June 18, 2013
Interesting how God uses His creation to give us life pictures symbolic of our own lives at times. Woke to find this nest outside my backdoor the other day with the four Robin eggs and no Mama Robin. After a short while Papa Robin came and sat on the nest and then left for awhile, came back, and has been continuing this pattern for the last three days with no sign of Mama Robin. Could of course not avoid seeing the similarity between my own life now with the four Boyz who will probably always be in my nest and these four eggs ready to hatch and their concerned Papa Robin...
In the time since Barbara died so much has been revealed and
the reality of our circumstances has become more real and final as the days
march by in our journey through loss.
We've realized that each of us needs to extend grace to each other as we
all are mourning in our own way and time....We know that this journey will
never bring us back to what once was....we will never be the same.....but we
have the hope of a new "normal," even knowing that there are going to be continuing challenges ahead.
Long ago, I read a book by Scott Peck called, "The Road Less Traveled." The only thing I remember from the book is the first line, "Life is difficult." In remembering this today, I was put in mind of another first line from a favorite Dickens classic, "Tale of Two Cities,"........"It was the best of times and it was the worst of times." Our God has met us in our sorrows and darkness and we have seen rays of hope and felt them warming our hearts. He has not let any of this go to waste...He has through His sovereign hands allowed each of us in our confusion, fear, sadness, and needs to be met by His Presence when we were open and to grow at our own pace..... As Dr. Joseph Stowell said, "Sometimes we say, "God is good," with tears running down our cheeks."
I know many of you who have been Barbara's readers for years would like for me to get back on track with her blog and all that it entailed. I cannot promise that. I'm in the process of finding my own voice separate from her. In marriage you accommodate each other and hopefully become one....I am figuring out who I am without her. I urge you to continue to use her blog as the resource it always has been. The archives are rich with knowledge and wisdom. For now, my content will be about this journey until He sees fit to let me go.
In His grip,
May 24, 2013
Both Barbara and I have shared with you our rocky beginnings with both of us bringing baggage to the table....neither of us with any kind of a firm foundation.
Must confess I was a hopeless romantic.....(picture the fool walking off the cliff.) Remembering tonight the first song I shared with her the night after we met and telling her that this song reminded me of the two of us...did not realize then that this was the truth....that would someday end.
Much of what lies between, and our earthly parting you know....Torrid romance, countless children-grandchildren, successes, failures, trials, tribulations, triumphs, sorrows, regrets,but in retrospect always a Hope for the future.
What I need to share with you tonight is that in the reality of our everyday life we had conflict and contention....we were both very strong willed and butted heads over the most trivial of matters but never quarreled over the big ones. God always had us on the same page over the things that really mattered....In truth, we never went a day without reconciliation. (For you men, that requires a humble heart and prayer at the beginning and ending of each day.)
Our ending here was in the love of a perfect hour that we'd never had before..... So interesting in life...that so many of our hopes, aspirations, and expectations that never actually become reality....But God in His goodness gives us things to treasure beyond anything we could possibly expect.
Barbara would be 65 this Sunday......So glad she got to sing "When I'm 64" and to hear my affirmative response. She's in Eternity now, about her Father's business.....as we should be about His here earthside. Which reminds me, time to put the Boyz to bed...
"God's given us years of happiness here..
Now we must part
And as the Angels come and call for you...
The pains of grief tug at my heart....."
In His grip,
May 17, 2013
As you can see Mother's Day was a hard one for us as I had forecast. On a day where we had always gathered together as a family, we were fragmented....Other children had gone earlier to her graveside and I came later....Daniel had said he wanted to go, but when we got there he lost it and just Jonny, Jesse, Justin and myself went up on the ridge where Barbara's grave is.....Though it has been six months, the grief is still fresh and actually more real....especially since now we all realize more fully the reality of the loss that death brings.
We have learned some things as a family over this stretch of ground..... We know it is important to be honest about our pain. It is okay for us to express our lamentations and complaints to God with frankness and honesty...just like David did in the Psalms and Job did....I've learned that as Dr. Paul D. Tripp says, "Grief blocks my ability to see God, but I shouldn't conclude He is absent." Just because we are in the darkness of grief doesn't mean the Son isn't shining.... We've learned to not just look at our life horizontally-----but to look upward... To look at our suffering from His perspective and to understand that each day we are harvesting what we've sown ourselves before...
Jesus told us in the Gospel of John that "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." Our time here is short, and we have all been told that grief is not forever...but to receive Our Father's comfort, we need to allow Him to come alongside and shepherd us to Hope.....sometimes that path is dark, treacherous, and filled with sadness.
Something to share with you from Barbara.....She was always
asking me to put music on her mp3 player. On her last trip before she died she
asked me to put this on for her journey , which I never listened to until after
she died....but listening to it now is what she was saying to all of us.... "I want you so much to open your eyes....cause I need to look into mine..."
In His grip,
May 11, 2013
Tomorrow will be a difficult bittersweet day for us... truly we have much to celebrate with the mothers in our family....but we all know that without Barbara and her life, none of this would exist. Amazing what a hole in the fabric that makes up the tapestry of a family one person can leave...To have lost Hattie as well...whose heart's desire was to be a mother, but never had the chance...is devastating.
Milestones continue to be reached with her children and grandchildren...New lives have come into our circle of life...and in spite of our sadness and sometimes despair...we have our Eternal perspective and the comfort of Our Father who has allowed us to feel some of the things He has felt....which is the reality of loss and the finality of death....
On this Mother's Day, I'm sure Barbara would want us to remember the important things....love of God with a longing for Heaven.... the importance of family ties and reconciliation.... the honoring of Mothers....and the gift of life....
Cherish each other always...
In His grip,
May 4, 2013
Shortly before Barbara died she finished writing this wonderful book. In many ways, it is a culmination of her literary life's work. I finished editing it after she left us so suddenly, and am grateful to have this last gift of Barbara's to offer to all of you.
The book is available, as well as so many of her others through our Amazon link located near the top of Mommylife under "Giveaways" on the leftside, where you'll find this description:
More than ever, if you have children, parenting with purpose is required. In a world where children are bombarded with conflicting messages, both moms and dads must fight the tendency to be reactive and instead proactively become the primary teachers of their children. Raising God-First Kids in a Me-First World addresses media, technology, consumerism, sexual purity, selfishness, and other factors that form children in our society. Curtis empowers parents with the necessary skills to raise kids who are secure in who they are, not basing their worth on society's values. Each chapter includes valuable questions, suggestions, and resources. Topics covered include:
How businesses today are targeting our children with the goal of turning them into consumers, and how we as parents can counteract these forces
Ways parents can reflect on their own relationship to the media
Steps to become better role models for our children
A plan to help children make good choices on their own
This book is for parents struggling to help children overcome (while learning to overcome themselves) our inherent self-centeredness--the center-of-the-universe mentality--reinforced ceaselessly by the media and forces of consumerism. Instead, God-first kids are secure in God's love and have learned how to live well from the inside out from the real pros, their parents.
All of you... her loving readers made this book possible. I know she would want me to thank you for your continuing prayers and support as her legacy lives on in our lives and families.
In His grip,