A Visitor From Heaven Video

A friend of ours put together a video of pictures of Jerard's life along with Twila Paris' song "A Visitor From Heaven"
We have been showing it at the funeral home.
Please watch it. It is 23 minutes.

Tuesday May 22 at 1p will be Jerard's funeral service.
At 3p will be his burial service.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Ybf5gjt0AI

Pictures from Today 5 21 12


Sleeping overnight at the funeral home is expected. Kurt has
been sleeping at the funeral home along with friends each
night of the wake. Ben has slept there two nights. Each night
there are 8 - 12 people sleeping.


Rice and lechon manok (roasted chicken) for breakfast!


Thankful for friends.


James really misses Jerard. This morning he traced his
hand and had me write "Jerard, I love you and I miss you.
See you in Heaven." He included a picture of him that looks
as if he's waving 'see you later'.






Me, Lola Ruth and Lola Arlene. "Lola" means Grandma.
Ruth and Arlene have been surrogate grandmas for James
and Jerard.








Eulogy

I tend to think in songs.
Early on in the care of Jerard this song by Twila Paris became a background theme song in my head for our Jerard.
A visitor from Heaven
If only for a while
A gift of love to be returned
We think of you and smile

Jerard had a great laugh. A wonderful smile. His smile and laugh could brighten up my day so well.

A visitor from Heaven
Accompanied by grace
Reminding of a better love
And of a better place

Jerard's life has reminded me of a better love...the deep, deep, love of my Saviour.
Jerard could be messy. I changed diapers on him all his life. He drooled. He liked to bite and pinch.
He'd throw up, get sick, be messy....and isn't that how each of us are? A mess? And yet Jesus continues to love each of us just as we are, no matter what mess we are in.

With aching hearts and empty arms
We send you with a name
It hurts so much to let you go
But we're so glad you came
We're so glad you came

I am so thankful Jerard came. I have no regrets having taken him in and walking him through his life these past four years. He is my son, even if the legal paperwork was not completed. His name is Jerard Gonzales Symanzik.

A visitor from Heaven
If only for a day
We thank Him for the time He gave
And now it's time to say
We trust you to the Father's love
And to His tender care
Held in the everlasting arms
And we're so glad you're there
We're so glad you're there

My arms ache to hold him again. To bathe and feed him, to dress him, rock him, love on him....but I know he is so much happier in heaven and I rejoice for him being there and look forward to seeing him again some day.

With breaking hearts and open hands
We send you with a name
It hurts so much to let you go
But we're so glad you came
We're so glad you came

Jerard has been precious to me.
Jesus made him just the way he was just as Jesus made me and my other children the way we are.
Jerard's special needs have been irons of fire Christ has used to mold me more into His likeness.
Jerard's blindness taught me to see the depth of love Christ has for me and for each of His children.
Jerard's weakness helped me discover more deeply the truth in God's word that when I am weak, He is strong.
Jerard's inability to balance taught me the need to lean into my Saviour more.
I loved the way Jerard just seemed to melt into me when I'd hold him.
It was a perfect reminder to me of my own need to lean into my Saviour, resting ever in His arms no matter what storm is raging around me.

I thank God for Jerard.

The road these past four plus years has been hard
I do not regret the road we've traveled with Jerard
It's been a road full of mercy
a road leading me closer to my FATHER's love

And all I know is that all is grace
And my FATHER knew what He was doing when He created Jerard,
When He brought him to our family.
I rest in HIS loving arms
Thanking HIM for HIS gift,
Thanking Him for Jerard.

Eulogy

Tomorrow I'll be sharing a short eulogy at the funeral service for Jerard.
I have two written up and am not sure which one I'll be sharing.
But I'll share them both with you here.....

In the past four plus years of caring for Jerard I have been occasionally asked what I've thought about Jerard being in our family, if I ever had regrets that we took him in....and to those questions I say this

Jerard has been precious to me.
Jesus made him just the way he was just as Jesus made me and my other children.
Jerard's special needs have been irons of fire Christ has used to mold me more into His likeness.
Jerard's blindness taught me to see the depth of love Christ has for me and for each of His children.
Jerard's weakness helped me admit my own weaknesses and to discover more deeply the truth in God's word that when I am weak, He is strong.
Jerard's inability to balance taught me the need to lean into my Saviour more.
I loved the way Jerard just seemed to melt into me when I'd hold him.
It was a perfect reminder to me of my own need to lean into my Saviour, resting ever in His arms no matter what storm is raging around me.

I thank God for Jerard.

The road these past four plus years has been hard
steep
strewn with anger, hurt, tears, depression...
strewn with conflict, sullen silences
and yet overarching, God's mercy.
His grace.
Even in the darkness of soul and family life
His light shining through
His love lighting a pathway of healing - personally,
relationally...
I've seen each of us growing in character and Christlikeness
I've seen such tenderness in my sons to their special needs brother
Jerard's vulnerability has taught me the need to rest and trust completely in my Saviour's care and providence no matter what storm is raging around me.

This gift,
Jerard,
our special needs son
His neediness is the gift
His cute smile,
His gentle blind eyes
People wonder why we ever took a special needs kid in in the first place 'ignorance is bliss" but this I do know....
Love is a commitment
Love is not a feeling
Love is doing what's right regardless of the cost
And isn't that the love my Saviour showed for me and each of us who are Christians when He willingly came to earth, lived a man's life, and willingly suffered, walked the road to calvary, and died? I do not regret the road we've traveled with Jerard
It's been a road full of mercy
a road leading me closer to my FATHER's love

And all I know is that all is grace
And my FATHER knew what He was doing when He created Jerard,
When He brought him to our family.
I rest in HIS loving arms
Thanking HIM for HIS gift,
Thanking Him for Jerard.

A comforting thought to me is that now, my Jerard, can see
and the first face he's ever seen is Jesus' face.
And now I can see him dancing in heaven,
smiling,
laughing,
playing,
eating,
seeing Jesus
seeing colours for the first time ever

Jeremiah 29:11 says "For I know the plans I have for you,declares the Lord,..."
Psalm 139 says For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
15  My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18  If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
    I awake, and I am still with you.
The gift of caring for Jerard has taught me the reality that no matter what God is with me, caring compassionately, gently, patiently for me.
I've seen the depth of my depravity and selfishness in caring for Jerard - you know, sometimes I just didn't want to.
But the prayer at the end of Psalm 139 has become my prayer - "Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! See if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!"
Every circumstance God allows to happen in my life is for my good and His glory.
Jerard has been a gift to me.
I thank God for Jerard.
As much as I miss him, I am thankful he is now running free in the fields of heaven,
able to see and use his body. I look forward to seeing him again someday.
Thank you God, for Jerard.

Funeral Planning Update

Jerard's funeral service will be Tuesday May 22 at 1pm at our church here - Davao Bible Community Church. His internment will be at 3pm at a nearby cemetery, Forest Lake. This cemetery is down the street from where we live and the one we walk in for exercise.