Thursday, January 14, 2010

"I Hate When Flowers Die"

Have you ever really thought about flowers? I mean really pondered how lovely each delicate blossom truly is and how many different kinds and colors and personalities there are and the fact that they’re all from the Father’s hand? How creative and beautiful and wonderful God must be to come up with the big, sunny sunflower and to paint the regal rose. I love them all from the dainty little violets to the old-fashioned hydrangeas and from the tantalizing smell of my gardenias to everybody’s favorite, those spunky gerbera daisies. I love the way my forsythia heralds the spring with its yellow bells, but my very favorite of all is the camellia.

Bronner, my special angel baby, went to heaven January 19th, 2008 just after we had purchased an 80-acre farm in Jemison, Alabama with a sweet little farmhouse on it. I had envisioned him growing up going to the farm, running in the big hay field, learning to fish from the pond, riding on the four-wheeler with me or his dad. He only got to go there a few times, but he was all about it. He was all boy and would have loved a childhood with that to go to.

We hadn’t yet furnished the little house when he was around, but I had talked about it with a decorator friend of mine. I called her after Bronner went to heaven and asked was there any way she could get some mattresses or something down there because I knew I wouldn’t want to go home after his memorial service.

She did so much more than that. She and another decorator friend furnished that whole little farmhouse in a matter of two days. And we did go down there that night after the memorial, and we stayed there in our little sanctuary for about three months. It didn’t take me long to find my beautiful camellia bush blossoming its rosy blooms, and I thought, “You, little flowering bush, must be from Bronner, a gift for his mommy when she is hurting so badly for him.”

My camellia bloomed for me when nothing else was blooming, nothing within or without. I now see that camellia as Bronner’s way of saying to me, “It may not seem like it now, but I’m blooming. I’m just as alive as I ever was, and I’m going to send you little reminders of it throughout your life starting with this camellia, a flower for my mommy.”

I never was one to cut flowers out of my yard and put them on my table before then. I just didn’t think to do it, but I cut some blossoms off that camellia bush, put them in a vase, and set them on my table to remind me of my baby blooming in heaven for me and waiting on his mommy and daddy to join him. Since then, I do it a lot, and if there’s nothing blooming in my yard, I’ll pick them up from the market.

Over the Christmas holidays, I found a lovely bouquet with red gerbera daisies, red roses, and the branches of evergreens that was just perfect… for about a week. One day Brody and I were sitting at the kitchen table where that Christmas bouquet was on its last leg when Brody, my eight-year-old poignant and pensive son, said, “I hate when flowers die.” That’s all he said; “I hate when flowers die.” What a profound statement from a young boy. “I hate when flowers die.”

“I do too, Brody.” That’s all I said, and we sat there in silence pondering the death of our flowers. I’ve thought about that a lot since that December day and wondered at how flowers are so beautiful and bring such joy. The only thing is… they don’t last. They’re here today and gone tomorrow, but aren’t they just like everything else? We see it played out in the flowers so clearly because their blooms last for such a short while, but that 200-year-old oak will one day die too. Everything is passing away, all but the word of the Lord which says that we are to set our minds on things above not on earthly things because what is seen is temporary but what is unseen is eternal.

Jesus said from the Mount of Beatitudes, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth not rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

God wants us to know and shows us over and over and over again that this world is not all there is and the earth isn’t what it will be, but there will come a day when He will say “Behold, I make all things new.” Heaven and the earth will be made new, and God will dwell with us on that new earth. We, who have acknowledged our need for a Savior and have put our faith in Jesus Christ as that Savior, will be His people. He will wipe away every tear from our eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore. In that day, the prophet Isaiah tells us the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them.

Maybe that child will be Bronner.

I’m looking forward to that day. On that day, I will have my Bronner back. On that day, sin and death will be no more. On that day, I will look upon the face of my Savior and be held in the arms of a Father. I know it’s coming. I know it just as I know the daffodils will come in springtime, and I say, “Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly.” Amen.


