Monday, November 30, 2009

First of the Firsts...BIG Leaps and Baby Steps

I've been searching for words this past couple of weeks. It seems that if you have a blog, you must have SOMETHING to say, but for me, the words haven't been coming very readily.

I have experienced three "firsts" in the past two weeks and it is all a bit overwhelming. The Lord is faithful to get me through these firsts in my "year of firsts" but honestly, at times it feels as though all I am doing is "getting through." I have endured Jay's birthday (11/15), Thanksgiving (11/26) and then my birthday (11/28)...and it seems to me that a person doesn't normally experience them back to back like that, but I guess for me it's "go BIG or go home." LOL It was like the proverbial ripping off of the band-aid. There was pain and anguish before and during, but once it was over...a measure relief.

Thanksgiving was proving to be a source of anxiety for me in the week leading up to it. I didn't know what I wanted to do. There was a part of me that wanted to share that day with my family, and then there was a greater part of me that just wanted to do my own thing. Well, the "do my own thing" part won out. It might be a bit selfish on my part, but I just wanted to take that day and make it my own. I wanted to spend the time with the Lord and give ALL of my emotions to Him so I could receive a measure of healing. It would be easy to go somewhere and spend the time with loved ones, but that only delays the inevitable. I really needed to be alone with God.

It takes a BIG leap of faith to enter into a holiday by yourself, especially a first holiday without the one you love there...the enemy was certainly waiting to place depression on my heart...I could feel him breathing down my neck, but the Lord was faithful to protect my heart as I read His Word and sought Him. The Word tells me that I am to "Seek first the kingdom of heaven..." So that is what I did.

The "BIG leap of faith" was that I trusted God would make everything all right in my heart. He told me He would never leave me nor forsake me...and true to His Word...He was there for me. But with big leaps of faith come baby steps of obedience on my part. I can go into these things trusting that the Lord will pull me through, but unless I do as He has called me to do...pray, read His word, and give my minute-by-minute life to Him - my healing and growth will only get me so far. This is the process that He has called me to go through.

So, with big leaps and baby steps I made it through. Praise the Lord.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Delete vs. Save...

I spent the better part of this morning standing in line, and then sitting in line at the DMV with Jay's Dad. He has Jay's truck, and we needed to get it transferred into his name as the new owner.

The longer I sat, the longer I had time to think...not always a good thing. I have had to remove Jay from my car insurance, remove him from life insurance, medical/dental insurance, credit, bank, etc. Now I am removing his name from his truck, and although it is exactly what he specified that he wanted in his last will and testament, I am still having a bit of a struggle with it. I almost feel like I am removing or "deleting" him from my life now. It is just a very strange feeling. It feels like no one, outside of friends and family of course, will even know that he existed.

It is just a very strange place to be right now.

But, God is in control, and He is faithful to meet me in my emotion of this moment and I give it to Him and keep moving forward. I know that my Jay's life was not in vain, and I KNOW that he not only existed, but he LIVED, and I will continue to speak of him and keep his memory alive. Computers may be able to delete him, but I cannot and WILL NOT do the same.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Faith, Faithful, Faithfulness...

Yesterday was a very tough day for me. It surprised me at how deep I was feeling the loss of Jay because it was his birthday and he wasn't here to celebrate it with me. I cried probably more than I have cried to this date. I believe that it is the Lord allowing the anesthetic to wear off a little bit more. I can feel it so intensely now.

I kept myself busy all day with planning my birthday party (which is this Friday), choir rehearsal, and then a special church service with Steven Curtis Chapman. The Lord was so faithful to show Himself to me all day long through His people who showered me with my Father's love. There is nothing like being in the center of the Lord's love. There really is special favor for widows, just as it is written in the Word of God.

And "faithful" was the word that kept getting whispered to my heart all day long. The Lord kept saying, "Watch and see how faithful I am to you, Jamie." Every moment that I was having a big struggle, He would send someone my way with a word, a hug; people just ready to encourage me to push beyond that moment.

