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October 2014

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The Switch. All for His Glory.

Because of social media, word traveled fast about my son Caleb. My wife made a plea early on Facebook for prayer and in brief postings explained the grave situation we were facing. I was still very numb at the hospital and perhaps in shock. God had just told me, “NO” and reality was setting in and I almost felt bad that I was not showing any emotion as everyone around me seemed to fall apart. As we made our way home, I was faced with a house full of people including the state police who wanted my security camera footage. I can’t say I was ready to see everyone and though the support was appreciated, I needed to be alone. To face God. I remember pacing around the house not being able to stand still. There was no escaping myself. No off switch for the pain and anger that was building. I can say I was fit to be tied on the inside but on the outside completely emotionless.

As the people left later that evening, as a family we slept in the living room. All of the kids brought their blankets and pillows as we wanted to be close. We did this for perhaps the first week. The problem for me was I was not able to sleep. Slowly the kids fell asleep and in the wee hours of the morning Tiffany finally drifted off I believe somewhere in the 4 am hour. My issue was flashbacks. Every time I would begin to fall asleep, I would startle back awake trying to save Caleb all over again and expecting a different result that would not come. Honestly, as the evening went on, my anger towards God was increasing. Not understanding why or how this could happen. I was trying my hardest to make sense of something that did not make any sense. Completely alone, because in those moments I was rejecting God. I did not want to be with him. Was it blame? I continued to toss and turn. Moving from the living room to the bedroom. Peace was not to be found. Only anger, rage, pain and fury to name a few.

By the 6 am hour, something switched. I found myself on my knees at my bed side. I turned on some worship music on my phone and began to pray and the floodgates of emotion began to erupt. The sorrow, the sobbing and crying out, “NO Lord, NO. Please Lord NO.” Emotions were racing and the pain was so intense. I started to scream into the comforter on my bed while crushing the fabric in my clenched fists. My release started to wake my family. My daughter Alexis was the first to check on me as she approached and put her arm around me but I was at that point inconsolable. She left as Tiffany came in. The anger and rage erupted I believe at both God and Satan. There was some very foul language (sorry Tiffany) directed at Satan and I recall smashing my arms down on the bed, pounding it while sobbing uncontrollably.

I fell to my face in the most submissive position possible toward God and cried out for mercy over and over. “Mercy Lord!, mercy  Lord!, mercy!” Over and over again as I was crying for mercy from the pain and anguish. I recall declaring that Satan had no control over me and he would not tear my family apart and I said aloud, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15).” Eventually, I calmed down. I moved to the living room to rejoin my family but sleep would still evade me. I was however looking to God for answers. A lot of my anger had subsided but still ultimately not sure which end was up. A few hours would pass before I was contacted by the funeral home to pick out a life verse for Caleb’s service program. Life goes on right? I texted our youth pastor Justin Reese and asked if he could think of any verses and asked him to ask the other pastors if they could think of one. Meanwhile, I sat down in the kitchen and began with Google to start my own search.

I started with search terms like, “losing a child bible verses” or something like that and found a few great sites. It was soon after that I settled on this life verse for Caleb with emphasis on the last sentence:

Psalm 139:13-16 New International Version (NIV)

13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.

As I found comfort in this verse, I was hungry for more. I continued to follow links and eagerly consumed more verses when I found the most profound site that would finally give me understanding and it was centered on God’s zeal for His own glory and here it is:

Biblical Texts to Show God’s Zeal for His Own Glory

The author John Piper (sorry, I have no idea who he is) goes on to write:

“Probably no text in the Bible reveals the passion of God for his own glory more clearly and bluntly as Isaiah 48:9-11 where God says,

For my name’s sake I defer my anger, for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, that I may not cut you off. Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.

I have found that for many people these words come like six hammer blows to a man-centered way of looking at the world

As I continued to study the other references listed on that page it became exceedingly clear that EVERYTHING is for God’s glory. It is my opinion that ultimately, even the bad things that happen on this earth are ultimately for God’s glory. He is the one who created absolutely everything and everything is for his Glory. This is not to say we are puppets and our every move was predestined and that we don’t have free will. Yes, God being omniscient has foreknowledge of every event that happens but in the end, IT IS ALL FOR HIS GLORY!!!! It is not about me. It never was. Everything is for his Glory. Caleb was for His glory, the people affected by Caleb was for God’s glory, my response as a result of losing Caleb is for His glory. The layout of Caleb’s service was for God’s glory. Me saying at the end of Caleb’s service, “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord” was for God’s glory. All that I am and every will be IS FOR GOD’s GLORY! Praise be to God the Great I AM. I surrender all and it is all for His glory.

Are you with me?

Author: Andrew Dubas

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Tiffany Dubas – Best Mom Ever!

