Friday, January 30, 2015

 While we awaited J.P.'s arrival, Lindsay and I found ourselves wrestling a nagging question: Does Rob know his grandson is being born?  We deeply hoped he would witness his arrival. 
Just then, I looked out the kitchen window and to my utter surprise, I watched one of the biggest monarch butterflies settle on the grass just feet away.  I didn't have time to grab my camera; I'm not sure I would want a shutter to distract from such an amazing moment.
Was it a sign? I rarely see Monarchs in my yard and I can't ever remember a sighting this early in the year...or while I hoped for an answer.  Oh, I'll never know, but I'd like to think it was a God whisper, a beautiful reminder that the Creator directs the entire cycle of life.  We bid our "until we see you again" love to those we cherish and yet, we welcome fresh little faces filled with hints of generations past.  We wait, cocooned in our present sufferings,  and at His precise moment, we emerge with new beauty and fly higher for a season.  He oversees it all.
Lindsay and I don't know how Rob connects to us here on earth, we just know we feel him every day.  ...and we know a granddaddy and his grandson are connected by more than  strands of DNA, but by prayers of years gone by and stories yet to be told.  
We haven't forgotten, dear Rob...that promise to pour your hopes and firm faith into our brood of littles.  You'll see!  And they'll know their granddad was a great man!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Welcome to the world!
Joseph Paul
January 28, 2015
7:35 p.m.
8.5 lb.  21 inches
Thank you, Lord,
our Giver of all good gifts...

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Little boy blue,

Today is your birthday...We think!
We wait in great anticipation as the Son shines on this joyous day. 
We want to believe there are peep holes in Heaven, that your granddaddy Rob smiles big as he waits with us for your grand entrance.
Little boy blue, so wonderfully made, are you ready to be smothered with love?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Year Two

There's not a lot written about moving through year two of losing your soul mate.  Some say it's harder than the first year of numbness, fog, chaos and advise to push through as year three is worth it.      
The anesthesia has worn off, pain, reality, loneliness presses in.
If you've stumbled on to this post, please forgive me as I ramble a bit; I won't be offended if you skip this one.  I'm not sure it will make a lick of sense, even to me.
I've developed this anxiety of sitting one on one with friends.  I'm afraid I'll spill a little of where I'm at in this odd journey and before I know it, the flood gates might just break. It almost happened to me yesterday over coffee.  Who wants to visit over doom and gloom, especially if it becomes one-sided?
I'm ready to use my grief experience, but I often feel like I'm another cancer family's greatest nightmare.  Her husband didn't make it. If we refuse her help, maybe we'll avoid our worst case scenario. Her story is depressing; we need positive vibes.  Our cancer story didn't have the outcome any of us want, but it's a beautiful journey of love and hope and God fills every step of it.  I get "it" and no words are often needed. I can't imagine walking though 2013 without other story bearers.  
While I wait, I intentionally walk through our five months at MD Anderson. I comb through Rob's medical records, I walk the halls of healing in the heart of the Texas Medical Center, I thank physicians and other "medical" friends who touched our lives.  I never want to forget or lose empathy for others. 
Swahili for rescue, save, redeem, deliver
The beautiful art project created by patients, families, and visitors at MD Anderson
I miss being married, being known as Rob's wife... sporting events, business dinners and parties, tex-mex dinners full of laughter...all as his wife, his best friend.  I still think, talk, feel married; singleness is so foreign to me.  Is there a home for us in limbo?  I notice I am invited to fewer marriage-centered activities. If it hints intimacy, I'm protected. Sometimes, I'm grateful...other times, sad.
 I fight new fears and feel like I'm miserably failing in trust.  What if I make irreversible financial decisions? What if my health defies me?  I keep reaching for Rob on these decisions.  When will I turn all the unknowns over to the all-knowing One?

If you made it to this point, I told you so! The ramblings of one trying to figure out this new year.


