Just Me

Monday, July 15, 2013

He was Loved...

Yesterday was Dave's memorial service. I woke up with a knot in the pit of my stomach. I dreaded walking into church and being "done". I worried about everything going well and I wanted to make sure he was honored the way everyone that loved him would want him honored. And as much as I wanted everything to be behind me, I didn't want this to end.

I walked into the church with the worship team practicing...it was SO uplifting to my spirit! I knew that the pastor and I had met and when we were done, I was pleased with everything. He had input on how to make it flow smoothly and also had suggestions on how to honor the person that Dave was. I knew on Tuesday, I had peace about it all...but yesterday was a different story. Add emotions to the mix and I felt like I was having an "out of body" experience. It just didn't seem real. 

Pictures of Dave flashed across the overhead...a lump rose in my throat as I looked at the memories with him! I took my seat, front center aisle, across from his mom. I sat and thought, "This is it. Savor the coming moments! Cling to them, don't forget them." I was in the seat of honor. I was the wife. I am the widow.

The pastor opened us in prayer and began by reading the obituary. He then proceeded to share memories that people had sent in. Some were funny, some were sweet, some made a tear fall. They were honoring. He was loved. Then he read my letter. I didn't think I would cry. I wrote it. I knew what was ahead. But as I sat and listened and reflected, the love poured out in the form of tears...

To my husband~ 
8 years wasn't enough. I remember when I first saw your bio on Christian Mingle. 
"I'm not your typical knight in shining armor. I had to put my horse down 
because the kids needed school glue. The castle is a mess with piles of laundry 
and dirty dishes. And my armor is a little rusty!" Your humor and creativity 
drew me in! We spent hours that first night instant messaging and even before I 
first met you, I had feelings for you. I remember on our second date, looking 
across the air hockey table at you and knowing I was falling in love with you! 
We knew it was crazy! The 2 of us and our 7 kids...our own Brady Bunch, except I 
didn't get an Alice! 
On June 17th, 2005 we went to a little wedding chapel in Clarkston Michigan. We 
both knew how hard marriage was...we had been down that road before. And we knew 
this one would have new and more difficult challenges. That night I stood there, 
and pledged myself to you, in front of our Father. "For better or worse. For 
richer or poorer. In sickness and in health. To love and to cherish until death 
do us part." I meant those words that day. I took them very seriously. And I am 
thankful we lived out those vows. 
You were such a talented, gifted man. I loved sitting in the garage watching you 
work. It always amazed me that you could look under the hood of a car and figure 
out how to take it apart and put it back together AND make it work. I loved the 
way you smelled when you came home after work. That was the smell of my hard 
working hubby! I don't think you ever realized how truly gifted and talented you 
were. If it broke, you could fix it. If you thought up the plan you could build 
it. And I think of that every time I sit at our computer desk! I look around and 
I see your fingerprints in our home. You are everywhere I look. 
I am thankful that we were able to spend time alone and go places. I cherish our 
trip to Mackinaw Island that you took me on right after we were married. We had 
so much fun exploring Civil War sights in Nashville together. And I enjoyed 
hiking in Hocking Hills with you. I will always be grateful for the weekend we 
spent in Columbus in December this past year. We both knew that would be the 
last time away together and God blessed you with some really good days. 
I think the thing I most appreciated about our relationship was our humor. I 
always said our love language was sarcasm! I loved laughing with you. I think I 
will miss that the most. 
I loved your passion for studying the word. When you were teaching Sunday School 
you would spend hours preparing each week. And it showed! It was such a 
privilege to lead youth group with you. I was thankful to have a husband I could 
serve the Lord with. 
Our marriage has been hard. We have met many trials-many that would break a 
marriage apart. But we made it. One of our greatest challenges was the fight for 
your life. You fought long and hard for 3 1/2 years. Many prayed for healing for 
you. Some would say that God didn't answer. But I know he lovingly did. He 
decided that you had had enough. Life has been hard for you Dave. You have met 
more challenges and heartache than most. And I think God lovingly said, "Son, 
come home to me. You fought a good fight. You finished your course. You kept the 
faith. You are done." 
As your wife, I am heart broken and I miss you. I missed you the moment you left 
this earth. I am so grateful that I was able to hold your hand in that last 
moment, when God took the other hand and welcomed you home. You were, and are 
still, loved deeply and unconditionally. It was my honor and privilege to walk 
through the journey of cancer with you. It was hard, but I would do it again 
with you. 
I wonder what you are doing right now. Are you sitting and talking to some of 
the greats of the word? Are you sitting at the feet of Jesus in awe and wonder 
at the gift he has freely given you? Are you standing and worshiping with the 
angels and saints that went before you? Are you running freely without your foot 
brace, on the streets of gold? My heart aches with how much I miss you, and yet, 
it rejoices and praises our Savior knowing that you are done with this life and 
have just begun to live! 
Dave, I am thankful that God brought you into my life. I am thankful for our 
laughter, our dreams fulfilled, for the opportunity to walk through the tough 
things in life together. I am thankful that I was able to be with you at every 
appointment. To sit by your bed and be with you. I am thankful that I get to 
carry on your name. I am so glad I was able to call you mine. I am thankful that 
I was given the gift of loving you and being loved by you. 

