Monday, February 15, 2016

What comes AFTER the unexpected has hit....

Wow! In some ways I can't even believe that it has been over two weeks since my Mom went to be with Jesus and then in some ways...it seems like it has been forever. Notice I don't say since Mom died or passed away - I won't be using those terms because she didn't die or pass away...she simply went on to her Heavenly Home - to be with Jesus. So...let's be clear, I am not in denial, I am not pretending it didn't happen...I just want to be sure and call it what it is. Ok...got off on a rabbit trail there but I want to be sure and make sure that people get it

So...what happens AFTER the tragedy, the unexpected, the loss? That's what has been on my mind these past few days. I was visiting with a friend online and she was sharing her grief experience and how you don't ever "move on" but rather you do learn to "move forward"...she said what I felt! I haven't moved "on" in this new journey without my mom but moment by moment Jesus is showing me how to move forward, how to do the next thing, and to live in the moments that He has given me.

For those who are on the outskirts of a tragedy, those who are watching the ones that have been affected - life goes forward rather quickly. For instance, say you hear on the news about a typhoon that hits somewhere in Asia - our hearts are sad, we pray a prayer, maybe we send money to help but then we are back to our normal everyday life. We go forward with life. Yet, for that family who was barely putting food on the table and whose home is now destroyed...there's a long period of just standstill...wondering what's next? What are we to do? Where do we go?

I believe it is the same in the lives of those who have lost someone they love...or rather, at least it has been for me. I watch as people move forward and go about their daily life and yet...I feel as though my feet are just barely inching forward. Well meaning people say "I'm sorry for your loss" or "So sad to hear about your mom" and then move forward to their next thing...meanwhile I am like "Yes, but now what?" "Where do I go from here?"

Here's the answer that I have found...I move forward each moment through the grace of Jesus. If it's an inch, it's an inch. If I can manage a foot forward...wahoo but it is ALL through Him! I am not "over it" and I most certainly am not moving on as though it never happened but each day, I do see that I have managed to move forward a little more each day and you know - that's where I need to be! Moving forward in our heartache and grief is important. God knows our hurt and brokenness but He hasn't left us there...He wants us to be held by Him, to grasp His outstretched hand and let Him help us take that very next step!

Another thing that I have learned the past few weeks is this...so many times I have read posts and blogs about what to say and what not to say when someone is grieving. Here's my conclusion from the one who IS grieving...it isn't so much what you do say, it's that you care enough to say SOMETHING! The thing that has hurt the most these past few weeks are those who haven't said a thing, that haven't acknowledged that it happened - not those who said maybe the wrong thing with the right intentions. I can deal with that. It's not saying anything at all that gets me...believe me, you aren't going to "remind me" that my mom is gone from earth...I am aware of that. Just let those who are grieving know you care by saying something. My Dad's friend did it best when he called him a few days after the memorial service and said "I really don't know what I am supposed to say, I just know I needed to call you." BEAUTIFUL!!!  Please don't feel like I am pointing a finger at you if you haven't said anything...because I have 4 fingers pointing right back at me! I have been the one who just didn't say anything for fear of saying the wrong thing...now I know how that feels and that it hurts.

I also think that when we aren't the one faced with the unexpected, when we are the ones on the sidelines - we may need to pause in our movement, stop and reach out to those who are hurting and remember that their life has just been hit hard. That they are struggling to take that next breath and make that next step. So, if you see someone struggling, remember that their world was just thrown one heck of a curve ball and they may need you to pull them through for a time!

So...where I am I headed after this hit? I am headed on a new and exciting journey in the footsteps of my Savior. There's some pretty amazing things ahead on this trail - I have had some sneak previews as we make a turn or curve and I am anticipating that it will be WONDERFUL...but in the meantime, I am crossing the muddy waters and my feet are just moving a tad slower for a time, however I won't be staying there...pretty soon, I know we will hit some dry land and pick up the pace!




Monday, February 1, 2016

Mom

(This was actually written January 29 at 1:00 a.m.  - Mom went to be with Jesus January 29 at 3:06 p.m. God is so good in preparing us for what is to come.)


Hey Mom!

Tomorrow - well actually today in a few hours - I am getting on a plane to come see you. Normally, when I come to see you I am so excited! I look forward to visiting, games, and just hanging with you.

This time, this time is different. I am really really sad. You see, the tumor that you have been dealing with is taking over and causing issues. The Doctors don't think there is anything that can be done - so I am supposed to somehow, someway figure out how to say Goodbye. I have been praying for a miracle - and perhaps God will still send one, in which case I will show you this letter and we will rejoice in what God did; however, in case He decides to go ahead and take you home, there are some things I wanted to share with you.

I don't have any regrets - you need to know that. Every moment with you was the best ever! Like seriously - even the hard times, like when we said goodbye to Sherri - you were so amazing. I know that not everyone can say that they have no regrets with their family - but I really don't. I know that because of who you were and who you raised me to be - we cherished every moment!

