Wish I Could

Recently I watched the movie A Star Is Born.

Essentially, it is a story of a woman who loved this super-talented man, who was loving, a hard core alcoholic, with a ton of demons as his only friends.

He dies, unexpectedly, towards the end of the film.

A little warning that THIS was the storyline would’ve been nice!😊

But I had only heard good things about the movie, which is why I watched it.

Her story was, in some ways, very similar to mine…

Some things this man did while under the influence of alcohol and depression,

Was something I was all too familiar with, in my own marriage, too.

The character fiercely loved his wife, but the disease…

The addictions…

The demons…

Took over….

Ultimately

Destroying him.

After his death,

His wife sings this song, and the opening lyrics are these…

” Wish I could, I could’ve said goodbye
I would’ve said what I wanted to
Maybe even cried for you
If I knew it would be the last time
I would’ve broke my heart in two
Tryin’ to save a part of you”

Those are words my heart understands.

I think back to the night of Jeremy’s death.

I was soon going to be driving our kids to his parents house to visit, and he had gone out for the afternoon.

It was cold outside, and raining, and the roads looked slippery and slushy, to the point I wasn’t sure if it was safe to make the trip.

So, I texted him a question about the roads.

About the roads.

If I had only known this would’ve been our VERY LAST exchange,

It wouldn’t have been,

“How are the roads?”

And if Jeremy had only known he was about to say or write his FINAL WORDS on earth…

It wouldn’t have been,

“Icy.”

You see, it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve witnessed someone lose a loved one..

It doesn’t even matter if you yourself have had a brush with death!

The sad fact is we all get too comfortable in THIS LIFE.

So comfortable, that we’re not thinking that our lives could be overturned in just the few seconds it takes to slice a vehicle in half on an icy road.

It seems to always have to be a lesson we learn

AFTER we’ve lost what we’ve lost.

That’s the most tragic thing about a sudden death, like a car accident, a heart attack, overdose, stroke, or suicide.

You beat yourself to a bloody pulp over what you said last to someone,

Or what you never said at all.

So, my point in saying all of this….

Let’s do better at loving each other,

At saying, “I love you. ”

At saying, “I’m sorry.”

At saying, “Thank you. ”

At saying, “You MATTER.”

Because, my friends,

You NEVER KNOW when

TODAY…

Is your last chance.

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.

James 4:13,14

See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

Ephesians 5:15,16

The Forfeit

When it comes to discussing my husband, Jeremy,

I am usually very conflicted.

I desperately want to tell others our real story…..

But I don’t EVER EVER EVER want to dishonor him!

So, I don’t say much.

I have young children, too, and they have to be my main priority.

And they ARE. I have always been very honest with them about their daddy, applying alot of wisdom in HOW I explain things to them.

But if I’m going to have any shot at genuine HEALING,

I’m going to have to tell the truth….

For ME.

Well, the whole truth….
I’ve said many times that my husband, Jeremy, never recovered from MY stroke.
I have pretty much made my peace with all that I lost that day seven years ago.
But Jeremy’s life was changed forever, too.
We started off as PARTNERS.
But we ended up as more like PATIENT and CAREGIVER.

Sometimes, he would “jokingly” refer to me as his “third child.”

Sadly, I think that’s how he saw me much of the time.

It had to be very frustrating for him to try to adjust to all the dramatic changes he witnessed in me, and to pick up the slack that my new condition created.

I loved him for that.

When you say “in sickness and in health, for better or for worse”….

It’s no joke when those vows hit very close to home.

My husband carried pain, anger, and resentment with him wherever he went.
I could see him unravelling right before my very eyes.
For the last several years, I prayed…

And prayed…

And prayed.
I BELIEVED a miracle was possible.
I was COUNTING on one.
We desperately NEEDED one!
The phrase “hurt people hurt people” was so very real in our home.
I was actively fighting for my marriage, up until the moment he stopped breathing that Saturday night in November.
So…..

I didn’t get the miracle that I wanted.

I feel like I was in the middle of a game on some sports team….

And our team had to forfeit because our “key player” hadn’t shown up.
I didn’t get to win!
I didn’t get to fight!
I didn’t even get to TRY ONE LAST TIME!!!
I KNOW I had more fight left in me.
At least I think I did.
But, now, we’ll never know.

And this sorrow is deep.

Some days, it hurt me to love Jeremy,

But I DID.

The same intensity of the love that KEPT me with him…

Is the same intensity of mourning I feel NOW.

That love has to go SOMEWHERE…

So, it becomes GRIEF.

My husband may have died suddenly,

And violently. (Trust me.)

But I honestly believe his was a horribly

SLOW DEATH.

I believe a part of me was mourning his loss for a whole year before his physical life ended.

