First day of school!

For those of you who have just met me, I’ll give you a bit of background – Three of our beautiful grandchildren are living with us while their mom and dad are in a marvelous recovery/rehabilitation/restoration program. All is well but all is not truly well until this whole ordeal is over  (especially the sentencing.)

Today was the first day of school. New school for the kids. Mom and Dad aren’t taking them this morning – I am, so I’m feeling a bit sad about it – for them – for Mom and Dad – for me.

Jacob’s doing well – I think! Will his ear hurt at school? Does he have a bad infection? Or is it clearing up? Should I make a Dr. appointment after school? Will he lose his only key for his locker padlock?

Benny wanted me to walk him in the building – up to his classroom – but he didn’t want his sister tagging along, so he opted out and decided to make the trek himself – the long trek to a new classroom in a different school, without his friends. All the other kids know how to go through the lunch line – which foods are part of the school lunch – which foods are ‘a la carte.
Five minutes before we left the house this morning, he showed me the papers the teacher gave him at open house last week – papers I hadn’t seen because I was busy, filling out papers! A reading survey to fill out. Directions for the first report – What I Did During My Summer Vacation. Oh, well, I assured him the teacher will gladly receive those assignments tomorrow instead. He made the trek alone – big boy that he now is – to the 5th grade.

Slowly (very slowly) I proceed down the street to the elementary where countless cars are creeping along, trying to find parking spaces – walking their children into the building. And so we find a parking space, and I walk Kaylee toward her classroom. “Oh-oh. We forgot your lunch.” A panic-stricken look envelops her face until I add, “I’ll bring it back before 11:00. No problem, Honey.” We enter her brightly decorated classroom. She loves her new teacher – Mrs. Losey – but she looks down, almost ready to cry. I whisper, “Can I hug you before I leave, or don’t you want me to?” She shakes her head, No. So I take my hand away from her sweet little shoulder and say goodbye.

I step out of the room and peek back, knowing she will be fine in the care of Mrs. Losey, hoping she won’t cry – like I am.

And it could have been different this morning. Mommy and Daddy could have taken their children to school on this first day. (They are nearby – in town for a probate court conference this morning.) But DHS has their rules – their often ridiculous rules. (How many times I’ve questioned them – is this really in the best interest of the children?????)

I pray. I remember that I have already committed all these things to the Lord. I commit them again. I remember that I trusted Him in it all. I trust Him now.  I remember that He spreads His protection over them (my children) – that He blesses the righteous – and that He surrounds us with His favor as a shield. (Psalm 5:11-12)

Headed back to the elementary with the lunch now.

Free yourself from the chains, O captive Daughter!

March 28, 2012
Sun is coming out this morning. I’ve had a rough night – dreading taking Benny to the dentist. I’ve pleaded – then remembered that I don’t Have to plead! I’ve asked God to heal Benny – to keep him from pain through this ordeal (having two teeth extracted and one filling). Why do I struggle so with trusting God in it? God has reminded me that He loves Benny more than I do – that He loves Jacob more than I do – that He loves Kaylee more than I do – that He doesn’t want them to hurt – that by Jesus’ stripes and wounds, Benny is healed from his hurting already.
I’ve gone to The Wordthis morning, reviewing Isaiah 52, 53, and 54 from my devotions a day or so ago. I am immediately exhorted to “Free myself from the chains on my neck, O captive Daughter of Zion.” And this is what I pray for and trust in. “How beautiful on the mountains are my feet; My God reigns!!; I lift up my voice and shout for joy . . . the Lord comforts me . . . all the earth will see His salvation (He saves me); I must be pure – for the LORD will go before me, the God of Israel will be my rear guard.” Today, He will go before me and prepare the office, the dentist, the assistant, the meds, the procedure – He will be Benny’s and my rear guard. I will trust Him.

Grief in the midst of resurrection

Sunday, April 8 – Celebrating the Resurrection! Easter – my favorite day of the year!!! We had a beautiful sunshiny Easter morning and a blessed worship service.

