The Long and Winding Road
As the summer of 2003 sizzled on, visitors and guests continued to come. For several weeks, every habitable room was inhabited, every bed, permanent and makeshift, including our faithful caravan set up in the grounds, was spoken for. Tom’s parents arrived towing their own accommodation, making use only of our bathroom facilities and the pool. The fridge in the main kitchen soldiered on in an attempt to keep cool enough food for a small army amidst the characteristic French power cuts, and frequent visits from people eager to trace their provisions and a tiny respite of cool air.
My sister, Jackie, came with her family, on the pretext of a short holiday, though clearly the real reason was to help with the vast array of vegetables and plants scattered over the daunting acres. Herself a keen gardener, she made valiant efforts to bring some semblance of order to my frenetic display of produce. We lost her a couple of times as she was almost swallowed up by the tomatoes in some bizarre re-enactment of Little Shop of Horrors. It felt good to have so many people at Canaan, the company was a welcome break from my solitary existence there, and Mark enjoyed the bustle and fun, though I believe we used it as a diversion to the alternative of facing and dealing with our loss.
Cousins came from Australia, to view our promised land, offer support and make donations. They all enjoyed exploring the area, and were blessed by the picturesque surroundings, the genial atmosphere, hospitality and the dream that was Canaan.
Following a chance meeting between Mark and another cabin crew member at Heathrow, we became close friends with a family of fellow Francophiles who, like us, had cast off their English commitments, to embark on life across the channel. Steve and Karen and their two daughters, Amy and Sophie were avid supporters of our vision for the charity, and as well as serving amazing coffee and melt-in-the-mouth pastries whenever we visited them in their nearby village, managed to renovate an old farmhouse beyond recognition and open up holiday accommodation, which remains a successful business today.
We are eternally grateful to them. It was great to make friends who not only spoke the same native tongue, but quickly mastered French, thus offering us a lifeline when it came to translating the copious frustrating, bureaucratic forms that were part of everyday life in France. Apparently, you can park virtually anywhere in France it would seem, but you can achieve very little during lunch times, 12-2pm and most Mondays, which holds some kind of significance as a special day of inactivity! Their love and assistance didn’t stop there however, as they were always ready, willing and able to assist with many of our building projects too. Through them, we met another English family, Chris, Karen and daughters, Dani and Georgia, who joined the growing ranks of people who helped complete the work we carried out at Canaan.
Finally, the glorious summer indicated it was almost over, gently being nudged out of place by vivid autumn hues. Golds, rusts and browns formed a rich mantle all around us as the days became noticeably shorter and winter waited in the wings, bringing her own collection of paler gowns.
The dogs and I sadly bid ‘au revoir’ to our latest visitors and Mark as they all headed back to the UK. I sensed a look of bored resignation on Simba’s handsome face as he and Louis followed me back into the kitchen. It’s not their idea of fun, being holed up in paradise with only me for company. Dogs can be very cruel sometimes!
Comforting memories of laughter and easy conversations hung over the covered pool and gardens long after the tables and chairs were stored away. Forged friendships and changed lives seemed to be Matt’s legacy. We were happy to be part of that process, yet devastated at the emotional cost. It seemed a cruel paradox that the very things his short life had inspired were because he was no longer with us and could not share in the joy they brought.
I am fascinated by colours and God’s palette is always breathtaking. I remember painting a bedroom as a wedding present with a girlfriend whose passion for colours matched mine. As we munched our lunchtime sandwiches, we discussed the likelihood of there being a fourth primary colour in heaven. The subsequent possibilities so blew our finite little minds, we almost didn’t get back to the job in hand. Goodness knows what we’d have done if we’d anticipated more than four!
