, and the only noise is the dull drone of football commentary coming from the television. The image is one of quiet - serenity, even - and I have to confess: I feel it.

We are okay. It's strange to write those words, strange that they are, in fact, true. I don't think I ever sincerely believed they would be. It makes sense. I believed more in my own belief than in God Himself, so of course I doubted. I believed in belief and faith and hope and love and all the other things. These are my deities. These are the golden calves - the things I stupidly worship. Who wouldn't? Tragedy, suffering, sorrow, heartache - all the evidence the world needs to prove that God doesn't exist. Where is this God of ours now? And yet, we must hang onto something - it's how we're made. We can't do it alone.

I saw a woman yesterday on Oprah selling a book called, "Eat, Pray, Love." Perhaps that's the answer, or at least one we can all practically approach: eat a little, pray a little (we're not sure to whom), and of course - of course - love. Love, love, love. But is love enough? Certainly food doesn't fill me up, at least not for long. And if I'm supposed to be praying - well, give me some kind of guideline. If we're all going to go ahead and throw up our hands and admit there's something - someone? - out there who might hear us praying (even, as the author said, it's a "universal power"), then perhaps we shouldn't eschew the idea that there's a god? Maybe even just One?

I am convinced there is no god, there is no deity - there is no good thing or good idea or good concept or GOOD at all - apart from Jesus Christ. Conor and I are reading a book called "Heaven" by a writer named Randy Alcorn and while I love it - I love it - it's strange: he's actually talking like heaven is a real place. He's capitalizing it. Heaven. It's no different than New York or Milan to him. It's a place. But where? I don't know. Neither does he. Conor and I look at each other on occasion and it's like a mutual resignation to partial insanity - "Okay, so... do you believe this? Whew... me, too." And thus, we keep reading. Perhaps it's for comfort. Perhaps it's because I've never had much of an interest in heaven - Heaven - before. And now I think about it almost constantly. I believe it's real, physical, tangible, that there are angels and people - though they're not the same - and that God dwells with them there. God dwells with them. I don't know a lot. I don't suspect most of us do. But I can tell you: I believe it. I believe in the whole thing. And I don't think I'm entirely responsible for that belief. It's a choice - of course - on some level, but the choice is more in the not-rejecting of it than in the accepting. If I believe any of this, if I have a faith in Jesus, in the person of Christ, if I can truly rest on what He's saying to me, even today, even while I miss my baby daughter more than I can ever, ever express, it's because He gave it to me. My faith, my hope, my love - these are all copies. The real ones must be placed within me. If I believe, it's because He gave me the belief in the first place. If I rest, it's because He quieted me.

There's a story in Mark of a father whose child is possessed. When he asks Jesus to heal his son, he uses the word "if" - "If you can do anything, take pity on us and heal him!" Jesus, taken aback, says bluntly: "If I can? Everything is possible for those who believe." And the man, in a moment that will forever define the conflict in the human heart, responds frantically, "I do believe! Help me overcome my unbelief!" We are a mixture of our own dreadful attempts to believe and our desperate, desperate need to have that belief fastened within us. Part of us must do the confessing - and part, the receiving.

Love is not enough. Faith and hope and joy and determination and perserverance and commitment and peace and patience and goodness - they're not enough. They're just pretty words for pretty books that perhaps we'll buy to make ourselves feel better - for a time. But ultimately, the richness and fullness of these things cannot be tapped into unless and until something - Someone - allows it. As humans, we're entirely devoid of and entirely barred access to them all - if not for the cross of Christ.

"Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit..." Pitch the book. Pitch them all. Don't go running toward something that, at the end of the day, will leave you feeling empty and alone. There is no person, there is no answer, there is no trick or tactic that will ever, ever be to you what He will. Do not be deceived.

Conor, Sellers and I are making it... we are walking. We miss our girl. I go into her closet twenty-five times a day and smell the clothes she wore, the clothes that are soaked in her sweet scent. I wonder what she's doing, if she's sleeping - do they sleep in Heaven? - or eating, or if she's even still an infant. I hope she is. I pray she is. My heart aches with the grief of what could have been. But were it not for the cross - for that moment in history where my eternity was secured - I would despair. I rejoice that He offers it. Yes, somehow, we are making it. But it's not by our might. Or by any power. Or by faith or hope or love. It's by His Spirit. May it fall afresh upon us.

118 comments:

sarahdodson said...

Boothe, thank you for sharing your heart's emotions with us. Such good thoughts here. I don't know how people who don't know the Lord can make it through such times. I'm thankful you do! It's evident to see.

Sun said...

WOW! BLOWN AWAY BY THIS!!!!!!!!!!!! This is one that I will read and re-read because it is something I too often forget - thank you so much for continuing to share what God is doing in your lives! We are still lifting you up. Sunshine

Susiewearsthepants said...

Thank you so much for continuing to blog. Your words are a lesson for us all. Some of my darkest days were when my husband left me. I hit rock bottom and had no where to turn. Except to Jesus. Even though up until this point I did out loud profess my unbelief. Thank God he was waiting with open arms for me, just as he is you.

