Saturday, February 28, 2009

Your Turn (#6)


MM: Barely, beat the deadline, but still alive for 7 posts in 7 days. Obviously, no one other than us cares, but I am all about reaching a goal. Thanks for joining us.

So now it is your turn. We are asking for some feedback. If you know me, then you know my mind is typically focused on a topic. Currently, I am working on a long-term concept with a friend of mine. We are exploring a few things, and it has been a great deal of fun thus far. Here’s where you (yes you) come in.

Please leave a comment or if you prefer more privacy an e-mail (matthewlyle@yahoo.com) answering the following:

Is there a time in your life where the way you thought changed? When opinions, assumptions, and deep-held convictions were challenged in a real way. As in, up until this moment you were certain of things, and then, in an instant (or over a span of time), it was all different.

It need not be headline news or earth shattering material. Maybe it was a book, a trip, or circumstances. Of course, for Ginny & I, our son’s life was a huge line in the sand in every way imaginable. Maybe it was something you were thankful for, maybe not.

If you would tell me about it, what changed, and the effect it has had on the rest of your life…or just anything close to that, I would really appreciate it.

Everyone has these moments. You have had these moments. Don’t make me give you a guilt trip about how you are spying on me through this blog, and all I am asking for is a little love via response.

Come on….write me. This could be a neat deal. Or a total failure. You decide which. If you write, I’ll consider it worthwhile.

There, feeling inspired?

24 comments:

Heather said...

It is cliche' but it was when I was pregnant with my 1st son. Everything just changed, it was strange, and it took awhile to adjust, but I am a better person for it.

zsirrom said...

From August 2nd 2006(the day I laid my life at the feet of my Creator) until now my thought process has constantly been changing. Even if its just baby steps, everyday my perspective of the world and my convictions are constantly being shaped to be more like that of God.

Pam said...

I used to comment pretty frequently on Eliot's blog, but I've been mostly silent of late.

I would say the most recent moment I've experienced a transformation of thought would have been last spring when my husband spent 13 days in the hospital with a life-threatening illness that gave me extreme pause as a wife.

I was brought face-to-face with my own mortality and where my allegiance and faith were held. Do I put my trust in God or in the security of a healthy husband? Do I trust God to be strong, real and present in my life regardless of whether my mate is able to be physically complete or not? I am still pondering these questions in my own heart on a frequent basis . . . almost a year later.

Great question, Matt. For many reasons I have continued to follow your sweet family. The idea that you prompt me to think deeply is by far one of the biggest.

Jennifer Perkins said...

Yes.

(And perhaps I have already shared much of this with Ginny, through Griefshare...)

My husband's lengthy illness (1.5 yrs) and subsequent death changed me, changed my faith, irreparably. Perhaps it served as some much-needed plowing in my spirit before some new seeds were planted. I know that I have since grown immeasurably. But though I still have faith, my foundation is still shaky. There is both more strength, and more weakness. I don't really know what the Lord can do with that, but I'm still His, and I'll let Him decide.

Here are my days of change:

January 2005 - husbands first signs of serious illness (which he seemed to recover from).

May 7, 2005 - paralysis (out of the blue)

December 26, 2005 - to the ER for pneumonia, infection, sepsis, and deep subcutaneous wounds; hospitalization; never back home with us after that.

June 3, 2006 - death, and again, this was a shock. I didn't expect it until just a few days before he died, when he was already comatose.

ViolinMama said...

What a great exercise. I loved reading the above. I got a lot from Pam's (do I look for security from my husband and his health, or from God) and Jennifer (plowing of my spirit - loved that comparison!)

I think my line in the sand(s) have come:

1999 - when my future husband got VERY ill with Colitis. His family said later they knew after he got better we'd get married and STAY married cause of what we went through together, when we could have decided it wasn't worth it for me to be "burdened".

2003 - The birth of our 1st daughter. It opened my eyes to unconditional love, how I should love others, and how God loves me. It was so freeing and so comfortable. Happy.

2008 - the same above, but multiplied again for the birth of 2nd daughter. A reminder to love more, as our love for her just "appeared" when you wonder how you can ever love that much for another sibling as you did the 1st.

Jan 1st, 2009 - a pledge for the new year to grow emotionally, spiritually, and physically meaning better health). I thought before this I was certain of things in a way, but I felt challenged to do more, and in a more balanced way. In an instant, they did not become new year's resolutions, but a new direction I would take. I'm still doing that, and starting to blog this week to record my thoughts was one of those ways.