And at the concert at church, Steven Curtis Chapman shared his testimony of losing his 5 year old daughter, and he spoke of the Lord's faithfulness to meet him where he was at in his grieving process. As he sang a song from his new CD...the song's title..."Faithful"...I began to reflect on the Lord's faithfulness to me throughout my grieving process as well. He has been with me every step of the way; even when I can't see Him or feel Him, I know He is with me. It was wonderful to rest my head on the pillow last night having that assurance from Him spoken straight to my heart.

And then this morning, as I was getting ready for work, I was in my bathroom listening to Steven's CD and that song, Faithful, was playing, and then I heard this loud crash in the kitchen so I went to check it out and I found a plate that I display in my garden window had fallen down...the plate says, "FAITH." Now I don't want to ascribe too much to this like "messages from beyond"; there is probably an explanation for why it fell off of its little rack, but I just found it interesting the word that is written on that plate.

So, I choose to allow that to be a little reminder for me that I have a part to play in this process too. I must hold onto my FAITH that the Lord is ever present, that He loves me beyond measure, and He carries my burdens with me. If I am faithful to give my circumstances to Him in prayer, He is faithful to see me through to the other side...but not just for the sake of getting me through it, but making me a better and stronger Christian so for the next set of trials, whatever they may be...and there WILL BE more trials...I will be able to reflect on this time and know in my heart of hearts that GOD...IS...FAITHFUL.

Father, GREAT is Thy faithfulness. I praise Your Holy name for taking the time to show me who You really are. You are REAL. I feel You. I sense Your nearness. Forgive me for not always crying out to You in my darkness; but thank You for being faithful to shine Your light on that darkness so that I may gain new perspective...YOUR perspective. I praise You for filling me afresh with Your Holy Spirit. I proclaim Your goodness and mercy! In Your precious Son's name. Amen.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Happy Birthday, My Beloved...

My Beloved,

Happy Birthday my Beautiful Love. Today, you are in Paradise and celebrating with Jesus. I am so grateful to know that. I anxiously wait for the day that I will see you again. I miss you so much my precious baby.

You told me to be happy; to think good thoughts, and while I know I told you that I would do those things...I am trying...but the "happy" part hasn't come yet. There is a joy in knowing that you are with our Savior, but there is a deep sadness in my heart because you are not here with me. I don't want to say that I wish you were here...because that is not so...I would never want to rob you of the glory of God. I am so excited that you get to see Jesus face-to-face everyday...I guess I'm just wishing that you would send me that proverbial post card that says, "Wish you were here..." but one day, that will come. I will wait for that day.

So, on this day, know that I am thinking of you every moment and thanking God that you are still and always will be, my Beloved.

Happy Birthday, Baby. Sending ALL of my love your way.

Your Sunshine

Friday, November 13, 2009

Raw and Random Emotions...

Wow...if you ever want to know just how alive you are, go through the grieving process. I thought I was on a roller coaster when Jay was still with me! I'm finding that those days were just the practice run...the REAL roller coaster ride starts now.

I've read tons of books on the grieving process...which actually does begin before your loved one dies...but there is absolutely nothing that can prepare you for what you will go through when they are gone.

I've felt every emotion, every single day and let's just say that it is an education on how to function everyday. Sometimes you have alcoholics and drug addicts who can "function" from day to day even though they are modified to a certain degree. Well, I'd like to add that there are "functioning grievers" around us as well, who are modified by the multitude of emotions that reside within them.

Yesterday I mentioned a "mud puddle of emotion" and I think I even surprised myself with that description because I thought about it for the rest of the day. I called it a mud puddle because the emotions of grieving are sticky, raw and dirty and truly soak your mind and cloud your good judgement. How appropriate for how I feel most of the time these days.

