Tuesday, October 9, 2007

a vision for eternity

"For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength." (1 Corinthians 1:25)

A pastor who prayed over Copeland at one point reminded me - well, to be truthful: told me - that her disease, her sickness, her plight, whatever you care to call it, wasn't God's design. It wasn't His plan. We talk a lot about "God's will" and of course I do believe He has a will, although I'm growing more and more convinced that our sorrows and sufferings have absolutely nothing to do with it. What we see in the midst of great agony and strife is usually a glimpse into both Heaven and Hell - and in the glimpsing, there's a gift. In my broken, four-pound baby, who looked a little different, lived a great deal differently, and ultimately left me here to grieve her loss, I found a sort of joy that I'd never known, a real joy, and my time with her was not only laced but literally steeped in happiness and blessing. And yet, the hour of her departure and certainly the last moments I held her were wracked with a sorrow and heartache that I could not have imagined. There was a bit of Heaven, and a bit of Hell. How I long to fully know the one and fully spurn the other! Therein lies the real gift. Perhaps God's will is more wrapped up in removing the blinders from our eyes than in giving or taking anything away.

Someone asked me recently if I was angry with Him. Interesting question. My mom told me once that as a teenager, she used to sing that old song, "To Know Him Is To Love Him" at church. I think it was by a group called The Teddy Bears. Of course their intention was never to sing those lyrics about God. But, for a bunch of kids who regularly heard it on the radio, it was a fun twist. I can't hear it now and not think about that story. The irony is: the words are true. Even more ironically, they'd probably be even truer if they read, "To know, know, know Him/ Is to be annoyed, annoyed, by Him." Am I mad at Him? You bet I am. I'm mad and frustrated and annoyed and irritated and perplexed, and yes, I love Him, deeply, but, as in all other relationships, if to know Him is to love HIm then it follows that knowing Him might often make you want to give Him a swift kick in the pants, as well. C.S. Lewis writes about the bizarre emotions he experienced regarding God after his wife, Joy, died: "All that stuff [I wrote before] was not so much the expression of thought as of hatred. I was getting it from the only pleasure a man in anguish can get; the pleasure of hitting back. It was really just... mere abuse; telling God what I thought of Him." He later goes on to say that what he felt - that God wasn't fair, that "when He seemed most gracious He was really preparing the next torture" - wasn't true. Of course God is fair. And good. But to express our anger or our outrage or our incense with Him isn't about expressing truth. It's about offending. We long to feel the subtle comfort of 'payback.'

So am I mad? Sometimes. If God didn't ordain Copeland's sickness, if it wasn't His design, why in the world did she have it? Because I live here. It's like asking why I have a Southern accent. It comes free, courtesy of my locale. She wasn't sick because I needed to learn a lesson. She wasn't sick because I didn't do enough things right - or too many things wrong. She was sick because we live in a broken, fallen world and until Jesus comes back, things are just going to keep going wrong. Not all the time - that's when the glimpses of Heaven come in. But quite frequently. Life is truly one long dysfunction. Only by God's grace - getting what we don't deserve - do we ever see any good at all. I bargain with God a lot. I tell Him that this was it, this was my quota of "bad stuff." And I mean it. But the reality is that as long as I'm here, the bad stuff's going to keep on coming. All I can do is pray the packaging looks a little different and that Jesus will hold me up until He takes me home or returns. It sounds like a pretty raw deal. But that's through human eyes. If we could see differently, we'd think differently.

Before Copeland was born, I prayed that God would give me a "vision for eternity." I think I probably uttered those words more in a moment of personal satisfaction - "wow, that sounds good!" - than true desire, but nevertheless, they seemed to have been Spirit-filled. I want a clearer understanding of Heaven, to be sure. I want to know more fully where Copeland is. But my prayer at that point, while I thought it regarded her experiences, was really about my own. If the only vision I have is for right now - she's gone, i'm here, and the world's literally going to Hell in a handbasket - then I'm going to be one bitter girl. The vision I need is one that tells me that what makes sense to my senses isn't necessarily true. Broken bodies often equal whole spirits. Strength can sometimes house itself in weakness. A vision for eternity turns the truths of this world on end. It's the only way an unattractive, unpopular renegade hanging on a cross can possibly mean more than brutality and devastation.

And so I keep praying that prayer. Fix my eyes on You, Lord. Like another old song, "Come Thou Fount," says: "Prone to wander/ Lord, I feel it/ Prone to leave the God I love/ Here's my heart/ Oh take and seal it/ Seal it for Thy courts above."

97 comments:

sarah said...

Wow! I love your blog. A friend of mine told me about your family and sent me the link. Since then I have been truely inspired by your story-God's story. I hope He will continue to use you to minister to others. The Lord is so amazing and we cannot even begin to know his whys. I cannot even begin to know or understand the deep sorrow you must be feeling. I am thankful that you know God and his everlasting arms. It is my prayer that you will feel those arms around you in the midst of this sad time. May your story and your blog continue to give God the glory and may others come to know him because of your little girls life.

pipsylou said...

