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

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hanging On Secure

April 27, 2010


“Kathleen, you need to get to the ER as soon as possible. Your mom is non-responsive and they have called 911.” Those were the words that greeted me at 9:00 yesterday morning. I quickly went to Sid Peterson ER and waited for my mom and dad to arrive preparing myself for the worst. Peace covered me as I once again walked into a hospital and ER……my mom was on a ventilator when she arrived at the hospital and non-responsive. I quickly gave them information on her so they could work. At one point, a doctor came over and asked me, “who are you?” “You know everyone here and I have never seen anyone walk through something like this like you are.” I considered it a compliment. Unfortunately I am experienced in the ER and it takes a lot to steal my peace. I also told him it was only God. He is my security. At first my mom did not respond to my voice. I told her if she went to be with Jesus to please tell Joe hello for me. As the day unfolded, they thought she had had a stroke. Now they are thinking it could be a seizure but there will be more test tomorrow. She is in ICU and is responsive and off of the ventilator! Unbelievable…..as they told me earlier they thought this was it for her! The beauty of all this is that my mom’s rare auto-immune disease prepared me well for what I walked through with Joe. The hard part is in situations like this I feel my heart has been in a tug a war…….”this is it” and
now “she is better.”My heart is healing but is still in a fragile place. I feel like it has been jerked around in more situations than one. I've discovered that people say and do the wrong things not understanding grief and grieving people. I just have to forgive and ask for more healing for my heart.
The longer I live the more I just don’t know…….all I know is God loves me, He is with me and He is good…..other than that I don’t know much anymore….but in this season of transition and change I rest in the unshakable truths.as stated above. Life can totally change in seconds….this I know. But in the process of change we have the opportunity to grow as we hang on to God and the truth of His character. I have decided to seize the opportunity, stand secure in His love and my identity in Him, hang on to Him for the ride because nothing is secure in this fallen world but my relationship with Jesus.


Hanging on one step at a time-

Kathleen

Friday, April 23, 2010

Relay for Life


April 23, 2010


The week has been good. The waves of grief have given me a break and I am thankful. I’ve learned to embrace them when they come but I enjoy life the moments when they give me a break. Much has been going on at CWJC and God has been busy healing hearts and changing lives. I am really enjoying the new people in my life and new relationships that have come alone because of my single status , I just need more hours in the day…….
Today I went to Relay for Life – the annual fundraisingl event for the American Cancer Society. As I drove to the event a new friend prayed for me and I felt strengthened. I was very impressed by the turnout in our Texas community. Last year Joe and I attended and did the survivor walk around the track. As I walked alone this year it was sobering and yet I felt God in such a precious way holding my hand. Many people came up to me to visit and check on me. It is wonderful to be loved and prayed for by so many. I was humbled. There were tears but I visited with friends and it was fun to tell of God’s faithfulness and how I was enjoying my new life. I stopped when I came to the luminaries that were there in memory of Joe. I walked the track alone as Amazing Grace played but I did not feel alone under the moon lit sky and many stars.
It was as if I could feel Joe holding one hand and God the other. All I could think of was about how good God had been this past year and the healing I felt in my heart. Embracing the pain isn’t fun but I can see and feel how my heart has healed……I know there is more to go but I also know I have come a long way by His grace. As I left tonight, it was as if I felt Joe passing the baton of life to me and saying, “you have a lot of life to live and now is your time to run the relay of life.” I got in my convertible and smiled as I drove through town and let my mind dream of my new life.

Dreaming

Kathleen

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Carefree vs. Careful


The waves of grief have been constant, hard and yet have left almost as soon as they hit. With each one, tears have come and gone exhausting me but the cost of not embracing them is too expensive for me as I must go on....it is my only option.

