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!