CS Lewis once said that "grief is like the sky, it covers everything." In recent weeks, our family has found that this is so very true. It seems that there is no right or wrong way to travel this path of grief. I have created this blog in hopes that some day we will be able to look back on our journey and see written proof that our great God never leaves us. God is good all the time.

Celebrating Laynee

You might want to scroll to the bottom of this page and pause the music before playing this video.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Laynee's Friends

This weekend we have had two little visitors. I think of them as Laynee's friends, but in reality, they never had the pleasure of meeting her.    I met RK, her husband and her girls, Braska and Kinlee, through blog world after Laynee died.  They lived fairly close to us. We met. We  hit it off and they have been a part of our lives ever since.  It seems unfathomable that Laynee never knew them. RK and I met  up Friday morning, half way between our home and theirs, so that the girls could come spend  a couple of days with us.  We've had a great time but my heart squeezes frequently as I realize how much fun little miss Laynee would be having with them.  We have done fun things, things that I know Laynee would be loving if she  were here with us.  I will continue to think of them as Laynee's friends because it is only because of her that we have grown to love these two beautiful little girls.  And I know that someday.......someday they will, indeed, be friends in heaven. 

Braska and Kinlee in Laynee's Garden

We Miss You, Laynee Grace.
We Love You more than anyone can ever know.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Only Jesus

I've not been here to write in quite some time.  That is due, in part,  to the fact that life is busy.  We go on living, even without our sweet Laynee Grace.  But the fact that I do not write as often does not mean that I miss her any less or that my heart no longer aches.  And the fact the life is busy simply means that we have learned to make room for the aching of our hearts. 

This post has been on my heart for several weeks.  I have struggled with whether or not I should share this publicly or if I should keep it private, between my God and I.  It is something that I have pondered in the very deepest part of my soul and still, I wonder if I can really give words to what is in my heart, but I will try.

When I reflect upon the days, weeks, months following the accident, so much of it is a blur.  It was a horrific time.  A time when I could not retain a single thought. A time of running on "auto-pilot," of not knowing and not caring what came next, just putting one foot ahead of another and getting by. It was a time of functioning because the clock told us what to do next, of ministering only to the most basic needs of our bodies.    I don't remember much, but as time goes on I am becoming increasingly aware of  how we managed to get through those days.  It can be summed up with just two words.

Only Jesus!!!!!!

Only Jesus.  It is something that we experienced in that time of our lives but since then life has happened, life has gotten in the way of truly experiencing "only Jesus."  Though I would never choose to go back to relive those days following the accident, I wish that every day of my life could be spent knowing "only Jesus."   However,  I have come to understand that the only way the human heart and mind can truly experience this is to be completely and utterly broken,  to be in the midst of crisis or devastation, to lack the ability to make sense of anything except that we have Jesus.

All of us are familiar with the old poem "Footprints," where a man dreams of two sets of footprints in the sand when times were good, but only one set when times were difficult.  He asked his Lord, "why did you leave me" during the difficult days.  The Lord simply answered, "My child I never left you, there is only one set of footprints because it was then that I carried you."    I don't have to ask my Lord where he was during that time.  I know it, as sure as I know that I breathe, I know that my Lord carried us through those days.    He was there, never leaving our side, carrying us every step of the way. There is no other explanation for the fact that we are here today,  without having been devoured by anger, bitterness and depression. 

I have not, for quite some time, been able to recapture that sense of closeness with my Lord.  Responsibilities, expectations, schedules, and basic wayward thoughts get in the way experiencing "only Jesus." But I remember that time.  I know that conscious prayer was not needed because every painful breath was a whispered prayer, every groan a plea to my Lord.  In that time I experienced no sense of self reliance or self sufficiency, I was keenly aware of my own dependency on Jesus.   The last thought of each night and morning's first coherent thought  was "Jesus, help me."  I knew that I could not do one single thing on my own.  I knew that no other human being could help me.  I knew that I needed only Jesus.  Any barriers that separated me from my Lord were torn away.   I had nothing, I knew nothing ............except  Jesus. My only hope.....was Jesus.  

Jesus has not changed, he is there today in the same capacity that he was there during our darkest time.  But I have changed.   By way of necessity, I have gone on, established new routines,
committed to new responsilities and in so doing, I have regained some of my own sense of self reliance.  The broken pieces of my heart have been put together, albiet, not in the same way. Jesus is still there, he is not letting go of me,  but I am not as acutely aware of his constant presence, my aching need for him.   Still, I reflect on those days and I am grateful that I know what it is to truly experience "Only Jesus."

Jesus Christ
the same, yesterday, today, and forever
Hebrews 13:8

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

St Jude

Dear Friends and Family,

It is, once again, time for the St Jude Run.  Last year Karol and Jamee joined a team of runners in the first Tremont to Peoria run.  This year Jade will be joining our team.  The three of us are teaming together to raise funds for St Jude.  100% of every dollar raised will go toward the research and treatment of childhood cancer, and for the care of children who fight this deadly disease. 

Childhood cancer first left an impact on Jamee’s life when, in kindergarten, her little friend, Nicholaus, lost his battle.   Since then there have been several children in our community who have fought against cancer.  Lexi, lost her battle several years ago.   Brock a student in the class ahead of Jade, has also battled and survived this mighty disease.  Most recently, Jada, the daughter of our church youth pastor was diagnosed of Clear Cell Sarcoma of the Kidne.  As the three of us run, we will do so with these three in mind, remembering their fight, their courage and their valiant spirits. Running from Tremont to Peoria is no small task but it is nothing compared to the fight that so many children have against cancer. 

The death of our beautiful daughter and sister, Jalayne, nearly three years ago, has made us painfully aware of the unspeakable sorrow of saying goodbye to a child far too soon.  We cannot prevent all childhood accidents and death but we are determined to do our part in joining in the fight against childhood cancer.

The three of us are looking forward to joining the many other St Jude runners in the race against cancer on Saturday, July 21st.   We will begin running in Tremont and will run the back roads to downtown Peoria.  We will run in memory of Nicholaus and Lexi and in honor of Brock and Jada, knowing in our hearts that our sweet Jalayne will be cheering us on from heaven.

If you would like to donate to this wonderful cause, your contributions will be greatly appreciated.  You can send a check made out to St Jude Runs to us at 6290 Broadway Road, Groveland, IL 61535 or donate online at  .  https://waystohelp.stjude.org/sjVPortal/public/displayUserPage.do?userId=840198&programId=301&eventId=287247

We understand that not everyone can donate monetarily. Still, we ask that you remember us and all of the runners on this day. Most importantly, remember and pray for the little warriors, those who have lost, won, or are still fighting against childhood cancer.  It is for them that we run. 

May God Bless You All,
The Holmes Girls