Anonymous said...

thank you. we will continue to pray for your family. May His Spirit fall afresh upon you.

Wyman said...

Boothe, I have been reading your story because I heard of you through friends of friends of my sister. I have been praying for you all so often and hope that the Lord continues to meet you where you are and that you will constantly look to Him. You have blessed my life so much and I have learned so much through your story. I will continue to read as long as you write and lift y'all up to our ever so real and almighty God. ~Emilie

Paulette said...

So SO beautiful Boothe, you need to be writing a book! I kid you not. What comfort you could bring to parents everywhere with what you write here which boils down to HOPE IN CHRIST. You write the most beautiful poignant stuff I have ever read and what a testimony to a loving God.
Write a book for Copeland even if you dont publish it, use the beautiful words to take other families through the grieving process.
I still come by everyday so I can pray for you, Conor and Sellars. You are not alone. You are still helping and guiding so many. It is a touching post
Blessings Boothe, keep expressing and the days will get easier.

Laurie said...

You are so right Boothe, Jesus is the answer, the only answer. No books, other than the Bible hold the truths your heart needs to heal. It is all there in the New Testament, Jesus died that we may believe and help our unbelief, and have eternal life with Him in Heaven, yes Heaven where Copeland has her new body and is whole. Jesus makes it real, Him and Him alone. You are doing what you need to do for you to get through, and having Copelands things to feel and smell are good. Continue sitting at His feet and talking to Him about all you feel, He knows already but wishes for you to pour your grief out on Him. His comforter, the Holy
Spirit will guide you through this valley and He will fall afresh on you each day forever. And His grace is sufficient in holding you up. May each day draw you closer and nearer to His truths of unconditional love for you, Conor, and Sellers.
Prayers continue for you every day and may He fill your hearts with gladness and new joy.

Laurie in Ca.

Anonymous said...

I've been following your blog for a few weeks now and I am so touched by your words, your faith and most of all your love for life, the Lord and all things that are good. How good is God that he has brought us together to grieve with you and pray with you? Your experience has changed the way I think about everything and the way I pray. Thank you for blessing us all and taking us back to the beginning. May God continue to bless you each day !

Anonymous said...

You know, I have never met you. I probably would not recognize you should our paths cross on the street. And yet, I come to your page multiple times a day... and soak in every word you say. I cannot say that I know how you feel... because I don't. I cannot even say if there is anything I can do to help you... except to say this: as long as you are here, we are here.

I am one of the many that are still praying for you and your family every day.

Elizabeth S said...

Beautiful. Convicting and beautiful. I am still praying.

Braden & Mason said...

Hi Boothe, I heard about your blog through a friend of mine, and I too have been following your story for a few weeks now. I'm soo sorry for your lose. I visit your blog several times a day and pray for you and your family constantly. I was looking at your blog a few nights ago and my 3 year old boy said, "Mommy who is that baby, so I told him about the story." Later that night after he had went to bed and said his nightly prayers, I heard him over the moniter praying yet again, and this time he was saying "Dear Jesus, watch over baby Copeland and take care of her just like my pawpaw." (My grandfather died in June.) It was soo sweet and I tell you that to tell you this, we are all here, near and far, people who have never met and probably never will, we are all here praying for you, Conor, and your precious Sellers. We lift your family up that God be there with you getting you through this time of grief. We love you and your family so very much and just know that we are here. Everyday.

jtcosby said...

Such a mighty statement Boothe...one I struggle with daily without the sadness you are dealing with. I fight my unbelief and I fight my inner Paul...I do the things I should not do...I want to be different and I believe God is using you as a vessel to help others to realize they are not able to do ANYTHING alone. "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." It's a slow process...but one I am thankful to be learning. I continue to pray for you and your family. You are a precious child of God and a blessing. Thank you!

Missy said...

Thank you Boothe for these words. They are comforting, convicting and healing. Thank you for allowing Jesus to use you even through this storm. We are praying for you.

derrickandamy said...

I am praying too that His Spirit will fall afresh upon you each and every morning. The story in Mark is special to me too. I find myself repeating that phrase often. Press in Boothe. Praise God for making it!
~Amy

Lisa said...

God is changing hearts, lives and families through you. He's changing and molding my heart through your faith, and I suspect there are hundreds - even thousands - of others who could say the same thing. Copeland's life is winning souls and knitting families together so tightly that Satan doesn't stand a chance at breaking those bonds. We're praying for you constantly here in Arlington.

Anonymous said...

Boothe, thank you for speaking the Gospel, and may we never tire of hearing it. None but Jesus.

Jennifer said...

Thank you for continually pointing us to where we should find Hope...I long for Heaven, and can't wait to meet your family and Copeland there someday!!

Ryan said...

In Revelations it describes the Son of Man holding seven stars in His right hand. That's a really big hand. I will be praying that He is holding your family in the middle of His right hand, where you will be sure not to fall off. You are all in our prayers.

Joy said...

Boothe... Thank you again for your words.. I believe you are blogging to help you understand what you are going through... and it is so good to do that.. but you just don't know how you are affecting so many people. blessings.. to you and your family.

Steph said...

Amen, Sister!
Praise the Lord for what He is doing in & through you!
Stand firm & shout it to the world!

