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The Trials of Life

By Amber Leggette-Aldrich

 

But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” (1 Peter 5:10)

“…May your character not be a writing upon the sand, but an inscription upon the rock! May your faith be no “baseless fabric of a vision,” but may it be builded of material able to endure that awful fire which shall consume the wood, hay, and stubble of the hypocrite… May your whole life be so settled and established, that all the blasts of hell, and all the storms of earth shall never be able to remove you. But notice how this blessing of being “stablished in the faith” is gained. The apostle’s words point us to suffering as the means employed–“After that ye have suffered awhile.” It is of no use to hope that we shall be well rooted if no rough winds pass over us. Those old gnarlings on the root of the oak tree, and those strange twistings of the branches, all tell of the many storms that have swept over it, and they are also indicators of the depth into which the roots have forced their way. So the Christian is made strong, and firmly rooted by all the trials and storms of life. Shrink not then from the tempestuous winds of trial, but take comfort, believing that by their rough discipline God is fulfilling this benediction to you.” (Spurgeon’s Devotionals)

Suffering. Not so pleasant a thought. Certainly it is not something that anyone would desire. Yet it is through the suffering that we, as Christians, are made strong. Think about a chunk of coal. After many years of tremendous pressure, it becomes a beautiful diamond. It is from the pressure put on us during our times of trials and suffering that we are being perfected for God’s Kingdom. It is through our faith and trust in God that we have the strength to go through the storms, knowing that there is victory on the other side.

In my book, “Faith, Hope & Miracles”, I shared some of the toughest trials a person could go through. But my faith gave me the strength to go through it all. I endured the suffering because God gave me hope in the knowledge of His eternal love. There were times when I said, “In spite of the storm, I am strong”. But now I know that it is because of the storm that I am stronger.

After the storm comes the rainbow. God gave me the privilege of witnessing and sharing in a precious miracle. It has been a privilege and joy for me to see the impact in people’s heart in sharing that miracle. What a blessing it is for me to share God’s love and goodness, not only when life is good, but even more during the trials!

“Faith, Hope & Miracles” is available at  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008J0Z2FQ

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For Jason

By Amber Leggette-Aldrich

The temperature outside was in the 90’s, something I was not accustomed to. The air inside was much cooler, but I did not want to go in. I remember the room was filled with so many people, ranging in age from 7 to 70 plus. They were all very kind and most seemed very caring and friendly. Some I knew, others I did not. Music was playing softly, but I did not hear it. My eyes were focused on the floor as I was led to my seat, I didn’t want to look.

A man began to speak, but I couldn’t focus on what he was saying at first. My thoughts were drifting somewhere else. A flood of memories was filling my head, memories of the first time I saw you, and the last. It seemed like it had been forever, so many things had happened. My head began to clear a little and I began to look around. The faces were all very somber now.

The man speaking was the youth pastor. He was talking about what a treasure you were to the youth group, and how your smile would light up a whole room. He spoke about how enthusiastic you were, not only in the group, but in the services too. He said your dedication to serving the Lord, the church and the community was inspiring to all who knew you.

Next, the pastor got up to speak. He was an older man with a soft and gentle way about him. He talked about how it had always touched his heart to see you at the door greeting the congregation as they entered. He said you were always one of the first to arrive, and one of the last to leave. He shared a story from just a few weeks earlier, when you told him you were looking forward to going home. He said it was apparent you were speaking about Heaven, but he said he smiled and told you that you still had many years to come. Tears began to fill his eyes as he said, “but looking back, I think Jason knew”. He couldn’t speak anymore, and the choir was asked to sing.

A short while later we were all gathered outside. It was a beautiful setting, and there were lots of flowers. One arrangement that caught my attention had been made in the shape of a saxophone, your instrument of choice. I remembered the private “concert” you and Daniel had put on for the family when you were first learning to play. As hard as I tried, I could not swallow the lump I felt in my throat.

Standing there beside your final resting place, I could not fully absorb the fact that my firstborn son was gone. I was consoling myself with knowing that you were in Heaven, but it still felt as though I was in a bad dream and I kept waiting to wake up.

From the moment I had received the news of your death until after the funeral, everyone around me seemed so concerned about the possibility of my grief causing me to lose the unborn child I was carrying. For their sake, your brother Daniel’s, and your unborn brother’s, I tried to be strong. I even managed to smile as people came up to me to give their condolences. But in truth, I had just gone numb inside, and I wanted to stay that way. I didn’t want to think about anything.

