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10 Lessons Our Son’s Life Has Taught Us

This year marks the 10th anniversary of our son Bowen’s passing.  In 2011, our lives have been changed forever.  We wanted to share, how he has impacted our life over the past 10 years.  We wouldn’t be where we are today nor would we be doing what we’re doing if it weren’t for our son Bowen and what God has done in our lives.

Here are 10 lessons Our Son’s Life Has Taught Us:

Lesson #10-  HOPE is for REAL. We named our son Bowen, because of its meaning,  ‘small victorious one.’   He truly lives us to his name in heaven where the victory has already been won. Because of Bowen, we founded Bowen’s Hope in 2013, where we helped kidney kids who had kidney disease and their families at the Phoenix Children’s Hospital.  We came up with the acronym for Bowen’s Hope B- Bringing, O- Others, W-What, E-Everyone, N- Needs, HOPE!!!!!  Because of what we went through, we realized there were other families who deal with their child who has kidney disease, which can be so demanding mentally and physically. God used our pain for HIS greater purpose to help at the kids’ kidney camp, called Camp Maska, get families sponsored for Christmas, and hold toiletry drives to help with some of their needs.  God showed us the true meaning of coming alongside others in their hurt.  When we set out to help others, they end up helping us more than we help them.

 “who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”  2 Corinthians 1:4

Lesson #9- The Joy of Less.   We have more when we have Less.  Bowen taught us how precious life really is, every life matters, and to cherish every moment. Life is too short to be filled with things and stuff that doesn’t matter. To live simply and have less, is to have more time for adventure, making memories and spending time together. Our stuff taught us you don’t own stuff, stuff owns you. You can read more of our story in “Chicken Soup for the Soul:  The Joy of Less.”

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroy and where thieves do not break in or steal;  for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  Matthew 6:19-21 NASB

Lesson #8-  We can do hard things in Christ.  Bowen’s life taught us not to let the pain of suffering consume us but to pour it into something positive for the greater good. His life took us to places we never imagined or thought were possible. After Bowen, I started running and training and qualified for the Boston Marathon in 2013. Sadly that was the same year the Boston bombing occurred.

'I can do all things through Christ who gives us strength.' Philippians 4:13Click To Tweet
I don’t have a picture with my medal smiling after the finish line, because we were trying to get safely back to our hotel in the midst of crowds, police cars and SWAT teams all around us. The bombing taught us when we run in fear there will always be another finish line to cross, when we run in the victory of Christ there is only one finish line to cross and never have to run in fear again.  The other picture is my husband at the finish line of the Iron Man he completed in AZ. We would have never have been able to accomplish all these things without the strength of Jesus and our son giving us the courage to say I can.

Lesson #7- Kindness Matters. Our Son’s life taught us every life matters and is valuable. Everyone deserves kindness no matter who they are. Kindness is a gift from God. If no one received kindness no one would know the love of Jesus.  Bowen’s life challenged us to extend kindness to others by doing a 13 Day Kindness challenge for everyday he was alive. Doing acts of kindness was so healing, and allowed the legacy of Bowen’s life to live on.  Giving kindness to someone can be the key to their breakthrough and the very thing they need. Be the kindness this world needs. Kindness is contagious. Pass it on.

“Be kind and compassionate to one another.”  Ephesians 4:13

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Lesson #6-  Life is Better together.  Even though we didn’t choose for our son’s life to be taken by this horrible disease, time and time again, every race we ran, every fundraiser, every event put on in honor of Bowen, brought people TOGETHER. Life is meant to do and LIVE TOGETHER in UNITY with one another.  Matthew 18:20- “For where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them.”

1 Peter 4:8-9 “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.”

Lesson #5- How Beautiful are the Feet that Bring Good News. If there is One thing God is able to do is bring Beauty out of Ashes. Here are beautiful works of art people made for me after Bowen died. One is a beautiful portrait of our son where his his body is preserved untouched by his disease. Another is the Beautiful feet picture of the Bible verse in Romans 10:15. Another is a picture someone painted I didn’t even know, God placed in her heart to paint and give us this picture with the verse By His Stripes we are healed Isaiah 53:5. The last picture is a Bowen’s beautiful name tattooed on my foot, (thank goodness we will have beautiful feet in heaven LOL) for anyone who asks I can tell them how beautiful are the feet that bring good news—His name indeed brings good news, that we will see Him again One day in heaven. God is able to turn our Tests into Testimonies our Misery into His Message our Trials into Treasures.