Thank you, thank you, thank you for not going in the opposite direction but for choosing to STAND on what you KNOW is TRUE & to also PROCLAIM it to the world!!

I pray that the Lord will replace what has been taken away & reward you just as He did for Job.

It is an honor to call you my sister-in-Christ.

Kaylane said...

Sometimes I hesitate to say "hang in there" because I have absolutely no idea how difficult this whole ordeal must be for you. However, please know that I am ALWAYS reading your entries and praising God for both your faith and your testimony. You're leading others to Him. I believe that.

Anonymous said...

You have such amazing words to share and it is still ubelievable to me to hear you 'speak' so honestly. It is humbling, nonetheless, when I look at my own faith. I often wonder after reading your posts- would I react the same? If Jesus took my baby boy Home, would I cling to him & seek His face? Or would I blame Him & scream at Him? I know I have no real answer. I would like to believe that I would react as you have- but I'm sure no one really knows until they are faced with it. So, I am learning, through listening to you, how to truly- and completely cling to Him. Especially when things are going well. That seems to be the hardest time for people to truly seek His face- because they don't 'need' Him for anything at the moment. I get stuck in that rut without even noticing. Thank you for reminding me that it is only by His grace that we are saved & that He is the only thing true & real that we can stand firm upon. People will always disappoint us and let us down. Thank you, again and again for continuing to blog. You are still in my prayers.

Rebecca said...

Boothe,

Thank you for sharing with us... I thought of you often today.

Ashley said...

Dear Boothe,

Thank You for this. I am struggling tonight and your words and your truth are exactly what I needed to hear. I believe God is using you in ways you may not even realize and through your pain and loss you are allowing it. Again, I say thank you. With tears falling from my eyes, I share your broken heart and your need to know and believe. Trish (Ashley's mommy)

Amanda said...

Still thinking about you, and lifting you up.

Brad, Tara, Cooper and Connor said...

Boothe, I found your blog from another friend of mine and I have been deeply touched and blessed by your words during such a difficult time. I cant believe that in such a sad time you can find words to express your pain and incredible faith in Him! You will be blessed! You and your family will be in my prayers!

Mindy said...

Just today over dinner, I mentioned to my husband that I hoped you were not done sharing with us. I have been wondering how you all are. Thank you for this amazing word! Heaven has been on my mind quite a bit lately too...many times because of precious Copeland. Words from your posts ring in my ears all day long. "Heaven is real and it is time we started acting like we believe it." Praise God there is a Kingdom coming...and Princess Copeland is already with the King.

Cindy said...

So glad you are able to read that book! I'm continuing to pray for His amazing grace to carry you even more. Thank you so much for sharing, I'm challenged and encouraged. Hugs to your whole family!
Cindy
www.logansrace.com

Tiffany said...

Psalms 33 12-22 Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance. From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all humankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth-- HE WHO FORMS THE HEARTS OF ALL, who considers everything they do. No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save. But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you.
Praying Boothe and Conor, for your hearts to feel full of the Lord, through pain and suffering, to feel the calm assurance of who HE is.

Anonymous said...

Boothe, thank you again for sharing your heart. You are an amzazing woman!
Cotinuing to pray for you and your family!

Jenny said...

You write so beautifully... I only wish I could put my own thoughts and beliefs down as well... and make sense. Thank you, Boothe, for allowing us along this road with you. Like many others, I still pray, and talk about you to my family as if you are someone I know well. My husband knows who you are without me explaining it now. :o)

Ashlee said...

Boothe,
My name is Ashlee Tomes, and I received your website from a friend just last week. I have no idea where she got it, but she shared it with me to help me during my difficult time. First of all, I am so sorry about your loss of Copeland. I love her name and Sellers' name also, by the way. Unfortunately, Boothe, I can say that I know how you feel because just 3 1/2 weeks ago on September 13, I lost my 2-day old daughter. Her name was London Cloe, and she was born with a congenital heart defect (Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome).

Your situation and your comments remind me so much of myself and my family's experience, that I have been capturing every word that you have written. During my experience, I have written so many emails to my family, friends, and support groups that tell of my experience, my faith in God, His plan for London, my hope for her, etc. However, I have been so touched my your words, your faith, your experiences, your strength, positive attitude, and character. It has been so therapeutic to me to read someone else's account of grief during pregnancy (which I had), love of your newborn child, and ultimately the loss of your daughter. I feel that I'm not alone, which is comforting during this time.

If you don't mind me sharing...at 20 weeks, my husband and I went for my ultrasound, and was so excited to find out if we were having a boy or girl. We found that first of all, we were having a girl, which I was elated by because we have a 2 year old boy already. However, I'll never forget the look on the ultrasound technician and my doctor's face when they realized what was wrong and as they shared the devastating news. London's left side of her heart was severely underdeveloped, known as Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. We found that the outlook for babies with HLHS was grim. Some survive, but only with a heart transplant or with a 3-staged surgery plan...all that have huge risks.

