5) MY FIRST SNOW... WITHOUT YOU
Genesis 8:22 - "While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease."
Day 31 - January 4th at 8:00am
Yesterday was a crummy day for me, but, as always, the Lord sent me reinforcements. He sent a friend to bring dinner who encouraged me through her own grief journey and He also made sure I had a special message to read when I woke up at 4:30am and couldn't go back to sleep. (Unfortunately she had to wake up at 4:17am to send it...) It's amazing how that happens. The thing about yesterday was that I couldn't even point out what had happened that made the grief pop up. There was no rhyme or reason, but there it was. And just as it does in the ocean every day, another (better) wave came to wash away the sadness. The defendant was supposed to indicted by the grand jury yesterday. I haven't gotten the official results yet to ensure that happened, but I should know for sure today. After this, he will have his first court appearance within the next 2 months. I know this will be a long and slow process, but I am thankful to see a little progress. I have some widowed friends who haven't had the same feeling of "Justice being served" that I feel and that I pray I continue to feel. I have decided to go ahead and finish up my classes, but I am only working on 1 for the first half of the spring term and 1 the second half. All of my classes at this point are online. I feel like this modified load will be more manageable for me and will still allow me to be able to graduate in May. I was glad to hear from other widows who encouraged me, through their personal experience, to just go ahead and do it now in order to open up doors for myself and the kids financially. The way I look at it, I typically shoot for A's, but I really only need a C to graduate, so if I have that mindset, I can still feel free to do my best, knowing that a B or C would still be ok. :) In other news, I caught my first mouse in Mike's absence! It's still under the cabinet so for those of you who have said "Let me know what I can do...." I have a little 30 second project for you! :) Time to tackle another day at work. A little normalcy has been nice and the hugs from all my preschoolers and parents has been especially nice. So I hope you have a great day....
Day 32 - January 5th at 8:58am
The Lord spoke to me last night at church through the evangelist and told me that I don't need to worry because He will open the doors that He wants me to walk through and close the doors He doesn't. All I need to do is walk. He won't leave me or forsake me, if I just keep my eyes on Him. I know that to be true and I've experienced it daily. Sometimes hourly. A song I have loved for several months now is called "Intentional" by Travis Greene. I haven't been able to listen to it since the accident because I've had mixed feelings with knowing God hasn't ever lead me the wrong way before, but maybe He just doesn't understand how big this is. And surely He doesn't think I can actually do the things for Him like Mike did. Then my mind flashes to holding Anna down so they could put her IV in and she's begging me not to, but I knew without it, perfect healing couldn't take place. Did it break my heart?!?? Absolutely! But the greater plan was beyond Annabelle's comprehension as Mike's death has been beyond mine. In the past, I was the person who said, "Thank you God that this tragedy didn't happen to me or my family" when I would hear of a tragedy or death. But how do you respond when it happens to you? At first, I remember thinking "God, we have served you in ministry, doing hard stuff, for the past 13 years and this is how you thank us?" But you know what? God doesn't owe me anything. He doesn't owe me an explanation. He doesn't owe me a reason. I've stood on the scripture, "It's appointed unto man once to die..." many times because trying to think "if this had happened" or if "that had happened" then maybe Mike would be here will drive you crazy. So I will choose to trust. One of my preschool moms sent me a devotional message this morning that simply reminded me to say, "I trust you Jesus" when my world is shaken to the core and the walls are falling in around me. So that is what I will say today. I trust You Jesus. ❤️
Day 33 - January 6th at 8:26am
Gearing up for snow.... those of you who know me understand the magnitude of my snow love. It's big. But since Mike isn't here, I feel like it takes some of the fun out of it because I need to ensure I have all the snow essentials.... sleds, food, icee melt, full tank of gas in the van, and I need to back into my parking spot at home. I also need to remember to thaw the dog's water and guys, remind me.... what do I do to make sure the pipes don't freeze in my bathrooms? (The last thing I need is for a pipe to burst!) But overall, the thoughts of being forced to stay at home for a few days sounds like heaven. The thoughts of getting all my packing done for our upcoming trip sounds great too! So, here's to another first..... ❄️
Day 34 - January 7th at 7:53pm