It's so easy to get caught up in the emotions and let reality slip away. Emotions really are normal, as all of the literature says, and that is so comforting to know. God gave us our emotions. BUT the enemy - in his cunning little way - uses those emotions to weasel his way in and lie to those of us who are vulnerable.

I have found that the real truth in my emotions is this; I trust the Lord to lead me through this, but if I don't continually surrender my emotions to HIM; I leave myself laid wide open for the enemy's tactics to bring me down completely.

Let's just say that I lived through that last night. I left myself vulnerable when I knew that I was emotional about yesterday being the 4th month since Jay passed away, and I didn't surrender those emotions to God and I just let it flow, and sure enough - Satan was waiting to come in with his lies. I allowed the enemy to shout his lies in my ear and there was a point at which I just fell for it and grabbed onto those lies in my anger for the situation. I took that anger out on someone I love very much...which is totally out of character for me, but unfortunately is starting to happen more often these days.

Not good...and certainly NOT pretty.

But praise the Lord that HE was able to eventually break through the wall of my emotional meltdown and penetrate my heart with HIS truth. I felt the sting of conviction that I was not doing what I was supposed to be doing as a believer in God, MY Father, and that is that I am to be broken before Him. Satan doesn't pick up the pieces! Satan shatters my existence...but GOD alone is the One that not only picks up the pieces, but supernaturally puts me back together and makes me even better than before!

While the promises of God were getting whispered to my heart, Satan was shouting his lies in my ear so my attention was drawn away from Him for a time. But praise God that He loves me enough to continue to seek my attention in love and not condemnation. I did eventually get to the point of surrender and began to hand each emotion over to Him so I could receive my healing for that moment.

I have to remind myself everyday that I am a child of God and everything that I am and everything that I have is HIS...that includes my emotions. I cannot do this on my own. It is only through the love of Christ that I will survive the pain and heartache of missing Jay.

NOTE TO SELF: Never think that it is ever okay to do this on your own, or that you've got it handled. Bottom can't and you don't. Let go and let God.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Four Months...

Wow, hard to believe that it has been four months. It seems like just yesterday Jay went to heaven...and here I am four months later, still being surprised that he is gone. There are just times when I have to really look around and make it real for myself. I knew it was coming for a while before he died, but I guess the shock is still wearing off and I'm still coming to the realization that he is gone...for now.

The confusion from the mud puddle of emotions is overwhelming at times. And everything that my mind and body are going through is apparently normal. Normal...what is that anyway? I don't even know what normal is anymore. A term that I once found comforting is now beginning t0 grate on me. I feel sad...oh that's normal. I feel angry...oh that's normal. I can't eat...that's normal. I can't sleep...normal. I'm beginning to find it comical because, what if I dyed my hair hot pink, got a nose ring and a tattoo and began hanging out in bars...NORMAL??? It seems like there is carte blanche with grief, and suddenly everything is acceptable. LOL

I don't know what normal is anymore, but I am discovering that the Lord is not interested in making my life normal. He is interested in taking the "normal" ordinary circumstances of my life and using them for His extraordinary purposes. Do I know what His plan is?? NO. But am I willing to endure a pain that NO ONE should survive to serve my Almighty God? Absolutely! God alone has suffered the ultimate pain for ME so why wouldn't I be willing to allow my pain to be used for His purposes. He is the God of all Comfort, so I rest in the knowledge that even through this pain, He is with me. He is healing me. He is loving me. He is carrying me.

I cling to His promises that are all throughout the bible. I cling to the promise that I will be reunited with Jay one day and that everything that the Lord promises us in the bible will be right before my very eyes as evidence that He was telling me the truth all along.