We had the opportunity to abort my daughter. My husband, Jonathan, and I decided that we knew God had given London to us for a reason, and we wanted Him to decide what kind of life she would have. I prayed vigorously for healing, but after tons of appointments that showed her heart was in fact missing the left ventricle (and it wasn't growing), I began to also pray that the surgeries would be successful. We decided, after researching hospitals, to go to Cincinnati Children's Hospital. London was born on September 11 and had the scheduled first heart surgery on September 13, but due to unforseen complications during surgery, she did not survive. We got 2 precious days with her. We got to hold her, smell her, read to her, pray over her, sing to her, and admire her. But...I will never forget kissing her head and talking to her before they took her into the operating room. I never knew at that moment that it truly would be the last time that I would see her this side of Heaven.

Boothe, I envy the fact that you got 8 days with Copeland, but my heart aches that you had to see your baby go before your eyes. That was different in my case, but nonetheless, we have both lost our children, and I feel much like you. I have to keep going because of my family and my son, Jagger. I'm a very social person, a Kindergarten teacher, etc., so to withdraw myself from life would be detremental to my healing.

It's so hard. London never got to see her room, and I grieve for that. I grieve that the only outfit she got to wear was the one she was buried in. I grieve when Jagger asks where baby "Yundun" is. I grieve when I notice my body's changes, only to have nothing to show for it. I grieve when I see her pictures and how beautiful she was, and I remember how she felt in my arms, how she smelled, yet knowing that my memories are all that I have now. It's the most heart-wrenching, empty feeling I can imagine.

I could truly write for hours about my situation and my feelings, but I just wanted you to know that I will pray for you and your family during this time. I also want to thank you for your support, even though you had no idea that your story was helping me. Please feel free to email me at Ashlee.Tomes@Hardin.kyschools.us, or call me at (270) 369-9214 if you ever need someone to just talk to. God bless you and I hope that this week is good for you.

In Christian love,
Ashlee Tomes

Emily said...

What a blessing. I'm praying for God to keep you right where you are now... in the palm of His mighty hands. Don't go trying to peek between His fingers... ;)

Mrs. MK said...

Beautiful post---your suffering raw and real, your Jesus with you through it all.

"if I have any faith, it's because he's given it"!

Amen.

Anonymous said...

Still praying and thinking of you often! May His Spirit be upon you!
Jessica in Chattanooga

Anonymous said...

Boothe,

Thank you for continuing to share you heart with us. I am always blessed by your words.

My family and I are lifting you up in prayer daily.

Laura said...

Still thinking of you. Keep being honest!

Melanie said...

Found your blog through a friend's prayer requests for you just before Copeland was born. I have been so blessed by your thoughts, even (especially?) the difficult ones. We lost a daughter, Ruby, when I was 24 wks pregnant a little over a year ago. Though I cannot relate on every level, your words echo my thoughts (though yours much more eloquently). Thank you for your honesty and bringing it all back to HIM. The One and Only. In Christ alone, Melanie

ps. Thank you for mentioning the Oprah episode "Eat, Pray, Love"...I was so hopeful at first, having not read the book, but ended up screaming, "Jesus!!!" at the tv and finally had to turn it off. It's no mystery...He is LORD!!!

Kelly in Carrollton, GA said...

Thank you for coming back, Boothe. Thank you for the solid truth of your words. You are so right. Continuing to carry you, Conor, and Sellers to the Father... You are loved, Kelly

Carly (NICU Nurse) said...

All I can say is that was incredible and very moving!! We think about ya'll daily- multiple times a day to be honest. We'll keep praying. We love ya'll.

Nicole said...

I am sitting here in stunned awe and amazement at your ability to word this. I had a rather violent miscarriage several years ago that plunged me into the depths of lonliness because this is what I was feeling, but could not make anyone understand. I am so glad to have been pointed to your blog. It has blessed me imeasurably and I am praying for you - all of you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you once again for sharing your soul with us. I, myself, have found that I need your words as much as you need to write them. I continue to pray for you and your family.
Jennifer

susan said...

Boothe, I am still praying daily for you & your family. I must admit, that I check this blog every day, not only to check on your family, but reading the words of some of these bloggers ministers to my soul as well. (Mandy, Emily and Laurie from CA, to name a few) Thankyou Boothe, for this forum, God's name is being glorified and many lives changed. Continued prayers and blessings for you & your family. Susan in Ama. TX

Sarah's In the Midst of It said...

I love reading these thoughts you've written down. I pray that He will continue to give you grace and comfort. Thank you for sharing your heart with those you don't know.

Anonymous said...

Not a day goes by when I don't check to see if you've written. You are a woman of faith, I am continually inspired by you and Conor. How is Sellers? Does she talk about her sister? My heart aches with you, I miss Copeland too. I loved the video. Visit her in your dreams. Hold her in your dreams. Talk to her in your dreams. If you think about her as you are trying to drift off to sleep, there is where she'll be. In your dreams. There you can smell her, kiss you, touch her, and you'll wake up feeling like it hasn't been a week and five days that you last held her sweet little self. Were you able to dress her for her life celebration service? I would love to hear more about that day. Just keep talking about her and she will always be alive. Keep visiting her room, and smelling her tiny clothes. Oh, babies and their sweet smells...We love you and are still praying...that is why you are walking...that is why you are ok.

