“Sin has lost its power Death has lost its sting From the grave you’ve risen VICTORIOUSLY Into marvelous light I’m running Out of darkness out of shame By the cross you are the truth You are the life, you are the way.”
Marvelous Light -Charlie Hall
We love you Warren Austin Barfield with every fiber of our being. We stretch our necks as far as they can stretch – Looking up toward that eastern sky – Listening for the sound of the trumpet –
Until that day, Dear Jesus, help us to be steadfast, immovable and always looking for ways to make much of YOUR NAME!
50 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” 55“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
57But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:50-58
Turn your eyes upon Jesus Look full in His wonderful face And the things of earth will grow strangely dim In the light of His glory and grace
When I was new to my grief, I felt overwhelmed by the enormity of it all. Death and its finality seemed more than I could handle. The pain was unbearable and the gaping hole in my heart left me feeling vulnerable and scared.
All I could see was all I had lost.
And yet, somewhere deep down I knew, I had to shift my focus from the things of earth to the promise and hope of Jesus. I needed a clearer vision of eternal things.
You have said, "Seek my face." My heart says to you, "Your face, Lord, do I seek." Psalm 27
Consider with me what can happen when we look FULL in His wonderful face – When we trade in our earthly lenses for eternal lenses – When we surrender and have a posture of repentance – When we realize it’s not about us, but ALL about Jesus
We are positioned to experience the miracle of his presence.
And it’s in his presence we can begin to see more clearly that His thoughts are not our thoughts, neither our ways his ways (Is. 55:8-9) It’s in his presence that we are given new strength and a special grace to look upand out to see the things we will otherwise miss.
I remember a couple years ago I decided to visit the cemetery. On this particular day, the weather was perfect and the sun was beginning to set. I knelt down on the grass with my head bowed. I don’t remember exactly, it’s possible I played a song from my phone or just sat quietly. My heart was heavy and the reality seemed especially harsh. But as I stood to leave, I looked up and could see through the trees what seemed to be a beautiful sunset. However, the trees were blocking my view. I walked quickly to my car as I didn’t want to miss it.
Driving away I smiled as I saw so clearly this visual picture God had given me as a reminder to set my gaze toward heaven. And to be mindful of the distractions that could block my “view”. I was reminded that although there is ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong with grieving and missing Warren-(NOTHING-He is worth every tear I cry), it’s on the other side of those trees where I want to fix my eyes. Choosing to SEE beyond the bitter tears and weight of sorrow.
"Take the whole world Give me Jesus Let all else fade away" (Fade Away) Click to listen
So today, can we just encourage one another, no matter the “hard” we are facing, to trust and SEE that Jesus is better. And praise him with our lips for as long as we live. (Psalm 63:3-4)
He shall return in robes of white The blazing sun shall pierce the night And I will rise among the saints My gaze transfixed on Jesus’ face – O Praise the Name (click to listen)
Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror, then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:12
The one thing, we should seek after with everything we’ve got –
The one thing, we should set our gaze upon –
The one thing that is better and necessary –
The one thing where we find fullness of joy –
I recently found myself wrestling with this question:
What is my ONE thing?
In my journey of grief and suffering over the last (almost) 5 years, what would I say is the ONE thing I have learned, experienced, or needed the most? What is the ONE thing that has provided me the greatest comfort, peace, and brought more joy than I could have ever imagined possible?
Of course, the simple answer is Jesus. But in my “wrestling,” I felt maybe, my answer needed to have more “depth”, a lengthier explanation.
But here’s the thing – When the “unexpected” happens , and chaos keeps our minds from being able to focus or think clearly – Simple is good.
One thousand eight hundred nine days ago, as we walked out of Texas Children’s Hospital, without Warren – My mind was spinning, and the future of uncertainty threatened my sanity. So I desperately cried out the only thing I could think of – Please dear Jesus, we need you!
And you know what? It was when everything around me seemed out of control that I experienced the presence of God. It was the one thing that brought chaos back to order. It was the one thing that brought indescribable peace and comfort to our painful circumstances. This one thing, is what I continue to seek after, chase down, and ultimately rest in – because I cannot imagine a single moment outside of his glorious presence.
The simple, yet all powerful name of Jesus spoken into our circumstances changes everything…
I love these lyrics from the song Spirit Move
So like the rain, come and drench us in love Let Your glory rush in like a flood – We are fixed on this one thing To know Your goodness and see Your glory We’re transformed by this one thing To know Your presence and see Your beauty
Another November has rolled around. Of course, it always will. I suppose it’s the mental countdown to the 24th that seems to weary my heart. I just can’t help but wish it were all different. It feels natural to let my heart pause and remember, to feel the pain of loss, and to give in to the tears that I know bring relief and healing. It’s different approaching year 5 – In ways I never thought possible! Still, I find myself trying hard not to let the memories slip so far away…
And then it happens, a picture sparks a memory, a story, laughter and more stories. We remember our son and our brother. And we are thankful.
My heart is full, and all because of Jesus.
One thing have I asked of the Lord,
That I will seek after:
That I may dwell in the house of the LordAll the days of my life,
To gaze upon the beauty of the LordAnd to inquire in his temple.
For he will hide me in his shelterIn the day of trouble;
He will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
He will lift me high upon a rock. Psalm 27:4-5
Martha welcomed Jesus into her house.She had a sister Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching.(Jesus to Martha) – “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things,but one thing is necessary, Mary has chosen the good portion,which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42
Now, if indeed I have found favor in Your sight, please let me know Your ways, that I may know You and find favor in Your sight. Remember that this nation is Your people.” And the LORD answered, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” “If Your Presence does not go with us,” Moses replied, “do not lead us up from here.” Exodus 33:13-15
His presence, the radiance of the glory of God who is majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, and the one who upholds the universe by the word of his power. (Hebrews 1:3, Exodus 15:11)
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
There is no way to prepare for the death of a child. There is no way to wrap your mind around the many (many) difficulties you will face as you begin walking this unexpected journey of grief and suffering. The unbelievable sadness and shock that initially overcomes your entire body as you look at your child and watch him take his last breath seem impossible. And it is.
But that changes. With time. The shock wears off and the memory of that (particularly horrible) moment begins to fade. Slowly but surely life, family, friends, work, school and everything in between come back into some kind of order and “normalcy”.
It just does. Now, you don’t have to like it. It’s not easy. But the reality is, at some point, you have to admit, “this is my life.”
Even in the Silence.
Since my last post about the quiet and the silence in my head.. God has done just as He has promised. He’s held me (us) in the most tender of ways. Even in the silence. Maybe, especially, in the silence.
The sweetest thing about how God blesses us and brings comfort is how He uses you. I have seen it over and over. Running into a friend at Walgreens that shared with me how inside her daughters Bible is #WB Jesus Saves. A sweet card from a friend that arrived at the perfect moment.
A lime tree. Yes. I have a friend that has shared with her class each year since Warren died that “you are never too young to make an impact on the world around you for Christ.” And this year, as they are studying the fruits of the spirit, when she asked them what she could get me as a gift for Warrens birthday they said a fruit tree. They decided it was a good picture of how Warren’s life continues to produce fruit even though he’s not here.