I have had great peace and experienced much grace through everything. We buried my mother yesterday at the cemetery across the road. The sun was shining – the birds were singing. Mom’s soul is in heaven. Our precious nine grandchildren stood behind me as I sat close to the casket (or her “basket” as my little Kaylee called it!) at her burial. I could literally see Mom’s life continuing on in mylife – in my children’s lives – and in my grandchildren’s lives. All was well with the world.

 Being the human that I am (I suppose this is the reason) – later in the day, after most of our family had gone home, I suffered the greatest grief I have ever known. Ron tried to comfort me, “It’s okay, honey.”

“No, it’s not okay,” I responded. “And it never will be okay without my Mama.”

Ron nearly held me up as we walked outside in the fresh air – down the road, while I sobbed and cried out to God. I knew His peace and comfort could be there for me, but I didn’t feel it – I just couldn’t feel it at the time. I began repeating, “I love you, Lord.” Over and over I said it, placing my focus on my love for Him, realizing that He could comfort and fill me with his love, if and when I allowed Him to. Then we prayed together. The pain and grief is still there, but I do have peace in the midst of it, and for that, I am so thankful. I know He will heal my broken heart.

I know that there is much deeper, greater grief than I am experiencing – by those who lose children and spouses. But my grief is real; my grief is deep; and my God is sufficient even in the midst of it.

A grace welcomed

Saturday, April 7
The sun was shining through the trees this morning. I said to Ron, “Honey, look at the beautiful sunrise. ‘Even in darkness, light dawns for the upright.'” My heart was breaking, but I remembered God’s promises. We woke our children and dressed to go to Mama’s funeral. Comforting arms surrounded me from the moment I walked in the door of the funeral home and have surrounded me all day. Friends and family lavished their love on me and my family. It became the comfort of Christ to me. I saw and felt the hands of Christ all day as people ministered to us.
My heart breaks inside but God’s grace is sufficient for today, and I welcome that grace with open arms and heart. Our grandchildren (and grand niece) bounced around all day, laughing, dancing, and playing together. It was a constant reminder of Mom “living on” in our family through her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. When Ron and I drove in the funeral procession from Quincy to the cemetery, following the white hearse, which carried my Mama with flowers surrounding her, our back seats were filled with little grandchildren while “Curious George” played on the DVD!!! This had not been planned, but God used it to bring joy to my heart and to remind me that my life will go on and Mom’s life will go on within our family!
Thank you, friends, for your love, concern, and comfort.

I Remember Mama

Thursday

Yesterday was a tough day.

Last night was agonizing.
I couldn’t imagine facing a day of my life without her . . .
or a day without sobbing.
This evening was sad – seeing her, my Mama – lifeless and still. I closed my eyes and remembered her in the kitchen, making her yellow rolls; I remembered her tucking me into bed at night; and I remembered her dancing down “Main Street” in Disney World! Then I opened my eyes and looked around the room in this funeral home, a place I didn’t want to be, facing what I didn’t want to face, in a room where earlier, alone, I couldn’t stop crying.
Now the room had taken on a different countenance. Instead of the parlor of death, it had become a playroom, filled with my little grandchildren. Their voices, full of animation, and their healthy little bodies, full of life, made me realize that Mama lives on in me, in my children, and in my grandchildren. As I reflected upon it, I realized that life is truly amazing. My friend, Connie, told me that today. “Life is amazing,” she said, “and we are a part of it.”
And I am a part of it because of my precious Mama. And now I pass on the tradition of baking the yellow rolls and I will tuck my little ones into bed, and I will dance on “Main Street.”
Tomorrow I must say goodbye – I know it’s just her body – that her soul is in heaven and that she will receive a new, vibrant, healthy body, but it’s her old body and her touch and her voice that I will miss. It’s the smell of Ponds Cold Cream and the yellow rolls baking in her oven.

A Glorious Day

Day Four am April 4, 2012
Even in darkness, light dawns for the upright (Ps. 112). Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassion never fails. It is new every morning. His faithfulness is great. (Lam. 3:22, 23) Today, the sun is shining – it is a new day – and it will be a glorious new day for my mama.

And the evening of the third day . . .