Matt shared my love of colour and the season’s changes with their panoramic displays. We enjoyed spring with all its fresh clear promise of new life, with longer, warmer days waiting around the corner. Summer, vibrant with boldness and sunshine dancing over different surfaces and textures was always a favourite, though Matt’s perspective was probably viewed through the rose tinted glasses of six weeks off school. We both especially loved the autumnal colours of fallen, crunchy leaves and harvests of collectibles bountifully falling from trees. Winter seemed like a closing down of so many vibrant shades that it was always somewhat sad until we spied a vivid scarlet berry against a backdrop of rich green to jazz up the shades of grey.
Walks around Canaan were mostly along quiet lanes, often through agricultural fields and more daringly, through dense woodland occupied by deer and wild boar amongst numerous other creatures. It was a special treat to encounter baby deer, like Bambi, happily munching on the cobs of corn. For Simba and Louis it was a different kind of treat, but the deer were far too swift to be caught by two thundering teenage Labradors up for the chase. Louis ran with his rear end curved right in, shortening his thick-set frame, with his tongue lolling from the side of his mouth as he pelted after the game, looking for all the world like a little boar himself. It is only with hindsight I appreciate how fortunate we were the wild boar did not consider us fair game – I’m not sure we could have outrun them.
That first year at Canaan was a huge learning curve. Not only were we learning how to work the land, maintain a very old building and plan and prepare renovations for what we hoped would be Matt’s Retreat, but Mark had to familiarise himself with chain saws for all things wooden, (we had 13 chestnut trees alone on Canaan) fixing leaky roofs, gas leaks, boundary fencing, car repairs, copious DIY jobs – and all in a foreign language. I nearly mastered the art of pool maintenance, cooking for crowds, preserving nearly everything edible that fell from trees, reading instruction booklets in French and shouting at the dogs in French and English. Actually, I totally mastered the latter, it simply remained to teach the dogs to listen in either language!
We were daily learning to fully rely on God (or FROG – as depicted on one of Matt’s many bracelets) for everything. The house in Bracknell remained unsold, though we had some encouraging signs. I guess in many ways our problems would be solved if all our debts were settled. When I mentioned it to God, He asked me, if that were the case, how much we would look to Him for provision from our self-sufficient vantage point and when our faith and trust would kick in. I had to admit He’d got a point! Our human nature makes us want to be in control of things and know exactly what’s what. God’s desire is that we look to Him first in everything and let Him get on with providing for our needs, peppered with the odd miracle here and there.
After an arid summer, we received an extremely dry offer for the UK house. We discussed it and prayed hard, as it would leave us with a serious shortfall for the planned renovations, but both felt perhaps it was a sensible decision to accept and trust God for subsequent funds for Matt’s Canaan Retreat. We had some reservations for, although the prospective buyer had no downward chain, he was a tough cookie, pushing for a bargain, with copious demands, including removing the property from the market. Almost immediately another couple put in an offer just £5,000 below our asking price. If that sale went through, we would have funds available to begin the barn conversion, but they had a house to sell, whereas Tough Cookie wanted to move in by Christmas 2003. We prayed asking for wisdom and insight before finally agreeing to sell to the second couple. ‘Tough cookie’ voiced his displeasure in a way that made us suspect he might have proved difficult to conduct business with, peacefully. We humbly thanked God for His provision, making a mental note to try and trust Him more readily next time!
Mark was offered a part time contract with B.A., though it didn’t materialise immediately due to shortage of crews. Meanwhile, we learned of a possibility for him to be based at London Gatwick airport, making it easier for him to fly home after his work shifts, but we had to wait until January or February for the outcome of that. Our prayers were that Mark could work a percentage contract from Gatwick, leaving a larger chunk of his time free for running the retreat with me. We waited. You would think I would be good at that now, but no, I still struggled. Thankfully Mark’s calmer personality enabled him to stay at the helm of our household without being intimidated by my wobbles.