Your thoughts so often reflect my own. I struggle with sinfulness being like the southern accent; it comes with the territory.

I often think, I didn't ask to be born into this sinful state, into this sinful world. I can choose to or not to live in the south, but I can't choose whether or not I want to be "tainted with sin".

To me that is really frustrating.

I am fascinated to read your words, and they are helping me immensely as I grapple with a. whether or not God exists, and b. if that God truly exists, is He the God of the Bible?

I feel like at 28 years old I should have this figured out. I am reading the Koran, and CS Lewis, and AW Towser, and any sort of literary material I can get my hands on.

I often wonder if I believe in heaven and God because I want it to be there - so I can see the baby we lost. But then, if this is all there is, why such a God-shaped hole, as Pascal likes to infer? Is it merely a result of biology? And what possible biological purpose could a longing for something "more" serve?

I'm sure these thoughts are nothing new. Copeland's life and death definitely put a new slant on them for me.

My Lucy has the same Disney Princess shoes that Sellers has in the pictures. I think of you all every time we put them on her!

Anonymous said...

Boothe, You are truly an AMAZING woman of god! Copelands life had purpose & meaning! God is using her & your families story to change lives. I am blown away by your authenticity & love for our Lord! I am praying fervently for you & your family.

Rebecca said...

Happy Tuesday, Boothe, even among the sadness.

And I remember that Copeland was born three weeks, 1 hour, and 17 minutes ago.

We won't forget Copeland. We promise.

KH said...

you have no idea how much you are ministering to others through your grief. thank you for your words, which are ultimately from the Lord--i truly believe that. i feel like saying i'm praying for you could never describe my soul's groans to the Father for your family. please keep writing!

Anonymous said...

I am just amazed at what a wonderful person you are.

Randall said...

I have been reading your blog for a few weeks now. I completely agree with this most recent most of yours regarding how your family's pain isn't God's will. I couldn't agree more.

My father died of cancer about five years ago and it still drives me nutty when people say it was God's will. Excuse me? I just can't wrap my head around that. So, it's like saying because my family didn't pray hard enough he died? I cannot fathom that to be true. Life and nature has its own free will, God isn't a merciless figure in the sky placing punishment through illness and pain.

I loved reading your thoughts on this today. Thank you.

ali said...

boothe,
i cannot tell you the impact that that blog just had on me. i wish that we had the opportunity to just sit and have coffee because there is so much truth in what you just said and so applicable in so many ways to what the lord has for me right now. that verse that you started with has come up now randomly 3 different times since sunday. look at psalms 51.6 as well. and isaiah 29.14. state this claim over yourself :"Abba, I belong to you."
God tells us his secrets and is He is revealing His characteristics to us, but just what we need at that time or what he is allowing us to know at that time.
"For it is written, I will baffle and render useless and destroy the learning of the learned and the philosophy of the clever and the discernment of the discerning; I will frustrate and nullify and bring them to nothing." 1 Corinthians 1.19
"Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish."
Isaiah 29.14
"Surely you desire truth in the inner parts, you teach me wisdom in the inmost place."
Psalms 51.6

He is teaching you, but more than that, more than your sorrow, more than the overwhelming pain and darkness in the place of sitting in the brokeness of your dreams HE is leading you to HIS heart. He is stripping you. The stripping is awful, pain that takes the breath away, but in the end there will be nothing in you or before you besides HIMSELF. The only joy that will satisfy what all of those things were trying to. There is where you will find wholeness for your spirit.

i love you and have not forgotten you or your sweet family including baby copeland since i left saturday. you are still on my heart everyday, still apart of god and i's conversations. people are still surrounding you in the after math.

Laurie said...

Boothe, God sure does love you for being so honest about how you feel with Him. We could all use a dose of honesty with Him, knowing we are his children and He sure can handle us. I do not believe that our God of love ordained Copelands illness, and yes we are in a broken world, and there will be much brokenness. But I want to tell you that you and Conor handled it in the most Godly way, trusting Him to see you through this broken time. You didn't need the lessons, Copeland didn't need the ministry, and it didn't change the brokenness of our world. It did change hearts, brought us to our knees, caused us to love and cherish our children more, trust in Gods ways more. So, this makes me realize even more what Romans 8:28 means. "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. He does not cause these things to glorify Himself, but He knows and allows them to touch our lives. Your lives continue to bring glory to Him by the way you choose to trust Him honestly with your broken heart. May your love grow stronger than ever before as a family, drawing close to your heavenly Father. Heaven is real and Copeland is there, dancing with Jesus. My faith assures me that this is true.

Love and continued prayers,
Laurie in Ca.

Anonymous said...

Along with my web-based email, fantasy football website, ESPN.com and Tennessean.com I check your blog multiple times each day to see if you have posted an update. I don't know who you are but God is using you to speak to me in a real, fresh, relevant way. Thank you for allowing Him to use you. Thank you for reminding us that in just a little while....

