15 months

I am choosing joy today, Grant.  Not because I want to. I don’t want to be joyful. What I want to do is sit in the corner and cry.  I want to wallow in self-pity. It’s been 15 months and I still cannot think of you without catching my breath and the sting of tears.  What I want to do is scream and demand answers from God.  But instead, I am choosing joy, today, the 15 month anniversary of your death. I will choose joy!

I choose joy because it brings the greatest honor I know how to give, to your memory.  The way we choose to live life in the wake of your death, will become part of your legacy.  I choose joy, because I care about your legacy and the story it tells to a watching world.  Yes, I will choose joy.

I choose joy today, because I know that is what you would want me to do.  You do not want me crying and missing you.  You understand it, surely, but it is not what you would choose for me. You know, more than anyone here, that choosing joy is the greatest evidence I have that you are better off, in a better place.  Therefore, I choose joy.

I choose joy, because it is a way to live what I say I believe. I truly do believe you are where you want to be.  I believe you would not come back if you could.  I believe if we all knew what you know now, we would live everyday with joy and anticipation of the things to come! I will think on these things today, and choose joy.

Yes, I have no doubt you would want me to choose joy today, and everyday.  So I will choose joy, and get out of bed today.  I will choose joy and smile at the stranger.  I will choose joy and do the work the Lord has put before me today. I will choose joy and love on your dad and siblings with all of my might.  I will dry my eyes, lift my hands to God for the strength to do it, and choose joy!

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one truth at a time

As I walk through year number two I have made a discovery. Maybe because of the pain, maybe because of the weariness of body and soul, I am not sure.  But I have discovered God rarely uses massive amounts of information at a time to change me.  Rather he uses one truth at a time.  One truth a day, a week, a month. As I seek to remember and attach one scriptural truth to one tear, one memory, one longing, it makes a difference. When I try to take it all in, or apply everything I know to the most current sorrow, it is overwhelming. But if I am careful to attach one gospel truth to one circumstance, situation, or sorrow, it has an impact. By taking it a spoonful at a time, it can penetrate the dark crevices and make its way to my heart, as I attach one truth of God to one moment of my life.

There truly are no unattached moments or events in life.  Rather, all of life is woven together as fabric is; an intricate weaving of thousands of strands intertwined to create a beautiful piece of cloth.  Everything we do and say has spiritual ramifications and God’s word has something to say about them, if we are willing to shine His light upon them.  There truly are no unattached moments; God is in the details of our lives! And as we attach a truth to each tiny detail, our faith will grow as the cloth grows on the weaver’s loom.

I believe most of our problems come from a failure to use and apply the gospel in a radical way.  Our tendency is to think that our problems are the circumstances that surround us.  The circumstances however, are opportunities.  Each trial, circumstance, and situation of life is an opportunity to live out gospel truths in the day-to-day.  Living with Grant’s death, knowing God could have prevented it, forces me to live what I say I believe. And as I learn to connect one bit of scripture to one bit of life, a tear at a time, I will grow in my walk with Christ.  As I learn to connect one relevant truth about my redeemer, to one sorrow or lost dream in my life, my faith is  strengthened.

Grieving with hope…

 

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so much death

Death.  So much death.  What do I mean by that?

Well, when we first lost Grant, it was all I could think about for a very long time.  Every thought I had in fact, revolved around that one predominate reality, the new reality.  But as time went on, and my mind, body and soul started to accept the fact that he was gone, it made room for other thoughts. I was able to try and start “normal life” again.  In fact, that’s what the entire last year has been.  Me trying to figure out what life looks like now.

But what I am discovering is death.  Death is everywhere.  When Grant died, he didn’t die alone.  The Alisa I once was, died with him.  The man I married and had known for 30 years is gone. The way our family interacted, changed forever. The way life was, died with Grant. Every night at dinner, death is there in the empty chair.  Every holiday death does not fail to appear as we celebrate around the gap. Every relationship we had, is forever changed. Yes, the way life used to be, died an that fateful day with our precious son.

That may sound morbid. It might make you wonder if I need help, if I am stuck in the grief process. I don’t think I am.  I truly believe, that when someone dies, so much dies with them; they do not die alone.  And the more time goes by, the more you discover that has died with your loved one. But you see, as painful as this is (and it truly is more painful than I even know how to adequately express because I am bound by language) this doesn’t have to be a morbid thing.

Every time I discover another death, as a result of Grant’s death, it makes me long for Heaven more.  It makes me love Jesus more for conquering death in the end. It stirs love for the things that are still here with more fervor and passion than I knew was possible. And it makes me grateful for every small moment, and relish things that were unseen before death took its tole.

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year number 2 is a strong opponent

It has been so long since I have posted.  There have been many days that I have come to my computer, opened the dash board on my blog and just sat staring at the screen.  I had every intention of writing when I sat down, but many times I just can’t seem to make myself write.  I don’t trust what my fingers will type.  I am sure others will think I should be further along than I am.  I fear my ramblings may appear to be a lack of faith or irreverent…so I sit and stare, and try another day.

