Thursday, January 10, 2013

Hello 2013!

So, the last blog post was a bit heavy and emotional...because sometimes life is like that.  It's also light and funny at times...God is present in both.  I am grateful.

New Year's Eve holds no special place in the life of our family.  Our kiddos are relatively young...and lack of sleep makes them grouchy and mean.  Who needs more of that in their lives?  Not this momma! {snicker} I got enough of my own!  My dear hubby is also an early to bed, early to rise sort of, it's really asking too much for him to stay up past midnight just to kiss me and let out a "whoot!" for the new year.  So, I am usually the only one up to watch the ball drop and usher in the coming year.  Honestly, we are really fun people - the fun just usually happens before midnight!

We are not big "resolution" sorts of people, either.  But, this year was a bit different.  As we sat down to dinner on January 1, 2013...I asked the boys to think of a goal they had for the coming year.  I explained that a goal was something you wanted to accomplish, to get better at something, a new habit you wanted to gain, etc...  You know, just to get their "wheels" spinning and inspire some good ideas. 

So, our responsible first-born responded with something about not wanting to fail third grade (he is an excellent student - and not in danger of failing) and wanting to help poor people.  Love his heart.

Then, we moved around the table to our youngest child (4), who said something I can't remember and then something I hope I never forget, "I am going to try to not pick my nose when we go to special places."  Ha!  I love the honesty...and what exactly would qualify as a "special" place? 

Next up, our second born kiddo...with a big heart.  He shared about how he wanted to share things that he had with people who didn't have very much.  He also wanted to give his food to hungry people.  Love this.

Around the table again, to our third born...who shared that if he "gets lots of money" he will share it with the poor.  I love his generous heart and pray that he isn't planning to play the lotto.  {snicker}

So, I began to notice a theme developing...God is growing our boy's hearts for the "least of these."  So, I guess we had all better get moving in that direction in more intentional ways (that our boys can see).  I've been praying for opportunities that are age-appropriate for our kiddos. 

We've also begun a new habit for the new year.  We're reading this little gem (for the life of me, blogger will not allow me to open a photo of the cover here) each day after dinner.  I have been reading the adult version of "Jesus Calling"" for a few years now...and I love it.  It blesses me and reminds me of Jesus' great love for me. 

So, we are reading it together daily as a family each night.  As is much of our life, sometimes it's a blessed time together and other times, it's a total train wreck.  {snicker}  We're learning to embrace it all!

Thursday, January 3, 2013


It's nearly two o'clock in the morning.  My boys are sleeping soundly, I can hear Brad breathing softly in the bed next to me...I should be sleeping.  My body is exhausted, but my mind won't follow it's lead.  So, I crawl out of my warm bed and stumble into the living room.  I find my Bible and search for comfort.  It's one of those nights when sleep won't come, but grief does. 

I miss my parents terribly.  My heart aches for what should have been.  It simply wasn't supposed to be this way. Who would ever imagine that within 15 months both of your parent's would die?  It simply wasn't in my plans...or theirs, for that matter.  Still, I find myself this place of grieving, in spite of my well-laid plans.

Grief is such a strange road to walk.  At times, I am completely at peace.  I am confident that my Mom and Dad are with Jesus.  There is simply no greater comfort.  I know because of His saving work on the cross, I can be with them again someday in Heaven.  While there is tremendous peace, it doesn't erase the pain of loss.  It's a source of comfort - but, not a cure. 

Some days, it's as if a tsunami of grief and sadness threaten to overcome me.  Usually, these feelings creep into my mind late at night...when the duties of my day are finished.  My hands are idle, but my mind is not.  At times, I struggle to discern if this is simply the way of grief or if it's a spiritual battle.  Is the enemy whispering worry into my heart and mind?  I am being tempted to replay the past instead of looking to the future?

At times, I feel simply overcome with grief.  The loss is tremendous. The pain goes deep.  I enjoyed a great relationship, a friendship, with my Mom and Dad.  They loved me, my husband, and my little boys so well.  I miss their support and encouragement.  I miss the way my mom would celebrate with me when one of my kiddos accomplished something.  I miss my dad saying, "Well, hello girls!"  when he walked into our house to find my boys waiting for him to arrive.  I miss my mom helping me clean the kitchen and folding laundry when she visited...she wanted to bless me. 
My mind is flooded with images of my parents tonight.  I can see vividly my sweet mom's face as I prayed with her just before her surgery.  While she would miraculously survive the complicated procedure to save her life...I would never really see her again.  Days later, we learned that she had no brain function.  She was already gone.  Shocking - she had been healthy just days before.  I'm overcome with sadness.

I remember walking into my dad's hospital room just eleven months later to find him attached to all sorts of wires and tubes.  He had suffered a massive heart attack.  The cardiologist explained that he had literally suffered from a "broken heart."  The physical heart is enlarged as a result of some major emotional trauma.  Typically, the heart returns to normal size within a couple of months.  Not so with my dad.  He suffered physically for months, but managed to make some unforgettable memories with his family along the way.  We all showered him with love and he showered us, too.  In my mind, I can see him sitting in a wheelchair in the cardiologist's office, waiting for his pacemaker to be turned off.  He had made peace and he was ready to go home to Heaven.  The tsunami of grief threatens to overwhelm me again. 

After wading through the sadness, hot tears on my cheeks, and a heaviness in my heart...I realize that I am not overcomeGrief and sadness may threaten to rob me of my joy, but it's impossible.  I will not be overcome because of Jesus.  His death and resurrection have overcome death and despair.  Jesus has taken my sadness, grief, and sin as His own...and overcome death forever.  Even the most powerful feeling cannot change that.  Thanks be to God.

"I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”  
John 16: 32-33