All I know is I'm not home yet
This is not where I belong
Take this world and give me Jesus
This is not where I belong.
Yesterday I visited my bible study group from our old church. The group I'd been a part of the last four years. Four of the five years of being a momma, which means they were the craziest years of my life. So when I tell you it was emotional it's kinda like me telling you that I like to paint. You expect it by now, don't you?
The leader of the group and I have kept in touch so when she mentioned the meeting when the ladies share how God has worked this semester we both knew it was the right time for me to come. For one, the women would be terrified to come in case they'd get called on to share so the group wouldn't be at full capacity. Also we just both knew it was long enough but not too long for me if that makes sense. It felt like the path of least resistance for me-for my first time back to the building where so much life happened, my first time without the possibility of having Sean near. My maiden voyage into the past, our past filled with memories in that church. I have thought a lot about how it might feel to be back there and I imagined a range of emotions. The only thing I didn't anticipate is what consumed me-hope. It is indescribable so of course I rambled on for a good ten (or longer?) minutes telling the girls all about it during my time there. Girls, I'm grateful that you listened. And I love you, every one of you, deeply. You crossed over from daily life to death and now back with me. Even from a distance you communicated love and support beautifully. You are never going to be forgotten and your lives will always be intertwined with mine. Oh, and I loved seeing your kids. My how they have grown in the months since I moved!
So this hope I described/rambled/cried about on Friday...
It's built on who Jesus is and who He has been to me. I've been heartbroken before this, did you know that? I dated one person in high school and he broke my heart. Broken friendships during high school broke my heart. In college our family weathered a storm that broke it again.
He healed it. Not overnight, no. Good Lord you outta hear my family talk about how many tears I cried over the years. At times I thought I felt things too strongly and I asked God to make me numb. He didn't. I asked Him to take the pain away completely. He didn't. But He was with me, healing me, every step I took. So how can I sit in the very room where we all said goodbye to Sean and have hope? I mean, can it be real? How do I know He will help me heal this time?
I know it to be true. He showed me how safe it is to bring heartache to Him when I was sixteen years old. Then again He took care of me at seventeen. And eighteen. And twenty was a biggie for me. How He loved me that year to put up with me and my crying! He's proven Himself to be comforter over and over again. I always list "comforter" first when I've written down the attributes of God because to me, He is. And He never stops, not even when I feel better and start using other things or people to comfort me. That's a secure God, don't you think? One who lets us come to Him even when we've tried everything else first. Even after months of avoiding Him, He's there with arms open wide. It just doesn't get more secure, more hopeful than that. Hope is medicine right now and I still feel bruised. Like I've said I don't know four hundred times I wish for a day without any pain for me or the kids but I'm not giving up because it hasn't happened yet. I'm staying in the game, trying to focus on the hope He's given me. And every night when I turn off the light and lay my head down I ask for more hope the next day and then more after that. He gives it to me, just like His mercy.
Good Lord above thank You for healing me so many times in my life. I'm trusting You to move through the pain in my heart and replace it with You and Your hope, Your love that sustains me. Heal me, Father and heal my family the way only You can.
Sunday, April 29, 2012
All I know is I'm not home yet
Saturday, April 28, 2012
Or is this the cutest picture EVER
My brother and his family came yesterday for a quick visit. Even though it's been months since the kids have seen each other they all cozied up together immediately.
The last few months have provided many reasons to be thankful for the family that God has given me. My immediate family, Sean's family, and the people that I do life with are instrumental in my healing. I'm grateful tonight, even though I'm exhausted. I'll fill you in on yesterday soon. I visited my bible study group in Frisco and talked about how we are doing. I'll leave it at this since I'm half-asleep: God was with us there in the room where four months ago we gathered to remember and celebrate my husband's life. I know that God was there with us because I was able to be there, in that same place, and feel hope. Looking into the faces of women who have prayed for us, cooked, sacrificed, and loved us through the darkness was deeply moving. Ok now that's really all I'm gonna tell you because I'm fixing to go cross-eyed. Good night!
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Security is something we long for. Emotional security, not anything anyone can give us. The kids are showing signs of insecurity, and what I thought would be healed or "fixed" by now is becoming more and more out of control. Their fears are warranted, are they not? When they cry and ask me not to go, (no matter where I'm going,) because they're afraid I won't come back they have good reason to think I won't. He didn't. And he was dependable. To them he meant safety and strength. He meant those things to me too. A hug, an arm of protection, a blanket of warmth, even a prayer by the bedside. He did it all. And now what are we left with? Hard question.
