The following story is written Lisa Edson who was one of the first people I met when moving here to begin The Ridge Fellowship. She was our next door neighbor and became one of the earliest church members. I’m so proud of who she has become in Christ. Now she and her husband Andy serve at The Ridge Taylor, Andy is the Campus Care Director and Youth Minister and Lisa and her sons Josh and Wyatt are a vital part of the Worship Group. She writes,
“Growing up, my family life was pretty good. I have one brother and one sister and I am the oldest. We were raised in the Catholic faith. When I married my first husband in 1989, I then stopped going to church altogether. We have 2 sons (Josh and Wyatt ) that we did not bring up in the church. We moved to Leander in 1999 and that is when we met Darrell and Niki. We then started going to church and became members in 2000. That is when I began my relationship with Jesus and was baptized at The Ridge. In 2000, my mom moved in with us and then in August of 2002 my sister moved in along with her child, my nephew, Lil Ricky who was 19 months old at the time. There was some physical abuse going on between my sister and her husband, so I suggested that she and Lil Ricky move in with me.
On September 22, 2002, my sister had to fly out to Arizona as she had a court hearing for her divorce. I advised her not to take Lil Ricky with her because I was afraid there would be family drama with the other family members and try to take Ricky from her. So she left him with us. That very night is when tragedy struck our home. It was around 9:20pm, I was in my room with my husband on the computer, my mom was in her room and the boys were in the living room watching TV. Wyatt came into our room asking where Lil Ricky was. I said he probably is in the room with grandma. He said, “no, he is not. I can’t find him.” So we all went searching through the house for him. We had a swimming pool in the backyard and the back door was closed. I thought for sure he would not have gone out there. But my husband went to look anyway and found him in the pool. He pulled him out and started CPR but could not bring him back. My mom called 911. Everything seemed to move in slow motion at this point. I was in total shock, I couldn’t scream or even cry. Finally, the ambulance arrived and we followed them to the hospital. Darrell and Niki were there as well. The hospital staff worked on Ricky until midnight. He was already gone. My sister was still in flight when all this was happening. We called the airline and they gave her the news when she got off of the plane. She then called the hospital to speak with me and the doctor. It was the hardest thing for me to do. Our lives were forever changed. Going back home felt sickening. For the next few days I couldn’t sleep- I didn’t want to sleep because I was afraid of having visions over and over replaying this nightmare.
As we know, there are 5 stages of grief; denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I can say I went through them all. But the guilt and anger are what lingered with me for awhile. I was always asking God why? He was just a baby, he didn’t deserve it. I felt guilty because it was my idea for him to stay with me- I would take care of him. But I let my sister down. I was angry with myself! And in turn, took it out on everyone else over the next few years. I went to counseling and support groups but what I found helped the most was my church family. They were always there for me since the beginning, they never left my side. They continually showed me love- God’s love. I joined the worship group and started going to the ladies bible group. This is where I started to build relationships with my church family. I found myself always wanting to be around them and not really wanting to go home. It wasn’t until I heard this song on the radio by Tenth Avenue North called By Your Side. This song spoke to me- actually God spoke to me through this song. I would like to read some of the lyrics:
Why are you striving these days, Why are you trying to earn grace, Why are you crying, Let me lift up your face, Just don’t turn away. Why are you looking for love, Why are you still searching, As if I’m not enough, To where will you go child, To where will you run. ‘Cause I’ll be by your side wherever you fall, In the dead of night whenever you call, And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you, My hands are holding you. Look at these hands at my side, They swallowed the grave on that night, When I drank the world’s sin, So I could carry you in, And give you life, I want to give you life.
I then began to really get into the word. I would like to share a few verses that have really spoke to me and helped me through this.
1 Peter 5:10, In his kindness God called you to share in his glory by means of Jesus Christ. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you and he will place you on a firm foundation.
Psalms 138:3, When I pray, you answer me, you encourage me by giving me strength.
In Jeremiah 31:13 it says; I will turn their mourning into joy, I will comfort them and exchange their sorrow for rejoicing.
God has truly changed my life, it is a work in progress and my journey doesn’t stop here. I know that I will continue to have storms in my life, I know now God is always by my side and there is hope! God wants us to have joy in our lives and to know that he is always by our side, he will never leave us. I have finally found peace and I choose to have joy in my life.
I would like to end with this poem that was sent to me during that time:
My God, I have never thanked you for my thorns. I have thanked you a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my thorns. Teach me the glory of the cross I bear; teach me the value of my thorns. Show me that I have climbed closer to you along the path of pain. Show me that, through my tears, the colors of your rainbow look much more brilliant. Praise him for the roses, thank him for the thorns.”
by Lisa Edson, 11-16-14
Thanks so much Lisa! I appreciate you sharing your story and serving as a source of encouragement to others. Its an honor to see the woman of God you have become.