Thursday, December 31, 2015

Visions, One

Continued from the Agony  

Sometimes it is difficult to find human words to adequately describe visions

As Roma was passing through that thin veil dividing the world we inhabit from the one we are all steadily approaching, two friends contacted me about clear visions they had of Roma the night he made that journey. I've asked each of them to share, in their own words, what they saw. Below is one vision. The other one is coming. 

Two years ago, I met Cheryl Bresin through an adoption and orphan-hosting Facebook group. She got to know Roma and me better by reading But the Greatest of These is Love. We began to message and discovered she lives an hour north of me. Then we realized another member of the group, who also had just read my book, was also close. We met for lunch, and as the case when God puts people in our lives, we three have became close friends. We have met for lunch a few times now, and even gone away on a four-day retreat to discuss the ways of God, as best we can understand Him. Telling our families in September we were going to a cabin by a lake in remote West Virginia with people we met on the internet sounded so wrong.  Unless God is involved, and, in our case, it turned out to be just right. 

Here is Cheryl's vision in her words. 

I am awestruck by how many lives this little boy from the border of Russia and Georgia has touched. So many became a part of this story and have held the Michael family and Roma deeply in their hearts. Roma's giant personality made us all feel that he was a part of our everyday lives. We grieve as his bigger-than-life presence stepped over to the other side; while still leaving the memory of his wide open arms and radiant smile that remains forever etched in our thoughts.

I have read and re-read "You are Mine," from the "Family Connections" series about the miracle of finding Roma's birth family.  I read it each time with the same pause. It was as if God was putting His hand on my shoulder to make certain that I saw.

                                   Part Eight

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;I have called you by name; you are Mine!" (Isaiah 43:1)

I was overtaken by a stillness, as I read the foreshadowing words of the last line of this post, "And now He has called Roma."

After Debbie and I texted that fateful night, I sobbed as my heart ached deeply for my dear sister and her family. I cried out with the words from Romans 8:26: the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

In the early morning of December 7th, I was awakened by God to pray over and over again. I talked to God and Roma out loud. I was lost in time in this prayerful realm. At one point, I drifted back to sleep, then awakened by this noise that filled my room overhead. The sound resembled the beginning of a wind storm with the gentleness of a ocean breeze.The deep warm embrace was like a thick warm cloud that was all encompassing. 

It was Angels, and Roma was with them. They were going to and fro accompanied by this systematic flowing sound. In my humanness, I called out loud to Roma to be strong and voiced that he did not have to leave. The breeze forcefully whooshed a few more times, then faded, and disappeared . . . 

The veil between heaven and earth is truly so thin.

The next morning, I lit a candle to remind myself to pray every time I passed throughout the day. A candle much like the one that burned in Georgia. As it flickered, it held the sadness of loss and the gratefulness for a family that embraced their Roma with complete and immense unending love. A love that reminds us all, "But the Greatest of These is Love."

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." (John 14:18)

                        *            *            *            *            *            *            

Thanks to my dear Sister, Cheryl, who writes a blog of her own. 
Her words and vision comfort me. Please continue to pray for us.

Cheryl references Part Eight of the Family Connections series, but you can read all eleven posts of that popular series starting at Part One.  

Continue with Goodbye Kid, Roma's brother's Taylor's words at the Celebration of Life. 

Monday, December 28, 2015

The Agony

Drawing by Kellie Michael Ryan

If you are following our story only by my blog, I have very sad news. A work accident took the life of our bright and beautiful Roma. On December 6, Roma hit a live wire while working on a metal roof, and the shock threw him from the two story ladder. He landed on his head. He was pronounced dead the following morning. 

In these past three weeks of unspeakable suffering, I have also experienced extravagant love. And miracles. I do not believe our story is over. I hope you will follow along. 