Anonymous said...

I've only just found your blog. We lost our little girl 4 weeks ago to anencephaly. She lived an hour and a half. I am glad that you are doing ok. Time does help. I also wanted to tell you about a book called "Tear Soup". It is a really wonderful picture book. It's the only thing I've read that really sums up how I've grieved. I will continue to think of you and your family.

Love, Shannon Pollard King
Little Rock, AR
gsbbking@sbcglobal.net

erin said...

like everyone else here i love reading what you write and am grateful that you are still sharing with us. please keep sharing you dont even know how many people you are touching daily.

Courtney said...

You are still such a breath of fresh air. God still uses Copeland daily in lots of ways...through you! Bless you Boothe...I value realness more than any other quality a human can possess and I appreciate yours. Thanks for allowing allof us to share in your story, a small portion of your pain, His grace, and your heart. Continue to walk...

laundrylessons said...

I just found your blog through a link and spent a restorative half hour sucked in by your words. I also have a special little girl, we know we'll lose her early too. You captured and shared your faith so eloquently. I know your little Copeland is playing with Jesus and all his special friends in that wonderful place that is real and peaceful and promised. Blessings.

Kathy
www.lessonsfromthelaundry.com

pipsylou said...

There is a book called "90 Minutes in Heaven". It is an amazing book by a Baptist pastor who was clinically "dead" for 90 minutes. He came back with a wonderful story. That book made me realize as well that heaven is more "real" than this earth! When we are in heaven we will not long for anything. We will be "home". That is just so awesome to think about.

pipsylou said...

I wanted to add that my stoic, serious, Swedish grandfather had a near-death experience whereby he had a glimpse of heaven. He was never the same after. He just passed away in March at 97 years of age. I am SO comforted to know he is there, and he has met the baby we lost.

Laurie said...

Hi Boothe,Conor and Sellers,

I am starting this new week with prayers for you to continue to be refreshed and okay with Jesus by your side. His Spirit will fall afresh on you each morning as you are depending on Him alone to be your strength and comfort. Trust Him with your broken hearts and He will lift you up. You are so loved by Him and so many others you do not know, but Jesus connects us through our hearts. You are okay because of Him and in Him and this is all comforting for each day.
Asking the Lord to fill your hearts with His gladness and His joy as you miss Copeland Fair.
Laurie in Ca.

Peach said...

Boothe~

Thank you SO, SO much for your honesty and for your eloquent post on an issue I've been struggling with myself.

I am so grateful you are still posting and letting us share in this time with you. You are regularly in my prayers, and you consistently inspire me as I read your heart here.

Lisa said...

Boothe,
I am so sorry for your loss. I have enjoyed reading your articles in Southern Exposure. Thank you for letting us into your lives and sharing this with us. I know you have asked God, "Why me or Why us?" I believe your faith in God is so strong, that you are to be a testament to the rest of us. Please don't quit blogging!
Please know that there are many of us thinking and praying for your and your family.

Lisa said...

Dear Boothe,
I am so sorry for your loss. If you have questioned, "Why me or Why us?", I believe that you are to be a testament to the rest of us about your faith. Even while I held my boys and cried for you, I was comforted to know that you are faithful to God through this. Please keep blogging and know that we are praying and crying with you.

klampert said...

Boothe...I dont know you but Los at rag sould had posted to come here. I did and am deeply saddned for your loss. You and your family are in my prayers. Praise God from whom all blessings flow

Mandy said...

Boothe,
I am so glad to have an update on you, Conor, and Sellers. Your words touch me every time I read your blog. Your family is in my prayer daily. I feel so bonded to you through Christ. God Bless you!
Mandy in Arkansas

Anonymous said...

Dear Boothe,

Thank you for posting your thoughts. I have been continually praying for you and your lovely family during the last 4 weeks. By reading about the way you have gone through this life-altering situation leaning on the Lord for each decision - each one unfathomable for most of us that read your story has truly changed my life.

Your example has helped me to really stop and define my faith as well; to stop making excuses for not doing what I know the Lord is leading me to do; to be immediately obedient and be that living example to my children and others around me - to live out what I "believe in" and not be ashamed.

I am a 30-year-old mommy of 3, that grew up in church and knows the Lord as Savior, but have recently had to really make a decision to make my relationship with Christ my own. So reading your thoughts, so eloquent and captivating, has been emotional and touching and totally of the Lord.

Thank you for being willing to put your thoughts into words that have touched so many of us in our hearts and minds and to allow the Lord to use your family as a light into a dark world.

Our message today at church was on suffering and I said a prayer for you as we worshipped and will continue to lift you up as you go along on this journey. An old song just came to mind. It goes something like this: "This world is not my home, I'm just a' passin' through!" May we all keep our eyes lifted toward the sky for our Savior and our hearts set toward HOME!

In my prayers,
Amy in Cincy

Julie said...

