An Open Letter to Mindy Sauer

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Dear Mindy,

I know you’ve been told, over and over, what an impact you’re having on people as you go through this horrible ordeal. I’m sure you would rather have a healthy little boy than almost 50,000 facebook page “likes.” But that’s not the hand you’ve been dealt and I have never seen someone handle a bad deal with so much grace.

You and I talked about writing. About how writers process their thoughts with words on a page…how that’s what you’re doing. (For example, this letter has been writing itself in my head for days now and wouldn’t turn off until I finally sat down to write it!) So I understand that you’re processing all of this in writing. But you are so brave, friend, because you are processing and then hitting “publish,” making those thoughts public. Sharing a piece of yourself at a time when no one would blame you for shutting your doors and pulling the shades. 

Everywhere I go, people are talking about Ben. Seriously…everywhere. It’s mind-boggling. I’ve heard people wonder aloud why this story has captured so many hearts. Truth is, there are kids diagnosed with cancer every day. Truth is, Bad things happen to good people every day. So, why has this struck such a chord? I think there are a few obvious reasons:

First, your kids are some of the cutest kids I’ve ever seen. (There’s just something about a pair of dimples.) I think I’ve probably liked more of your Instagram pics than any others, cuz they are just so darn cute. 

Second, it’s the twin thing. The thought of an identical twin losing his brother is just somehow harder to bear.

Third, any time a child has cancer, it’s undeniably unfair. And people react to that. 

For all those reasons, I think the story has spread. But you, Mindy, are the lightning rod. If you hadn’t shared your heart in such an eloquent, raw, honest way, I believe things would have gone very differently. But for His own reasons, God has seen fit to make this about more than a dreadful diagnosis. And you have allowed Him to do that, through you.

Because the world is longing to see true faith. A faith that is not based on circumstances. A faith that reassures us that God is good, even when things look very bad. A faith that is real and willing to be honest. To wrestle with hard questions. To cry and beg God for answers. A faith that is strong enough to carry a family through the hardest of times. 

You have shown us that, friend. You are showing that. Every day. With each mini miracle, each word in a post, each glimpse into the life of your precious Ben. You are giving people hope that true faith exists and God is good. 

So, I want to thank you. Thank you for letting us in when you had every right to shut us out. I know it can’t be easy. And if tomorrow, you stop writing…stop sharing…no one will blame you and we will keep loving you and praying for you. As you’ve said, we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. You don’t owe anyone a single blog post. But as long as you keep writing them, we will keep reading and weeping with you. 

Regardless of what happens tomorrow, I just wanted to tell you, from one mama to another, you have made a difference. 

You have helped me be a better mom. I pay more attention to what my kids say these days. I play more games. I watch more card tricks. I treasure each day because the truth is, none of us is guaranteed another one. Each day is a gift. Thank you for helping me to see that. 

And on behalf of the thousands you’ve touched, thanks for being so brave. You’ve inspired us all.

Love,
Rebekah

 

For any of my readers who (somehow) haven’t heard about Ben yet, click here to read his story: Blue4Ben

UPDATE:  On May 14, 2014,  Mindy posted the following on the Blue4Ben Facebook page:

Ben is with Jesus now. He took his first breath in heaven peacefully at 8:05pm last night. Thank you so much for praying. Our baby is at peace now.

Our local news channel, WGRZ, posted a beautiful piece about Ben’s story. Get some tissues and click here to watch it. It’s an incredible story.

 

Photo Credit goes to none other than four year old Jack Sauer.  Nice shot, big guy!

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when i don’t have all the answers

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when i was little we called them dittos. you know, those single sheets of busy-work paper that the teacher used to give us? some call them work-sheets. we had to fill in all the blanks. and i loved them. because i loved the look of having all those blank spaces filled in. i liked having all my i’s dotted and my t’s crossed. i still do. i like knowing what’s going on. i like having the answers. but in real life, we don’t, do we? we don’t have all the answers—ever. not this side of things, anyway.

 

so i’m learning to live in that tension of having blank spaces but also being at peace. knowing that the Author of my life and yours can be trusted and has a plan. i’m learning to look at a paper and not have to scan to fix all the punctuation or capitalization. it has been freeing to settle into the fact that i don’t have to have answers for all my questions. i still don’t like it. it feels uncomfortable at times. but it also feels more real than when i fooled myself into thinking i knew exactly how it all worked.