Thanks for this exercise! I look forward to reading what everyone says!

Desha said...

For me, it was being in the hospital room and holding my dad's hand as he took his last breath, and watching my children take their first one. There is something about being there when life begins and life ends that puts things in perspective. It wasn't until my dad died that I realized how meaningless the pursuit of "stuff" is. I looked at his dressing gown, the wedding ring on his finger, and thought about how his life was not about the stuff he gained, but the lives he touched, the people he impacted for eternity. It also swept away the cobwebs of death for me. Heaven was always a place I wanted to go (better than the alternative), but not a place I really looked forward to. Now, my heart longs for it at times, and I am no longer fearful of what death holds.

Footprints Ministry said...

A huge line in the sand for my husband and I was when our son was born with a collapsed lung and had to stay in the NICU. I look back now and I'm so grateful for that time! It was life changing in many, many ways!

Leigh Collins said...

I think for me, there were 2 moments like these: one was not so history shattering, but, the other was very much earth shattering (at least in our little part of the world). The first would have to be the fact that I met and married the most wonderful man in the world. At the time we met, I had been there and done that in the dating world and was convinced that there was not one person that could come along and change my life. I had resigned myself to the fact that I would NOT have that happy ending and that I would probably die long before I found that someone and that my lifelong dream of being a mother would never come true - I know it sounds morbid, but very true! Then we met and my whole world changed and I was able to see the "sun" again and have been able to live that happy ending with 2 precious miracle babies. Who knows what our future holds for us now!!!The second, and most life changing, happened the day that our second miracle was born. We found out after she was born that she had congenital heart defect that she most certainly would have to have to surgery to fix before her 1st birthday. We had no idea and until that moment we were suddenly faced with the fact that our child could have some kind of disability (that we did not know yet) and heart surgery! Talk about a smack in the face. I think we both had taken for granted the health of our children up until that point. It made us both wake up and smell the coffee that no one of us is impermeable to a situation like this (as you well know) and that we have no control over its outcome and that we have to trust our faith in God to help us to deal with it in the best way possible. After many nights of rocking and crying, I finally gave up the battle of control and put it in His hands! I totally believe in miracles now - we are about to celebrate her 2nd birthday - no surgeries, no disabilities, no problems what so ever! Not to say that she will never have to have surgery, but I learned to give it to God and to enjoy every second of every day in our lives as a family! You can't say that something like doesn't have an effect on you - I don't think you could be human and not let it!

Anonymous said...

My question is "what if that moment has yet to happen?"...
I wrote this before even seeing your post. It could be absolute crap.

Who are you?
If someone asked me today,
I would not know just what to say.
I know what I do,
I know where I live,
But shouldn't I have more to give?
I know the exact time I came into this world,
But what about how my life has unfurled?
There are so many people I want to please.
The pressure can bring me down to my knees.
Sometimes I lie awake at night,
Wondering how do do everything right.
The word "perfect" runs my life,
Even though it causes me so much strife.
I have called California and Texas home,
I have been to Paris, and Siena, and Rome.
There seems to be one place I cannot find.
And that is a quiet place inside my mind.
Sometimes when they look at me
I know they are thinking what I "should" be.
I should definitely work much harder,
And be more of a self-starter.
I need to get a graduate degree
But sometimes I just want to be free.
I should hold down a well paying job.
So I think of my future and sometimes I sob.
How do I learn to find myself?
Is it like looking for a book on a huge bookshelf?
In the race of life I should be first,
But the pressure builds and I want to burst.
I know that this world has so much to teach,
But the answers always seem just out of reach.
I feel like I live in a world of my own,
In a world so huge how can I feel alone?
How do I learn what it means to be me?
All I know is what I'm expected to be.
I just feel like there is one simple fact,
I need to have some kind of impact.
Who was she? They will ask each other someday
But I have no idea what they will say.
When I am old and they lay me to rest,
I hope they'll be thinking that she did her best.
Who are you? If they ask me tomorrow,
I will try not to drown in sorrow.
I'll smile to myself, knowing how much I'll grow.
And answer them smartly, "I simply don't know".

Sometimes life cannot be summed up in one experience. I know that Eliot's life changed me. Thank you for your story.

Breanne said...

For me, it was moving to California and attending a church were the sermons were real conversations that made you reconsider what Jesus meant in your life.

There was this talk of the Kingdom and how everything in our lives is spiritual - we cannot compartmentalize our lives. This was life changing for me because I had never known any different.

