1..2..3..4..and now we have arrived at the 5th year. It’s seems unreal I don’t know where the last 5 yrs went. That of course doesn’t mean that I didn’t feel the emptiness and heartache every single day of those 5 yrs. it just means my mind and heart haven’t, can’t, won’t allow me to grasp the reality of 5 yrs because I know it’s impossible for me to have survived it. I wish I could share what I’ve learned the last 5 years but it is impossible to know without going through it and one of the many things that hasn’t changed since that day is that I still wouldn’t wish this suffering on anyone..literally no one. The sad part is that I’m positive without knowing this kind of pain and suffering I would not know God’s grace, and mercy the way that I do. I would not appreciate the sacrifice of Jesus and the gift of life after death without it being my only hope to see her again and the one thing I could not do for my child. It can only come through him. It’s easy to read the scriptures and say you believe it but when it’s your life and you face everyday with your child not here, no longer breathing, smiling, or laughing it is no longer something you read and say yes I believe it, instead it becomes a part of your heart beat and a part of your breathing. It’s the only hope of righting the wrong you feel. A gift of mercy and grace we don’t deserve and couldn’t earn. Even though it’s not really that we have been wronged because we are entitled to and deserve nothing more than death and permanent separation but we were made in the image of God and so we will never be okay being separated from those we love just as God was not okay being separated from us. Without facing the weakness I’ve experienced through loosing Sydney I would never have experienced the strength and power of the Holy Spirit carrying me through what I was incapable of surviving. When Sydney was here and I told her I wouldn’t make it if anything ever happened to her. I meant it, Just like those who haven’t lost a child look at me and say I couldn’t do that..they mean it but I’m not stronger than you or who I was when I said I couldn’t make it, but my God is. Being weak and broken allowed me to not only see that God could use me regardless but that he desired and continues to invited me to join him. The love I feel knowing God still choose me and wanted me in the shape I am in..again something I would have never experienced without being on this journey. I have heard many say that they would not take their child out of heaven or they wouldn’t want to have to give up the relationship they have with God now. Here is the moment many who think my walk is so strong will no doubt see my flesh because I’m one selfish person..I would without hesitation snatch Sydney back from heaven without even thinking and if she complained I would probably get my feelings hurt that she would rather be there then with me and I’m positive I would tell her she needed to quit complaining. I would be completely okay with going back to just knowing God through reading the Bible. I would NOT choose to endure this suffering to know God the way I do..but I am in awe and thankful that God’s mercy covers me and every bit of my flesh and despite me wanting him to have allowed something different or me not wanting to learn all this the hard way..He still allowed me to experience him in ways I never could have, regardless of my flesh. He didn’t hold back blessings or my experiences because of my unwillingness to agree with him because even though my heart wouldn’t choose ANY of this I still trust him and believe in his Sovereignty and have surrendered to and follow him and his word. I am the child to an amazing father whose love is beyond this world’s comprehension16 yrs 9 months and 24 days was not near enough but I’ll cherish the memories while I’m waiting for the day I’m reunited!