So here I am again, friends, asking for you to pray for me and for my family. We are left with insecurity. The opposite of secure. The very stomping ground of satan. I'm in the fight of our lives. I feel like I have to train and prepare constantly for the next challenge. It seems like I'm wasting time if I let my mind rest. Much like a boot camp--which I went to last week at my church and I'm still having trouble walking as a result of just FYI--I'm reading, praying, begging God to show me what's coming next. Help me prepare and dodge the hurdles. I'm falling prey to the lie that I have to prepare so I won't be surprised again. After all, can't I prepare and think through the situation in most areas of my life? And at this stage as a parent I can pretty much decide what we do as a family. But this, I couldn't have prepared for. I didn't see it coming and I couldn't stop it.
I was powerless to protect my children from their deepest fear-abandonment. I've got to be honest with myself that it's felt like abandonment to me too. I knew great stability as a child so this time it's from a wife's perspective. The protector, the man who fought hard to win my heart and protect it, chose to leave. The man who I built a life with. The one who knew my faults and my weaknesses and loved me through my (up until this,) darkest days. Gone.
So what do I cling to?
I have to cling to the Father who loves me. Who loves my babies and who will fight for them. The One who gives me hope and Truth-the only real Truth. The Almighty God who knows my heart better than Sean did. I have to cling to Him now. To me, there's no safer choice.
This isn't a sermon. It's my real life. The good, bad, and very ugly. You hear about it. You probably don't want to hear as much about the ugly, and I don't blame you. If you know me in real life you know I'm an over-sharer, a phrase that a boy I used to babysit said all the time. I'll tell you more than you'd like to know. It's kind of my job. Or my gift or whatever.
You are welcome.
So here it is, y'all. I'm fighting. I'm tired and bruised and longing for a pinch hitter. I can try to replace the void with lots of things or I can replace it with thoughts, prayers, and hope in God. If I choose anything but Him it'll never work. He wants me. And right now, it is nice to feel like I'm pursued. Man am I ever pursued by Him! You are too. The feeling that there's something bigger, more for your life? That's Him. The gut feeling that you should give up the thing or person you keep trying to contain? That's Him. He wants it. And a bit of unwarranted over-sharing:
He ain't going away.
Do it your way and I wish you luck. Do it His way and let Him open the floodgates of Heaven. Want to know peace that passes understanding? Trust Him. Want to feel loved? Trust Him. Choose Him.
It's real. Take my word for it.
Saturday, April 21, 2012
She is fearless
and a thumb sucker
and a momma's girl
and she hates being alone
She eats carrots for breakfast
and only wants ice cream for dinner
and wears only nightgowns
because she refuses PJ's
She is coordinated and athletic
and funny and a little bit OCD
and she loves animals
and feeds imaginary ones in our yard
She has beaten the odds
and has benefited from the prayers of many
and she can be a toot
but only when I say "No."
She was unplanned but very loved
and a lesson for her momma in trusting God
and waiting for Him to act when He's ready
She is number 3, just like me.
and she's pretty much obsessed with me and trying to sneak into my room at night. She's able to scale gates without making a sound. So she's probably gonna get into a lot more trouble in the next few years.
But she's living up to her name. She's making us laugh on hard days and mastering her own fake laugh.
She is kind of awesome.
Monday, April 16, 2012
It's finally here. The first day that the hope for a joy-filled future really feels, well, full of hope.
Tonight I watched Ty round the bases at his Tball game and for the first time I didn't think, "You're missing it. Sean, why? Look at all you're missing!"
I just looked out there at my handsome little man and thought, "I'm so proud of him. He's doing it, he's really getting it and he's loving it!"
The rest of our lives will no doubt be laced with stories about Sean and with memories we can share. This ugly stuff, though, I'm ready to let it go. Counselor friends, am I normal?
(asked with a wink.)
That's the big secret of counseling. No one is normal. Not even the counselors. Don't tell them I told you.
I'm no fool. I know there will be more tears and more punches thrown. There'll be lots of questions and not as many answers. There will be nights when I can't stop crying and mornings when all I can muster is, "Help me, Lord." But there'll be HOPE for a day when we all get to Heaven and there won't be pain. No more unanswered questions. What a day that will be!
Until that day, He can keep us moving and keep us on track. He can pick me up and carry my burdens for me, teaching me to trust Him more every day. Like I've said a hundred times here, He is who He says He is.
Jesus, name above all names. Beautiful Savior, Glorious Lord. Emmanuel, God is with us. Blessed Redeemer, Living Word.
Feeling blessed tonight. Just had to share!