That was 6 years ago that I began this journey and I'm now graduating from seminary, been working in full-time ministry and truly believe that I now understand what a life that is truly Life is supposed to be. There is so much freedom and peace in living your life as though all things are spiritual, knowing that His purpose is bigger than you, despite your circumstances.

Kari said...

I would have to say one thing that altered my way of thinking was the receant death of a friend. He died due to complications after a car accident and the suddeness of it just shook me. He was only 27 and left a wife and two kids (4&7) behind. I'm not sure if he really new God and it made me think how well do I know Him? It has also taught me not to take anything for granted because one day it may not be there. It also made my husband and I sit down and talk about our lives our marriage and our daughter and how we wanted to truley glorify God in everything. My husband who has had a constant battle between being in the army or what he calls being a trained killer, and following God's word to love your neighbor has found that his job is what God has called him to do for now. Maybe it was to be there for the greiving family or for some other reason but God has called us to be here in this life for a reason. He also decided to return back to church after a long hiatus (sorry if I spelled that wrong). We still struggle in knowing our friend will not be seen on earth and hope that we will see him again. All I know is that this has made me truelly be thankfull for all that God has given me and want to know Him better so that I can teach my daughter about him also.

I live IN Jesus said...

I was radically saved by Jesus Christ when I was 22. Prior to that time I searched, and searched and, well you get the picture.... I always felt like we were all ants, that life had no meaning and that it was this cesspool of wrong doing and evil people(me included) just going through each day selfishly serviving. Surviving for WHAT?! That was my hang up. So, to help that lost feeling of pain and separation(I know this now did not at the time!) I did drugs, drank and participated in many forms of self mutilation(physically speaking). All this to say that when Jesus reached down into the mess that was my life(the very life I had tried to unsuccessfully end) and met me in the YUCK, I suddenly had such clarity and I knew WHY I was here, my life had a purpose--HIS PURPOSE. I didn't know what I would do or when, but I knew that I knew that Jesus Christ did.... And that has been ALL that mattered. Even when times are VERY hard I have had to literally cling to that saving knowledge.
I know that that is kind of general and not a date and time. Obviously the Lord has continued to transform me as He does ALL His children, so my "way" of thinking has been put through the fire on many occasions! Recently it was having to live with a family member that hates me, for seven months with my 2 children(then), while my husband lived 1700miles away.... That was a change in my way of thinking.... :) Needless to say Jesus brought us through and He gets ALL the glory, because I may have been acting in love daily, but I was not feeling it.... To this day I know that to love doesn't always "feel" good.
I have totally rambled long enough! I hope that that is close to what you were wanting from us!!! God bless!
Sincerely,
Sarah T

nathaniel, elizabeth, & grace said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christine.M08 said...

My mom was abusive and said and did horrible things to me. All I wanted as a high school girl was for my mother to love me like my friends mothers loved my friends. I got into allot of trouble and some threatening things just to try to prove my mother wrong. She thought I was fat, ugly, stupid, someone no one would love or ever amount to anything. So, I just stopped eating, cheating in school, and was in this relationship with an abusive guy because he said he loved me. I really believe my mother when she said no one would love me, so I was not about to let this guy go no matter how miserable I was. I was in training to be a professional dancer. I was at the studio so much that I developed bunions and eventually could not even walk

I had proved every one of my mother's lies to me wrong, But she still didn't care about me. It just hit me one day that it doesn't matter what my mother thinks about me, God made me perfect and he loves me no matter if I cannot make good grades or if my mom hates me. And that with God I don't have to try to change who I am and earn his love. That he loves me with all my imperfections.

I have had more since I have been growing in my faith and understanding of Christianity, But whenever someone says something along the lines of your questions, this always pops back into my head.

Randi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Randi said...

