Friday, June 12, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
A couple of months ago my friend Kara sends me the verse from Isaiah 54:2-4...I had begin to pray quite seriously about the whole dating situation, and had gotten to the point where God used specific people to get my focus back in place about what I wanted in a person and keeping my standards high. God used Cinderfella to remind that I had specific things I wanted and inevitabley, God used the whole situation to get my attention back on God and I had gotten to the point where I literally was quite satisfied with being single.
I was quite content. And then...he happened.
I had been friends with Superman-Studmuffin for several years. He was actually friends with my first husband. Since moving to Virginia, I would see him at church, and we would joke around and it was never really more than that. Lately, we had begin talking on facebook and I was getting to the point where I was hoping he would get online just so we could talk. Eventually I invited him over for dinner, and we hung out that night, the next night, the next day, and the next day. [these are the four days referenced in the previous blog post]. I was really thinking I was inventing something, but it was undeniable that the feelings I was having was a two way street. But I gave it up to God, and let Him take control.
The next day, Superman-Studmuffin and I officially became an item. And its safe to say that I ...
When I'm with him I feel safe, I feel happy, I feel God radiating through our relationship...and I can barely contain the joy I feel. I'm so blessed to be able to have the opportunity to enjoy a relationship again...and I can only imagine the places God is going to take this. Oh...I can feel the sun shining on my face again, and its a glorious day indeed! God is good Indeed!
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Today I woke up at 5:15am and got ready for Sunrise Service at church. It was so breathtaking to watch the sun slowly rise from the Blue Ridge Mountains and stand on the mountainside proclaiming "Jesus is Alive Indeed" ! It was a great time of reflection and worship, considering the immeasurable sacrifice that our Lord went through for us. The pain and agony He bore on the cross so that we could be free from our bondage to sin and free to live a life of pure joy. After this gorgeous day, I was cleaning up my bedroom tonight and just thinking about everything that has transpired through out this week and weekend, and then thinking about how "happy" had seemed so far away and now it seems so within my grasp I can feel it tickling my fingertips. And then I was reminded of a story in 1 Kings 18:41-46.
The context of this story is that, there had been a massive drought in the land for quite some time and Elijah presented himself before Ahab and told him to get ready because a great rain was coming. Then Elijah sent his servant out 6 times to look for the clouds, and there was nothing. The seventh time however, there was a cloud as small as a man's hand coming from the sea. And after that it rained and rained and rained.
Hope, Happiness, and the Fulfillment of God's promises. These are the things I thought of. In my own life, through these experiences of losing Shannon, reclaiming my life, dealing with debt & frustration, my severe self esteem issues, always worrying that I will never find anyone, etc. In all of these "drought" times, God was whispering to me to watch for the rain, because it was coming. Each time I stood on the mountainside saying "God, I don't even see a cloud in the sky"..."God, I don't see how there's going to be a way out of this"..."God, I don't see how anyone will ever really love me". Multiple times I have cried these things out to the Lord, and still He whispers "Rain is coming".
My dear friend Kara, who has stood multiple times in the gap for me, send me an email a few months ago. She began it by saying, she never knows if its really God that is speaking things through her, but she gave me a scripture.
"Sing, barren woman, who has never had a baby.
Fill the air with song, you who've never experienced childbirth!
You're ending up with far more children
than all those childbearing women."
God says so!"
Clear lots of ground for your tents!
Make your tents large.
Spread out! Think big!Use plenty of rope,
drive the tent pegs deep.You're going to need lots of elbow room
for your growing family.You're going to take over whole nations;
you're going to resettle abandoned cities.
Don't be afraid—you're not going to be embarrassed.
Don't hold back—you're not going to come up short.
You'll forget all about the humiliations of your youth,
and the indignities of being a widow will fade from memory.
For your Maker is your bridegroom,
his name, God-of-the-Angel-Armies!Your Redeemer is The Holy of Israel,
known as God of the whole earth.
You were like an abandoned wife, devastated with grief,
and God welcomed you back,Like a woman married young
and then left," says your God." Isaiah 54:2-4
I read this passage this week, and realized the promises of God are unmistakable. That I can rely and trust them. God is constantly reassuring my shrinking faith, that He is not a man that He should lie and that I can rest in His promises. Alot has happened the past few weeks, God has given and has taken. With the introduction of Cinderfella, it only strengthened my hope in a future and made me realize the things I want in a future mate. And with the realization that Cinderfella wasn't what I really wanted, I placed that dream on the altar and gave it to God. And with that action, I heard a small voice whispering to me "Rain is Coming". This week, however, I stood on the mountain when He whispered that to my heart and I literally could see a cloud as small as a man's hand coming from the sea. And I realized that my rain is coming. That my happy is slowly on its way.
