Friday, April 27, 2012

Marissa Mouse

Our little school is being loved from all around the world.  Cards, emails, phone calls, donations, gifts, prayers, hugs, kind words, patience, understanding, and so many wonderful gifts have been given to our little school.

Today we received another one.  Marissa's favorite animal was a mouse...and all the variations of a mouse/rat/kangaroo rat.  I remember one Sabbath watching her while we were singing a hymn and she had her mouse, Templeton, singing along.  The head was bobbing to the music and at the long-drawn-out chords Templeton would lift his head up and shake his nose as if he was belting out the notes.  It's a precious memory.

When my dad asked if there was anything he could do for the students I remembered when Southern had it's fire.  One student died, Kelly Weimer.  At the memorial service each of the girls who were in the dorm fire were given a stuffed animal with a tag that had Kelly's name, and a Bible verse.  Having something tangible was really important and help in the grieving and healing for me.

So I suggested ordering stuffed mice, in honor of Marissa's favorite animal.  My dad said it sounded perfect, a Marissa Mouse.

 Today after chapel I told the students about my dad wanting to do something for them and said, "What was Marissa's favorite animal?"  Hands shot up.  A mouse.

I had tied onto each mouse a tag with green yarn and the tag said:  Marissa Mouse.  Bible Promise: Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Him who gives me strength."

Before I could explain what the verse meant Ben said, "That's the exact mouse Marissa had!"  Juliana had her hand raised and said, "Yes, she got it in Washington, D.C."


I don't believe it is a coincidence.  I believe that Jesus gives us little and big mercies and pieces of His grace all the time.  Today I saw it in a stuffed mouse.  It was a Jesus moment and may His Name be praised for the tender way in which He loves His children.

After that I told them that Marissa had picked out that Bible promise in our class and that with Christ we can do all things, and He will help us in our sad and happy times.  He will be our strength.

Then we passed them out to each of the students.

Those mice went everywhere today.  Lunch, spelling tests, recess, (I even think the bathroom if I'd let them!), soccer...everything and everywhere.  And I suspect they will be tucked into bed with quite a few children tonight.

Juliana told me that when she hugged the mouse it was like being able to hug Marissa.

Some mice were very adventurous and bounced balls and rode in children's hands as they ran madly around the soccer field.

Others were content to sit on desks or be played with in pockets and hands.  I pray that the students feel Jesus' love when they see those mice, and have something they can hold, play with, cry with, sleep with, and remember that we eagerly await Jesus' return.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Marissa - Butterfly

Roger told me that he called Marissa his butterfly. Juliana his firefly. Marissa was the chitter of chitter and chatter. As I was thinking and looking through pictures of Marissa and missing her so much I kept thinking...


Last year my class read a book called I Miss Grandpa about a grandson whose grandfather died. His parents talk to him about death using a caterpillar as an example. Our life on earth is like the caterpillar, our death like the chrysalis, and our resurrection like the hatching of the butterfly--transformation. We did a whole unit on this book and the concepts in it. As part of the unit we raised butterflies.

When they came they were little worm looking things and I’m pretty sure that I was more excited than the kids. Everyday we journaled on what we saw them doing.

The caterpillars grew quickly larger and larger until one morning we saw them actually spilling themselves into their chrysalis! It was an amazing thing to watch. Then we anxiously awaited their hatching and I prayed they wouldn’t die but all come out alive.

Slowly, one by one, they each came out of their cocoons. We never saw one totally hatch but Matthew caught it on video and we watched it together. We kept them, still journaling on them daily, and waited for them to be stronger so we could release them.

On our release day it was a beautiful day and each of the students got to hold a butterfly for a few seconds, some longer. Then we went inside and journaled on how they felt.

Marissa wrote this: "Today we released the butterflies. It was sad because they were beautiful."

Reading that now I think, yes. I am sad to let you go because you were so beautiful. You were so beautiful and my heart aches with missing you.

I think Marissa was meant to be the butterfly for all of us. She truly was a flitter and flutter of beauty, color, and life while we had her. And yet, she is more. She is our real butterfly. She is what we now cling to when we think of resurrection morning. We think of seeing Marissa coming out of the grave, dancing, and full of life--in a totally new, familiar, and transformed way. She is a reality of Jesus’ promise that says, “I am resurrection and the life, he who believes in Me will live, even though he dies.” John 11:25 She believed in Him. We will see her again. She is a butterfly and when we see her next, we will all be transformed together, in the twinkling of an eye and we will all be caught up together in the clouds to meet Jesus-God. Our Savior, Redeemer.

1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18
“Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.”

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Marissa and Jesus

I am not yet in a place to write everything. But I wanted to share this.
Marissa's Bible promise that she picked out for class:

“I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13

Something special that Marissa did every day was that during our morning prayer, she always knelt down. She didn't make a scene but quietly knelt down, with her hands clasped together and head bowed.

Something she wrote at the end of last year:

Dear God,

I want to be on your side. Because you are the real God.



My favorite memory:

On Friday, January 14, 2011 I wrote the following in my prayer journal.

"Today I tried a prayer walk with Philippians 4:4-7. There were four verses to read and we went/ran to different places, read the verses, talked about what it meant, and prayed. Different students would do each part. Then the last place we went to I had them listen for what God wanted to tell them. They were to just listen for 10-15 seconds. After that time I asked if anyone had heard anything. Marissa said, "He said that He loves me!" That touched me and almost made me cry. It was beautiful, and special. I hope she remembers that."

I remember her face looking up into mine, eyes bright, and with a quick smile as she said it. I thank God and Jesus for that moment. She loved Jesus and Jesus loves her.

A drawing from last year that Marissa did.

Life on earth, in the grave, and life in Heaven.

I cannot wait for life in heaven with you Marissa. I love you.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Many More Years

Post by: Beth-Anne

Matthew and I have finished have a little faith by Mitch Albom. You should read it.

We usually read before going to bed, or I should say, Matthew reads and I listen. We treasure this time together and enjoy reading and discussing the books.

One night as Matthew was reading have a little faith he read the following part:

"Listen Mitch..." his voice lowered. He crossed his arms over his sweater, which covered another plaid shirt that had no connection to his blue pants. "I know my passing will be hard on certain people. I know my family, my loved ones--you, I hope--will miss me."

I would. More than I could tell him.

"Heavenly Father, please," he melodized, looking up, "I am a happy man. I have helped develop many things down on earth. I've even developed Mitch here a little..."

He pointed at me with a long, aged finger.

"But this one, you see, he's still asking questions. So Lord, please, give him many more years. That way, when we are reunited, we'll have lots to talk about."

And then my eyes filled with tears. Immediately faces and names came to my mind's eye.

There is a promise in 2 Peter 2:9 that I cling to. "The Lord is not slow is keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."

I want those I love to have many more years so that we can be reunited and have lots to talk about.

This week I finished a book where the characters had cancer and they were dealing with life, death, meaning, etc. They did not believe in God, I found myself so incredibly glad to believe in God and know that He is real and active in my life. To believe that there is nothing after this life blows my mind. Life would be so incredibly meaningless without the hope of earth recreated, and us who love God and each other dwelling here in Edenic perfection.

When Matthew read that part from have a little faith I wanted to echo the prayer.

Lord God, there are many who are still asking questions, still searching to know. Give them many more years so that we will be reunited and have lots to talk about. Thank You for Your patience and love.

Angel Oak in Charleston South Carolina MarkReqs photography Getty Images