Thursday, July 16, 2015


18 months.

Or 21 years.

This date has significance both ways. 

Both were beginnings. Both were also an end.

Both were an end to life as I knew it. 

Both were the beginning of a new “normal.”

Both were intrinsically saturated with volatile emotions.

One was my wedding day. 
One was the day my marriage ended.

One was the day my dreams were fulfilled.
One was the day my dreams were crushed.

One was full of anticipation, the other of dread.

One was characterized by smiles, the other with tears.

Both were filled with the support of family and friends.

Both were bold reminders of the impact each choice has on our future.

I remember them both with this insane mixture of bitter and sweet.

Bitter - because the marriage that began so beautifully smacked into “death do us part” entirely too soon…because I LOVED being defined by the role of wife, and that no longer exists for me…because I do not enjoy facing life and its challenges alone.

Sweet - because of the wonderful memory-making moments we were blessed to experience as a result of that day twenty-one years ago…because of the four precious little people that union brought into existence…because of the precious way God answered prayers even as Michael lay on his death bed. 

Bitter - because I see so much joy in Happy Anniversary posts on Facebook and I know that isn’t part of my NOW….because I struggle to find a replacement for the feeling of being valued so deeply by another human being that he was willing to spend the rest of his life with me.

Sweet - because I was privileged to experience deep, soul-connecting, true love….because I know Jesus loves me with a love far beyond that of any man’s…and He is caring for me even now.

As this day in 2015 comes to a close, the kids are all headed into sweet slumber, and all the emotion of these memories comes crashing in over my head. 

The day really was a good one. The kids and I did some chores, then we spent some wonderful time together as a family. But when that time came to an end, I could feel the crazy stuff pressing in on me…smothering my ability to think straight, tearing at my heart with sharp pangs of sorrow.

I don’t WANT to feel or remember the pain. 
But it lives just beneath the surface of every day, not just special anniversary days like this one. 
Sometimes the trigger for its release is a phrase someone uses in casual conversation.
Sometimes it's a picture. 
Sometimes it’s a song playing over a store intercom,
          sometimes a specific location or activity.
Sometimes it’s a task he used to perform.
Sometimes it's his favorite cologne.

Sometimes…it’s nothing at all. 

What was life like before this pain? Before cancer? I scarcely remember. 

The children were looking through some old photo albums today.
That’s one way to remember. 
One way to recreate some of what once was. 

But that doesn’t solve the pain problem. Because what was, is no more. 

So thankfully, the children don’t need to stay in the past, nor cling to it.  They acknowledge its significance in their lives and value it. But they are also ready to live…to move forward with what  IS, their NOW.

In this, they are brilliant. They are resilient. They are all their father ever wanted them to be. 

They have not let this mountain become their Apollo 13. 
They have instead allowed it to become their Space Shuttle Discovery…
      …..launching them into discovery of themselves, their weaknesses, and their strengths.
…..launching them into discovery of God’s promises to them personally.
….launching them into discovery of the faithfulness and character of God.

Their high school transcripts may not be filled with grandiose extracurricular courses and activities, but they have lived a lot of LIFE these past few years. How much more prepared to face their future could they be than to have experienced such things?

Me? Well, my schedule isn’t full of community service, church outreach events, missions trips, or entertainment opportunities. It’s not glamorous in the least. I have no speaking engagements nor is any book being published. I have little to offer society as a whole. Many days are filled with the boring tasks that keep our little portion of the world turning somewhat smoothly.

But do you know what? Many of these very days are good days….very good days. 
Days where we work together, play together, cry or laugh together.
Days where hugs are given freely as well as insults traded teasingly.
Days where tempers get short, but forgiveness is readily granted.
Days where we learn our limitations and grant grace to each other.
Days where we reach out in compassion to others facing deep hurt and loss.
Days where we find our way through challenges while experiencing God's grace.
Days where we remember what we have faced and Who brought us through.

And when I truly stop to remember, I no longer feel alone. 

Alone, Yet Not Alone
Bruce Broughton
Performed by Joni Eareckson Tada
To listen, click here.

I'm alone, yet not alone.
God's the light that will guide me home.
With His love and tenderness,
Leading through the wilderness,
And wherever I may roam,
I'm alone, yet not alone.

I will not be bent in fear.
He's the refuge I know is near.
In His strength I find my own.
By His faithful mercies shown.
That so mighty is His shield
All His love is now revealed.

When my steps are lost.
And desperate for a guide,
I can feel his touch,
A soothing presence by my side.

Alone, yet not alone.
Not forsaken when on my own.
I can lean upon His arm,
And be lifted up from harm.
If I stumble, or if I'm thrown,
I'm alone, yet not alone.

When my steps are lost.
And desperate for a guide,
I can feel his touch,
A soothing presence by my side.

By my side!

He has bound me with His love,
Watchful angels look from above.
Every evil can be braved,
For I know I will be saved.
Never frightened on my own,
I'm alone, yet not alone.

I'm alone, yet not alone.


"And the LORD, he [it is] 
that doth go before thee;
he will be with thee, he will not fail thee,
neither forsake thee:
fear not, neither be dismayed."
Deuteronomy 31:8