Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Jesus, My Crossbeam

“You!” I tease, poke him in the shoulder, him broad like a beam that carries half my world." 
An innocent quote from my friend, Ann, but it pierces deep. She names my pain; Rob no longer carries half of my world. Financial decisions, daily musings, absence of children  no longer shared with my constant companion. "Broad like a beam..."  I could always count on Rob to support the roof that often came crashing down. All the daily pressures, scary unknowns, persistent hurts shared.  But memories of a competent, supportive husband do not pay bills or make investments. Nor do they wipe away tears or pick a wife off the floor. 
Then I'm flooded with Truth...Jesus... a Savior who once carried a beam to Golgotha, a Friend who promises to bear my crumbling world.  No sharing required. He is the Lifter of my head and heart, my Wisdom for all decisions.  Not half of my burden....All of it!
Sadly though, I waffle. Ready to exchange Jesus and his light load for another opportunity to lug the daily struggles with Rob. Perhaps leaning on a warm-blooded shoulder, hearing an audible voice and looking into the hazel eyes of a living, breathing husband is just easier than Faith in the One hoped for, yet unseen.
Oh Jesus, help me! Help me not to settle for safe and what was once so beautiful, but to embrace You, my future, my Crossbeam who holds the total weight of my heavy heart.


Jury duty proved more than I could handle today. I navigated the 6:30 a.m. Memorial bus in the dark and sat for several hours before panel selection got underway. Just being downtown in Rob's old world was too unsettling; I knew he had walked those halls many times.  
Being the 44th panelist, I thought it a pretty safe bet  I'd escape sitting on a grueling week long criminal case of domestic abuse, but late in the afternoon the verdict was delivered: Number 44, Alternate.
 The bailiff had to tell me to move as I sat there frozen. Seriously God? Piles of paper work mounting, my own probate date looming, and You want me to sit as an alternate for days? I finally collected myself and moved to the jury box, lip quivering, eyes welling. And then something so unexpected happened. The young female prosecutor hopped up and approached the judge and before I knew it, the defense team and I were summoned to the bench. The judge apologized for putting me in an uncomfortable position, informing me that the prosecutor suddenly remembered that I was newly widowed. (Yes, I couldn't bear checking that box without adding the word "recently.") I mumbled something about not being able to string two thoughts together and jeopardizing the defendant's case. They smiled and nodded at each other and that kind, robed man spoke the sweetest three words ever: You are excused! At the very last second, rescued by a kind attorney... Rescued by a loving Father!
Dismissed to my original seat, juror 45, a young, friendly guy who could have easily been my son, began to pat my back as I tried to compose myself. I told him how awful I would feel if he was picked in my place, but he assured me that he would willingly step in for me to spare me the grief of serving. Then he said, "I had lunch with "46", a postal carrier, and he mentioned that he really wouldn't mind being picked so he could avoid his cold mail route for the next few days." You guessed it; Juror #46 took my place.
Throughout the day, I had been preparing for a camp planning meeting and over and over I was reminded of how often God rescued wandering people and offered a way out in the form of a replacement . I just didn't realize I'd live that same lesson in a court room. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Photo by Jim Idiaquez
Counting Joy this Sunday afternoon...
One of the most difficult parts of losing Rob is that my family doesn't live nearby and I miss them terribly. God knew it was going to be so hard for me to live solo so He handpicked the perfect family to adopt me. We are a family of six as Amy puts it and we love each other dearly. They make me want to get up on the weekends so I can see K's basketball games and hang out with the girls. My life is full of texts and hugs and smiles that soothe this new loneliness.  Amy and Ashley remind me of a young Rob and Robin and I find myself whispering, "Yesss! They understand this God kind of love we shared for 40 plus years!" If only I can bless them as much as they bless me! 
So today I count the joy of adoption. They are not my surrogate family; they are a beautiful addition to the Moore family and the hands and feet of 
Jesus to me.
We said goodbye today with a tender group hug, a hug that will hold tight my broken heart.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Memories of a first date flood my heart today. 43 years ago a cute blonde boy picked me up for the first of many, many dates.  A friend's church basketball game on a school night...  I don't remember the game at all, but half-time, walking hand in hand around the school grounds is seared in my memory. Conversation flowed as naturally as clasping his warm, safe hand...talk of dreams and goals shattered any nervousness and I knew. This teen boy would grow into his adult conviction and I wanted nothing more than to venture alongside him. Yes, that first date and a life-long love affair was sealed that cold, January weeknight with the sweetest of goodnight kisses. 
Jesus, would you tell my Rob "Happy Anniversary" today and hold me tight as I remember without him?

