An Honest Account of Love, Grief and Walking With God
Finding God's Goodness in Life's Disappointments

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Life is a Roller Coaster



I am beginning to think I am on a roller coaster that never seems to stop. Some times it takes my breath away, sometimes I feel like I am hanging on for dear life, other times I am having so much fun although I never know what is around the corner. Waves of grief still roll over me painfully touching my heart reminding me that things will never be the same without Joe and causing me to sigh and breathe deep. Other times I am in situations that make me feel like I am hanging on for dear life trying to figure out what to do. For example, I sat by a man on the airplane and we began to visit, talking about work, kids, Texas, Joe’s cancer, etc. I talk to people on elevators…….I am a social person but the next thing I know, the man asks for my phone number! I about died feeling like I was hanging on a cliff! I haven’t had that happen in over 30 years! What on earth was I going to do? Many thoughts went through my mind…….how could Joe leave me and put me in this situation, Joe hasn’t been gone three months, flattered and not feeling 50, and quickly realizing I need a game plan for situations like this. Although he was nice, he was a stranger! I certainly know that my heart needs more healing before I get into any relationship and know another man will not heal me. There are the times I am having a blast in life, like the week in Mexico with my kids. We had so much fun and there were very little tears that week and a great holiday even though we missed Joe…..but this week has been a little different………
I have gone back to work some, still have had kids at home which has been nice, but the thought of facing a new year without Joe has TRIED to overwhelm me and brought tears….like when someone told me they were going dancing for New Years….I have lost my favorite dance partner…ouch. I have also missed prayer times with Joe. We use to pray regularly about the New Year, things at work, the kids, etc. .I have really had to focus and breath…..focus on God’s faithfulness to me, focus on the fact that I am dearly loved by Him and preach to myself to just breathe deep. Things will never be the same but it is a new beginning……. I will encounter new things, have new adventures and new discoveries, will have lots of fun, will overcome, will grow and will change in the process. I will break though this year in some areas and most of all I will live like I am loved…,Live like you are loved Kathleen….that is what I feel the Lord saying to me for 2010. His perfect love casts down all my fears. ( I John 4:18-19 )


Still singing and Happy New 2010!

Kathleen

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Gift of Being



The Gift of Being
Dec.26th 2009

This Christmas didn’t look like others in the past in many ways. The kids told me right after Joe left us that they did not want to be home this Christmas. So I began to pray…..what else is a mother to do when her kids don’t want to come home for Christmas. Once again God provided in amazing ways….a place to stay, airline miles, a different country……On December 18th we left for San Juan Cabo San Lucas in Baja Mexico. Austin and Laura met us there. We had an amazing time snorkeling, enjoying the beach, sitting in the hot tub on our balcony and looking at the Sea of Cortez, playing games every night, laughing together, jet skiing, doing 12 zip lines through the canyon and bungee jumping……yes, at 50 I jumped backwards off a cliff and lived……after what I’ve been through in 2009, it was nothing……We spent a lot of time resting and it was exactly what all of us needed……great for Austin and Laura to be with all of us, great for Price to have his big brother, great for Mal as Rob went with us and a time for him to get to know the boys, and wonderful for me to have all my kids together. We shared some tears on Christmas Eve as we had our traditional family Christmas Eve service and talked about Joe, what we had learned about God this year but for the most part, we laughed again and began to learn how to navigate together again as a family that lost their leader. God’s grace covered all of us and some healing took place. We had a wonderful time together, lots of fun, lots of laughs, and new adventures. We didn’t have a tree in Cabo or stocking although Santa brought stocking stuffers and left them on the terrace of our condo……this year was different but great in many ways. As I walked along the beach one morning by myself, I had to thank God for His amazing love and goodness. I felt His presence is such a strong way each day. This year I got the best gift…..the gift of “being”. Being with God as I walked on the beach and being with my children. We didn’t give gifts to each other; our trip was our gift to one another…..the gift of simply “being.”

Many Many thanks to all who prayed for us this holiday season. Your prayers made a difference and we ask God to richly bless you.

Kathleen

Monday, December 21, 2009

Discovering Life

I had a great birthday celebration. When you have a birthday in December you celebrate along the way in life because it is such a busy season for everyone. I have had several friends take me to dinner or lunch, a small lunch with some friends and my kids all got together and took me to dinner the other night. I have decided that although Joe wasn't with me to celebrate, fifty is fun...... He had talked about giving me a party and was going to sing a Jim Brickman song to me. I am sure he sang, I just couldn't hear him. Another letting go moment for me.....but it is in the letting go and embracing that we really are not in control of life and situations that life goes on. It is in the letting go that our trust is strengthened. It is in the letting go that new life comes.
I am having a wonderful holiday with my kids. I love watching them talk about life, build their relationship and have fun. We are all building again, encouraging each other in the situations we find ourselves in in this season. It is fun to see the fruit of the years of labor we invested in them. Joe would say we have invested well. We are not a family with money but we have a strength and love with each other I wouldn't trade. God is healing all of us. I feel He is beginning to stitch my heart again. I will write more after the holiday about our time together, but for now, I want to enjoy every moment. It is a gift.
Jesus gives us many presents.......joy, peace, His love, the wonder of life, strength, rest.......all are ous if we simply open them each day reguardless of what we face in life.