 

so now, when i start feeling panicky about things i don’t know, i just start listing the things I do Know:

  • I know I was created by a loving God, not accidentally formed by ooze. I look around at the complexity of nature’s balance or inward at the workings of the amazing human body, and I know it was all designed. God’s fingerprints are all over this creation.
  • I know that Jesus lived, died and rose again. And because of that—I have amazing grace and freedom. I believe the argument that Josh McDowell puts out there (and maybe he got it from CS Lewis? I don’t know) that Jesus was either Liar, Lunatic or Lord. Those are the options based on the life he lived and the words he said. I choose Lord.
  • I know that God places a high value on wisdom and I should too. And that “all the richest treasures of wisdom and knowledge are embedded in Christ and nowhere else.” (Colossians 2:3 The Message) So to be wise, I need to know Jesus more.
  • And I know that Jesus told us to Love God and Love People. Those are the greatest commands and that’s something tangible that I can work on.

 

all the rest? i just don’t know the answers to all of the “whys?” but it’s okay. i can live with that. i can thrive in that. because I Know the important stuff and that’s enough for me.

 

how about you? what do you Know?

 

Photo Credit: futureshape on Creative Commons

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Paint over Wallpaper

I’ve been painting my garage. We had the cement floor (which was pitifully broken and uneven) replaced. For the first time, we have a level, usable garage floor…woohoo! And since everything was already out of the garage, I figured it was a great time to paint the walls. They really needed it. (As you can tell by the pics)

You can’t tell how bad the floor was from this pic…but it was bad.
Smooth, flat floor. Love it!

The right side wall was floor to ceiling peg-board. The left side was un-finished dry-wall and the back wall was the “piece de resistance.” Two-thirds of it was painted peach. One third was wallpapered with 18-inch square paper that is light green with red cars on it and looks like it’s from the 1950’s. Then, tacked in random places, there were several pieces of paneling. I never noticed how gross the walls were until I decided to slap on a nice coat of white paint.

Now, I’m pretty experienced with paint. I’m not a trained professional but I have painted a lot and I have even been paid to paint before. So that part didn’t concern me. But I am not a fan of wallpaper and I have very little experience in dealing with it. So, I tried in one small area to get it off with wall-paper remover. Anyone else tried this before? It’s bogus. It doesn’t work. (If you are an expert at this, don’t bother emailing me with instructions. This is my second bad experience with wallpaper…and let’s just say we don’t get along. I will not be messing with it again if I have any say in the matter.)

So when the stubborn wallpaper refused to be removed, I figured, why do I care (other than my perfectionist tendencies)? It’s just my garage! I decided I’d just paint over the wallpaper squares. Why not? But I learned something new. Wallpaper remover doesn’t remove wallpaper very well. But you know what does? Paint.

I know, you’re wondering why I would want to cover up that groovy wallpaper.

Yeah, I painted over it and suddenly it was peeling off onto my paint roller. In complete squares! This frustrated me greatly at first. I didn’t want to bother taking off the wallpaper because it had seemed really stuck on. This is only my garage, after all and I really didn’t want the extra work. I didn’t want to waste my time or my paint. None of this was going according to plan! But as complete squares began to fall off the wall it was obvious that I’d have to change my plan. So, rather than fight it, I rolled with it (haha…I wrote that and then realized it was a pun.) I painted over all the wallpaper, peeled it off and then painted the wall again.

It’s not done yet…but it’s looking much nicer!

And it got me thinking. There’s a lot going on this year for our family and it feels like so many things are up in the air. I told God the other day, I don’t mind change at all. But I hate limbo! I don’t like the feeling of not knowing what is around the bend. For some reason, there’s been a lot of that for us lately. (Maybe cuz I’m telling God I don’t like it and he’s going to teach me the same lesson until I learn it?? Yeah…that’s likely. So I’m really trying to learn it now.)

This painting thing didn’t go according to plan. But actually, thinking outside the box and using the paint to remove the wallpaper was a better method than the traditional removal. And the end result was better than if I’d just gone with my plan and painted over the wallpaper. My life feels like this right now. I’m wondering why traditional things aren’t working, why things don’t seem to work according to plan, etc. But my favorite two verses in the Bible ring in my head daily. And this is just another lesson that He’s using to hammer home these truths: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and he will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3: 5-6

That “lean not” part is so hard for me. Is it hard for you too? I want to lean on my own understandings…to have everything figured out. I feel more comfortable that way. But God is asking me to trust Him with ALL my heart…to trust and lean not. Then He will guide and direct. My wise friend Heather, who I’ve mentioned before, has a great quote for when she can’t figure out what God is doing: “God has me on a need to know basis, and obviously, I must not need to know.” So once again, I’m placing my trust in Him. I’m rolling paint over wallpaper, even if it seems silly and weird. And I’m believing that the end result will be something better than I can imagine.

Can you relate? Are you in a place where you have to stop leaning on your own understanding? Care to join me in a walk of trust? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below!

Love,

rebekah

 

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