Peach said...

Boothe~

I don't know if you have a chance to read all of these many comments that flood your blog each day. So many are touched by your words.

It has so moved on beyond the curious onlookers and has begun to be a "meeting" place of sorts. A place to be hushed and await what else God has to say through you.

God is using your experience, your response, your raw and exposed heart, to teach, to touch, to open eyes wide to what He is like and what He wants us to know.

So, thank you, dear sister in Christ, for as you obediently come and post, we are here soaking in what He has to say on your behalf and vice versa.

Praying for you even now.

Karen said...

Boothe, God wants all of us to walk in health. My aunt told me that once and it really made me think. To look at it differently though, as you said, we live in a fallen world and bad things will happen. What will we make of it? Will we let it defeat us? God will not give us more than we can handle. I like to think that God chose YOU, picked YOU to be Copeland's Mommy because YOU were what He knew would be the best choice for her - just what she needed in the womb and for her days on earth. The same goes for Conor and Sellers - just the right Daddy and sister. I don't know how theology matches up with that. Maybe it is just a thing I invented for comfort, but I do know God can make something really amazing come from Copeland being born to your individual family. You have already let it be a purpose by sharing yourself. I believe there is even a bigger, more long-term picture than being swallowed in this right now. I pray for you today with that in mind.

whitney burrough akin said...

whoa. just reading this and all the comments it is silencing, but in a good way. your journey has become a journey for all of us onlookers too.

Psalm 73:25, 26
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

you truly have such a way with putting the words of your heart into the words on the paper. it is amazing as He keeps allowing you to do so. i think that is why so many are captivated with your family and the story of copeland and now the aftermath, as we are still here and she is in heaven. it really makes you think...think about a real heaven, a real eternity, a real God, and real answers and belief systems.

please keep sharing. love you so much. see you soon.

the brown's said...

i love your updates. they are powerful and real and honest...and i love that about your words. thank you, again, for sharing them with us! we are certainly continuing to lift you all up. "come thou fount" is a song we sing to Dylan every night, and the more i sing it the more i am aware at how i so easily ..."leave the God i love." I recognize that my human heart is so sinful, but by His grace, i am so thankful we have been saved! we love you guys...

Taylor said...

"...till the storm passes over, till the thunder sounds no more, till the clouds roll forever from the sky, hold me fast, let me stand, in the hollow of Thy hand, keep me safe, till the storm passes by..."

this song by Greater Vision was playing on my computer as i was reading your latest blog entry...by Divine timing.

I do not know you, but I have been praying for you throughout the past weeks..."Lord, help Boothe today, comfort Boothe today, allow here to know Your love more today..." it's all i know to say.

I am twenty years old, born, raised, and living in Las Vegas, and though I may never meet you this side of eternity, i love you. You are dear, precious, beloved to the Father...and to this sister in Jesus.

-Taylor

Anonymous said...

Boothe,
I continue to pray for you and Conor. Please know that I am here if you need me. Call anytime, day or night. I hope that one day we will be able to meet in person and speak face to face. Until then, I am lifting you up!

Mandy
GA
www.madelinegracehopkins.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my daughter to Trisomy 18 in August too.

I would like to share some quotes with you that I believe with all of my heart. I know they are true. Please know that I have no desire to offend. It's just that my testimony means so much more to me after losing my daughter. The thoughts I share with you below have brought me comfort and given me hope, and my desire is to share some of that peace with you too.

Sending love and kind thoughts,
Whitney

“The Lord takes many away even in infancy, that they may escape the envy of man, and the sorrows and evils of this present world; they were too pure, too lovely, to live on earth; therefore, if rightly considered, instead of mourning we have reason to rejoice as they are delivered from evil, and we shall soon have them again…All children are redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ, and the moment that children leave this world, they are taken to the bosom of Abraham. The only difference between the old and young dying is, one lives longer in heaven and eternal light and glory than the other, and is freed a little sooner from this miserable wicked world.”

Joseph Smith

Children who die as to natural death in their infancy, or before the age of accountability, are redeemed in the Lord. These are of the more noble spirits of the pre-existence, and because of the their purity, will have the exceptional joy of having their tabernacles of flesh and bone mature and grow to the full stature of their spirit bodies under more favorable conditions of existence during the millennium.

Alvin R. Dyer, Doctrines of Salvation

Joseph Smith declared that the mother who laid down her little child, being deprived of the privilege, the joy, and the satisfaction of bringing it up to manhood or womanhood in this world, would, after the resurrection, have all the joy, satisfaction, and pleasure, and even more than it would have been possible to have had in mortality, in seeing her child grow to the full measure of the stature of its spirit . . . When she does it there, it will be with the certain knowledge that the results will be without failure; whereas here the results are unknown until after we have passed the test.

Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine

President John Taylor once said that the best explanation he could offer why so many little children among the Saints were called away, notwithstanding the great faith and power of the priesthood exercised to keep them here, was that they were bright and noble spirits who held important positions in the kingdom of God in the spirit world, from which they could not long be spared. They were given brief furlough, long enough to come to earth, take upon themselves bodies of flesh and bone that they might be prepared for a resurrection to a kingdom of glory, and after a short experience in mortality were called back to resume important labors in a higher sphere.

Liahona, The Elder’s Journal

On the other side of the veil, there are perhaps seventy billion people. They need the same gospel, and releases occur here to aid the Lord’s work there. Each release of a righteous individual from this life is also a call to new labors. Those who have true hope understand this. Therefore, though we miss the departed righteous so much here, hundreds may feel their touch there. One day, those hundreds will thank the bereaved for gracefully forgoing the extended association with choice individuals here, in order that they could help hundreds there. In God’s ecology, talent and love are never wasted. The hopeful understand this, too.

Neal A. Maxwell, Notwithstanding My Weakness

Katey said...

I went to college with your sister, and so knew of you, without having met you. Right about the time Copeland was born, I lost one of my 2 month old twin nephews suddenly. He apparently died of SIDS. I was reading your blog even before, but never felt like I could comment, but after we lost Dixon I felt drawn back here. I think because we are in eerily similar, but such different situations. I have been so angry at God, and no one has been able to say anything to make that anger subside. I have been furious and questioning, but longing to feel the comfort and love that I have my whole life felt from Him. But reading this post has helped me in a way that no one else has been able to. Thank you for sharing your grief and your struggles in this way- because it has been such a comfort for me to be able to come here and read how you are doing day after day. I haven't been able to articulate how I feel to anyone, but reading your blog is like grieving with someone who is walking this similar road with me. Thank you, and your family continues to be in my thoughts constantly.

Emily said...

You're doing it. It's hard work, but your doing. And the Lord is at work within you. Know that.

Emily said...

Here's something to make you smile. My pet peeve is typos. And every single time I leave you a message, I get so excited that my message is always filled with typos! Take that! :P

Anonymous said...

You are such an AWESOME woman of God!!!! You have been been such an inspiration to me through all of this and I just thank you for being so real.
Literally, it wasn't even five minutes after I had talked to God about feeling a little angry and confused with him that I came and read your post for today...He never ceases to amaze me when He does things like that :)
I am praying for you and your sweet family.
Thank you for sharing your "vision of eternity" that I so desperately needed to hear today...

jayfersgirl said...

Amen! As my husband is doing his thesis on lament, we are often talking about lament in our lives -- I used to shake people up as a teenager saying "Yell at God! He's a big guy, He can take it!" I firmly believe that it is far better to stay in communication with God, even if the communication is full of anger and questioning, than to just shut down that communication.
Scripture is full of lament and asking God "Why?" and "How long?" and I ask Him that right along with you about your sweet baby girl -- I will never understand why God chooses to have these things happen...and for that I am actually grateful. If I understood everything, I would have a very small God -- I would rather have the big, amazing God that I have...who I know loves me, even though there are times it seems the things He does are not very loving at all...

Karen said...

Wow, you are so eloquent Boothe. You're helping me make sense of a lot of things right now. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. God is working through you. You and your family remain in my prayers.

jes said...

"She wasn't sick because I needed to learn a lesson. She wasn't sick because I didn't do enough things right - or too many things wrong. She was sick because we live in a broken, fallen world and until Jesus comes back, things are just going to keep going wrong."
I'm so glad you understand that. I think too often we are told that bad things go wrong because we sinned. I love your words.
Thank you for your encouragement.
You're in my prayers.

Shannon J said...

Boothie,
you have such an amazing gift that you have had since childhood - the ability to translate evasive emotions that most people do not even know how to turn and face, into vivid meaningful words.
I am so sorry for your pain, and I know you dearly miss your baby. I am so sorry you are having to go through this. I wish I could help. BUT you have blessed people with your honest words and I know God is so proud of you ...
Love you
Shannon J

Jackie Sue said...

You are doing a great job, Boothe, of processing all that God has laid in your lap. A book that spoke volumes to my heart during my heartbreaking grief is called "A Grace Disguised". You might find it to be a blessing in your life. I don't know the man who wrote it, but he sure seemed to know God and he helped me understand a few things. God bless you and yours.

Jackie Sue said...

Wait, I didn't mean to say that God did this....or that He "laid" it in your lap...I meant to say all that He has allowed in your life...that is more what I meant theologically...sorry for the mispoken words. :)

Katie and Dan said...

Wow. You continue to inspire me. It is so remarkable how God is using you to minister to others, even through your grief. Keep writing, Boothe and purging yourself. By purging yourself, you are helping others' walk with Christ more than you can know. I'm so proud of you.

Love, Katie H. Beall

Anonymous said...