  1. A beautiful post! I remember so well the day Bronner went to be with Jesus. Living in Southern TN and working in Huntsville, AL.. we are all big R&B fans here. Our entire church family wept for you and your family. I couldn't imagine the pain you were going through ... until I faced it myself. My son was born premature and lived with us 13 days before going to LIVE with Jesus. There is no pain to compare with loosing a child. Reading blogs have been a great outlet for me and I'm so thankful to find yours. A true inspiration to me. Thanks for being so obedient to our wonderful Father!

  2. I also remember the day Bronner went to Heaven...I was holding vigil at my husbands' bedside trying to keep him from losing his finger, which had been pulled off in an accident at work in the coal mine. We thought that was such a tragedy, but knowing what the Burgess Family, and others such as Wendy, have gone through, we feel so blessed.

    We had been there for 5 days already, when I received a call from my daughter on Sunday morning asking if we had heard about what happened to "Cornbread". My heart knew that it was bad before she told me. In the next few days, we listened intently to all the calls coming in to the show, I cried incessantly, as I still do every time I think of Bronner, Rick, and especially heart is still breaking for you and I still cry every time I allow myself to think of your pain.

    I admire you SO MUCH! You are such an inspiration and have an amazing way of putting your thoughts into words. My husband and I enjoyed listening to you at the Time to Reconnect conference last year at Ross Bridge. Nothing has touched me as deeply as that little baby angel and the strength shown by his mommy, daddy, and by his entire family.

    My husband still has his finger, although it doesn't move.....but that little inconvenience pales tremendously, when compared to the heartache the Burgess family and others, mourning the loss of a child, have been through and continue to go through daily.
    May God always richly bless you for your steadfast faith and witness.
    Cathy Stone

  3. Your words mean so much. I can read the hurt in your words, but I know that he is safe and he is happy. He is not living in the world but he is in a place where there is no heartache or tears. God bless you and your family every day! You and your family are such an inspiration to us all!

  4. Thank you for sharing your heart, Sheri. I also remember that Sunday morning getting ready for church when my oldest daughter came to the bathroom door and said, "Mom, Cornbread died." I heard what she said, I knew who she was talking about, but my heart just couldn't process it for a minute. I'm one of our church secretaries and our pastor at the time is also a R&B fan. He met me at the office door and all he said was, "Did you hear?" Our associate pastor was with Scott Dawson's group with Rick that weekend. He was able to share with the church family how everyone there immediately began to pray for your family. Your family has touched ours in many ways.

    Thinking of you and Rick and the kids this weekend. May the peace of God which surpasses all our understanding, guard your hearts and minds at this time and always. May you feel the strength of the Father's arms around you, knowing that your baby boy is sitting in the lap of the Most High God, Creator of the heavens and the earth!

  5. One more thing, this is a website of a friend mine. She is able to take flowers and turn them into beads for jewelry. I have NO connection to this business other than being friends with Heather and knowing that she does beautiful work and is a Godly woman.

  6. Burgess Family, we are sure that this is going to be an extra-emotional weekend filled with memories of beautiful baby Bronner. Your family is in our thoughts and prayers year round, but especially as the anniversary of life with Jesus. Your words are heartfelt and tug at our hearts even through cyberspace, a place where words can be so cold. Your blog has certainly warmed the place up. Thanks again for sharing your heart and soul with us, the Holy Spirit is moving throughout you like breath. I, too, can't wait for the celebration awaiting me in my forever-home.

  7. On my way to work this morning I heard R&B talking about your blog. I am so glad I found it! My heart breaks for you and your family, because we are human and our hearts hurt, but praise God, little Bronner is in a wonderful place, sitting at the feet of Jesus!! I will remember you in prayer.

  8. You are a beautiful writer. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  9. Thank you for sharing your feelings! This is beautifully written. You are an inspiration to me.

