27 07 2014

Today my youngest son Joel turns eleven years old! He is a living and walking miracle. He is the light of my life and one of the greatest gifts that God ever bestowed upon Terri and me. I could not imagine my world without him and I am grateful to God that I don’t have to. You see, after the births of our two sons Nicholas and Benjamin which occurred four years apart after my daughter Abbie was born in 1991-Nicholas in 1995 and Benjamin in 1999 respectively- both of these precious boys were taken from us and ushered into heaven within a matter of hours after their arrival here on earth. There was no rhyme or reason as to why they did not live. I can only tell you that it wasn’t because of a lack of prayers or desire or the ton of love we were ready to offer them. I actually played tug of war with God and held on to each of them for dear life- but my grasp wasn’t nearly powerful enough and in the end, when the Lord took them- He also ripped away large pieces of me.

But in 2002, we got word that Terri was pregnant again. We were terrified as well as guardedly optimistic. I remember when the doctors advised us that the wisest move to make would be to terminate the pregnancy rather than risk more mental anguish and heartbreaking results. Terri and I knew that this was no choice at all. We have both made a commitment to fight for life this side of heaven until God closes that door and makes ready the move to glory. I remember going into the chapel at Cape Regional Hospital and screaming my guts out to Jesus. If you saw the Movie recently, “Heaven is For Real,” the chair that Pastor Todd kicks as he cries out for his son Colton in his hospital prayer room is mild compared to the kicking and screaming that I was doing on behalf of our baby to be.

They were nine of the longest months that the Sheptock’s ever persevered through. There were moments along the journey that we thought déjà vu was going to rear its ugly head again. There was no guarantee and no sure thing and when in the wee small hours of July 30, 2003 rolled around- and Terri was giving birth to a baby we had no assurance that we were going to be allowed to raise- I humbly closed my eyes and wished and hoped and dreamed for God to have mercy and supply supernatural grace for our broken spirits. Our dear friends Jennifer Welsh and Karen Makowski were both the nurses on duty that night and when Joel’s body temperature needed to warm up- we bypassed the incubator for the heat of Daddy’s chest and I summoned all the love my fiery body could offer to get that boy’s internal thermometer to rise! Let’s just say I was a hunka hunka burning love and Joel was going to feel the flames of my affection. Needless to say, Joel was born healthy and strong and defying the experts- he became our physical reality of the spiritual promise that God would redeem the grounds the locusts have eaten.

We discovered early, that Joel was no ordinary child! His very name means “Jehovah is Elohim” or “The Lord is God.” As a young toddler, he once told Terri that he saw Jesus living inside of her heart when he was in his Mommy’s belly! He has an incredible insight and even though he was born three years after my own Father graduated to glory- there were moments that I could see my own Pop shining through my baby’s eyes!

Joel is far from perfect, but he is a boy who has a huge heart for others. He has compassion for the kids that others are just content to bully! He loves the Lord and is not afraid to share his faith with others his own age. Before our baseball championship game this year in Dennis Township, after I asked all the parents for their permission- my 10 year old son was not afraid to lead us in prayer before we took the field. He loves baseball, basketball and soccer! He is an artist and both a singer and writer of songs. He amazes me by his ability to put together Lego’s projects that would have taken me forever to accomplish. He loves the oldies and actually went to see Neil Sedaka with me in concert. He devours information and is student of history like me! What a gift to have somebody to watch all those old War Movies on TCM with. Joel honors the rules and boundaries and respects his elders and those in authority. But most of all, when I see Joel- I am reminded of a God who knows how this man named Rudy needed the blessing of raising one more child and I couldn’t have asked for a greater gift than the one he gave me eleven years ago today!

Happy Birthday to you-Joel Thomas Sheptock! You make me feel so young- and you keep me a child at heart! You give me reasons to never take a human’s word over God’s final promises! You make me smile and have restored my joy. I know someday my whole family will be reunited in Heaven- but having you here by my side helps me deal with the pain of loss and the hope of tomorrow! When you scored the winning run in our recent championship game and jumped in my arms in pure celebration- you gave me more pleasure than any earthly treasure could provide. I love you Son forever and ever- no matter whatever! And I pray for my readers today to love people and forget the things that steal your joy and cherish what lasts and hug and hold on to the relationships that matter most!



One response

27 07 2014
E. A. Crossen

What a beautiful posting. Not only are you blessed with a loving child, but Joel is doubly blessed with having two loving parents such as you and Terri. Thanks so much for sharing and GOD bless you all. Betty P.S. Hope you are feeling better Date: Sun, 27 Jul 2014 17:13:04 +0000 To: bleugirl911@hotmail.com

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