One week ago I lost the love of my life; my husband and the father of my sweet children. It was unexpected, scary, confusing, and really hard. This whole last week has been really hard. I have shed more tears in this last week than I think I have shed in my entire life (and I am a crier, so that's saying a lot!) My brain is sleep deprived and a little fried, so I am just going to share a few things running through my mind; the hard, the ugly beautiful, and the little slivers of light shining through the rain.
*I'm just going to say it: I have the best church family on the planet. I'm not sure how I got so blessed as to land in this amazing church body, but I am so grateful I did. They picked up their phone while nursing their child at 4 a.m. and dropped everything to come take my children and drive me to the hospital. They showed up at the hospital at the crack of dawn to be by my side in my most scary moments. They walked with me into the room and grieved with me while I said goodbye to my husband for the last time. They made the hard phone calls to family and friends so I wouldn't have to try and put words to my pain. The rushed to my side even though just hearing the news brought back raw, fresh pain in their own hearts. They stayed up after working all night to take their children to school so their wives could be with me. They made sure there wasn't a single waking moment there wasn't a non-family member in our home for 4 straight days so we could be waited on hand and foot. They prayed for us, brought us food, did my laundry, brushed my hair when I just didn't have the energy to do it myself, cleaned my house, made hotel reservations, and thousands of things I don't even know about. Thank you is so weak and not nearly enough for all you've done. You love Jesus with all your heart, your soul, your mind, and your strength, and you love people as Jesus loved them-completely and without reserve. You know how to #justshowup, even when you're supposed to be packing to move halfway around the world, teaching and inspiring young minds, or at training for your new role as missionaries. Oh, Father, teach me to follow their example, even in grief, of giving all of me to be Your hands and feet.
*I am so thankful that scripture promises that the Holy Spirit speaks on our behalf, even when we cannot utter a word. There have been many hours in the last week when I just wanted to cry out in prayer, but there were no words. I didn't even know what I needed, but He knew and He plead on my behalf. I am so blessed.
*Bedtime is hard. Kevin always put the kids to bed. He had a whole routine. It lasted about 45 minutes. I do not do bedtime. But, I have no choice. Father, give me a love for bedtime routines and give us some new bedtime traditions. Let this become a sweet time between the kids and I. I need a way to share some non-school time with them and this is a great way to do that, so tell that to my heart. Tell that to my mind. Fill me with the words and games and stories that will make our new bedtime fun.
*Waking up next to an empty spot in my bed sucks. There's just no other way to say it. Every morning starts with fresh tears as I roll over and realize this wasn't a bad dream. My Kevin is gone. And life must go on. It makes it hard to get out of bed. But, oh, what a blessing in disguise I've had the last few weeks. For Lent (no, I'm not Catholic and no I do not have the emotional bandwidth to explain to you why I observe Lent anyway, just go with it) I decided that instead of taking something away this year, I would add something. I added getting up at 5:30 a.m. in order to spend some quality time in prayer before everyone else was up. The last week or so I was really frustrated with myself because, rather than get up and go downstairs, I would roll over, wrap my arms around Kevin, and pray for him. Now, I am so thankful that I didn't get up those days and had some extra time to just lay with him and feel him next to me. Total blessing in disguise. Thank You for that, Lord.
*Seeing my children grieve is hard. All three of us grieve in different ways, but it's hard to know just what to say or do in each moment. It's so hard thinking of all the things Kevin will miss: first games, dance recitals, Trail Life camp outs, graduations, plays, weddings, grandchildren, so much. It makes it so hard to breathe sometimes thinking of that. I'm glad scripture reminds us that we need to take things one day at a time because each day has enough trouble of its own. I am not good at that. Lord, help me to stop, breathe, and be in the moment so I can trust you with each step.
*I'm scared of Monday. It will be our first full day on our own. The first real day of a "new normal", just the three of us. How do we fall into routine when one of us is missing? How do we go back to school work when I just want to sit and cry? How do I pull out the Bible we read together every morning and pick up where he left off? Some moments I am really not sure I can do it. Some moments I look forward to making new traditions. Some moments I just want to wake up from this horrible nightmare. All moments I beg God to use this hard, scary time to draw all three of us to Him, to bring salvation to my children, and to teach us to pour ourselves out for Him and His people. And some days, I just want to stay in bed and watch The Office and The West Wing.
*Ethan, Sophie,and Kevin all have birthdays in April. Kevin missed all of those birthdays last year and won't be here this year. How do we celebrate? How do we not spend the day mourning the fact that he won't be here? Lord, give me wisdom to know how to celebrate and mourn and start new traditions all at once. Lord, give me sensitivity to know what they truly need as we approach those oh so special firsts in just a few short weeks. Lord, make those days special and give us eyes to see You in new ways on those three days.
*I can't wait for the day I can focus again while reading scripture. I miss it. I try, but the words get blurry and my attention is drawn away far too easily. I am so thankful that over the last three months God has moved my heart to write out short sections of scripture and post them on my wall, mirror, and in my journal so I can go back and read scriptures in short bursts when my attention can take it. And those scriptures He's had me writing for months, such a balm to my weary, hurt, grieving soul. He was preparing me, making a way in the desert, and I didn't even know it.
*I've been praying for over a year that God would bring complete healing to Kevin; healing from back pain, healing from depression, healing from addiction. On March 10, He did just that. Kevin is healed completely. While I have to be honest and say this is not the way I wanted to see him healed, the healing and joy are complete. He is sitting at the feet of Christ, worshiping with all his heart, and overflowing with joy and praise for all eternity. There's nothing better I could ask or hope for for my precious husband. God is good, even in the pain. God is good, even in the hard.