Monday, February 25, 2013

The Remnants of My Faith

Three years ago today, we gathered at The Hills for her funeral. Three years.... It feels like the time to stop counting it by months. Now its been three years. Three years since the angels swooped down and took our precious Jenny to heaven.

I am thinking it is time for me to start writing some things down. Maybe not for you but for me. I don't know.  The last three years our family has been open about our pain, open about our grief, open about our heartbreak. My comfort level is steady when sharing it eye-to-eye. I can read your eyes to see if you 'get it', if you understand my heart. Yesterday, I felt compelled to attempt to write it - not my comfort zone. I can't see your eyes. Please be gentle with me if you choose to read these words.

In September, 2011, I was driving to west Texas to speak at a Women's Retreat for a precious church in Snyder. As I was nearing Abilene, a patch of land to my right caught my eye. My heart felt like a magnet to this gray dust. It was surrounded by green, but right there in the middle, it looked like a bomb had gone off. There were deep crevices in this patch of earth, no life, just parched dirt. I wanted to turn around and go sit by it for a moment. I wanted to take a picture of it. I wanted to walk on it. But I was almost out of gas and I knew exactly how far it was to the nearest Love's. As soon as I passed it, I called Rick to tell him I had seen a piece of earth that looked exactly like my heart felt. At the Love's, I wrote the following quote:

Death has created for me a spiritual earthquake and left me sifting through the rubble to find the remnants of my faith. 

Oh friends, you've seen it. At least once, you've been watching the news as they reported the fire. There's the family walking through the charred remains of their belongings, looking hard for anything that looks familiar - anything that once was a cherished treasure, absolutely anything that reminds them of their history.

After Jenny died, it felt like a bomb had gone off in my heart, spiritually speaking. It left me searching through the things I choose to believe as Truth, looking for what I could cling to with all my might. (Even as I type these words, I am having to stop so I can clinch my fist to show you how I am clinging. Can you see it?) I was clinging to the pieces of my history that I could dust off and hold.

So that's what I want to share with you for the next season of my life. I want to share some of those remnants. I invite you to join me as I dig through the rubble, to 'dig down deep' (that's what Jesus called it in Luke 6:48). The 'dig' is what empowers us to stand, my friends.

For years I have taught: "You must prepare in the Light for what you will do when darkness comes." I was sharing this recently with a group of close friends when one of them, Connie, handed me an index card: "When you prepare in the Light, you are preparing maybe not for your own dark time, but maybe so you're ready when you encounter someone in darkness. If we don't prepare,who will fight when no one else is strong enough either? Maybe we go through darkness or maybe we run into it to pull someone else out. Being ready isn't expecting darkness to come your way... it's just strong."

Sweet friends, you do not prepare for darkness by obsessing about the darkness. We prepare for darkness by becoming absolutely obsessed with Light. I've heard the story told that at the mint (the place that makes dollar bills) there is a room to teach people how to recognize counterfeit bills. They teach them to notice a fake by giving them time to obsess with the 'real'. Take time, brothers and sisters, take time to allow the eyes of your heart to obsess with the Light.

Over the next season, I want to share some things from my history that are my remnants, my preparation for this dark road. It has been a dark road but there is a Light..., a Light that has caught my eye, a Light that has attracted my heart.

"I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name." Isaiah 45:3

Thursday, February 03, 2011

No Clue

I've never been a very faithful blogger but last April, I decided to take a very, very long sabbatical. I did not know if I would ever return. My whole life had been ripped and broken - I have continued to journal, but very privately. My own thoughts don't make sense to me a lot of the time. I absolutely have lost my courage to write them for others to view. I can verbalize them face-to-face because then I can tell from my audience's eyes if I am going places too painful for them to bear. I have learned in the last year to 'give myself permission' to go at my own pace and do what I need to do at that moment to quiet my soul.
Well, tonight, I want to write so... I give myself permission to return to my blog. Be easy with me.