You are still in my thoughts and prayers frequently even though I don't even know you. I remember my dad once saying that sometimes he imagines this life as us just putting on one layer after another of grief. And if we know Jesus, one day, He will lift it all away. Peace and comfort to you...

Fran said...

Oh Boothe....That was just beautiful!! I am taking it to Bible study because your words will bless others.

I pray for you tonight. I pray for all of you.

Peace and love,
Fran

Terry said...

"If God didn't ordain Copeland's sickness, if it wasn't His design, why in the world did she have it? Because I live here...She wasn't sick because I needed to learn a lesson. She wasn't sick because I didn't do enough things right - or too many things wrong. She was sick because we live in a broken, fallen world and until Jesus comes back, things are just going to keep going wrong."
Those words are exactly what I believe about my little son's death. It has everything to do with sin in the world--the broken, fallen, world. Unfortunately, people like to try to say comforting things (that often really hurt) about lessons that need to be learned etc. You probably don't feel like it, but it is evident you are in a very good place with God and while I am sure it is not your primary intent, this blog is a powerful witness to people who are searching. I think a lost soul(s) finding Jesus will take a little of the sting out of the loss in your heart.

jtcosby said...

Wow. You are so amazing. Thank you for continuing to blog. You are changing lives.

Rachel said...

Boothe, I have been reading your blog for several weeks now (I don't even know how I originally found it). I can understand and relate to so many of your emotions as I just went through a miscarriage at 10 weeks (after 1 international adoption, 1 successful IVF, and 4 years of infertility). You stated so beatifully that suffering brings us to truly long for heaven. I don't really have anything more to add to what you have already so eloquently written, but I just hope you know that like so many have already said, your words and vulnerability are truly ministering to people. I am praying for you and hope that you continue to wrestle and come before the Lord in your honesty.

Trusting with you that our Lord is purposeful in all He does even when we don't like it or understand it-

Rachel Norris
www.norrisfamily.ministryhome.org

"Oh Joy that seekest me through pain I cannot close my heart to thee. I trace the rainbow through the rain and feel the promise is not vain that morn shall tearless be."

Anonymous said...

Wow......amazing thoughts. Thank you for sharing. Praying for you very often.

Jennifer F. said...

STUNNING post. Thank you so much. Your family is in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

Boothe,

Thanks for putting into words, what I am too numb to be able to express myself right now.

I am struggling daily with my own grief story. And I am in such desperate need of Jesus to remove me from the "time warp" that prolonged grief places you in.

My vision of the life I have to live today -here and now- must be restored soon, or I fear that the horrible symtoms of PTSD that have plauged my life since childhood will never end.

God has done in my life so much and I am thankful for His salvation and provision. But now I crave WHOLENESS. Simply "limping along" emotionally is no longer an option. God's Peace and healing (in their most complete forms) is what I'm seeking now.

God brings you to my mind often, so I pray for a Complete Wholeness to be raining down on you, Sellars and Conner as well.

Respectfully yours in Christ,

Jenna (Marietta, GA)

Carol Phillips said...

I found your blog through a dear friend, who knew you years ago. It seems a bit strange to try to find words to "comment" on this journey you've shared with us... This sacred, broken, holiest of holies part of your life. I really don't have words. Only tears and pain and hope and anger and peace all at the same time, graciously giving me a clearer, deeper prescence of who God truly is. Thank you.

Susiewearsthepants said...

How many of us have felt this way at one time or another? For me it was and is difficult to admit to being angry or disappointed in our Lord. Your words are truly remarkable and honest. Still praying for your family every day.
Murfreesboro, TN

MostlyTruth said...

Phenomenal post and message, with so much clarity.

God bless you.

MostlyTruth said...

Phenomenal post and message, with so much clarity.

God bless you.

bernitasheets1955 said...

I am sitting with you in silence at the top of the stairs tonight.

erika said...

Thank you Boothe. I appreciate your blog more than I could express in words. So raw and real and at the same time so eloquently spoken I'm blown away - I am praying for you daily.
thank you,
erika mcpherson powell

Marni New (Lunsford) said...

Boothie-
Everytime I read one of your new blogs it just reiterates why I looked up to and admired you so much when we were younger. You're an amazing woman of God, and are teaching me to be moreso (sp) also. I love you and your family so much and can't wait until we can see each other again. You restore my faith everyday, when all I have to do is think of you and what you're going through to know how trivial most things are. Please know that you, Conor, and Sellers are loved and still prayed for often out here in West Texas!

With so much love,
Marni

UKNat said...

Boothe, you don't know me, but I'm still praying for you and your family. Natalie

Anonymous said...

Your words and understanding of all you have gone through and all you will go through in the sad journey are truly inspirational. You don't know me, but I was turned on to your blog by a friend who has suffered great loss herself. I just want you to now that your eloquent words and understand have touched my heart. Thank you for putting life into perspective!
~A stranger from Texas

The Allen Clan said...

you have helped me in my walk boothe understand..thank you for this today

Rebekah said...

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.

And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.

And how else can it be?

