“Is This Your First?”

It’s inevitable lately: when meeting new people who don’t know about Tori, they will ask if this pregnancy is my first.

Since I recently started a new job it’s happening fairly often. The first few times took me by surprise and I had to think quickly about how to answer: I could be truthful and tell them about Tori, or I could be mostly truthful since this is my first TWIN pregnancy and just say yes to avoid the uncomfortable truth.

So far, I’ve opted to just tell the truth, short and sweet, and allow the potential awkwardness (from their end) to exist.  I look at it as an opportunity to tell others about Krabbe, about Tori’s amazing life, and about the faith that has sustained us.

In each instance, I recognize that I have a choice: I can be truthful with joy or I can be truthful with pain. I can embrace the joy we have found or I can be miserable. 

I continue to embrace joy. 


The title of my upcoming book is “Even So, Joy” which I derived from two sources: the song “It Is Well With My Soul” –

And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

and Habakkuk 3:17-19  –

Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
    and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
    and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
    and the cattle barns are empty,
 yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
    I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
 The Sovereign Lord is my strength!
    He makes me as surefooted as a deer,
    able to tread upon the heights.

The Bible makes it abundantly clear that things are going to be imperfect here on earth. Once sin entered the world, it was inevitable that life would be terrible at times. Things are going to go wrong, our hearts are going to hurt, and sometimes it will seem unbearable.

But, the Bible also makes it clear that it can still be well with our hearts and our souls no matter what comes our way because all of this is temporary. Imperfect life on this earth should make us desire the perfection of what’s to come in Heaven. 

For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! – 2 Cor. 4:17

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.  For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. – James 1:2-3

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.  And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. – Romans 5:3-5

Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are.  Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay.  For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.  And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.) – Romans 8:18-25 (emphasis mine)

Our God is a God who redeems. He is worthy of all our praise, even when circumstances don’t appear to be praiseworthy. He knows the full story while we only know this current chapter.


You have a choice to make daily just like me; though our circumstances may be different, I know your life isn’t going perfectly.

Joy is something to be chosen and embraced in the uncertain times, in the “even though” or “even if” moments. For it is then that our faith grows stronger and we are reminded of God’s love, and the least we can do is share it with those who need it the most.

Always be real and genuine, of course, but always be pointing others toward the hope and joy we have in Jesus. It has been said that light shines brightest in the darkness, and this has certainly been proven to be true in my life. Our decision to choose joy after losing a child stands in stark contrast to the way much of the world would react. And that’s kind of the point. We should be different as Christians in this world.

I will continue to be honest and share that the twins are actually child two and three for us, not our first. I will embrace the potential discomfort and awkwardness that the other person may feel and I will point them to the glory of the Lord and the hope and joy He brings.

Even so, it is well with my soul.

Elza Fay Eskridge, 1928-2015

   
He never had a mean word to say about anyone or anything. He lived out his faith openly and was respected by all who knew him.

My grandfather was loving, gentle, patient, kind, good. He was full of joy and always had a smile on his face, even until the end. He was often quiet, but living in a house with a wife and four daughters probably made him that way 😉. I can’t remember seeing him mad very often, so when he was mad we listened. We knew it must be serious.

He was a hard worker and was always doing something. He served in the Army, worked on the railroad, and sold real estate. He taught us to work hard and prepare for the future.

He knew practically everyone in town and would always talk to people in the store. If Grandma would send him for groceries he would often take a long time because he would be visiting. It was a running joke in the family. My dad said last night that Papa Fay is probably barely inside the gate of Heaven now because he is so busy visiting with people – something he hasn’t been able to do for quite awhile now.

I have many memories of my Papa Fay because I lived down the street from him and my grandmother for 11 years. 

He would often pick me up from school when my parents were working. He was at almost every school play or special event I was in. He loved being wherever his kids and grandkids were and took such joy in all of us. 

 

Papa Fay always had wisdom to share. He was one of the wisest men I have ever known. 

He was so supportive of me and all of my dreams, especially those concerning missions. He and my grandmother have spent their entire lives serving others in the name of Jesus, and I am so thankful for the example. He showed me what it means to be selfless through his daily life.

He was active in his community, especially in the Kiwanis Club. Each year during Rodeo weekend he could be found serving coffee and visiting with people at the Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast, usually doing more visiting than pouring coffee 😉

He taught me early on that serving others was a great way to spend your life. He showed that especially in his marriage – he loved my grandmother so much and showed it constantly. They were married for over 60 years and, even though he couldn’t express it well, it was obvious that he loved her until the end.

Fay Eskridge was an amazing man and I am so proud to be his granddaughter.

    

He loved Brennan, too. At our 50th annual Madole Family Reunion in 2011 (the last one he was able to attend), I remember him telling my aunt he wanted to sit next to “her husband” – Brennan. He didn’t always remember his name, but he knew he was my husband and he loved him.

      

So many memories of him from Family Reunions…this was in Trinidad, CA in 2009:

  

And McCloud, CA in 2008:

   

He was a man of love, and we loved him deeply.

But, Alzheimer’s took this man from us years ago. He was diagnosed in 2005 and the disease slowly ravaged his mind and his body. It is a horrific and tragic disease and I am so thankful that he is no longer suffering.

In 2009, we all went to Alaska together and that was our last trip with him. He was still doing pretty well then, still able to hold a conversation, still able to help with things like fixing my aunt’s fence. He was still the Papa Fay we had always known.

   
               The last few years have been rough as we watched him slip away. If I am honest, I have already grieved for him. While we physically lost him last night, we actually lost him many years ago. He has been a mere shell of his former self for years now.

I feel relieved and even happy for him, knowing that he is with Jesus in Heaven. He is whole, happy, healthy, and coherent again. He is with all of his brothers, sisters, parents, and other relatives who went before him. He isn’t trapped inside his own mind anymore, and he isn’t suffering. He is healed.

And, should God not heal Tori on this earth, Papa Fay will be waiting for her with open arms. He loved our little girl even though he may not have known who she was or whose she was.

I am so thankful that we brought Tori out in November. We had some very special moments with her and Papa Fay where he called her “Sweetie Pie” and even held her for about an hour. We captured that on video and in photos.

   
     I am so thankful we brought her out in April because he was still doing okay then compared to when we saw him yesterday.

Most of all, I am so thankful that we will spend an eternity with him. He instilled within me a love for God through his life, his words, and his actions, and I wouldn’t be who I am today without the impact of Papa Fay. 

Thank you for leaving such a legacy. Can’t wait to see you again ❤️

  
(All the grandkids together for his 80th birthday party in 2008.)