After the funeral I was kept busy. There were still unfinished projects to get ready for the new baby, and the salmon runs were beginning. That meant it was time to get all the smoking and canning stuff out and ready. Even though I hate salmon, I looked forward to filling the jars and the smoker. It kept my mind occupied. I worked until I was too exhausted to stand anymore, and then stayed up half the night on the computer. I didn’t want to sleep because I didn’t want to dream.

Just over a month after your funeral, your brother Christian was born. And when I looked at his shining little face the first time, I saw you. The last words you had said to me the day before you died were, “I’m really looking forward to meeting my new little brother”. As I was thinking about those words, a feeling came over me and it was like you were there with us. I felt peaceful for a moment, filled with such a strong love. It was overwhelming.

I never told anyone but the night Christian was born, when no one else was around, I cried for you even harder than I had when you died. And part of me felt guilty. I was being torn between the extreme sadness of missing you, and the extreme joy of having this precious new baby. I didn’t know what I was supposed to feel, but my insides felt scrambled. I thought about some things that I regretted not doing with you or not saying to you when I had the chance. It taught me to never miss an opportunity to say “I love you”.

Ten years have passed as of today, and I still miss you. But I know I will see you again. When Christian died and came back, he told me he met you in Heaven. I have no words to describe how that made me feel, but something tells me you already know. God has given me strength when I didn’t know how to go on, and He’s given me comfort and a peace that only He can give.

God blessed me with 3 beautiful boys, and I am thankful to have had the gift of being your mom, even if only for a little while. I am glad beyond words that you found Jesus and hung on to Him in faith, and that you are there with Him now. I know that you are alright, and it helps make me alright. You brought so much joy to so many, and inspired many more with your love for Jesus. I will treasure that always.

Jason, you were my precious firstborn, and you will always be in my heart. Not one day in 10 years has gone by that I haven’t thought of you, and loved you and missed you. It took a while for me to see it, but God has taught me that you have always belonged to Him. He only let me borrow you for a time. He sent you here for a purpose, and then He called you home. While I may wish that you could have stayed longer, I have come to accept that things must be in God’s time and in His ways. I believe His ways are perfect, even if I can’t always see it. In your own way, you helped me to learn about what real faith and real love means. And I am thankful for that. And I am doing the best I can, with God’s guidance, to help pass that faith and love on to your brothers. I will love you always Jason! – Mom

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Good morning! I have been away for quite some time now, but have made my way back. And I have an incredible testimony to share of God’s goodness, grace, mercy and power! It is a story of many miracles, and it is my prayer that many hearts will stirred to connect with our wonderful and mighty Lord, Jesus Christ.

Have you ever had questions about heaven, or wondered if Jesus is really there? Do you or someone you know have doubts about all this “Christian stuff”? I cannot promise you that I have all the answers. But this much I can promise…Jesus and heaven are real, and if you open your heart to His truth and seek Him with all earnesty, you will find Him!

In previous posts I have shared a little of the effects that my children have had on my heart. Perhaps God knew that it would take a child’s touch to have such a strong impact on me, resulting in a faith and love that surpasses anything I had ever imagined. I cannot explain God’s reasons for the ways that He chooses to work, so I will simply share this story, for His honor and glory. For time and space, I have to give the condensed version here.

The Accident

On November 13, 2010 my 8 year old son, Christian, was killed when he was run over by a pick up truck. The truck ended up with it’s back tire sitting directly on top of his chest, crushing his lungs and stopping his heart. I arrived at the scene of the accident within a minute or so after the crash, and I held Christian’s head (the only part of him that I could get to) and kept repeating over and over how much I loved him. As I prayed harder than I have ever prayed, I watched as my baby died in my hands. I cried out to God and said, “I believe in You and trust You. I know You are mighty and capable, and I am putting my baby into Your hands, and I know in my heart that You will heal him and make him whole again, if not here on earth, then in heaven”.

It was nearly 20 minutes before the first of the emergency responders arrived. As the truck was lifted up with a winch, the paramedics had to shovel out the snow from around Christian to get to his right leg which had been wrapped around the back axle and almost torn from his body. Once he had been pulled out from under the truck, CPR began and continued for 40 minutes. I do not know all of the details of this time, except that tubes were placed into his lungs and injections were administered directly into his heart. A faint pulse was finally achieved, and Christian was flown by helicopter to the hospital.