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.

Is not the cup that hold your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?

And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?

When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, "Joy is greater than sorrow," and others say, "Nay, sorrow is the greater."

But I say unto you, they are inseparable.

-Khalil Gibran, The Prophet, Joy and Sorrow

Anonymous said...

Please write a book. I'm sure your other readers would agree.

Courtney said...

that was a great post...super sweet. thanks for, again, putting your heart out there

Bethany said...

God used you to minister to me today.

Thank you.

Mary C said...

You truly amaze me, Boothe. I am in awe of you and your ability to articulate everything you do. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Alison said...

Just wanted you to know that I am still praying...

Anonymous said...

No...Copeland's illness and subsequent death are not of God's design. He didn't want this for you. As you said, it is the result of sin. Not your sin or Conor's sin and certainly not Copeland's sin but, starting so early, in that Garden of Eden, we failed miserably. I pray that God will give you glimpses into Heaven that you would KNOW that it is real and Copeland is waiting for you there.

stacey said...

We too lost a little one 7 years ago. Your feelings and words so mirrored what I felt then and what I feel now. I remember feeling the pain that was so deep that it felt as tho' my soul needed to leave my body because it hurt so much. I remember looking to see where he was even tho' he was always held when on earth. It will get easier, but I will always be human enough to say that if it had been up to me the plan would have been different, it would have never involved my child suffering or dying. Since he has passed I have experienced sorrow much deeper than I could have imagined and joy more pure than I could have dreamed. Heaven is also a much more "real" place - it's where Jesus AND Jonathan live - and your sweet baby Copeland. I hope they play together. Blessings to you.

Anonymous said...

I stumbled upon your blog a few weeks ago & continue to check back. Your words are so sincere and inciteful and I've been totally blown away by your strength. Thanks so much for sharing your pain and know that you are touching so many lives, just as Copeland did. I'm praying for you and your family!

Carisa said...

I recently read your article in the back of Southern Exposure and I wanted to send my condolences. It is so sad and I am so sorry! I can truly feel your pain right now. My husband and I lost our two children in 2002 and 2004. It is the worst and the most painful tragedy to endure. We found it hard knowing that others couldn't understand our feelings. I so wanted to talk to another mom that could relate to my anger, hurt, sadness and loss. If you ever want to share or just vent, I am here.
Many Prayers & Many Blessings
Carisa
www.kaylenfoundation.org

Anonymous said...

Boothe, I have come to you as my daily/weekly devotional. You have inspired me, driven me, and given me more in the 4 weeks that I was "introduced" to your wonderful, loving family. You have become a blessing to me. I pray for you as you "work" through this time. Thank you for being you--
franklin, tn

Mama C said...

Boothe, Conor, and Sellars,

You are in my prayers. I have just finished reading your blog, and I am truly moved by your family. What a blessing to have had Copeland, to be able to love her and send her on to the Father. I pray that you will continue to live in Him so that you will all be reunited with your precious baby girl.

God bless,
Cheryl

Anonymous said...

As a mother of 7 angels in heaven (we're here in Franklin) please know that you and family are in my thoughts and prayers~

I wish I could contact you privately-- I understand~

Take care!

Cheryl said...

I came here to thank you for your unique viewpoint- I haven't ever heard things put the way you have, and they make sense. I cried for your loss, and will continue to pray for you and your family. Thanks for having the strength to post here- it truly is a ministry to others, whether it is meant to be or not, and I think that makes it all the sweeter.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing this aweful experience with us. Your words are dripping with the type of faith i hope to have. You all are such an encouragement.
Luke Norsworthy
(one of Heath's groomsmen)

Anonymous said...

Your words drew me into the heart of God. Thank you.
-Josh Ross

Carly (NICU Nurse) said...

Your honesty is changing people, bringing them closer to the Lord.

We think about Copeland daily. We continue to pray for you and your family evey day. We love you.

Michelle Boyd said...

Thank you. Thank you for allowing God to so publicly use you to bring him glory. And know that that is exactly what He is doing. God is absolutely being glorified through your most tragic loss.

Your words are so beautiful and you both, well, you ALL have such precious hearts. We can all feel it by reading what you have written and watching you interact.



I lost my sister five years ago and it still feels like yesterday. When she was killed we experienced so many emotions . . . anger, bitterness, resentment, doubt, uncertainty . . . we just could not understand why? Why would God take someone so pure, so wonderful, so loving, so spirit-filled? It is so hard to reconcile tragedy with God's "plan." But as you wrote, we live in a broken world, and until we are in Heaven, we will not know why. How maddening, right? But, that is where faith comes in. The true test of faith comes in tragedy and sorrow. And know that God is using your family to speak to others and bring others to Him. And, isn't that what life is really about? How neat that a life so short can bring total strangers to want to know God! Your story is so inspiring. So, thank you for sharing your thoughts and your experiences with all of us.