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Working through this messy journey of grief, I recognize I must deal with my unmet expectations of others.  In order to restore some of the lost intimacy in my upside down world, I naturally turn to relationships in which I am deeply rooted.  But intimacy requires a desire, a commitment from both parties which isn't always realized at the same intersection of life.
 So I begin the hard process of letting go of my plan. I accept that I have no control over the choices others make, but I do have control over my reaction to their choices. I don't have to hang on to hurt and disappointment.  Letting go allows God more room to fill my life with new purpose, passion and people, but mostly, Him.  And if His plans include some of those lives I so dearly cherish...well, then I'll be blessed all the more.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Rob was usually a very engaging speaker, but that Wednesday evening in late May of 2013, I was surprised at his lackluster delivery.  He had spent many hours preparing to teach the youth teachers at our church, but I heard great fatigue in his voice. He  lacked his usual command of his audience; I struggled to even hear him in that large room.  Being so unlike him, I knew deep down that something was not right.  
After searching for months, I found his notes for the last Bible study he would ever teach. But wasn't it truly Rob's life, relationships, grace and courage under fire that spoke louder than any formal teaching outline?
Even so, they are treasure to me and I want to share his thoughts that evening for those who served alongside him.
 Rob's 633 Notes on John the Baptist
How might doubt be manifested in the lives of our students?
·         Does God really care about me?
·         How could God allow bad things to happen to good people?
·         Is there only one way to God?
We are not alone/unique.  Everyone (including great men of God) has faced doubt
·         John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, man in Mark 9:24
Doubt often shows up:
·         When we try to apply our expectations to God.  The problem isn’t with God’s plan; it is with us
·         Quickly after a spiritual “high”
·         When we are already struggling with physical, financial or other issues
When we experience doubt, we should remember Jesus’ example of dealing with John the Baptist gently and encouragingly
·         We can tell Him how we feel.  God is big enough to handle our doubts and fears
·         He is loving.  Unlike the world, God’s response to our doubts isn’t to scold, belittle, criticize or ridicule, but to build us up.
·         He is trustworthy.  God never gives up on us, rejects us or leaves us. He understands our shortcomings and encourages us to draw closer to Him.

·         not who we would like Him to be
·         through His Holy Spirit and the Word

Isaiah 50:10
Romans 8:35, 37
Matthew 28:20

Monday, January 12, 2015

Yesterday, in the pew, I almost missed this ray of hope, reminding me the big screens by the altar only compliment the living Truth laid open on my lap.
Those who sow with tears
will reap with songs of joy.
Those who go out weeping, 
carrying seed to sow, 
Will return with songs of joy, 
carrying sheaves with them.  Psalm 126:5-6
Less than 24 hours, God gently reminds me that He always produces harvest for the faithful waiters. 
Sheaves...proof of new dreams, new plans, new purpose.
Seed...there's still something to carry, to sow. 
Tears precede joy.
It happens often; I spill Saturday's honesty and God swiftly plants truth way down in the cavernous places of my weary, broken soul.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

We have this one life to live, so we sow our dreams plenty. We plan, we persevere, headed for great harvest.
So how do we survive when there seems to be no yield?
No dream left of growing old together... no expected laughter of sight of purpose in an unfamiliar land.
How do we breathe when the distance grows longer, the phone shouts silence, the loneliness sucks out the very oxygen that moves us? 
Best laid plans buried in a garden plot.
We grasp for the next of kin and realize they're sowing their own plans and we aren't a part of them.
How do we bury life-long dreams; is there even enough desire or energy to plant new ones?


Friday, January 9, 2015

Today, I have trouble seeing and feeling God. On days like this, I must lean on what I know of Him, nothing else. 
He will not fail or leave us. Deut. 31:6
He love us with an everlasting love. Jeremiah 31:3
He heals and binds our wounded hearts. Psalm 147:3
He holds everything together. Colossians 1:17
He is picking up the shards of disappointment, chaos, brokenness, even while my senses are stunned.