Thursday, December 24, 2015

Two Years...

Adequate words are hard to find today. It's the second anniversary of my husband's passing (in addition to being Christmas Eve), and feelings are everywhere. But the urging to remember, record, and share hope in the midst of the hard in this season is deeply on my heart as well. So here are a few thoughts I wrote this morning...

Two years. How can it seem like yesterday and a lifetime ago all at once? I miss my sweetheart so much-- his smile, his touch, the comfort of his presence, and more than I could write. The extremes of emotions at this time of year can be overwhelming, and the world can make you feel like you have to disengage from the sadness in order to embrace joy and hope. But I'm so thankful our Savior was not that way. He chose to be born as a baby in a lowly manger, in trying circumstances. He put on flesh and became a "man of sorrows, acquainted with grief." All for us. To bring us true hope by giving His very life. This is our Emmanuel, God with us.
So today, I will cry and I will smile. I will grieve and I will rejoice. I will miss my sweetheart's embrace but will rest in my Savior's. I will love and let myself be loved. I will be thankful for God's presence with us now, and I will long for Home, where everything will be whole. Even so come, Lord Jesus.

May His blessings, peace, and presence be yours today, too.

This morning's sunrise. Seemed a little symbolic that I slid
and fell on the frosty deck/ramp trying to capture the beauty.
Sometimes the painful and beautiful are all wrapped up together.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

When Seasons Change and Stories End (Jesus, Your Love)

"So let my heart tell You again
When seasons change and stories end,
Your steady love, 
It will sustain me through it all,
Jesus, Your love."

- Kristene DiMarco

I think it's safe to say I've never had a season of change, transition, grief, and endings like these last two years have been. My head is spinning just thinking about it. And I also have to say that I don't think I want to have one anything close to like this ever again. Processing has been slow, difficult, heartbreaking, and still continuing. I can't seem to get through one before another hits, and in some ways I don't even have my bearings yet. But in the midst of it, God is teaching me, and I wanted to stop and write while it's pressing on my heart so much.

Somehow at the moment, at what seems like the strangest time when the changes keep rolling in one on top of the other, I'm all of a sudden excited about a new season. I can't remember the last time I said those words and really meant them, and they're coming to me now even though still more changes are approaching, and transitions are sure to be difficult. 

I'm not sure what's even causing such a deep sense of hope and excitement to well up in me right now. Maybe it's that God has been letting me see so many glimpses of just a few of the ways He's been using some of the worst things to bring about some of the best things. Or maybe it's simply a pure gift to get me through the uncertainties and difficulties I'm sure lie ahead. But I just keep coming back to this thought as He keeps showing me little tidbits of how He's been working in the hardest trials all along-- The only "why" questions I have for Him at the moment are those along the lines of, "Why don't I trust You more?" and "Why are You so good to me?" I don't deserve it. But He gives us more grace.

So here's to new seasons. And here's to trusting when the unknowns and uncertainties creep back in. More of those times are probably coming, too. But I want to keep turning my eyes and heart back to truth. These lyrics from Kristene DiMarco help me do just that. I hope they'll do the same for you.

"There is a strength that rises up in me
To know that You've been here before me,
A strength beyond what I can see,
Jesus, Your love,
Jesus, Your love.

So let my heart tell You again
When seasons change and stories end,
Your steady love, 
It will sustain me through it all,
Jesus, Your love."

Also, because I know that many of my friends are experiencing times of change and transition right now, too, here are a couple of other posts that came across my path this past week while I had these thoughts on my mind as well:

       What We Miss When We Resist Change, by John Richmond

Thanks for reading! Maybe the writing bug is finally starting to come back to me, too...

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Finding Courage for a New Year

"No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear." 

These opening words from C.S. Lewis in his book, A Grief Observed, seem so fitting to describe my thoughts lately. The one-year mark of my husband's passing has somehow come and gone. Many prayers and encouragements from friends and loved ones helped carry me through the holidays, and I am eternally grateful. But the thought of a New Year is overwhelming and heavy. I couldn't put my feelings into words until I remembered that quote.


It's not the word I want to use to describe any of my feelings. I want to be only filled with faith. I want to trust the perfect love that casts out fear. I want to be strong like people try to tell me I am when I know better. Or really I want to see Christ's strength in it instead of just seeing my weakness. But sometimes it takes naming the fears to let their grip loosen and let faith take prominence again. So here are a few...

- I'm afraid of forgetting. How can it all feel like yesterday and yet a lifetime ago all at once? There already seem to be so many things I can't quite remember like I want to.

- I'm afraid others will forget and not want to remember with me.

- I'm afraid of new, because every "new" is without him.

- I'm afraid this will be my loneliest year ever.

- I'm afraid I'm typing way too much here and need to re-write it to be more vague and less exposed!

But the truth is we all have fears we don't really want to admit. And the truth is that behind every fear, there is a lie we are believing, that somehow God's provision won't be enough.

So I turn my heart to remember truth.

I look back and remember how God has provided, even in some of the hardest times imaginable. I keep a list so I don't forget, and my heart swells with faith as I recount His faithfulness. Really, it blows me away afresh to think specifically of the tenderness God has shown me over and over. The truth of these song lyrics rings in my heart: "Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me / You've never failed, and You won't start now." (from Oceans by Hillsong United)

Yes... Truth...

I don't have to figure out how to face an entire New Year. I can remember and know that God's mercies are new every morning. I can rely on His presence day by day, moment by moment. He will never leave me nor forsake me. I can take each step in faith, just one at a time.

She is clothed with strength and dignity;
  she can laugh at the days to come.  
           -Proverbs 31:25

Even if the laughing is with tears...

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
   my hope comes from Him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation;
   He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
   He is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in Him at all times, O people;
   pour out your hearts to Him,
   for God is our refuge.
          -Psalm 62:5-8

Truly it is my desire to trust in Him at all times. So I will trust Him in this New Year, day by day. My prayer is that you will trust Him, too. He is faithful.