My first snow day without Mike. It was kinda sad for me, to be honest. It has helped that Mom is here and we were definitely busy cleaning out rooms and packing, but it just felt so abnormal. I was looking for something I had bought a year ago to take on our annual Disney trip and after looking high and low, I finally found it, but along the way I found many memories that I wasn't prepared to uncover. From seeing Mike's handwriting on a piece of paper, to being in his office, I was reminded of his absence. Sometimes I can trick myself into thinking he's just gone temporarily.... like on a mission trip. A picture jumped out at me today, one of us together that I've seen daily since Tiffany, my sister in love, took it 3 years ago, but looking at it now feels like a knife to my heart. Most days now, I can make it through without shedding a tear and then all of a sudden, something you've seen 1000 times brings a feeling of despair and pain. I still daily relive the words of the doctor telling me "We did everything we could, but we weren't able to save him." I wonder if that doctor knew in his mind that I would never forget the words that he would tell me on December 6th.... and that I would play them over and over again like a broken record. We hit the one month mark yesterday and I just miss Mike so bad. Packing for our annual trip hasn't helped either.... I found our matching "Hubby/Wifey" Mickey and Minnie shirts in my Disney stash. But then I couldn't find all of our sleds today and I needed to ask him where they went. (I'm thankful for the one we did find) Eli wanted to see if I could crank his small 4-wheeler and I had to say, "No" because I have no idea how. I'm not even tall enough to open the top lock on his building.... with Brandon's help, we were able to open it up but even looking inside and thinking "What in the world am I going to do with all this stuff?!?!?" was very overwhelming. A few months back, a tree fell along our property line and I noticed this tree today as it has created an open space. I likened myself to that tree. As much as I desire to stand back up again and grow, it is impossible. Does that mean the tree isn't valuable? No, absolutely not. It just means the tree has a different mission now than it did before. It can become a house for a family, it can keep you warm in the snow, it can become an important document in American history, but it can never again become the tree it once was. I wish I could fast forward and see what all will become of this. What will I be and who will I become? What about my children? How will this shape what God has planned for their lives? I sometimes wish I could forget how much he means to me and how much I miss him. I wish my 7 year old didn't ask me, "Did somebody die?" when she found out my in-laws were in an car accident yesterday. I wish I didn't have panic in my heart every time the phone rang last night because of the snow and Eli being out in it with friends at the Monster Truck Rally. Oh how I wish.... but one thing I know is that God's Word tells me that in due season, I will reap if I faint not. So, up I go, to finish up some laundry, heat up some soup, and to pack some more. And maybe, just maybe I can figure out something really cool to do with that fallen tree. If not, it will continue to remind me that I still have a purpose to fulfill, even though I feel might broken in two. Enjoy the snow ❄️
Day 36 - January 9th at 2:47pm
That moment when your son says "There's a truck in our driveway!!!" and you realize it's a friend who's come to scrape your snow covered driveway! #blessedandhighlyfavoredeveninthesnow
I’m feeling a little overwhelmed today... which is unfortunately becoming a pattern. I notice the kids are feeling more comfortable sharing stories about their dad. They will say, "Do you remember when Dad did this or that?" And usually I do. I want them to remember him and I try not to let them know it saddens me to hear all their sweet remembrances. I just want this feeling of suffering to go away. Because I'm usually a pretty peppy girl, it's hard for me to not be frustrated that I can't feel real happiness. I'm not used to having to search for it. When I look for it, I can find it by counting my blessings, but it's harder now than it was. I try not to sit around and dwell on "what was", but "what was" is surrounding ME and the plans to change that seem mountain tops away. I guess I definitely underestimated this process and how long it would take. I forget everything. Did I mention I forget EVERYTHING?!?!? Accomplishing the simplest task takes forever. Even making decisions is the worst! I can't keep my schedule in check and honestly, I think God gave me snow because He knew that without it, there would be no way that I could accomplish all that I need to do this week. So there, You're welcome everyone! :) it's true though! My mind is usually like click click click and I can remind myself to do this or that, but I feel like I'm still living in this fog and I HATE IT! Maybe once all the Christmas clutter of gifts that haven't yet found a home is complete it'll make it better. Who knows. But I'm about to pull my hair out. So please pray for my mind. I have asked many widow friends how long this takes and many of them still say they are living in the fog. In my opinion, the "fog" is likely the worse side effect of grief. I can deal with the stomach issues and the