Here are the things that you taught me, ways you showed me how to live life, and follow Jesus. You were the best example I could EVER ask for.

First things first, you taught me to laugh and have fun! That's what I remember about growing up as a young girl...we had a lot of fun. You taught me my love of playing games which had been passed to you from your Grandmother. There was always time for a game of cards or a Forty-Two night with the Sauls and Davidsons!

Next, you taught me how to love Jesus with all my heart, soul, and mind. I don't remember a single morning growing up that I didn't come out of my room to see you reading your Bible, journaling, and praying. That was the norm for you. You dug into God's Word, you shared your faith with others, and you loved others as God loved you. When Granny A died, you talked to me about Heaven and where she was - you led me to my Savior! This, this is the BEST thing you ever did for me! You also taught me how to sing praises to my Lord! My love of praise and worship music began while watching you praise Jesus with all your being. I used to love to watch you dance and sing in church - even if I did sort of make fun of you! It was really one of my favorites! Oh and I am sure that God has your drum set ready and waiting for you cause you always said that in Heaven you would be the drummer!!!

The next thing you taught me was how to be the most amazing wife EVER!! Like seriously, I never have seen someone love their husband the way you love Dad. Your selfless love and support of him was the greatest lesson for how to love my husband well. You always made time for him and showed us girls that your marriage was second only to your relationship with Jesus. I remember well talking to you about marriage and how I would know who to marry; you said "It's not who you can live with that is the right one, it's who you can't live without." When I met Joel and told you about him - I am pretty sure you knew he was the one I couldn't live without before I did!

Then, you taught me how to grieve well. Not something most people note about their parents but then again, not everyone has to watch their parents lose a child like you did. We were all so broken when Sherri went to Heaven but you didn't let it overtake you, you didn't lose yourself in the grief, you ran to the arms of the One who made us and created us. You showed me how to pick up and move on but to also cherish the memories of those gone before. This lesson, this one is coming back to me even now as I grieve the thought of losing you but Mom, I am going to choose with all my being to grieve well! Yes - I will grieve, I have already cried more tears that I ever thought possible and I know more are coming - but I am going to fall into the arms of the One who made me and loves me and I am going to choose to pick up, go on, cherish your memory and show my children how to grieve well.

You taught me how to be a mom. You showed me that it wasn't about getting it all right and being perfect but it was about loving my children and pointing them to Jesus. You shared with me that those mornings I saw you praying - you were praying for me. You showed me how money wasn't what would make a difference for my kids; it was being present with them and living life with them. I am not sure that I am half the mom you are but Mom, you taught me well how to be a mom! Thank you!

Next, you taught me how to love women and invest and pour time into them. It was your example of mentoring and teaching younger women about Christ, that spurred me on to find my own passion of loving and mentoring women. You showed me through your example how to serve sacrificially both in the church body and in the community. To see the needs of others and to meet them when I could. Your example of serving others has carried over in so many many ways. All the church meals, buying clothes or food for those in need, taking women to shelters when they needed safety, mission trips and more - it stuck with me. I realized that this was what it meant to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Then, you have taught me how to be the very very best Mimi! My kids have had the best in you! You have loved them, played with them, taught them and just embraced them each exactly for who they are! You tried to pass your love of baking and cooking to me but when it didn't stick you found my Kestra and she has learned so much about baking from you; she is just like you and loves to be in the kitchen! Hannah has learned from you a sweet and calm spirit. She knows when to speak and when to remain quiet. Malachi has your fun loving teasing side! I still smile and the time he called you and your sisters "the three elderly sisters" and you all showed him by tying him up! And my Tyler - from the time he was born you showed him an unconditional love. When others just shrugged and stood aside, you took the time to get to know him for who he is and where he is at! Even tonight, without knowing the scope of the situation, he said "Mimi sure loves me". So see - you taught me and showed me the kind of Mimi I want to be someday! Most of all - my kids all know you love Jesus!!!

Finally, you have showed me how to end well. Since this tumor was first diagnosed you have continued in your steadfast faith. You haven't wavered from that. You have faced this like everything - with Jesus at the front. When I last talked to you on the phone, you were calm and cheerful and just said "keep those prayers coming". There is no doubt that when I see you in a few hours, I will see Jesus in you...This is how I want to be at the end of my days. Someone who loved Jesus through every part of their life. Someone who knew how to praise Him even when the tough waters came and the storm blew hard. Someone so in love with their Savior and so confident in where they are going that there is peace like a river!

So, Mom - I said I was coming and having to figure out how to say Goodbye. Truth is, I can't say Goodbye and well you didn't teach us to say Goodbye - you taught us that when Christ is in us it is always "See Ya Later" Today and in the days to come - I am just coming to tell you I love you and that I will See Ya Later!