With 58 comments on this post already, I hesitate to comment. You don't know me and can you really read all of these comments... so what could I have to say. But I am led by the Spirit to comment. Led in a way that I have been so many times since we said good-bye to our eight day old son, Noah. The Lord definitely uses our pain to work for good. I could see it in our life, we kept a blog similar to yours, and I can see good working through Copeland's life too. I can see from the other side now, how we can be blessed by someone else's struggles. Your words are beautiful and encouraging to me even 2 years after Noah's death. Honestly, I love to read that my feelings were real and others feel the same - a longing for Heaven like never before, grieving the "what would have been", picturing what our babies are like in Heaven, struggling to understand but believing that God knows best. I pray that you continue to find peace, that you find joy in each day, that you find strength in the fact that God knew you could handle this, and that you know Copeland will not be forgotten.

A fellow griever,
Julie Whaley

Jessica said...

Thank you, Boothe, for sharing your innermost thoughts. I saw the Oprah show, too. It left me feeling sad for al the lost millions watching. Who are they praying to? The cosmos? Why not the maker of the cosmos? I continue to pray for your family as the Lord leads.

In Him,
Jessica Fiveash

Becky said...

Thank you for showing us your raw, true emotions. Your words strike a cord in my heart. As I'm sure they do for many. It's too easy to rely on ourselves when that will never work and all we ever really need to do is rely on Him. He will give us our hearts desires. Thank you, your words are truly a blessing.

Karen said...

Boothe, I suspect you will go through a plethora of emotions over the next months and years. I suspect you might get upset that life goes on when your's feels like it has stopped. I think you might get a tad agitated at Conor when he doesn't feel like you do - even when you know he is grieving in his own way, because you want to SEE it from him. Maybe you will get angry at people that gossip, or talk about silly things like the mom who doesn't dress her little girl in the cutest clothes and matching bows everyday.
Yes, I know you might feel a lot of things. Remember there is no magic time limit. You will feel a part of Copeland's loss for the rest of your life. Your life will eventually move on in the day-to-day stuff, but at the same time a piece of yourself will be in this moment forever. And it will make you better, stronger, more caring and empathetic.
I love this verse because it can apply literally to Copeland and figuratively to you: Is 40:29-31 He gives power to the weak, and those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall. But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.
I pray for you continuously.

Kelli said...

Boothe-
I still cannot even come close to understanding what you are going through, but you are such a huge testimony to me!! I think about you and your family often and cannot even think how I would react. But, I'm sad to say, I really don't think it would be as you are. You are a strong soldier for God and I pray that one day I will be as grounded as you. Thank you for the amazing encouragement-imagaine that in this time YOU are giving encouragement.
Kelli

Kyla said...

Boothe,
I don't comment very often...mostly because I am left speechless, left pondering your words. The way you articulate your feelings helps me to understand my own sometimes. People are reading what you are saying, many many people...keep writing. You are surrounded by listeners, by prayer warriors. I hope you feel that.
Love, Kyla

Anonymous said...

I'm amazed at your gift for sharing your journey through such eloquently written, honest, wrestling words. You are blessing and encouraging us in the midst of your grief. Praying every time that God brings you to mind (which is alot!) that you will have the courage and strength to do the next thing, and the next thing, and the next one after that.

courtney said...

Thank you for sharing your walk through your grief with us so vividly and eloquently. We're still praying for you and Conor and Sellers daily.

Anonymous said...

WOW! This was amazing to ready today! I have no idea how many times you backspace, erase, and re-think a phrase, but what is left on the page for us to read is honesty and truth.

I read it and re-read it. I print it out and highlight it. I email it to others.

But mostly, I am humbled that in your pain and anguish, you even take the time to place your fingers on the keypad to type.

I hope and pray that it brings healing and clarity to you, as your writing is doing for me!

Donna

bryan.stupar said...

i'm speechless, and tear-filled!
what is there in this fallen world to hold on to apart from Christ?

Julie said...

Your words have brought so much encouargement today. Thank you for sharing your words.
Julie in VA

Christy said...

Praise Him for creating someone with your words...I sit in amazement and I love that you can feel the way you do through all this hardship. Great things are happening because of what He is doing with your family.

sara said...

Your words express beautifully the despair we all arrive at when our anemic faith meets life. Thank you for your generosity. You've been prayed for.

Anonymous said...

Boothe-
You don't know me, but I have been reading your blog for the past couple of weeks. This morning, I went to the doctor to find that my baby no longer has a heart beat. Because of your faith, spirit and truth, I have really handled this news better than I ever thought I could. Thank you for sharing with us--it really makes a difference. Because of your words I have a more reverent and faithful view of our Lord. Thanks.
Ginger

Katie Arnold said...

Thank you so much for your words. You are helping me more than you know. I'm praying for you and your family.

Stephanie said...

Your words are awesome! I'm glad I read them because I often forget this in this time when I feel such heartache. And thank you for your comment on my girls' legacy page. It truly helps. My prayers continue with your family.

sharon said...

Whatever your cross, whatever your pain,

There will always be sunshine, after the rain....

Perhaps you may stumble, perhaps even fall,

But God's always ready, to answer your call...

He knows every heartache, sees every tear,

A word from His lips, can calm every fear...

Your sorrows may linger, throughout the night,

But suddenly vanish, at dawn's early light ...

