Just Me

Monday, July 29, 2013

Flowing Tears...

Tears are freely flowing this morning. I am sitting in my hotel room in Washington DC alone this morning. And I am reflecting on the past few weeks. 

It has now been 24 days since I said good-bye. I miss him. As I have walked around DC, I have seen so many things Dave would have enjoyed. I wish we could have visited here together. But I carry him in my heart and my mind. I miss him. Every day I miss him. Some days I miss him so much I ache. But my tears today are not because of my ache for him.

My tears today are because sitting here, only 24 days after, and I see God redeeming in my life. I see him redeeming in ways I never expected. I knew he WOULD redeem...He said he has a good and perfect plan for me...and it is full of hope! But I didn't expect to be poured over so quickly.

How I came about this trip is nothing short of a miracle and gift from God. Last March, one of my friend's from church put a post on Facebook. It went something like this:
"I have 2 friends from 2 very different places in my life. And they need to meet.
Stephanie meet Sonia. There I introduced you. Now start chatting.
You will figure out why I thought you should meet."
So we did. We friended each other and started chatting. We have spent hours chatting on Facebook since. We have tasted very similar loss in our life. Both of us, the man we loved, and we have both lost because of cancer (although hers was her mom). As I have walked through this "Valley of the Shadow of Death" Sonia has walked with me! (All the way from Colorado) She KNOWS caregiver, final good-bye, the beast of cancer, missing someone so much it hurts. She knows the loss of losing the man she loves. She relates. 

She is here for a conference for work, And she gave me the invitation to join her. So, I ordered my plane ticket and flew out to meet her. Both of us wondered, "Will this be awkward? I'm sharing a hotel room with a stranger (Well kind of)!" But as I walked toward her in the terminal, I couldn't wait to hug my precious gift from God! It was so natural and I was thankful! 

We got to our hotel on Friday night and decided to go sight seeing a little We are right on Capital Hill, so we walked to the capital! I have never been to DC, so this is all so new and exciting for me. I am in awe as I walk around and see history. It really is a beautiful city! We went back to our hotel room and began the night of talking! We wept and laughed together! The thing I loved most about our conversations is that our favorite topic is Jesus! We cry over his work in our lives! We cry over the fact that he is so good and blesses us with so many things we don't deserve! We were up till 1:00am talking and it was hard to turn off the light and sleep! 

Saturday we got up and went to Arlington to see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the changing of the guard. If I had to pick the one thing I have always wanted to experience, this was it. I walked through the cemetery and enjoyed standing in silence at the changing of the guards. I couldn't help but think of my husband and my loss, but not with pain in my heart, but rejoicing that He is home and no longer suffering. We walked back to the mall and visited the Korean War memorial, and the World War II memorial. We sat with our shoes off and put our feet in the cool waters there for a bit. Again, a time of reflecting on God's goodness to me. 

It is really hard to describe what those last weeks were like. Please don't misunderstand me when I say I felt trapped. I felt like I was on a deserted island. (It was truly an honor and privilege to care for Dave during this period of time.) But, I sat there, free, no having to hurry back, no wondering how he is doing, I am free of that part of my life. And Praise God, so is Dave!!! It has been so refreshing to be free from it all. No responsibility. Just free. I am still adjusting to this part of my life. And it seems to be one of those things that hits in waves.

We got up and left and went to the White House. We then decided to go back and rest up for a while before venturing out again! I was told that I have to see the Lincoln Memorial at night. He is my favorite president, like the Solomon of the United States! Full of wisdom and love for God. So, we ventured down to the Lincoln Memorial. WOW! I was blown away! As we stood and looked at this great man from history, sitting in his seat, overlooking the Washington Monument, I couldn't help but think how much more amazing it will be to stand before my God sitting on his throne, surrounded by angels! The grandeur of that room blew me away! BUT someday...and Dave already knows! We sat on steps of the Lincoln Memorial for a while, reflecting. Enjoying our moment. Two women who know great loss, but an even greater God! So thankful!

Sonia has a friend who has a daughter living here in DC and she offered to pick us up at our hotel and take us to church with her. I was thankful I was going to church, but I was also really missing my home church. I HATE missing a Sunday at my church! As we are driving, she asked if we knew anything about National Community Church. We didn't so she proceeded to tell us about how they operate. She then says, "Our pastor is Mark Batterson, author of 'The Circle Maker'...and he is preaching at our service today!" I was so excited. I was given a booklet that high-lighted the ideas of that book over a year ago and I have wanted to read it! So cool to attend his church today! Just a little gift from God. We get to church and the people are so friendly and welcoming. I am so thankful for the family of God. Instant connection with others is a gift! We begin to worship...SO much like my church...as we go through the way they do things, and the feel I get in that room, it was as if I was at my home church! I felt SO blessed! Another gift from God. Then, they announce that visitors go to the table in the lobby and they have a gift for us, it includes a copy of "The Circle Maker"! HOW GOOD IS GOD???? He sees me...He loves me....He gives me bonuses that tell me I am vital to Him. Our new friend invited us to lunch with her and her boyfriend, so we went to her apartment for lunch with her. It was really neat to see what those little apartments in the city look like...and it made me very thankful for my house and mortgage payment in Urbana, OH! Our time around the table was sweet, sharing our God stories, talking about the work the Lord has done in our lives. God gives an instant bond! 

She walked us to the metro and we boarded for the Smithsonian! Since we walked over 10 miles on Saturday, I think both of us were ready for a little less movement...and the AC was much enjoyed. Although, God has blessed us with a nice breeze and lower than normal temps! (Another little gift!) 

My favorites at the Smithsonian?? The First Lady exhibit with all the beautiful inaugural gowns! Then of course, the Ruby Slippers and Kermit! (still a kid at heart I guess!)

We came back to our hotel and spent time talking again. We have shed tears together, but I don't think any have been tears of heart ache. Only us being so overwhelmed in God's goodness. 

Today, she has conferences, so I am sitting in our hotel room alone. I have thank-yous to get done from the funeral. And I never complain when I have down time to reflect and pray! My sweet friend, fixed me coffee while I was still in bed this morning. And she left me a gift as she was leaving. As I opened it, one by one, it was not just her, but Jesus giving those gifts! Books, some I have been wanting and some I didn't know I wanted! Tears flowed not just because I could see the fingerprints of Jesus on this gifts in the bag, but because God's fingerprints are all over our friendship! 

When I planned this trip, I knew the timing would be good. I knew it would be a time that God worked. I knew we would be blessed in meeting each other and sharing face to face talks and tears (and coffee!). BUT, God has poured himself out in so many ways on me. I sat, feeling very isolated at home, little fellowship, trapped, through those hard, hard days. He is redeeming those hours. I sit now, weeping over how GOOD my God is! I worship in praise that God is so good, that he took Dave home to heaven! Death was completely defeated, not just when Christ rose again, but when a believer breathes their last breath and they are forever with Jesus! 

GOD IS SO GOOD!! Thank you Jesus for every good and perfect gift! 

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