  10. Sherry -- beautiful post. Your words touched me. Your Bronner's short life continues to touch the lives of so many.

    Also, I want to welcome you to this wonderful, wild and crazy place of blogging. The Lord has blessed me GREATLY through the Internet. I've gone from my little blog to blogging for Extraordinary Women, The Girls Get Away Cruise, and hosting an online Bible study and a new ministry, gIRL: girlfriends In Real Life.

    It's all from God! I could have NEVER done this on my power -- it's only through His amazing blessing and grace that He would allow me, the least of these, to serve Him in such a way!

    I think you'll love blogging!

  11. Prayers and Thoughts are with you and your family.

    This post reminds me of the a song by The Easters. the song is called "Roses will bloom Again". It talks about no matter what has happened in your life roses will bloom. Your little one is your rose and I know he is blooming in Heaven right now!

  12. Sherri,Beautiful words and thoughts. God Bless you and your family. I will be saying a prayer for you all this weekend.

  13. Thanks for sharing your blog with us Sherri. It was beautiful, and really gives you something to think about. I praise God for my parents, for raising me to believe in God, and know how God can walk with us and carry us in those impossible and terrible times in our lives. Thank you for reminding us of that.

  14. What a beautiful post and I'm sure it will touch so many, as Bronner's life has.

    Blessings to you and your family!

  15. Sherri, I am so glad you started a blog. I have emailed your husband on several occasions. First let me give you my blog address . I told Rick, June 2008 of us losing our precious baby girl, Layah Faith, after only 6 days of life. I felt a bond with your family in that the day we found out we were expecting, was that snowy January day when Bronner was born into heaven. I remember thinking and even saying out loud, "I cant imagine that pain. I cant imagine the pain a mother feels when she loses a child." I could have never imagined that I would feel that pain less than 6 short months later. As you well know, the grief process is a difficult road to walk, even as a believer. I know now, as I took from Rick, Layah's short life was complete. Our precious Savior accomplished in her what she was set out to do, and I believe that it is continuing in and through me. We now have a precious, healthy 3 month old little boy, Luke Jeremiah. Our children's names have all been very prophetic, you'll have to read about that on my blog. I just want to tell you that as you walked that journy of grief, (with hope), I walked behind you, and others have since walked behind me. Like you, one day the road will end, at our precious Savior's feet, and sitting there in His lap, will be our precious children.
    I hope to hear from you sometime. It helps so much to be able to talk to other moms who know how I feel. I hope to start a small group at my church, Church of the Highlands, next semester for mom's who have lost a child. It's what Layah would have wanted. Take care and God Bless.

    Faithfully His,

    Mika Shelfer

  16. Sherri,
    What a great surprise to find your blog on here. God has blessed you with words to share and to make a difference in so many people`s lives. We rejoiced with you before Bronner`s birth as we celebrated with a baby shower in his honor. We mourned with you when he went to Heaven but rejoiced at the thought of Jesus welcoming him to his new home. Now, what an opportunity for all of us to rejoice with you as we see what God is doing in your life in Bronner`s memory. I look forward to reading your post! Love you, Jane Lazenby

  17. Sherri, it is so good to read your blog. We met when you spoke at FBC Center Star, shortly after Bronner's homecoming. I admired you so much and my heart still aches for you. Once again,I know Bronner is saying, "Yay, Mom!!" as he and Jesus talk about you.

    Thank you for the analogy of the poignant and true. I pray the LORD continues to shine through know we have to have "cracks" in our armor for Him to shine through...

    Judi Jones

  18. Sherri, what a beautiful way to share Bronner with us. What is so hard to believe and yet so comforting is that Jesus loves Bronner more than we do. What a mighty God.

  19. As I sit hear crying over such beautifully written words I felt I needed to say something, but I have no idea what. My children are 6 and 3 and I can't comprehend going through what your family has, especially you, a mother. I will never have your strength. Never. I ache for you. God bless you and hold you close as you hold on to the promise that one day you will have your precious baby in your arms again and there will never again be aching or hurting or pain and tears. What a joyous day that will be. God bless you and your family.

