Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sweet Signs

Today I'm thankful for church, how when gathered even strangers become family...and I'm especially thankful to have my momma next to me in the pew!

We visited a new church this weekend to support my stepdad's side of the family.  His brother has started a new church, "A Place Called Hope" in Beaver Dam.  Last Sunday, we went because it was the opening day for the church, but also just two days after losing Dallas.  As it was Jeff's first sermon and having just lost his dad, we felt he needed as much love and warmth in the pews that the church could hold. 

This Sunday, I went back knowing my mom planned to return.  It was such a pleasure to sit with her today.  I grew up in church, though Mom didn't often attend.  I'm thankful that she encouraged us to go as kids, even if she wasn't ready at the time.  To see her going now, fills me with joy.  In fact, it seemed my soul was dancing as we sung together in the pew.  That's what we should hope for most in this know that those we love will be with us in Heaven someday.

It's a tremendous comfort to us knowing that is where Austin is now.  Selfish as it is for us to want him still here, we know that he could be in no better place.  I'm a big believer that those who've passed can send us signs, if we open ourselves up to seeing them.  And the signs Austin sends us, at just the needed moments reassure me that he is at peace, yet watching over us always.  As I've shared before in many posts, he usually sends us a yellow butterfly.

Last night as I was leaving the photo shoot, Austin was on my mind.  Having photographed happy families all day, my eyes welled with tears, knowing our Christmas cards will always have an open spot, much like our hearts.  As I pulled the door closed, something yellow fluttered by my hand.  Of course, I was bawling by the time I made it to the truck, but they were happy tears, as I could feel the hugs of my sweet boy all the way home.  Then, today during the sermon, Jeff spoke of the feelings you have after you've been saved - how you notice sunsets and leaves more than you ever did before.  He told a story of a brilliant blue and green butterfly that flew past his car one day and how short the life of a butterfly is, how he could be the only one to see it live.  And he said, "How awesome is it that God could've sent that butterfly just for me?"

Another surprising sign today came from my Grandpa Coons.  I had him on my mind all morning for some reason.  We were joking about his "JOY" story this morning, when for some reason Tim started singing, "Joy to the World" on the way to church.  Once there, the hymns we sang reminded me so much of my childhood and growing up with him in the pulpit. 

I had my heart on hearing "I'll Fly Away" (one of Grandpa's favorites)  and as they were taking requests from the pews, I'd whispered to Tim to say #333.  Noah wasn't paying attention, or even where he could've heard me say this, but a few minutes later he leaned over to me and said, "If they ask for another song, say #333."  I sat there stunned, hearing Tim call it out on my other side, and then standing to sing with the congregation.  To my knowledge, Noah has never heard of this song.  He didn't have a hymnal in his hands or have any reason to say those numbers.  I don't know any other explanation than it was a hug from my Grandpa.  There was a sweet spirit in the church and I could picture him smiling down and joining in the song.

Who can say how those sweet signs come to us but I'm very grateful they do.  Each one, always unexpected, but at the most perfect moments, hug my heart and my soul.


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