Wednesday, April 29, 2015

God Has Never Left

                                     Celebrating God's Presence

Five years of my life is gone, done, over... since I last saw my husband.  This is a huge milestone to be celebrating.  Did I just say celebrate?  Yes, I did.  I am celebrating the fact that I have made it this far without him.  Through God's love and grace, I am here...thriving.  I am celebrating his entrance to Heaven as well, the most awesome sight.  As I was left devastated, my dear husband was entering paradise. 

Where has God been in the past five years?

Where was God as I stood at the side of my van on the interstate and screamed after getting the call?  He was holding me in His loving arms.

Where was God as I looked into my three girls' eyes and told them their daddy had died and met Jesus?
He was giving me the strength to say the right words.

Where was God as I buried the man I loved and said "until death do us part" to?
He was there leading me through the burial decisions and comforting me in knowing we had a great marriage and lived with no regrets.

Where was God as I started a journey of single parenting?
He was their Father, and I had to learn to lean on God more throughout the day than ever before.

Where was God as I cried my heart out in the shower at night so the girls wouldn't hear or see me?
He was there catching every tear and speaking words of love to me.

Where was God when all of my friends had a spouse to hold them at night?
He was there, in my loneliness.

Where was God when I knew I wanted to become a wife again?
He sat right beside me as I filled out my online dating profile.

Where was God when I said, "until death do us part" for the second time in my life?
He was right there.

Never will He leave me.
Always by my side.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Friends Forevermore

             Friendship isn't a big thing, it's a million little things.

I have always been surrounded with many, many, friends.  I grew up in a small town and went through years of school with my friends. I added friends along the way through my church, my children's friends, and often times an acquaintance became a very close friend.  Some of my closest Facebook "friends" I have never even met and some don't even know that I was a widow. Friendship comes in so many ways and capacities.  I cherish each and every friendship God has brought into my life, if it was for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.

Shortly after we moved, I realized how much I took my friendships from back home for granted.  I could run across town to see any one of them anytime I wanted, or a lot of times a friend would pop in for a quick cup of coffee and a visit, or a much needed cry.  Some of my best friends still live in my hometown, and I love them all dearly.  I miss being able to see them as often, but I know they are a phone call away. They have always been there for me, no matter the circumstance.

I have Facebook friends that I became extremely close to because we were in the same Christian Widow Group, but have never met.  Yet, I share such a close bond with these women.  We have shared the same heartaches, struggles, frustrations, joys, and milestones. We will always have a special bond.

I am going to be brutally honest here...I was so sad and empty many days after we moved, missing my friends dearly. I tried to make trips back to my hometown to "connect" with friends, leaving town sometimes even more sad.  I would often lay in my husband's arms at night in bed and cry like a baby.  I knew that I was where God wanted me to be, here in a new town, married to an amazing man by my side.  But, the emptiness inside could only be filled with friendship. 

I met a really good friend of mine through an answered prayer, one I didn't even know existed.  I always pray for the girls to be placed in a classroom at the beginning of the year with the teacher that God would want for them.  Little did I know as my baby entered Kindergarten, I would meet an amazing friend, her teacher, through volunteering in her classroom.  We started meeting weekly for a Bible Study, walking, and just growing our friendship.  I will always cherish our friendship.

Once again, God came at the perfect time in my life with the blessing of friendship.

During our burn and skin graft hardship (see previously posted blog entry), a home health care nurse came to our house.  In getting to know her, she invited me to a Bible Study in a town about 15 minutes away, a very small town, just like my hometown.  She knew exactly how I felt about missing my friends.  She also had to move and leave her friends behind.  It's hard to go from running an errand and only seeing people you know to running errands and never seeing anyone you know.  She got it!  She will always hold a special place in my heart for listening to God that day and inviting me.  I have met some wonderful friends along the way from that study.  It's a big circle of friends that know one another and serve one another.  A text, phone call, Facebook message goes so far in getting a group together to "just be us"....wives, moms, daughters of the King, whatever it may be, we cherish the time we have together. 

Only God knew that I lived around the corner from a dear sister that I call friend.  God knew we needed one another and our past was so similar.  The leader of the Bible Study introduced us, and now she's one of the best friends I've ever had.

My friendships here are so different.  As I get older I see friendships change.  Our lives become more and more active as our children become older and our friendships can come in last place.  I love each and every friend I have. If it wasn't for my friends, I would be living in a very lonely world.  Yesterday as I taught Children's Church, our memory verse was from Proverbs 17:17, "A friend loves at all times." Our story was the story of David and Jonathan, which can be found in I Samuel.  As I close, I leave you with these thoughts found in my Bible under the "Daily Walk".