I MEAN!!! Am I living that way? In such a way that my life will point others to Jesus even after I’m gone? Every time I water this tree, I pray that Jesus will be what people remember when they think of our family, our story… What is the fruit that my life is producing?
Strength for the “harder” days.
Warren should be graduating from High School this year. This is what has exposed my heart to the pain that causes more frequent tears and the sadness that just really sucks.
But it’s so interesting, that in my recent season of silence, the Lord was strengthening me for these days. I didn’t even think about it at the time. In fact, I was confused by it and it scared me.
As I was reading this verse in Isaiah this week, I came across verse 1 which says “Listen to me in silence, O coastlands. Let the peoples renew their strength..and above this verse in chapter 40:31, it says this-
“but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not be faint.”
As high school graduation approaches, I have found myself pulling out my arsenal of scriptures I have used in the past to fight fear, loneliness, emptiness, sadness…and every other thought or lie the enemy tries to throw at me.
Right after Warren died I use to sit at my kitchen table and write on note cards, verse after verse, as I called out to God to rescue me from my pain. I needed something to distract me from what threatened to take me under. I’m so grateful for those days.
I’m grateful because these are now familiar verses that when I read them, or pray them, I knowHe hears and that relief is right around the corner. It can look different than what I might expect or want, the relief, but I know that somehow, God will get me through…
Fear not, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through the fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. -Isaiah 43:2
In my head I hear silence. It’s a quiet that has become familiar over these last few weeks. Some days I would describe it as that ‘blah’ feeling. You know, when you can’t pin point if anything is wrong, but something isn’t right. While other days its just an emptiness…My brain feels blank. (keep reading, this isn’t as depressing as it sounds!)
I read the scriptures. Silence.
I pray. Silence.
I lay down at night. Silence.
I wake up. Silence.
I’ve been asked this week what we are doing for Warren’s birthday. And all I feel is this ‘silence’. I’ve not even known how to answer. Mainly, because I didn’t have an answer.
I’m Not Alone and Neither Are You
I’ve had a couple conversations with friends and mentioned this ‘blah’, silence. And when I did, they responded similarly.
Relieved… I think, to know they weren’t alone or the only ones to experience spiritual, emotional, and even physical blah-ness.
Surprised… maybe because like most, I post or share or text or call when things are good. Or maybe, my public testimony of God’s goodness has been so overwhelmingly more than I could have ever asked or imagined, that anything less doesn’t make sense.
Either way, I thought it important to share honestly that emotionally, physically and spiritually ….I’ve had better days 🙂
How do I push through the silence? The blah? The blankness I feel after spending time in the Word or in prayer? When the answers don’t come? When nothing changes?
I Must Remember…
I remember His Faithfulness. I recall the times scripture has jumped off the page or my prayers were indeed heard and answered because there was no other explanation! I preach to myself what I KNOW, and believe my heart will follow!
I don’t know if I’ve ever said this out loud, but before Warren died, my foundation, (spiritually speaking) was weak, at best. I had off and on seasons of growth, but nothing consistent. My knowledge of the Bible was pretty basic…so when my whole world was turned upside down, unfortunately I was not prepared. (not like I could have been) Levi Lusko says ..”Train for the trial your’e not yet in…” I had not properly done that.
So, I positioned myself under this “spiritual’ faucet, and turned it on-high. I read and listened to scripture. I worshiped and fell in love, a deeper love, than ever before with Jesus. I became saturated and couldn’t get enough. The daily download I received … I am forever grateful for. Especially on the hard days, I leaned in and held on tightly.
Why Do I Share This?
I needed the reminder…and it’s JUST NOW becoming clear to me as type…
Julie: No matter how loud the silence. The blankness. The unanswered prayers. The wondering if He hears us at all…go back under the faucet. Get there, whether you feel like it or not. Recall His faithfulness. Preach to yourself what you know, because you’ve experienced it and seen His goodness.
Throw off whatever is weighing you down, confess, and get your eyes up and your knees down.
Remember it was for the joy SET BEFORE HIM, that he endured the cross. He knew, what we can know now, the best is yet to come!
Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. (Psalm 30:5) For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. (2 Cor. 4:17)
How long might our “night” or “silence” last? When will our morning come? How long is momentary? I don’t know.
But because I can’t imagine any other way, I will set the Lord continually before me, because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. THEREFORE, my heart is glad, and my whole being REJOICES, my flesh dwells secure.(Psalm 16:8,9)
Warren’s Birthday Eve
So on the eve of Warren’s 18th birthday I have cried and my heart hurts. However, I know because of the other 4 birthdays we have celebrated without him here, God will be present. We will be held and will even experience a sweetness that only comes from a Faithful Heavenly Father that cares and considers and sees us.
We don’t always see the beautiful, behind the scenes, God working in ALL things…the stories, the people, the ‘obstacles and the blessings’ as Carolyn called it~Sometimes we miss it because in our brokenness, our mess and in the confusion of our circumstances, we simply can’t see past the pain or imagine that in “this” God is working (for our good).
Other times, we cry out so desperately for a sign, a word, something tangible, applicable, something real..that when God, in his kindness, comes through in a way that is undeniably from heaven~ You see it and you hold onto it, study it and share it with whoever will listen…
That’s how Wednesday, December 17, 2014 was for me. My heart was broken, my whole body was weak and I wasn’t sure how I could face the reality of Warren’s death another day. It hadn’t even been a month, I was tired and felt a desperateness for Jesus….
Wednesday December 17, 2014 (from my journal entry)
Every day is a sad day. Sad doesn’t necessarily mean tears, it’s just an overwhelming feeling~ Something is just NOT RIGHT.
My morning started with a visit from a friend and coffee. It was nice.
Our hot water heater broke, needs to be replaced. No shower.
Need to run errands. Laundry. What I wouldn’t give to be folding Warren’s clothes. I screamed at Grace during a fight about who knows what.
Grace and I decide to get out and do some Christmas shopping. It’s so surreal. How can this be? I find myself gripping the steering wheel several times asking, out loud “Please God show us something, a sign. We need you so desperately this day…” We thanked Him for every parking spot, friendly cashier, the cool weather…
I offered to drive carpool. Surely, I can drive the girls to cheer. We pick up a sweet 8th grade girl (a friend of Warrens) She and Grace giggle in the backseat. Grace asks her about finals…I can’t help but think ‘Warren should be taking finals’…We pass the high school. Another trigger. (something else Warren will be missing out on) I push these thoughts out of my head..Not now, Julie. Pull yourself together!
The girls pile out of the car. The last door is shut and my heart explodes into a thousand pieces. Tears flow and I can’t do a thing to stop it.
I shouted and I asked “Why? Why? Why” As I cried, somehow the sorrow turned to fear and I felt hopeless.
I drove into the driveway, walked straight inside and headed to Warrens room where I fell onto his bed, grabbing his pillow…I cried. My entire body longed for relief. Bill came and snuggled up next to me. The pain was so deep. I asked the Lord to please just help us. I said “O Lord, we believe, but we need to hear from you. Please give us a sign that you are near and that we are going to be ok. Father please help us…Help us believe.”
It became quiet. A quiet that seemed to bring the much needed relief. I felt exhausted. I could have stayed in that moment forever. It somehow felt safe.
