Monday, March 21, 2016

The story of us

This picture was taken at Easter 6 years ago, which marks the beginning of a great story.

Lately, we have had so many friends ask us, "Who did you marry off?" and  "Who is that baby?" I think we have given a few people heart attacks thinking we now have a grand baby.

Our daughters are 17 and almost 16 and the boys are 10 and almost 9. All too young for babies!! And Joel and I haven't even hit 40 yet. We aren't old enough to be grandparents!

Well, the Lord would have it another way. Here is the story of us.

My first memory of Sharron and Brittini was in 2009 as they served in the children's ministry of our church. I oversaw most of the events that happened in the children's department. These two were always seen together. They just loved people so well.

In the fall of 2009 I would see the pair all around town. I felt the Lord was prompting us to initiate a relationship. Our families connected so well and so quickly.

We invited them over for the first time at Easter. We hit it off so well. Sharron even took the picture of us all on the swing in the garden at the beginning of this post. Sharron being a single mom enjoyed the family atmosphere, and our family enjoyed their fellowship. Mid year, we struck a bartering deal. Sharron would come over twice a week and help with laundry in exchange for a home-cooked meal.

This was a pic from FAMILY NIGHT. Sharron and DJ were on a team to make a structure out of marshmallows and noodles.

The fall of 2010, our relationship went deeper. Here is a FB post from Sharron in 2010.

Joel and I were intimately walking alongside Sharron and Brittini in 2011. Brittini was an unruly teen and Sharron had a hard time parenting her. I admired Sharron's strength and humility. She was willing to do anything to help her daughter, even if that meant to do something unconventional. Joel and I co-parented Brittini for almost a year. Sharron affectionately named me "Momma T". It was messy at times, for we had alot of work to do. We always ended with love and forgiveness. 

Here is a picture from our annual NEW YEAR'S HIKE. The kids LOVED having Britt around.

In the fall of 2011, we all decided it would be best for Brittini to move in with us. We announced the news to our family and friends. I shared two specific words from the Lord. 
"On Monday someone, who has no idea our current situation, approached Sharron with this vision, copied word for word: "I saw a storm taking place in the desert but there was a castle and Brittini ran into the castle to find there had been a room and a place prepared just for her...warm and cozy...a solid shelter from the storm. The father sees her and knows what she needs in this season and hes the only shelter there is for miles around leaving her no choice but to find herself safe in the fathers love."  

Then on Friday, I received another vision from a friend who knew about our situation. Here are her words " I had a dream about you last night and I never have significant dreams, but I felt like I should share...You had a little girl that you were adopting, she was little like maybe 1-2, but she just perfectly fit into your family. You were so full of joy and peace in loving her and your family- you were proud to show her off. There were a couple of times in the dream where I was talking to you and you were actually nursing the little girl. I feel like she symbolizes Brittini and that there will be peace and joy on you and your family as you "adopt" her. She will fit- even when it's hard and parenting her takes a lot out of you it will all fit in with your family and what all of you need. You will be proud to mark her as yours- she will grow to represent your values/the kingdom values. I felt like the nursing thing was significant. I don't know what Brittini has been through in her life, but I feel like God is wanting to go back to her beginning childhood through you and nurture her healing through your love. As you tenderly "nurse" her she will get the sustenance that she missed and needs from a nurturing mother, a healthy family and from God her Father."
We ALL enjoyed having Brittini in our home. There was so much joy. But then, there was so much sorrow. March of 2012, Sharron started to feel intense pain. She would later find out she has Lymphoma. We started to support Sharron by helping with appointments, food, and maintaining a blog for family and friends. The blog still remains, I cant let myself delete it. This is a picture of us at he hospital. This was right before got her hair all cut off.

We tried to make Britt's senior year as normal as possible. We enjoyed prom and graduation. It sure was an experience! Sharron was so proud of her daughter, and we were too..

During Sharron's sickness, there were many sweet times where we were able to care for her. She loved her some Bush's ice and mashed potatoes. I still have grocery lists from her that I refuse to delete. She continued to lovingly call me Momma T and share her heart for her children. The6Stricklands loved her dearly and continued to support Sharron during her hospital visits and home health. 
Here is a rock the kiddos made with her famous slogan with a rainbow- God's Got This

 Brittini moved back in with her mother the summer after graduation. I believe things were better with the two back under one roof, but it wasnt perfect. We supported and cared for the two the best way we knew how and could. Brittini eventually moved to the DFW area. 

Sharron tried to maintain a regular lifestyle, but with her declining health, she just needed more care. I remember giving her baths and powdering her neck, her favorite. :) She ended up moving to DFW to be close to her son, Michael. On April 19, 2014, Sharron would leave this earth and enter into heaven with a whole body. She was so dear to us all and is greatly missed. 

This is our last photo together. The kids were crushed.

I think its safe to say that after Sharron's death, Brittini took a darker road. Sadly, we didn't connect alot during that time. It was a hard, and scary. The kids asked about her all the time. The Lord gave the parable of the prodigal son as a hope. We had a quiet confidence that Brittini would return home someday. 

That day came in July of 2015. 

At a place of desperation, Brittini and her boyfriend at the time, Troy, needed to make a life change. They found out they were pregnant! The Lord brought them to Waco and we were all SO HAPPY! The kid's hearts were full to have Britt close.

We had a slogan for Troy and Britt - First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage. Troy proposed and the wedding was December 11, 2015. 

It was a beautiful wedding. We were so proud of these two. We knew Sharron would have been too! She had loved Troy, she shared stories about him and even wrote him letters before she got too sick. 

It was during the wedding festivities that Joel and I realized we were truly the parents of the bride. For a long time I felt like the big sister, but the Lord was moving me into this motherly role. It's been a joy and privilege to mentor and show Brittini what it is to be a good wife. 

Then it was time to focus on the arrival of baby Lani. I was able to watch these two morph into parents firsthand on Feb. 11.  It was the biggest honor to be at Lani's birth. 

This was the 1st Lockenour family photo

I was reminded of the name Sharron would always call me - Momma T. I realized this is what I would want Lani to call me. In no way would I ever want to take the grandmother title from Sharron. She actually would have been called "Mimi". She would have LOVED to have seen Brittini as a mom and would have LOVED to grandmother Lani. 

I relish in the fact that I am in a position to be a grand. And OH how grand it is! I also grieve over the fact that Sharron can't be here. I know she would trust me with her grandbaby. I will not take that trust lightly and will joyfully "co-grandparent" that sweet girl forever!

It's been a joy and privilege to mentor and show Brittini what it is to be a good momma. She is doing a fantastic job! 

Someone recently argued with me that I am not a Momma T, I am just an Auntie T, I'm just too young. They almost got a fist in their face. Don't get between Momma T and her Lani girl! :) 

So that is the story of us. It's truly a remarkable story of Gods faithfulness and the beauty of family. We all would have it no other way.

I look forward to cherish many more memories to come and to add to this beautiful story.