I've been listening to Steven Curtis Chapman's new cd Beauty Will Rise this whole week and there is one song in particular that really touches my heart to the core. He wrote the songs on this cd after losing his little daughter last year to a tragic accident. These are the lyrics that sing straight to my heart.

by Steven Curtis Chapman

Right now all I can taste are bitter tears,
and right now all I can SEE are clouds of sorrow,

From the other side of all this pain,
is that you I hear? Laughing loud and calling out to me? Saying SEE,
it's everything you said that it would be,
and even better than you would believe,
and I'm counting down the days until you're here with me,
and finally you'll SEE,

But right now all I can say is,
"Lord, how long?" before you come and take away this aching,
this night of weeping seems to have no end,
but when the morning light breaks through,
we'll open up our eyes and we will SEE,
it's everything HE said that it would be,
and even better than we would believe,
and HE's counting down the days 'til He says,
"Come with me" and finally...He'll wipe every tear from our eyes,
and make everything new,
just like HE promised,
wait and SEE,
just wait and SEE,
wait and SEE,

And I'm counting down the days 'til HE says,
"Come with Me" and finally we'll SEE,
wait and SEE,
Oh taste and SEE that the Lord is good,
the Lord is good,
the Lord is good,
Oh taste and SEE that the Lord is good,
The Lord is good.

Amen. The Lord is good. I praise His Holy name!

Thank You, Lord, for Your goodness, Your grace, Your mercy, Your faithfulness, Your LOVE. Father, only You can heal the deepest of wounds. I trust You for Your healing touch on my heart. Some days it doesn't seem as painful, and that is your grace and mercy washing over me. Some days feel all too painful, almost as though I cannot survive, but You are also faithful to meet me on those days with a special dose of Your love and comfort. Thank You for carrying my burdens for me. Thank You for loving me so much. Please fill my heart today. Refresh my spirit. And, Abba, kiss my baby for me. I miss him so much. In Jesus precious name. Amen.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Reminders, Reminders, Reminders...

Everything is a reminder right now. Everything makes me think of Jay, but not exactly in a way I want to remember him. For instance, tomorrow is the four month anniversary of Jay's passing. The 12th of every single month is an anniversary for me. I am trying to think of it as "the day my husband went to heaven" and not just the day I watched my husband take his last breath here. It's difficult to change my thinking sometimes though because I miss him so much.

I gauge time by the date of his death too. It's the strangest thing. The mere mention of a date and I immediately think of whether that date was before or after Jay dying. And even before that, I used to think about things as before or after his cancer diagnosis. B.C. didn't only stand for "Before Christ" for me, it was "Before Cancer." Now it's "Before Death" or "After Death."

I'm sure someday all of that will change, but for is a momentarily, hourly, daily, weekly, monthly reminder to me of just how much I miss him.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Faithful Promises...

How faithful are the promises of God? Well, let me tell you...

I woke up at 2 o'clock this morning after having had the very first WONDERFUL dream about my husband. He was in his whole scars or other modifications from surgery...just my beautiful man. It was such a beautiful reminder to me that my God is so faithful to heal my broken heart and heal the memories of what I watched cancer do to my beloved's body. I was able to see Jay complete and whole; the creation that God had made.

As soon as I woke up from this dream, (I was so overjoyed at the sight of my husband that it woke me right up out of my sleep) I noticed that the little light on my cell phone was blinking, indicating that I had an email or text message or something. When I turned my phone on, I saw that I had an email. It was from my childhood friend and Sister in the Lord, Christine, who blessed me with this scripture! "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." Revelation 21:4 OH...MY...GOSH! Thank you Lord!!

What a glorious reminder that God is with me, and that one day, I will see Jay just like I saw him in my dream...only it will be for real then. What a treasured gift...I call those "kisses" from the Lord. As soon as I realized that I woke myself up from the dream, I tried to go back to sleep and continue the dream because sometimes I can do that...but to no avail. The gift was just a momentary glimpse into my future with my honey.

Praise the Lord for His assurance that I really am going to survive this. Praise the Lord for His healing of my heart. Praise the Lord for the promise of a new life.

When the Lord promises you something...HE WILL DELIVER! Hallelujah!