Without much detail, I am watching this cloud get bigger and bigger each day, and my heart is nearly about to explode with pure joy at the things going on. My faith is being affirmed daily. And I am so blessed to be able to recognize whats going on and to be able to enjoy the process of standing in His rain.
(Can I feel you in the rain? Abandon all I am to have you capture me again - remember that post a few weeks ago?)
My God surrounded me with sorrow in order for me to fully recognize how beautiful and how merciful His heart is. On this Easter day, I give thanks to God for His sacrifice and how He bore my sins, so that I could experience this new feeling of Joy that is radiating from inside of me. He took my place on that tree so that I could experience fullness of Joy. How beautiful are the hands and feet that bore the nails. How peaceful are the eyes that saw me in my darkest hour and still loved me enough to take my place.
Oh he is beautiful. Today, I want to encourage you and challenge you to never give up in your circumstances. That, although it seems like you are experiencing a drought - be it through finances, infertility, widowhood, bitterness, etc...whatever it may be, realize that RAIN IS COMING. Look to the skies, even if it takes a hundred times of looking for the rain, God is whispering to you that it is coming, and right when it seems like it isn't going to happen, you will see that little cloud, no bigger than a man's hand, rising from the sea...and get ready. Once the rain starts...He will wash over you - cleansing you, restoring you, bringing you Joy.
Just don't give up. It might be a cloudless day today, but Rain is Coming.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Last Sunday, at the peak of my frustration with current situations, I was driving to the Dollar Tree, and I began to just talk to God. I asked Him to help me find more ministry opportunities. The conversation was that simple. I stepped into the store a few minutes after that, greeted by a mentally challenged girl with a smile that immediately melted my heart and left a lasting impression on my soul. Normally I would've just passed her by, but her smile blessed my heart so much, I couldn't stop thinking about it. As I shopped, I saw a woman in a wheelchair pushing a grocery cart by herself. I walked away from her, thinking, I would love to push that grocery cart and just spend some time with her. After that I passed an older lady cutting her own grass, I drove by thinking, I would love to be able to cut her grass for her.
I began to realize that I asked for ministry opportunities, and God was beginning to provide them. They came in packages I would not have readily recognized in the past. They weren't familiar ministries that I have felt I was "called" to be apart of. And I began to understand that for years I have boxed myself in to a corner, where I have missed thousands of ministry opportunities because it was "my calling". I have blatantly misused the verse in the Bible, regarding people using the gifts they have, as a crutch and an excuse for me not to help others.
We limit the extent of our ministry and how much God can use when we use the phrase "thats not my gift". I have felt like the only tangible ministry I had to offer, was the experiences of my widowhood, but God wants to take my box, and tear it wide open, exposing me to multiple ministry opportunities. Opportunities to bless people in ways that I couldn't have imagined myself being able to do. God is challenging me to live a box-less life in all my ways of thinking. To see past the way I see my "abilities" and "inabilities" and see through His eyes...to see a hurting world, waiting for someone to simply just show them they care. That's how we reach people..."with one random act of kindness at a time".
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Later, I laid in bed, my mind a swirling vortex of thoughts and emotions. I could not sleep even if I wanted to, so I just laid there and gave in to the swirly thoughts...thinking thinking thinking. Of course all the normal thoughts popped in...should I blog, what to wear, Cinderfella, altar, Cinderfella, awkwardness, WHAT.
As I sat that contemplating the awkwardness I felt with Cinderfella lately and how things just weren't popping into place with us, I realized that I had neglected to fully give this up to the Lord, I did not fully lay this down on the altar. I had been so convinced that he was my answer to prayer, that I neglected to truly seek God's opinion on this. I laid in bed and began praying that God would truly direct my steps and that I could fully lay this down on the altar, and if it was not meant to be, then I would be fully content in this.
Its funny how, when you do something sacrificial like offer to give up the person of your dreams, God gives you little reminders that your sacrifice does not go unnoticed. Under normal circumstances, I would have woken up the next day down and would have been disheartened because I was slowly starting to realize that it was not meant to be, but instead God arranged a beautiful series of surprises just for me.
First, worship at Sunday School was probably the most intense I have felt it. Which was funny considering we were extraordinarily unprepared. After sunday school I went to meet a friend at Panera to go to a different church and I couldn't find him in Panera, so I went out into the parking lot and also in the parking lot at the same exact time was my best friend, Jessica, who had been in town at a wedding batchelorette weekend. She was on the way home, but stopped off to get something from Best Buy and decided to pop over to Starbucks. She lives over 4 hours away and she did not call me because she thought I was in church, but God arranged it that the both of us were in that parking lot at the same time, just so we could see eachother. The final gift was stepping into the church during worship and they began doing the song "Always"...I was like...hold up. Coincidence? Godincidence? The very song that got me thinking about abandoning everything I am and want simply for God's glory, that was the song they chose to sing.