Meteorologically, France was proving to be a place of diversities. We arrived, expecting the South West to have a more clement climate than the UK, and it did, in fact summer was scorching with little rain though we experienced frequent electric storms of immense proportions. Then, when the rain did come, it seemed it would never cease, suddenly filling the previously dried-up pond at the end of the lane to overflowing, and providing a hotbed of temptation for two Labradors with short selective memory syndrome to dive in and get muddied-up. In late October we suffered uncharacteristic (according to the locals) frosts blitzing the last of Canaan’s tomato crop. Still the upside of that was not too much green tomato chutney to prepare and foist on visitors.
There was a special treat as the year drew to a conclusion, which I indulged myself in and I know Matt would be right along there with me. It was crunching acorns underfoot – an extremely complex sport. The type of shoes required are all important – trainers being the most desirable as ordinary flat soled shoes don’t resonate with the correct crunch and the angle at which you tread upon the acorn bears no small relevance. It produces a satisfying snappy, rustling sort of crunch and was responsible for me meandering all over the lanes in a weird parody of a drunken clown. Well, that’s my story anyway!
There was always a plethora of damaged trees, a casualty of le tempête of 1999, and recurring annual violent storms, but it provided much wood to be collected on our daily walks. With open fires in both sitting rooms at Canaan, we were grateful of the free bounty to be had for the taking, and frequently struggled home, lugging an enormous log for Mark to attack with the chain saw. It seems extravagant to think we toasted ourselves in front of hearths filled with burning oak and chestnut.
We had a lot to learn about allowing it to dry out, or season first though, much to the chagrin of the dogs, who lay with chins propped on the hearth until an explosion sent a shower of sparks onto their coats, only to be noticed by the smell of burning fur.
It took relentless determination to move them away from the prime spot. Both dogs would begin their evening ritual, sitting upright, as close to the heat source as they could physically bear, until their noses became encrusted with the heat, and they toppled over, eyes closed in a parody of old men in a nursing home, nodding off in front of the fire. Only then would we feel the warmth below our knees. The main house was a draughty four hundred year old building, with cavernous chimneys with backdrafts, but we loved every smokey, door-rattling evening of that first winter, and so did our singed, four legged companions.
Our latest ‘must have’ for Christmas 2003 was, by way of a change, a tractor. Yes, gone were the days when I shopped the world for copy designer handbags, outfits and watches. Now my most urgent prayer was for a small tractor that would enable us to rotivate the land we set aside for growing vegetables, to provide for all the visitors to Canaan. There was a manual device that would achieve virtually the same results, but it unfortunately came as a package guaranteeing bulging arm muscles and a prematurely exhausted peasant woman! Advice from neighbours was that we would need both types – so I expected to achieve weight-lifting peasant woman status anyway, whilst Mark would no doubt swan around on the Tonka toy.
We acquired many donations of the planting variety from visiting friends and family including an olive tree, bougainvillaea, soft fruit bushes, two vines from St Emillion, and several rose bushes. All did well, confirming it was extremely fertile land requiring only the minimum of help from our novice fingers. Thank you, everyone for your generous gifts. Unfortunately, someone omitted to explain to the dogs the basic rules of agriculture.
Having planted some promisingly sweet Charantais melon seeds which surprisingly grew (and grew) beyond all my expectations, I eagerly awaited Mark’s return one afternoon, to proudly display our first harvest, by then, the size of a small football. Puzzled as to why I couldn’t find where I knew it to be – nestling in between the rose bushes in a plot at the front of the house – I later followed Louis, as he paid close attention to something near the front gate. To my horror, and Louis’ total bewilderment, we discovered the sorry remains of the missing melon. Oh well. Thankfully the market traders had better security for their produce!
Depending on Mark’s ability to build some chicken housing, we also planned to extend our bed and breakfast facilities to a collection of chickens bred by the neighbour. And ducks too. Apparently they are good to have around and their eggs are commendable, though require washing! However, that particular vision fell at the first hurdle when we realized Louis was overly fond of eggs and didn’t have a good track record with lasting friendships and domestic foul.
