Well I have officially survived 19 months walking in these new shoes on what has been described as a marathon journey through widowhood. Not sure what mile marker I am at by now but some days I feel like my heart and emotions are rounding the corner to the finish line and then other days it's as if I am just beginning or am closer to the starting line anyway which can I say is NO FUN!! The kids and I celebrated Spring Break two weeks ago at the incredible Topsail Sate Park in beautiful Florida with my Dad and family. It was our second Spring Break without Todd. Dad asked me about 8 months ago if we wanted to go and I am so glad we said, "yes!" It was a wonderful time exploring such a gorgeous part of Gods creation. It is an area known as the Emerald Coast and now I know why. The water is truly an emerald color, not sure my pictures even do it justice but take my word, IT IS!! The sand on the beach looks as white as sugar and then the park we camped at had these incredibly tall pine trees and miles of trails and gorgeous areas to explore! Could not have asked for a better place to enjoy a little R&R and take a break from the day-to-day wild and crazy life I call single parenting two very active and involved kids and create NEW memories!!
As I spent time on the beach one morning listening to a podcast on singleness I realized I am in a unique situation as a single and that I am no longer married but yet I have two children who I must love, nurture, train and provide for so my time and devotion is still very much divided. I do not have an earthly husband or love to give my time and devotion to so I was reminded that I can continue to use this season to seek Gods presence, love and joy. I continue to ask him where he wants me serving Him and for his help in making ministry possible as I certainly don't want to use widowhood as an excuse to sit on the side lines. Of course I have to be very sensitive to my kids and their needs. So here is what I feel like the Lord is telling me. That I keep writing and share my heart which I pray will continue to minister to many. Although some weeks it is really hard to find the time to write. I continue to get asked to speak and share my life which has given me a platform to share more of Gods story! It has blessed me in more ways that i ever imagined and I believe is helping me heal but my biggest prayer is that it brings true encouragement to those who hear and is drawing them closer to God!! It is also one of the reasons I am writing here less, I am in major prep mode right now as I prepare for a retreat in less than two weeks!!
I feel disciplship is still so important so I try to maintain a few of those relationships with other women as well. During this season I am having to get creative with what that looks like =) As much as I don't really like the idea of being the "older" women, I am realizing that it isn't a negative thing but something the Lord allows us to become as we mature in him. It is important that I am encouraging and teaching the younger generation. Which reminds me... Just the other night Jackson asked me if I would start writing questions for him from BSF and Genesis, so with the help of the "green sheet" and my notes I will be giving him homework and we will be doing BSF together and then I am praying about the right timing for joining an evening study where he can attend BSF with me again. =) I am also praying about going back to Haiti this summer to the village that Todd and I went as missionaries two times before. They all knew and loved Todd and I think it could be a big blessing for me to go back and share my heart and let them see how God has been working in mighty ways in our lives since Todd's death. I pray it would be healing and bring some closure and comfort for all as well.
Loneliness has set in BIG time and as I share honestly my heart and life here I'd ask that you'd pray for that! I stay so busy as to not have time to think about it but in the quiet of some days and nights there is no escaping it!! It can hit me hard like a wave crashing on the shore. I had a dream right after Spring Break. It was one where Todd felt and seemed soo real. I could touch him, smell him and everything about it seemed so totally present! I remember telling him to not leave my sight as I didn't want this to end, I didn't want to live without him! He just smiled at me and held me! I woke up and began to cry and cry. I asked the Lord to make it not hurt so bad, I told him I thought I was better and wasn't sure why I was feeling so raw and hurt all over again! I guess when you have such an intense, deep love one that spans most of your life it will be with you and still catch you off guard sometime... the missing part of it anyway! What I love about the LORD is how he knows exactly what I need at the exact moment I need it. SO that night as I read my Bible which is something I have chosen to read before bed each night. I decided awhile back that I want HIS word to be the last thing I'd like to have on my heart and mind.
(Here is what I read the night after my dream), Psalm 126 and the verse that leapt out from the page was vs. 5, "those who sow in TEARS will reap with songs of JOY."
I don't know if that hits anybody else walking through a difficult time where the tears seems to never stop flowing? They have definitely slowed down a bit for me but they can still flow like a river and I wonder will my tear ducts ever dry out. Anybody else think that?? So what I believe God was telling me through this Psalm is that even though I am sowing in TEARS, NOW, He is promising me that I will reap in JOY LATER! Oh I can't tell you how much I needed to hear that!! Especially on a day when my heart was so heavy and sad where the tears flowed and flowed!! I have heard other verses about how there will be pain in the night but joy comes in the morning but for whatever reason this one resonated with me more than any other!! The idea of faith, trust, love, hope being sown into my life and heart through my loss which produces tears and then as I mature and grow through this situation I will reap or gather a harvest of JOY. OH WOW, I do want that!! I believe it will be worth the wait and even the pain I must continue to walk through. What about you?? What might God be taking you through now as you sow in tears only to mature you to reap with the harvest song of JOY?
The JOY, unwavering faith and trust my kids display is still a great source of encouragement to me! Allow me to share something I learned from Bethany recently... The prayer she sings before every meal is: "Oh the Lord is good to me and so I thank the LORD for giving me the things I need, the sun and the rain and the apple trees! Oh the LORD is GOOD to Me! The other night after she was done she said, "Momma, God is good!" On my worst day I am reminded that my God is good to me! My son has JOY in playing football and in going to school and most things in his life too! Just this morning I was walking in the gym after having a really hard emotional day yesterday and I said, "good morning" to the man who folds towels and he stopped and said, "you always look so happy when you come in!' My response was, "I am happy because I have a healthy body that allows me to exercise!" I am learning that even though I am walking down a road I did not plan and seems very dark and lonely at times, I can still say, "God is good!" I believe with all my heart even on my worse day I can praise God for at least one thing... What about you??
Because of His JOY I Live For More,