Hi!
My twins sons were born on August 31st 2006. They were due in mid October. My son Tony came HOME at 3 lbs 13 ounces. That, to me, is astounding. "He's gaining weight, he'll do fine," the neonatologist told me. Okay, but you are not the one taking him home. Of course, he did do fine, but it was frightening nevertheless. We have had our fair share of tough experiences- my postpartum depression, Nate's RSV, and Tony's asthma, but as the cliche goes, we have only grown closer to God because of it.
I had no idea of what to expect as new mother. The time my sons spent in NICU changed my life forever. I remember the day they came home, I began sobbing as we drove home with them on our street, I was just immensly proud.
I became a certified birth doula, attending births of women whose husbands were deployed and homeless women who had no one else. I also became a childbirth educator.
Last year, I received an e-mail from a grief counselor asking me if I knew anything about Trisomy 18 and would I feel comfortable volunteering my services as a doula to a woman whose baby had it. Not having had a child with Trisomy 18 personally, but certainly knowing about sweet Eliot, I replied to her that I would talk to the mom and see what she thought of me.
I had the honor of attending sweet little Grace's birth last March and she was born still with her tiny hand reaching to Heaven when her earthly body was born. I held her lovely mother's hand and leg as she gave birth to her little girl. We did not know if she would be born still or alive (she was early) and the doctor told me that Grace would come out on the next push. My heart froze. When I first saw little Grace coming out, I asked her mother if "she wanted me to hold her hand." She looked at me and said, "But Randi, you are holding my hand.." We took that it meant Grace was with Jesus.
I remember going home that night and holding my son's fist to my eyes and choking back the tears as I thought about the tiny little fist I saw facing Heaven earlier. I will never forget little Grace as long as I shall live. I believe God gave my husband and I a glimpse into what it was like to be parents whose children were in the hospital (not with them), and that was the emptiest I ever felt in my whole life. I am grateful for the little lives of Nate and Tony that God has so graciously allowed us to raise as His own.

Chelsea Pang said...

What a cool question. For me it was when my baby Grace was still born from Trisomy 18 at 37 weeks. It all stopped, my doing and my worrying about people and goals and opinions. All I've got is Him and the best I can be in this life is His!

BTW...I love that you are a male writing about your son's life. Your posts are succicnt and easy to 'get', as women I think it is harder to read through all the 'talking' to get the same effect! I really hope that doesn't sound bad. We are made differently and that is good!

mykidsmomx4 said...

There seem to be some common threads here, but I have to say that while I was helping my 19 month old through a bone marrow transplant, that was probably when my life view changed.

When my husband left us out of the blue in 2003, I fell into a deep depression and became very self centered and dramatic. I made a lot of mistakes, parenting and otherwise, because I was too focused on how much I was hurting.

In 2007 when my 14month old was diagnosed with a degenerative genetic disease called Hurler's syndrome, I took her to Minnesota to get the best treatment possible. While living at the Ronald McDonald House for six months, I met child after child who had a life threatening illness. I also met their parents and their siblings, all struggling to understand and make the best of every day they had. In six month's time, the Ronald McDonald House lost about 19 children to their illnesses.

Suddenly, life isn't so dramatic any more. I'm not sure how I'm going to pay this bill? God can handle it... at least we aren't fighting cancer. Nana is putting a guilt trip on me because I was too exhausted (being a single mom of 4) to come over and help clean out her closet? I'll give her a hug anyway... because who knows how long I have to hug her. The kids are driving me nuts? Well, I'm going to sing another praise song because it is hard to yell at them while listening to "Your Grace Is Enough..."

Carina said...

My life changed when I was told your son has brain damage. He will die before his 5th birthday.
It changed again...when he died when he was three years and four days old.
I have never taken anything for granted since then.

Fiona said...

When I had a bad accident and lost my home, my savings, my health, my partner - then everything changed.

When God pulls you out of the other side of that, when you're on the floor and not able to get up and He finds you there. When you thought you loved God with all your heart and realized you never scratched the surface. When you wake up every day and know that not a breath you take is done without His permission. That's when you know you changed. And life is never the same, and how you view people is never the same. And you have compassion that doesn't grow tired. And you feel thankful and blessed every second. And you realize it came out of the most incredible misery you ever knew. You're changed because when God touches something it's never left the same.

kkimble said...