Simba and Louis adapted well to life in rural France. There were a few things they would have altered, like, sleeping in beds in the house, as opposed to dog baskets in the boiler room, especially since the swallows kept Louis awake with their chattering, and required the door to be left ajar for their ‘Top Gun’ acrobatics during the nesting season. Regulations during the hunting season stipulated that all trained dogs got to chase and retrieve many interesting wildlife accompanied by men with guns, while other ‘domestic animals’ were restricted to leads whilst out walking on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays. For two dogs, not awfully ‘au fait’ with what day of the week it was, let alone French legislation, it was both a confusing and trying time.
They attempted to placate themselves with other pursuits including locating and eating any left over corn cobs after the combine harvesters had moved on. It developed into a type of water sport since severe floods had submerged some fields under water making it doubly entertaining to dive for corn. As soon as a suitable stalk was located it was ripped from the ground, held between teeth whilst victorious dog was hotly pursued by other hound until caught and corn stalk was demolished, leaving person with extendable leads flapping around like a windmill. What did they know of house sales, mortgages and leaky roofs? Life is one big party for ex-pat dogs.
We made a whistle stop visit to the UK in October 2003, to attend the wedding of a precious friend who married her beloved ‘knight’. Held at the church where Matthew’s body rests, it was extremely emotional for me as it was my first visit to the grave since we ‘emigrated’. Even though I know Mattie is with his beloved Jesus in Paradise, we still have feet of clay, firmly planted on this earth. It remained a daily challenge to focus on spiritual things. We had the honour of saying prayers for the couple – the bride, Sarah was an invaluable leader in one of our youth groups and a great friend of Matt’s. Before his illness, she would sometimes collect him from school on her way to visit; he loved her cool Ford Ka, and couldn’t resist posing, with windows down, wearing cool shades, listening to the music that was blasting out of over-challenged speakers.
I was asked to read Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116 – “love is not love that alters when it alteration finds…” Passionate stuff! It was a fulfilling experience reminding us of our wedding vows, and Matt’s presence that day as a pageboy. We have already been tested and found true in many of those vows. Marriage is a special and sacred relationship God has given to us, the tragedy is how modern society has whittled down its true meaning and belittled its many blessings.
Mark and I were given the opportunity to attend a three day healing retreat, focusing on bereavement, in England late that year. We welcomed a chance to talk about our emotions with trained counselors. With so many of our feelings relegated to the back burner, and countless unanswered questions we anticipated it might be a time of release from much of our pain. With hindsight, we appreciate dealing with the death of a child is a profound experience, that can only run its course over a period of time. There were no magic pills or treatments to be had that would shorten the long and winding road of the journey.
It was especially hard as we approached the first anniversary of Matthew going to be with Jesus. It was our hope to again join our dear friends, Pieter and Debs in Barbados at Christmas, making use of free tickets we had. Other friends generously offered to dog and house sit and we gratefully used the opportunity to return to a safe haven in the hope it would bring further healing during a time of family celebrations, and what would have been Matt’s 15th birthday.
When the corn was high in the fields around Canaan, it was difficult to see much of the surrounding countryside and vision was limited to the path winding endlessly in front. Only when the lofty stalks had been harvested, was the landscape once again flat, revealing the destination of those meandering paths on the horizon.
Some days, I awoke with a lightness in my spirit and an eagerness to tackle anything and everything we needed to do. But there were days when it seemed the walls of my world were high and close, and I could not see where I was meant to be heading. It was on those days that God faithfully gave me the strength to get up and walk the long and winding road. Sometimes, out with the dogs, it was impossible to see my feet through the tears I cried, because life didn’t feel fair. But this life isn’t fair. Where the presence of huge abundance rubs shoulders with abject lack, how can it be fair? Where people endure one hardship after another, whilst others seem to sail through life with little care, how can that be fair? So many questions, so few answers, such a testing ground for faith. The only thing I am sure of is that the road ahead leads home and if I continue on it, whether I can see the horizon or not, whether I know which way I’m facing or not, God will use me for His purposes and bring me safely home at the end. And I believe all things will be fair and well.