At some point we transitioned to the living room. This time and space seemed sacred. There was almost an unspoken feeling of embarrassment..What just happened. Have we gone crazy? Is this grief going to take over?
As if to break the silence my phone dinged. I went to check it and it was my neighbor from across the street. She told be to go outside, there was something in my front yard she wanted me to see.
I guess I had missed it when I drove up. My eyes had been wet with tears and I’d hurried into the house as fast as possible…
I walked out. It was cold and damp. I felt numb. What I saw in our front yard literally sent chills over my entire body. It was a sign. Seven red glittery letters that spelled out the word BELIEVE.
Some may call it coincidence, others a miracle. I know what I know and this was a gift from the God who weeks earlier promised to hold me. This was a word for me to cling to as I journeyed the most difficult excruciating season of my life.
He hears me. He sees me. He cares for me. He IS working…
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.And we know that for those who love God all things work together….for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:26-28
I am still on the journey of what it looks like to believe when life doesn’t go as you planned or hoped. Moving from head knowledge to heart knowledge, delighting in the Lord and treasuring Him above all else. Surrendering all and fully trusting that He is who He says He is.
It seems like “firsts” are still the norm for us. As Christmas quickly approaches we have decided for the first time since Warren died to be at home…Just the 3 of us. But we are BELIEVING, fully expectant that it’s going to be ok. It just will. And, in fact, maybe it will be better than ok.
Keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus..The baby boy in the manger that has changed EVERYTHING!
God is in every single detail. Every. Single. Detail. And His Timing is perfect.
The above Believe Sign has been placed in our yard now for 5 Christmases. It is more than just a Christmas decoration we pull down out of the attic. After Warren died I had a lot of questions, but God had one for me too… “Do you believe?”…..
He cares for us. He sees us and He hears us. Scripture says that He is near to the brokenhearted. I have experienced and know this to be true. This story, this “sign” is a visual picture of how much He loves us. He does not drop us in the middle of a trial and whisper “good luck” leaving us to figure a way out on our own. Even when it seems there is nothing but darkness and uncertainty pulling us under. When the silence seems to say we are all alone. He is present, He is holding us & He is working. Breakthrough is coming. We need only to believe. But what does that look like?
John Piper says this about believing… “It’s more than believing in the fact that Jesus is the Son of God but delighting inthat fact, embracing that fact, and making Christ the treasure and the Lord of your life by surrendering to him.”
One of the things I love most about this particular “Believe sign” is learning the “back story” or the “behind the scenes” if you will…How several friends, looking for ways to love on our family during a very difficult season, followed through with a simple idea, not knowing the impact it was going to have on my personal journey of grief and belief.
My dear precious friend Carolyn wrote this letter to me describing the events that led up to this Believe sign ending up in our yard on 12-17-2014, only 24 days after Warren died~
The “I Believe” story is a story that I dwell on almost daily as it confirms to me that God is good, and God is with us, and God will never leave us. God also gives us what we need, when we need it. He KNOWS. After collecting money from many people in the community and spending it on different needs; we had some money left over. You had mentioned to a friend that there wasa yard sign you liked, and it was one simple word-BELIEVE. I looked online for the sign-found it and bought the last one available and it was even on sale. The shipping date was a few weeks from the order date which was not ideal and made me a little anxious as I had a sense of urgency to make everything right for you. It was the holiday season and shipping anything would take a long time.
Two days after I ordered the sign, it showed up on my porch. I knew then I had to get it in your yard that night. Something-and I really believe it was God – was insistent that I set it up that night. I called Tom at work and asked him to help me. He said he had to work late and also had work at home to do. It was cold and rainy, and he said he preferred to do it the next day. I didn’t cry or beg like I wanted to but I knew in my heart he was going to put it together that night.
He came home earlier than expected and started on the sign without me even saying anything. He came inside to tell me at one point, that it was missing bolts and screws and they were not the standard. He wasn’t sure he had anything that would work. He went back out-and then 10 minutes later came in and said “I’m finished.”
I went outside to look at it, it was perfect. We called Amy, your neighbor, to be on the lookout for you as you were taking Grace to cheer. She gave us the go ahead-We set it up pretty quickly and left. I got a text from you shortly thereafter that you had cried out to God for a sign to believe, and then came home to the sign in your yard…”BELIEVE”
To sum up this story, and to reflect on how it was ‘meant to be’ I want to list the obstacles and the blessings that all worked together to create one of the best stories of God’s love and perfect timing that I have ever been a part of.
Money left over
Last sign available
Shipped in 2 days not 2 weeks
Tom had to work late and had work to do at home
Cold and rainy weather
Missing bolts and screws
You had been asking for a sign to help you “believe”
He loves you. He is with you ALWAYS. Love you, Carolyn
Knowing now how God was working that Wednesday, hearing my desperate cry for relief is overwhelming. The details of that day, the kindness and generosity of others, and these 7 glittery letters changed everything………………
As we stood in the kitchen Grace and I began talking about “tomorrow”. I said casually (If that’s even possible) that we should brainstorm what we wanted it to look like..”tomorrow”. Should we go together as a family and have breakfast somewhere? Maybe somewhere special. Afterward, we could go and get our Christmas tree, and then go to that place where it’s Christmasy and walk around, look in some shops and maybe eat dinner.
I told her before I began, while starring into the pantry, that I only wanted to get her ideas and thoughts without making it a heavy or sad conversation. We had only been home a short while. Thanksgiving in Austin with Bill’s family had been good and I didn’t want to ruin anything by bringing up the subject of “tomorrow” at an inappropriate time.
You see, I’ve done that before, wanting to discuss something concerning Warren and my timing was ALL wrong. I opened my mouth, mentioned a delicate subject all while on the way to school. Who does that? I’m sorry the minute it comes out of my mouth, but I can’t take it back… I didn’t want this to be one of those moments.
Grace was sitting, legs crossed, on the kitchen counter. As I turned around, spoke one word, I felt my lip quiver and as hard as I tried I couldn’t keep the tears from falling. I could tell her eyes were watery too and I stepped in close. The heaviness of the moment, that I had unsuccessfully tried to avoid, brought a silence and a mutual understanding that bringing up “tomorrow”, no matter how hard we try, is just really, really, tough.
It’s now after midnight (way after), which means that “tomorrow” is here.
This day 4 years ago took our family by complete surprise. We went from being a family of 4, busy with baseball, 2 working parents, a daughter who had a brother…to a family of 3, no more baseball, 1 (full time) working parent, & a daughter who is now an only child.
Obviously the dynamics of our family changed, but so much MORE.
Over the last 4 years I have experienced MORE of Jesus in ways that you blow you away!! I am MORE in love with Him than I could have ever imagined-despite my life’s unexpected detour of grief and suffering…And, more recently, my desire to KNOW Him, His Word, has me on the edge of my seat waiting even still for MORE of Him.
Do I have it all figured out? Hardly. Just ask the 2 that live with me full time!! 😉
Do I wish the details and the circumstances to my KNOWING MORE of Him were different?? YOU BET I DO! Do I often wonder why me? Why us? Why did Grace have to suffer the loss of her older brother? Why did Bill lose his only son, the one that would carry on the Barfield name? Why do we have a day every year that reminds us of all that we’ve lost? OH, I wonder
But I also believe in a sovereign God that chose us, chose me for something far greater. Warren’s death didn’t thwart His plan…In fact just the opposite…Warren’s death is part of a much bigger plan than we can see.
