God's Silence, Grief, Growth in Trials, Healing, Hope, joy, Listening, Living in the Moment, Sharing hope, Stillness, Trials, Trust

In the Waiting

8 years in Heaven. My eyes are fixed on eternity and my heart is happy Taylor gets to be in the perfect place of peace and joy with Jesus, my mom, stepdad, grandparents, friends, cousins and so many more.

8 years on Earth. My feet are on earth and my heart is at peace yet aching. I’ve spent the last two years learning to be human. I’ve ached missing my son, ached for the struggles my earthbound family and friends have had to endure. This year I’ve experienced more loss, physical pain and loss of sleep. I’ve ached for our planet, our country, our new way of life, transitions, change, confusion and polar disagreements. We have new fears all around us that we fight every day.

After I shared my hope on the I Choose Hope encouragement program our local radio set before us in November, I was hit with my humanity. January through June, God was silent in my life. Our nephew’s wife, baby boy, and his sister-in-law were killed in a car accident.  There were days, with the fog of an average two hours asleep, I wished I had not woken up on earth. Knowing my lack of sleep was causing the lies to penetrate my mind, I chose to get up and wait on the Lord as I cried out to him for help. I had just publicly shared why and how I chose hope yet I was at the worst possible place of losing hope I had ever experienced. I felt like a failure as a cheerleader in loss.

Yet, one thing remained: His faithfulness in my past, gave me confidence in the silence, pain, and chaos. I knew it would not be forever and I realized I had to intentionally position myself for hope and healing and wait for hope to return.

  • I sought medical help for sleep and pain and listened to my body pacing myself.
  • I positioned myself to hear God’s voice and rest in Him daily, listening, without expectations, trying not to hear something that would fill my book or give me something to teach others, but just be with Him in the moment to receive His love.
  • I positioned myself to be with people that are struggling in their humanity with their eyes fixed on eternity. I entered an online prayer group when I couldn’t go out to be with people in person. Going back to church has been like a bubble of joy each week this past month and totally changed my view of life on earth. My friends I’ve confided in have been a lifeline to me.
  • I practiced joy with our granddaughter as I homeschooled her, even when I didn’t feel like it.
  • I treasured, loved and leaned on my precious family, accepting the help and love of others, and stopped trying to always be the strong one. Gary and our kids have been loving and supportive. Homeschooling our granddaughter gave me even more reason to get up and have spots of joy throughout each day.

I am now finding physical healing and joy in life, despite continuing struggles my family and friends have.

I have hope knowing that Jesus has overcome the world, even though we don’t see it every day. “He never stops working”. He is a “Waymaker”. His plan still prevails and many times I don’t understand why it’s taking so long to see results I want to see.

However, like my stepdad, John, who was in a wheelchair taught me, we can do anything for 3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months and I’ll add, 3 years. I can make it with Jesus, my husband, children and friends and family, knowing the end of the story is very happy.

Recently, my friend and our I Choose Hope cheerleader at KTSY, Brian Yeager, shared on the radio about his own struggles and gave me a visual on waiting that really helped me through a rough week. His honesty gave me courage to be honest with you. (Used by permission.)

“The stresses of life, finances, family, life, all of it. The weight was heavy. I was dragging and my silly workout routine had kicked it up. I was STRUGGLING. I was DRAGGING.

I know, we’re not supposed to SAY THAT! I choose hope! I’m supposed to be happy and on top of it all the time. But… I was not.

And that’s when my annoying workout app chirped in my ear, ‘You have, ONE MINUTE remaining.’ And I understood I choose hope. I didn’t FEEL any better. It was NOT a good day. But, I had one minute of this workout left. I was almost done.

This is I Choose Hope. It’s knowing there’s an end, and the end is good – and it’s coming – even when things are tough. When things are dark. There’s one minute left…This isn’t over.”

Brian’s words reminded me at a deeper level, we can make it and  it’s okay to struggle, but we can struggle with hope.

I have hope that, in the waiting, I will see our Taylor and dance and laugh again with him in Heaven and our Savior who made a way for us to be together. God is whispering to me now letting me know, once again, He is really here in the waiting close to my side.

He is in the business of redemption, and will restore all things in His perfect timing.

Hold on to this!

Please, no matter where you are in your journey in this crazy world, choose hope and call out to Jesus, even if you aren’t sure He is there.

So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 – The Message Bible

Healing, Hope, joy, Psalm 30:5, Uncategorized

Surprised by Laughter and Deep Joy

Psalm 30:5b (Good News Translation)

Tears may flow in the night,
    but joy comes in the morning.

When you lose a child, happiness is hard to find. You practice joy and fun for years, hoping one day it will come naturally. You focus on your hope of Heaven and look for God’s fingerprints in your tragedy. Each year it becomes a little easier, yet you forget what a truly good belly laugh really feels like. Then one day, you are surprised by joy and it takes your breath away.

Tonight was one of those brief powerful kisses-from-God-moments for me. First, I was listening to our firstborn talk about his seven-year-old daughter and the joy in her precocious observations of life. I felt a sudden burst of emotions of joy mixed with awe and pride over what a wonderful dad Shawn is. I had to ask him to scoot over and sit next to me so I could hug him and just tell him how proud I am of what an amazing dad he is.

