Thursday, May 7, 2015

Happy 85th Birthday, Grandma!


Love, unconditional love. 

These words are precious to me, without them....where would I be? 

Today marks my Grandma's 85th birthday.  She is the woman everyone that knows her adores her.  She is the woman that sacrificed her entire life for me.  She taught me all about honesty, integrity, laughter, hard work, and unconditional love.  I was blessed enough to live with her and my Grandpa from a very young age, when raising a grandchild wasn't as common as it is today.  They did it with such grace and love. 

We laughed a lot through the years as my Grandma has the greatest sense of humor, and we cried some through the years as she felt every sadness that entered my life.  She was always there for me, to talk with, to cry with, to laugh with.  She has shared all the joys of my life and all of the sadness right along with me.  I always knew I could ask her to come into my room and talk, then, once I got married, I could pop down to their house and chat, and even now, living almost an hour away, I know she is a phone call away.  I still need her everyday.  She is a light that never goes out.  She has helped me so incredibly much these past five years, especially since Mike died, all but moving in with the girls and me.  She understood the need and did whatever she could, from folding laundry to babysitting, to staying up late with me to have someone to pour my heart out to. 

I don't know many other people that love and serve others as my Grandma does.  She always has helped others above herself.  She knows no stranger and would give anyone anything, if she had it.  She is a faithful woman not only to her family and friends, but to the Lord.  I grew up in a home where Jesus was spoken of and I was taught His ways.  I am grateful for the teaching I received at such an early age.  We have such a bond, a bond that is a blessing from above. 

I hope and pray that I become more like Grandma everyday.  I want to pour the love into my family like she has done to hers.  My hope is for this love to flow from generation to generation down the line of our family, all because of her.  Grandma is a prayer warrior, praying for all who she knows and loves. 

God blessed me with such an amazing woman in my life and I call her "Grandma". 

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?