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God Did This


God Did This

2 Comments 19 November 2009

The stress got to me today. It hasn’t happened very often and it usually doesn’t last long when it does, but when it comes, it comes like a flood – abrupt, painful, and pervasive to every aspect of my life. Today it was more like a tsunami. While these episodes have yet to be crippling, the suddenness with which they come and the relatively minor events that seem to trigger them always leaves me wondering if I’m falling back into some old habits, my old ways of “dealing” with stressful events in my life. It frightens me to think that maybe I’m not ready for all of this, that maybe I’ve tricked myself and others into believing that it’s all going to work out just fine. What if my faith isn’t strong enough to carry me through? What if the reason that we’ve been able to enjoy this adventure up to this point is simply that we haven’t yet been hit with the fatal wave of circumstances that is certain to wipe us out? What if we can’t possibly handle what’s coming our way? What if our marriage suffers? What if Eliot is overshadowed, over-stressed, and overwhelmed? What if my career, my company doesn’t succeed? What if, what if, what if…

Stress and, more specifically, recognizing the stress in my life has been an issue for me for as long as I can remember. I’ve always been pretty good about sucking it up, dealing with it, ignoring the pain…fill in whatever other cliché you can think of here. Problem is I never dealt with the stress; I just got really good at not allowing myself to feel it; essentially I was ignoring it. Sounds great, right? Never feel stress again…who wouldn’t want that? Unfortunately however, I learned the hard way that you cannot confine this talent to just the stress in your life. At least I wasn’t able to; maybe others can, but I couldn’t and didn’t. I also learned the hard way that ignoring the stress is not the same as dealing with it and just as the rubber on your tires only has so many miles it can handle so also does the tread on your soul. The miles add up, the tread breaks down, the soul falls apart…

While I was busy ignoring the stress in my life, I was also ignoring the wounds that were being inflicted by stressful events in my life. To make matters worse, my ignorance of my own stress level allowed these wounds to grow instead of heal. The hurt, anger, bitterness, and frustration from these events was building up inside of me and never found release. Possibly worse than that or at the very least equally unhealthy is the fact that I was also ignoring the needs of those around me – close friends, family, and strangers alike. Without even realizing it, I was shutting people out of my life, including those closest to me, and I slowly became aware that I was living alone, inside the very constricted, cold walls that I had built up over the years. Walls that were initially intended to protect me were now walls that confined me. My growth as a person, as a member of the community God created, had become like that of a fish, restricted to the size of the container that bound me.

Well, as you might imagine, you can’t go on living life this way until something eventually gives. And give it did…big time! I’ll spare you the details, but know that thanks only to the Lord above, the effects of a life lived this way, though certainly life altering was not life destroying. And the damage that was done, with help from good friends and good people in my life, was quickly undone and I was soon well down the path of reclamation and restoration of a soul that had lost its way.

I learned a few lessons along the way – I learned a little about life and I learned a little bit more about the God who made this life possible. Now that I look back on the course of events of my life, I know that I was never alone in all of this. Though I never asked for it, never would have admitted it, and oftentimes was never even aware of it, I had a lot of help in keeping it all together when it very easily could have all fallen apart. There was a hand at work, busy filling the cracks and holes in my life that had begun to accumulate as a result of my choices and the bumpy, dark, and dusty roads I decided to travel. Back then, I never stopped to reflect on my life, I just kept moving, onward and upward…or so I thought. I never stopped to give thanks and I never stopped to consider just how blessed I was.

These days I do look back – almost daily – and I do give thanks after carefully considering just how blessed I am. I consider how fortunate I am to have the wife that I have and I consider all of the ways that she was designed perfectly just for me. I also consider how amazing my daughter is and how her attitude and happy-go-lucky-ready-for-anything nature will be just right for the challenges that lie ahead. I consider how truly incredible my parents are as are many of the other folks they brought into my life who have all contributed to the person I am today. I consider how amazing it is that the people who have selflessly and tirelessly carried us, cared for us, and loved us from the day the Quint Invasion began entered our lives only 18 months prior.