We have had 3 snow days in a row. Before last February 22, I would have jokingly said that the Lord gave these three days to me so I could sit in stillness and enjoy His presence. Now I'm not so sure God is as concerned about what conditions extrinsically quiet my heart but He has used these days as a gift for my reflection.

Here we are - February 3, 2011. This date last year, it was a Wednesday, my life was so rich, so sweet, so delightful. I wore a necklace daily that says, 'Blessed'. I didn't wear it that day and haven't worn it since. I will again, but not right now.

On February 3, I had no clue - no clue what was coming. Jenny was sick, so sick. We texted some that day. I tried to call but she texted back to say that talking was too painful. I offered, fairly forcefully, to come get her and take her to the doctor again. She refused because it had only been less than 48 hours since she had been to doctor and was diagnosed with the flu. No clue. I went through a normal day at my office - seeing clients. Miriam Cowles, a wonderful counselor from Carrollton, came over to work with me - it was her first day and she has been coming one day a week for this entire year. (God's timing - I'm positively certain!) No clue. I taught our women's class that night, one of the Names of God - I don't even remember which one. It doesn't matter. No clue. I texted Jenny when I got home from church to see how she was. No response, not that unusual. No clue. Before going to sleep, I checked my phone to make sure it wasn't on silent in case Jenny needed me in the night. I prayed and then slept. No clue.

February 3, 2010, was the last 'normal' day of my life. While this has all shocked us, and totally devastated us, it has not shocked or devastated Him. He saw it coming all along. He knew when He knit me together in my mother's womb that I would bury my first-born. (That doesn't roll off my fingers any easier than it rolls off my tongue. Those words still put me on the floor.) How have I survived the last year? Why am I still breathing?

God has called our family to do hard so we do hard. We continue to beg Him for His Light to shine on our path - it still seems so dark.

But His presence is absolutely thick over us!

Now I wear a necklace with my precious daughter's face. I cannot wait until the day I get to kiss her cheek, inhale her aroma and touch her hands, as she welcomes me into the doors of heaven and introduces me to Jesus.

Tomorrow is coming...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Two Months Ago Today

Who would have thought we would still be breathing without our Jenny? I woke up at 4:30 this morning going over all the events of February 22 - one more time. I have spent the day just trying to finish thank you notes - please know how grateful we have been! The Lord has been pouring His love on us through His people. There have been so many sweet moments. Today, we have received precious messages and even a gorgeous spring bouquet from a family in Houston. Spring is normally my favorite season - I love the newness! This arrangement fills me with hope that I will enjoy vibrant colors again.

I am trying to share some on Wednesday nights. I know it is weird but I feel calmer telling my girlfriends that I am sharing - definitely not teaching. I feel too whipped out to have anything to teach - but I feel a calling on my soul to share. I want to talk about Jenny. I want to talk about God. I want to calm the fear I see in people's eyes that seems to come just from my presence these days. I know they love me and hurt so much to see me wearing such heavy pain. I have to wear it though. It is where I am. I believe - oh, how I believe, that authenticity breeds authenticity. I crave realness! so...

I met with my good friend and colleague, Vicki Straughan, a grief therapist, on Tuesday for about 6 hours. We met at Esperanza's because Joe T's was closed at 2:30. Then about 7, we went across the street to Joe's to finish our 'session'. Rick joined us for the enchiladas. I loved our time together. I love that she let me sort out every detail. I love that she wanted to know. I love that she loves me. Vicki says we are handling everything very well. So this is what it feels like to be doing the grief-walk well?

I have never enjoyed reading Job - who does? But lately I have been going through this book from Eugene Peterson's work, The Message. I want to close with a verse from the end of Job 3:

"The worst of my fears has come true,
what I've dreaded most has happened.
My repose is shattered, my peace destroyed.
No rest for me, ever - death has invaded life."

Yes, death has invaded life but so has the Holy Spirit. He is pouring His peace on me and giving me rest - even as I continue to groan. (For those of you who know I have been unable to do anything but groan in my conversation with the Lord, the last few days - I have been able to use a few words.)