Have you found a Jonathan in your Christian life:
  • someone who knows you fully and accepts you completely?
  • someone with whom you can share your deepest hurts?
  • someone who will listen without lecturing...comfort without condemning...encourage without criticizing?
  • someone who will defend you when you're not around?
  • someone whose greatest joy comes from your happiness?
  • someone who watches out for your well-being, even at the potential risk of his own?
  • someone who grieves when you are grieved, rejoices when you are promoted, bleeds when you are wounded? 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Where Were You April 29, 2010?

I am writing this on April 28, a day before "the day" that seems to creep up on me all year long.  I always seem to prepare for how I will feel, who I will be with, and how my girls will react to the "date" when I remind them.  Tomorrow, April 29th, marks the 4th anniversary of Mike's death.  The day that changed our lives forever (and may have changed your life), and the day the girls and I like to remember as "The day Daddy met Jesus".  The past few weeks have been a little harder than normal.  When my sweet 9-year-old is missing Daddy "Mac" at bedtime more every night and doesn't know why, I remind her why.  This time of year is such a blessing with God's goodness all around us.  The flowers and trees are blooming, yards are starting to be mowed, the sun is rising earlier and the days are getting longer.  It reminds us all of spring.  To the girls and I spring rings in the memory of Daddy dying.  I have always loved spring, and still do.  It reminds me of new life after a long winter.  So, in a sweet sense, for Mike to die in the spring and have a new life in Heaven with our precious Lord is perfect.

His death has taught us so much about life, ourselves, our relationships with others, and, most importantly, our relationship with the Lord.  He became my husband and our rock.  You all know the blessings God has poured out upon the girls and me, especially the blessing of a new husband and daddy.  So today I want to write about my thoughts and views about Mike's death...the why.

I wish I knew the why of Mike dying at 46 years old, leaving me a widow at 36 years old with a 10, 5, and 2 year old, but if I get caught up in the why, then I am not trusting God.  I am a believer in Jesus Christ, as was Mike, which makes me believe that He was there with Mike in the car the day of the accident.  Jesus didn't leave him for a second.  He didn't not watch over him and BAM...he hit a semi and died!  Jesus NEVER left!  I believe Mike's days were numbered and God knew that on April 29th, 2010, he would be coming home.  I believe that we all have free will, however, and because of free will....Mike died.  Free will has been here on earth from the beginning of time.  Adam and Eve made free will possible here.  He made the choice to drive while too tired.  As a result, he crossed the center line, and on the other side was a semi.  Mike would have never fallen asleep knowing what was about to happen, but "accidents" happen.  He doesn't feel sadness in Heaven thinking, "I wish I hadn't done that and am still on earth."  He is with us and watching us, all the while loving being in Heaven with our Heavenly Father.  Who would ever want to come back?

On that day 4 years ago, even as I thought that I may never be a wife again, and my little girls would be fatherless, I had hope.  Hope in the Lord to take care of us in every way we needed.  And, He has not failed us once!  He sent people in our lives just as we needed them.

As I was in the van today running errands listening to David Jeremiah on Turning Point, he spoke of Romans 8:28, "And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them."  He spoke of people who were in the midst of something in their lives right now that they couldn't understand.  We have all been there.  We have to focus on a simple truth:  He is God and I am me.  Don't try to understand God, just let Him love you.  He does appear in forms we have never seen.  He does take us south in order to get us north.  Reminder from God:  We are human and He is divine.  We need love, He is love.  We need to be understood, He is above the need to be understood.  We can not understand, He understands everything perfectly.  We are of time, He is of eternity.  We are of reason,  He is above reason.  We are blown by the wind, He is the wind.  God is in charge, isn't He?  We get all shook up over what is happening, but we only have the human perspective of the situation.  God is in charge, and He sees everything from the beginning to the end, and all at the same time.  A person who comes to comprehend that at last comes to reside in the presence of God's sovereignty.  Those who believe this can say, "Lord, I don't know what you are doing, but I believe You do all things well and I believe in You.  I trust You and while I cannot figure this out, I will rest in Your control until it makes sense, even if it never makes sense."  And, because God is sovereign, I return to Him and Him alone to worship as He deserves.

 Job 38 - Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:
 “Who is this that obscures my plans
    with words without knowledge?Brace yourself like a man;
    I will question you,
    and you shall answer me.
“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
    Tell me, if you understand.

Unlike Job, I never questioned where God was that day.  He was with me and my girls the entire time.  He never left and never will.  But, as God told Job, Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation?  I'll probably never fully understand the why.  And I don't need to.