Just Me

Monday, June 16, 2014

346 Days Later...He Gives and Takes Away, Blessed is His Name...

He gives and takes away...my heart will choose to say, Blessed be the name of the Lord!

I just walked through both of those experiences...The Gives part...

I had the awesome privilege of taking my kids for a week away to Myrtle Beach. Sarah last saw the ocean about 6 years ago. Kaitlyn has only seen the ocean once at the age of 3. And Trevor had never seen the ocean. And it had been years for me as well! I never understood why people would want to go year after year to the same place for vacation. I always thought , "Mix it up if you can go on vacation every year!" But now I get it!! I think I could be an official "Beach Bum"!! I can not remember the last time I had a vacation that lasted an entire week either. A few days away is always great and I have enjoyed them thoroughly, but going away for an entire week like that was so refreshing! 

I have had a rough few months as I have shared! This trip was such a gift...the timing of it was perfect, especially after the season I have just walked through. My oldest is leaving for the Navy in Sept and I really wanted to make some family memories before things change permanently for us. And it was wonderful!

Days spent without a care in the world...I reflected often about the past year + of my life. It has been the hardest period of time I have walked through in so many ways. And as I laid there, ocean water on me, sand between my toes, and the sun beating on my body, all of it was a lifetime away! I didn't have to get up and be responsible!!! Ahhhhh!!! My kids are old enough that they were self sufficient. I didn't have to fix breakfast or lunch for anyone. I didn't have to help them get dressed. It was a stress-free, responsibility free, job free, time for all of us. 

We laughed...a LOT!!! Mom cut loose and got goofy with the kids. We made dance party videos in the van while we were going here or there! We took walks on the beach...I took walks on the beach alone and even ran twice!! We ate out at some really good, fun restaurants! We shopped and splurged! The girls parasailed, we rode the skywheel, went to Pirates Voyage, and hit the beach as often as possible!! 

The timing of this trip was perfect for us. We are approaching one year. One year! 365 days! So hard to believe...it feels like a life time ago. My life has moved forward. I am embracing it and honestly loving it! I took my kids to Myrtle Beach. I did that. As a single mom, I was able to do that. I drove us there. Drove us around...I did it! It felt amazing as their mom to be able to do that, especially after the past year for us. What an honor and a blessing. It was really empowering for me as a single woman to accomplish this for my family. I needed that boost. There have been times in the past few months, that I really didn't want to do single. It was overwhelming and I felt like there was no way I could do it. Now I do. It has been a process for me in the past 2 months of accepting, embracing, and learning to love where I am in my life. God has worked and moved and I am thankful for a place of contentment and accomplishment. The refining fires are not fun, but they are always worth it! 

I would be lying if I said that I don't hope to be called "wife" again. There are many things about marriage that I miss. And I would be lying if I said my eyes are not open! LOL!!! But I am ok until God brings the right man into my life. I've made my list of "must haves" and my lists of "wants" and God sees them and He sees the "him" He has chosen for me. Until that time, no matter how long it is, I am happy. I am joy filled. I am embracing. I am content.

The Takes Away Part...

Yesterday was a tough day for our family. It was the first Father's Day without Dave. It was a weird out of sorts day for us. The first day back from vacation and day filled with church then baseball. It was a tough day. Another slap of our reality. Another "first" after loss. 

I asked my son how he was doing with Father's Day this year, he responded with a "so so" response and then I saw him wiping tears. I see the void most in his life. He needs time with guys. It doesn't matter how great of a mom I am, I CAN NOT be the man in his life. I am praying that God will send men to pour into this boy who is becoming a man. He so badly needs a Godly male in his life. Someone to spend time with him and pour into him. And just be guys together. I watch him as he is with the guys on his team, he glows! I know he needs so much more...and thankful his Abba sees it too!

Tomorrow is yet another "first" after loss. Tomorrow would be our 9th anniversary. I know tomorrow I will reflect on that evening 9 years ago...and the journey that those 8 years together took us on. Maybe tomorrow I will share some of those things...I know my mind will be busy...

My last blog was on the "Greater Invader" and in my losses, I still see that there is a Redeemer. I have tasted both the giving and the taking in this life. I think after you have experienced loss and pain, the blessings are that much sweeter! As I walked and reflected last week, I was truly overwhelmed by the good things God gives his kids. He has blessed me. He loves me perfectly and completely! He empowers me to walk this painful, wonderful life. I am thankful and blessed more than I thought I would be...and I am not yet to the 1 year point of this journey as a widow. He blows me away in how He has worked in my life. He has healed in so many ways. He has refined (and is still refining this woman) and I am thankful for that process. He is good! And I am thankful!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

335 Days...11 Months Later...The Greater Invader...

Invaders...we all have experienced them. I have had my share in this life. I have experienced the worst of them in the past year. 