East of Eden
Though what of Mark’s road? Preoccupied with the effect of Matthew’s death on me, I felt unable to probe too deeply into Mark’s world, frightened in case I saw him hemorrhaging too. Brief glimpses broke through my ramparts occasionally, and it rocked my world to witness his brokenness alongside my own. I knew only too well what Matthew meant to his daddy, and I knowingthe pain I felt, I did not want to dwell on the magnitude of his pain too. At that time, I had no guarantee I could survive that revelation. That December, whilst away on a trip, Mark asked me to forward the following email to everyone on our ever-growing list of Matt’s Friends. There were so many, it was incredible to consider how many people knew of our son, his illness and his courage.
A year has past since Mattie died.
I can’t believe the time could go so quickly after our protracted eighteen months of closeness together – that life can still go on without our third Muskateer.
It was the hardest eighteen months of my life but the closest with God and Lynnie & Matt. Now in this emptiness, I want to trade everything I have for one more day together.
I still struggle to adjust to our new life today. Especially when we do family things together without Mattie, remembering when he was with us. I feel guilty at having a game of golf, spending time enjoying myself, normal feelings I suppose?
Anyway, I just want to say, hug your kids for me, for us, for them. Hug your wife, husband, partner. It may be the last chance you have, none of us know.
Ask them if there anything they would like to say to you and most importantly of all, LISTEN to them and act upon it.
I have found a lot of comfort in reading my Bible everyday with help from a man named Selwyn Hughes. He is an ordinary man, like you or me, but he has buried his wife and his two sons, so I figure if he speaks, I should to listen, as I may learn something useful. He writes:
“Perhaps one of the hardest things we have to face is death. Our own death or the death of a loved one. The curse that fell upon the earth when Adam & Eve sinned means that everyone must die. Of all the fears that invade the human heart probably the greatest is the fear of death.
A writer once said. ’The fear of death is as old as human life, as long as human life and as widespread as human life’.
George Bernard Shaw said, ‘The statistics concerning death are very impressive – one out of every one dies!’
As I write, there is a war raging in Iraq. Reactions to the subject of death are quite interesting. Some are unwilling to dwell at all upon it and thrust it from their thoughts, labeling the mere mention of death as morbid. But though they can evade the thought they cannot evade the fact. For Christians there is no need to fear death since they have a life within them that survives death. Life before death guarantees life after death.”
The Bible reading Selwyn Hughes shared that day was 1 Cor 15:50-58. I found it very comforting to read about death not being the end and an eternal life after this. It doesn’t make it all right that Mattie has gone ahead of us, but it helps me to look forward to something totally amazing, it helps me keep my sanity in the here and now without him.
One of the first scriptures I ever tried to memorize was:
‘For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’
Death hasn’t separated Matthew from God or God’s Love. In fact he’s with Him. And death hasn’t separated me and Lynnie from Matt permanently because I know we will be together for eternity. And this endless wait will then seem like a split second.
I struggle each day with feelings of desperation and I’m sure Lyn does too. If I didn’t admit that I would be lying to you. But there is something inside me that tells me that all the things that happen to us are part of a greater plan, which we will one day be privileged to understand. Until then, I ache with the sadness that comes from knowing I cannot hug my best boy anytime I like, but I also look forward to the time when all my questions will be answered and my joy will be complete because I will be with my boy again. And God will wipe away every tear from my (and Lynnie’s) eyes.
My prayer for you all this Christmas is that you may know the peace Lynnie and I have for eternity and you share whatever you’ve got with someone who isn’t as blessed as you.
As Matt would say – ‘love you … infinity and beyond’
(From the Three Musketeers!)
His thoughts echoed mine, and even though we found it difficult to communicate directly with each other, it was comforting to hear him expressing his innermost thoughts with the written word. We are so grateful for the company of all those who travelled our long and winding road with us. What a story we have to tell, what pilgrims we have been.