Happy Christmas to all-

Kathleen

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Letting go again

I woke up this morning after a dream. I decided to write it down and then began to journal. As I reflect on my life, most of the fun times I have had Joe has been a part of them. The one I have had the most fun with in life was Joe. We have shared a lot of fun memories. If something isn't fun, I look for a way to make it fun. It is part of overcoming to me and if Joe wasn't with me, I couldn't wait to tell him. We shared fun. It hit me as I journaled that I needed to let go of associating fun with Joe and sharing it with him....those days on earth are over...ouch......it was difficult and tearful but after writing him a letter and letting go and releasing it,, I felt so much better. I also felt like the Lord showed me that I have had to contend for fun and joy as I have had to walk through some very difficult situations. But in the contending I have learned much about walking with God and learned how to have fun, even on hard days. I know there are lots of fun days ahead for me because I know God. He is good and walking with Him is fun, not boring. Part of my life I can say was not that much fun walking with God and it was because I put Him in a box and my walk was more religious instead of relationship driven. Just as I want my kids to have fun in life, I feel God is the same way with us, his kids.
So......I am letting go again and letting go of 49 and on to "fabulous 50" not "frumpy 50."



Kathleen

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Things I love....

Dec. 15th 2009


There are many things I love in my life right now inspite of the great pain. I love sitting in my living room looking at the Christmas tree full of ornaments we have collected throughout the years. Each ornament has meaning. There are those from the first Christmas Joe and I shared. We didn’t have much money so we made ornaments. There are socks from each of our kid’s first Christmases and now ornaments from their universities. I love the warmth of candles and the fire place and am actually getting good at building a fire although the firewood fairy doesn’t bring wood inside anymore or clean out the ashes……..(those were things Joe did and I never had to do) Although I don’t share these things I love with him anymore, I love the presence of God that I enjoy in my home and have spent hours just sitting in the quite thinking and letting God’s presence comfort and heal me……..quite a change for the fast moving girl I am…..but necessary…..learning to simply “be” vs. “do” is a discipline……something God has been working on in my life for about 5-6 years now. Resting in His love for me helps me navigate through all the changes. Today I found something written in my journal on January 1, 2009, “the one word I hear for 2009 is change.” Then I wrote what I felt God said to me as I listened….”Rest in my love and faithfulness with the changes that are coming.” 2009 has brought lots of changes. The change has developed my trust in God. I have stronger “trusting muscles” than I did a year ago. We all have choices in how we handle change and crisis. Change, pain and crisis are a part of life here on earth…..they aren’t going away…….but at the end of the day, I know how I handle them now, affects my future. Life here on earth is hard, often not fair and challenging…….BUT God is good and He loves me and has always been faithful to see me through every change, pain and crisis I have faced, WHEN I TURN TO HIM FOR HELP……and sometimes I haven’t turned to Him immediately and He has patiently waited for me to discover Emmanual……….God with Us. What an incredible gift we have to open each and every day……if we choose to open and enjoy the present!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Crashing Waves

One of the things I don’t like about grief is the crashing waves that hit you out of nowhere. I went to Austin to see Price and Mallory, do some shopping and take them to dinner. On the way to Austin, I listened to Joe’s memorial service. It was healing to listen to it. There were tears in the beginning as I listened but I had to conclude that the service was all I wanted it to be and Joe wanted it to be. As I shopped, Christmas song after song played about someone you love not being with you at Christmas. Crashing waves hit me and the next thing I know I am crying. Memory after memory flooded my mind. Joe was a real trooper and he would shop with me at least a couple of times during the holiday season. It was always a date for us. He would sing Christmas carols to me, was usually very affectionate and romantic. I kept thinking of what we would be doing if we were together this holiday. He would be planning a 50th birthday party for me, we would be on our way to shop today, talking about our kids, and of course be at the big Tivy football game today. He was such a fan and loved the Antlers. We forgot to mention that at his service.

Although the waves crash, I have determined to overcome in the grief process. There are many promises in the bible for those that live out of the power of God in them and overcome. Revelation 2:26 says, “And he who overcomes and who obeys my commands I will give him authority and power over nations.” That is a good promise! For me overcoming is embracing where I am, remembering this is a season, focusing on God’s love for me and constantly opening my heart to Him. I am learning to live in Him and Him in me. I bet I told God 50 times in the past two days, “God I love you and open my heart to your love and healing.” Even though the pain has been great the last two days, the pain of not going on would be greater. God’s love for me gives me courage to face the future.

