Friday, January 24, 2014

...who grieves even while praising?

It's one week later.

I've made it.  The children have made it.  

I've experienced much, but when I try to sort out specifics, things are sometimes a bit of a blur. 

Many hands shook mine.  Many arms engulfed me in hugs.

Many kind words were spoken.  Many offers for help were extended. 

Many decisions were made.  Many tasks were willingly performed by others to lighten my load.

Many friends and family members came to stand in an incredibly long let me know they care.

Many tears have been shed.  Many memories have been shared.

Many questions have been asked.  Many discussions about Heaven have been held. 

Many miles were traveled.  Many songs were sung.

Many texts and emails and Facebook messages have been exchanged.

Many cards have been received.  Many encouraging words have been shared.

So many came to the service where we celebrated the life of my one true love.

So many have been touched by his life!

So, at one week out, I find myself heading to the cemetery where that one true love now lies in the beautiful wooden coffin I chose for him.  The day before, the cemetery was populated with folks who came to pay their respects one more time and witness the touching fly-over by one of our dear pilot friends.  

It is one of those things I need to do all alone.  On this day, a bitter cold wind cuts through me like the proverbial knife as I endeavor to walk around a bit.  The clods of dirt on the fresh grave are hard and unforgiving, the leftover casket spray is pitiful-looking and frozen.  

My mind still refuses to wrap itself around the reality of this scenario.  It seems to vehemently resist the idea of the truth.  I don't live in denial now, nor have I in the past.  But I HAVE endeavored to focus as much as possible on any positive aspects of this tragic trial in order keep from falling prey to depression and dark thought patterns.

Thus, I now find that to keep from swirling into insanity, I must go back to that habit and focus on what good I can.  Like this:

It was NOT as cold the day of the funeral as it is this day.  

It is sunny and bright.

My children are strong troopers with a resiliency that amazes me.

I have no reason to fret about my financial state at the time being. 

The timing of the visitation and funeral worked well for some of the attendees.

There were so many who came out to express their support and show their love.  

I don't feel God, or by family and friends.

My husband's parents and siblings seemed pleased with the arrangements made for everything.

My husband left me well-prepared to meet this day.  

We had opportunity to grieve together and support each other in that grief.  

My house is filled with beautiful plants and flowers that serve to remind us of the care of friends and family as well as the creativity of a loving Heavenly Father Who remains in control of ALL the details of my life.  

This blog affords me the opportunity to process my thoughts and attempt to make some kind of sense of my feelings.

One of my best friends is bringing a new life into the world very, very soon giving us something to celebrate!

So far this winter, none of my children have gotten sick.

God put the right people in my life this past week to help me make the decisions demanded of me, to care for my children, to care for me.  

God.  Won't.  Leave.  Me.  Now.

In my crazy, steering-wheel pounding, gut-wrenching grief, God won't leave me to my own devices.  Even in this, God is there..providing a comfort beyond explanation, a peace that passes all understanding, and a promise for strength for the demands of each moment.  

And now as I find myself finally relaxing and giving into the need for sleep, I find I can still say that "He Giveth More Grace" - and I can rest knowing He will be there in my tomorrow...

Thursday, January 16, 2014

...whose heart has been broken in two?

It is January 16, 2014.

I am sitting on the hospital bed left behind in my living room by my beloved...

my husband...

my very, very, very best friend.

I am seeing the room from the angle at which he viewed it for the last month before he went to be with Jesus.

I lost him officially today at 1:39 PM.

My heart is broken - shattered, really, into a bazillion teeny tiny pieces.

I've lost so much.

I've lost the last date night the hospice nurse had planned for this coming weekend.

I've lost Michael's gentle touch.

I've lost Michael's spirit which was so incredibly sensitive to my every mood and emotional need. 

I've lost a future with the most wonderful man ever created.

I've lost a wise and Godly father for my children.

I've lost my haven...
           my person that was "bigger than me" - who cared for me as I cared for others.

Yet in the midst of that loss, I have gained so much.

I have gained a most beautiful five months of precious, sweet, and invaluable time with my dear husband.

I have gained a new knowledge of what it means to really serve another person...and feel it's an amazing honor to do so.

