Saturday, May 26, 2018

Pastor Duane has been encouraging us to enter Sabbath rest, a time to tune out all the noise and focus on the LORD.  He reminds us that it looks different for each one of us, but it needs to be intentional.
Saturdays seem to work best for me and I'm trying to make Wednesday mornings a midweek break from the chaos as well. All said, it's a lot easier for someone who has raised her kids and retired from the workforce. Even so, I have to make it happen.
I have a beautiful handmade prayer journal, a gift from my dear sister-in-law; it's filled with prayer prompts: quotes from pastors and writers, prayers I've copied, some I've scratched myself.  The pockets are filled with Bible verses I'm memorizing and a running log of prayer requests.
It's such a treasure that helps me focus.
John Piper's thoughts direct my Sabbath rest. 

Consider Jesus. Know Jesus.
Learn what kind of Person it is that you say you trust and love and worship.
Soak in the shadow of Jesus.
Saturate your soul with the ways of Jesus.
Watch Him.  Listen to Him. Stand in awe of Him.
Let Him overwhelm you with the way He is.
                                                                              John Piper

What does your intentional time with God look like?
Let's encourage one another.

Friday, May 18, 2018

This photo at our favorite beach popped up on my feed the other day. It was jolting. It marks the last normal month before beginning goodbyes and finding my way without Rob.
What makes the five-year mark so unsettling? Perhaps, because we often count life in intervals of five...and milestones.
Are there milestones in grief?
Yesterday, I had to figure out my home energy plan. I struggled and desperately wanted to defer to Rob.  I'm not sure I made the best financial decision, but I decided to go with a 3-year fixed plan. 
Where will I be in three years? 
Eight years of singular stinks of permanence. Fixed...alone?
I attended my first gala post Rob last night. I entered alone, sat among strangers; it was really hard. I don't feel any stronger for doing so. 
Are there some things better put to rest?
Could I possibly be ready for some real change?

Monday, May 14, 2018

I'm a reluctant risk-taker and so when strong comments left a wound, I just wanted to crawl back into my worn journal...a safe place. But, my friend, Debbie, asked me to continue to share thoughts in this blog. I really do believe this wise woman has a direct line to God, so I'm trying to remount the saddle and give the soul bullies a run for their money.
I can't think of a better day than the Monday after Mother's Day to post this letter about my second mother.

Dear Joyce, 
You walked into my life when I was seventeen. It was not long before I felt adopted by you.
My other mother and dear friend!
You gave me your blessing when you casually mentioned that Robbie's last girlfriend was not so high-type like me.  I so wanted to fulfill your expectations; I'm still trying.
It must have been hard for you to see your first born spend so much time away from your family as our teenage relationship grew, but you were gracious to share your child with me. 
You walked by my side, supporting me when life at home was not always the best and you taught me so much about trusting Jesus with my life. 
You raised a beautiful son with great love and sacrifice; you gifted me with the best husband ever. 
You adored your grandchildren and they, too, adored you, their g-mom.
You taught me about courage as you battled your last earthly fight.
I miss you today, my precious mother-in-love. 
I'm not clear how all this heavenly stuff works, but I smile at the thought of your first born greeting you each day. 
I officially proclaim the day after, Mother-in-Love Day! You mothers entrusted us with your grown babies, thus blessing our lives beyond measure. You deserve much acclaim.
Mother Joyce, I celebrate you on your special day with much love and gratitude.
See you later...Robin

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Recently I’ve been posting a link to my entries on FB, but I’ve been uncomfortable with that. I never want someone to think I’m promoting myself. My writing has always been honest and sometimes very  raw. I love that God has used my story to speak to many of you around the world. For now I’m suspending my posts and asking God if He can still use my thoughts. Much love and prayers!

Friday, April 27, 2018

8 months later...