Sometimes I hear a voice saying give up, you can’t continue your walk because your testimony died with Sydney. People will never see the goodness of God through your story because your ending wasn’t happy. It makes me furious somedays because I still catch myself believing this even though I know it’s not true. I’m tired, the spiritual battles in my life never ends. I still worry so deeply about the salvation of others that I love who are lost and making so many mistakes. The weight of burden I feel for them is as heavy as the burden of grief I carry from loosing Sydney. He is right about one thing, I can not continue my walk the way it was, but my testimony didn’t die that night..It shattered..and with every piece of brokenness there is testimony, a story to be told that may encourage or help give wisdom and discernment to others so they may avoid the mistakes I made. I have a testimony that can be told to Mothers of daughter’s, I have a testimony for teenagers, for youth leaders who have chosen to mentor teens, I have a testimony for parents who feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to turn, I have a testimony for those who walk beside a grieving parent, and I have a testimony for the grieving community, and most of all I have a testimony of my own and how God has transformed me and the way I think. In my weakness I found his strength. In my brokenness I found his faithfulness. In my darkness I found his light. In my inability he breathes into me. No matter what I’ve been through God continues to be everything I need. I have learned that he is enough but not enough meaning that because I know him I will never need him but enough because in every moment he provides what I need to survive. I’ve learned that while my cup runneth over in so many ways, there is a forever emptiness I am unable to carry on my own so he steps in and takes just enough of the burden to allow me to continue but not enough for me to take my eyes off of him and walk with ease. My need for him has allowed my relationship with him to grow deeper than it could have without it. I’m thankful that the lies Satan whispers about having plenty of time fall deaf on my ears..I live every single moment with the thought that I could in a matter of a second be standing before Jesus. I live every single moment trying to help others understand you may never get that last opportunity to confess your sin and repent. I don’t passively watch people turn away from or deny God..I speak up because it may be my last opportunity. I still believe with all that I am if Sydney could tell her friends and family anything it would be to stop living for the world, stop making excuses to live in sin, and choose now to live for Jesus because Heaven is worth it. Jesus doesn’t care where you’ve been as long as you are willing to leave there and obediently follow him. My testimony is continually growing and moving as long as he continues to breathe life into me, and I’m forever grateful to serve a God who loves me more than I can even imagine.
I used to think that bad things didn’t happen to good people..when I look back now I can see I felt that way because I was only processing the part of the bible I wanted to..When I thought about Daniel and the lions den I thought about his victory and survival. I paid attention to the beginning and the end but not the middle. I see now that God unveiled his faithfulness to others at the end but in the middle is where God is personally at work and proves his faithfulness to you. The middle is where we experience God in ways that allow us to see things differently and grow closer to him. The middle is where without God you can’t survive..The middle doesn’t feel good and it isn’t comfortable..the middle is where the potter’s pottery is spinning and the shape is changing and if you continue to stay in the potters hands the middle is where that crazy piece of clay that looks messy and disfigured is spun into something beautiful. Without the middle you’re just a piece of clay but after going through the middle you look different to the world. That’s when they can see God’s work within you. If your in the middle trust and know that the middle is where you get to meet God personally🙏🏻
I read something the other day that I wanted to share..It was a statement that said “Your greatest contribution to the kingdom may not be something you do..but someone you raise.” when I read this I immediately thought of Sydney Lisa Jeter Many of you have heard me talk about Sydney’s writings we found after the accident. We made a scrapbook with them and displayed it on the year anniversary of the accident to share with those who came to support and love us. As people read through her writings many asked if there was a way to make a copy of the book to be able to share with others AND….with the help of my amazing sister in law Tanya and three friends Kristi, Cathy, and Marilyn WE DID IT. We made the book as inexpensive as possible, and if you catch the right sale you can get it for about 25 dollars. This book is filled with amazing wisdom and truth that Stacy and I believe will help anyone who choses to read it. She wanted to leave a legacy..In her OWN words she said she wanted to be known for her faith and devotion to God and always trusting him with her life.She wanted to be known as knowledable thoughtful and someone who gives good Godly advice..This is what she wanted her Legacy to be..and what a faithful God to work through her to end up fulfilling her hearts desire. When I think of Sydney’s legacy I will forever be reminded of Luke 1:45 Blessed is she who believed The Lord would fulfill his promises to her.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Sydney’s mission statement. I’ve shared it before as it was in the flyer we handed out at her funeral. It is not necessarily the words that have been consuming my thoughts, but rather the actions she took after she wrote the words..You see what prompted her to write a mission statement in the first place is the book she was reading (Your Hearts Desire by Sheri Rose Shepherd) She didn’t just read the book and move on..she stopped prayed and thought deeply about her hearts desires, found a sticky note and put her hearts mission into words. For some reason my mind doesn’t let me stop here..why? I guess because she didn’t stop there..she didn’t write those words for others..she didn’t write it and post it..actually I found no post that she made referencing her mission statement. So then why did she write it? I keep thinking about that and as I’ve thought about it I’ve learned as much from wondering why she wrote it than I have from the words she wrote..I believe that when I typed her mission statement out..I in a way took away from the beauty of it..So I’m attaching a picture of the original post it note and where she placed it (it’s still in the exact same place today) I believe that it answers the question as to why she wrote it..She wrote it for herself, so that as she got up and faced each day she would be reminded of “her mission”. Sydney placed this sticky note on her mirror because she realized that seeing too much of yourself causes you to lose focus on God and the purpose and mission for your life..She wanted to make sure that when she looked in the mirror she didn’t forget what her life was about. What I find most beautiful is that she wasn’t fooled into thinking it would be easy or that she wouldn’t face temptation or distraction and took the steps necessary to help overcome them in the future by placing this in the one place she knew she would look everyday. I continue to learn each day from the things she wrote and the things she did and consider it a blessing to be a part of sharing her faith and legacy with others. Thank you my sweet girl for leaving me so much of your heart.