    Nikki Fry

  20. Sherri,
    What a beautiful story and testimony, it was such a blessing to read. As I read it, I shed a few tears but not of sorrow but of the wonderful love and hope you have shared through your trials. You and Rick are very special people that God has blessed with the talent to share his word with us. Your family are in our thoughts and prayers daily. We love you all!

    Susan Johnson

  21. Sheri, thank you so much for starting this blog and for sharing your thoughts about being a mom and about Bronner. As a Mom who has lost children, I can relate to so many of your words. They touch my heart. May God be with you over the next few days as you go through another anniversary and may he continue to bless you, Rick, and the family.

  22. Wow, after reading all the comments I feel like my words just repeat everyone else' I leave you with HIS words...

    "The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace"
    Numbers 6:24-26

    Sending hugs...

  23. Sherri,
    Many of our hearts are broken for you and the family. Have been since Bronner went to be with his Lord Jesus. He is there now, helping to receive young babies from Haiti. We look forward to when this suffering will pass and we will be with Him.
    Be comforted.
    Loving you.........D

  24. sherri, you are always in my thoughts and prayers i have been a long time fan and was listening the day bronner was born that Jan day my heart felt like it was breaking in two and knowing the pain you were facing i don't know how you and rick made it through except by the grace of God keep up the work by being the obedient servant you are and God bless all of you

  25. Unbelievable faith in action. Thank you for your posts.

  26. I am a mother who has made it 6 years past the homegoing of our little girl Madelise. It is amazing to think that it has been that long and then occasionally it seems as though it was yesterday. I take pride when I see the faithful such as yourself, define the tragedy instead of the tragedy defining you. So many times people allow the circumstances define who they are, and that doesn't give Christ the opportunity to shine. As Christians it is our job, our life's mission to allow Christ to shine in everything we do. We have started a ministry in the Montgomery Area called Lifesong Ministry, to help families that go through the loss of a child. I have coined the phrase "Finding a new normal, while living with a changed reality.", because we have to learn to live with a new life, because our old life no longer exists. We as parents have had our world turned upside down, so that Christ can bring turn it round again. I am praying for you, and wish you the best in your journey after Christ, while waiting to see Bronner again.

  27. Sherri and family, you will never know how many people pray for your family.Is.41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; For I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. You get to see this everyday, don't you?

  28. I just wanted you to know you are in our prayers.

  29. Dear Burgess Family,

    Today as I was reading my devotion, one of the verses struck me and I thought of you all.

    Does the Lord so delight in holocausts and sacrifices as in obedience to the command of the Lord? Obedience is better than sacrifice… 1 Samuel 15:22

    At first, it struck me as very odd…wouldn’t he look upon sacrifice as the greatest…especially the sacrifice of losing a child?

    Then it came to me…our obedience to the Lord’s command and to his word, despite our sacrifices is very pleasing to Him!! I see this obedience in the Burgess Family!!! Thanks for being witnesses to the Truth! May God continue to hold you in his care and may your reunion with Bronner be glorious!!

    God’s Peace

  30. Shari: I read your blog and listened to Rick today, at the same time. Your testament to God's faithfulness is amazing. It strengthens me as I walk through our family's journey with demons that sexual molestation (as a baby/child) as left on my sister. Thank you for being vulnerable and for sharing.
    Susan Mouser

  31. Sherri, thank you so much for sharing your blog with us and for the stand that you and Rick take. As many R&B fans, I will never forget when I heard what had happened. I was at my mom's that Saturday night and we had Janet and Jerry Butler over for dinner. (Jerry is Josh's grandfather). Guess it wasn't long after they left that Jerry called and told us what happened. My prayers immedietly went up for your family, but especially you and my heart just ached. I am so thankful for the hope we have of seeing our loved ones that have gone on to heaven before us again.