The Savior is waiting, somewhere above,

To give you His grace, and send you His love..

Whatever your cross, whatever your pain,

"God always sends rainbows....after the rain .."

Kenzie Stanfield said...

I can't tell you how touched and incredibly blessed I am to have been able to read your blogs over the last 2 hours (as my little one sleeps). A friend of a friend sort of thing happened and I was able to come across your blog site. You have so encouraged me in this time of heartache, pain and forseeable grief... I am 27, almost 20 weeks pregnant with our second little boy Maddox, and we received a diagnosis of Trisomy 18 a little less than 2 weeks ago. Our older son will be 2 at the end of this month (Deacon) and your feelings from June & July are right where I am. I have felt weak and strong at the same time, most of the strength coming directly from the Lord in the form of those friends and family that surround us. I can't thank you enough for sharing all that you have from your journey. I will be fervently praying for your family as you walk through this valley, one that we too will be going through. Your girls are both precious, I LOVE the pictures, and will be praying for strength, peace and perserverance for you and your husband as you continue to move forward for your sake and for that of Sellers. Thank you for sharing many of the choices that you had to make, as we will also have to make some. Above all, we do look forward to that day with anxiousness when we will meet Maddox. Thank you again for being such a picture of faithfulness, unconditional love and strength in this time of complete uncertainty!

Sincerely,
Kenzie Stanfield
Houston, TX

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; Do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8

Anonymous said...

as i read kenzie's comment i am struck by the providence of our wonderful God. it seems that the community of pray-ers is linked with yet another young mother who needs the strength and compassion God provides through all those who comment. and then, again, another grieving woman will add a comment and another - God calls us all to minister to our sisters as He has ministered to us. bless you all. jan431

Amy said...

Boothe-

Your words are a true testimony of your faith in Christ and the plan he has for all of us in our lives. God has used you in such a special ways in the lives of so many who don't know you physically, but know you personally through your words. Thank you for all that you and your family stand for. May God wrap his arms extra tight around all of you and give that extra squeeze necessary to make it through. God Bless you in anything. Your sister in Christ, Amy from Arkansas

Kelly in Carrollton, GA said...

Kenzie, we are praying for you, too, dear girl. Kelly

Anonymous said...

Praying for you...

Also, please pray for a little girl named Ashley.

ashleyadamsjournal.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Thinking of you tonight as you get ready for bed...
I know night time can be such a quite time, but rest in the arms of our maker. Thank you for writing such an encouragment about heaven. It must be spectauclar and after reading your post, I wanted to run outside and scream, "Heaven IS real!" We must believe...

juliekeefe said...

Thanking you. Praising God.

BooMama said...

Thank you so much for sharing your heart with all of us - we are all the better for it.

Praying for your family....

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts for all to see. I used to (when I was young) not see the trials, tribulation in life. Though my own experiences, loss of someone way to young to leave, it most certainly opened my eyes to the loss of others. I do believe it touches everyone, someway, at some time in their lives. I also believe in a very sad way, it makes us a better person to our fellow human-beings as life is never the same, and we tend to view other's on a different level, with much more caring, kindness then we may have had we not had the experience that so made a difference in the person we were and became.

Prayers and God Bless your family through the healing.
Denise

Jenny said...

This is by far one of the most beautiful things I have ever read on the internet. God bless you.

chickadee said...

beautifully written.

Brittani's Holding Little Hands said...

The authenticity of your grief and pain is overwhelmingly touching. Thank you for being so transparent and for ministering to so many of us who encounter your blog. Praying for your family.

jennyhope said...

Boothe,

I am so so sorry about your great loss. Words can not do justice. I am going to be praying for you. I lost my first born Shelby and I would hold her clothes and her little lamb and smell them too. My heart just breaks for you right now...breaks. I can just see you going to her closet to feel near to her. I hate what you are having to live out. I am so sorry. Love and prayers. Jenny

Overwhelmed! said...

Boothe, your words touch my heart. I'm glad to hear that you are okay.

I've read "Heaven for Children" by Randy Alcorn and thought it was pretty good. I've meant to check out the adult version. Perhaps now would be a good time.

My prayers are with you and your family!

Tammy M. said...

Your words are so meaningful to me. I am reading Heaven right now...whew! I have a son with some health problems and reading that book I think is giving me a better hold on what happens after we leave this world.

Mindy said...

Dear Boothe,
I just wanted to tell you that you are an amazing person. Thank you for being willing to share your journey with all of us.
I am just blown away by your faith. I think you and your family get it in a way that a lot of us may never get it. And God is allowing you to bless others by reading about it here.
Thank you. You have no idea how much your story has touched my life.
In HIM -
Mindy

Big Mama said...

Thank you for sharing your beautiful words and thoughts. Your family is in my prayers.

Shelley said...

Wow. Best sermon I ever heard. Thanks for sharing your heart, you represent the struggle within all of us, put words to it.

Prayers for peace in your loss.

Cindy said...

Thank you for sharing your heart- we are blessed!! Praying that God continues to draw you closer to Him; that He continues to reveal Himself to you in new, intimate ways.

Anonymous said...