Lesson #3-  Be Thankful.  Our son’s Life taught us to Be Thankful for what you have, it could always Be Worse. There is always something to Be thankful for no matter what your circumstances. Thankfulness helped us get through some very tough times—when we were grateful it turned what we had into enough and more than we ever needed. You never know when will be the last time to see a loved one or be here on this earth. Spending our time being grateful is time well spent.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow. #quote #MelodyBeattie
Lesson #2-  Live life with Adventure and with more margin. Bowen’s life allowed us to get rid of a lot of clutter and distractions in our lives and trade them in for making memories and adventures with our family.  More Margin allowed for schedules to be free to allow for spontaneous moments and for the unexpected. He showed us the meaning of seeking adventure and allowing room for it in our lives.  Leaving margin allows us to be available in God’s timing to be vessels when he needs us to be his hands and feet.  Click Here to watch our adventures from Alaska.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  2 Corinthians 12:9

 

Lesson #1-God Can Turn UnAnswered prayers Into Something Better.  God doesn’t always answer our prayers the way we want them but answers them in a bigger way than we could ever imagine.  We prayed for Bowen to be healed and for him to come home.  When he died, at first I thought God didn’t answer our prayers, Why?  But then I realized God did answer our prayers, just not in the way we wanted.  He indeed heal Bowen and brought him home to heaven.

Our son taught us—When God is all you have God is all have, God is all you need. There is no sorrow on earth that God can’t heal (David Crowder lyrics). Our son’s short life continues and will continue to teach us so much. We have valued and cherished our time with Bowen’s Hope but had to close this chapter of our lives. Even though this chapter closed, God continues to open new chapters and continues to use Bowen to be apart of our lives, just in a different way. He will continue to challenge us and make us step through new doors of opportunity wherever that may lead us.
Our son has taught us more in these 10 years than we would have ever done on our own. What the enemy uses for evil God will use for good (Genesis 50:20).Click To Tweet

God is good all the time no matter what our circumstances or trials we go through.  I hope and pray these lessons we’ve learned can be applies to our everyday lives and never forget why we are here–to love one another and allow our trials to grow us.

To celebrate and honor our son’s life for his 10 year anniversary, our goal is to have 10 kids through Compassion International be sponsored.  So far 3 kids have been sponsored and need 7 more families to reach our goal!  We have really enjoyed sponsoring Victor, who we started sponsoring after Bowen died.  Would you consider sponsoring a child?  To read our story visit instagram to read more.

 

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What Can We Do In Times Of Crisis?

I really wanted to title this post The Power of Compassion or the Power of our Words.  But in reality not many will google, ‘how can I show more compassion,’ or ‘how do my words effect others?’  When I write these posts I’m at the mercy of google to help people find content they are in desperate need of.  I hope this post finds you in your place of need where you are right now.

The answer to this question is compassion.  In any type of crisis, compassion is always the best remedy.  But what does compassion look like when the world is falling apart?

What We Can Do In Times Of Crisis

You never know how one act of compassion or the impact of your words can effect others.  Recently I’ve had to transition from the OR into the ICU to be able to take care COVID patients.  I’ve had to see some really heart wrenching things over the past couple of weeks.  But I’ve also seen the heart of compassion rise when people are hurting.  Nurses have to be some of the most compassionate people I’ve ever met.  What they do in times of crisis is just incredible.

Nine years ago when before our son passed away, a nurse thought to record my son’s heartbeat on a recorder and put it into a teddy bear to give to me.  Her thoughtfulness and act of compassion has given me a precious gift that I am forever grateful  for and has touched me deeply.  This past week I witnessed another nurse do the same to give to a little girl as she recorded her loved one’s last heartbeat.  Although nothing can replace our loved ones, these acts of compassion in the last moments of life are what we will remember and cherish.  These acts of compassion give their loved ones’ lives dignity and show them your life matters, I see you.

Our words can show compassion during these times when others are hurting.  Never underestimate the power of empathy in times of crisis.  Just telling someone, “I’m so sorry,” or “I am here for you,” are words that will stay with them and let them know you care and see their suffering.

'But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion' (Luke 10:33) Click To Tweet

Many have read the parable of the Good Samaritan.  After reading the parable many think, ‘I would never walk by a man half naked and dead lying in a ditch.’  But yet two godly men do, a priest and a Levite.  The unlikely person, the Samaritan, who was viewed as someone who was lowly, not to be associated with because of wayward ways, was the person who stopped to help.  Out of the three men the Samaritan was the only one who came to where he was, in the ditch.  The others passed by, for reasons unknown.  Maybe they couldn’t be bothered?  Or maybe they were in a hurry?  Or worst yet, maybe they didn’t care?

But the Samaritan didn’t just come to the hurt man, he bound up his wounds, poured oil and wine on them, brought him to an inn, paid for his room, and came back to check on him.  Why would someone do this?  Because he had compassion on him.  These actions remind me what Jesus has done for us.  When we are moved by compassion, we do things for others we normally wouldn’t do.  We see things we normally wouldn’t see.  When we can see others in their pain and hurt through the lens of compassion, we become God’s love.  We become a friend and a neighbor.

When Jesus asked in Luke 10:36, “Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?”  “He said, “The one who showed him mercy.”  And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise” (Luke 10:37).

Because of the act of compassion my nurse did for me by taking the time to record my son’s heartbeat and put it into a bear and the compassion I witnessed this week, now others will have a bear with their loved one’s heartbeat in their time of need.  This is made possible through the foundation associated with the hospital I work for that will help fund for more bears when you donate to this specific cause.

During these times of unknowing and crisis, it’s so important to let others know, I see you, hear you, you matter, through our acts or words of compassion.

