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

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Daring to Believe


August 26, 2010

What a busy few days it has been getting ready for my new semester at CWJC. I still wear out pretty quickly and my “emotional bank” is still pretty low. Work and this last wave of grief have really depleted me…I hate it and it cramps my style. Yesterday was our new student orientation and volunteer training and it is exciting to see the new semester come together. As I have journeyed thru the grief process, I have had to look at situations and people and ask if something is a deposit in my emotional bank account or a withdrawal. I have to limit people and situations that are withdrawals from my account and do things and be with people that are deposits.
There is a song that has particularly ministered to me lately. It is by Josh Wilson and is called “Before the Morning” You can hear it on You Tube but here are the words…
Do you wonder why you have to,
feel the things that hurt you,
if there's a God who loves you,
where is He now?

Maybe, there are things you can't see
and all those things are happening
to bring a better ending
some day, some how, you'll see, you'll see

Chorus:
Would dare you, would you dare, to believe,
that you still have a reason to sing,
'cause the pain you've been feeling,
can't compare to the joy that's coming

so hold on, you got to wait for the light
press on, just fight the good fight
because the pain you've been feeling,
it's just the dark before the morning

My friend, you know how this all ends
and you know where you're going,
you just don't know how you get there
so just say a prayer.
and hold on, cause there's good who love God,
life is not a snapshot, it might take a little time,
but you'll see the bigger picture

Would dare you, would you dare, to believe,
that you still have a reason to sing,
'cause the pain you've been feeling,
can't compare to the joy that's coming

so hold on, you got to wait for the light
press on, just fight the good fight
because the pain you've been feeling,
it's just the dark before the morning
yeah, yeah,
before the morning,
yeah, yeah

Once you feel the way of glory,
all your pain will fade to memory
once you feel the way of glory,
all your pain will fade to memory
memory, memory, yeah

Would dare you, would you dare, to believe,
that you still have a reason to sing,
'cause the pain you've been feeling,
can't compare to the joy that's coming

Would dare you, would you dare, to believe,
that you still have a reason to sing,
'cause the pain you've been feeling,
can't compare to the joy that's coming

com'n, you got to wait for the light
press on, just fight the good fight
because the pain you've been feeling,
it's just the hurt before the healing
the pain you've been feeling,
just the dark before the morning
before the morning, yeah, yeah
before the morning
I do get weary of the pain of the loss and feel trapped by it at times. It has been a long journey from watching tumors grow to learning to live alone and I wonder at times if the pain will ever end. In the past I have had people, the wedding and other things to distract me. Now I feel I am having to face the reality and the pain head on. I don’t like it but God knows that too and I surrender to where I am and where he has me. I have to look reality straight in the eyes not knowing how I will get thru this valley because I seem to have no strength but will hold the hand of God and simply take it one step at a time. I don't know much but I do know He loves me...

Daring to believe-

Kathleen

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Faith That Is Tested


I had a good weekend visiting with my daughter and son-in-law in Houston. It was fun to see their home and their life together. The drive down there wasn’t as painful as it was the last time. I stopped and visited with 3 nurses that were with Joe’s oncologist. They seemed glad to see me and I was glad to see them. They were my friends during a very hard season. In some ways it seemed like home and was easy being there. As I was on the elevator a woman began to talk to me. As we exited the elevator I ask if I could pray for her. She was very thankful as she seemed in a daze from the long day and the news she had gotten.

As I begin another semester at my job, I wonder how God will fill in the void of not having Joe cheering me on in what God has called me to. Most people don’t realize how he was the “wind beneath my wings.” He was my prayer partner, confidant and was always there when I needed to verbally process. Frequently he would send me emails during the day telling me he was thinking of me, praying for me or that he loved me. I miss that. He was a huge support of the things God had called me to. Often times it is the other way around in ministry. Men are in that position and their wives support them. Joe was secure in his identity and we were a team. I have decided that I cannot look at making it thru a semester without him, I just have to wake up each morning, show up and leave the rest to God. I simply have to just look at making it one day at a time, one step at a time.

I have had several widows tell me that the second year was tougher than the first year without their husbands…that doesn’t sound fun and I hope my experience is different. The last several days I have been reading I Peter 1:6-7 which says,”In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire- may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus is revealed.” Our faith is worth something. It keeps us steady in the storms of life and keeps us from drowning. There are a lot of Christians that have not yet had their faith tested. Is it what they say it is? What have they overcome in their lives or are they only talk? As much as I haven’t enjoyed some of the painful things I have recently suffered, I know they have shaped me and changed me. I refuse to waste the pain that has come in numerous situations and am learning to surrender to where I find myself, breathe and trust what I cannot see.

The wave of grief that hit around our anniversary is tremendous. The pain that life as I knew it is over has been unbearable recently. I had a friend that has been married a number of years say today, “you and Joe were in love and had a deep relationship that few have. I haven’t had that so I cannot imagine the loss.” That is more comforting than someone saying, “I know how you feel” because few do. There are many marriages that just share children, houses and live separate lives. If you are married, begin today to invest in each other. Affirm one another, honor one another, be best friends and share life. It is too short to lead separate lives.

Trusting, breathing, and holding His hand,

Kathleen

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Simply Pressing Thru...




August 12, 2010

HUMMM…pressing through the pain is harder than I like. Some days like today I feel like I am going thru the motions of life and feel like my life is over. In reality, it is. Life as I knew it is over. I am still moving thru grief and do not really feel like my new life has come. Maybe it has but I just miss my old one. I am painfully aware that my heart needs more healing as this wave has washed over me wiping me out again physically and emotionally. My personal definition of grief is wrestling with my feelings and coming out with the truth. Some days are just harder than others and I feel trapped in many ways. And some days are just about longsuffering and endurance. I know I cannot live by my feelings because they can lie to me so I seek God to reveal truth to me and comfort me in the process. Boy this is a lot of work…but somehow I will overcome. I don’t know how but His grace will lead me. I simply must live in the moment just looking at the next step to take.