I often wonder if our story is too…burdensome and might cause sadness or fear in others or even worse, one that people don’t want to think about, because it seems to complicate their idea of God…
But I share our story so that you will know, and so I will be reminded that God is good. He is for us, not against us.
You see even on my hardest day, and I just had one of those recently where I cried a kind of cry that would be embarrassing if someone had heard or even worse witnessed with their eyes….
I wouldn’t trade the Jesus I know for anything. I wouldn’t trade my best day or my worst day. You see I am learning that it’s on my hardest days that I learn MORE of who God truly is and how desperately I need Him.
He’s my every breath and as I get to KNOW MORE of Him, I trust him and I believe Him, and I can truly say Jesus is enough..I am grateful for my story..His story that He isn’t finished writing.
Trying to figure out another “tomorrow” seems overwhelming and sad and frustrating…But I have witnessed God’s faithfulness over the last 1,461 days since Warren took his last breath and I believe that TODAY Jesus will still be enough.
C.S Lewis “All their life in this world and all their adventures had only been the cover page and the title page: Now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever, in which every chapter is better than the one before.”
I miss this freckled face boy every day…and my heart aches as he would have turned 17 on March 23rd
Warren went to heaven on November 24, 2014..He was 13.
Around his birthday, more than any other time, I wonder more about what he would look like and how our lives would be different if he were still here.
Wondering can be painful, as my thoughts drift toward the things that will never be…
Would you be dating? Would you be playing a sport? What kind of car would you be driving? Would you be tall and skinny? Would your hair be long or short? Who would your friends be? What would you do for fun on a Friday night? Where would you want to go to college
I also wonder about Heaven. I wonder about you in Heaven and what that might be like. I wonder about that day … when I will see you again…
And then I wonder….
I wonder how my life would be different? Would I reallyknow Jesus like I do now? Would I undoubtedly know and have experienced true peace? I wonder…Would I cling to His Word like I couldn’t live without it ? Would I genuinely long for Heaven or still be trying to find contentment in this world? I wonder …..would I understand wholeheartedly the need to strive for him? Would I truly know what it means to set my eyes on things above?
I wonder if my anthem would unquestionably be ‘Jesus Is Enough’ & ‘Heaven Is Better’? Would my hope be in Christ alone?
I wonder COULD I really, undoubtedly, truly, genuinely, wholeheartedly & unquestionably know the Jesus I know today outside of my suffering?
As I look ahead to Easter, the cross, the death, the burial and the resurrection…I wonder can I like Paul, consider everything else (the satisfactions of this world) worthless when compared to the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus?
I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done.Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as loss, so that I could gain Christand become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ.For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead.I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death,so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead! Philippians 3:7-11
These are Paul’s words not mine. I want to be able to proclaim like he did, but if I’m 100% honest I wish I could have all of Jesus AND Warren. I wish there had been another way… A life of little suffering… and certainly not the kind of suffering that comes with the death of a child.
But like Paul and like Jesus who set his face toward Jerusalem (Luke 9:51) I want to position my eyes upward. I want to press on, straining forward to what lies ahead -Future Glory!
As we observe this Good Friday, pondering the cross, the brutal death of our Savior…For me and for you…I wonder what it must have been like for him? Scripture says he was greatly distressed and troubled, his soul was very sorrowful, even to death. He fell to the ground as he prayed and asked the Father if it were possible the hour might pass from him. (Mark 14:34-36)
As I wonder… I set my eyes on the cross. I humbly position my heart today to pray. I can’t really answer all the questions of my wondering, but I do know this…I’m changed because of my suffering and how God in his infinite grace and mercy meets me there…. And because of Christ’s death on the cross and his resurrection, I have hope.
What do you wonder? I pray that in your own wondering, you find the beautiful Hope of Jesus Christ…
Whether 2017 was full of joy, regret, hardships, new beginnings, loss, or a combination …We turn the page. For some, we can hardly wait for the thrill of what lies ahead!! While others are just thinking we’ve barely made it through..and now to do it all over again..another 12 months.
For me… as time marches on, I want something. In the depths of my soul I long for healing and happiness. I want the phrase ” time heals” to be true. I desperately want to hurt less. I want my brokenness to be less broken. So with every year that passes, I “hope”.
As our family faced the 4th holiday season without Warren…I’m going to be honest and tell you, it didn’t hurt less. My broken heart is still as broken. I missed Warren every bit as much this year as I did that first Christmas he was in Heaven.
I’m pretty sure I had hoped it would be easier…but let’s face it, that’s crazy really. Easier just isn’t a word I would use to describe life without our first born. I recently read a quote from a mom whose child died in the Sandy Hook school shooting 5 years ago…she says “Every day it gets harder….because every day I remember something else I miss about him.”
The truth about that statement has stuck with me… You see, it’s not like enough time will pass and we can put this all behind us. We will forever miss the way things used to be and wish for how they should be.
In this life, I will not be “fixed”. I will not be “all better”…I will always have this longing to be released from the sorrow and sufferings of this world. (Romans 8:18-23)
I believe as I step into twenty-eighteen the Lord is reminding me-“I have your heart, your hurt, your broken places..and One Day, there will be no more tears, no more death, or sorrow or crying or pain…One Day!(Rev. 21:4)
As for today, the suffering and the sorrow that are your companions will be the reminder that you need more than “fixing”…you need a Savior.”
As I lean in, give up the idea that somehow I deserve an easy life, surrender my ways to Him..Create space for more of the Holy Spirit (which means some things need to go!) I find myself realizing, maybe being “fixed” isn’t what I want…Jesus is is what I want..and more importantly what I need…more than anything!
For those of us in this time of waiting, like Mary and Martha waiting for Jesus to heal their brother Lazarus, the long dark Saturday before the glorious resurrection, the time of uncertainty, no clear direction, no answers, no financial breakthroughs, no healing…Maybe we keep believing. We keep looking for the glimpses of glory Jesus promises if we just believe (John 11:40)
We hold on with everything we’ve got and we exercise the strength we’ve been given & RISE UP! “And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”(Esther 4:14)
For so many, our circumstances will never change. For me, Warren will never walk back into our lives this side of Heaven…but even if he did, after the miracle and the celebration of his return, I can assure you there would be something else..more pain, more suffering, more injustice that would keep making our lives less than perfect…so the answer to my brokenness isn’t a quick fix- It’s Jesus
The answer again this year, last year and forever is Just Jesus !
So, yes, I have a longing deep in my soul… I guess we all do, for something. And as much as I want Warren back, as amazing as it would be to feel the relief of no more pain, I am trusting that rather than being “fixed”, or life becoming “easier”, He is changing me and deepening my understanding of Gods sovereign character and increasing the depth of my faith.
Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, Yet, I will rejoice in the Lord, I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength, he makes my feet like the deer’s, he makes me tread on my high places.
…As I scroll through Facebook, I continue to see pictures and stories of how flood waters have violently left an unwanted mark in peoples lives. Neighbors who have lost everything…. homes, cars, and other personal belongings. The devastation has been unreal, and yet SO VERY REAL TO MANY!!