    Much love, appreciation, and prayers coming your way,
    Barbara Franklin

  32. Sherri,
    I'm so excited that you are doing this blog! I've been listening to Rick and Bubba for a couple of years now and hear soooo many wonderful things about they guys wives, so it's a pleasure to read your words and thoughts and to feel like I'll get to know you a little bit this way. I live in SC so I'm usually nowhere close to hear you when you have speaking engagements. Maybe you'll come my way at some point...would love that! Thank you for sharing your heart and thoughts with us. There are not too many days that go by that I don't think of Bronner going to be with Jesus and how y'all's arms must ache to hold him just one more time. Thankfully your trust that he is tucked safely next to his heavenly Father is what soothes you and knowing one day soon you will see his sweet face again. I know tomorrow may be extra difficult, so I'm dedicated to praying for y'all all day long! I know you know God has used your story to touch and change so many lives, but even though I've been a Christian a long time, God's used your story to touch me in so many ways, too. Not one bit of your heartache has been or will be wasted. Believe that.

    Much love and prayers to you!
    Missy Moore
    Sumter, SC

  33. Sherri,
    I just found your blog through the Rick and Bubba web site. What an incredible writer you are---your words are a window to your heart and I appreciate your transparency. You and your family are in our prayers during this very difficult time of the anniversary of Bronner's homegoing. Please know you are loved.
    Tracey K.
    Crystal River, FL

  34. Beautiful! My thoughts and prayers are with your family on this day, especially. May God wrap you in comfort. God bless.

  35. I cannot begin to imagine what you are going through, but I am so thankful for your testimony and faith. Even through your suffering, you and Rick are helping so many people and leading many to Christ.

    Please know you and your entire family will be lifted up in prayer today and the days to come.

  36. Sherri, I love you. You don't know me but as a sister in the faith, I just had to tell you I love you. You are an amazing woman, and you make me want to be a mom.

  37. Sherri,

    Thank you so much for starting this blog. I have never met you but the Lord put you and your family and your sweet baby Bronner in our lives for a very important reason. My husband and I have listened to the radio show for years. I was so wrapped up in your hurt and pain when you lost Bronner. It changed the way my husband and I looked at things. It was such a faith building experience for us. I know now that it was just one of the many ways the Lord was preparing us for the events that would take place on May 6 of last year. I went into labor at 24 weeks and our precious baby boy Nate did not survive. The Lord has used Rick and you in such a powerful way for our family. In lieu of flowers we had donations sent to the Bronner Burgess Memorial Fund in hopes that we could have some small part in your story and in advancing the gospel. Thank you for your honesty and for the Truth that your life speaks out. I pray for your family today. I hope that my Nate and your Bronner are friends up in Heaven...Oh the joy they must feel to be at Jesus' feet. I agree with you "Come Lord Jesus, come quickly!"

  38. If you get a chance, please read my blog post that I wrote after visiting your blog today:

  39. "To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified."—Isaiah 61:3.

    Sherry, thank you - your spirit magnifies the Lord.

  40. My thoughts are with you and your family this week. I'm loving on my three daughters...praying for my husband...praying for you and your entire family.

  41. You and your family continue to shine the light of Jesus into this dark world and I'm so thankful for your faithfulness! Ours prayers are with you all as this time of year is so bittersweet. May His peace continue to cover you as you faithfully walk in His love.

  42. Thank you for sharing your heart. Praying for you today. Praying that God would cover you in His peace that passes all understanding.

  43. I am so excitged about following your blog. Thank you for sharing your personal and intimate feelings as God lays them on your heart. I remember Bronner so often and when God puts Bronner in my thoughts, I pray for his family here on earth. We are sisters in Christ.
    I am Believing God~
    Shanna Rainey
    Petal, MS

  44. We belong to a club no one should ever be a part of, we who have lost children. My son would have been 10 on January 13th. I can so relate to your words of sadness and happiness, despair and hope. Thank God this world is truly not our home.