I thought that burying my 20 year old sister was the hardest thing I could ever do. And then I had Austin. He is my 5 month old son whom I just adore. I have prayed for him my whole life and God gave him to us, no, blessed us with him April 18th. He is just perfect. Now that I am a mom, I realize that there is something worse than burying your sister, and that is burying your child. Not that the love is any stronger . . . it is just different. I can only imagine how my mom struggles through every day without one of her babies. It just isn't right for parents to bury their children, whether the child is eight days old or 50 years old. It just isn't supposed to happen that way. But it does. It just does.

So keep your eyes on the prize, and keep doing what you're doing. The love for a lost one NEVER fades, and the memories never go away. I hurt today just as much as I did the day she left us. But, surviving does get easier. God will teach you how. And you will work through the resentment and anger and come to peace --- that God knows what He is doing. Although we cannot understand it, we must cling to that one truth. HE knows what He's doing.

And as deep as your sorrow is . . . know that your heart will be broadened to love just as deep. For in sorrow we learn how to love. Truly love.

My friend, Anna Hancy, told me about your blog, and I'm so glad she did. We have grieved for you and with you and continue to keep you in our prayers.

God bless you, I mean, truly bless you, and thanks for teaching us all how to count our blessings and not take one moment, one breath, for granted.

Michelle Boyd
Tampa, Florida

Susan said...

Dearest Boothe,

I'm sitting here total in awe. Your writing is such a gift, your heart is truly hard after God.

Thank you for sharing your journey with us. God is being glorified through every word you post.

As I read several of your posts this scripture came to mind:

Psalm 84:6
"As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools."

Truly you are making your "valley of Baca" a place of springs we can all drink from. Thank you so much for giving me so much HOPE.

My son has a brain tumor, and he is doing well. I'm grateful. Many times I've thought how would I handle losing him?

Thanks for leading the way for so many.

Keep holding on to Jesus, He's holding on to you.

With hope,

Susan

Anonymous said...

I have been reading your blog for the past few weeks and always want to comment to you but haven't. When I'm reading your words, I just want to say: "you should write a book!" I realize now that you are. It's your story, your family's story, Copeland's story but most of all God's revelation of Himself in your life. I have been blessed by your writing and pray God's Spirit continues to guide your hands...
Nicole

Anonymous said...

As I was looking online tonight looking for some parenting tips, I came across a story that reminded me of yours and the writer wrote similarly to you in regards to his relationship with Christ and the feelings and emotions that come with losing a child. I wanted to pass it along to you if you wanted to read it. Still praying for you each day.

Here's the link: http://www.focusonyourchild.com/bigpict/mothers/art1/a0001563.html

lesliemarkgilliam said...

Conor and Boothe...I just read about your sweet baby girl. What a little blessing!! You both are such an example of living a life of Christ. Thank you for your words of wisdom. Instead of me trying to think of something to uplift you all, you have truly done that for me through these writings about precious Copeland. Mark and I send our love to you. Please know we are thinking of you and will lift you up!! You are such faithful servants of Christ. Bless you Farley family.

Mark and Leslie Gilliam

Christy Nockels said...

we've been out of town and I'm just getting back to your blog...I think of you all so often and pray for you when I do. your writing stretches my heart, my belief system and my ability to comprehend the things of God and why I'm here on this planet.. thank you for your faithfulness to process "life" through your writing - it's truly incredible...

love -christy nockels

Emily said...

Lifting you up....

Melissa said...

I just stumbled across your blog and wanted to send my sympathy. My daughter died of Triploidy and she did not make it full term. I send prayers to you and your family in this time of sorry.

Anonymous said...

Hi.....I just wanted to let you know that I have been following your blog each day for awhile. I would like for you to know that you have truly blessed me through your writings. As I am also going through a difficult time in my life you have continued to remind me of Gods love for us. I also wanted to share this song with you and your family......
Love,
A friend in Alabama
"Bring The Rain" by MercyMe

I can count a million times
People asking me how I
Can praise You with all that I've gone through
The question just amazes me
Can circumstances possibly
Change who I forever am in You
Maybe since my life was changed
Long before these rainy days
It's never really ever crossed my mind
To turn my back on you, oh Lord
My only shelter from the storm
But instead I draw closer through these times
So I pray

Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there'll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain

I am Yours regardless of
The dark clouds that may loom above
Because You are much greater than my pain
You who made a way for me
By suffering Your destiny
So tell me what's a little rain
So I pray

Holy, holy, holy
Is the Lord God Almighty

Anonymous said...

Boothe- You are one amazing woman. Thank you so much for being 'real' in every sense of the word. Reading your blog refreshes me.... as wierd as that may sound. I am expecting my first child in May and fear so much-you and your family have encouraged my heart, and I hope, my faith-b/c the sorrows and suffering will, at some point, come to us all. I pray that God will continue to use you, Conor and your family. You are precious to behold.

Anonymous said...