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Running with Jenny

The precious Lord has used so many precious friends to bless us and to remind us of His love even in this horrific darkness. Some of these friends have joined us in making Malaya's 10th birthday as special as possible. We will be partying all weekend! We are really missing Jenny as we celebrate Malaya's birth. The family is gathered and one face is definitely missing. Oh how we are missing her laugh and her total delight in her nephews and niece.

Some of Jenny's friends have organized a run/walk to raise money to help David with medical bills. Please go to for details. KidStand will perform and their be lots of celebrating going on. Please come! There is also a link on this website for awesome jewelry that has been designed in honor of Jenny.

Thank you, sweet friends!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Malaya's Writing

Several times a week, I have been eating lunch with Malaya. Such a special time for us! I love seeing her face light up when she is either coming down the stairs with her class (or rounding the corner when she asks to ride the elevator) and she sees me. She acts surprised even though she has turned in her menu choice the night before - just plain precious!
Last week, her teacher handed me a paper with a poem that Malaya - 9 years old - wrote. The prompt given was 'If...'; all the other words were from Malaya's precious little heart. Last night my grand-daughter gave me permission to post her poem on my blog.
This Sunday, as we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus, I will be thinking also of the resurrection of our precious Jenny. I can't wait to share her daughter's poem with her!

If Imagination Were Real in Different Ways
By Malaya Bazaillion
If angels and spirits could talk . . .
If Mom were here . . .
If clouds were windows and the sun was the entrance to heaven . . .
If no one could leave this earth . . .
If hearts weren't broken . . .
If there were no color . . .
If there were no sin in the world today . . .
If death were defeated . . .
If heaven was earth . . .
If my heart was still full of pride and not broken . . .
If people could keep promises . . .

Yes, she is 9 but she sure expresses the heart of this 53 year old!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Random Thoughts

The Disney cruise was such a welcome distraction from the heaviness of the last few weeks. I loved our long dinner talks and our excursions! I love the beach - the sand, the sound, the sun.
I am so totally thankful for precious sweet friends who continue to allow the Lord to use them to bless us.

As I reflect over the past several weeks, I recognize that I have felt extremely raw and desperate but never alone. God's presence has been very real and profound. Friends who love Him are consistent reminders.

Unbelievable sadness overwhelmed me when the funeral flowers died and the plants had to be watered. Signs that this is real life for us now.

I have never been more thankful for friends who pray. I cherish the daily reminders I get from people telling me they are lifting our family to the Lord. I keep my Bible by the computer to look up the verses you are sending to me. Some are already written on my heart, sweet reminders; some are new to my heart, sweet teachings.

"On Him we have set our hope that He will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers." 2 Corinthians 1: 10-11

I love the Lord - I will never serve another.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Walking a Dark Road

Five weeks ago today, it felt like Satan took a baseball bat and knocked my knees out from under me, breaking both. For the next 18 days, I was able to occasionally lift my head only to have him kick hard enough to send me smashing my face into the ground. Then, on February 22, the darkness settled over me and I will never be the same. So many questions are swirling in my gut. Such a feeling of desperation – waking up in the middle of night fighting to breathe, like I am trying to help my precious daughter. Oh how my heart breaks!
Oh I hear the cliques about how happy she is in heaven but I cannot wrap my head around her being happy knowing David and Malaya are without her physical presence. I am writing this strictly to deal with my own journey of grief. I am not seeking advice. I have become quite reclusive except for my family.

There are 2 verses that I am soaking write now:

Isaiah 45: 3 – “I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.”
This verse does not say that God gives the darkness but the treasures that can be found in it. How I never wanted to enter into this 'secret place' - every parent's nightmare.
While sadness is heavy, weighty, I do not feel alone. I know He is covering me, even though, may be in spite of, His silence. Oh I don’t like His silence!

Romans 15: 13 (Jenny’s favorite verse) - “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

I trust in You, Precious Lord, even though I have no clue what You are doing!