I read something that was just what I needed. I love how God supplies just what we need when we need it. I was reading a book by Graham Cooke called Manifesting Your Spirit. The chapter I read said the following:
"When we are in right place in the Father's heart we are more concerned with learning to be carefree than careful. People unconsciously put upon us their own fears and worries. Though well meant, it is still oppositional in nature. It is acting against God's purposes. We are to follow the will of God not the fears and cautions of man. It is hard to conform to something that is rooted in a negative. In my own circumstances, problems have arisen because people failed to see my emerging identity and destiny."
This quote seems to describe some of what I have felt God saying to me. To simply have fun in my new life, enjoy it and be carefree as He leads me. He alone knows the pain and agony I have endured in the past year. It is a new season for me and stepping out takes a great amount of courage. I have given my heart and life over again to God so it is His to protect and guard. I feel freedom from the Lord to step out into the unknown. I have begun to dream again and although I have no clue how those dreams will be realized I know God is calling me to something higher and deeper in Him and there is much for me to accomplish in the days ahead. Often we want to have things all figured out before we begin and yet God just says step out on the water and hold my hand. Walking holding His hand is what makes it a walk of faith. It works for me and makes life an adventure! I can live carefree as His much loved child.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Encouragement breeds Courage


April 14, 2010


I have decided that I am a fully alive woman that is contending with grief so I can continue healing and live life abundantly. (John 10:10) I know what Joe and I had was special and something we invested in for 33 years – us. Therefore, I know the grief will not dissipate quickly as the loss was great. This week I have found myself missing the security that a 33 year relationship produces. We were comfortable with each other. We had history with one another and knew each other quite well. Now that I am single, I am so aware this security is gone. I have had to let go of the security I enjoyed this week. In reality the only thing that is really secure is God. The things He does sometimes are a little crazy if you ask me…..read the bible! A virgin gets pregnant, kill a giant with a stone, march around a city and shout as a battle plan…..seriously, there is no security in what God does, only in who He is. To me He is faithful, He is with me and He loves me. That simply has to be enough for me right now.
I am astounded at the variety of ideas people have with how I should be processing grief and moving on. Sometimes it is annoying to be honest. Especially from people that have not walked in my shoes. At times I have really wanted to say, “Excuse me, have you watched tumors grow on someone you love? I didn’t think so. Were you left a widow at 50?” So how can people think they can tell me how to grieve and how and when to move on and how fast I should or should not move on? I have had to learn to simply step back and walk in what I feel God is telling me. When someone is stepping out into the unknown, they need encouragement not someone telling them all the things that can go wrong. I need people building my confidence. Encouragement breeds courage. And believe me, it takes courage to start life over at 50. Encourage those around you. Encouragement empowers people. All of us need others cheering us on in life. Life is hard and there are risks all around. But God is with me, holding my hand and I constantly pray that He will reveal truth in the situations I am in. That is one prayer He always answers. He loves to reveal truth and He loves me dearly.

Moving on one step at a time,

Kathleen

Monday, April 12, 2010

Questions on the Curve

April 12, 2010


I was reading today in John 14:26 in the Amplified Bible. It says “But the Comforter(counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby) the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in my name(in my place, to represent Me and act on my behalf) He will teach you all things. And He will remind you of bring to your rememberance everything I have told you.” I love the Holy Spirit and how He works in my life. He has been a great comforter as I have reached out to him in my moments of heart ache and distress. He has been my helper and stregthener as I have been hiking up this hill of grief. And I can tell that I am getting stronger as I journey. .Often times in life we ignore the power and the honor we have of working hand in hand with the Holy Spirit. And when you are 50, it is awesome that He reminds you of things! (yes I have had a few senior moments) The older I get, the more I realize I have to learn and discover and just when you think you know something, things change and you are on a learning curve again! That will keep you humble! I am learning in my single life to ask a lot of questions of myself and others. There is much to learn on this curve of life. But I am determined to have fun on this detour in my life. You never know what is around the corner………


Kathleen

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Six Months


April 7, 2010


As I sit here on my deck and reflect on the past 6 months of my life I have to wonder how I have made it. Tomorrow is the six month mark – half way thru the first year of grief. Much has happened,and much has changed in my life. I feel I have hit the grief head on and I am in a much better place physically and emotionally than I was on October 8th 2009 – but I am also aware that this train is just beginning to build up steam….I have learned a lot in many ways – some days I think, “I cannot learn one more new thing” and yet I still have many questions in my new life. The older I get the more I realize I have to learn. You would think by 50 I would have it down!