Today makes 11 months since Dave passed away. As I was running yesterday, the Lord started speaking to me about these invaders and I started reflecting on some of them in my life...

The invader of cancer...Cancer became our reality 4 years ago this month. Dave had started having pain in January 2010 and then went through test after test, procedure after procedure, doctor after doctor, until he was finally diagnosed in June of 2010. He endured several surgeries, numerous scans, more doctor's appointments than I can count in the years he battled that disease. As his wife, I sat and watched and supported. I became a nurse to my husband.  I prayed for him, cried with him, and walked with him. As a mom, I still had kids to take care of and taxi around. It is a load no person should have to carry. Cancer was a huge invader in my life. 

The invader of death...then came July 5th, 2013 and I said my earthly good-bye to my husband. The week before and the week after he died were two of the longest weeks of my life. I look back and honestly do not know how I made it through. I will never forget them. Death. A horrible invader in this life.

The invader of lost dreams...I have blogged about some dreams that I have had to give up lately. Not easy to do. The Lord graciously showed me that I needed to pry my fingers loose, and release them to him. Trusting him for what is best for me. It was a challenging time for me in so many ways.

The invader of divorce...I still have the affects of divorce in my life and the life of my kids. I see it frequently...I guess I had hoped after 12 years that it would be a little less evident in their lives. But it is not. And it hurts my momma heart deeply. 

The invader of singleness...after living as wife and caretaker for so long, it is a strange adjustment to make back into singleness. And when it involves a death, it happens in an instant. I became a widow on July 5th, 2013 at 5:01 pm. There have been times that I have truly HATED being single in the past few months. It slaps me in the face when I see the "couple" world we live in...you don't realize how few singles there are until you are one! I am truly happy for my friends when they go on a "date night" with their husbands...and at the same time I get truly envious. It has been a huge adjustment. 

I could name more...I have experienced more of these invaders that life can bring our way...but there is a GREATER INVADER than these...

My Redeemer, Jesus!!

The invader of cancer...Jesus came to give us life more abundantly! By His wounds we are healed, in more ways than one. Many would say that Dave was not healed, but the truth is, since he knew the Lord personally and had placed his faith in Jesus, cancer was just the step into his presence and Dave received the ultimate healing!! Jesus is a GREATER INVADER than cancer!

The invader of death...oh death where is your sting?? Oh grave, where is your victory?? Even Jesus lost a friend in the death of Lazarus, and he wept in that moment! I have cried many tears over my husband since he died. But knowing Jesus changes the way we mourn. Jesus died a physical death, but crushed our enemy when he rose again 3 days later! So, there is a GREATER INVADER than death...LIFE because of Jesus!!

The invader of lost dreams...I had to let go...and as I sit now, having done that, I question what my hesitation was in letting go of my dreams...the path that I had picked out for myself. What was I afraid of?? That God would put me in a place of unhappiness and misery?? His word is FULL of promises about the GOOD things he does for us, the GOOD plans he has for us, why would I not believe that the dreams he would give me would be GOOD?? God is giving me new dreams...a dream of embracing where I am in my life. I am a momma! I love my kids and my time with them is getting shorter and shorter. I am involved in ministry at my church and I LOVE what God is doing in that area...He is giving me new dreams for my life and I really am in a place of contentment. There is a GREATER INVADER than that of lost dreams...God's dreams and plans for me, his daughter and bride!

The invader of divorce...I have to admit that I am still in many ways waiting on the redemption in this to arrive. But I know the promises of the word, that what the enemy means for evil, God can use for our good! There is a GREATER INVADER than divorce...and if he says he will do it, HE WILL DO IT!!

The invader of singleness...this has been a really tough one for me recently. It goes along somewhat with the loss of dreams. I am thankful that the Lord has really worked in my heart and mind and has brought me to a place of contentment in my singleness. I am embracing the life in front of me instead of wishing all the time that I had someone to share it with. I am ok where I am. God is giving me new dreams for my life. Yes, I would still love to remarry, but until the right one comes along, I am happy...content...at peace with my life. A couple of months ago, the thought of not having a man in my life was a horrible thought...today, not so much. This is big progress for me! Many times in life, we have to change (and be willing to change) what we focus on. I'm single...and it is a fun place to be! I do hope to remarry and I am open to dating, but until then, I'll let Jesus pour into my life and let his love overwhelm me! There is a GREATER INVADER than singleness...My Bridegroom, Jesus!!

I wonder what Invaders have come into your life. Are you facing the impossibles that life can throw at us?? 

Relationships that fall apart. 
Marriages ending in divorce. 
Loss of Job.
Financial ruins. 
Prodigal Children.
You fill in your blank____________.

Are any of these beyond the love and redemption of our Savior?? He is the Greater Invader in our lives...and He is good!

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!"

Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

This song has become my love song with my Savior lately. I listen to it and have the moment of just me and the lover of my soul...enjoy!