May 1, 2014
When Barbara died I found a book on Southern etiquette because
I wanted to find out what a gentleman like Rhett Butler would have done in my
place. I found out that a widower wears black for a year before switching to
less solemn attire in order to honor his wife.
I realized that was something that I really wanted to do---for truly hers
was life worth mourning and honoring.
Most of you, my friends and family, know by now that this Life is difficult and that trouble will find you even if it's not of your own making.....certainly death and loss constitute trouble that we usually are not prepared for. These past months have been a waiting period of my life that has been very painful, but where I have learned much about myself and the human condition. I like what Dr. Paul David Tripp says about this, "The Biblical view is that waiting is not so much about when I will get what I'm waiting for, but what I will become as I wait.
During this time, these are a few of the truths I've learned:
I can't change circumstances, but I can in how I respond to them. When I live like that, no trial or sorrow is wasted.
Every day I'm harvesting what I've sown before. If I don't like what I'm reaping, I need to plant new seeds.
I have a better grasp of what's important, and consequently have become more selective in what I value.
My interpretation is how I view life. It's important to examine my motivations.
God doesn't move parked cars.
I'm okay by myself. I don't need another person to exist.
Be careful not to let my past govern my future. Barbara is a memory and she always will be one that I honor and cherish. But she does not govern my future.
Time here is short-----grief is not forever.
It's not just grief I'm dealing with. I'm dealing with me.
Time doesn't heal all wounds-----and with those that heal, you will probably have scars.
It will be a challenge for me tomorrow to not wear my "mourning blacks," but one I know it is time for me to face. Thank you all for your prayers and support for truly I could not have travelled through this Valley without my Heavenly Father and all of you.
In His grip,
October 28, 2013
I know that I have not posted for you over the last three months.......my mind and heart have been consumed with a wedding for Matt and Emma, my children, and the continuing reality of life without Barbara.....so I beg your indulgence as I share with you some of what Barbara would want you to know on the anniversary of her departure in the eye of a hurricane...
These days mark the anniversary of Barbara's fatal stroke and a season of loss, sorrow, & challenge... a time for reflection of our faith & understanding of God.... the new perspectives we may have through our individual worldviews as we mourn in each of our lives those you may have lost.....and for us, our dear Barbara and Hattie ...The questions arise of "why" and "when will I have hope again?" I for one have realized that hope does not come naturally...it's something that must be sought through faith, (which can be dark times for some of us.) And realizing that with the healing of the wounds brings pain..... and as they heal, leave scars. .....
Please keep in mind these verses from the Book of Psalms and Jeremiah as you read a bit of Barbara's history...... "You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother's womb...My very self you knew; my bones were not hidden from you...When I was being made in secret, fashioned as in the depths of the earth...Your eyes foresaw my actions; in your book all are written down....my days were shaped before one came to be." And God says, "For I know well the plans I have in mind for you says the Lord, plans for your welfare....not for woe! Plans to give you a future full of hope."
This little girl above is Barbara... as you can see, she started out full of joy, hope, and expectation.....At age seven , she and her two younger brothers were put in foster care because their Dad had left and their Mother couldn't handle. There she was raped and molested by her foster father and his eldest son w/o protection or defense from her foster mother until her own Mother finally listened to her pleas and took her children back. Her Mother was an alcoholic and food and parental love were not a priority at that point. Barbara raised her brothers, including another from another step dad that also left. She took it on her own to talk herself into a Catholic HS (Bishop O'Connell) getting herself a good education and became the National Merit finalist in the DC area whereupon she rec'd scholarship for a full university education at George Mason when it opened in it's first year. She had met and courted a wonderful man Jeff, (a few years older) from Jersey who went to Mount St. Mary's and they married and had their first child....a beautiful daughter, Samantha... Tumultuous times, the late 60s.....Barbara became a Montessori teacher and involved in politics during this time....she was an activist & part of that 2nd wave of feminism during the Vietnam War that brought in abortion rights, anti war riots, etc. and all the drugs, free love, etc. that came with it. She urged her husband to move to S.F during the "Summer of Love" and they came west to the Left coast where they soon had their second daughter, Jasmine. Things went downhill quickly with drugs involved, and Barbara unfortunately left her husband breaking his heart and turning his life and their children's lives upside down forever... Circumstances went from bad to worse as they will in that downward spiral, and soon Barbara and her daughters found themselves living in the S.F. Mission district in a daily worsening desperate situation. Poor Samantha and Jasmine were now experiencing with their mother things that Barbara had experienced with her own mother... Something clicked, (God intervened) and she moved them all across the Bay to San Rafael into a much tamer neighborhood. Soon after, she had what she described as "a moment of clarity" where she realized she needed to do something about her addictions for the sake of her daughters and got clean and sober through AA. Two years later, (enter Tripp...similar history as you know...check archives) we met on my 28th birthday. We were married 3 mos. later w/ our 1st together, Josh on the way, @ Jenner by the Sea while the sun was going down.......God brought two misfits together that had not been living His plan for their lives...but had been living lives according to their own will headed for destruction. Both of us should have ended up either dead, in jail, or in the gutter.... But He introduced "Plan B" which brought life, light, and direction where before there was only darkness from our own choices...