Friday, January 24, 2014

artist unknown

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The fog is lifting...
Nerve endings are awakening; my heart beats pain!
Where do I run when I realize there's only half of me left?
I try to bury my face in soft tweed, still scented with Burberry cologne, but memories of a husband's comforting embrace and gentle words fade all too quickly. Reality stings once again.
There's only one cleft in which to hide, in the Rock who shelters me from a world in which I'm not ready to fly solo. His tender mercy holds longer than pain...longer than loneliness. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

When the losses continue to pile...
He is enough
When my husband's death is not a bad dream...
He is enough
When I remain the "other"...
He is enough
When my maternal arms feel empty...
He is enough
When paper work never seems to end...
He is enough
When "firsts" prove too hard...
He is enough
When dreams fade...
He is enough
When the "all clear" is delayed another 6 months...
He is enough
Whatever may be...Jesus is enough

Monday, January 20, 2014

My friend Ann spills these life-giving words at just the right time.
"You can lose everything but nothing can steal Jesus and He is enough and you have got. to. live."

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Counting Joy

A found text from Rob
A found bracelet
A bottle for my tears
A daily reminder
Angels that encourage
Daily reminders of Rob's new home
Words that heal
Prayers that cover
Christmas love


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Counting Joy

A beautiful conversation with a banker during my 3 hour wait... Telling her that Rob was immediately ushered into the presence of Jesus when called home

Watching a friend's eyes well up with tears when I told him he was a "gift from God," something he had never heard from anyone before...

Two precious friends showing their love in the form of a special gift...

A beautiful family sharing a gift with children fighting cancer... healthy children beaming with delight over their purchases for others... Pure worship in action! 

Timely appointments for needed medical testing

Trusting God with a life insurance payment

Friday, January 17, 2014

Very bumpy Friday. Every test I scheduled had a glitch, three hours at the bank to wire money, and a mad dash downtown to sign corrected forms. And then I was hit with the hardest test of finding joy so far. I've developed a nervous habit since Rob's death. I get anxious about making new decisions and  catch myself rubbing my left forearm almost raw. So very unlike me... Well, today was full of those "first times" and at the end of the day I discovered my tennis bracelet, a gift from Rob, was missing. I must have rubbed it loose. I frantically searched and made calls and no bracelet to be found. My beautiful reminder of Rob gone forever. I wanted to crater, trust me, but instead, I began to remember a cold Christmas morning so long ago when he slipped that tiny wrapped box into my hands. We were in Kansas City, surrounded by my family. Oh, the oohs and awes when I removed my shiny new  bracelet. And my darling husband, so tickled at himself. Until recently, I've saved it for special occasions and every time I clasped it around my wrist, I remembered Rob's Christmas delight at making me feel so loved. I hope whomever is wearing my "sapphires and cz's" tonight treasure them as much as I have all these years, but I'll be content with hanging on to beautiful memories that forever adorn my joyful heart. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Wound care is a messy, complicated thing. Wounds can be slow to heal and often need to be re-opened, aggravated in order to stimulate the growth of healthy tissue.
Fresh grief can also prove to be a complicated mess. Old weeping wounds open as well and if they aren't fully exposed and cleaned, they most likely will scar the soul. 
I did a lot of grief-stuffing with the deaths of our parents. Life just took over,  but delayed mourning can no longer remain quiet; it spills too!    
Long before we learned of Rob's cancer, our hearts ached for eventual inclusion by some of our family. That gaping hurt continues to fester and I see no end to such unspeakable pain. Only now the exclusion screams  I must endure it without a constant companion - added insult.
Like the raw grief of losing my best friend, I want these other wounds to heal quickly and effortlessly. But wound care requires patience and dedication and often, a specialist for proper healing. So does grief!
I turn to the One who binds weeping wounds and cares for the brokenhearted, trusting that He will bring a fresh healing in His time.  But like David, I can't help asking "Oh Lord-how long?"

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Another financial meeting this morning... My son has to take more time off to accompany me. 
Oh God, I feel like a huge liability! Why can't I get these things on my own? It would have been easier on the kids if I had gone home first. 
All I know to do is to trust the Psalmist' words and cast my burden on my Father. I love how Matthew Henry explains Psalm 55:22: "To cast our burden upon God, is to rest upon his providence and promise. And if we do so, he will carry us in the arms of his power, as a nurse carries a child, and will strengthen our spirits by his Spirit, so they can sustain the trial."   LORD, You carry my heavy load a lot better than I or my children can and to You, I'm never a liability. You promise to carry me through this meeting, sustain me and be my Wisdom! I'm resting on that today. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Eye on the Prize

