Three years… surviving or thriving??
It is hard to believe but August 13th marked the three-year anniversary of Todd's relocation to Heaven. August 21st would have been our 21st wedding anniversary and the kids started school on August 26th. Jackson has begun 5th grade and Bethany the 1st. BOY am I glad August is now behind me. My heart remembers those incredible events in my life as if they were yesterday so needless to say August can be a tough month to say the least!!
SO am I just surviving or am I thriving?? That is a great question...
So was this anniversary different? Did I experience the difficulty I experienced the previous years? Yes and No. It is funny how in loss and grief you never truly know what to expect. You prepare your heart and mind for the worse and often times it isn't as bad as you had thought. I've learned that the anticipation of the event is greater than the event itself. I credit that to a loving God who has brought people and distractions into my life to help me get through those hard days and also the passing of time is helping and God continues to heal my heart more and more every day. For some the three-year mark may be much harder. One thing I know to be true is that we all experience and process loss and grief so differently and your timetable of healing may not be like mine. I have learned to be patient with myself but sometimes wish I'd to never have to feel sadness or pain again. Which as we all know is an unrealistic expectation. I've decided it's okay and I just take it when it comes. It doesn't last as long anymore which I am so thankful for!
ON August 13th I was driving home from a wonderful vacation in North Carolina and it was the last leg of a VERY long drive so I was definitely physically wore out but felt a sense of accomplishment as I had just driven almost 22 hours all by myself, WHOA!! I mean I had my kids in the car and broke my drive into 3 days but still it was a total of 22 hours that me, myself and I drove!! As I drove that day I prayed, praised God for all He had taken me through and given me the past three years. Of course I shed some tears over sweet memories that I couldn't help but remember of my old life, one that now seemed a lifetime ago. I have learned so much in my three years of being a widow, single Mom, single women and now a women who has more than survived.
Life as a single parent has kept me super busy so it has been way too long since I have shared my heart here. So with that said, I thought I would take the next few weeks to share some of the life lessons, truths and things I have learned as I have walked this incredibly DIFFICULT yet AMAZING journey through pain, loss, grief and incredible growth!!
SO thank you in advance for going on this journey with me.
I wasn't sure after losing Todd that I'd make it through the first month let alone the first year and certainly NOT 3 YEARS!! So WHOA, I can't believe it! Praise God! Has it really been THREE YEARS??!!
The first thing that comes to mind that I have learned and experienced is what God's faithfulness truly means and looks like. Before losing Todd I had always said that God was faithful. I felt as though my faith had been tested when walking with Todd through Cancer, losing my sister Carla in 2001, years of infertility and struggling through the adoption journey and planting a church in Austin. All these things tested my faith and caused me to depend deeper on my faithful God. BUT no amount of faith, trust and strength can prepare you for the sudden and tragic death of your husband, father to your children, pastor and spiritual leader. Or could it??
What does to be faithful mean anyway?
The Hebrew root from which the words translated "faithful" and "faithfulness" in the Old Testament are derived means to prop or stay or support.
So with that said...
Would I still see and experience Gods consistent support? Was he still worthy to be trusted?
Would my belief in a loving God still hold true and strong?
Did I truly have an unwavering belief and faith or would this be the straw that broke the camels back and the one thing my faith and Gods support could not carry me through?
Would GOD show up again and see me through my darkest hour, days and months?? After all Todd and I were suppose to grow old together and live out our dream of planting a church and seeing it grow to fruition and raise up Jackson and Bethany together. Right??
Well I can say now without doubt or hesitation YES!! God has been OVER THE TOP...FAITHFUL!!!
My faith in a sovereign God has gone through perhaps the biggest personal test BUT what has been incredible is that in my pain and loss God met me there and has been the one true and constant support!
God has also used so many family and friends old and new to call, text, pray, bring meals, provide finances, give books, send cards, say more and more prayers, visit us, take us on trips, help me organize my house, give hugs, lots of love and on and on!! Not to mention how well my children have adjusted. The teachers, coaches, friends and families who have been given to my kids as an encouragers, cheerleaders, role models and father figures. Those who have watched, encouraged, picked up and just loved me and my kids so well has been a HUGE blessing and one of the big ways God has shown himself so faithful in our lives. So many have truly been the hands and feet of Jesus! I am beyond blessed by the LOVE and support shown. If you have played a part, THANK YOU does not seem enough!! May God BLESS you!
I still am AMAZED and grateful that I have the privilege to be a stay at home Mom. It still is the hardest but most rewarding job I have ever had. Especially as I walk this road alone. I am still writing and speaking BUT my primary job is to love, raise, train and provide a loving, godly home for Jackson and Bethany. Most days I still can't get over that incredible provision and the blessing that is my life!
Psalm 33:4, For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.
Deuteronomy 7:9, Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God,keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments."
Lamentation 3:22-23, Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."
Hebrews 10:23. "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful."
As you reflect on your life and the valley of death or difficulty you may be walking through right now. May I ask, what are you placing your faith in? Who or what are you trusting? Are they faithful?? If not, will you trust in the ONE who will always prove faithful even in your darkest hour and biggest struggle??
Praying that you and I can continue to Live For More as we trust in a Faithful God,