Here I am at 7:30 am preparing for my day checking my work email, personal email, Facebook notifications and another thing I always do is review my security camera footage because I like to see what stopped by in the middle of the night. Would it be raccoon, cats or opposum I wondered? No, I caught Tiffany Dubas carrying our 4 year old Isaiah onto the front porch at 3:30 am perhaps for fresh air or to distract his misery. Isaiah woke up with a horrible cough and seemed to have a hard time getting his breath. I know because he came to my wife’s bed side and woke us both up. Tiffany took Isaiah I thought to the living room to console him. I fell back to sleep. This morning while reviewing the security camera footage, I could not help being struck at all that is Tiffany. Over the years I have seen Tiffany sacrifice all that she is and pour out her life to her children. From her very waking moments to her last moments of the day where she can barely function from exhaustion, she is still pouring out her soul to our children. It truly is remarkable. I can’t help but be reminded how many times she has gone without sleep, cleaned up vomit, changed countless diapers, prepared meals, tons of laundry (literally), and home schools but more importantly her selfless sacrifice and spending inordinate amounts of time with our children. Managing a family our size has got to be like being an air traffic controller. She only wants the best for our kids and it is truly amazing to see how our kids respond and blossom because of it. God continues to pour out his blessing on my family and looking back, Tiffany has been God’s best blessing to me. I truly love her. It is not something easily put into words but yea… great stuff! The security camera video below speaks volumes. Enjoy!

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God Said, “NO.”

Finding words is perhaps the most difficult aspect of trying to describe the aftermath of losing Caleb. In the first few hours, I did not entirely understand what happened. One moment life is rainbows and unicorns and the next I am trying desperately to rescue my son from bodily death. Being trained in CPR is something every parent should have in their parental toolkit. In fact, if you are reading this now, waste no time in finding how to be trained. Your child’s life may depend on it or even a complete stranger who may need you. That being said, in the initial moments my training took over and looking back, I executed flawlessly. By God’s grace I remained calm. Directed Tiffany to dial 911 and told Jeremiah to run to the end of the driveway to meet the ambulance so not one moment would be wasted. Though I know nowadays that chest compressions are key I did manage to give Caleb breath into his lungs. Though he did not respond I did not stop the compressions. I was not tired and not fatigued. I turned into a machine. I did not pass Caleb to the EMTs until they were absolutely ready to take over and even then was not entirely ready to pass responsibility over to another. While they were preparing him for the ambulance, I ran inside to get a dry pair of pants and get my wallet. Time could not go any slower. From the time it took for the ambulance to reach our home until we made it to route 100 and then route 29 and finally Lehigh Valley Hospital, screamed eternity!

I recall exactly where it happened… Even though I was praying and pleading the entire time I was giving CPR to Caleb, it was not until We reached route 100 that my requests to God took a significant change. After we turned left off of Huffs Church Rd and entered the straight away where we could finally drive a little faster, I begged God to be Caleb’s replacement. For Caleb’s cup to be passed to me. As a father, the love for my children knows no bound. I would gladly lay down my life to save my family, or any member of my family. I continued to plead not only for Caleb’s life but also for God to strike me down as a substitute if it were possible. I did consider that my family needed me however if there was any way for me to drink Caleb’s cup, I would do so. We would eventually arrive at Lehigh Valley Hospital and the ER trauma team did everything perfectly but it was too late. God said, “NO.” This would not be the first time God has said no to me in my life but this was exceedingly difficult to swallow. My flesh would soon take over and anger started to set in. Though I will not dwell on my anger with God, it’s important to see how my attitude towards God would change in the hours after Caleb’s passing. I will expound on this in more detail soon in another post. Even writing this now I also can’t help but think how God allowed his Son Jesus to take my place. John 3:16 has vivd new meaning. A verse so common and perhaps shoved aside by many without counting the cost.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

 

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Routines Challenged

Today, October 28, 2014 marks 14 days since Caleb has passed but more importantly it has been 15 full days since my family and I have had a sit down meal together without guests. The outpouring of support since Caleb went to be with the Lord has been truly amazing and at times overwhelming. We’ve had meals brought to us, countless visitors and in general a plethora of distractions. Today however was different because though my wife had daytime visitors, we had our first meal together without guests this evening and another reminder of how daily routines are being challenged. Last week, the kids felt ready to go back to school so they did and this week I went back to work. Starting to reclaim some routine in our lives has been a good first step to recovery as a family however there was something very different about dinner tonight.

