Hand-me-downs….saved and surrendered


Nick needs summer clothes. I realize this as I pack for our trip to Florida.

Hand-me-downs. A link to yesterday.

What our heart has once known, it will never forget…

I open the plastic tub marked size 8. Saved clothes for a little brother. An older brother always hesitant to surrender his outgrown clothes.

Are we willing to surrender?

In a few short years, Nick will be out of hand-me-down clothes. He will have passed the last size his brother would ever wear.

Jeans and shoes were never saved…only worn out. Surrendered only out of necessity. Zack put them always to maximum use. Playing and living every moment to the fullest.

I gently unfold the shorts. Shirts.Pajamas. Bathing suits. I close my eyes and remember. I almost forget to breathe. So far away – yet always with me.

These clothes. These hand-me-downs. These saved and surrendered clothes. They touch me because they touched him. So alive with him. His things that only tell part of his story. These things that we can hold in our hands.

“The past is not a package one can lay away” ~ Emily Dickinson

These saved clothes bring joy to Nick. He loves hand-me-downs from Zack. They are “cool” clothes. His brother’s saved and surrendered clothes.

These saved and surrendered clothes bring no tears today. They bring smiles to me. And to Nick.

A shirt takes me back to a place and a time. A memory.

A shirt brings Nick to the present and to the future. He will wear the fabric that touched his brother. A fabric worn with love…woven by the fine thread of a memory.

The past, the present and the future all becoming one. All becoming today.

This moment.

Living in the moment of a memory. Making a new one.

Does love of our past give us faith in the future?

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” ~ Romans 15:4

Our past brings us to where we are but we must be present in the moment. Right where we are. In the middle of these saved and surrendered clothes….where our hands and our hearts touch a piece of the past and hope for the joy in today.   

This life is but for a moment, a vapor. And then it is gone.

Saved and surrendered?

How else can we live fully in the present moment?  Saved. Surrendered.

Willing to surrender. To do the will of God. Willing to love even when we don’t want to love. Willing to serve even when we do not  feel like it. Willing to be kind, gentle and patient when we feel tired, cranky and impatient. 

Setting aside self. Making choices consistent with His word. Searching for ways to honor and glory Him in the midst of our trials….in the midst of life when we are scared and don’t feel like it.

We must surrender to live fully in the present moment.

Saved by HIM. Surrendered to HIM.  

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21 thoughts on “Hand-me-downs….saved and surrendered

  1. Still praying for you, Ernie and little Nick. What a glorious way to remember Zack. Your words are so inspiring. After reading your words, I simply stopped everything I was doing and sat and thought.

  2. The saved and surrendered clothes may not have brought tears to your eyes, but your post brought tears to mine. I remember when our daughter turned 20…and realizing she was now older than her brother would ever live to be. Your writing is a wonderful tribute to your precious son.

  3. You have an amazing God-given gift for writing, Wendy. I have never met you personally, but I have followed you and Zack since the beginning of the journey. Your words strike chords in our hearts as you point us to a God who loves us through all the trials we face and gives us strength to go on. So many people need that message of hope. I hope that one day you will write them into a book and share them with the whole world. God bless you and those you love this day.

    Ann Knowles, freelance writer and editor

  4. Your post today, as everyday these past few made me just sit….and think. And then the tears flow freely. Your words touch my hear and soul, as they come from YOUR heart and soul. I continue to follow your journy with you, and usually don’t post. I just never have the words to say what I am feeling after I read, or how to just get out what I feel I need to say. You touch my heart as you do many. We follow your journey and we are with you, Ernie and Nick. What a tribute Wendy, You are amazing.

  5. Dear Wendy,

    How beautiful….So happy that you and Ernie made such beautiful memories with Zach and are making new memories with Nic. You are right, it’s hard to surrender when we don’t want to, but it’s the only way to live the abundant life in Christ. God is doing a mighty work in your family and will continue to do so until you see HIM and Zach face to face. I know you look forward to that day, but I pray you will find joy and peace in each moment until then.

    Stay Strong Sister
    Joshua 1:9

  6. Dearest Wendy,
    Even though we’ve never met, I feel like I know you. Your words are like a balm to my soul, and I know they are because of your love and faithful time spent with the Lord, Our Father.
    You are an inspiration to me and I’m so thankful I’ve had the blessing of reading your posts and praying for your sweet family. I’m sure others have asked this same question, but have you considered putting your journey with Zack and your continued journey in book form. I so feel like it would benefit and bless so many, you have so much insight into God’s Word and applying it to life everyday. Again, I know you don’t want attention for that, but only for God to be glorified, and I feel He is by your words.
    I’m praying all God’s richest blessings for you and your family.
    In Christ’s Sweet Love,
    Winnie

  7. Thanks for your thoughts Wendy…..food for today………..and everyday. It is easy to be SAVED more difficult to FULLY SURRENDER, ……a daily battle that thankfully He is there to guide the way. LOVE AND PRAYERS

  8. Thanks so much for sharing your heart with us about hand-me-downs. Only another mother that has lost a child can really understand what you are feeling, but all of us need to be reminded of those that are grieving, and how little things like old clothes can bring a longing, and sweet memories—–and more healing. Life goes on for the rest of us, but you are still having days that you only want to “go back” , instead of going forward with anticipation. Dear Lord, Help us to be aware of those around us that need an extra hug, and a listening ear on days that they are still hurting and missing someone dear to them. Please comfort them, and help us to do the same.”
    Amen.

    God bless you, Wendy!
    Janice Baucom

  9. Wendy, you inspire me with every word and every post you share. Your strength is amazing and awe-inspiring. Praying that our Lord and Savior will continue to bless your family with peace and comfort. God Bless you!

  10. Dear Wendy, I continue to follow your journey. You have many gifts and writing is one of them. I just heard that a young Hampstead 6th grader has cancer. I taught her in 3rd grade. Her name is Kimberly Batchelor. There is a ‘FIGHTING FOR KIMBERLY’ page on FaceBook. Would you please remember her in your prayers? She lost her dad in 3rd grade and wanted to be with her friends, so she came to school the day he died. I sent a Caringbridge email to her mother. I am glad you and Nick were both able to smile when you got out Zack’s hand-me-downs. Your life stories are so inspiring. God is using you to touch so many. Thank you. Mae Borneman

  11. Hi Wendy, Thank you for sharing what the Lord shows you. This touched me like no other. Beautiful. Your words, your family…beautiful. You are in my prayers. Chae Torres

  12. Wendy, You always seemed to know what to say. You totally inspire me. As my tears come down my cheeks, I can barely see to type this. However your stories and memories are a reminder that we need to keep God close to us and surrender to his every word. Sweet Nick wearing Zack’s “cool” clothes; how tender. Wendy you, Ernie and Nick always remain in my prayers and Zack is riding along with you still on your adventure, just looking down from a different angle. I bet he is sprinkling “happy” fairy dust on all of you and it brings joy to him to see you smile:) God Bless.

  13. Wendy, I have been missing your blogs and was able to catch up today. My favorites? The hand me down clothes and Nick sleeping in Zack’s bed. So vividly written, I felt I was there. Keep writing. It is a part of your healing but it also keeps Zack with us and I love that. You are a beautiful writer. Still praying, still believing….