The Hospital

After many hours had passed, the head doctor of the pediatric intensive care unit came to us. She told us that in spite of all their efforts, there was just too much damage and that Christian would not live through the night. His lungs had been crushed, his heart was badly bruised and damaged, his liver and bowels were bruised and swollen, 2 ribs were broken, his brain was swollen and surrounded by fluid, and his lower right leg was hanging by a thread of skin and a vein. We were told to go be with him and love him while we could.

In the meantime, prayer requests had been sent out all over the country. By the end of the day, there were thousands of people praying for Christian and our family. I’ll never know the exact number or who they were, but I am truly thankful to them all!

Since it was believed (by the doctors) that Christian would not live, there was no attempt to perform surgery on his leg at the time. When he was still holding on the next day and some blood flow had actually returned to his foot, an orthopedic surgeon said that if Christian survived, the leg could be amputated later.

Christian remained in a coma for 4 days, barely hanging on to life. But as his vital signs began to improve a little, the first surgery on his leg was performed on the 4th morning. The doctor had decided to try to save the leg, but didn’t seem overly hopeful. That same night, Christian came out of the coma! A respirator was still breathing for him, and he was hooked up to every kind of machine imaginable. The neurosurgeon said that there would probably be severe brain damage due to the impact and going without any oxygen for almost an hour.

On November 20, the respirator was removed and Christian was finally able to talk. During the previous week I had been told (and already knew in my heart) that it was miraculous that he had even been revived, but to be healing and recovering at such a rapid rate was unbelievable to all of his doctors. But the most miraculous thing was what he said once he was able to talk. He asked me, “am I still in heaven”? When I answered no, he became agitated and asked, “why did you take me away from Jesus, I did not want to leave Him”! Later he described brief memories from the accident, after he had died. He also described “coming down the stairs”, to which he later added that his older brother Jason (who had died the month before Christian was born) had led him down the stairs from heaven. Christian said that Jason told him it was not time for him yet and that he would see him again someday.

To the complete amazement of all of his doctors, Christian was released from the hospital 20 days after being admitted! His heart, brain, lungs, everything except his leg was totally healed.

Full Recovery

Christian’s recovery has been published in several medical reports over the past 16 months and is still being talked about in the medical communities. One report that I heard was from a conference of over 500 doctors. It was stated that there are 2 categories: one of what medicine can do, and one of what medicine can not do. Christian’s case was listed in the “cannot do” category, and his recovery was attributed to “Divine intervention”.

Christian’s leg required several surgeries over a 1 year period, including 2 bone grafts, a skin graft, and a titanium plate placed over the shin area. For a little over 4 months, his leg was held together with 2 fixators screwed directly into the bones and he suffered from severe nerve pains as his leg was healing. He had permanent scars and his right foot is now somewhat smaller than his left foot. The tendons and ligaments were extremely tight, causing his foot to turn inward, but with stretching and exercise have become almost completely normal and he is now able to run again, with only a slightly noticable limp. Even this is expected to return to normal in time.

Throughout this entire ordeal, our faith and trust in Jesus has strengthened. He has carried us through, giving us peace and comfort in a time of great trials. In spite of his pain and suffering, Christian remained positive and confident in God’s ability to heal him. In his own words, Christian often said, “I know God is with me, and He is going to make everything alright”.

In Conclusion

One of the hardest and greatest lessons I have learned from all of this is that I am not in control. I had to learn to put my comlete faith and trust in God, to know that it is His will that must be done, even when I don’t understand it. To walk by faith and not by sight, trusting that God is watching over us and He will work everything out for good in the end brings an unexplainable peace and comfort to my heart. I felt God’s presence in and around me when I began to pray with all my heart at the accident, and I knew He was there with us. I witnessed a miracle that day, and I have been privileged to watch God take the most horrible scene I have ever watched and turn it into many miracles and blessings over this past 16 months.

There are far too many details of this story to put it all down here. But it is something that I know in my heart must be shared. It is my passion to share what God has done, and is doing, for He is truly a mighty and holy God! It is my prayer that every heart be opened to seeking and finding Him! And if it is His will, the full details of this story will be published, to honor and glorify Him.

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