The cards, messages, emails and words of encouragement that arrived at Canaan for the first anniversary of Matthew’s death were truly overwhelming. It was amazing to know that Matt is remembered with so much love, and not just then, but constantly.
The lead-up to the 24th November was understandably difficult. Anniversaries are really no different to other, unnamed, days in the year without Mattie’s wonderful presence, though it puts events into a semblance of chronological order whilst exposing the rawness of loss. Mark and I walked through it together and individually, only sure of one thing – that God was with each of us.
British Airways kindly arranged Mark’s trips so that he was home for both that date and the anniversary of the funeral, on December 5th. Meanwhile I continued to work on the manuscript for Infinity and Beyond. It progressed – all the time playing tricks with my mind as I wrote about times past as if by some trick of the pen I could hope to alter the outcome.
Without warning, floodgates would open and I’d be swept along like a rag doll amidst the all-consuming pain and tears. At other times I could function well enough, though feeling as if I’d been botoxed: my emotions played huge inside, though they failed to register on my taut face. The floods felt powerful enough to shift a mountain, and I hoped that is what they would do, shift the mountain of grief, leaving the land clear for rotivating, feeding, planting and new growth. Plan B as I saw it then, was not my life of choice, rather it was a daily battle to choose to carry on, trusting God for the future.
Still, the torrent of memories was non-stop. It was challenging to focus on the happy times in that first year in France because of events of the preceding two years – the trauma of diagnosis, the intense nursing, the hope and desire for healing and the battle to maintain our faith. Occasionally an ordinary pastime became exactly that, at other times, it was a temptation to feel guilty because we almost lost ourselves in the ordinary moment.
I recall Mark playing golf for the first time since arriving in France. He reproached himself for days before the actual event, and yet afterwards commented that he’d had an unexpectedly peaceful time with God around the course. There was a huge sense of relief in his voice. I had to learn to allow him space to do what was right for him.
Often, in the wake of trying challenges, the floodgates of God’s blessing would open, and we’d find ourselves floating in His love and provision. After losing my very necessary glasses, I made an appointment with the French optician to supposedly have my eyes retested and the glasses speedily replaced. Perhaps a vital word was lost in the translation, though it wasn’t apparent until the actual appointment that things are done differently in France, of course! The ophtamologiste docteur at the hospital tests eyes and provides a prescription which the optician then dispenses. After a brisk 30 minute walk to the hospital, and more than a few glances in my dog-eared dictionary, I learned there were no available appointments until March 2004!
I staggered in disbelief from there to the dentist – to have a filling corrected that had been put in badly the previous week – without so much as a hint of anaesthetic. Perhaps because it wasn’t just the nerves in my teeth that were super sensitive at that moment, I ended up crying and babbling with a good deal of metal equipment in my mouth. Possibly leaving the dentist with a complex about his chair side manner, I staggered across the road to sniffle over a cup of delicious coffee and medicinal cognac, with Mark.
My point? Well, when we arrived home, I came across an old pair of glasses, and managed to survive until the March appointment, just short of becoming Mr McGoo. We also received a phone call from our hard working estate agents in England, to tell us that the couple making the highest offer for our house had a keen buyer for theirs and with a fairly small chain below them, were ready to go ahead with the purchase immediately. Earlier that week, Mr Tough Cookie had offered us a slightly higher increase on his original offer, which we’d declined, trusting it was right to wait patiently for the higher bid. We thanked God for such incredible news, though neither of us was prepared for the floodgates of relieved tears that poured forth that afternoon.
By way of interest that September, Mark and I both felt strongly to commit some extra finances (which we didn’t have spare, I might add) to give to help others in desperate need. We believed God was asking us to do that, and He would in turn take care of our needs. We’d prayed hard and asked that our finances would be sorted out by Christmas and many people prayed alongside us. We believe those prayers were answered. We gave thanks for our buyers, and as it says in the Bible “rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.” (Romans 12:15), other gave thanks too. We prayed for the speedy release of funds to begin the renovations needed to accommodate future visitors to Canaan, that they might receive rest and healing.