As heart breaking as it is, there are also stories and pictures that are a wonderful illustration of strength, community, and redemption….It’s not going to happen overnight, and it won’t be easy, but we are HOUSTON STRONG! 🙂
There are no words to really describe what people are going through or what their “new normal” is since Harvey…because, although my heart knows loss, it’s different, and I can’t pretend to understand what people are feeling at this moment…and I’m just so sorry.
My Personal Storm
I recently explained to someone that on August 21, Grace started school, 9th grade, High school, without her brother…A new schedule, a new season…Adjusting to new days without Warren. This will be our 3rd (school) year. With time, practice and lots of prayer, we are figuring out how to use certain “tools” to protect our hearts and push through the hard!
So, when Harvey hit….and school came to an abrupt halt, my heart and my head were thrown for a loop. Literally a storm hit our city and my heart all at the same time. I must confess that the storm and all the pain and suffering around me has been a trigger, and my heart misses Warren so terribly…More than usual, and its been difficult to shake..
However, I am realizing, that although it’s unique for all of us, people are hurting and trying to make sense of their current situation…and wondering when/if things will ever be normal again.
Truth & Encouragement
In a message given by our pastor after the storm, he said something that I needed to hear and wanted to share …. Not that you need permission from me, but maybe you need permission from you….
It’s OK to grieve over the loss of your “stuff”..your house, your things, the way things used to be.
It is not materialistic to walk into your house and feel sad about the things that are ruined or dirty or missing. It must be a terrible feeling to walk into a place where you once felt safe and comfortable, have snuggled on the couch and watched movies, raised a family, gathered for holidays, celebrated birthdays..and see such disorder. It’s like someone came in without permission and invaded your personal space…
I’m a very sentimental person…and especially since Warren’s death, there are things and places, and memories of how life used to be (should be) that are very special to me.
Give yourself the freedom to grieve. Allow yourself the opportunity to feel the pain that comes with loss..even the loss of things. Remembering too, that this process is different for everyone.
I keep hearing, “this is not a race, its a marathon.”…Such Truth!!…..It’s going to take time! Your heart and your head need time to catch up…It’s not always.. “pull yourself up by your bootstraps and charge forward…”
One of my favorite texts to receive is one that a friend or family member will send reminding me ..”we are still with you..” I’m learning that not all of us are “first responders”…but this road will be long for many and there is a lot of work still to be done.
I still Believe He Is Good and His Promises are True
The bible talks about the various trials that we will endure as Christ followers. We are not to be surprised by them. It is in these times of great difficulty that I pray our faith is increased …I pray that we remain steadfast.
I can’t say it’s not a little messy walking out our faith in the middle of pure exhaustion, uncertain times, and heavy hearts…but I do know that at the end of the day…Jesus is enough!
There will be days when we feel like throwing our arms in the air and shouting, “I can’t!” ..and go ahead…Do it! You’ll feel better! But in that moment of complete desperateness, I believe He reaches down and strengthens our weak and feeble hands and makes straight our path.
Yes! I really still believe this ..and I do not pretend to know or understand your personal journey…and I certainly don’t make light of it, but I do trust that the only Hope worth holding onto is Jesus.
Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge. Psalm 62:8
No, in all these things we are more than conquerorsthrough him who loved us. Romans 8:37
I have set the Lord before me, because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Psalm 16:8
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope! The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning, great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” Lamentations 3:21-24
Grace came downstairs a few mornings ago and began sharing with me a dream she had about Warren. As dreams go, the details didn’t all fit together and some of it was random…However, one detail about her dream that made me smile was the first question she said she asked Warren when she saw him…” Do you have your license? Can you drive me around?”
I laugh with tears streaming down my face because of ALL the changes that come with going to HS..this year…how you will get to school as a freshman is a really BIG deal!! Grace secured a ride from an upper classman weeks ago! 🙂
The uncomfortable reality of this topic, that stares us square in the face, is that Warren should be driving her to school. He would have turned 16 back in March and would be happily agreeing to drive her and her friends to school and home…HA!! (I’m only kidding about that part….He was a super nice brother..but, I’m not that naive!!) Regardless of how he felt about it, that’s the way it would be.
Warren was only 13 when he died, but even still…these type of things run through your brain as you look ahead to the future and I still can’t believe its ALL different now…No older brother paving the way. I have even struggled with being a new freshman mom because… It’s. Just. Not. The. Way. It. Should. Be. I should already know all the ins and outs of HS.
This summer has seemed long to me. No big trips like the last 2 summers…A few short trips ..Oh but we did go to Boston. We got to tag along with Bill on a business trip. That was fun! I had never been.
I started a couple bible studies this summer…didn’t finish either of them. My time with Jesus has been unique and I’m still not sure how to put it into words. My prayer the last several weeks has been that God would search me and know me…to search my heart thoroughly, to know my thoughts. To find any hurtful way in me and to lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139) Where Jesus, do I need to repent, let go, start fresh? Is my life fully surrendered and devoted? What am I holding back? Holding onto?
He’s been stretching me and teaching me new things this summer…I took a break from my usual daily scrolling of Facebook, because I found myself comparing and even jealous of attention/likes others were getting. I haven’t blogged all summer because I began to question my motive…Why am I writing? Do I care too much about how many people read my posts? Am I seeking attention and approval from my peers rather than my focus being on Jesus….It’s easy to get lost in needing the approval of friends, family, and even strangers.
Tonight, as we prepare for Grace’s first day of HS, my eyes are puffy and red. My heart is sitting inside my chest on the verge of breaking…It’s just so much to wrap my head around…High School. Grace growing up and changing right before my very eyes. Wishing with every stinking breath that I could call to Warren and he would answer.
We went to dinner tonight, and as we got seated the waiter asked if it was just the 3 of us. We said yes, and he began removing the 4th place setting..saying something like, “Well, lets get this out of the way..” A voice inside my head screamed, “No! Leave it.” We’ve eaten together just the 3 of us a hundred times, but tonight I just felt sad about it!….And then like it usually happens, the sadness left, and we laughed and enjoyed our time!
There is a big event coming up, IGNiTE, a week from tonight. I will share more about it later, but one of the prayers for this night as we gather to worship and pray for the upcoming school year, is that the students who know and love Jesus would be a LIGHT that shines brightly for Him.
This reminded me of something Warren had written and I want to close with his words that have encouraged me so….
“We are the light of the world. We have the answer. We know what to do. We were made to be proclaimers. It would be silly to think that we could put a city on a hill and hide it…in the same way, a Christian cannot keep from proclaiming the gospel. We are the light and should not be hidden but lifted high to shine our bright light on the earth.”
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.In the same way, let your light shine before others, so thathey may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16
‘Time Hop’ shared these pics a few days. 4 years ago….
Warren Austin Barfield, you were a LIGHT and I miss you like crazy.
These are just a few words that describe the last couple of weeks. Often my heart is bombarded with different emotions all at one time..And as this school year comes to a close and summer is upon us I struggle to find peace in all the change!
Change Is good…Not always easy…
I imagine I’m not the only one trying to put one foot in front of the other these days. Just the end of a school year can nearly get the best of me….not so much because of a busy schedule, but the abrupt change in events and routine. I get used to our everyday schedule and the people we see etc. My heart ‘adjusts’ to doing life without Warren (whatever that may look like) and then, just like that, I have to start all over again..situating my heart to face another season without him.
