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

Friday, January 29, 2010

And it is ok.....


January 29, 2010


The past two weeks, I have worn my wedding ring some days but for the most part, have not worn it. I am accepting that I am not married any more…….a hard pill to swallow but I am swallowing it….but today I wore my ring as I was going to a memorial service that Sid Peterson Hospice had for those that had passed away this past year. It was at First Presbyterian Church, the church Joe and I married in. As I sat there, it dawned on me that this is where we began our lives together. It is also where Austin married so there were many good memories at this church…….and now I was here honoring those memories we shared together….except I was alone. It was the place our covenant relationship began. As I looked at my wedding ring, I was reminded of our vows….”till death do us part.” As they called Joe’s name, I felt I was to slip the ring off. It seemed that since this was the place I put on a wedding ring, it was the place to take it off…..and it was ok. As I left the church, I had the picture I took to display that was of Joe and me at our 25th anniversary. A Hospice representative handed me some flowers…..I reflected of how I left this church 30 years ago with Joe on one hand, a ring, and flowers in my other hand…..now I was leaving alone, a picture and years and years of memories of Joe, no ring on my hand and flowers ………..tears streamed down my face but…. it was ok. I felt the Lord holding my heart. I got in car and the first words of the song on the radio were”your new life has begun” I knew God was encouraging my heart……and it was going to be ok……

Healing,

Kathleen

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Learning To Dance Again


January 24, 2010

This past week has been challenging as I have had more opportunities to let go of my old life. I have had to talk to several people that we have done business with and when they have found out about Joe’s death the next things was getting his name removed from the accounts. I have been ready to do this but somehow it makes everything more final. There have been more tears but over all I am having m ore good days. I am stepping out and trying new things. The other night I went with 3 couples to a swing dance lesson. You didn’t have to have a partner as you rotated and danced with many people. Although it was stretching for me, I felt like I confronted several firsts and overcame several obstacles in one evening. I haven’t danced with another man in over 30 years. Although it felt strange, I was pleased that I didn’t fall apart and start crying and I did have a good time……but at the end of the evening, I missed the comfortableness of my life partner. On the other hand, learning a new dance seemed to fit right into my life now…..all the steps seemed challenging, nothing felt comfortable and I really had to focus. I’ve also really missed this week having someone to take care of me. I am a pretty independent woman, but I have missed simply someone to take care of me. I am also more and more aware of how much caregiving took out of me last year but also the years I have overseen my mom’s care. I am definitely in a rebuilding state and am having to take life slower and do things that are deposits in my account instead of withdrawals from my account.

Letting Go and Learning New Steps,

Kathleen

Monday, January 18, 2010

Over Coming Day by Day


January 18th 2010

Overcoming begins with the right perception

Part of the will of God in all our lives is that we live life as over comers. We do not have to live as others in the world. Hooray! But overcoming our circumstances doesn’t just happen. It takes discipline and the right perspective of our circumstances. That can only come as we yield our perception to God and ask Him for his. Often times we are arrogant and think we know it all and how we see it is it…..NOT! If I let myself simply look at my life from my perspective I would be in a mess looking at all I had lost, the fear of the future, etc….. I have had to constantly ask God to help me see my life as he sees it. I have had to ask him to adjust my thinking. I have had to ask him to renew my mind and thinking. I want his perception of my life.
I John 5:4-5 states that God’s heart for each of us. “Whatever is born of God, overcomes the world” Overcoming is part of our DNA as children of God. That is the way he made us. Yea God! We are destined to win in any circumstance. His power is in us, He is with us to tutor us through life. As I let go of my happy life as a married woman and journey into the unknown single life, I am asking God to help me to be as content as a single woman as I was as a married woman. I refuse to live overwhelmed and under my circumstances……I have a God given right to live life as an over comer in any situation I find myself in. And in that process, I get to show the world who God is for me!

Over coming……one step at a time,

Kathleen

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Embracing and Overcoming

January 12, 2010

The last couple of days I have found myself looking at different pictures of Joe and me and wondering, “What happened to my life?” One year ago I was a happily married woman and now there are times I simply “where am I, what do I do now, how do I do it? Is this my life now?” It is amazing how much my life has changed in a matter of weeks…..in a year…..one year ago we were learning the REAL meaning of words like CAT Scan, biopsy, treatment options, tumors, Merkel Cell , etc. Now I am learning the REAL meaning of words like widow, single, just to name a few…….I am learning more and more that change is here to stay and to contend and overcome. We can either be overcome by our circumstances or we can overcome them by how we respond to the change or difficulty we find ourselves in. I believe that overcoming power resides in each of us as we rely, trust and depend on God moment by moment. My response to my circumstances is all I have control over. I didn’t ask for this “set of cards” handed to me. I didn’t ask to be a widow. I don’t have to like it or understand it. But ultimately, I am responsible for how I navigate through the grief to get through it, I just have to keep taking little steps each day to embrace the reality of the loss. I have cleaned out his closet a little at a time, removed all the medical supplies and the contents of several drawers. I still have a ways go but doing all at one time is too much for me. I have had several days I have not worn my wedding ring but put it on today……..there is something comfortable, “normal” about wearing it and some days I just need the comfort it brings. But I am taking little steps to move on with my life and for the most part feel on top of the waves of grief this weak. I still wear out very easily which cramps my style. All in all I am sleeping better but still have restless nights when the grief presses in and still have times of my body aching from the grief.
Today I read John 16: 32-33 in the Amplified version:”Yet I am not alone because the Father is with Me. I have told you these things so that in me you may have perfect peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration: but be of good cheer (take courage; be confident, certain undaunted)! For I have overcome the world. (I have deprived it of the power to harm you and have conquered it for you.) Jesus tells us several real important things in this passage. Tribulation, trial, distress and frustration are part of life on this earth. So many times people go around blaming the devil but it is just part of living on earth and as believers I believe God is allowing us the opportunity to exercise our “overcoming muscles” because we are capable because of His power in us. This scripture tells us to be joyful and confident because we CAN overcome when we rely on Him. But all too often I have blamed my attitude or actions on my circumstances. God has been showing me I have a God given right to be an over comer instead of being overwhelmed by my circumstances. I constantly pray to see things from His perspective and ask Him to change mine.

