Eight Years: Celebrate the Little Things

Posted by Milo Wilson On Thursday, January 25, 2018 0 comments

This week, January 24th, marks the eight year anniversary of the loss of our eight month old son Josiah, who died of a rare heart defect called HLHS. During the time immediately following we asked God the tough questions. "Why me? Why do you let this happen to our family? Why don't you pick on someone else instead?"

However, as time has passed, I find I am asking God different types of questions. The questions eight years removed now sound like: "I wonder who would benefit from hearing our story? Who do I know that has suffered loss recently? What can I share that would give hope for those in crisis?" Here is what I'd like to share today.

Celebrate the Little things

Throughout Josiah's hospitalization, our family learned to celebrate the little things. His medical condition was always going to be difficult, and little victories could lead to great ones. I believe celebration has become a characteristic the Wilson family ethos. Keeping that in mind, here are a four things to celebrate eight years after losing our precious little boy.

1. A little grief lasts a long time

Grief has a way of sneaking up on a person when they least expect it. While this can take a person off-guard, most people see it as a blessing, because it means that we haven't forgotten about the person we love. The pain is real, but it reminds us once again of the depth of the relationship.

2. A little help makes a big difference

Let's face it. Very few of us are good about seeking help from others when we need it. But at some level all of us need a helping hand, or a shoulder to cry on from time to time. It is important to remember that when interacting with your circle of relationships. Help someone today, and have an impact for many tomorrows.

3. A little trauma does every marriage good

This one is tough to acknowledge, but it is as true as anything else I might list here. The day(s) our son needed open heart surgery, or even day he died was not as traumatic to our relationship, as the months of emptiness that followed. Still, looking back from on the other side, surviving those emotion-less moments has made our desire and passion for one another more real than ever.

4. A little hope illuminates a great distance

Josiah lived his entire eight months on this planet somewhere on the bubble between dire emergency and urgent critical care. As his parents, this could feel incredibly defeating. However, a little good news, a tiny ray of hope was enough to sustain us for days and days. My good news, my ray of hope in this life is found in Jesus. "We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure." Heb 6:19

What are the little things you need to celebrate today?

Living Between The Trees

Posted by Milo Wilson On Thursday, September 28, 2017 0 comments

I was an emotional mess the past Sunday at Randall Church. It didn't help that I've been fighting a head cold and sinus infection for weeks, but oh boy, did I do some ugly crying on Sunday morning! This Sunday was a beautiful expression of the church being the Church. We got to witness a body of believers coming around some very specific families in our church who needed to be brought before the King as their needs are great.  I love when our church prays together! It is beautiful!  And then we were given the opportunity to meet a very practical financial need for one of those families.

On a very personal note it was a "full circle" moment for me.  A moment when I got to see God's word come alive and his promises ring true. Years ago, Milo and I were taught a giving principle out of the scriptures.  In 2 Cor 8:14 God's word says, "At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need."  We have allowed this principle to guide our giving since we were taught it.  To give out of our abundance, trusting that God, through others, will provide for us in our time of need.  So why was this moment on Sunday so emotional for me?

Eight years ago, to this very week, we had a church come around us and give out of their abundance in our time of need.  And now, here I was sitting in the pew with the opportunity to give out my abundance to a family in a similar situation with medical expenses and travel expenses mounting.  To be reminded of what others in the church had done for us years before and now to be able to somehow return a portion of that was an emotional role reversal and I knew exactly what God was asking of me.

God made it very clear to me on Sunday that I was not giving to this family but returning a gift back to God, and I quickly became overwhelmed.  You see, in that moment I received the privilege and honor of being able to take part in the giving. It was hard yet beautiful to feel the tension of wanting to hang onto my abundance but simultaneously realizing just how much I have been given and knowing it was time to let go.  That tension is real, but what good is to have material possessions if we cannot hold them loosely enough that when God says "let go", we can obey as an act of worship.