sadness. But the foggy brain is my arch nemesis. It makes me feel like I have no control. I don't like that at all.... it's been 5 weeks. I really thought I'd be operating at least 90% by now. Instead I feel more like 75%. The kids are trying really hard to step up, I guess they know it's just impossible for me right now. Friday morning Eli said, "Did you call out Anna's spelling words?" Of course I didn't!!!!!!! So I called them out while she was packing her book bag and lunch box. The Lord only knows what her grade was. I guess I just need to cut myself some slack and grant myself an extra heaping dose of grace. One of my friends, who has walked this road earlier this year, encouraged me to become more organized. I do think that will help. I'm just not sure where to begin. So when you pray for me this week, will you pray for my mind? Specifically for clarity, soundness of mind and my ability to remember things. Thanks so much ..... ❤️
Day 39 - January 12th at 12:21am
5 weeks and one day. I wish I was telling you that life was becoming easier, but unfortunately it's not. It is becoming more bearable, just not easier. Actually, the further I get in the process, the more questions arise. I petitioned for graduation today and I even started working on my assignments for my new class. It was surprisingly refreshing. I can't believe how different it feels to write about theology and how it has shaped who I am, knowing that if Mike were still here my answers would be different. The Lord is still revealing himself to me, but it's not like anything I've ever experienced before. In our relationship, Mike was the dreamer and I was the realist, but it was His faith who moved on people's hearts and when he had a vision, it was his faith that brought it to pass. I was the one who said, "Now Mike.... You know that's not likely to happen, right?" :) I've seen more supernatural provision in the last 5 weeks than I've ever seen in my life. There's no other reason than ... God. He really does own it all. The earth is his footstool and he's been taking care of me and my children just as wonderfully as he provides for the birds of the air. I keep reminding myself what the evangelist told me.... that the Lord would open doors and close doors and I need not worry, only walk. Some days my "walk" feels more like a "crawl" but inch by inch, every move forward is still a move in the right direction. This week I've thought so much about where I was one year ago. We had just had our first service in our new church, with our combined congregations, and if there was ever a time when we felt that things were falling into place, it would have been then. We had just completed renovations on our new building and it was so pretty. People were excited about what the Lord was going to do in our midst and all the while, we made all these plans that would never be fulfilled. I'll never forget the feeling of sitting in that stupid little room in the hospital that they take you to tell you bad news and having the reality of knowing that all the dreams we had planned would never happen slap me in the face. I felt like we had made all these big plans and now they are just ruined! When I think back, it's almost like a totally different life than what I'm living now. I told friends over lunch yesterday that I feel like a pastor's wife..... only without a pastor. I am such a better person because of Mike. He was just as much of a Christian in our home as he was in the pulpit and I admire that about him so. I wish all pastor's wives could say that about their husbands. Sure - there were things that drove me insane (like his insatiable desire to save something that he might be able to use in 10 years from the clutches of the trash can), and believe you me, if I have since found a sock without a mate, I smiled while I trashed it, but those things make me smile! After Mike and I had our first miscarriage, I wanted to be pregnant so bad. I felt like I might be pregnant, but it was too soon to test positive on a pregnancy test, so I remember praying, "God, You know! Show me!" And every single day, Mike and I would find loose change on the ground. We had read a story about "In God We Trust" being written on money, so it became a sign for us. Sure enough, I was pregnant with Abi and it seemed like anytime we would begin finding change, we would joke that maybe we were going to have another baby. Now that Mike has moved to heaven, finding pennies on the ground (even if they are on tails) is precious to me. If Mike knew all the ways that we have been blessed in his death, it would have made him so happy, but honestly I don't think he would have been surprised. He just expected the blessings of God to flow, and they did. So let me encourage you to expect the blessings of God to flow in Your life. Allow your faith to be quickened. A year ago, I heard a minister say, "What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail?" Those words rocked my world as Mike and I both began to ask God for big things. Everything He laid on our hearts to do was accomplished and now I wait to see what's next..... because if this journey has taught me anything, it's that with God on my side, I will never fail. Be blessed....