*Maybe for you its kids changing schools or leaving home for college, weddings, new job, marriage….. All of these things can steal our peace, if we let it.
Change is good, but change means facing new days and new “seasons”. Missing the “old” and wishing for the way things used to be…
For me, with summer around the corner, I have to face all the what if’s, what should be, and even the memories of summers past that will never be again.
Our Last Trip to the Beach….
I was driving in the car the other day and was reminded of the summer (2014) when we all piled in the car and headed to Florida right after school was out. I remember we met Bill for lunch at a Bar B Q place near his office. He was having to go for business and we decided to take advantage of the trip and make it a family vacation. We were so excited to tell them! After we left lunch we went straight to shop for beach necessities! We bought way too much…things we probably didn’t need! I can close my eyes and remember the smallest details like how excited Warren and Grace were to be spontaneously getting ready for a trip to the beach!!
This memory… as wonderful as it is…causes a hurt deep within me that I can’t even explain. Never in a million years would I have thought that beach trip would be our last together with Warren. I miss everything about it..the sand & the sun, the yellow umbrellas, sunscreen, Warren’s blue surf board, riding Go Carts and playing put-put golf in the blazing heat!…..I love this memory and I am so glad to be at a place emotionally to ‘remember’ it, but there is a tug-o-war that happens as I allow the details to to flood my heart and mind…I’m filled with both the sweetness of the memory and the harsh reality that Warren is gone.
Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort…Miramar Beach
Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort…Miramar Beach
Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort…Miramar Beach
Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort…Miramar Beach
There is a line from one of our favorite new songs ….
“Every seed, buried in sorrow You will call forth in it’s time
You are Lord, Lord of the harvest Calling our hope now to arise”
What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.. (I Corinthians 15:36)
What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in GLORY. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in POWER. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. (1 Cor. 15:42-44)
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone, but if it dies, it bears much fruit. (John 12:24)
I must surrender every single day to how I thought things would be…how I think things should be. I must fall to my knees… and like that seed, die! Die to self, not my will but His….AND……. in that surrender, He strengthens me to RISE UP in Glory and Power!!
In the surrender I find His unexplainable PEACE!
“And with great anticipation we await the Promise to come
Everything that You have spoken will come to pass, let it be done
Oh, it shall be done!!!!!
Every dream, every word, every Promise.“
We shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. (1 Cor. 15:52)
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be STEADFAST, IMMOVEABLE, always ABOUNDING in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (1 Cor. 15:58)
This Easter was a JOYFUL occasion!! We got to celebrate our precious nephew Tatum’s new life in Christ through baptism.
Granddad and Tatum
Grace with her cousins and Granddad
Mother’s Day 2017
Jay and Katherine Wolf
Blessed to hear this amazing couple’s testimony. If you don’t know their story..GO! Check it out!!!! – Jay & Katherine Wolf HOPE HEALS What an encouragement they are!!
8th Grade Dance
Precious, beautiful Grace. I love her MORE!!! What a fun evening celebrating the end of Middle School.
This was one of those “moments” that our hearts were trying to juggle great joy and great sadness…We can’t celebrate this wonderful event without remembering that this was the first event after Warren died that his friends and classmates attended without him. It was heart breaking 2 years ago, and it was difficult this year, as Grace is now creating new memories that Warren did not….his absence was loud, and yet HIS Presence brought unexplainable peace and comfort..and even Joy!
Think on these things…
It’s easy to get lost in the onslaught of emotions… Especially in the midst of change and uncertainty. During these times I have to remind myself I have a choice. I can focus my attention on the circumstances surrounding me, or I can choose to put those “eternal lenses” back on and fix my eyes on the One I trust most, the One who can bring me out of the “crazy” and into pleasant places…Quiet places where my soul can find rest. (Psalm 16:6)
6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:6-8)
Living with brokenness for 827 days, 118 weeks, 27 months is challenging and time consuming. It’s exhausting. Missing Warren and wishing I could go back…Wondering how I can possibly do this for another day or week, much less another 800 days.
I want to hear his voice, I want to feel his arm around me, I want to smell his “scent”. I want him to be here for Grace. I want him to give her advice about high school, boys, and all the other things her big brother would do. I don’t want her to be an only child, wishing for her brother to still be here. I don’t want the “handshake” they had together to be something she now does in the air…alone. I hate when she goes down the street to shoot hoops all by herself.
I want Bill to have his son. I don’t want Bill left alone at the house while Grace and I do cheer. I want them hunting together or playing baseball. I want Bill to be having grown up, mature conversations with his boy about driving and dating and college. I don’t want Bill getting ready for baseball season…alone, without Warren.
..and we loved watching him! summer 2014
I wish I was posting a picture of him and a date at the formal from last weekend or getting ready for the Sweet 16 dance.
I struggle with the realization that Grace has now passed him in age. Her older brother is now younger than she is. It’s like all of a sudden we have no frame of reference. Everything is new for us…graduating 8th grade, high school, driving. It’s weird and hard to explain.
On one hand it’s like we are leaving him behind. As we leave middle school and the memories of the last couple years behind, I feel like we leave a part of us as well. Although going back was so difficult after Warren died..it’s all we’ve known and it almost brings me comfort to be where he last was..A new school, means new memories that don’t include him.
As time keeps ticking and we wake to face another day..we are forced to face many other life issues…
We are not immune to life’s other “various trials”.
I remember thinking right after Warren died that surely we would get a “break”…We did not, and have not. I could list major obstacles and challenges that have come our way just in the last 6 months. Parenting and marriage is hard when operating from a very broken place. Juggling time and responsibilities bring stress and sleepless nights.
In the beginning we gave ourselves a bit of a break, knowing people would understand (or hoping they would)…But now, it’s just different
I don’t know if the statement “Time Heals” is accurate, but “Life Goes On” certainly is!
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you face trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4)
Not the Only One With Stuff…
I have found myself on my knees praying and asking God to “please help us”! That may sound a bit dramatic, but the truth is I can’t face any of this alone. Not the “normal” stuff, not the hurt, not being a mother, not being a wife…and on and on!
In my weakness, the above paragraphs of “how I wish things could be”…would always take over and despair would set in (and believe me it happens)
But as I have cried and worked through some things..I also know I’m not the only one with “STUFF”
I’ve been reading and following Katherine and Jay Wolf and reading their book Hope Heals. www.hopeheals.com
Katherine suffered a massive brain stem stroke and lives with many physical disabilities. She is paralyzed on 1/2 her body and is in a wheelchair.
Even in her own suffering she realizes… just because you’re not in a wheelchair doesn’t mean you don’t face seasons of life where you feel stuck or paralyzed with no way out…
Oh, how often life has not turned out the way we planned.
All of our suffering is unique and cannot be compared..However, no matter the specifics of our circumstances there is only one answer…one hope and that is Jesus. We all might journey differently to land here, but no matter your hurt, or fear, or the unbearable situation you face….there is ONE Hope, One salvation, One Jesus and He cares about YOU and me!