So it was a day full of beautiful, glorious, unexpected surprises that made my heart so overflowingly full. God's still making beauty for my ashes...in so many unexpected ways.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
I sit here on the couch beneath piles of books on Calvin, Covenant Theologies, Dispensationalism, and various assorted books on subjects that are too theological for my small brain to even begin to comprehend. I'm not reading these books (if I even ventured into that realm of understanding I would quickly run out as if the building was on fire).
I am sitting here though pondering how wonderful God' mercies and promises are. Constantly being reminded of how wonderful His love is for me and how beautifully it encompasses my very being.
"Not one word has failed of all the good promises He gave"
1 Kings 8:56
Tonight I went through my Bible, reading all the different notes and papers that were nestled inside of it. A few things caught my eye...things that I wrote down right after Shannon died, things that I was clinging to with all my life in hopes of understanding the depth of God's Love for me and His purpose in everything that happened.
I remember sitting down and writing on a piece of paper "What is God calling you to do? Is He asking you to lay your dreams on the altar? Is he asking you to throw your dreams in the trash?" This thought had consumed me for a long time as I thought about the fact that in being a widow, I not only lost my husband but the children I did not have. And in being obedient, I had to lay my dreams on the altar. Flipping through the paper once more I came across this note :
Claiming the Promises of Ruth
-Childless, Widow, Moved to a new land
Met her husband and together they began a family that was the predecessor for something amazing."
That was a turning point for me, a place where God gently held me in His hands and reminded me that my time was coming. And while hope fades in and out for me, His promises stay pure, stay true. He never waives in His mercy and love for us. He never fails. He never forgets.
Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. Psalm 126:5
Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Galatians 6:9
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
I am reminded ever so gently and constantly that a) God has a purpose for my life b) God is the restorer and sustainer of my joy and c) God's promises stand true. Just a random blog to voice how much I am in love with God lately.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
On March 24th, 2009 he passed away, leaving behind his beautiful and courageous wife, who has been a constant encouragement to me throughout my own season of losing my husband. He also leaves behind his eldest son and wife, who have been some of the closest friends I've had. They taught me what a marriage should look like and how a Godly family should function, and they offered me support throughout my dating and marriage...offering advice, hugs, laughs, and love. He also leaves behind his younger son and his wife, who also have been some of the closest friends I have ever had the privilege to know. I walked with them during one of the hardest seasons of their life and they walked with me when Shannon died. If ever God designed a family that single-handledly touched thousands of people through each member and their life and testimony - this is that such family. I have been honored to be with these people and experience their loving friendships to the point where I can call them familiy.
I love each and every one of you...and we are sending as much love and prayer your way as we can.
Please join with me in continual prayer for this family and their grieve the loss of their husband, father, and grandfather.
Monday, March 23, 2009
And then tonight happens.
And then I have to tell him about me being a widow.
And then I am screaming to myself "WHAT HAVE I DONE?! I'VE SCARED HIM AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Actually it didn't go like that. But I did have to tell him about me being a Widow and the whole story (at least bits and pieces). He did not freak out, he did not act different...It was me, whose mind went immediately to thinking that now I live in the "Non-Dateable" box. It was me, who immediately began stressing and thinking that he definitely won't ever date me now.
So we will just have to wait and see on this one. I have said that stupid phrase SOOOO much this week.
On another side note, out of 4 nights of sleep I had 3 Lazarus-Shannon dreams. It is reaking havoc on me mentally...draining all my energy. My prayer is God takes these dreams from me...each one I have is only a reminder of how Shannon did not get better, and I just can't bear continually seeing his face, knowing when I wake up he's gone. And then I'm faced with the reality that I am still alone and just wanting desperately to move on with my life.
This is the time where I am clinging to hope with all thats left within me.
But blogworld, don't worry. I'm not falling off the wagon. I'm really doing good...this is just a natural hiccup in the Widow Road. But the great thing about living on Widow Road, is that its not my permanent residency...soon I'm moving to a new place...on Hope Avenue. (My goodness, I sound like a cheesey christian author--haha)
"Be joyful in hopeful,
patient in affliction,
faithful in prayer"
"A dream is a wish your heart makes,
when you're fast asleep"
Friday, March 20, 2009
Where grace and suffering meet
You have shown me your love
Through the judgement you received
And you've won my heart
Yes you've won my heart
Now I can
Trade these ashes in for beauty
And wear forgiveness like a crown
Coming to kiss the feet of mercy
I lay every burden down
At the foot of the cross
Where I am made complete
You have given me life
Through the death you bore for me
And you've won my heart
Yes you've won my heart
"At The Foot of the Cross"
Thursday, March 19, 2009
CinderFella has provided me with so much to talk about, so much more that I've had to talk about in a long time. Doubts are flying at my face about the certainty of my future with CinderFella, but my decision to pursue hope would naturally come to this crossroads where I will be tested.