I have gained an intimate knowledge of how God's grace can be, will be, and IS sufficient for each and every need I face.

I have gained new friends and renewed acquaintances with old ones.

I have gained a new appreciation for my amazingly spectacular children.

I have gained skills and abilities I never thought I'd need.

I have gained experiential knowledge of the generosity with which good people shine in time of crisis.

I have gained a deeper, more dependent relationship with our most gracious and loving Heavenly Father.

I have gained a beautiful forgiveness for my faults and failures and shortcomings.

I have gained an appreciation for the comfort good music can bring to an aching soul.

I have gained a stronger sense of the value of the family support network.

I have gained the marvelous honor of watching God work out HIS purposes and plans down to the tiniest I sit and watch! 

I have gained a new reason to fight my way through this sin-blackened world to the reward of Heaven's gates - with my children in tow!

I have loved very very deeply...more deeply than I had ever imagined was possible...and I've been loved more earnestly than I ever felt I was worth.

I. Have. Been. So. Blessed. have known Michael. have been known by Michael...inside and out. have been loved by Michael...for exactly who I am. have been known by God....inside and out. have been loved by God...for exactly who I am in Him.

What an amazing crazy ride we have experienced! And what an amazing God we serve!

These are my thoughts this most tragic of all days...exactly six months to the day away from our twentieth wedding anniversary.

And now, I will in the peace of knowing he died as he would have wished...and in the comfort of knowing Michael has been blessed beyond measure today with the reward of meeting his Lord and Savior in that most beautiful of all havens, the "Haven of Rest!"

You deserve it, baby!  You fought hard!  See ya soon!!!!!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

...who has proven Him true?

When I travel the pathway so rugged and steep,
When I pass through the valley so dark and so deep,
And when snares for my soul by my foes have been set,
Jesus never has failed me yet.

He never has failed me yet.
He never has failed me yet.
I have proven Him true; What He says He will do.
He never has failed me yet.

I've heard and sung this song all my life.  Haven't you?  What do you think about that phrase "I have proven Him true; What He says He will do"? 

Have you?  Have you proven Him true?  Have you had experiences that have proven the promises of God are real, vital, and in working order for us - today - in this time and in this place?

I have. 

My life is a constant and steady dependency on God and on all the strength, grace, and courage He has promised to provide for those who are in need of it.  

Every day brings new and unexpected challenges.  Every day, my self-discipline is tested, my physical strength is pushed to its limit, my emotions run up and down the roller-coaster of caring for a loved one who is terminally ill...and every day, all that grace, strength, courage is renewed...just like God has promised in my life verse:  

"Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness." (Isaiah 41:10)

It's true, friends!!!!  He IS there when I'm in matter WHAT that need may be!  

He has carried me physically - keeping me from getting sick when dealing with a lack of good sleep and exposure to flu bugs from multiple sources.  

He has cared for me emotionally - holding me and comforting me when the thoughts and feelings of losing my best friend and life's companion overwhelm me and I can't see my way through the dark.

He has provided for us financially - sending many generous financial gifts our way and providing meals for us through surprising sources like Michael's employers.

He has granted me wisdom - bringing creative solutions to mind when I'm faced with new challenges regarding my husband's care or my children's upbringing or education.

He has enabled me with self-discipline - helping me bite my tongue when crisis causes emotions to run high and keeping me going when I don't think I am able to take another step or perform another task.  

He has blessed me with peace - bathing me with it when anxiety begins to wind its tenacious tendrils around my heart, trying to squeeze out all signs of faith.  

He has carried me - reassuring me of His love when I haven't had the time I'd like to spend in the Word or in formal prayer, although some days seem like one constant breath of prayer for help...

He has provided a network of hearts led to lift in prayer on a regular basis.  And I believe those prayers have truly borne me up time and time again.

I can't say it enough...I will be eternally grateful for the Lord's gracious promises, but more than that, I will always be grateful for the way He has shown ME that those promises are not only meant for me, but they work.  

And oh, how my heart soars when I read or sing these words...

"Morning by morning new mercies I see...All I have needed Thy hand hath provided. Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!"

Resting in the everlasting arms,