That’s how dark the road was from where I was sitting.

Did I still see glimpses of the boy that I loved?

Yes!!!

Did I still believe he loved his family, despite many wrong choices?

Yes!!!

People are never all good.

People are never all bad.

We’re just people.

Nobody is a saint.

We all have hurts that we try to stuff down.

But no matter what our marriage may have looked like to others..

I LOVED him!!!!!!!

And there were times when I completely FEARED him.

God, in His wisdom, SAVED me.

And I am still figuring out how I feel about that.

Please pray, as I continue down this very bumpy road, with my two babies.

And pray that these words today would sufficiently and honestly HONOR Jeremy’s memory, and might be a healing balm for others whose stories are much like mine.

You are not alone.

For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.

Philippians 1:19

Sand

My best friend/pastor did this really cool thing at a wedding once. He probably did it lots of times, but it’s the only time I can remember.

The bride filled a jar with white sand.

The groom did the same with black sand.

During the ceremony they each poured their sand into the same container. Then my friend mixed it up.

Then he challenged the couple, and the rest of us, to perfectly separate the sand back to all white and all black.

His point is that it is impossible to ever perfectly separate the two,

Ever again.

This is my struggle.

This is my pain.

I combined all that I was with my husband almost twelve years ago.

And now…

He is gone.

But Jeremy has my sand.

And I have HIS.

The night he died…

The night when the red and blue lights of the state police car out front

Illuminating and flashing all over my haunted living room….

The night I had to identify that it was my husband…

The owner of ALL of the black sand that is in me…

Completely and totally mixed in with my white…

It crushed me.

How do I keep going??

This is not a question of desperation.

I just really want to know.

I’m not just ME anymore.

“ME” became a “WE” a long time ago…

For better or for worse.

Just because someone dies…

It doesn’t mean the black sand in you gets magically removed,

And it doesn’t mean you get all your white sand back, either.

A part of you just….

Dies.

Dies with them.

And I really don’t know where to go from here.

But I know there is One who POURED Himself out on that cross…

For you, and for me.

I know He has all of our white and black sand all over Him, and INSIDE of Him!

He carries us with Him..

ALWAYS.

I’m really seeking after the God of all my sand in me.

All the sand that was my husband’s…

The sand that I vowed to become mine.

The God who makes Broken

Beautiful.

The God who heals and mends all day long.

I sooo want to feel “whole” again.

His black sand in me hurts me now.

Because I know

That’s all that is left of him.

Just his sand.

But God can take care of a little bit of sand.

He can make it not hurt so bad.

I am LOVED by the God who thought up the very idea of sand on the beach!

And when He sees me, He doesn’t see ANY sand.

He just sees ME.

He can heal me.

He WILL heal me.

And one day, his sand won’t hurt….

Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am weak; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are troubled. My soul also is greatly troubled; But You, O Lord—how long? Return, O Lord, deliver me! Oh, save me for Your mercies’ sake! For in death there is no remembrance of You; In the grave who will give You thanks? I am weary with my groaning; All night I make my bed swim; I drench my couch with my tears. My eye wastes away because of grief; It grows old because of all my enemies. Depart from me, all you workers of iniquity; For the Lord has heard the voice of my weeping. The Lord has heard my supplication; The Lord will receive my prayer.

Psalm 6:2-9

A Word That Hurts

Recently, a very close friend of mine texted me to invite me out to dinner with her and some other friends.

When I read the names of the other women invited, I realized they had all lost their husbands through death.

And then, I thought…

“This is a ‘WIDOWS dinner’.”

It felt like somebody kicked me in the stomach.

Man, did that word HURT!!

I couldn’t really ignore that THIS is who I am now.

I’ve actually been trying to find some cooler, hipper names for us.

Like…

“Scarred Bachelorette”.

Or, maybe…

“Wounded Warrior”.

But I guess, if I’m being honest…

I don’t WANT that title at ALL…

No matter how you dress it up.

I just don’t want to be THAT.

But since that’s the only word for it (yet!😊😊),

I guess that’s now a part of who I am.

How do you go on by yourself, after vowing to become “One”,

In front of God and family???

When you’ve made CHILDREN with this person??

When, whether things were good in your marriage or even really horrible, you made a LIFE with this person???

I really don’t know how to do that yet,

But I know it’s going to be difficult,

And just like every other difficult thing God has permitted me to go through,

I can trust Him with this new name…

This new normal…

This new challenge.

Why??

I have already had plenty of people ask me why I continue to trust in a God who seems” to like watching me suffer.”

First of all, I DO NOT BELIEVE HE LIKES TO WATCH ME SUFFER!!

I do, however, think He likes to watch me CONQUER!!!!

My God is not stupid.