Thirty + years later, she's now in Heaven......having come to know that she had a Father that never failed her , had been watching her all her days, and loved her as His special little girl....She bore nine children on her own during which she had three miscarriages,( and an abortion in her early days which she always regretted.....and before I met her I myself was responsible for two that I know of and remember/regret to this day.) She adopted three children with special needs , wrote 10 books for parents and mothers, became an ardent proponent & speaker in the Pro Life movement after being an abortion activist in her younger years....Published hundreds of articles supporting family and truth, and thousands of blogs concerning same. She wasn't perfect.....she had flaws, baggage, and demons from her past that we continued to battle, (as we battled mine...and continue too with her gone.) But the reality is that God was and is always there.....in truth He is the Father who keeps His promises....no matter what.....
As each of us weave the tapestry of our lives.... there will be threads of grief, betrayal, abuse, injustice, etc. that will challenge us to throw it into the fire with bitterness or just stop weaving entirely ....Questions will arise.... How can a supposed loving Heavenly Father...God...be in charge of the Universe...and allow my loved one to die or for any other evil thing to happen? I for one have come to realize the truth that God's ways are too complex for me to understand. If He were a God I could understand then he'd be like me and not who He is. Our Father has plans for each of us....Barbara and I chose while we were each on our own on separate paths and then when we were together to do what we wanted to do ... just like Adam and Eve...it ended up in near disaster many times with Our Father rescuing us...because that is His Heart... He didn't make us robots, but men and women of free will that were to live forever in the Garden to walk with Him...Instead, Adam and Eve chose their own plan, just like each of us so often chose our own plan....... Our individual choices come into play and may dictate our destiny....but no death is simply the result of circumstances, an accident or fate....This doesn't mean God wanted your loved one to die, for you or others to be betrayed, abused, etc..He is not morally responsible for the Fall of Man and the consequences ........It means the same God who loved you enough to die for you is in control.....and the answers to the questions are on the "other" side of the River...
Know that many of you want to know how we are faring and I will post an update soon...This imperfect post is what I feel she wanted me to share... While we spent time at the shore
a couple weeks ago, two yellow butterflies showed up each day on the beach.....We all felt it was Our Father's sign that
Barbara and Hattie were with us.....Sunday we gathered at Barbara's graveside
and two yellow butterflies came by again.....You
have to love His divine orchestration....
May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord make his face to shine upon you,
and be gracious to you.
May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you,
and give you peace.
Love to you all,
July 29, 2013
Through the process of time in these last nine months more revelations have come to light....God is trustworthy.....my feelings are not. Even though it may seem like family and friends leave you behind, that loneliness is your only companion, and that your hopes and dreams have died ......I am not alone...As difficult as this is for me to understand, our lives are in the hands of God. All of my feelings of being responsible in Barbara's death for all the things I should have or could have done.... are saying that Our God is not in control. Psalm 139:16 says, "All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." In my complaining to God about our circumstances, I've realized that it is more important to listen to what He has to say to me, than for me to be talking to Him about things that I will never understand this side of Heaven...
Truthfully, even though it has been nine months....I am still mourning.....not just for the hopes and dreams we had for the future...but for the loss of our children and grand children's memories that Barbara's countenance and heart will not physically embrace as their lives unfold. It is a deep wounding....but one our Father through the process of time is healing...
In His grip,
June 30, 2013
I share this to prepare you...especially those of you who are spouses, whether Husband or Wife....who at some point may lose your beloved. God's best design of a family is made up of three strands of a rope constituting Himself, you, and your spouse...Without each other you are not whole.... if one of you dies or becomes incapacitated, then you have to allow God to make up the difference....and work through why you have been singled out for the gift of widowhood or carrying the burden alone as a single parent... I shared with you Papa Robin and how he was left with the four eggs in the nest....So amazing how God uses even the simplest of his creatures to show us His power of salvation and deliverance. Those eggs, so full of promise, but vulnerable and destined for death without Mama Robin hatched due to the diligence of Papa Robin who is now working double time to feed those four young robins. (See below) He and I differ in that his babes will soon leave the nest while these last four of mine will be with me until I go....But, Our God has given me encouragement through one of His beautiful creations...a Papa Robin who lost his mate and had to make do..
God, instead of focusing on the questions, I want to start focusing on the Answer--You. Help me to better understand Your attributes and Your plan for my life. Amen.
You all know my "one weakness" ;) is music and I have to leave you with a song tonight that speaks to my soul and will give you solace and food for thought as well... In His grip, Papa Tripp
"Circumstances change....but God never changes." Book of Lamentations
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,