I sometimes have to remind myself to be easy on myself as I really have had a lot of change in my life and adjustments. A year ago I was dealing with trips to Houston, dressing changes and watching my husband suffer, then his death, learning to adjust to living alone, planning a wedding and dealing with my parents being in the hospital 6 times in the past 10 months. Today I spent the afternoon in the ER with my dad as I got a call and the nurse said his heart rate was 32…He was dehydrated, needed a blood thinner and will see another doctor again tomorrow. I wonder if I can get frequent flyer miles for all the visits to the hospital? That would be nice!

On a lighter note, I watched Price play sand volleyball tonight. I still after all these years love watching my boys play sports. He is quite good at spiking the ball and his arms are so long!! Austin and Laura are in the process of moving to the D.C. area as I write and I am so excited that I will see the newlyweds this weekend. It will be good to be with them. I’ve missed my girl…

I love Psalms 32:8. “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.”

Enduring-
Kathleen

Friday, August 6, 2010

First Anniversary without Joe





August 6, 2010


Whoo who…by the grace of God and prayers of many I have made it through another grief hurdle. I wasn’t sure exactly how I wanted to spend the first wedding anniversary without Joe. The morning began in my favorite place…my back porch with my coffee and just sitting and being with the Lord. I had found months ago an anniversary card Joe bought for me last year that he hadn’t given me. I didn’t read it and saved it for Wednesday morning. It was difficult to read because it talked about growing old together and our love continuing to grow…ouch. That brought the tears. I went for a two mile run as I had 31 years ago…glad I can still do that! Later in the morning I went and got my mom out of the care facility we had placed her in as my dad was released from the hospital. They were so happy to be back together. I worked at my job in the afternoon. The pain was great and one of the toughest days I have experienced but I felt God’s presence surrounding me as I embraced the grief and wrote in my journal. I know it will do no good to run from the pain. I reflected about my wedding day and other anniversaries we had spent. We usually didn’t give gifts to each other but chose to go away for the weekend somewhere to celebrate our love. Today was quite different than other August 4th I had spent but I tried to reflect on all I had to be thankful. Joe adored me, was a great cheerleader for me in whatever I pursued and loved to spend time with me as well as being an awesome man of God. I know that many married women haven’t had a husband like that because they have told me. I am thankful for the 30 years we shared. There were several special blessings God gave me as he knows what delights my heart. He is the greatest husband! One was Price gave me a beautiful flower arrangement an another was I got an invitation for a speaking engagement for the fall for a Baptist church in Granbury. Both made me smile. At the last minute I had some long time friends drop by to visit that evening. As we sat on my deck as we had all 6 done many times and laughed it helped ease the pain. Once in the evening I glanced at the empty chair where Joe use to sit but it was alright.
I don’t know what the future holds for me but I do know who holds my future. I will continue to focus and breathe and choose to trust Him because He has always been faithful. I am not in control of my life and there are so many things that constantly remind me of that but it is ok. I continue to seek God for healing for me and my kids and look to Him to order my steps and give me divine appointments. I am learning with my parents, Joe’s death and other situations how to live life abundantly in brokenness. Not a class I would have ever signed up for but necessary for the call of God on my life.

Held by grace,
Kathleen

Sunday, August 1, 2010

July-Wedding,California and Cabo






July 31, 2010

What an amazing July it has been- everything from wrapping up 4 months of preparing for a wedding, 3 great days of wedding festivities in Dripping Springs, a trip to California to visit a friend and see everything from gorgeous lakes to San Francisco and then a week of pure rest in Cabo San Lucus with Nina aka translator/travel companion. All have been wonderful memories I will treasure for some time. God knows the things that delight my heart and after a long hard year and a half July has been the best month I have experienced. I love to travel and have needed a break from all the wedding preparations, my responsibilities at work and with my parents.

My trip to Cabo was planned back in January before I knew of the wedding or the 5 hospital stays my parents have had. Again…God knew what I would need before I did. Nina and I loved sitting and looking for hours at the Sea of Cortez. Neither one of us read much and were content just being. My body and soul needed to just rest and I did. One of my top things is life is swimming in the Sea of Cortez…the cool turquoise waves which are pretty big and strong moving my body up and down in the deep water reminded me of my life…I often feel like I am floating in the waves of grief and have no control over when or how hard they hit. I did however feel I had a break this week from the grief. I loved long walks on the white beach and loved the cool ocean mist blowing on my face. In the evenings we would either walk barefoot down to beach to a sea side cafĂ© or ride the local bus with the natives into town to eat decadent seafood or enjoy the yachts at the marina and music. We frequently slept in and loved having Mexican coffee on our patio that overlooked the water. We made friends with people from different states and countries but most of all we laughed and laughed and then laughed some more. I won’t have to do abdominal exercises for a while as my stomach hurt from all the laughing we did at each other and at ourselves. Nina and I have been friends since high school, have gone to child birth classes together and church, raised 6 kids between the two of us in 29 years and attended more tennis tournaments with our boys than we can count.

My trip let me see how far I have come since I was in Cabo at Christmas. I am in a much better place now and feel God healing my heart. As I say goodbye to July and look ahead to August I have to smile, treasure the memories and once again breathe deep… August 4 will be the first time I will spend an anniversary without Joe. I don’t know what to expect but I will rest in God’s faithfulness and goodness and be thankful for the 30 years and two months we shared, knowing God has good things ahead for my life.

Smiling and reflecting,

Kathleen