Don't push that publish button! Good thing I reconsidered, because my last uncensored post would have brought a mighty rescue team to my doorstep. 
My desperation over relentless Harvey decisions has caught up with me once again, but this time I can't dismiss it. I'm staring at depression and the soul bullies are madly at work; what has unleashed them?
Two giants: comparison and loneliness.
My builders are amazing! Their craftsmanship is impeccable, they build great things. But they are also sensitive to a woman trying to restore on a fixed income. They've saved my countertops, mended tile, found fixtures that haven't robbed my bank account. They've worked miracles and I will move into a beautiful, updated home that's perfect for the neighborhood and most importantly, me. So why do I find myself comparing my rebuild to the ones I see on social media? The gorgeous chandeliers, staircases, high end appliances... It's simple; I've invited in the comparison monster. You might say that's just human nature, I say it's a debilitating danger.  I almost lost sight of the original goal: restoration. (and yet, sometimes something extraordinary and new and better springs forth in putting the broken back together.)
 Thankfully, I have a great plan of action to fight this nasty bully: gratitude, name each provision one by one. It always licks the enemies.
However, I'm clueless how to fight goliath loneliness.
The isolation of living in an efficiency for eight months has taken its toll. And if I might be terribly honest, I feel like I've also lost my family in the storm. But most painful, the silence of Rob's absence is deafening. If you've walked the loss of the one who completes you, you will understand that no activity or friend ever quenches the thirst for your lost partner. We attempt to fill the void, but it's temporary.  Of course, I understand that only God truly satisfies, but He also recognizes our need for human intimacy. The trauma of Harvey has increased my need for someone to help share the highs and lows of this uninvited chapter.  So have the endless decisions!
So those soul bullies keep chipping away. What's wrong with you? Why can't you hang on to the ones you most love? Why are you so weak and indecisive? Where's your faith?  As my father in law used to quip about thoughts, "Your bees are swarming." So they are, Dad, and sometimes they sting. 
I don't have my routine wrap up today.  No angle, no wit. I just know I must walk this journey of loneliness for which I have so little understanding. I hate to camp here long, but I'll stay and listen and learn so it can be used, just like the other hard things.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

His Goodness

Rebuilding is not for the fainthearted. There's a flurry of activity at my house this week. Dust is flying along with buzzing of saws and popping of nail guns. An amazing pantry is almost finished and there are new baseboards taller than the waters that invaded my home seven months ago. We are at the point where I must choose a paint color.  Who knew gray could be so complicated?
Just as I think I can't make one more wonderful decision, another one comes my way today. It appears I might have room to make one or two more upgrades. (Shh...can't give away the surprises all at once.)
Driving home this evening, my head still spinning, I had this consuming thought: But God, I don't deserve all this goodness. I just don't deserve all this beauty.  
My dear friend, Jan, had just given me an hour long pep talk and I was still drowning in guilt.
 I just don't deserve all this goodness!
And wouldn't you know it, I heard it, that audible God-whisper that shouts deep! 

No, you don't deserve it.
You don't deserve anything!
I just want to gift you. I love you and want this for you. Please accept my gift. Please let Me love you. Just be grateful, my child.   Yes, it's Me...God

If you know me well, you know extravagance is not my style. I'm frugal; I live simply. Past remodels, even the necessary ones, were difficult for me, because...well, I just don't think I deserve them. They were usually  completed with a huge dose of the reluctance and some never began because someone else had better need of the funds.  This is foreign territory for me, folks.   Very foreign!
But these days, when God speaks, I listen well.
So tomorrow, I will walk in the house and give God the praise He deserves for his lavish gift. I'm going to let Him smother me with all his goodness.
All this blessing: a construction team that is clearly His hands and feet, friends that love me through all my quirkiness and indecision, manna from unexpected sources, a newly resurrected rose bush that reminds me of my Rob who shared this space with me. He would have been very grateful of all this goodness.
He led me to a place of safety;
    he rescued me because he delights in me.
Psalm 18:19

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Thin Places

I love the smell of freshly cut wood, I love the smell of progress! Demo is complete, doors are hung, and cabinet framing has begun. The kitchen plans are clean and simple, much like the desire for my new chapter.
I stepped into one of those thin places yesterday.
Standing alone in a bare, dusty shell of my former den, I found it hard to distinguish heaven from earth for a few beautiful moments. God was so present and I was so grateful. I wasn't concerned with keeping up with the neighbors, I was simply basking in the goodness of a caring Father.  Grateful that He carries me...goes before me...protects me in the details. Free from the demon of comparison...just a delighted child showered with exactly what she needs.
For the past few weeks I've found myself grieving the rustic Hill Country home that we'll never own during our retirement years.  Yesterday, I realized this restored home is his better plan. 
Complete joy and peace in the places we meet and trust God.