Pastor Bryan taught this Sunday on the fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden.  He pointed out the image of the tree of life (which God intended for us) and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. When Adam and Eve ate of that tree sin, pain, hurt, cancer, injustice, death and darkness entered our world.  He spoke about how we as believers are living between those two trees now.

There is great tension between those trees.  But as I watched our congregation pray for and give to these families on Sunday I could see more clearly the tree of life, what God had intended. In that moment we were a body of believers heading toward the tree of life and bringing restoration to the brokenness that is in this world.  This, is a church that I am proud to be a part of!

May we continue to be people who wrestle with the tension of living between the trees and a people who desperately seek to do our part to repair the brokenness in this world and head toward the tree of life.

- Erin

The Twists and Turns of Grief

Posted by Milo Wilson On Tuesday, January 24, 2017 0 comments

Today marks seven years. Seven years since we lost our beautiful boy Josiah Nathaniel Wilson to a congenital heart defect. It is amazing how time marches forward whether we are ready to do so or not. Grief shapes us. Loss changes us. But it has been my experience that God sustains us.

Grief shapes us. There is no question that at the age of 35, no other event has shaped me in the way that losing my son did seven years ago. Grief came between my wife and I where nothing and nobody else has ever been able to do so. Grief connected me to a fraternity I never asked to be a part of. A fraternity in our case specifically of parents who outlive their children. This isn't what we wanted. 

Loss changes us. I walk through hospitals differently now. I'm reminded of the regular faces of security guards, cleaning staff, hospitality teams and of course; doctors and nurses. The faces are different now, but familiarity still exists. I find myself leaning in and listening if I meet someone at a coffee shop with a family member who is ill, or a friend who recently passed. I've grown a desire to listen intently, and honor someone's story with my attention. This isn't who I used to be.

God sustains us. Although grief gave our marriage a rough "shake" God's love has brought us togetherness that we would never have experienced without the pain. While loss has given us some battle scars, we have found our story to be an on-ramp to meaningful conversations with many different people, from all walks of life, and births hope through the Gospel for living another day. 

While a twinge of guilt creeps in when I realize I haven't thought of him as often, or when I realize on days like today that the memories aren't as vivid as they used to be, I can still smile. Josiah's legacy lives in me. His half-a-heart still beats in my chest. I might be the only one to see his picture on my wall every morning, but his imprint on my life can be seen by everyone.

 I love you Josiah.

Our son died. Do you want to talk to us about it? :-)

Posted by Milo Wilson On Thursday, May 26, 2016 0 comments

7 years ago little Josiah came into our lives and rocked our world! This picture was snapped on a cellphone by a gracious nurse seconds after he was born, and immediately messaged to me, his daddy, nervously waiting just outside the OR doors. In this moment, Josiah was still unencumbered by the hoses, needles, and multiple surgical scars that would be a normal part of his sweet little life. Yet, I find HOPE in this image, because I know that he is exactly how God created him to be. Broken heart and all! 
Thanks so much little man for changing me! Your short life had an incredible imprint on this world! Its truly amazing. I would have never learned to see God hand at work in the regular things the way I do now without knowing you! We miss you so much. May 20th 2009 - Jan 24th 2010.
Friends, if you are ever wondering how to talk to someone about their deceased child on his birthday, or any day of the year... say their child's name. That what really means the most to me. Whether its over coffee, over the phone, over a text message, or over the neighbors fence. It just fells nice to hear the name said aloud. So, if you are ever in my office, or in our home, please feel free to comment "Is that a picture of Josiah?" It will do my heart glad!

Wilson's Must Go! 2015: Day 15

Posted by Milo Wilson On Friday, July 10, 2015 0 comments

We arrived safely in Asheville at Rahel's new home which they purchased on the Internet. Rented a car and drove through the night to buffalo. Arrived at 6am on July 9th. What an incredible adventure!

Wilson's Must Go! 2015: Day 14

Posted by Milo Wilson On Wednesday, July 8, 2015 0 comments

Crossed the Mighty Mississippi. Major flooding. Arrived in Appalachia. Explored Rahel's amazing new house in west Asheville. Great 12 hr day!