Monday, April 9, 2012
It's how I feel. Unfinished. Left alone, left to wonder. Left to wander. Aching for more explanation and certainty but realizing that I'm at a loss.
I'm not good at anything with details. Phone service, Internet, even pest control (very important to me) you name it, I've messed it up these last two weeks. It seems that all I touch turns to mush. I sign up for the wrong thing or I forget a necessary step. I plug everything into the wrong outlet. Everywhere I turn there's a failure. It's just how I feel-unfinished.
Aren't you glad there's a "But..." following my rant of self-pity? I sure am.
He isn't finished, not with me or my situation. He hasn't finished working on the hurt in my heart yet. I'm not through the process completely, and He's never rushing me through it. He wants me to trust Him no matter how raw and unfinished I feel. That's just it-it's how I FEEL. As a counselor I learned that making decisions based solely on how we FEEL never turns out well. Feelings grow and fade. They change. People change how we feel and only the Lord truly steadies our feelings.
So I'm staying here, where He put me. I'm not sure how long I'll be here. I hope not much longer. What I'd give for a glimpse of a future without heartache! For me and my kids. They are struggling. Charlie is aching for her Daddy. She sings praise songs and puts his name in them. Then she tells me she knows he can hear since he's with Jesus. Then she asks me why Daddy won't come back. When I say that he can't she asks why God won't send him back since God can do anything. I love that I know exactly how she feels when she feels it. It helps me realize that she needs more help. It breaks my heart more for her and Ty and Joy every day that goes by. As my own heart starts to heal and I can forgive Sean it seems like a deeper pain lingers for the kids. Their Daddy loved them and they know that. But one day he left and didn't come back and they don't get it. Neither do I. Once again, unfinished.
Every day I wake up and wonder of it's all a dream. I remember that it's not and I have to decide how to live that day. Looking back or looking up. I can't stand to go back through the pain that God has already healed me from so I look up. I can't figure out how to help the kids with their questions. I hate that they wonder if I'm gonna leave them. I hate that nothing I'm doing provides them with the deep sense of security that I grew up feeling. I hate their fear. Then I hate Sean for causing it. Unfinished.
Give me hope that only You can, Lord. I beg You to show me that You will finish this, maybe not here, maybe on the other side of Glory but that You will finish this. Show me that it's safe to rest in You instead of spinning my wheels trying to reassure the kids. Like Matthew 11:28 says, "Come to Me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest."
I'm here. Unfinished.
Thursday, April 5, 2012
Thankfully the community of believers around me continues to encourage me, especially leading up to the times they perceive might bring sadness. Things like a holiday...My friend April sent me this excerpt from her devotional yesterday and I wanted y'all to read it too.
Sometimes between shallow happiness and a deep, sustaining joy is sorrow. Happiness lives where sorrow is not. When sorrow arrives, happiness dies. It can't stand pain. Joy, on the other hand, rises from sorrow and therefore can withstand all grief. Joy, by the grace of God, is the transfiguration of suffering into endurance, and of endurance into character, and of character into hope - and the hope that has become our joy does not (as happiness must for those who depend upon it) disappoint us.
In the sorrows of the Christ - as we ourselves experience them - we prepare for Easter, for joy. There can be no resurrection from the dead except first there is a death! But then, because we love him above all things, his rising is our joy. And then the certain hope of our own resurrection warrants the joy both now and forever.
At his appearing, the Son of God has just kept he hardest of all his promises: he rose from the dead, exactly as he said. This is marvelous affirmation, the absolute guarantee that he shall keep to every other promise, from salvation to the sending of the Spirit to the raising of the dead. This is bright, sustaining assurance of faith.
So what causes joy? What transfigures you, you flaming disciple, you burning witness, with such a fusion of joy in the encounter?
This: not just that the Lord was dead, but that you grieved his death. That, for three days, you yourself did suffer his absence, and then the whole world was for you a hollow horror. That, despite his promises this last Sabbath lasted forever and was, to your sorrowing heart, the last of the world after all. You experienced, you actually believed, that the end of Jesus was the end of everything.
Death reigned everywhere.
But in the economy of God, what seems the end is but a preparation. For it is, now to that attitude and into that experience that the dear Lord Jesus Christ appears, - not only an astonishment, gladness and affirmation, but joy indeed!
It is the experience of genuine grief that prepares for joy!"
Lord, the very reason You came was to give us hope. In all of Your pain You gave us an escape from eternal pain. Help me focus on that, Lord, when I look around at what is pulling at my heart. It's all because of You that I can rest. It's all because of You that I can rejoice.