So, as I scrolled through Instagram earlier and saw a precious newborn facing certain challenges his sweet momma never dreamed they would …I am reminded of the one thing that most often connects us ~ our pain and brokenness.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)
For this light and momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. (2 Corinthians 4:17)
Why are you downcast O my soul and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God. For I shall again praise Him. He is my help and my God. (Psalm 42:5,11 43:5)
If I’m honest…I am relieved the “Holidays” are coming to a close. I don’t hate Thanksgiving or Christmas, the festivities, and all that goes with them…In fact, being with friends and family is something I love very much..but I just struggle more during this time of year without Warren. It’s like every event, every gathering, & every picture is a reminder that things are not as they should be…
The expectations and the pressure (from myself) to make things “right” is simply exhausting. The music, the lights, the parties, the gifts, the decorations, the shopping…the overall stress can just about send anybody over the edge…now add to that the constant ache and longing for my boy, that won’t be here again this year to celebrate…well, it’s almost too much
In my opinion, this time of year is the hardest…because you just can’t escape it
I think the conflict of what I’m supposed to “feel”, and how I actually “feel” is more intense. The holidays are supposed to be all merry and bright and everything jolly…and I want that, oh, I really want that…but it’s so much more of a “fight” between my head and my heart and I’m constantly having to ignore the pain so I can function. I tell myself, “I’ll grieve later…I’ll cry later.” And of course it can build up and then I act like a crazy person or take it out on someone, usually one of the two people I love most….I say I’m sorry, but what’s done is done and the words I can’t take back…. Oh, it can be a vicious cycle.
The distractions that come with the season also make things harder. Inevitably, schedules become busier and my attention is divided among too many things. Somehow, my routine of spending time in the Word can suffer, and oh how quickly my focus can be more on the things of this world…and then it’s only a matter of time before things spiral…downward…
The Hope of Christmas…
And then, when I least expect it, I receive a text, a note, a gift, or a word of encouragement that switches my attention to what I do love about this time of year….People remembering and loving and giving of themselves. My attention shifts from how I feel to what I know…and what I know is Jesus… And because of Jesus and the people that point me back to Jesus, I can see a little more clearly past the hurt to the Promise of the One who never changes and who is One Day going to make all these sad things untrue.
On Christmas Day…I told Grace we’d have to “try again next year” to make it better or somehow easier. What I actually insinuated was that maybe next year we could skip Christmas..and she immediately pulled back and told me I was losing my mind 🙂
She was right… and if I’m honest, I don’t want to skip Christmas. The truth is, I need Christmas. The Hope of Christmas is everything to me!
Flexible and Last Minute 🙂 …
We decided last minute to drive and be with family because being home alone, just the 3 of us, was something we weren’t ready for.
Christmas Eve Service, celebrating Jesus with my family in San Antonio couldn’t have been more special …
The wonderful noise of my nieces and nephews Christmas morning was exactly what we needed.
My favorite Christmas moment…
My favorite memory was early Christmas morning with Grace and my nephew Tatum …He was looking for “the red shirt my mom told me to put on before going downstairs”, and after finding it, he had his head inside the shirt, and I said something about praying together before waking mom and dad. Honestly, at the time I think i was using it as a stall tactic:) but when Tatum looked at me and said “ok” as if it were only natural that we pray first, I asked him what we should pray for….and with little to no hesitation at all he said, “Let’s ask Jesus to keep Warren safe in heaven and to tell Warren Merry Christmas.” As you can imagine, my eyes were warm with tears as I softly whispered the words this 6 year old boy had requested.
May I never forget that it’s in the “hard” that somehow I see Jesus most clearly. He never fails to show up and He is always perfectly ENOUGH!
A quick trip to the JW in San Antonio Christmas Day…a hard place for me because of the memories I have of being there as a family of 4. If I’m honest, it was a difficult 24hrs. I suppose the “let down” after Christmas is hard and the quiet that follows makes room for the reality of our life to settle back in… and so the “fight” continues to fix our eyes on Jesus…to remember that He is faithful..and to keep singing the song of victory…
The Song of Moses Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the Lord, saying,
“I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea. 2 The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.”
It was cool and damp. The ground was soft and my heels sank into the ground. I hugged family and saw some for the first time since Warren died. I remember hearing people whisper…”You’re going to have to help her..be there for her.” I remember sitting, holding Bills hand tightly, trying to be strong for Grace. I remember a breeze blowing through, just as Jerrell asked the Holy Spirit to be near and bring comfort. I remember singing. I wanted to worship…I wanted to sing..because I wasn’t sure what would happen if I took my eyes off Jesus.
To take my eyes off Jesus meant a coffin, a cemetery..death. All of which I didn’t want to face or accept as my reality…I just couldn’t
Someone suggested we have a photographer… I couldn’t imagine why at the time. But what do I know… 2 years later…looking back, these pictures tell a story. A story of brokenness and great loss. A story of strength and courage. A story of community coming together. A story of family and friends serving and loving each other….A story of a boy that left a legacy worth remembering and honoring.
At the cemetery…I don’t remember specifics about this moment..except that my heart hurt and I simply couldn’t wrap my mind around how this could be me…I do however, remember this breeze, this wind that blew right as Jerrell began speaking of the Holy Spirit. If I’m not mistaken, he even stopped and pointed it out… I also remember being so thankful for the guitar..and at the time, whoever the strange guy was playing it….Now…we dearly love that ‘strange guy'(and his family)!!
Our church family…We honestly would not be where we are on this journey without the amazing support, encouragement and love from our church family at First Baptist. So many people that served us in those days are still around and continue to Love us in ways that give us much needed strength.
His service…I remember as we planned this service we wanted it to be worshipful. For some this may have been uncomfortable…but the time of praise was exactly what our weary, broken hearts needed. Forever grateful to the singers and musicians who led us into the Courts of Praise that day.
“Uncle Bob…..” Warren’s love of hunting and all things outdoors came from this man.
“It Is Well With My Soul…..” Let it always be.
Warren’s sermon to many given by our pastor… #Jesussaves #saltandlight #notwasted #cityonahill
RBI …’a run batted in is credited to the batter for the number of runners who score due to the hit by the batter’ #ISTOODUP #JESUSSAVES #RISEUP
Praying especially this moment for those who ‘stood’…for those who felt the spiritual tug of the Holy Spirit December 2nd, two years ago. Praying that as we look back and remember, we are encouraged to move forward..one step at a time. One day at a time…
I was reminded by a sweet 7 year old who recently lost her mother, that there are 2 ways to look at death…”when I say my mom just died, that makes me sad. When I say, my mom died BUT she’s in Heaven, I’m not as sad …!”
oh the simple faith of a child….eternal lenses…perspective💙
Rising up! Praying tonight for hurting hearts and others struggling to make sense of death and life eternal. Why so much pain and suffering…? Why the brokenness and the loneliness of losing a loved one. Your ways are higher…and your plans far greater than we could ever imagine…O, but Jesus we need you this night!
Remembering…This past weekend seemed to mimic the weekend 2 years ago that Warren was injured in an ATV accident that ultimately took his life….or better said, the weekend Warren met Jesus face to face, the weekend Warren made it Home! The weather & the blue skies…it was so similar and hard to ignore.