  45. Thank you so much for sharing your heart with us. I remeber hearing the news about Bronner. On January 17th 2008 my husband (42 years old) had suffered a heart attack. He was being move out of ICU and into a regular room when I heard story on the news. I was praising God that He spared my husbands life and morning your loss all in a span of minutes. I spent the rest of the day wondering why one is taken and one is left. Rick words since have shown me that both are for HIS GLORY. Bronner proved HIS glory in death and I pray that my husband will continue to show that same glory in living. I pray that you do not mind that Bronner is the subject of my blog post today at

  46. Thinking of you and twiced blessed to be Mom of two Sons..One hand in Heaven and one hand thankful to have had 21 years with my Son. He taught me so much about being a Mom and his love keeps me content in the last 39 months...In God We Trust...

    -Gina Nielsen
    Mom of Dustin C. Parker
    09-29-1985 to 10-30-2006

  47. I just can't imagine!! I cried when I read this post but I know it is somehow Gods plan and I pray for confort for you and your family.

  48. Sherri, I am so sorry for the pain you are going through. Please know my prayers are with you, but more importantly, please be assured the Lord Jesus is walking with you.

    Your words are so beautiful, for they are written with a beautiful heart.

    Many blessings to you.

    In His Love,


  49. Thank you for sharing your beautiful heart.

  50. Sherri,

    Thank you so much for telling me about your blog. I read it, and it is amazing how our conclusions of the passing of our sons parallel. I came to the same conclusion you did. God showed me the same things you talk about in your blog. We were so happy too, I could not understand why this tragedy had to happen to us. Lewis had been praying, "Lord help me to know You', and through this, we have gone to a much deeper level of understanding our Savior, Jesus Christ. God told me He wanted my heart. He wanted Holiness for me and my family. He wanted me to be more sanctified.
    I am assuming you have heard of the three step process we "should" go through as believers: Saved from the penalty of sin, saved from the power of sin, and saved from the presence of sin. The 1st is when we receive salvation, the 2nd is becoming holy, or growing to where we resist sin and temptations, and 3rd when we get to heaven and we are no longer in the presence of sin, Hallelujah!

    The one thing you wrote about that I had not thought about, was how incredible it will be to raise Levi in a perfect new earth. One without fear, or pain. Thank you for that. It will be 5 years this May since Levi went to heaven, and God has given me things to remind me that Levi is alive and well, just like you had your camilia bush. Isn't God great! Your blog brought tears to my eyes, and tears to my eyes as I write this. Time does heal a lot of things, but that pain of our "Precious angels", going on before us will never go completely away.

    This has gotten longer than you probably had time for, but I wanted to thank you for what you are doing. I have a speaking and singing engagement next month, where they want mew to share my testimony and sing. I can hardly wait to share about Levi and how great our God is.

    Blessing to you and you sweet family!

    All for His Glory,

    Lisa Hunt

  51. Sherri, Thank you for the idea of fresh cut flowers on the table during the winter. In the past 15 months i have lost my brother to suicide and my mom to cardiac arrest. During this season of time things outside are dry, withered and dead, much to fit my heart. I keep praying for the spring to come for some signs of life, however, when I read about getting the flowers I went to the store and did just that. My husband thought at first it was a "sign" he needed to buy me more flowers until I explained about your blog. So every word you type is annointed by God, He is using you in a mighty way and I just wanted to say thank you for being an obedient vesel.

  52. Sherry,
    As I read your blog, I started crying, thinking to my self.. what would I do if I lost my children. I could not come up with anything. I admire you and your strong faith. I think your words are a blessing and it is a blessing to be able to read them. I thank you for sharing your heart felt thoughts and words of faith. I can only hope and pray that I would be half the woman you are!! You are an inspiration to all mothers and women everywhere!! You are a true blessing!!! Thank you!! I am sooo terribly sorry for your loss and I know that God has a plan for us all!! May God continue to use you to show us the path we should take!!