When the tidal wave of emotion and stress comes over me and sends me reeling into a backwash of doubt and anguish, these are the things that I consider. And after careful consideration, there is only one conclusion that I believe any man who has his wits about him and has in place a rational view of his role in this world can come to: God did this. God chose to knit me together in my mother’s womb, to place me in my parents’ care, to bring me together with my amazing wife, to bring Eliot into our little world, to bring us to Riverbend Church and the Marriage Builders group. He chose to smooth out the rough patches of our lives, to challenge me, shape me, mold me, and to love me too much to leave me the way I was and am today. And he chose to breathe life into those five little babies that now breathe life into ours.

So this is how I make it through and this is how I know I’m not falling back into those old, dangerous habits. When the stress strikes, the world begins to tighten its noose, and the air suddenly gets really thin, this is the place I always return: God did this; there is no doubt in my mind. God did this and he will see us through. How he’ll do it, how he’ll answer the what if’s that seem to come up every day, no one can say. To be honest, I don’t know much of anything beyond how I’ll handle today. And, strangely, I’m comforted by that. It takes some getting used to, but yes, I’m comforted by the fact that I have little clue as to what road I’ll be traveling when I wake up tomorrow morning. I’m comforted because I believe that this is exactly where he wants me – living one day at a time, living a life completely dependent on him. God did this just as he has always done this, with or without my permission. God did this and he will continue to do this. God did this, and with his continued guidance and direction on my life, we’ll continue to be able to do this…somehow, some way…one baby step at a time…

