Saturday, March 27, 2010

Therefore, comfort one another with these words.

It’s quiet in the house this morning. The only sounds I hear are the wind chimes outside and Casey’s heaving breathing as she lay close beside my feet.

Spring is here. The Bradford pears are in full bloom. The cherry trees are displaying beautiful shades of pink. Both of those trees remind me of Frank. We had a cherry tree at our other house that we enjoyed very much. And I love the Bradford Pear trees. But Frank refused to plant one at any of our houses. He said they weren’t strong enough. The limbs break in storms, etc. We playfully argued about landscaping and our disagreement about the Bradford pear was ongoing….I tried to have one at each of our houses…until the big storm that hit Memphis a few years ago with straight line winds. We called it “the destruction of the pear trees”. I was convinced. But I had to see it with my own eyes before I believed. Even though Mr. Horticulture knew what he was talking about. I wasn’t convinced until I saw it with my own eyes.

I went to the cemetery yesterday. I’d never seen it like that before. The whole Garden of Grace was covered in white wild flowers. It was so pretty and peaceful.

While I was there, I read the scriptures in 1 Thessalonians 4 about the coming of the Lord. It explains how those who are asleep in the Lord will rise first, then those who remain, and then we will be with Lord forever. The last verse says we are to comfort one another with these words.

After I left the cemetery, my night went on as planned. I picked up Chase from play practice, went to Zach and Jimmy’s soccer game at school, and then drove Chase to a party.

I’ve been in the mood to spring clean the past week or so. It’s time. The house needs it. It’s not about going through Frank’s things, which I haven’t done. It’s more about the process of just getting your house in order. You ladies know what I’m talking about. But everything in the house has things that belong to Frank in it. There’s not one place that was just mine. But I’ve had a week to prepare. I was ready for the challenge.

When I got home, I decided to tackle the office. I spent about an hour throwing papers away that I know I didn’t need anymore. A lot of it was medical papers, lab results, etc. I had made my mind up that I wasn’t going to keep those things. It wasn’t how I wanted to remember Frank. The bottom line for me was that my husband died of cancer. I didn’t need an old lab report to remind me of that. It hurts enough.

So, after an hour, I had a bag of trash and a somewhat organized desk. I found letters from Big Frank, pictures, birthday cards, our wills, and more. And I put them in a special place for safe keeping.

I thought I was doing pretty well until I got in the car to pick up Chase. I don’t know what it is about the car, but that (and the shower) is one place that I can break down and let it all out. Without warning, my soul confessed that I my big cover up wasn’t fooling anybody and the emotions of what I had just done came over me like those straight line winds that ripped up the pear trees. I felt guilty and sad…. and lots of things all at once. What was I doing??  My face must not keep as good of a secret as my car does, because the first thing Chase said to me, walking to my car – in the dark – was “Have you been crying?” Secrets out.

So, this morning, while it’s quiet (except for Casey), I decided to comfort myself with “those words”. I read 1 Thess 4, 1 Cor 15 and 2 Cor 5. I had to ask my self if I really believe this or do I need to be convinced, like the pear trees? But God has never lied before. He’s always been true to His word. So I will “walk by faith, not by sight”, like 2 Cor 5 says.

After some time, I decided that I am indeed comforted by God’s words. I’m finding myself a little jealous of Frank this morning. He is farther ahead in this journey of ours that isn’t finished yet. I know it was a work of the Holy Spirit that prepared Frank’s heart about his going home. He had a peace and strength about what was happening to him that was such a testimony to the grace and mercy of God. It helped comfort all who watched him in those past months.

I’ve read those verses before, but now when I read them, I have the face of my soul mate, my lover, our daddy, and my best friend in my mind. That makes the verses jump off the page for me and mean so much! I hope they do for you too.

Therefore comfort one another with these words.
1 Thess 4:18

Sunday, March 21, 2010

gotta love spring break !

I can’t believe we’re winding down March. In some ways time has stood still this past year, and yet, at the same time it seems as though it’s gone by really fast.

Spring break is the best part of March! The kids and I have been looking forward to Hope’s ski trip for so long! They love to get away with their friends and leaders, and I love getting to tag along. It’s the perfect combination for teenagers…. Mom’s there, yet not around enough to be in the way. Of course, there are Mom benefits too. I don’t have to keep up with their stuff, wake them up, feed them or nag them about anything. Like I said….. we look forward to it all year!

It snowed everyday on the mountain and several nights at the Ranch. It was so beautiful to watch ~ so peaceful and calming. I’ve never been on that ski trip without Frank. I was expecting it to be difficult, but I made some decisions on the front end to try and make it better. I avoided the cabin we always stayed in and enjoyed my week with Jane in a new cabin. We laughed, talked and had a great time. I tried to focus on the wonderful blessing of Frank being there with us last year. Making that trip meant the world to him. It was huge sense of accomplishment and blessing.

There’s just something about being in a different place, especially somewhere as majestic as the mountains that make you feel close to the Lord. His creation is just staring at you all over the place! I know, I know, His creation is here too… but let’s face it…. the Rockies are a lot better looking than Germantown Parkway in rush hour traffic!

With our year mark approaching, I took that time to do a lot of soul searching, a lot of praying, and a lot of talking ~ to Frank and myself. I tried to make some goals for myself, and for the kids. Some of these are practical. I plan on answering questions like: are we going to stay in the house? ~ what about Frank’s clothes? ~ when do I go through his things in the garage? ~ etc. I want to be strong for the kids. Frank was so strong. It just amazes me as I think about all he went through. As I did some soul searching, I tried to set some goals.

I'm also working through my feelings about other things. Chandler is about to leave for college… another big change ahead. I thought I was ready, but the closer it gets, I’m not so sure! I feel we’re the Incredible Shrinking family! Just when I get used to her being gone, Zach will leave the next year! I want to make goals about how I spend my time. The kids are my whole life right now. That just comes natural as a momma. But I’m not their whole life, and I shouldn’t be. They’re trying to leave the nest ~ and I don’t want to clip their wings. I want a healthy balance, for myself and for them. Yet, I know they still me right now. I’m still praying about when to jump into a full time job.

Chase and I celebrated birthday’s this month, along with Frances ~ my birthday twin. My last birthday, Frank sang happy birthday to me from Salida, CO in the cutest pizza joint. I miss the sound of his voice and his sweet kisses. But I was showered with love from my dear friends and family. Chase and I both felt special and much loved this year.

Today’s Streams in the Desert is so good. I love it when God confirms what He is doing in my heart.

“A stoic person despises the shedding of tears, but a Christian is not forbidden to weep. Yet the soul may become silent from excessive grief, just as the quivering sheep may remain quiet beneath the scissors of the shearer. Or, when the heart is at the verge of breaking beneath the waves of a trial, the sufferer may seek relief by crying out with a loud voice. But there is something even better.

Therefore, amid a multitude of trials, souls who love God will discover reasons for boundless, leaping joy. Even though “deep calls to deep” (Ps 42:7), the clear cadence of the Lord’s song will be heard. And during the most difficult hour that could ever enter a human life, it is possible to bless the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Have you learned this lesson yet? Not simply to endure or to choose God’s will but to rejoice in it “with an expressible and glorious joy” (1Peter 1:8). Streams in the Desert pages 121-122

My prayer is that I will live each day, with God’s help, accepting His will with joy.

Thank you for your faithfulness to our family and for continuing to remember us in your prayers.

In His grace,