Heart thumping "I can do this, I can do this" as I enter my Bible study room today. I need Jesus, the One and Only, much more than my morning Fox reporters.  And there it is, joy written all over the faces of the women who have traveled this rocky road before me. 
We shudder as we grasp 400 silent years; yes, 400 years of God withholding his Word. Then, when Yahweh saw his people could hunger no more, Jesus, God's Living Word, came! Silence pierced by the cry of an infant Son!  We ponder an interesting observation by our teacher, Beth: 'Time was coming, not going.'  And that's when Heaven touches my heart.  Rob knew his time was coming, not going. My precious husband faced a very certain death on earth with that unshakable conviction; he knew his life was all about coming into the presence of God, not counting earthly moments as they ticked away. 
I find myself drawn to the more recent photos of Rob. Can't help it!  There's a glimmer in his eyes, a peaceful smile, expectancy written deeply in his face and now I see clearly; he knows what is coming: the Hope of Glory! Joy deep, deep down in his soul...

Monday, January 13, 2014

The ESV translates James 1:2 as "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds."
I'm pretty sure he wasn't referring to making an itemized list, but that isn't such a bad idea! Paul instructed the Thessalonians to "be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances," so maybe joy seeking includes thanking God. I'm pretty used to listing all the bits of grace in which He showers me  on easy days, but how differently might I live this loss if I intentionally looked for Him in the tough ones as well?
Like...Thank you, God, for walking me through the 10 hours of food poisoning last night; You made it so I could only hold on to You..
Or...God, You held my hand as I stepped on the Memorial 131 bus to go clean out Rob's 37th floor office and then, provided a son, who was sent downtown on an errand, to rescue me and my load.
Or maybe...You knew that I had forgotten to ask about an important account, but You sent a reminder in the mail. 
Always present, always providing, always protecting...
Joy counting, maybe I'm on to something.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

 Pastor explodes with January conviction this morning.  Follow, remain, obey, produce, love: disciple verbs... and there hidden in life-changing text is joy, overflowing joy!
Remain in My Love and you will spill joy. Not a formula or suggestion...an order from the King. Love that has sacrifice written all over it! 

 Oh Jesus, I've laid down my dreams, my plans, my life with Rob and that kind of love bleeds.
"I know," He whispers.
But, Lord, I don't know if I have that kind of energy to pour into others right now.
Again, he speaks, "I know.   I give you another set of verbs: connect, plug, empty, confess, trust, cling. Have you forgotten I AM the Power Source? Remain in me and hard love and pure joy will begin to flow again."

Saturday, January 11, 2014

2014...The Year of Finding Joy

Early on during Rob's cancer, we asked ourselves, "So how are we going to live this out?" It didn't take long for us to agree that we would choose joy.  We had memorized some of the Book of James a year earlier and we immediately knew that we would accept the second verse: "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds." 
What we did not know was the next 5 months would become the fight of our lives to endure this ugly beast with joy.  Rob and I learned quickly that this concept was not an emotion or feeling we could display; it was something much deeper than happiness and we knew it was wrapped up in trust and gratitude and only possible with the Breath of the Almighty.
So 2014 has arrived and I am confident Rob has a good handle on joy, but I'm left behind, walking in the deepest grief I've ever known. Now I must choose to rejoice alone. Each year I listen for a word or phrase that frames my main goal for the year; I had no trouble knowing what it would be when the ball dropped: JOY.
I had a really difficult time letting everyone look into our cancer journey on Caringbridge so I informed God that my blog and my joy quest would remain private! I didn't even know what it would look like, it might be hard to communicate and besides, Rob was gone and who would want to walk through more darkness? What if days went by and I didn't have anything to post; what if it became just too hard to count joy?  God answered with "It's the second half of My Plan." 
 So I invite you along as I search for joy in this deepest pain. Maybe we will all find a better understanding of this elusive three letter word.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Last night, I dreamed about Rob for the first time since his death. I couldn't reach him; not too hard to interpret that one.
 Tears flowed all day...I suspect that is good grief.
 Fear continues to grip me.  Fear not, fear not, fear not beating hard in my chest...hiding those scriptures deep down.
I've heard that the greatest fear of widowhood is the fear of living. Sounds crazy, but I'm fighting it hard. It's really the fear of life's unknowns, all the "ifs" I certainly did not elect. 
"Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you."
So I'm wondering, God...do your Words really boil down to blind trust? Is it okay for me to shake a little as long as I place that first step in line with You? Is this courage you require really the act of ceding a very human emotion into your "more than able" Hands?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Tonight was so hard. I kept turning to see if Rob was going to rush in late. Half of me was missing. Rob and I serve together; we're a team. This was not our plan.  All these new firsts are overwhelming, but I keep trying to trust. Can you really use this, Lord?

Saturday, January 4, 2014

I have never felt so alone in my life. I am quickly learning that promises are broken and I will have to make my own way.