Whew! What an emotional couple of weeks it's been! For a lot of reasons, really, but the end of the school year is always emotional for me and, in addition, this year my baby graduated from Kindergarten. What a special little girl! I'm so ridiculously proud of my Olivia!!! Livi's graduation reminded me of two things: #1, time goes WAY TOO FAST and #2, chapters close, everything on this earth MUST come to an end.
Okay, so I'm gonna get right to the prayer requests and updates because this also is part of the reason why the last couple of weeks have been so emotional.
UPDATES: I'm so sad to report to you that our 9-year-old friend, Ethan Bibb, went Home on May 16th. He battled his cancer bravely for about 15 months. I didn't know Ethan personally, but I'm telling you, he moved an entire town like I've never seen before! A whole town uniting in prayer is a beautiful thing, even if the reason is unbelievably heartbreaking. This was really hard for me to deal with as a teacher because he was about the same age as my students (including my Alison) and my students prayed diligently for his healing. How do you explain this to a third grader when I don't understand it myself??? Somehow, though, my class handled it with the faith of a child - okay, so he's in Heaven now. In fact, when I told my girls, my Livi said, "So you mean Ethan's happy but his family is sad?" Yeah, that's about right. That's not to say the kids weren't shaken a little. They just were at peace. It's the only way I can explain it. His family I'm sure is doing about as well as can be expected. It was very bittersweet because at the services, I'm told, they were given one last gift - a rainbow. Not just any rainbow, but a double rainbow. From what I understand, Ethan wrote a story with the help of a family friend, called Ethan's Rainbow. It was touched upon at his service and as the family and friends left, they were greeted by a beautiful double rainbow! Isn't it amzing how even in our darkest times, God will give us signs of His amazing love for us? I'm going to see if "Ethan's Author", as she is so lovingly called, will make a guest appearance on here to elaborate on what a special gift that was. I can't do it justice. In the meantime, please pray for Farris (daddy), Robin (mama), and Lanna (sister) Bibb in the weeks and months ahead as I know they will go through waves of grief. I can't imagine what they are goign through. I just can't wrap my brain around it. I'm praying for them to find strength first in the Lord and secondly in each other and for them to experience a peace that passes all understanding - one that could only possibly come from our Lord. If you've been through the loss of a child, you would know even more specifically how to pray. Please, leave a comment to give us some insight. But above all else, just pray for these precious people!
Also, just as heartbreaking, our friend Tyler, has lost his battle with cancer jus a few days after Ethan. He was almost 3. I'm really at a loss for words for this one. I've been shaking my head for two weeks now. 3 years old! That doesn't even make sense! But I've learned that it is when we continue to trust the Lord WHEN IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE that exhibit true faith. I'm being honest here, I have a hard time with this. I'm a very cause and effect type person. When my girls make a bad choice, my first question to then (whether right or wrong of me) is, "Why did you do it?" When things happen like an innocent baby getting cancer and dying from it, I want to know why. We can't know why. That's just life and life just happens sometime and often it stinks royally, but I am choosing to trust our Lord. My prayer for Tyler's family is that they are leaning on our Lord right now, too. I pray that they will draw close to each other and to the Lord through this very difficult time.
Also, please pray for Robin Baughman, who is nearing the end of her battle with cancer and is struggling with leaving her young children. I guess she needs peace more than anything right now. Peace, assurance of her salvation, and the hope that Jesus himself spoke of in John 11:25, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live."
Please pray for my sister, Karen Pantaleo, who miscarried at 12 weeks. Obviously, she's taking this loss pretty hard. My prayer for her is also that she will draw close to the Lord through this unique grieving process and that her faith will be strengthened in a way it couldn't be otherwise.
Please pray for my friend, Krista Phillips, whose baby DOES have significant heart problems which will require surgeries after birth and later on, too. Krista appears to be holding it together well, but I can only imagine the worry that must constantly lay on her heart for her baby. We need to pray for Krista and Scott and especially for Baby Annabelle.
Now for NEW PRAYER REQUESTS: Please pray for 15-year-old Rachael Barman who was recently diagnosed with melanoma in her eye and will be starting radiation on the 11th. How scary that must be for her! And I know her parents are worried. Please pray for quick and complete healing. Pray for wisdom for her doctors. Pray for peace for her parents and a comfort that can only come from the Lord for our precious Rachael.
Also, I need you to pray for the family of 18-year-old Sierra Barrier who was killed in a car accident late last week. Pray for her family as they try to make sense of this tragedy. Pray that they will rely on their faith. Pray that through this loss they will grow in the Lord, pour themselves into Him until He is all they can think about.
Really that is what we all should be doing everyday anyway, isn't it? I admit, the hustle and bustle of my everyday life (And there is no time more hustling and bustling than the end of the school year!) sometimes get in between me and my Lord. If this heavy list of prayer requests have taught me anything it's that the hustle and bustle should be my second thought, and that's exactly what I'm gonna spend this summer working on. How about you???
ALSO, DON'T FORGET YOU HAVE 20 DAYS TO ENTER YOUR LOVED ONES IN THE "WHAT A DIFFERENCE YOU'VE MADE IN MY LIFE" CONTEST. IT ENDS AT MIDNIGHT ON JUNE 20TH - FATHER'S DAY. YOU MAY ENTER 1 MALE AND 1 FEMALE, LIVING ON THIS EARTH OR IN HEAVEN, THAT HAS MADE A PROFOUND DIFFERENCE IN YOUR LIFE. JUST SEND ME AN EMAIL (firstname.lastname@example.org) AND TELL ME WHAT MADE THEM SO SPECIAL AND YOU WILL BE ENTERED! THE WINNERS (1 MALE AND 1 FEMALE) WILL HAVE A SHORT BIO IN THE FRONT OF THE HEART'S LULLABY AND WILL BE A MINOR CHARACTER IN THE STORY! I'LL BE WAITING TO HEAR FROM YOU!