The Bible states that "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."  (Hebrews 11:1)  God also tells us that we will go through hard times.  That life isn't always easy.  There is also a quote that has been shared on social media that reminds us that not everything we go through can be seen by others.  Our lives may look perfect, easy, simple when the whole story has not been shared.  Some stories are meant to be known by few.  This time in our family's life is one of trusting through a hard time, having faith that God will do something amazing and we having hope when it seems that there hasn't been much to be had in the past few years.

I am incredibly blessed to have the family that God gave me.  I grew up with a Dad, Mom, and two brothers in a home that was made from a solid foundation, hard working, healthy, spiritual, and as close to "Leave it to Beaver" as you possibly could be with a nuclear family without being perfect.  No family is perfect, but we were well-loved, safe, provided for and never went without.  Definitely set up for being successful, healthy adults.

I'm the oldest of the three J's: Jon is a little less than two years younger than me while Jim is three years younger than Jon.  We got along when we were little.  Come pre-teen years, I wasn't the kindest.  I was arrogant, changing, and felt inadequate so I took it out on Jon.  A lot.  Thankfully we've worked through that stage and are now good friends and have a great relationship.  He's an amazing man, husband and father to his family.  I have much respect for him.

During the growing up years, Jim was always the quiet one.  He sang constantly.  Constantly!  We'd laugh at dinner because he'd go to the bathroom while we were eating and sing at the top of his lungs and then walk back in as though we hadn't heard anything.  He was also the peace keeper.  Jon and I would be arguing about something and Jim would tell our parents.  Or he'd cry and tell us to stop.  He did lock us in our parents shed with neighbor friends, but that was likely his one and only choice that was not the best.  He was always one that could be counted on to give hugs.  He just wanted everything to go well and for there to be peace.  He was also the guy that everyone loved to be around.  He didn't make waves and was there to just be.  He always had a ball in his hand as well - soccer, football, baseball, nerf - didn't matter.  We'd hear lots of clunks and sounds as he repeatedly bounced his ball against the wall in his room.  He was athletic - particularly soccer and baseball.  He was a star on his teams and found his place in the athletic arenas growing up.

Unfortunately in his senior year of high school, he had an injury to his ACL on his knee and was never the same.  Physically he recovered, but it was easily reinjured and sore and he couldn't play the way he had.  Emotionally he put on a good front and kept us all from truly seeing the pain internally. This injury also put an end to the possibility of playing on a college team which was something he wanted to do.  He was still the one to keep peace, to laugh and to hug.  He still sang some.  He played some soccer on the side but not actively or consistently.  He went on to Campbell College for a year where he never really settled.  Then went to my university where he graduated, but wasn't himself.  He had gained weight, had a burden on him that while he didn't talk about it - was noticeable but we couldn't put our finger on it, and drank quite heavily.  He kept to himself and was awake more at night than during the day.

I went on to college, got my degree, fumbled a bit in what I really wanted to do with life for a few years until marrying Jeremy and settling into a job in Texas where I was able to make a living impacting the lives of children through music.  Jon had a few difficult years after high school, then went to a tech school, found a fun hobby in sky diving which allowed him to meet his wife Allison and they both now have a beautiful family and make a difference in the lives of students and coworkers and companies.

To be continued (Read blog post called Hope Part II)


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