Embracing the pain and overcoming,

Kathleen

Saturday, January 9, 2010

One Year Ago

January 9th 2010

One year ago, January 6th began like any other day. Joe went to work but had a doctor’s appointment at 8:00am. I went to work and was busy in my office when around 10:00 he walked through my door. “I have to tell you something. The doctor said I need surgery today, I have an infected lymphoma.” The first thing that rang in my spirit was, “I am ready for this.” I made a quick phone call to a local surgeon to make an appointment. Our 3:00 pm appointment was interesting as I could see the fear in the doctor’s eyes and his urgency. “Get to the lab this afternoon, we will do a CAT scan early tomorrow morning.” January 8th was when Joe was diagnosed with cancer. We went to see Dr. Berg for another biopsy as then needed more tissue. As he finished the procedure that I watched, he said to both of us, “I hate to tell you this, but you have some kind of rare cancer. I hope to God I am wrong, but I think it could be Merkel Cell Carcinoma. We will have to wait for the lab results to find out the specific kind.”
Joe began to weep and I said, “we have just had a suddenly.” My life suddenly changed in a matter of minutes. We left the Sid Peterson Care center and went to Chilies to sit by the river and talk about our lives. A couple over heard us talking and they were cancer survivors that encouraged us to go to MD Anderson. We made some phone calls to rally prayers and took a walk up the hill behind us in the Heights. We held hands; we prayed and were full of hope, love and faith. Our journey began……little did we know what was ahead for either of us. January 8th, 2009 was a Thursday we would never forget. Our love and faith grew with each day as we made decisions and had to adjust to the quick shift in our empty nest. It has been an incredible year and I know I have personally grown with all the changes and learned to advance in crisis, focus and discover more of the nature of God and how to walk with Him.
Last night I spent the night in the emergency room at Sid Peterson with my dad. He complained of chest pains but it is pneumonia………what is it about January 8th and medicine?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Dawn of a New Year


The first few days of the New Year have been challanging for me personally and one of my kids helped me figure out why. "Dad was in 2009 but he isn't in 2010." It put to words what I was feeling. Letting go of 2009 was letting go of Joe and embracing a New Year that Joe won't be a part of has worn me out! God has spoken much to me about disciplining myself to focus on Him. Most Americans lack discipline. We live in a society where we do what we feel like, if we want to and we are by and large an instant society. I have been a constant state of disciplining myself to remember the truth I know. But knowing truth alone does not set you free. As we take truth and experience it, that is what sets us free. Most of us like learning the truth but many of us are lazy. We lack discipline. I feel God is raising up a people that are disciplined, strong in knowing the power of Christ in them and not tossed by circumstances or intimidated by the enemy. Living the same no matter what.....
I made a statement in my last blog that said,"I have every right to be depressed." The next morning I felt the Lord correct me. "Kathleen, you have every right to have joy as my child." So I stand corrected.
My boys are real excited about the big UT game on Thursday. Price is off to see Austin and Laura for a few days. It has been nice having someone extra around the house. Mallory is busy teaching 4th grade and loving it.
Tomorrow marks one year ago that Joe went to the doctor and our whole life changed in a matter of a day. As I looked at pictures tonight, I couldn't believe what we lived through last year. It was only in God's strength and by the power of His love.

Living like I'm loved,

Kathleen

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Good Bye 2009


2009 was an incredible year......the most challanging I have ever experienced and one of many blessings. It was an intense year of contending for life, peace and joy. It was a year of letting go of the dreams I had for my life. It was a year of learning much about cancer and overcoming. It was a year of living in two cities. It was a year of the sun setting on a chapter of my life and a year of loss. It was a year of tears. But today as I woke up in tears thinking of all I had lost, I felt God ask me what I had gained last year? I quickly made a list of 20 things I had gained in 2009. It has been a year of many blessings, quickly realizing the important things in life, living life to the full and fighting with all we had. It has been an exhausting year but now it is 2010. It is a new year for me and although I have every reason to be depressed, I will contend for my inheritance. Joy is my inheritance, comfort, and healing. I will continue to grieve, let go and start a new life in this new year. I don't have a clue how all this will happen but I will just continue to focus and breathe and open my heart to God. The rest is up to Him. II Corinthians 7:6 says in the Amplified version, "BUT GOD, Who comforts, encourages, and refreshes and cheers the depressed and the sinking, comforted and encouraged and refreshed and cheered us." That is my promise and God is good.

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Happy 2010-

Kathleen