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.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Yet, another kind of JOurneY

Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever.  Hebrews 13:8

When I started this blog a few years ago, it was with the intent to share our grief journey with you.  And that I have done.  From the toughest moments to some of our sweetest moments, you have read about them all.  Tonight I am continuing to write but about a new journey we are on...one that started October 4th, 1999, the day I became a Mom. 

A Mom...I had wanted to be a Mom since I was a little girl.  God blessed Mike and I with Quinci over 14 years ago.  I was devastated the day we found out she would have struggles throughout her life because of spina bifida.  She has brought us all so much joy.  We know this wasn't God's plan for her life, but we do know that He is our Healer and Rock through it all.  Lately, Kevin and I have been boldly praying for Him to bless her with a miracle, the kind of miracle that most Christians only think happened over 2000 years ago.  He is the same God today, yesterday, and tomorrow.  God makes miracles everyday and many go unnoticed as a miracle from Him.  I have always known that Quinci would touch people in ways that were extra special.  I can see her having an amazing testimony to share someday!

So, I tell you where we are now and why.  Because of spina bifida, she has a limited sense of feeling  in her legs.  Three weeks ago, she was taking a shower using her hand-held shower head and noticed the water was too hot.  Instead of turning it to cooler water or turning it off, or even getting out of the shower, she called for one of her sisters to turn it to cooler water.   She placed the shower head down by her legs (she sits in the shower on her knees so the water pooled around her) and waited for her sister to come in which took a little while because she was using the other shower.  Anyway, Quinci continued on by finishing her shower and called for me to help her get dressed.  And, that's when I discovered a sight I never want to see....two precious legs burnt from the knee down.  The water was so hot just running along side her legs that unfortunately she couldn't feel it.  We took her to the ER and followed up with her pediatrician everyday for the next week and then twice a week for the next two.  The burns weren't healing as fast as he would have liked so he referred us to the University of Iowa hospital burn unit.  The burn doctor examined her and immediately explained that she needed skin grafts with a 7 to 10 day hospital stay.  Once again, I was blown away...in a fog.  Kevin and I  had been caring for them for three weeks and they were healing, but because of compromised circulation, they weren't healing fast enough and they needed grafts.  We made the trip the very next day for skin grafts taken from her upper thighs for her lower legs. 

The biggest blessing of  all...she is not in pain from the burns or the donor sights.  Usually, skin grafts are very painful.  We do realize, however, that IF she could have felt the hot water in the first place, we wouldn't be here.  We can't look back, so for now we are counting this as a blessing.

This is a new journey for us.  A journey that Kevin and I haven't traveled before.  One that he knew he would probably be on at some point being her dad, but not one either one of us had wanted. We knew she was going to have some expected surgeries coming up for her independence, but this...a complete accident.  Kevin has been amazing through it all.  He helped me with wrapping her legs every morning before work/school and every evening before bed.  He helped her transfer in and out of her wheelchair (she hasn't been able to wear her leg braces and needed extra help) and he helped her get up on her bed.  It's not easy transferring a young adult, in fact, it's a lot of physical work at times.  Everyday I thank God for Kevin for so many reasons but lately I realize at what perfect timing in our lives He blessed the girls and I with Kevin.

While  I stay at the hospital with Quinci,  Kevin travels daily (3 hr round trip) to see us while his parents pick the little girls up from school, feed them dinner, and help with the nightly routine until Daddy gets home for tucking in at night.  I have so many things to be thankful for through these past couple of days.  The Lord continues to show up and amaze me with His love....even when I wonder "why are we here and why are we going through this?"  I learned through grieving Mike's death to ask God "why" is to question Him, and if I am questioning Him, am I trusting Him?

Monday, December 30, 2013

My Grandma Goes Home

You may not understand much when you are hurting and the pain of loss is ripping through your soul, but know and hold on to this one truth: God loves you, and He has a future for you. Hope in Him and trust Him to turn your mourning into JOY.

Roughly six weeks ago, my family changed. My (maternal) grandma had a stroke.  This stroke made it difficult for her to walk, eat, and eventually talk.  She was so active until this stroke, she drove anywhere and was even a caregiver for a 99-year-old man, two days a week!   Kevin and I visited her in the hospital, and at the time, she was talking to us, leaving us much hope for her recovery.  Unfortunately, the stroke(s) continued and she had to be moved to a nursing home.  A nursing home...the last place my grandma EVER wanted to live.  She talked about NOT wanting to ever live in a nursing home.   And there she was...in a reclined wheelchair, not being able to move her body like it once had moved, or talk to her loved ones who she loved so very much.

I knew I didn't want to take our girls to see her in this state.  God opened the door up for Kevin and I to visit her last Friday, (writing this on Monday) and I am so glad we did.  We no more than arrived at the nursing home and it was time for her physical therapy.  We decided to go with her to therapy, I talked to her quite a bit at first, only finding a glazed look back at me.  Kevin suggested I take her hand and kneel down to her...as I talked and held her hand, the biggest smile came from her.  She recognized me!  It was like a baby recognizing his mommy for the first time.  No words spoken, just a big smile!  A priceless smile that brought tears to my eyes!  She could hear us, we knew, but for her to respond was so exciting.  When we left the nursing home that day, I told Kevin that I would be praying for God to take her out of this state.  No matter what that meant...His will be done.  Early this morning, that's exactly the answer to prayer I received. She has gone on to be with the Lord.

I learned a lot about grief and finding strength from my grandma.  Two husbands, two male companions, and two children preceded  her in death.  I remember thinking to myself when Mike died, my grandma has been through this so many times, I can surely do it once.  She loved her family more than life itself.  The reunion with my grandma and my Aunt Kim (who died at the age of 26, 17 years ago in a car accident) in Heaven, makes me smile, just like the smile my grandma gave me last Friday.