How then shall I proceed?
Well at the moment. I'm not! SURPRISE. I'm gonna sit my suitcase down, sit on it, and just take in the scenery at this crossroads...so I'll remember all the sites, all the sounds, everything I was experiencing at this moment. The thrill of the moment, the excitement, the uncertainty. Its like I was walking down this road and now I'm taking a break to just soak in the sonshine.
There are times when a break is necessary, and while I can't take a break from my life, I can take deliberate moments where I get alone with God and just take Him in. Although, its not like Jesus' 40 days of fasting, I'm trying my hardest to find Him alone with me and rediscover the sweetness in our relationship.
"When I saw you, I was ashamed.
You were pure and I was stained.
But you ran to me and you called my name
There were tears of joy upon your face"
-"Home" by Phil Whickam
"You block your dream
when you allow your fear
to grow bigger than your faith"
-Mary Manin Morrissey
"Don't stop believing"
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Any of you who know me in real life and not blog life, know that I fully stand on the verse in the Bible about the "joy of the Lord" being my strength. I live with uncontainable joy and an absolute obnoxiously-whole-hearted laugh that pierces hearts (and ear drums). In my writing I try to keep a serious mind, while letting that humor slowly seep out of the woodwork.
The past week have brought so many thoughts and feelings into my life. Things that I haven't felt in forever. I'm sifting through whats real and what I'm imagining and praying that God lends me a tremendous amount of wisdom and direction. I have met a new friend that makes my heart smile, and while I am hoping this turns into more than just a friendship, I am maintaining at the same time, a sense of patience. I didn't want this post to end up being about CinderFella, who has re-introduced into my life the possibility for hopes and dreams I had long packed away.
Several weeks ago I heard someone speak and that made a statement that stuck out in my head...so much so, that I began my quest to actively pursue hope...the quote was "...if you let fear consume your life, you leave no room for hope..."
I don't think I've ever talked about this, but the point I truly began moving on, began simply with a dream. Not only has God equipped me with the great purpose of introducing laughter into everyone I meet, he gives me dreams...lots and lots of dreams. Vivid dreams, prophetic dreams, sweet dreams, etc. I have walked the mountainside with Noah and looked into the valley below, I have seen Shannon's face often when I sleep, I have held the babies my body did not allow me have. I love dreams...they are God's way of blessing you even when you close your eyes and start to sleep.
I had a dream once. I dreamed I held a locket in my hand. I gold circle locket and within this locket, my name and birthday was etched into one side and my husband's name and birthday was etched into the other. This locket was understood to be my engagement locket. Inside this locket there also contained a small glass circle that held a miniature sewing kit.
I woke up asking God what the heck kind of dream was that and when I thought about it, I had an "Aha" moment with God...quite simply I thought of what a sewing kit does...it mends. And then clear as day I heard "this relationship will mend your heart"...I was so impressed with this dream, that I wanted to start this blog and I wanted me holding a locket as my blog header...a reminder each time I wrote that the dream was coming.
It started with a dream.
A dream that there was someone out there, someone who God is forming and fashioning to step into my life, someone who God knows can be trusted with the fragility that is my heart, someone who will be my restoration and my song. I won't even begin to attempt to figure out who this person is. My human mind with its human emotions is so flawed that I will surely fail if I was given the task of finding this person, but God in His great love and sovreignty knows who this person is, and it simply takes me having faith on my part to know and trust that God will reveal this person, at the right moment. And so I wait.
I wait holding onto my dreams and learning new lessons along the way. There is something truly exhilerating and refreshing in waiting. I'm seeing love in a totally new way, with totally new eyes.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Take a breath.
Haven't felt this way in a long time.
For the past week since I met CinderFella, on a daily basis, I would try to calm myself down about him, reasoning that he was probably creepy and I was being unrealistic in thinking he was wonderful. I tried everything in me to convince myself to stop being consumed with thinking about this guy. I even blogged about my realization of unrealistic expectations. I settled in my heart that he was just an invention of my thoughts and nothing more.