I believe that God is at work every day around us. He is constantly pursuing us and desperately wants us to put our own selfish desires down and follow him. I do not believe he has a check list with certain things for me and checks them off and when I’m done its my time for Heaven. I do believe that he has many things for me to do..but I have a choice..honestly we miss the opportunity to join and share God often so there would be unchecked things on our list..it doesn’t end there..he continues to give many opportunities to join him..I wake up hurting and missing Sydney..there will never be words to describe how badly I want to be with her or see her..something I am promised will happen at some point..until then I am here because God put me here..not for me but for him..Through my pain and suffering..people I loved have left and walked away from us..some even persecuting and lying about us and Sydney..breaking our hearts and causing us greater and deeper pain..but God is greater than any of that..yes it hurt and will continue to hurt..but as people stepped away..God brought others forward..people that didn’t even know Sydney..KNOW her now..I get to share my daughters words about God to help and encourage others her age to keep fighting the good fight..the beauty is..I even have it in her hand writing. What a gift God left me but what I’ve realized..he didn’t just leave it to calm my heart or protect her legacy..He left it for me to share with others. She is still living and touching people’s lives. Every time I try to bless someone else by sharing her story, her words, her favorite verses, the books that helped transform her heart..it BLESSES me. I get to see God and a piece of her shine through them. The same bright light that shined through her smile wasn’t dimmed by the lies or betrayal..by the hurt..because that light was LOVE! Thank you Sydney Lisa Jeter for following God when he pursued you for showing me that having God in my life isn’t enough if I’m not sharing him. I love you forever and always!
I haven’t posted since the New Year started. Honestly I guess I don’t want to admit that I had to start a year without her. Today marks 6 months that she has been gone. Thats half a year. The feelings are unexplainable as it seems like just yesterday I was sitting on the side of the road in the pitch dark with red blue and white lights flashing all around me being told she was gone but also forever since I’ve gotten to hear her or hug her. Memories and pictures feel like they just happened. I remember them like it was yesterday. The only explanation I can give to our survival is that we have leaned on and kept God close every second of everyday. We try very hard to stay focused on his will, his love, and his forgiveness so that the what ifs don’t rip us to pieces. I chose this picture as my first picture because I want to remind everyone what was important to her. She wrote this for herself as none of us knew about it until it was found in her bible the day everyone was told of the accident. She wrote it after doing a bible study from a book so I know she had to have written it sometime after May 18th when I purchased the book. Not even 2 months before she left us. Every time I read this I have to tell myself she was only 16 yrs old. She didn’t ask to be remembered for her beauty, what clothes she had, how popular she was, or pushing the limits of life. She wanted to leave a legacy that was honoring and pleasing to God. As we struggle through this life without her We stay focused on Gods promises as he holds her with him until we are blessed with seeing her again! Missing and remembering how blessed we were is the new normal for our family. Thank you to everyone who continues to pray for us.