Monday, March 28, 2016

Mondays are usually study day, but today God took me on a bit of a detour. I went to look up a verse on my phone and just had to peek at an email from Revive Our Hearts ministry.
Diagnosis of pancreatic cancer...the interviewer's hook (at least for me.) The guest author, Margaret Nyman, recounts her and her husband's short journey with this terminal cancer.  Listen, I could have written it; this was my story! Do you know how rare it is for someone to write the ugly details of pancreatic cancer and wrap it in faith? 
And then the dam broke!  I haven't sobbed over Rob's cancer journey in months, but Margaret spoke of things I didn't even know weren't completely healed in me.  The comparisons were so uncanny that I reached out to her in an email. The interview, her book, her blog are GIFTS to me on this lonely Monday.  
But here's the coolest God thing: her blog, Getting Through This, is centered on "encouragement to keep moving forward," no matter what life tosses at us...cancer, divorce, financial setbacks, teenagers!  And that is exactly what I began studying when I sat down at my desk today: Hebrews 10, encouragement to keep moving forward!
God's winding roads are always the best, even when we have to pack a tissue or two.  

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Oh happy day
my debt is paid
so great a love
how can it be
an empty tomb
my heart set free

Friday, March 25, 2016

When I stare at the Cross

crossbeam tearing wounded flesh
hammer striking iron
shrieks of unfathomable pain
drops of redemption blood
wincing with each agonizing breath
trembling limbs stretched
startled eyes searching the heavens
haunting thoughts of abandonment and betrayal
uncontrollable sobs from a grieving mother
jeers from a lost crowd
repentant cries from a thief
merciful eyes forgiving humanity 
pierced for our rebellion
crushed for our sins 
 man of sorrows 
acquainted with deepest grief

He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed.
Isaiah 53:4-5

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree,
so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness;
by his wounds you have been healed. I Peter 2:24

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV
God's timing is always perfect; I gently tiptoe into another woman's heartbreak. We belong to a club we never wanted to join.  I know He rules over the calendar of ministry because my wound is no longer ripped apart, only rubbed as I reach out.
It's a prickly do I offer comfort without shining the light on my own darkness? How do I offer love, not my own fix?  We each walk this arduous path of grief on our own timetable, in our own fashion. 
Today, I added handwritten love to a simple card of sympathy.  It cost me something valuable; each stroke of my pen bled painful memories of the early days of paralysis when I could barely navigate my own loss.
Perhaps my most profound gift was simply inscribed on a powder blue envelope.  
How do we address half a couple?
I remember...
These three words still bring joy, but even more so amidst the rubble of Rob's death.
They were my history.
They were my God-ordained position.
They still shout much of 
my ripped-apart identity.
Within a few weeks of his death, I ordered return labels so I could make known my preference or at least hold on to the only life I knew.
(Most people don't ask Emily Post anymore.)
Occasionally, I still receive an invitation or a greeting card addressed with Mrs. Rob Moore and I know my dear Rob is still written on the sender's heart and they deeply understand our lengthy love affair.
So today, I carefully penned the same beloved title on my friend's envelope, hoping she, too, would be reminded that her love of a lifetime matters.
Three powerful words...don't be afraid 
to use them.

*This is my personal preference, and is a good place to begin with a woman experiencing fresh loss. But as time passes, she might prefer her name or professional title.  You will not offend us by asking.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Rob loved candles!
Most every evening he'd fire up a couple while we watched sports.  I always thought it was a juxtaposition, which pretty much described my husband.  Each December, I would reach in my Christmas stocking to find a new fragrance; I remember chuckling at the tiny tin named Hippie Chick. And for the record, Rob never asked permission when lighting my Christmas gifts!
During this third year without him, I've been seeking ways to keep his memory alive in healthy ways.  Since I'm a bit further down this rocky path, I hope my ideas will encourage some of you walking in fresh grief and loss.  I must admit I am concerned that some of you might wonder if I'm stuck or even
"worshiping" my husband, but I know I need to commemorate, not way of continuing this healing.
   So I often light beautiful candles throughout the house. As I walk through a room, catching a whiff of sweet fragrance, I find myself smiling at this funny little thing that Rob found important and usually offer up a quick whisper of gratitude for my gift of life with this wonderful man. It just seems to soothe the loneliness of long nights and weekends...and I know he would be pleased.  Now it's even fun to surprise his female friends with one of his favorites, my way of keeping him alive in all of our hearts.
Last Christmas, I purchased Lake Candles Fairway Fir.  Fairway is a small neighborhood in Kansas City where we met in high school. Memories of Christmas lightings on the Plaza, drives down Ward Parkway, Sunday night worship dates at our nearby Nall Avenue Baptist Church flood my heart when I light this beautiful candle. Rob would have loved its smell of Christmas pine and more so, that his young entrepreneurial friend shared one of his simple joys.
I've learned to love Rob's candles almost as much as he did.
But even more, I cherish how God illumines my dark times. I'm reminded as I extinguish a flame, that it is only a temporary source of light.  We have an everlasting source who lights our paths...the God of hope!  One day there will be no darkness, no need for lamps or candles; the Lord God will be the only light we will need.