Thursday, March 20, 2014

...who is reminiscing today?

Today is March 20.
Many things come to mind when I think of this date. And many emotions follow.

I think of the first time that March 20 became significant for our family. We had a bit of snow that day, the last of the season, and we had special plans in place for the day. We would be attending a birthday party in the afternoon, then eating out with some friends coming in from Colorado - it was intended as a belated 40th birthday celebration for Michael...

What happened instead was far different than any of us expected. And that same sentiment has characterized the four years that have followed that fateful day.

But God wasn't taken by surprise. Looking back, I have often marveled over the many ways in which He prepared us for this journey. Our hearts have filled with praise time and time again for the goodness of our gracious heavenly Father!

Just a few short days after the beginning of this most challenging of journeys that began with a broken femur bone, a friend gave me a journal. Journaling has become a vital part of my coping strategy ever since.

I began by recording basic events and feelings and progressed into sharing
deep, dark secrets of haunting fears, intense pain, fragile hopes, dashed dreams,
unexpected challenges, and desperate prayers,
as well as emotional highs, amazing blessings, sweet memories,
cherished gifts, and promises from God...

On March 28, 2010, I wrote:
"I have cried...I have pled that God show Himself to me in a way I couldn't miss...I have grieved...but I have not felt deserted nor alone. I cannot thank the Lord enough for His loving care for us through each and every moment! Life has changed...God has blessed!"

A year later, we celebrated our newly completed home and God's faithfulness to us with a house dedication and reception - 117 were in attendance that day. Love was showered upon our family, God was praised and worshipped lovingly, and a new determination was settled in our hearts...this home was built by God and would be used for God's glory in any way possible.

March 20, 2011, I wrote:
"We've made it one year from the day our world turned upside down. We've faced so much.
Hurt...mentally and physically.  Fear. Loneliness. Decisions. Anger. Frustration. Separation. Miscommunication. Depression. Awkwardness. Worry. Sleepless nights. Calling on God.
Tears...and more tears.
But we've also experienced God's abundance! heart is so full of gratefulness to the Lord for such a beautiful day, wonderful attendance, anointed singing, kind people who have touched our lives in so many ways, for guidance and strength and grace to help help us make the journey thus far and promises for more in the future...and for my husband!!"

In March of 2012, I was experiencing another loss...the death of my uncle, age 42...Michael's age.

Plus, from reading entries from around that time, I was suffering from some severe depression and was looking for some help in coping with these new emotional challenges. I don't have an entry for the 20th, but on the 18th and the 21st, I made note of the meetings that began my interaction with Stephen Ministries. This step proved vital to my progress in dealing with not only my current needs, but the dark days I knew were still ahead of me. I believe with all my heart that God knew exactly which Care Giver I needed to be assigned to, and He lined everything up just as He had so many other times on our journey!

I am so grateful He cared enough to help not only my husband, but me. By this point I had begun to understand the weight of responsibility that was being transferred to my shoulders whether I wanted it or not. I had begun to see that if I fell apart, so did all the rest of my family.

Frankly, I had begun to HATE being an adult.

I needed someone to come alongside me, hear my heart without judgment, and then keep me focused on God's truth in the matter at hand.

My Stephen Minister served just that purpose for me and still does. God also brought others into my life to minister to me in love in different ways.

It still amazes me how much Jesus cared for me during my very darkest hours!!

The entry for March 20, 2013, includes these remarks:
"3 years.
3 long, yet short years.
What I've learned cannot be measured. We've been blessed beyond all measure. God has proven His faithfulness time and time again...and He has been sooooo patient with me.
Today is a day of mixed emotions...the crazy ones that remembering brings and the happy and relieved ones that having MJ here and doing fairly well bring...
Dear Jesus...Please guide my every every every that I may be the person I should that I learn more fully the extent of Your will and grace and that I become a shining reflection of Your light and love in my life."

Yes. There were still hurts and disappointments. And I wrote about those, too. In fact, the devil fought our family in so many ways and with so many different tactics, it seemed a more difficult battle than the fight we were in against cancer!

But the recurring sentiments were that in spite of it all, GOD IS GOOD...His mercies are everlasting...and new every morning!
He has been faithful to His promises to strengthen and help me!
He has taught me many, many things and answered many, many prayers!
He has become MY God in new and real ways!

And now here we are - March 20, 2014. My journal entry today will include the words from this song as I remember the amazing life of my best friend and remind myself of the comforting hope of seeing him again in that land that is fairer than day...

I shall see you soon again in the land of life
I shall hear your voice again, singing praise to the Lamb
No more heartache, no more pain, you are home free 
So I'll see you soon again in the land of life.

Where there is peace, peace in your presence,
And there's joy evermore, you will nevermore depart,
Never say one more goodbye,
You are home.

So I'll see you soon again in the land of life
I shall hear your voice again, singing praise to the Lamb
No more heartache, no more pain, you are home free
I shall see you soon again in the land of life.

No more heartache, no more pain, you are home free
I shall see you soon again in the land of life.

~~ Bill & Gloria Gaither

Listen to this beautiful song here.

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; 
and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: 
for the former things are passed away.
Revelation 21:4

I know this post is long, more than likely there are grammatical errors, and it is likely that few will read it. But that's okay.
It stands as my testimony to God's grace and faithfulness to me...
and I want to share that with the WORLD!!!

Loving Jesus more every day,


  1. That was beautifully written..... you are in my prayers.

  2. I check in on you often. How I remember that rough, rough days. On March 24th it will be 9 years for me. I admire you, because you seem to be handling it so much better than I did. However, when I started journaling it seemed to help. Happy first day of Spring!!

  3. Shawna, as others have mentioned, you are a gifted writer. You and Michael had and have a way of sharing your emotions and faith in the Lord that is an encouragement to the rest of us who have followed this journey so far. As David repeats in the Psalms over and over, God will never fail you. His loving compassion surrounds and will carry you.