For now, I will share what I said at the Celebration of Life for our beloved Roma. I am not one to speak in front of even small crowds, but the huge crowd that showed up to memorialize Roma on that cloudy Monday, December 14, did not faze me in the least. I had a mission: to honor my precious son and thank those who had a part in his life. I could not have uttered a word if prayers were not doing their perfect work. 

Here is the video slide show of our beautiful boy. 


"Today we are celebrating Roma's life. Who can think of Roma without smiling? I'm not surprised to learn that everyone who knew Roma loved him. But I am astounded at the sheer number of people he knew.

There has been a repeated theme of the many messages, texts, calls, and visits we have received since last Sunday night (the night of the accident.) One friend said it like this: "Everyone loved Roma, but God chose the Michaels to be his family." That was God's extravagant love for us.

But God knew this honor of raising Roma was way too big for the Michael family alone. We would need helpers. LOTS of helpers! To aid in the recruitment of many helpers, God armed Roma with a BIG hearted personality, a sweet deposition, disarming smile, and fabled charisma. And oh, those sparkly green eyes. 

Yes, the helpers came. In droves. Neighbors, teachers, coaches, teammates, friends, mothers and fathers of friends. All assisted us in the joyful task of raising Roma. And we are infinitely grateful for the help! God intended Roma to be a blessing to many. He touched more lives in his brief twenty-one years than most people encounter in a lifetime!

Roma loved life. He loved his family and his friends. He loved sports. Roma LOVED. He spread himself thin. He lived life to the fullest, as if he knew his time was limited. He careened through life, as though he had a check list. "Football. Yeah, that was great, do more of that." Some things on his vast list were ONE and Done, Thank God! He was like a kid in a candy store, on a stopwatch, arms open wide. He didn't always have time to be careful. He just wanted to experience all life had to offer, the good, and sometimes the not-so-good. He didn't want to miss anything!

Sometimes I would wring my hands as we tried to teach Roma to be a man of integrity. Raising a son sent from God was not a job to be taken lightly! We wanted him to learn to be a good husband and father, do his laundry, and remember him to brush his teeth. 

Lately I've sensed that God was telling me not to fret, but cherish the immense GIFT of Roma. It was as if God said, " I didn't ask you to FIX Roma. All I asked you to do was LOVE him. And, oh, that part was easy.

Remember Roma, and do NOT let his bright but brief life and his untimely death leave you unchanged. Make his life count. He would want it that way. Roma was a shooting star. Such LIGHT! But oh so brief. No matter what mischief Roma was getting into, there was no darkness in Roma. No malice. Roma was pure LIGHT.

I look out on this crowd this morning. Most of you I would have never known without Roma. I am so grateful the role each one of you embraced in teaching him, and being taught by him. 

Many times on Facebook this week I've read "rest in peace, Roma." Really? Can the words Rest and Peace be used in the same sentence with Roma? Hardly!

I think Roma is embracing Heaven with the same gusto he embraced life. He's up there endearing himself to angels, insinuating himself into important Heavenly roles, like sending pink roses, my favorite, to my red rose bush, in December! After a week now, Roma is probably trying to be God's top adviser.

We are all so blessed to have been touched by Roma. We always knew there was something special about him. Roma was God's boy. I didn't know how hard it would be to give him back.

I have prayed that something good will come out of this heart-breaking tragedy. I'm confident it will, for God redeems it ALL! He will not waste our pain. Let Roma's life and death make you a better person. Never allow the LIGHT that was Roma, to be extinguished in you. 

Until we meet again, dear, sweet boy! Thank you Lord for your Gift of Roma. And thank you for all these willing helpers!" 


I will share more in later posts. The closeness of God, the foreshadowing of tragedy, the miracles. My wish is only to bring glory and honor to the Perfecter of my faith. Our Father God is a living and loving Father who is not remote and uncaring. He is close to the brokenhearted! 

To read about finding Roma's family in Russia and the Republic of Georgia in 2015, begin here. It's a long story, but worth the time. 

To continue with first of two visions friends had the night Roma left his earthly life, continue here.