Boothe, you are truly a witness of our Lord. I am praying for you & your family. You maturity in Christ is evident & is a testimony to me & others.

Heather Smith said...

This is a beautiful post. So true. No matter what we go through, we are hopeless apart from the cross of Christ. Continuing in prayer for your family. Prayer to the only Savior, Jesus Christ!

bensrib said...

Boothe, I've never read your blog before, but followed a link from another one here. Know that we are praying for you in Virginia. God is able to see you through. Karen

Kelly said...

I hear an echo of David's prayer in your words, Boothe.

"Whom have I in heaven but you?" (Psalm 73).

Only God knows. Only God can heal. Even in the dark days, even when we don't understand, maybe especially when we don't understand -- it's only God.

We grieve with hope.

Praying for you and your sweet family.

Gretchen said...

I've followed Copeland's story and your hope and grace through it all. I will continue to lift you all up. He has blessed us all by Copeland and her family.

jayfersgirl said...

I linked to this from another blog who called it a "must-read" post -- and they were right. I had to track back and read your whole story with tears in my eyes. Thank you for sharing this with all of us...I will be praying for you and your sweet family.

Lela said...

Sorrow takes us places we would never go otherwise; and it is here that He gets our attention. I had a challenge in my life once that did just that for me. HE got my attention. And it was so difficult and hard and I felt so alone. But I thank God for that time now. It even brings tears to my eyes now, joyful ones, because He revealed so much of Himself to me. Thank you for writing your thoughts and feelings. It is so much food for thought for us all.

Janene said...

God has promised that He will never leave us, the way may be difficult and painful but He is always there. There is no other answer but Jesus and you are blessed because you know this. Rest in His love, His strength and His compassion. His hands are bigger than ours and in Him alone can we trust. Even in your sorrow you are a light that shines His love. I commend you for sharing your very private pain. May you find the peace only He can give. God bless.

Jackie Sue said...

Keep reading the books by Randy Alcorn. His writings and teachings from scripture has made Heaven such a real place to me. That belief is what allows me to carry on in life. That knowing that Heaven is there for me and my loved ones allows me to let my kids do things that I would otherwise be too afraid to let them do. My belief in Heaven allows me to let go of those I love knowing that wherever it is I will see them again. Believing in Heaven has changed the depth of my grief...because I don't grieve as those who have no hope. Our hope is in a Heaven that is real. Your grasp of this truth in such a short time is inspiring. God bless you in your journey.

~Robyn~ said...

Beautiful! I will pray for your family.

fully operational battle station said...

You can never know how many families you are helping out there by continuing to write.

Your family is beautiful and Copeland was precious, what an amazing experience to have her in your lives.

I have never been tested like you are being tested now and I would hope I could be as strong and real as you are.

I'm not personally as secure in my belief of God and his role in our lives but the love, experience and helping others part I get. And you are emerging valiantly from this tragedy with those three things in hand.

Thank you-

Jamie

Toni in the Midst said...

God is speaking to my heart through you, Boothe. Thank you.
Blessings,
~Toni~

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing it with all of us out here in the internet.
One of the best thoughts on Heaven I have found is in the children's books by Madeleine L'Engle. In a theme that returns in a few books, she writes of how important it is on this planet to be able to see. But if you woke up in a place where nobody had eyes at all, you couldn't possibly explain to them how amazing it is to have sight.
I have to think Heaven is a little like that. There are glories we can't even imagine that God has waiting for us and that we might not even be able to understand yet. I believe your darling daughter just got there first, and when you arrive, she will love you and welcome you as tenderly as you loved her, and show you as lovingly around her new world as you shared yours.
May you have blessings today as beautiful as the ones you shared with us here. What a great reminder that sometimes our weakness and unbelief are our strength. Prayers and peace to you all.

Brandi (Angie's Friend) said...

Still thinking about and praying for you daily.

Amber said...

Dear Boothe--

Though I don't know you or your family (we are connected through a friend of a friend), I have been so inspired by your expressions of faith and hope. I lost conjoined twin girls at 17 weeks gestation, and reading your thoughts reminds me of the sweet, painful experience it was to see and hold their little bodies-- even though I never saw them alive.

I wanted so much to share this quote with you. It gives me such hope amid the heartache. It is from Joseph F. Smith, a prophet and former president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Perhaps the words will ring true to you as they do to me:

President Joseph F. Smith said: “Joseph Smith taught the doctrine that the infant child that was laid away in death would come up in the resurrection as a child; and, pointing to the mother of a lifeless child, he said to her: ‘You will have the joy, the pleasure, and satisfaction of nurturing this child, after its resurrection, until it reaches the full stature of its spirit.’ There is restitution, there is growth, there is development, after the resurrection from death. I love this truth. It speaks volumes of happiness, of joy and gratitude to my soul. Thank the Lord he has revealed these principles to us.” (Gospel Doctrine, pp. 455–56.)

krystle maria porter said...

"It's because He gave it to me. My faith, my hope, my love- these are all copies." Those words you wrote were so impactful for me. I don't know you, but I talk about you to others. I live in Phoenix, AZ and you are touching lives here. Thank you for being honest and raw in your emotions.

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