Day 3 pm – April 3, 2012

Day three of watching my Mother die. I hate writing or saying that – “Watching my Mother die.” It’s foul; it’s like cussing in front of mom and dad when I was a child. It’s foreign. Shall I instead write or say, “Watching my Mother suffer?” No, that wouldn’t be concise because it’s not day three of watching my Mother suffer – it’s not even year three. It’s way beyond that. But why am I so very sad and so very down when, as a Christian, I should be focusing instead on “Watching  my Mother prepare to leave my arms for the arms of Jesus.” I have found the joy in that concept many times in the last days and weeks, but right now I can’t help but be sad because I truly am “watching my Mother die.” Nevertheless, as a Christian, I know Jesus understands how sad I feel because He was sad, too, when he received the message that his dear friend, Lazarus had died. (John 11). Jesus saw the sisters, Mary and Martha crying, and he saw the other friends weeping, and he was deeply moved in spirit and he was troubled. Then Jesus wept. Seeing Jesus weep, the others observed, “My how Jesus must have loved him!”

And seeing me weep, I can imagine Jesus observing, “My how she loves her mother.” Then I can see Jesus doing for Mom what He did for Lazarus – saying, “Margie, come forth!” And Margie will step right into the arms of Jesus.

Remembering my Savior’s love and compassion – and remembering His great power of resurrection, I can once again change my focus from “watching my mother die” or “watching my mother suffer” to “watching my mother prepare to leave my arms for the arms of Jesus. His grace is sufficient.

And the morning of the third day . . .

Day 3 am – April 3, 2012

Friends – Thank you so much for your precious comments. (Yes, they are precious to me.) God uses you to minister to me. Thank you. This morning, I am reminded that His mercies are new every morning! I trust in that. Wow! I can really tell that you have prayed for me! And for Mom! She is comfortable most of the time. Larry and I spent the night here. I slept off and on in Mom’s chair in her room.

Yes, Gerrie, it is very close. Cindy, thank you for the reminder of God’s strength. Bill, Mom and Dad were married nearly 66 years! Candy, thank you for the verse from DeHaan’s writing. So true! Leslie – wonderful prayer for us. Kathy, beautiful comments. Ann, I know you understand, having been through this yourself. You don’t place a lot of comments on fb, but those comments you give me are so appreciated! Cousins Nancy and Dawn, Dave, Joyce, Holly, Abby, Janice, Sandy, Peggy, Bonnie, Sherry, Michelle, Kelly, Amy, Evelyn, Molly, Cathy, Debbie, Mandy, Dawn, Becky, Amy, Valerie, Heather, Stacey, Pam, Julie, Becky, Lori, Dece, Julie, Carol, Sandy, Dawn, Heather, Robbie, Sue – Wow! When I read your comments, concerns, and notes of love, I am uplifted! Bless you all.

Closer to the arms of Jesus

Day 2 – April 2, 2012

 

7 am. Watching my mama getting closer to the arms of Jesus. I’ve told her I think she and daddy will have a big yellow house together like the one they loved here for so many years.

Can you just imagine what it will be like?

I think when she steps through the door, she’ll see a large picture window overlooking a garden (like the Garden of Eden) filled with red poppies, birds and deer.

I think she’ll have that summer kitchen she wanted – with the cookstove (vintage green and creamy white).

I think the stairway will be open with a beautiful railing. 

And I think she’ll find Daddy sitting at the table. He won’t be reading his Bible as he was in his earthly big house because The Word Himself will be indwelling the entire space. But instead, Daddy will jump up and run to meet her at the door. They’ll hug and dance while the angels sing and rejoice – and then they’ll see their Savior and drop to their knees and raise their hands in praise. Suddenly they’ll recognize all who’ve gone before them who are in the presence of the Lord, and they’ll celebrate until we join them.

 

It’s so very obvious that God made us for eternity. This lifetime is way too short. I’m so thankful for eternal life.

Oh, no!

April 1, 2012 – Day 1


Four weeks ago today, my daddy died. Today, I sit at my mama’s bedside, watching her shallow, limited breathing. She is comfortable, though, and for that, I am thankful.