I was wrong ( ? ! )
I walked into small group saying to my self "he probably won't even be here. he probably is a loser"...I was literally chanting that to myself as a mantra. As soon as I walked through the door, there he was, smiling at me saying hello. And my heart dropped into my knees. In 10 seconds flat I felt like I had drunk about 6 pots of coffee...jittery, shakey, nervous, etc. I have not felt this way in a really long time. (Yeah, try high school?) It was hard to concentrate during the small group, but I kept saying to myself..."focus on God"...at the end of small group we ended up standing next to eachother talking...the subject of food came up and he decided I needed to cook for him and my friends and even suggested days to do it. And then we went to Ihop.
If this blows over I will preciously remember these school girl feelings with a sincere and intense fondness. If something happens with this, I will always have the deepest appreciation for the International House of Pancakes.
2 Pots of coffee, 30 questions, and 2 hours later...my knowledge base of CinderFella went from 5 facts, to actually knowing about him. We had such a fun time playing 30 questions...saying our middle names, favorite place we've visited, nicknames we've had, etc. I sat next to him just soaking in this very precious time, knowing that in this small way, God was slowly starting to restore parts of my life that I had considered forgotten.
I'm gonna leave this soap opera story with two thoughts. The first...a preacher once spoke prophetically over me saying "I (God) will restore things to you that you considered lost". I am fully believing the restoration is starting to happen...slowly, beautifully, gently. It excites me, terrifies me, thrills me. I have hope for tomorrow and I am basking in the sunshine that is my God.
Thought two. This is to my favorite sweet, very caring, very supportive friends...the Rainbow Warrior and Mercedes. Your sacrifice of losing sleep so I could enjoy quality time at IHOP with you and Cinderfella will forever hold a very special place in my heart. I love you two very much, much more than you know at this present moment. You are gifts from God and I don't think its an accident the way things have arranged themselves around us.
Friday, March 13, 2009
My biggest problem this week has been inventing this amazing new life with CinderFella and our amazing (and completely nonexistent) relationship. So funny, I meet one person and suddently I'm ready to be in a long term relationship, even funnier is the fact that he is essentially a stranger and I know nothing about him.
Oh, these beautiful, pathetic, ironic ... Unrealistic Expectations.
Gotta hate them, gotta love them. Expectations are good...keeping them realistic is even better. My mind is teetering on the verge of my expectations of CinderFella and how wonderful he is. I know 5 facts about this guy...thats it.
I am the poster child for having unrealistic expectations.
So God, how does your word say to handle this...
2 Corinthians 10:5b "...we take EVERY thought (even ridiculously outrageous unrealistic ones) and make it captive to Christ..."
I think of Abraham. Promised a child. Jumped the gun because he and his wife were getting too old. It bit them in the butt. But God was STILL good and still faithful to His promise. And he did have a child (actually, he eventually had several). I know God has promised me a new start and another man that will love me, so I stand in Faith and Hope (and with realistic expectations) about how that will all come about. But until then, I'm gonna fight this beast in my mind...send it packing to Jesus, because if its just me fighting these thoughts, I'm no doubt gonna lose.
So to CinderFella...you might be amazing, you might be a creep...but I will never know until I hit the brakes on our Invisible-Non-Existent Relationship, and start thinking more logically. So for now, let me just concentrate on us being friends.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
You get married with the mindset that this is the one person for you, for the rest of your life and that you will never love another. Then, if you are the unlucky few, you are thrown into this tumultuous circus known as widowhood and you then find yourself back in the rat race known as...
DATING (DUMDUMDUMDUM - scary movie theme inserted here).
Now, when you first step out as a widow, you live under the umbrella of grief that seems to shield you from the single world. Maybe not an umbrella, a tent? Moving on...your heart is healing from being broken and you are learning how to live without the person who has been your lover, your best friend, your everything. Then one day, curiously, you wake up and you aren't crying as much as you used to. You wake up and realize that the sun is actually shining again. You wake up and realize that you are attracted to other men, and you find yourself wanting to encourage this progress in your life, but still ultimately scared that one misstep and you will just injure your already fragile heart.
I am not that person. I knew that my husband was going to die before he did (it was God, I just know it). I was prepared for it and after he died, I KNEW beyond a shadow of a doubt that God had a plan for all of it, and slowly in the past year, God has revealed this major revelations to me - revelations about my destiny, my future, faith, love, hope, grief, etc. With all that said, this is what the post is really about.
