I am having a bit of a freak out moment as it has become very REAL to me that Steve and I will be parents of a high schooler in a very short time. I think I would be feeling just fine with it, EXCEPT for the fact that I remember most of my high school years in detail. High school was awesome, I loved it. But, still. It doesn’t seem that long ago. And the reality that high school is where Steve and I began a relationship that led to marriage and four kids years later—and now our oldest is going to be right where it all began for us? That totally freaks me out. Seriously.
Steve and I never knew how much we would soon have in common when we began dating way back in the early 90’s. No clue. Some of it so good. Our faith, belief in family, college aspirations, and goals set for the future. All of those really good things. Things that were imperative for us to have a lasting friendship and marriage. And then there were the “not so good” things. And maybe just one really big one…
Loss. Sure, we had both experienced loss as most kids do at some point, of a grandparent that was close to us. But loss in a very real way. A way that thankfully not every kid or person has to experience in their younger years. (younger is a relative term here!!)
I think a few blog posts back I wrote about my brother, Nate, who died when I was ending my senior year in high school. It was something that was a very gradual process as my other brothers and I had been called to the hospital numerous times to say goodbye. Much like with cancer patients, he would rally. And get to the point of being able to be back at home again. And we were relieved, although living each day with the reality of another set back. Eventually, after losing function, ability to walk, and in his very last days–the ability to see, we welcomed his heavenly homecoming where he would be restored. No more hurt, no more pain, no more setbacks. But a wonderful life that no one can even fathom. It was a journey that led us to a place of sadness and devastation turned relief and praise for Nate’s new life with Jesus–even though we mourned not having him as a son or brother anymore.
Fast forward life a few years. To the summer before my senior year in nursing school at KU Med in Kansas City. Steve was living at home just after graduating from college as he began his new job. We quickly were given another commonality to share, though in a completely different way. Steve’s sister, Janelle was killed in a tragic car accident. There was no preparation, no “wrapping your mind” around how much better life would be in heaven—because she never suffered here on earth. Completely unexpected, we woke up that day thinking Janelle would be on her way back home, just like she had done hundreds of times before. We anticipated her going to play basketball in college in a few short weeks. She had her whole life ahead of her–that we knew. Yes, we had shared the experience of losing a sibling, but in very different ways.
That brings me to the story of Blessings Unlimited’s Tears in a Bottle. A beautiful product of love, hope, and encouragement for those who are experiencing loss, sadness, frustration, and anything else discouraging that life my throw your way. Back in September at one of my very first gatherings, Steve’s mom (my mother-in-law) asked to see the Tears in a Bottle and wondered if I had it. I did have it. In fact, I always thought it was a beautiful piece,but never really took the time to learn about it. To read the verse. To see what it was I needed to tell others to appreciate this product. I’ve got to say, I need to thank Steve’s mom. She gave me the story behind the Tears in a Bottle that I shared in every gathering from that point on. You see…this verse, was the very first verse that was told to Bonnie (Steve’s mom) by her mother while comforting her after Janelle’s death.
“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. you have recorded each on in Your book” Psalm 56:8
Obviously, this piece has now become very special to our family. I display it always next to our pictures of Janelle and Nate. My gatherings since then took on a different turn. So many people are hurting. It doesn’t even have to be a death that can rattle you to tears. Sickness, loss of jobs, loss of relationships, a breakup, teasing from others, and the list goes on and on. I don’t think there was one gathering that I did not sell a Tears in a Bottle. That is, until they ran out of stock!!! I often teased that I think my customers did it—and Steve’s mom was to blame!
I have good news for us all today. They are BACK in STOCK!! I am so excited because I have a gathering tonight, and I’m packing up my Tears in a Bottle to share with some new people. I know this piece has blessed many. And many have been on my waiting list to order. From now until Easter, I am offering free shipping on all Tears in a Bottle orders made through me. Which means you need to contact me directly–either by commenting, messaging, calling or emailing me. firstname.lastname@example.org. The Tears in a Bottle measures 5 inches in height and is a glass bottle adorned with a single teardrop pendant and is priced at $29. A lasting reminder of God’s care, and perfect for those who have experienced loss, sadness, and discouragement.
As I was thinking about writing this post (I’ve been waiting since December!) I just had to wonder…I bet these words were written on God’s heart and called upon during the weeks leading up to Jesus’ death. But the story didn’t end there. It didn’t end with the tears. It ended with LIFE.
“Your every thought is in His care…Let this bottle remind you of the contant love that holds you.”
I am adding this beautiful customer testimonial I received via email this afternoon. Nothing better to me than hearing these stories of blessings from our products. This is what it’s all about.
If you remember, I bought one of these bottles from you back in February. I gave it to my aunt, who had lost her grandson. When I gave it to her, it was still in the bag that you had placed it in. She gave me a puzzled look and pulled the box out of the bag. Then she opened the box, looked inside, pulled the bottle out…….and burst into tears! She was so very moved by the bottle, and by the verse that is attached, that all she could do was cry. She turned to me and grabbed me in her arms and held on for dear life. She was hurting so badly, and it was so obvious that she totally understood this bottle, and that it was something that she desperately needed. I don’t think I have ever felt so wonderful about giving someone a gift as I did that day! It was so perfect! She now has it on her mantle, beside a picture of her grandson.