The worship band proceeded to make their way to the stage...
We were going to celebrate the HOPE we have in Jesus!

Blessed be your name
In the land that is plentiful where your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be your name
And blessed be your name 
When I'm found in the dessert place though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed be your name
Every blessing you pour out I'll turn back to praise
And when the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say
Blessed be the name of the Lord! Blessed be your name!
And blessed be your name
On the road marked with suffering though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be your name
You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say, 
Lord, blessed be your name
Nothing can separate even if I ran away
Your love never fails
You stay the same through the ages
Your love never changes
There may be pain in the night, but joy comes in the morning
And when the oceans rage, I don't have to be afraid
Because I know that you love me
Your love never fails
You make all things work together for my good
You make all things work together for my good
Amazing Grace how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost but now I'm found
Was blind but now I see
Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed
My chains are gone, I've been set free
My God, My Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood, his mercy reigns
Unending love, Amazing Grace
The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures
The earth shall soon dissolve like snow
The sun forbear to shine
But God, who called me here below
Will be forever mine
Will be forever mine
You are forever mine

Then the pastor shared the reason for our hope. The reason that we can sing and celebrate at a memorial service. The hope that we have because we know Dave is with the Lord because he placed his trust in him. He made it clear, the only was to experience life with Jesus is to place your trust in him! I am so thankful for our hope of heaven because of Jesus! 

I am thankful this was not good-bye, but see you later!

Then we sang a song that I have said I wanted played at my funeral..little did I know it would be played at my husband's. It is a perfect end for celebrating the life of a believer who endured so much in the end of his earthly life.

I can't think of a better way to end a funeral of a Christian, than to focus on those thoughts...Worthy is the Lamb...all because of Jesus, death is overcome! And Dave is alive, he is just starting to really live!
It was done. And I felt like shouting! The love for Dave poured out in the words and memories that were shared. The love of God and his offering of salvation was declared! We worshipped and praised the one who made it all possible! 
God did something to my heart through that service. He poured himself over me. He has allowed me to rejoice in the midst of such sorrow. His hope is what I cling to in this process of grief. He is holding me and carrying me in the midst of it all. Once again, I am blown away at his goodness! I know I will have days of sadness in the future. I miss my husband. I miss the man I love! 
But I also know the Comforter! 
I know the Redeemer!
I know my Jesus!

1 comment:

  1. So beautifully said Stephanie. Thank you for sharing your life with the rest of us. I didn't know Dave, but I feel like I did through your words. We pray for the goodness of the Lord to continue to pour over your life, and that of your family members also. It has been a blessing and encouragement to read your blog these past several months. It has been a privilege to read about your struggles and your victory. May you be comforted in the difficult days ahead. Prayers for you from our family.

    Love, Debbie Cole