You’ll Never Know Whose Life You’ll Impact


You’ll Never Know Whose Life You’ll Impact

10 Comments 08 January 2009

There is a twist to our story that I’ve mentioned briefly before, but which hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves. For some reason preparing for the quintuplet invasion has overshadowed a few other parts of our lives. Well, it’s time this twist had its day in the sun.
It’s crazy to say, but we’ve actually seen much less of my parents since finding out about the quints than what we are accustomed. This has been hard for me because my parents have always been the involved type. From baseball games to basketball games to soccer games to football games – ok, all I did growing up was play sports – but they were always there to support me…always. My dad was my coach on several baseball teams, my mom used to run me to the batting cages whenever I asked, and both of them were there at almost every game I ever played. In college, they were there for parents’ days, they were there to help me move in and out of dorms and rentals, and they were there to help me build a wall for a new room at the fraternity house. They even used to drive down from Denton to take me to lunch on my birthday then hop in the car and drive straight back. Eight hours of driving to buy lunch for an ungrateful, arrogant, frat-daddy who at the time did not properly appreciate just how good I had it…now that’s love!
So the fact that they haven’t been around much lately is a hard pill to swallow…for them and for me. Thankfully, their absence isn’t the result of a falling out or any drama like that. No, thankfully there are a couple of qualified excuses. There’s the logistic reason – we haven’t been able to travel since September; and then there’s the real reason – my parents are in the process of adopting two little girls who were rescued from Child Protective Services.
Before the news of the quints hit us, the big news in the Jones family was these two little girls who came to live with my parents in late July. Mom and Dad got a stir in their heart five months prior while watching a segment on a Dallas news program called “Wednesday ‘s Child” which highlights a different story each week of a child (or sibling children) in foster care. They decided that their life had become too much about their own lives and not enough about others’ lives and that God was calling them to do better. So they answered the call and went to work. They filed the paperwork, took the classes, conducted the interviews with CPS, made the necessary changes to the house, and talked with close friends about this life change they were contemplating. Basically, they jumped in head first saying all along that they would pull back when God told them to pull back. Well, guess what? He never did so neither did they and quicker than they expected, the process was complete, the girls were brought to their home, and their once quiet life was suddenly anything but quiet.
So two little girls now live with my nearing-age-60-faster-than-they-would-like parents. Two little girls, ages 6 and 7, who were rescued from their horrible living conditions by Child Protective Services. Two little girls named Summer and Angel who last saw their biological mother as she was being handcuffed and driven away to a cage she won’t see the outside of for 18 years. Two little girls, half sisters whose fathers couldn’t be found and who went unclaimed by other family members over the course of seven months in foster care. Yes, thankfully, my parents haven’t been around as much as we’d like, not because that’s the way we want it or the way it’s become in a broken family, but rather because they’ve got their own call to tend to.
Amidst all of the excitement of the incredible changes taking place in our family, there has also been a bit of confusion and frustration. Selfishly, Casey and I want them here and we want them more involved in our lives. Just as selfishly, we want to be able to be more involved in the lives of these two little girls. Selfishly, we want things to be like they used to be. Selfishly, they want the same thing as we do. They, like us, question the timing of all of this. They, like us, do not understand why God chose to drive our lives in opposite directions at a time when we want nothing more than to be closer than ever. But unselfishly, they tend to the call that God placed on their hearts with every ounce of heart that they have…even if that means being involved from afar in the incredible events surrounding their son’s life. Involvement from afar is not what the Jones family is accustomed to and it hasn’t been easy. And though we’ve questioned the timing of it all, we’ve never questioned whether it was right.
I am heartened by the fact that many of my closest relationships and many of the most profound, life-perspective-changing lessons that I have learned have been forged through adversity and struggle. And maybe that’s the point in God’s timing of all this. Maybe he saw a man who needed to mature beyond the shelter and comfort of his parents’ love. Maybe he saw a mature couple who had gotten too comfortable in life and decided to give them more, knowing they had so much more to give. Maybe he saw a family that could be so much closer, so much better at living the life he designed. And maybe he decided that the best way to help them reach that potential was to allow a little adversity and struggle into their lives. Maybe, maybe, maybe…
So now two little girls have a chance at life where before they had none. Two little girls who most likely would have ended up on drugs, living with abusive men, and eventually waking each new day in a prison just like their mom’s, now have a better chance at life than most because of two incredible people I call mom and dad. And now two people who had been around the block a time or two and were oh so close to sailing off into retirement instead find themselves reliving a life they thought they’d left behind. Two lives changing two lives moment by moment, day by day.
No, this isn’t the script we would have written for our family, and this certainly isn’t the way we would have timed it, but that’s life, right? But through it all, somehow I think there will be more than just our family’s lives impacted by all of this. That’s our hope anyway. That’s how it’s always been in my family, that’s how we were taught to live life. My dad once told me that you’ll never know whose life you’ll impact by your actions and my parents have lived their lives with that truth as one of their driving forces. Sure, there is some struggle and adversity that comes into your life when you live it that way. It probably means that your heart will sometimes get pulled in opposite directions. It sometimes means that you’ll have to put your own dreams aside, no matter how noble they may be, to help another achieve their own. But then again, isn’t that the point?
*CPS rules prevents me from posting a picture of the girls, but rest assured, they are cute as can be!
God Bless,
The JonesLife


The JonesLife

Comments Off on The JonesLife 10 October 2008

Our life used to be pretty normal. We met in 7th grade, started dating in high school, survived the college years and got married in June of ’99, shortly after graduation. We had a daughter, traveled as much as we could, planned on getting a dog, went to football games on Saturday and church on Sunday, and by the time we hit our thirties, we were well on our way to having the typical American life.

Then came Mother’s Day 2008 and though we weren’t aware of it at the time, everything in our lives was about to change. Psalm 127:3-5 started the day off and by the time it had ended, we had decided to try for another baby. One more would have been great; twins would fulfill a dream of ours . . . but ready or not, here come the Jones QUINTUPLETS!!
We invite you to come along with us as we prepare for life with Eliot plus five! God has blessed us with six little miracles (counting Eliot, of course!!) that promise to change every aspect of our lives forever . . . Come join us for the adventure of a lifetime! Visit Our Website!

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