I have come to know God’s love for me in a much deeper and more intimate level than I ever thought possible. Suffering strips one of self sufficiency and pride and I am much more aware that I am nothing and have nothing without Him. That is what keeps me pressing into the pain of grief – “to know him and the fellowship of His suffering.” I am also aware of the presence of God that surrounds me and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. He has held me during the lonely nights, been a great friend and taken care of me every step of the way. God is a great husband! Today I found a card in my Daytimer that was like a message from God and Joe. It went with flowers Joe sent me last year. It said on the front of the envelope, “Because I can…” The card read, “I love you- Nothing could ever be enough to say how deeply! And , I am so proud of you! Joe” I miss getting flowers from him and miss him cheering my on in the things I put my hands to. If you are married, send her flowers because you can and don’t forget to cheer her on.

A few weeks ago I read Isaiah 54:4-5 which says, “and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood. For your Maker is your husband-the Lord Almighty is his name- the Holy one of Isreal is your Redeemer.” I felt God say, “I don’t want you to live like a widow but a bride. Have fun in your new life.” I felt full permission from the Father to enjoy my new life and I can honestly say I am having fun and constantly laugh at myself. The other day I was filling up water bottles at Wal Mart for work. I had my hand on the water dispenser and was leaning on the water machine as I was tired. A nice looking man walked by and winked at me! (I guess he saw I didn’t have a wedding ring on) I quickly stood up and said to myself, “What does that mean? Was that a pass? What do I do?” OMG! I then had to laugh at myself. I have had a friend from out of state calling frequently and I have really begun to enjoy his company and companionship. It has felt a little safer learning how to have a friendship with a man again with him being several thousand miles away! Wasn’t I watching tumors grow at this time last year? How have things changed so much? I just don’t know the answer to that question.....

Six months of holding His hand-

Kathleen

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Laughing Again


April 4, 2010

As I sit in my quite house, I am filled with great memories of this Easter weekend. Price arrived late Thursday night and it was wonderful to have him home. My sister and her family arrived Friday afternoon and I had a blast taking my nephews for rides in my convertible and a good chance to visit with her and my brother-in-law and play with the boys. Saturday Price, Mallory and Rob ran in the Easter Run and Mallory won second place…..this has been a family tradition for years but I decided to just cheer this year. We had a fun family dinner at my house and it was the first time I have entertained in over a year….just not enough energy. Cancer, care giving and grief have zapped me of doing much of anything extra. I had one melt down moment as I was working in my kitchen and thinking of all the times Joe and I had prepared together for family get together…..about that time, Rob, my future son-in-law came around the corner and wrapped his arms around me and gave me the biggest bear hug and let me cry. I needed that. This morning we had our traditional Easter egg hunt (now the kids want money in the eggs and it is a fierce competition)……Rob won the most money, Price collected the most eggs and I enjoyed watching them have fun……life goes on……..
We had a great time at church and then in worship we sang a song that was a theme song during Joe’s illness, Mighty to Save. Tears rolled down my cheeks but I was able to sing this song with authority as this song is still carrying us through as we heal. We had dinner with a bunch of friend and it was a lot of fun…..A different holiday but a fun one and one filled with laughter. I had to wonder today what Easter was like in heaven…….it must be wonderful…..I can only imagine.
It is a new beginning for all of us. We have hope, a future and because Jesus conquered the grave we can have healing in our hearts. I have felt the Lord say, “You have permission to have fun.” I plan on it……and have begun to dream again….