Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Marking Days

As much as I don't like to mark dates for when difficult things happen, I think it is just the way our human minds work.

It was one year ago today that we were told my husband had 'a mass'.  Not one of his doctors thought it was cancer.  They believed it was an inflamatory-type mass.  The worst they thought was that it could possibly be a Crohn's-related mass with damage to the intestine from the disease.  That day, we thought we were facing some kind of 'incident' in life -- something we would deal with and move on.  We had no idea that we were starting a journey which would change life forever.  I'm thankful that God knows the timelines of our lives from beginning to end and that He walks with us every step of the way.  This was unexpected by us, but - somehow - it fits into God's plan for our lives.

Looking back on the past year is interesting.  I think there are positive and negative aspects of looking back.  Sometimes, it is overwhelming to consider how much has happened since just one year ago.  In remembering, I have to be careful.  There are times when I feel drawn into those events and all the emotions that went along with them.  I think it would be easy to put myself in a downward spiral if I allowed my mind to dwell on the past for too long.

The positive aspect of looking back, I think, is in reflecting -- calling to mind the ways that God blessed and provided and comforted -- purposing to see His goodness through all those events -- asking Him to help me learn the lessons intended for me.

This past year was one that required me to actively live out what I believe.  I think, often, we live through the daily routines without giving much thought to our beliefs.  Those beliefs don't feel as though they are being tested every day of our lives.  I say I trust God, that I've surrendered all areas of my life to Him -- This past year I had to actively live that out.  I had to purposely acknowledge that God was in control of my life and had to consciously decide to submit to His plan for my life.  I also say that I want to be obedient to God.  God says in His Word, "In everything give thanks."  Purposing to be thankful, I believe, was key to having God's peace and comfort through it all.  (Psalm 28:13  "I had fainted unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.")

As much as this one-year mark causes me to look back, it also causes me to look forward.  One year ago today, I had no idea what the days ahead of me would hold.  Even so, today, I have no idea what the days yet to come will hold.  I believe with all my heart that God has a plan.  I'm glad life isn't a matter of happenstance.  I am thankful that God is all powerful and all knowing, full of love and mercy, and never changing.   I look forward to the future because I believe that if I am obedient to His leading, He will be my constant companion in the days to come.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


There is an emotional place in grief where time loses its normal sense of being - a time warp, if you will.  It is the meeting place of "I can't believe it has been 'x' amount of time already" and "It feels like forever ago."  It is easy to feel a little lost in that place.  I believe it is part of the process.

I realized this week that it feels like I've been starting to move beyond that place.  All of the events of this past year, all of the things we went through that concluded with Trent's death have a consistent sense of moving further into the past as we encounter each new day.

The days are passing more quickly, and there is a definite pattern to our days.  We are getting a new 'rhythm' -- that pace and flow of daily life.  I have had to make many adjustments to my old rhythm.  I have to pace myself differently than before.  Some of those adjustments are temporary, and  some are more permanent.  The kids are learning this new 1-parent household has to have some different rhythms from the simple fact that mom is only one person, and she has her limitations.

Most of the things that have needed relatively-immediate attention have been taken care of, and the remaining layers of details have a less pressing nature about them.  It is a good thing.

I am trying to plan something of a vacation this summer.  I'm not very good at making plans; and I really don't have a lot of energy to 'go and do' a bunch of things.  I have a few ideas for trying to balance my kids' desires to be actively 'doing' things and my own desire for calm and rest.  I'm working on that - even if it is slowly.

The past few weeks, I am hearing the kids talk about their dad more.  It is all part of the cycles of grief.  My youngest wanted to take something very special to school for Show and Tell.  Trent and I had picked out custom music boxes for the kids as a gift from him to keep forever, and Jonathan wanted to show his class.   I was hesitant to let it go to school because I know it would be terrible heartbreak if something happened to it, but I heard it once - and then twice - and then a third time.  When I said he could show his class, but that I would bring it and give it to his teacher, he talked about it every day until the appointed day arrived.  This was a big thing to him.  I'm glad we were able to work it out.  He had a great sense of satisfaction afterward.  Somehow, that fit into his grieving process, and it was a good thing for him.

There have been several necessary discussions with the kids lately about focusing on the good things in life.  I shared with them how God had impressed on my heart last year when this all began that I needed to look for the blessings.  I believe heeding that prompting made all the difference in this last year.  I don't want it to seem that I am denying that things were tough -- they were, indeed; but I don't want to dwell on the difficulties.  I want my children to learn to focus on the good.  We, of course, have talked about the things that people have done for us and the ways that God provided for us.  It was needed to talk about those things again, and so we did.  We are making it a regular practice now to purposely discuss the blessings of the day.

I am thankful for God's consistent presence and comfort.  I am thankful for the new rhythms in life.  Each new day is an opportunity to acknowledge God in our lives - and opportunity to seek His direction, to obey His leading, to honor Him with our lives, and to see His faithfulness and goodness.  I want to be purposeful in doing those things.