A few minutes later, Bethany showed me a “princess post” on Facebook comparing Disney princesses to what we really would be like if we were that princess as real humans. Suddenly, I saw myself in those truly human versions of princesses and was overtaken with such deep humor, giggling and joy that I couldn’t stop laughing and my belly hurt and is still hurting now, an hour later.

God promises in this Psalm that weeping will last for a time, but joy is on its way. I wasn’t looking for joy tonight, yet it showed up, (maybe with a little help from caffeine).

Princess Photos with Belly Laugh Videos Bethany Took in the Comments

Grief, Healing, Hope, joy, Uncategorized

A Time to Be Human: Sorrow and Joy Can Dance Together Part 2

Ecclesiastes 3:4 (ESV)

 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

In Sorrow and Joy Can Dance Together,

I was heavy on joy, light on sorrow.

This week is heavy on sorrow, light on joy.

Feeling very human…so many emotions…

February 7th – Our very close friends’ daughter, Jesse, died – a time to weep…

February 8th – My wonderful dad’s 87th Birthday – a time to smile…

February 8th – The highlight of Josie’s year –a time for the Daddy Daughter Dance…

February 9th – Celebrate the life of friends’ son, Mike – a time to mourn…

February 10th – Celebrate the birth of our beautiful daughter Bethany – a time to smile…

February 10th – Anniversary of the passing of precious friend Andy – a time to mourn…

Life goes on for some, drags for others, redeemed for many, renewed in Heaven for others.

Time will bring more healing…heavy on the joy again…

Revelation 21:4 (ESV)

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.

 

Faith, Grief, Healing, Hope, joy, Romans 12:5

Sorrow and Joy Can Dance Together

Many people ask me how it feels to have Taylor’s wife, Michelle, and friends moving on in life, marrying and having children. The answer to that is very complicated to understand and explain but I’ll try with this oxymoronic truth: In Jesus, sorrow and joy can dance together.

Romans 12:15 says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” Somewhere back as a little girl at church, I learned this and believe God knew one day I would need this verse impressed deeply in my heart. As I went through life, I tended to deeply feel the sorrow of others and like most, found it easy to enter into joy with others.

When Michelle, started dating one of Taylor’s best friends, Paul, this verse was again immediately impressed upon my heart. When they were engaged, we came together and all agreed to honor Michelle’s first marriage to Taylor and second marriage to Paul. In all of Taylor’s friends’ celebrations in the last five years, I have allowed myself to cry for the loss that Taylor isn’t here to celebrate with us and didn’t get to experience life events his friends can. In each instance those tears of loss were always mixed with tears of joy as I saw new life and love blooming, perfect gifts from God. More than that, I was honored and blessed to be invited into their joy and celebrations.

Recently, God took me to a new level of understanding in this truth. Paul and Michelle were blessed with a baby girl, Emma. This little angel has stolen my heart and the hearts her parents, grandma’s, and many others. She is a charmer and a flirt one minute and is not afraid to tell you what she wants the next; cute and spunky define her well. I’m also unbiased and convinced she is highly intelligent and God has great plans for her life. Watching her grow and learn is amazing. (I always say if every home had a baby in it, we wouldn’t need any other form of entertainment).

Emma Carla 20171009_094912

Last month, Paul and Michelle invited our family to join their family at Emma’s baby dedication. At this special ceremony, they did something very simple but so meaningful with a moment of silent prayer as the pastor asked us all to lift up all the couples and newborns to the Lord, asking Him to show his deep love to these children that they would, one day, receive His incredible love and gift of eternal life. As we each prayed this privately in our own words, the silence took my breath away as I felt the loving power of those prayers bringing hope and joy to our spirits.

After prayer and the parents returned to their seats, the worship team led us in a beautiful song I hadn’t heard, Reckless Love by Cory Asbury. The first line caught my heart, “Before I spoke a word, you were singing over me.” Maybe this was not the intent of the song writer, but in that moment, those two phrases showed me God preparing Emma’s life long ago. Before time began, He planned for beautiful Emma specifically to be born to Paul and Michelle with their DNA and her darling personality.  He also knew our son would be a part of their story and we would be a unique family abundantly blessed by her little life.

As I began listening to more of the song, the Lord pushed my imagination to see a bit of Heaven. While I’m not sure what our loved ones see from the other side, (Hebrews 12), I could almost see Taylor dancing around the throne of God in worship, reveling in the immense reckless love of his Creator and Savior. I could see our son smiling and looking down on us with his clear-eyed vision of truth and eternity – a bit cloudy to us on earth. He now fully understands God’s sovereign plan for all of us – Paul, Michelle, their families, Gary, me, our other kids and now, Emma. Without complicated earthly emotions, our Heaven-dwelling son gets it: God planned Emma’s life before time began and is rejoicing along with us in God’s sovereign plan. Taylor knows this new sweet life is an amazing gift that will be a joy to watch as it blooms in God’s love and blesses us along the way.

This summer, I’m looking forward to another joyous occasion as we are honored to be hosting with Gary officiating the wedding of Taylor’s closest friend, Jamison, who is marrying one of our daughter’s closest friends, Emily, in our backyard, where they all grew up with our children. I’m praying God might give Taylor a glimpse of that happy day, which he prayed for six years ago. I will shed some tears missing his presence at this new celebration but will shed even more happy tears for the new journey and new life of another couple in our story.