Breathing and focusing still-

Kathleen

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

How am I doing?

I frequently am asked, “how are you doing?” I always answer as honestly as I can. There are hard times but for the most part, I feel I am making progress. Yesterday marked two months that Joe has been gone. I actually went two days in a row without crying at all and although it is not my goal not to cry, I felt like that was an accomplishment for me. But this morning I shed some tears..... Joe and I lived life full and enjoyed ourselves this past year but I will have to say I have seemed to cry as least a little more days than not just as an emotional release. I am feeling better, sleeping better but am still very much in a rebuilding state. I am learning to listen to my body and not push my self. I had a busy day yesterday with our CWJC Christmas party and spoke at the event. Although I really enjoyed it all, it really wore me out. I am aware that it will take me time to build my strength in more ways than one.

Last night I spoke from Luke 1. I shared about how Mary had a plan for her life to simply marry Joseph but God had an even bigger dream for her life. It was beyond what she could even comprehend.....but she had a choice and had to let go of her dreams and trust God even though there was much she didn't understand. I can really relate. I also think because Mary knew God, his love and faithfulness in her life, she was able to say, "Be it unto me according to your word." She simply said “yes” to God and trusted him. I am choosing to say
"yes" to God's plan for my life. One interesting note...my first name is Mary and Joe's real name is Joseph....although our kids are great, none of them are Jesus!

I talk to my kids frequently and Price is beginning finals. Mallory had her big annual observation today. Austin is busy with Navy life in California and Laura is learning to speak Spanish. We will be together for the holidays and it will be a time of rebuilding for all of us. It will be good for all of us to be together and I am looking forward to it.

Daily there are nice blessings in my life. I can say I live in wonder each day. Yesterday there was a gift from an unknown person with a CD and other goodies and a note that said, “you are greatly loved.” It made me smile…..and wonder……

Progressing and wondering,

Kathleen

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Life Goes On...

As I reflect on the last few days, I feel I am making some progress....slow but sure. I have learned that living alone I only run the dishwasher two times a week, only fill up one trash can a week and have also learned how to build a fire in the fire place and clean out the ashes......where is Joe when I need him??? I have to do the honey do list now! Living alone has kept me pretty busy as I have had to learn to do things that he always did....but I am leaning.....boy am I learning! I am also learning not to push myself, listen to the Holy Spirit, and pace myself.

Although starting a new life at 50 does sound overwhelming I am reminded of I John 4 "Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world. Because he is, so are we." The power to overcome is greater than anything I face. The power to overcome resides in us when we know the Lord. Personally I don't think many of us know the power of God that is in us and tap into it as we should. So how do we overcome? For me I think one of the first steps is acceptance of things but taking it to the Lord for truth and healing. I know many people that are in denial of situations and that keeps one stuck. As I take things to God, call it like it is, it is in that place I find clear focus and healing. As I was making eggs this weekend, I glanced down at my hand and saw my wedding ring. Tears filled my eyes as I wondered how long I would wear this ring. I liked being married. I liked being a couple. I love my wedding ring. I have to embrace the reality and keep my heart open to the Lord for healing. And He longs to help me overcome in the grief and heal me. The truth is God is good, change is good.....it just doesn't always feel like it. He promises to work all things together for our good when we love him.

Kathleen

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Seasons and Trust

It is a day of accomplishment for me as I opened the last card from my stack. I am overwhelmed by the love and kindness of people that love our family. Yes, I could have opened all the cards days ago but it would have been a task vs. enjoying them. I chose to take my time and read a few each day. I remember a journal entry from January 1st, 2009....it was what I felt the Lord saying to me..."I am going to overwhelm you with my love for you this year. Look for it." In the middle of such a hard and difficult season, I have been overwhelmed my God's love for me. Isn't that just like God? Yesterday I attended the Kerr County Women's Chamber. There were close to 500 people from our community there and they surprised me with dedicating the luncheon in memory of Joe and two other women that left the earth this year. It was special to receive the plaque in memory of him. He loved Kerrville and the people here.
Life with God is about embracing each season I find myself in. There are seasons of our lives. They come and they go just like seasons in the natural. First and foremost I must remember that in this season of pain, I am a child of God. Children are not designed to figure difficult things out. They are to trust and obey and enjoy life. As I look at all the decisions I have to make on my own, I am trying to remain child like.....living in wonder of a God that dearly loves me, trusting, obeying and living as a much loved child of God. Proverbs 3:5, "trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your path."

Kathleen