Monday, April 13, 2009

Another update with the Sullivans's been a long time since our last update...almost a month. We've
> had a lot on our hearts to share, but we've been very busy getting back into
> our "new normal" life. After being out of the mainstream of busy-ness for a
> year, it's been quite a change to jump back into all our activites. Bethany
> has been keeping us very busy with her school and extracurricular
> activities, we're back to work and all that that entails, and we've been
> blessed with opportunities to share what God has been doing in our lives
> through Hannah's story. The last two Sundays we've shared at Sulphur
> Springs Missionary Baptist Church here in Magnet Cove and at LifePoint
> Church in Ozark, Missouri. It's been wonderful to meet so many people who
> have been touched by Hannah's story. It was also a blessing to be back in
> our home church this Easter morning to celebrate our risen Savior! We will
> be on the road again for the next three Sundays--we are scheduled to share
> at Athens Missionary Baptist Church in Umpire, Arkansas, on April 19th, at
> Central United Methodist Church in Fayetteville, Arkansas, on April 26th,
> and at a church in Jackson, Mississippi, (sorry, I don't know the name of
> the church!) on May 3rd. We are so thankful that God has allowed us these
> opportunities to share His goodness and faithfulness.
> One of the blessings we've received over the past several weeks is meeting
> and talking with other Christian families who have "lost" children. There
> seems to be an immediate bond that forms between families who have gone
> through this experience...and it is always an encouragement to talk to other
> moms and dads who have been where we are right now. As one dad put it in an
> email to us, "The hole will always be there, but the edges will become less
> sharp."
> We've, of course, spent a lot of time this Easter weekend thinking about
> Hannah and Heaven. We spent some time this weekend at Briggsville,
> Arkansas, where Brad's family has a deer camp and tree farm, and where
> Hannah is buried. This was my first time to visit her grave since her
> burial, and it was a very difficult and emotional experience for me. Even
> though I fully believe that her physical body was just a shell, it is that
> physical body that, as a mom, I cared for for seventeen years. As we drove
> away, though, I felt as though I could almost hear her saying (as she did so
> many times over the last few months of her life), "Stop crying...I am just
> fine!" And she is!
> We were given a book while we were at the hospice center called "Holding On
> To Hope", written by Nancy Guthrie. It was actually given to us
> was dropped off at the front desk, along with a financial
> gift and a card signed only with the initials "plc". Thank you, "plc"!
> It's a book about a family who lost two babies to a metabolic disorder
> called Zellweger Syndrome. There were many things in this book that spoke
> to me, and I've got page corners turned down, sticky notes in it, underlined
> sections, etc. Mrs. Guthrie states that before she lost her first child,
> she never really understood how people seemed to find so much comfort in
> knowing that their loved one is in Heaven, but that she does now. In fact,
> she says this, "I have come to the place where I believe a yearning for
> Heaven is one of the purposes and one of the privileges of suffering and of
> losing someone you love." Wow...a privilege!
> Isaiah 57:1-2 says this: *"The righteous pass away; the godly often die
> before their time. And no one seems to care or wonder why. No one seems to
> understand that God is protecting them from the evil to come. For the godly
> who die will rest in peace."* We did not want Hannah to leave us so early.
> We would have liked to see her graduate from high school, go to college,
> and get married. We would have loved for her to mother our grandchildren
> someday. But there is a lot of pain and evil in this world, and it is not
> a tragedy that she will be spared any further suffering in this life, and
> instead is in the presence of God. Mrs. Guthrie states, and we can attest
> to this, that even though we *believe* this to be true, we may not always *
> feel* this way....but our belief does make a difference in how we feel. Our
> task is to trust and obey...even if we don't know exactly how all the pieces
> fit together...and to remain faithful to His call on our lives.
> This Easter, we rejoice that our Savior is risen...because He lives, Hannah
> does, too. And He is good, all the time!
> Brad, Jill & Bethany

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