I have had a few, and I've come to believe we should. Of course, when I truly accepted Christ in my heart & honestly embraced what a better life seeking after holiness versus trying to fill emptiness was.
Then, another significant "mindbender" was marrying my husband. He new from the first day he saw me, and I had all of these "rules" one should use to "be sure" that marriage was a real option. I had to literally break my entire mindset of what I THOUGHT I knew, realize it was just a want, and then relinquish that to what God knows I NEED! I've never been happier!
Lastly, my husband & I lost 6, yes count 'em, 6 children, so my last release has been my most difficult... We got pregnant on what would've been our honeymoon (had we gotten one!) and we lost our little Sarah on Mother's Day. I remember begging God to just let me get to even 12:01am, so it wouldn't be Mother's Day at least! I was only a little over 4 months, and went into labor - they couldn't stop it. She was born & they took her from me & said she would be gone in moments. She lived for 72 minutes - PRAISE GOD!!! We held her, prayed over her, and my husband told God that we thanked Him for our time with her, and we could be selfish & want her to stay, but it is not up to us to know our purpose nor our promise on this Earth. He said, "Father God, we lovingly give her back to You as an Abrahamic sacrifice, and we know that You have purposed her life here with us, and we bless Your name for the gift of her!" I can't tell you the peace & the presence of God that fell in that room! The doctors, nurses, MA'a, everyone stopped, faced us, and began to pray! Now mind you... these were people of ALL DIFFERENT FAITHS! Also, that night, a nurse came in my room, knelt down next to my bed, and poured out her soul like water before the Lord & gave her life to Christ! Sarah's purpose began to be revealed as the most precious Mother's Day gift I could have ever known!
I have NEVER taken for granted a person's struggle, their place in life, their purpose, or their potential since that day! No matter how they may whatever... I still find a way to try & look thru God's eye at them.
As a sidebar... your story of Eliot has enabled me & my husband to go back to Sarah's gravesite for the 1st time since she was buried May 19, 2000! We thank you for your strength & your son's purpose being manifest everyday in others' lives. We were encouraging others, testifying about our experience with Sarah, but we had NEVER gone back & dealt with the weeping that may endure for a night. God bless you!

Beav's Wife said...

What a great ?...

My timeline:

5-18-02 graduated from grad school and exactly one week later married my high school sweetheart

things slowly go downhill and on
5-6-04, he leaves me and refuses to come home...says he's not ready for marriage.

9-15-04 I'm set up on a blind date by one of my first graders parents. I take one look at him and believe that this is who God has for me.

2-16-05 I discover I am pregnant. After being on the pill for over 10 years, I'm suddenly pregnant and I'm not married. I'm a Christian and "perfect" in my family's eyes-I'm terrified to tell them.

4-23-05 My now husband proposes and makes it completely special and unexpected even though we are already a few months pregnant. It was perfect.

05-05 We tell our family and friends. Everyone is shocked but believe that this is what God had planned for us. They are thrilled and amazingly supportive.

06-08-05 We found out we're having a BOY! We're thrilled but are terrified to learn he has a coroid plexus cyst. We refuse an amnio and wait for 7 long and worrisome weeks to see if it has shrunk or "honeycombed." It did, Praise God.

07-28-05 Dave and I get married on a cruise. It's heaven on earth. I start to really "pop" within a few days thereafter. Most people didn't even recognize I was expecting prior to that. Our wedding photos do not show my bump and I'm grateful.

10-22-05 Our first son, Jack, is born-beautiful and HEALTHY. Praise God.

11-18-07 Our second son, Charlie, is born-again beautiful and healthy. We are so incredibly blessed.

I wasn't the one who was supposed to get divorced. I wasn't the one that was supposed to get pregnant out of wedlock, but I did. I don't "look" like that type of girl. I don't fit the mold for those types of things to happen-but they did. Though that time in my life was the hardest I've yet to experience, I wouldn't trade a second for it would change the outcome. I praise my Lord and Saviour for his grace and know that he has been better to me than I could have ever imagined.

Dreamer said...

Hello, I am ready to come out of the closet. I have been blog stalking you since I saw you on Oprah. I have to say that was one of the moments that changed my life, my line in the sand if you will. I saw the way you absolutly loved your little Eliot and how much you treasured each moment with him. I was so touched that the best part of your day started during your night shift of being up and constantly feeding that baby. I thought of myself and my relationship with my kids. My youngest was just a baby when you appeared on the show and I thought of how annoyed I got when he woke up during the night or took longer than usual to go back to sleep. I began to look at all of my children differently, like the gifts form God that they are instead of little peole who just suck up all my time and energy. I can not expess to you how you and your baby have changed my mothering and I thank God for you. Now I find joy in the little things. I look at my children while they are playing and am greatful for the noise because that means they are here. My favorite part of the day has become our story time when we snuggle on the couch in blankets and read stories together, sometimes for hours instead of going to lunch with a frined or getting a pedicure. Thank you for teaching me what is important. I also thank God for giving you a beautiful baby girl, I can imagine they joy you have with her as well. So thank you again.

The Portas said...

October 24, 2006. The day we found out our unborn baby had a heart defect. Life has never been the same, both in good ways and otherwise. I never knew how much I could grow from adversity.

Megan