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Our Angel, Taylor

I'm sure some of you who know me and have been following, have been waiting on this blog.


Here as we wait
Seek Your face
Come and make Your throne upon our praise
On Memorial Day, we just happened to be in Greenville, FL, which is about half way between our home now, and where we grew up. We we had just left my Great Uncle's funeral when I got a text asking what was going on with Taylor (my best friend from school). I had no idea what this person was talking about, which immediately made me worry. You see, when I moved to Elba, AL in second grade, Taylor was one of the very first people I met. We immediately clicked and have been almost in-seperable since. She was "my person". She knew EVERYTHING about me. There was nothing that we didn't know about each other. So when I hadn't heard from her, but someone was asking about her, that meant they literally meant something was wrong with Taylor. Not her parents, not her husband, but her. As I'm trying to process and not completely go into freak out mode, I call her phone only this time her mom answered. At that moment they weren't sure exactly what was going on, but they knew it was her liver and she was in an ambulance being transported to UAB. I am so thankful for where we were that day, and that I was able to ride back with my parents to Alabama. My best friend needed me, and I knew I needed her.


Here in this place
Have Your way
The moment that we see You, we are changed

It was a long week, which felt more like a never ending rollercoaster, as we all prayed diligently and tried to fight for Taylor. There were so many ups and downs, but we really thought and believed she was going to pull through. She fought so hard and gave it her very best, but her body was just too tired. On Thursday, we heard the words that no one ever wants to hear about their daughter, wife, niece, cousin, best friend, or loved one. She was gone.




Show us Your glory
Show us Your glory
In wonder and surrender we fall down

There were several times during the week when I told God the exact words Taylor told me on January 6th... I wish it was me. She doesn't deserve this, and it's just not fair. And it seemed like every time I would say or think that, I would hear Taylor's voice. She was younger than me by almost three months, but she was always trying to protect me, and I have so many stories of her doing just that. She holds a special place in my heart and life, she's always been there for me.


Show us Your glory
Show us Your glory
Let every burning heart be holy ground
She was one of the very first people I called when I found out I was pregnant all three times. She's the person I would call or text when I was having a bad day or just needed to vent. She was the person I talked to almost all night at Christmas, when I was having a major breakdown because my baby girl wasn't here for her first Christmas. She's the person who I used to ride around town with for hours just to listen to music and do something. She's the person I built snowmen in a foot of snow with, because we didn't know if we would ever see "real" snow.


Here, not by power
Not by might
But only by the cross we come alive

We were each other's Maid of Honor. She not only knew, but acknowledged all three of my children, and was their Aunt TayTay. She was there for me and was one of the first people to hold Aiden after he was born. She was the only person, besides family, who came to see us the night we found out we lost Olivia. She is the only person besides my parents and sister who I called to tell we had also lost Aila. And if she didn't have to work and I hadn't told her no, she would have been right by my side then too. She saw and knew me at my worst, and loved me anyway. She was a huge part of my world for over 18 years. We may have been separated by distance, but that never changed our relationship. We were constantly texting or sending snap chats to each other.  We often joked that we knew each other better than our spouses knew us. That was just us. We were so much more than just friends, she would often tell me that I was the sister she never had, we just had something special.




Here, we're undone
Overcome
By heaven's love revealed before our eyes

When you face death and loss, you see things differently. In 25 years, death has visited me a lot. I told myself that 2017 was going to be a year of change and new beginning, but a few days in we got hit with more death. You never imagine losing a child or a best friend. Even after losing our girls and getting hit with the most unexpected, I would have never imagined losing Taylor as well. I don't know why it happened, and have often questioned why her. The sting of death never changes, no matter how many times you face it.

When I was on the way to Birmingham, AL on Tuesday, I was in constant prayer. I didn't know what was going to happen, but I knew that God was in control. I was so anxious to just get there and for her to be ok. I told God over and over how much I needed her in my life, and that she HAD to be ok for me. When I was about 30 minutes outside of Birmingham, I felt the Holy Spirit nudging me. In that moment, I felt God saying that Taylor was going to be ok, that He had her, but it was followed by a command. There was something that I had to do, not only for Him, but for Taylor. In my human mind I thought that meant that Taylor was going to be healed, that she would literally be ok. As things progressed, and she started declining, I felt God reminding me of what He had spoken to me. It wasn't until after she passed that I really understood what my mission was.


Show us Your glory
Show us Your glory
In wonder and surrender we fall down

Had we not gone through what we went through almost exactly a year ago, I wouldn't have been able to do this thing that God was leading me to do. I wouldn't have had the courage to pray out loud in the Chapel and plead for Taylor's life with her family. I wouldn't have had the strength to pray the prayers I knew needed to be prayed in those delicate moments. I wouldn't have understood it.