Monday night I went to a small group we lovingly call House Church. A bunch of college aged kids that get together to do some praise and worship and talk about God. This past week, we had a bonfire and we just had a good time of fellowship. It has been a few months since I've gone to HC, so I knew there would be some new faces. I noticed one face in particular, a new guy...I didn't think much of it when I first got there. We had the bonfire, and we were fellowshipping after P&W and sharing time, and he was making his rounds meeting everyone. He came up to me and introduced himself, and I immediately noticed these piercing blue eyes. He made a joke about how I shook hands (and proceeded to shake my hand, like 4 times). We started talking, asking where we were from, what we did, etc. He was joking with me, talking to me, watching me (with those piercing blue eyes). I noted in my head that he looked a little like Jesus and he had the most soothing voice I've ever heard. I felt like there was a connection with us, but just figured it was me inventing things in my head. When it was time to go, we said our goodbyes and parted ways.
The next day it hit me...I seriously and most definitely was feeling something for this guy. And I felt like it was a two-way street. A friend of mine even remarked that he was like a tractor-beam with me...constantly watching me, and just talking to me. And my heart began to : freak out, get distracted, start distressing. Not because this is seriously the first glimpse of a Post-married relationship, but because I know nothing about this guy. I know his first name, the state he's from, and that he's a seminary student. I have nicknamed him CinderFella.
I'm so confused and distraught over this. Part of me is saying "God is in control, if its meant to be, it will happen" and part of me is saying "FIND THIS GUY AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE!"...I'm reminding myself to stay balanced and really stumbling into a progression of thoughts regarding "dating".
My first thought...the timing of things. I have had such revelations about having hope for my future and not worrying so much about it and then BAM, I meet Mr. Wonderful-CinderFella, who I may never see again. So I'm trying my hardest to stop being so distracted by it and to just trust God.
There I got it off my chest. My mind is a swirly-twirly vortex of confusion and excitement and frustration. Here's a few thoughts to leave you with, just so you can stop worrying about this muddled brain of mine.
"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams":
"...In dreams you will lose your heartache, Whatever you wish for you keep,
Have faith in your dreams and someday, Your rainbow will come smiling through..."
-A dream is a wish, from Cinderella
"I waited patiently for the Lord, he turned to me and heard my cry"
Lord...help me to be patient, and help my confusion!!!!
Sunday, March 8, 2009
I have never been one with a proclivity towards having a strong sense of faith in the unknown. I have had an increasing and alarming rise in hopelessness in my life over the past few months. I could sit and blame it on the timeline of things I was experiencing (aka the one year anniversary), I could blame it on my complete lack of quiet time with God, I could blame it on anything and everything.
But I'm choosing not to blame it on anything, I'm going to stand up and take full blame for this one. In my head I had let a rush of fears come in, clouding my vision of the future, and leading me to a lane of pure hopelessness. I have walked with an intense fear that I will never find love again, I will never have a family, I will always be alone. I let this fear fill me more and more until I reached a crossroads. A crossroads where I could choose to continue in my destructive thought patterns or I could make the decision to Actively Pursue Hope.
So I'm trying. When my fears start to rise or the loneliness overwhelms to the point I feel as if I cannot breath, I push those thoughts out of my head. I am Choosing to pursue hope, to run after it full speed with my arms stretched open, reaching to grasp this beautiful unknown gift I have yet to fully understand, and the more I run after it the bigger it gets in my life. And until the next chapter of my life begins and my hope becomes reality, I am choosing to continue running after it without thought to the unknown I face.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Day 2 of my " I wish I were an Ostrich, so I could bury head" continues. It has brought some interesting things to light though. Things that I'm sure more people struggle with than realize. Let's get over the basic understandings of the whole grieving process and the toll it takes on a person. I'm looking past all of that...I am in the final stages of grieving the loss of my husband, but in finding these final stages it has begun bringing some things in my heart to light...things that have been very hidden, very isolated, very dark.
Today I am not only grieving the loss of my husband, I am grieiving the loss of...
At this point, I'm going to take a step back...I'm finding it increasingly difficult to put into words what I'm feeling. To capture the true essence of how deeply hurting I am. I told someone today I feel "emotionally fractured". The subject I am hovering of, is simply the subject of deep hurts. Deep, buried hurts. Things that go so deep in your heart, that you don't realize you are still struggling with these hurts until something dredges them up from the bottom and once you realize how much you are really struggling, you then realize that you have no idea how to actually make things better. Its alot harder to say "self - stop hurting".
For me, its the whole subject of having a baby...or lack thereof.
I made a prediction that certain ones of my friends would be pregnant this year...and it has happened. Specifically two of my best friends are both pregnant. And the weight of this news has left me fractured. I am insanely happy for both of them. Happy that they are starting their family, that they didn't have fertility issues. I am happy that they are moving into this next phase of life.