Interestingly, I was introduced to your blog through a blog from a friend who just had a baby. He and his wife sent it to us to share the good news of Isabelle's birth. The mother had been restless one night, anticipating the birth of her child when she was browsing through blogs and came across yours. In hers, she noted how thankful she was for her experience. She couldn't even begin to imagine all that you were going through. Once I started reading your thoughts, I felt as if I was with you through the entire journey. Upon reading of Copeland's passing, I wept as if I had known you personally. Your strength is amazing. You and Connor are Godly examples to a fallen world. Copeland's life did have a purpose. She touched hundreds - perhaps thousands of lives! God is smiling because of the lives this four-pound baby changed! Thank you so much for sharing. May God bless you all as you continue in the healing process. You are not alone.

Anonymous said...

Boothe,
Just checking in on you and wanted to say hi. I think of you often; will never forget you & Copeland.
Jennifer

manda said...

I just happened upon your blog. I lost one of my 9 month old twins in February. People say to me often that it was "God's Will" and I object to that statement each and every time with every fiber of my being. If I for one second thought that God took my child, I would be resolute to hate Him and live eternity, probably gladly, without Him. I too was/am sometimes angry, with God, at God, not because my baby died, but because He allowed me to have the hope that she would live. She was very sick for a long time, came home after a long illness, beat all the odds, and died anyway, at home with me watching. Of course, I want her here with me, but I'm at peace much more with what happened. She died at home, I was the last thing she saw, she experienced and knew the love of her mother and father. These things are priceless to me now. You said some things that I could have said. You've reached conclusions I reached. God is Love. He does not choose which babies can live and which babies will not. We live in a world of sin, of free will, and in that world bad things sometimes happen. Bad things, to good people, to innocent people. I searched my heart and my mind for something I had done to deserve the death of my precious Aleah. The thought that God would use her to get back at me, is absurd when I say it out loud, but it's amazing that my mind considered this as a possibility. I was making her death about me, which, of course, it wasn't. I doubted my faith. If only I had prayed longer, prayed harder, not had moments of doubt and of exasperation with Him when she was alive. I had even lost my will to bargain with Him. As the paramedics worked to revive her, my mind did not go to prayer, to plead with him for just one more day. I forgive myself for that now. I realized I was giving myself too much credit, making myself much more important that I need be. My baby was gone and I had not been dealt some punishment for any bad deed, or lack of faith, or been deemed unworthy. She died because she lived, because I lived, and death, sometimes of an innocent strong-willed baby, is part of that life. My eyes are now set on heaven with a different set of eyes. I'm no longer afraid of my own death, because I know that it will reunite me with my daughter. I have plenty of loved ones left here, but knowing a part of me lives somewhere that I can't reach right now makes it less scary. I know God is with me each and every day and it is through Him and the prayers of others that I have survived since February. I'm separated, for the rest of my life, from my daughter, so I have some idea what Hell is like, to be separated from for whom you'd gladly give your life. The idea of being separated from my children for eternity, well, it's given me the glimpse into Hell that you write about. I love what you wrote, I've never actually read the grief and thoughts of God of another mother. It's comforting to know that the same blinders were removed. We've been forced to consider things that others just take for granted, trite sayings regurgitated, given no real thought in attempts to help. I'm sorry for that, and please know, you aren't alone.

texasinafrica said...

"tune my heart to sing Thy grace."

The peace of Christ be with you, Boothe.

Anonymous said...

Just my own thought to share with you, I knew a very wise, Godly much older than myself woman when I was very young.. Everytime I used to refer to my babies as "my babies" she would say to me, they are but a blessing, given to you from God for you to guide in this world, yet they are still his child, not your's as all children are belong to God, each and everyone. Though I cannot convey in the way she did to me, I have never forgotten her words in times of heartache, etc.

God Bless you all

Anonymous said...

Some post kind of disturb me somewhat (not your's but the comments) I am from TX by no means fall under the "southern" rules if you will.. My thought though is who are we to question God's will if we claim to believe... I have experienced extreme loss of young one's in my life as well so I am not by any means speaking from a place of having no understanding of how such a loss feels.

I pray God will give you strength through this journey/time as I do not believe there is ever a timeframe to get through the greive, it becames a journey through life

Anonymous said...

One last thought as I read your referral to C.S. Lewis of whose books I also have. Another writer, who is/lives in Nashville and writes inspiring books is: Billy Sprague, I was giving one of his books, short, not time consuming, titled: Letter To A Grieving Heart" I have read it more times than I know. I just want to add also, I feel God has a purpose for every soul born on this earth..Our goal in life is not "this life here on earth anyway, this is nothing but a test if you will, our goal is to live in heaven..

JUST A MOM said...

Your all still in my thoughts....

Anonymous said...

This is what it is all about:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NaSROohLzs

Jeff Lee said...

Your story hits very close to home. I lost a son 11 years ago, and one can never truly understand why. I would like to encourage you go read my blog. One post in particular titled 'Past Demons'. it may give you a little different perspective.

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