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.