But at the same time, I am incredibley sad. Saddened by the fact that God did not let us have a child. And saddened even more by the fact that my life has seemed to stop and begin going in reverse from the course I feel it should be on. Instead of people congratulating me on news of my pregnancy, I've had to listen to their sincere condolescenes. Instead of picking out nursery furniture with my husband, I was picking out a casket for my husband.
So as you can see, a deep well of pain is within me. And I feel like I'm struggling to gain my footing. Out of my own mouth today, I told someone that I loved the fact that God was using my situation to reach others, but I was ready for it to stop and that I just wanted to be normal. Most people cry out to God for Him to give them a ministry to reach others. I seem to be running from it.
But ultimately, at the end of the day (and several pieces of chocolate later)...I just have to sit back and remind myself Romans 8:28..
"...And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose..."
I so readily forget that I have been chosen for a purpose few can bear...a purpose that I was hand selected by the one who created me. "Many are called but few are chosen". Its a daunting task that requires me to be completely transparent yet still full of hope. Even as I'm sifting through these deep hurts that I haven't really found healing in, I am comforted in knowing that...
"...those that sow in tears, with reap with songs of joy..." Psalm 126:5
I'm being very real about this whole subject. Very Transparent. I am human and I hurt. But thankfully, I know that soon I will be singing songs of joy.
Monday, February 9, 2009
Dates and Anniversaries have always been a very huge part of my life. I look at each one with either intense joy or immense pain. Today I feel like February may be the worst month of the year...attribute is to a night of horrible sleeping, attribute is to a lack of vitamins in combination with a pathetic diet lately, or attribute it to the fact that a year ago my world fell apart.
Take your pick.
I am remembering vividly things I haven't thought about in a year. The fact that we had finished re-doing our bathroom and how proud I was of the job that Shannon did. I remember us having friends over and deciding it was time to celebrate Hallowuary (Halloween in February). I am remembering Valentines day especially - Shannon buying his dream guitar, us enjoying our favorite racqlette meal together, us going and staying at a hotel in Raleigh. I am remembering especially that fact that a year ago this week was the last time I was with my husband.
Despite these overwhelming emotions and this outpouring of memories I am feeling as I survey my life a year ago this month, I think of one thing very clearly. Romans 8 : 18-27.
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will..."
These momentary troubles I am facing are instilling in me a gift more precious than anything in the world...glorious freedom and hope. The things I have been faced with throughout the past year have taught me so many things about who God truly is and how much He truly loves me. There are times where my heart and my head begin to become unbalanced with eachother, and its in these times where my focus begins to turn violently on me and in turn, this turn makes me feel like my world is falling apart at the seams. I begin to survey each and every problem with my life and how things turned out and doubt begins to creep into my life. Doubt that God really has a plan for me. And then this doubt turns to fear. Fear that I will always be alone. And then I begin to panic. When the panic begins, the Spirit of the Living God rushes in on me like a flood.
There is a line in a song that says "If grace is an ocean, we're all sinking"...it always struck me as beautiful and odd. His grace is an ocean...an endless, life-giving body that sustains us, and all we have to do is let it overwhelm us. I love Grace.
As my heart is still pondering many, many things...many memories, many fears, I want to leave you with one thing. We had two very dear friends who went through a very tough time trying to have a baby. Shannon and I both spent many, many times praying and crying on behalf of this couple. The wife, who I love more than she'll ever know, told me a story about how her father had recounted the story in the bible that if we pray for bread, He won't give us stones...after I told Shannon this story and recounting to him about our own struggle with infertility and how I felt like God was giving me stones...he wrote this song. I haven't read this song in a few years, and I just stumbled upon it last night...the words though really spoke to me...
I truly understand that God is who He says He is...and with each new level of this understanding, I feel another part of my grave clothes slipping off my body...revealing a new, living person.
I love Grace.
Monday, February 2, 2009
This is my prayer in the desert
And all that's within me feels dry
This is my prayer in my hunger and need
My God is the God who provides
And this is my prayer in the fire
In weakness or trial or pain
There is a faith proved
Of more worth than gold
So refine me Lord through the flames
And I will bring praiseI will bring praise
No weapon formed against me shall remain
I will rejoiceI will declare
God is my victory and He is here
And this is my prayer in the battle
When triumph is still on it's way
I am a conqueror and co-heir with Christ
So firm on His promise I'll stand
All of my life In every season
You are still GodI have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship
This is my prayer in the harvest
When favor and providence flow
I know I'm filled to be emptied again
The seed I've recieved I will sow
Saturday, January 31, 2009
This is what my reality looks like...
Praise the LORD, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.Praise the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits-who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,who redeems your life from the pit and
crowns you with love and compassion.