He is not weak.

He is not clumsy,

Or foolish,

Or distracted.

He is not callous,

Or distant,

Or cold.

He LOVES me!!

So, because I know that to be true,

I am looking for lessons.

I am looking for nuggets of wisdom to glean from all of this.

Yes.

Some days, I am so desperately sad, that it’s hard to BREATHE, let alone get my kids ready for school in the morning.

Some days, I just want to punch somebody, because I’m so angry and hurt about how Jeremy left this world.

Yes, I have those moments…

Because I’m human.

But mostly…

I’m trusting God with every breath.

I’m trusting God with every big and small decision I need to make.

I’m trusting God, that when He planned my life before there was ever ANYTHING created…

That HE KNEW WHAT HE WAS DOING!…

THAT He has a plan to make me and my two babies THRIVE!!…

That He will ALWAYS comfort me and be my peace.

So, “widow” or wounded warrior”….

Whatever.

That is just a small part of who I am now.

And it’s going to be okay.

One day, I won’t feel like the wind was knocked out of me whenever I hear that label.

One day, it will get easier to walk on

ALONE.

Without my Jeremy.

The LORD appeared to me (Israel) from ages past, saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you and continued My faithfulness to you.

Jeremiah 31:3 AMP

I can truly count on a God who LOVES me like this….

Who “draws” me ….

The Hebrew definition of “draws” is to “drag or seize”.

He SEIZES me!!!!!

Jesus grabs hold of me with His everlasting love,

His everlasting kindness,

With His everlasting faithfulness!!!!

I. AM. NOT. ALONE.

Widow or not…

His love is ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS

ENOUGH.

3 p.m.

Three p.m. came,

And went

Today.

This was the time my husband usually arrived home from work.

I’ve had a whole week of 3p.m.’s.

Actually, I’ve had FOUR weeks of 3 p.m.’s.

But today,

It hit me.

Jeremy is gone.

Jeremy is dead.

And he will never walk through our back door again.

I didn’t even realize that tomorrow marks one month since he last

breathed air.

It still feels like it only happened just a minute ago.

I’m still frozen in place…

By shock,

Or maybe by alot of things.

I’m frozen…

But the world’s little obligatory pause is over.

Everybody cried.

Everybody hugged.

But now, that’s over, it seems.

And everyone is moving.

Moving by me,

Moving around me,

And especially,

Moving

PAST me.

I want to ask people to slow down a little, so I can catch up.

I want to do whatever it takes to just

UNFREEZE

Myself.

Myself.

Or, what little is LEFT of me.

I know that’s just a feeling, and that I’m as WHOLE as I EVER was!

But it’s a whopper of a feeling.

I feel like one of our jack-o-lanterns we threw out around Thanksgiving…

The insides were scooped out awhile ago.

I loved him HARD.

Sometimes he was hard to love, and to be fair,

There were times I was, too.

But I loved him with everything I could think to give.

And now,

I’m just exhausted.

Hollowed out,

Frozen.

I just need a minute…

I just need to catch my breath…

To some, it probably seems like I’ve had plenty of time.

But, THERE IS NEVER ENOUGH OF THAT STUFF.

My thing is, I’m trying.

I’m trying to move…

I’m trying to take care of my kids, and my home,

And my LIFE.

Without him.

Raising my kids on my own,

With lots of limitations,

And disabilities…

Well, I’m terrified!!!

I’ve been searching for verses to give me a special kind of courage to force me to MOVE my feet…

To not be frozen and stuck.

I mean, I think it’s okay to be still for awhile , when we are in deep pain.

But I probably shouldn’t be frozen in FEAR.

And there are so many things I’m afraid of.

Jeremy did so much for us!

Maybe too much….

I’m afraid to leave the stove on, afraid I’ll blow up the house with my kids inside.

I’m afraid I will forget to take my meds and stroke out, leaving my kids with

NO ONE!

I’ve never been this scared.

I’ve never been this…

Alone.

And God led me to this beautiful, amazing verse… jam-packed with comfort!:

The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]!

Habakkuk 3:19

Oh my goodness!! Is there a better scripture for me???

I do not think so!😊

HE is my personal (my very own) bravery!! My own special brand of

Courage!!!

He will make me walk, and NOT STAND STILL!!

He will also cause me to IMPROVE spiritually, even in the midst of great loss and suffering.

If I EVER wondered if He loved me…the wondering is over!!!!

God, You are so amazing!!!

Thank You for speaking DIRECTLY to my broken and fearful heart!!!

I’m going to…

WALK!!

I might even RUN…with the Father…

My very own personal bravery!

Look out.

Because I am on my way.❤

Taught By My Lot

Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, The Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, Who teaches you to profit, Who leads you by the way you should go.