As meal time approached, Tiffany looked distraught as I entered the kitchen; her glassy eyes began to spill over and sorrow soaked tears slid down her cheeks as she approached me for a hug in obvious distress. She asked for help to prepare dinner because she was having to get the place settings and tonight the one for Caleb would be missing. This would be our first dinner without Caleb as a family. We had already removed Caleb’s high chair in the kitchen as it was a bit too much to bare but again every other night we had distractions. I could feel my soul churn as what Tiffany had already begun to experience was starting to consume me. As each moment passed, I knew as a family we would have to pass through this door. The kids could see our concern. I wanted to go straight to the Lord and immediately turned on worship music  and cranked it loud throughout the house. I needed to set my affection on the Lord and focus on him for comfort. Honestly, worship music has been medicine to my soul. I knew that I would have to pray before our meal but tonight would be different. We normally hold hands as a family and I knew tonight would be no exception. I could feel the weight of the moment.

I truly felt different and prayed differently as well. It was not the normal, “Thank you for this day Lord and thank you for this food may it bless our bodies to do your will.” type of prayer. I definitely went deeper as I felt very connected to God in that moment. Though my prayer was not super long it was definitely specific in asking for comfort as we missed Caleb at the dinner table. Though I do not recall my every word, I felt the Holy Spirit lead me. It was refreshing. I yearn for more family connection like that. We generally do not pray very much as a family or have devotions as distractions scatter us in every direction. I think that is a mistake. Even before Caleb’s passing for weeks before I think God was working on my heart for more devotion. I am not sure where this will go but I know that God is refining me in way I never thought possible. I look forward to where God will be taking us. We miss Caleb dearly and I covet your prayers. This time in our lives has really tested our faith. So fitting that my wife and I have been memorizing the book of James. Read it, you will know what I mean.

I think this whole dinner thing will get better over time however tonight former routines have been challenged in a good way. One thing is for certain… a simple dinner prayer won’t cut it any longer. To God be the glory!

Author: Andrew Dubas andrew@dubas.org

 

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About This Blog…

I will start by declaring I’ts not about me. I started this blog to have a place to journal my experience relating to losing my 18 month old son Caleb to accidental drowning. I am not a professional writer. My grammar and punctuation skills are not refined so allow me some grace in that area. I am not looking for fame and it’s OK if I am the only one looking at my posts. I wanted to have a place to compile my memories of Caleb and just journal my thoughts. In some respect, if someone can benefit from my experience or someone would be so moved to accept my faith as their own as a result, then my mission is accomplished but ultimately, everything is for God’s glory and I am not looking for attention. In fact, I am quite introverted. This event however has so moved me that I feel compelled to share and express myself in this way. In future posts, I will try my best to explain this event that has left me changed forever.

As for the author, my name is Andrew and I am currently 40 years old with 6 remaining children ages – Jeremiah 15, Aaron 14, Elijah 12, Alexis 10, Josiah 7, and Isaiah 4. I have been married now 17 years and a professed Christian since I was a teenager. I will delve into my faith more as time goes on along with family dynamics, why we have so many children and where we stand today as a result of losing our youngest child. I am not sure how many posts there will be or how long this will go on. Obviously privacy is an issue and things I post are very personal. Again, it’s not about me and as much as I want to dedicate this site to my son Caleb, this blog is ultimately for God’s glory. Let’s see where this goes…

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Caleb Andrew Dubas – Obituary

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Caleb A. Dubas, 18 months old, of Albutris, passed away on Tuesday, October 14, 2014 at Lehigh Valley Hospital – Cedar Crest.

Born in Reading, PA he was a son of Andrew P. and Tiffany E. (Bilger) Dubas of Alburtis, PA.

He was a member of Salem Bible Church, Macungie, PA.

Surviving in addition to his parents are his five siblings Jeremiah, Aaron, Elijah, Josiah, Isaiah and Alexis Dubas, Alburtis, PA; paternal grandparents, John Dubas and wife, Helen of Barto, PA; maternal grandparents, Ken Bilger of Bally, Pa; Dorothy Harnley of Boyertown, PA and George Hamilton and wife, Trish of Linfield, PA; seven aunts and uncles, Christine Melcher of Barto, PA; Tarence Bilger of Hereford, PA; Tracey Gerhart of Fleetwood, PA; George Hamilton, Jr. of Mexico; Sean Hamilton of Manhattan, NY; Brittany Kunze of Limerick, PA and Sheena Alderfer of Pottstown, PA.

A celebration of life service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, October 18, 2014 at Salem Bible Church, 8031 Salem Bible Church Rd, Macungie, PA 18062 with Rev. John Hutteman officiating.  Relatives and friends are invited to a visitation from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m. Saturday at the church.  Burial will follow in the church cemetery.  Arrangements are entrusted to Mann-Slonaker Funeral Home, 222 Washington Street, East Greenville, PA.  Offer words of comfort to the family at www.mannslonakerfuneralhome.com.

Memorial contributions may be made in his memory to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, 6931 Arlington Rd, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814.