But today, today I came across this.  It is from Bo Stern’s Blog, the author of “Beautiful Battlefields.” It is one of my favorite books I read last year, and I have been following her blog since I discovered it.  She is a precious wife and mother, who is caring for her husband, while he is dying from ALS. You will never meet a more Godly woman or encounter a stronger faith.  This is what she wrote yesterday…

“I’ve wandered to my keyboard today, wanting to write out some sort of something.  Emotions, memories-in-the-making, fears, failures, frustrations, wins, wounds.  Maybe I feel a little behind in my processing or maybe there is no such thing. Maybe we’re on a  new stretch of road in the journey and my head is spinning with all the ways I feel inadequate to shepherd my little flock through this unmarked place. I don’t know, exactly, all the things happening in my head, but I do know I am loaded up with thoughts and just a little nervous about what might flow out of my fingertips.

And yet, I’ve committed to authenticity – as much as I can muster and as much as I feel the world outside our window can handle. So, here I am, landing hard on the grace of Jesus today and using my words to share some random thoughts that really may be only for me.  Feel free to jump off the train right here if you’d like.”

When I read these words, it was as if she could see into my mind, my heart, my soul.  I felt as if I could have written them.  I want to be authentic, but I want to be genuine in a way that honors the Lord.  And that is sometimes hard to do as I trudge through this year, year number 2. Year number 2 is proving to be as hard as year number 1, but for different reason, with different struggles, new demons lurking in the shadows preying on our weakness, our weary hearts.  But there are also different discoveries about the Lord, things I never knew, depths I could never have imagined.  So I must keep writing, I must.  I will try…

But today I leave you with this song. It’s on repeat, as are the tears that flow while I listen, as I try to connect the truths of these lyrics to my heart, mind, and soul, regardless of how I feel today…it is well with my soul!

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not everything i want

I haven’t been writing much lately. I know I should, as it helps keep the truth front and center.  But I just haven’t had it in me. It’s been a long 2 months, a hard 2 months, and we are weary. My birthday without him, the one year anniversary of the last time I spoke with my precious son, the one year anniversary of Grant’s death, Mother’s Day minus one, his little sister’s birthday without both big brothers, Grant’s birthday (he would have been 26), and Father’s Day, with the gap so glaring…all to walk through within a 6 week period of time.  So hard.

I was reflecting on all of the above when these lyrics flashed upon the screen at church on Sunday…

“Christ is enough.  Christ is my reward. Christ is enough for me. Everything I need is in you.”

When walking through extreme pain, it causes us to evaluate everything we believe, every scripture, every promise, every sermon, every christianize. We ask ourselves how does this or that stand up to what has happened. So I found myself doing that again as I sang this song.

“Christ is enough.  Christ is my reward. Christ is enough for me. Everything I need is in you.”

It was so easy to sing that song when I had everything I wanted. But can I sing it when things aren’t as I want them to be? Is Christ enough in the dead of night when sadness robs sleep. Is Christ enough when you want to pick up the phone and tell your first born how much you love him, but know that will never be again in this lifetime? Is Christ enough on June 12, 2014, when we should be celebrating his 26th birthday but instead we struggle to breath.

Yes, He is enough, because Christ is everything I need. Jesus is not everything I want. I don’t want this; living the rest of my life without Grant, missing out on everything we had hoped for him, dreamt for him. I don’t want the pain that comes from losing him, learning to live without him here, the struggle of trying to figure who I am as a mother of 3 instead of 4. But I know now, more than ever before, because I have been forced to live it, everything I need is in Christ. Not everything I want, but need yes. So, Christ is enough.

And so I sing…“Christ is enough.  Christ is my reward. Christ is enough for me. Everything I need is in you.” No, it’s not everything I want, but it is everything I need.

 

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no where else to turn

This tragedy has made God bigger, more real. It seems like the opposite would be true. It seems like tragedy would drive a wedge between God and I, make me question His existence, question the reality of my faith! But I have more faith in God today than I did 14 months ago; seems weird, I know.  It seems weird to even me, and I am living it.

God took my son. And I would turn somewhere else for comfort if I could just to spite Him. But you see, this has taught me, shown me beyond a shadow of doubt, there is no where else to turn! I have looked, I have tried to find comfort in other things. But there is no where else to go. God is real. I have never been more certain of this in my 35 years as a Christian.

So God is bigger today, more real than He’s ever been. You see, when you’re left with no where else to turn, it’s then that you realize there is no where else to turn. I must turn to God or be lost.

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on the edge

Only one thought away. Only one memory away. I live now on the verge, the edge; the verge of tears, on the edge of emotion. If you were to watch me walk through my day and interact with others, you may not even notice I am a woman leaving on the edge.  I am learning to make my way through life, the new normal. Everyday takes courage to live, but everyday there are reasons for joy and gratefulness and I look for those and try to celebrate those daily.

But at the same time I live on the edge, the verge of tears. It is concealed as I go about my day, but it’s never gone completely. I can be doing something or having a conversation with no tears in sight. And then it happens. I remember something that happened or I think of something that will never be, and the tears are there without warning and in an instant. Will it always be like this? Is this the life of a bereaved parent? Learning to live around the gap while balancing on the  edge of it without falling in?

Or as time moves forward, as my time here grows shorter and reunion grows closer, will I be able to dance around the edge with the joy of anticipation? I long to dance Lord, give me the faith to dance around the edge of the gap with the time I have left here. Grieving with hope…

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