Isaiah 48:17

All your children shall be taught by the Lord, And great shall be the peace of your children.

Isaiah 54:13

But He knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.

Job 23:10

I’ve always kind of identified with the role of a “student”. I’ve always loved learning new things, and even though my brain is a little like swiss cheese now, I find I still want to keep learning.

But now, they are more like heart lessons instead of head lessons.

Well, this is, RIGHT NOW, the toughest assignment I’ve ever faced.

The visceral pain I’m feeling…

It’s like nothing else.

When I went into that hospital room to identify my husband’s broken body…

A tiny flame of POSSIBILITY was snuffed out in me.

The possibility of so many things.

My friend had to literally PEEL me off of his frigid, bloody body.

And in that one moment, my entire life changed.

I’ve had ANOTHER moment similar to this, looking back, but it was nothing…

Compared to this.

Jeremy was a…..complicated….broken…..

Often tormented man.

But when I saw him that night, all I saw, with his beautiful, enviable (on my part) eyelashes….

Was a lost, little boy.

And all I really wanted to do was

Just

Hold him.

Rock him in my arms, and make him

All better.

With the days that have passed since November 24,

New, painful information has surfaced,

Making it so much harder to grieve the way I would have wanted,

if given the choice.

I do realize that ALL grief is messy.

All grief is raw,

Wild, untamed,

And strangely beautiful.

One thing I always pray when I’m in pain of any kind, is this:

“Please God, don’t let me waste one single bit of this experience! I want to learn and grow from this as much as possible.

Teach me….

Teach me….”

At Jeremy’s service, we sang, as we usually do, It Is Well.

There is this one line that always gets me..

“Whatever my lot

Thou hast taught me to say

It is well,

It is Well

With my soul.

Everywhere I go,

I miss him there.

I miss his big shoulders…

The ones that tried as hard as he could to carry my burdens and pain throughout the years.

Today, it’s so strange…

Because, even though I’m facing one of the worst things that can happen to a person…

I STILL see God’s VERY BEST for my life in this tragedy.

I’m so thankful that I have a God who SEES me, and who is working EVERYTHING…

EVERYTHING!!!

For my ultimate good.

It doesn’t take the heartbreak away…

It doesn’t mean I’ll cry any less than anyone else would.

But it DOES mean there is hope.

And it DOES mean…

It is well.

My special and unique LOT,

Has TAUGHT me that.

I love you, Jeremy…..

Next To Impossible!

giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.

Ephesians 5:20, 21

Before stumbling upon this verse…

And I say “stumbling”…

Because I sure as heck did NOT want to find THIS one (!).

I thought throughout my life,

“Sure, I can try really hard, and might manage to give thanks to God

IN most situations.

Okay, in SOME situations!!

I’m a work in progress over here, okay?😊

But FOR everything????????

You know, when a preacher tries to tell us about thankfulness….

I have NEVER. NEVER. EVER heard them say anything other than a paraphrase of the following statement…

“The bible doesn’t tell us to give thanks FOR the trials,

but to give thanks IN the trials.”

Has anyone ever heard anything other than this??? Because, I listen to a lot of pastors speak, and I have NEVER heard this.

Not even once!

So, I’ve really been studying…

Looking for loopholes.😊

Trust me.

There’s nothing that motivates us to study the Word more than trying to find a reason NOT to follow something we’re told to do in scripture, especially when it sounds next to impossible!

But the fact that it feels “next to impossible” to give thanks FOR everything is sort of what tips me off that this IS what God wants us to do.

Think about it.

The bible tells us that if we love those who love us, that’s NOT a monumental feat! It says, basically, “ANYBODY can do THAT”.(Matthew 5:46) He says love those who HATE you, instead.

That’s not so easy.

The “next to impossible” stuff is what He’s all about!!

In the moment it was happening, it felt next to impossible to ever thank God

FOR losing a baby…

FOR having a tumor…

FOR having a stroke…

FOR all the sucky things that have ever happened to me.

But THAT’S this life, isn’t it??

What better proof could there be that God is REAL than to thank God FOR all the things that break us?

I see all the good that has come from the pains in my past, and I am now thankful for all of those things.

I can be thankful for those things, in part, because of the gift of

Hindsight.

Perspective.

And those two things are not that special, and they are available to

ANYONE.

Not just to those who love God and profess to having a relationship with Him.

ANYBODY can get perspective.

That’s not the real miracle.

That’s not a miracle at all!

The REAL miracle is being thankful for the hurts of

RIGHT NOW“.

Guys, I gotta tell you.

I don’t like this brand new information.

But I am asking God this morning to keep doing these impossible things in me.

To give me a thankful heart each and every day…

FOR ALL OF IT.