It is unbelievable to think that 11 months ago was the beginning of the end. I have struggled so much within the last week...struggled with my self-esteem, struggled with how I see God, struggled with feeling so alone. I keep hearing the title of the book "When God Writes Your Love Story" and I keep mumbling that the version I'm going to pen will be titled "When God Writes Your Death Story"...I know, that is a little morbid, but it's 100% honesty at its rawest. My mind has run rampant with pure and utter resentment towards the "perfects", people who seem to float through life with nothing but good things going their way. I have harbored bitterness in my heart towards people who are able to easily have a beautiful marriage, complete with beautiful babies. I have felt a brokenness within me, that if not contained could very well break my spirit and leave me the shattered-shadow of a person.
As you can see, its been pretty rough.
Now I realize that its all a mixture of natural human emotion and very specific spiritual warfare...and in keeping that in mind, I know that I have to keep my eye on the prize, that I have to keep praising my God. I look at Job, and he refused to "curse God and die"...he kept his eyes towards heaven. I look within myself and see an ocean of dreams waiting to be fulfilled and my only hope in this, is God. So as I enter into what I begin to believe may be a "tough month", I'm going to stand firm on God's truth that "sorrow may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning". I believe God is challenging me to hold on to my dreams and keep them close to my heart...despite present circumstances.
So Sarah Webb...what dreams are you holding on to.
To one day experience living life with the man that God is preparing for me...now I know this is going to be a tough job for whoever you are. You have incredibley large shoes to fill and you are going to have to be an absolutely exceptional person, full of integrity, strength, and love. I realize that I may not fit the mold of a typical person, but trust me when I say that I dance through life with a joy that most of the times is uncontainble. This last year has been a time of testing; testing of my character, testing of my inner strength, testing of my faith...but I promise you, that the sky is breaking and I can start to see the sun shine. And one day, when you look into my eyes, I will set your heart on fire with joy. One day you are going to read this, so I might as well keep going with my dreams. I want to adopt 6 children from all over the world...children who need a mom and dad to love them unconditionally, to give them a good life, to raise them up to be princes and princesses of God...I know that God has prepared me to be an amazing mom, and I'm sure you are going to be an amazing dad, and together we will impact young lives that in turn will impact the world. And as we cultivate our family and grow together in love, I also want a living room that is light yellow with stark white trim, a greenhouse in the backyard full of beautiful, growing plants, family dinners that have endless amounts of joyful laughter echoing throughout our home. These are my dreams, these are the things I hold dear in my heart.
So, 11 month anniversary...I can choose to be completely misreable and sad, and slide back into grieving...or I can choose to hold tight to my dreams, and get buckled in...because once you begin believing in your dreams, God takes you on a wild ride.I've shed enough tears...I'm now choosing to buckle my seatbelt.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
I open and read an email and proceed with reading a blog and my heart simply fell apart.
Let's begin at the beginning.
I was blessed enough to meet E. I will call her E because I'm not sure if she wants her name painted all over my blog. But in meeting E and talking with E, I found an extreme amount of comfort from her words. She too was a young widow, her husband suddenly dying, leaving her with two very small children. She gave me comfort, she gave me hope, she gave me love. It were her words that affirmed me and calmed my fears. She let the light of Christ shine through her heart into my email, and let her radiating love burst through my computer screen. I will always remember the blessing of E.
Today, a friend from school approached me about allowing another friend read my blog. Of course, I was thrilled at this...When I went online and looked at this new friends blog, my heart slowly began to unravel. By the end of the night after she had befriended me on facebook, sent me an email, and I spent a good amount of time looking at pictures and reading her blog...I can safely say that my heart is so heavy right now, I'm surprised it hasn't dropped right out of my chest. This new friend, another E, lost her husband a few months. And like myself, had been trying to have a baby. My heart broke into a thousand pieces reading her blog. I literally wanted to crawl through the computer screen and hug her. I would've never thought in a thousand years that would be two of us, so similar in circumstance.
And so to you, dear sweet E. My heart aches with the very thought of your situation and at the same it overflows with love. I leave you with this thought...
From Psalm 34:18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit
From Isaiah 54:10 "Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed," says the LORD, who has compassion on you.
From Matthew 5:4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
From Psalm 126:5-6 Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy, He who goes out weeping carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy carrying sheaves with him My final thought...From Eccl 3:4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance
One day E, you will dance again...until then, His unwavering Love surrounds you.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Your memories make you smile instead of break into tears.
When someone else's pain hurts you more than your own.
When you can tell someone else life really DOES go on.
one day you wake up and you don't have to remind yourself to breathe.
you want to find a way to leave your grief in the past.
you find you are actually enjoying living.
you can come home and be content in an empty house.
I found this at : http://www.widownet.org/