How can we be a good neighbor to those around us who are hurting?

Would you like to know how you can be more compassionate in times of crisis?

Join me this month in the 12 Days of Kindness, where you will be challenged to do one act of kindness a day.  Kindness can move us into areas of compassion for others.  Here are the Kindness challenge prompts below.  Post Act of Kindness with Hashtag #12DaysofKindness

 

 

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The 7 Kindest People in the Bible

Kindness.  It is something that touches our hearts and changes live deeply.   Kindness empowers others to be the difference and speaks volumes to those who receive it.  When I think of kindness I think of some of the people in the Bible.  

The 7 Kindest People in the Bible
7.  Niccodemus and Joseph of Arimethea–  These two men are known for preparing Jesus’s dead body for burial after he was crucified.  These two men risked everything;  losing their family, their religion, their status, their friends all to show their love for Jesus.  Even though Jesus was crucified as a criminal they wanted to give him a burial of a king.  Joseph even gave Jesus his own personal tomb! Their loving kindness was all apart of God’s plan.

6.  Pharaoh’s Daughter (Exodus 2:5-10)-  She is known for saving baby Moses from the river when he was laying in the reed basket.  Even though she knew he was a Hebrew baby (which her father ordered to have killed) she still took him in as her own to raise and care for him.

5.  Joseph (Genesis 37:12-36)-  Joseph is known for being sold into slavery by his 11 brothers.  In the time he was a away from home he had been falsely accused, thrown into prison, became an interpreter of dreams for Pharaoh and became in charge of Egypt.  When famine hit the land where his brothers lived, they came to Egypt to buy grain.  They did not know their brother was still alive and the governor of Egypt.  To their surprise, Joseph was not angry at his brothers but showed them compassion when he saw them again.  Instead of taking revenge, Joseph took them in and cared for them.  Joseph knew it was all apart of God’s plan, what his brothers intended for harm, but God intended it for good.” (Genesis 50:20)

4.  Boaz/Ruth-  (Ruth 3 and 4)
 To truly understand the relationship between Ruth and Boaz you will have to read Ruth 3 and 4.  Their relationship is so unique because Ruth showed kindness to Boaz in a way that truly touched his heart. In return, Boaz dedicated the rest of his life to her by making her his wife.

3.  The woman who washed Jesus feet with her hair (Luke 7:36-50)-  This woman who is not mentioned by name in the Bible, but by her actions showed Jesus one of the most compassionate acts of love by washing his feet with her tears and her hair and anointing his feet with expensive oil.  Even though he was invited to dinner by the Pharisees, not one of them offered to wash Jesus feet or even a drink of water a common custom done for guests.  The woman saw Jesus for who he was and poured out her love to him.

2.  Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37)-  The good Samaritan is known for stopping to help a man who was robbed, beaten and left for dead after a priest and a Levite saw him and passed him by.  The good Samaritan saw him, took pity on him, cared for him by bandaging his wounds and paying for his stay at the inn so he could recover.

1.  Jesus-  There is no one is kinder than Jesus.  When he walked upon this earth he showed us how to be kind to others in a way that goes beyond comprehension.  He showed compassion on the lepers, the prostitutes, the lame, the forgotten.  Jesus showed us there is no end to the kindness that can be given and should be given to everyone, everywhere at anytime.  He showed the ultimate kindness by giving us the gift of eternal life by dying on the cross for our sins.

Just imagine if Nicodemus and Joseph never took the time to show lovingkindness to Jesus, we would never have known the true power of the resurrection.

Imagine if Pharaoh’s daughter never took in Moses to care for him, we would never know the power of God’s miracles and the ability to use the unlikely.

Imagine if Joseph took revenge upon his brothers instead of loving them, we would never know the power of compassionate forgiveness.

What if Ruth didn’t show kindness to Boaz?  They would have never been married and Jesus would not have been part of the lineage to king David.  (Ruth and Boaz are the descendants of Jesus).

If the sinful woman never came to wash and anoint Jesus’s feet, we would never have seen the power of forgiveness given through her faith.

Because of the Good Samaritan’s kindness, generations have been able to model him as an example of how to treat others.

If Jesus never showed kindness when he was here, we would never know the love that is given to us from God. We love because he loved us first.Click To Tweet

I could go on and on about all the kind and loving things Jesus and the others in the Bible have done.  We are called to Be Kind and Loving to one another.  The love God gives us, is meant to be given and shared with others.

How will anyone know the love of Jesus if it is not shared with them?

How can you be an advocate for kindness?

You are loved by a God who loves you! How has kindness affected your life? How or in what way?Click To Tweet

Do you have a loved one you would like to honor by doing acts of kindness?  Do you like spreading kindness to others?  Kindness is contagious Pass it on!  Would you like more encouragement sent right to your inbox? Subscribe to my Blog or like my Author Facebook Page.  

FREE Printable Click Link to download 7 Ways to Show Kindness


Everyone deserves kindness from their Savior!  I would love to hear from you!  Please share how Kindness has affected your life how and in what way?  Or how do you like to spread kindness?

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