When I think of all the people worldwide who know about our little Mattie, have faithfully prayed for him and followed his progress and finally his graduation to heaven, I am overawed the impact his painfully short life has had on so many. I said to God, it was just as well He was God and not me. I could not have sacrificed my only son to die – even though it meant salvation for the entire human race. Do you know what He said? “One day you will know exactly how many peoples’ lives have been impacted by your son.” Considering both Mark and I got really close to God as a direct result of Matthew’s birth, makes that statement all the more amazing.
This is a precious poem written to us by a dear friend on the day of Matt’s memorial service. It gives us comfort each time we read it, I pray it touches your hearts too.
I HAD TO GO WITH JESUS…Written Friday 6th December 2002 (7am)
Your Matthew’s with Me
I hold him now in My Arms
He has suffered enough
Now he’s safe from all harm
But the void you now feel
I, God will fill up
So don’t turn away
Sit with Me and sup
He accomplished the purpose
He was there on earth for
So much you won’t know
Only I God was there
The nurses and doctors
And those far and wide
Who whilst praying for Matthew
Were drawn close to My side
So please don’t give up now
There’s so much still to do
For many more children
Who need to come through
To know Me as Lord
Their parents as well
So keep going My children
The Good News to tell
They’ll come from afar
To hear how you coped
Extend then your hand
And give them My Hope
And miracles you’ll see
Like never before
For it’s then you will know
I am right at the core
Of all that you do
As you keep trusting Me
I’ll anoint you My children
The lost to set free
You’ll speak to the young
Middle aged and the old
And show them – how – child
In Me to ‘be bold’
You’ll help stretch their faith
Beyond limits so far
They’ll do things for Me
That before they wouldn’t dare
And all because they
Saw the courage you’ve shown
They’ll know what it’s like
To have a Saviour – their own!
So look through the pain
And see all the good
The heights you have gained
The things you understood
That you can use now
Many others to help
Go now – far and wide
And make My Presence felt!
Each time you step out
My Anointing will flow
A strong healing power
That others will know
Is straight from the Throne
Here in heaven above
As you lay hands on them
I, God, will then move!
For this is the birthing
Of something so great
And your little Matthew
Well – he was the gate
That had to be opened
To let the flood through
And all I ask children
Is trust Me anew
Your son knew My heart
For I touched him within
Those times that you struggled
His food to get in
For he had a food
That came straight from above
And – each time – he knew
I held him in love
So please don’t be frightened
Please know he is safe
He’s surrounded now children
With My Saving Grace
But your lives aren’t over
And I need you today
To pick up the pieces
And keep going – My Way
Matthew’s watching it all
And he’s rooting for you
You’ll read in the Bible
How the saints pray you through
Well here with the angels
And all saints gone before
He’s watching his parents
And saying “Mum – Dad – there’s more!”
Saying “Please don’t give up
I’m praying for you
That you will go on
And do what God wants you to
Don’t fret or dismay
For I’m in safe Hands
I’m being looked after
For with Christ I now stand”
“I walk streets of gold
That you just wouldn’t dream
And all that up here
Just seems so fresh and clean
And when you have accomplished
What God needs you to do
I’ll be standing with Jesus
To greet both of you”
“Then we’ll walk in Glory
Again side by side
But till then – mum and dad
Know in Christ I abide
And I just wouldn’t have made it
Without all your prayers
A mum and dad who are special
Who for their son really cared!”
“So keep me in your thoughts
But keep going on!
There’s still much to be done
And the time is not long
Just know I am watching!
From up here on high
So wipe all your tears
And please – please don’t cry”
(Written by inspiration from above by Leila (Bonar) St.Claire-Linaker)