Show us Your glory
Show us Your glory
Let every burning heart be holy ground

On the way home, we were mostly quiet, but I told Chase what God told me. I then told Him something I never thought I would say... "What if this is the reason and purpose for Olivia and Aila's life?" Without them, I would not have gotten it. I would have missed what God was saying and I would have missed my purpose for this moment. This is the same thing he said to me earlier this year, when we visited friends who had just lost their son, but I didn't want to hear it then. I needed to see and come to this realization on my own. Their life is my ministry and it has a purpose.


Chains fall
Fear bow
Here, now
Jesus, you change everything

With death comes pain, fear, anxiety, and hurt. It's in these moments that we have a choice to make. I was asked shortly after we found out that Taylor was gone, how I still believe with everything that I've been through and now this. In that moment, I honestly didn't know how to answer. I was blunt. I was honest. I simply said, "I have no choice, but to believe." If I didn't, I wouldn't be here. I couldn't live with the sting of death without God. I don't understand why this happened, and I don't know when (if) I will. However, I do know that God works for the good of those who love Him. He has a purpose and a reason. We may never understand it on this side of Heaven, and while I'm still learning to be ok with that, I trust Him. We have to make a choice; we can get stuck in the cycle of asking why and questioning God, or we can fix our eyes on Him and allow Him to heal us.


Lives healed
Hope found
Here, now
Jesus, you change everything

In Matthew 14:22-33, we hear the story of Jesus walking on water, I'm sure we are all familiar with this scripture. The other day, Chase brought a few key points to my attention that I have never paid attention to before.

"Peter replied to Him, “Lord, if it is [really] You, command me to come to You on the water.” He said, “Come!” So Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw [the effects of] the wind, he was frightened, and he began to sink, and he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus extended His hand and caught him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?"   Matthew 14:28-31

I.e. allow yourself to be drawn in two directiondoubt?”
I.e. allow yourself to be drawn in two directiondoubt?”
We often think that doubt was the reason Peter began to sink. Actually, it was when he began to take his eyes off of Jesus. When I take my focus off of the "story" and focus on the details, I feel like this scripture is talking about me... It's when I take my eyes off of Him that I feel like I am drowning in pain and fear. It's in those days that I feel like my world is crumbling around me. All I need in those moments is to fix my eyes on Jesus.

"Be still and know (recognize, understand) that I am God."  Psalm 46:10

If we want to know that He is God in our lives, we must let go of everything else we are holding onto and place our focus on Him. This has been and is one of my biggest struggles; just letting go of the anxiety, the fear, the pain, the control, and letting Him take over. God intends to reveal Himself as a good Father and draw us to Him, in the midst of our brokenness. We have to be willing to give it to Him and meet Him there, in our messy, broken life. Often times we (especially myself) try to be everything we can to avoid the pain and suffering in our lives. We pretend to be ok and fake it, but in the pain there is a sweet, unexplainable encounter with God that is ONLY found in the suffering and pain. Be brave and confident in exposing all to God. He is ready to help you through.

"It is the Lord who goes before you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or abandon you. Do not fear or be dismayed."  Deuteronomy 31:8

Christ has 'gone before us' which means that He has already worked out the end of your story, and it has a good ending! The pain is not the end. There is always victory on the other side if you walk through it with Him.

"Cause me to hear your lovingkindness in the morning, for in You do I trust; Cause me to know the way in which I should walk. For I lift up my should to you... in you I take shelter."  Psalm 143:8-9

I have kept coming back to this scripture for a little over a week now. Every time I open my bible, I read it. God has been using it as a tool to speak to me, and to bring my focus and attention back to him. Although it says 'morning'  every time I read it, I read it as 'mourning'. So what is it saying? The term Cause me means to not only externally make me see, but also to reveal it internally by the Spirit; to feel and perceive it, to have a sensible experience of it. Lovingkindness means tenderness, goodness, mercy. In the morning means speedily, quickly. I have been reading and praying this over my life since I read it a few days ago, that I would be able to see and feel God's goodness in the mourning. That He would just reveal Himself to me, to Taylor's parents, to her husband, and to all of her family. That His goodness would bring comfort and healing to us all.


Show us Your glory
Show us Your glory
In wonder and surrender we fall down
Show us Your glory
Show us Your glory
Let every burning heart be holy ground

I know without any questions asked, that one of the first things Taylor did was grab our precious angels. I can just imagine her holding and loving them both for me. One day we will all be reunited, and what a wonderful day that will be! 💕

https://youtu.be/xU771D5AYWE

We are raising money to start scholarship in honor of Taylor's life and legacy. If you feel led to give and help us reach our goal, I have included the link. If you scroll down to Coffee County, you will see the link for the Taylor Creel Stinson Scholarship.

https://alumni.ua.edu/…/contribute-to-alumni-chapter-schol…/





Comments

  1. Very beautiful and inspiring. .....thank you for sharing this with us !

    ReplyDelete
  2. This was so beautifully written. My heart breaks for you and all of your loss. God and only God can heal!

    ReplyDelete

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