The details of the weekend and how normal life seemed to be until that horrible moment have me thinking and remembering…
The obvious….How VERY much we miss Warren and wish that day almost 2 years ago had turned out differently.
The other…How quickly life can change, how fleeting this life is, & most importantly, how all of this points me to Jesus ..STILL!
It’s been almost 2 years, and I’m not sure if it seems like yesterday or the longest 2 years of my life..Both, maybe. But One thing remains, our Hope is Jesus. He is the Light of the world and because of this Promise, we will RISE UP and be thankful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ..and because of The Gospel we KNOW that Warren is ALIVE and we will see him again…
You remembering Warren is important to us. It is important to know that you have not forgotten. I know the how and the what are difficult and you want to be respectful …if it makes you feel any better, even within our immediate family, we don’t always know what we want or need..and that may actually complicate things , BUT what we do know is that however you choose to remember our boy…it will be perfect!
Be a LIGHT, Be the Hands and Feet of Jesus to a neighbor, Show kindness, Talk about Warren, Be thankful, Post a favorite memory, Send us a text, Wear your camo, Let someone know they are LOVED…Share on social media #warrenswarriors
We are grateful for our family, friends..our entire community and how so many of you have bravely walked beside us ..both near and from a distance. We have not forgotten and we could not possibly thank you enough.
This song and the lyrics are a powerful reminder of Jesus and the unshakeable Hope we have in Him. He is the One that quiets our doubts, echos within us every Promise. His Word is louder than our fears and His JOY is greater than our grief.
I have set my heart on You. You have every part of me.
12-9-14 (1 week after Warren’s celebration of life service)…
“Quiet is scary…I miss him so much. Warren Austin Barfield. Even to write his name hurts my whole body…I can’t breathe.
Is. 40:31 But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
…but those who HOPE in the Lord…*My hope is in you Lord
…will renew their strength…praying my strength is renewed. My “normal” life is at a standstill…people and things are moving all around me..but not me..to move forward means to accept Warren is gone…that hurts too much. Give me strength to Rise up!
they will soar on wings like eagles...oh to “soar”..to feel the wind in my face, to be held. I want to soar on wings….
they will run and not grow weary…I am SO tired. Just getting out of bed is exhausting, putting on my “face” is exhausting, lunch with friends is exhausting, crying is exhausting, not crying is exhausting….
they will walk and not faint...will I ever be “awake” again?? Can I ever go back to everyday things and not grow weary or faint??? If I trust and hold onto His Promise here in Isaiah 40…then YES!
I trust you Lord…Psalm 115
Thank you Warren for this most basic truth..TRUST! It’s not easy but I TRUST in the HOPE of the Lord!!”
Jesus flood our hearts with LIGHT!!! Give us understanding of the confident HOPE we have in you!
We are your holy people-Your rich and glorious inheritance….
Oh Lord Jesus, not me but YOU! Today has been so “random”…good, busy, productive, just feeling like I can’t breathe..tired.
The wind is blowing outside bringing in a cold front!!
Blow Holy Spirit a new and fresh “thing”….
Give us abundance, freedom, MORE of Jesus!!!
It’s November….Again. Another holiday season without my boy. Another Thanksgiving, another Christmas, another hard, another 23rd & 24th..this time marking 2 years since Warren left this earth and made it Home. Again…it seems almost unbearable. Again, I am reminded that it is here, in this brokenness I find Jesus. Again…and again it’s JUST JESUS.
As complicated as this world wants to make things….at the end of the day…at the end of myself…I find what is unchanging…and it is Jesus.
The memories still bring tears that sting…the future without Warren still scares me…
But I love the Lord, because he has heard me…He has heard my pleas for mercy. Because he has inclined his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live. (Ps. 116:1-2)
I am thankful today..being able to look back…I have hesitated to go back and read my journals because I can’t bear to remember how hard this journey has been. But today I am reminded that He was there, even a week after leaving the cemetery…a year ago today…He was ushering in a “new” thing. He has always been and will always be…ENOUGH for me
“I still believe…Warren Austin Barfield…mom still BELIEVES!!”
The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies, you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
I was sitting here this morning overwhelmed. Overwhelmed with grief and how it complicates everyday life. I won’t go into all of it, but the stress of family, finances, activities, obligations etc can take a real toll on a weary soul.
Living life with grief, a scattered brain, unanswered texts, missed appointments, calls that need to be returned, thank you notes that need to be written, tasks and chores left undone, and friendships that need tending to….have me before the Lord asking for MORE of Him during this season. I need Him now more than yesterday and I am more thankful today for sweet friends and family that have endured the uncertainty of this journey and encouraged me more than you may ever know! I am LOVED. I am grateful.
I was blessed to be part of a sweet time of prayer and praise last night with a dear friend whose husband is Home with the Lord after battling brain cancer. I listened to the honest, simple prayers of 13 & 14 year old girls as they prayed over their friend who misses her Daddy. I love that this family absolutely knows where their help comes from, and the LIGHT that shines from their testimony is inspiring to me. There was an unexplainable peace and even joy as we gathered in the front yard declaring that Jesus is still enough in the middle of a storm. It is only because of Jesus that we can both mourn and rejoice during our suffering here on earth.
I think God wants us to live transparent and vulnerable. I believe we are to live in FREEDOM, because in Christ we are VICTORIOUS!! (..this is just me…preaching much needed truths to my heart 🙂 )
Please Jesus help us to remember that today, and flood us with MORE of you and give us opportunity to share this with others that need more than what this world can offer.
My prayer is that I would not believe the lies of the enemy as he tries to convince me that in my grief “I can’t….” or “that’s too hard…” I want to keep moving from ‘here to THERE’…show us how to keep moving and to point others to You. It’s just JESUS.
Jesus. Jesus. Jesus
We still need your help to get our kids sponsored!
We would be SO grateful if you would pray about your involvement and how God might be able to use you.
So many times in the past… opportunities fell right into my lap that I basically ignored. I often put things off or assumed someone else would do it. Please don’t miss the blessing!
Thank you in advance for praying with us that each of these boys will get sponsored!
Saturday morning before school starts…heavy heart searching for some relief
Thinking about Grace’s first day in 8th grade and how she will feel walking into the 8th grade building…How will her teachers treat her? She doesn’t want special attention…but it’s hard to ignore the fact that some of her teachers were the last teachers Warren ever had.
Will seeing his locker be difficult..?
How to face another day where Warren’s absence seems to be more obvious and painful
Everything about summer ending and school beginning is not at all how it should be for our family … Jesus help
(journal entry 8/21)
School starts tomorrow…I can’t stop crying…trying to hide the tears
Jesus help me to rise up!
Jesus help me to keep my focus on You.
The last 3 or 4 days have been waves and waves of emotion…lots and lots of tears. The rollercoaster of ups and downs has been exhausting. My heart has been victim to to the unrelenting pain of missing Warren and wishing so much that he was here to start his sophomore year.
Helping Grace get ready for 8th grade…so exciting and yet so surreal. This will be the year she passes Warren in school and age. She will do things he never got the chance to do…8th grade dance, planning for HS etc. Everything about the next few months will be especially hard as we get closer to November 24th. It’s just hard to wrap my brain around the fact that 2 years ago we were living life like we had years and years of time ahead of us…but in reality we had 94 days, 3 months and 2 days, 66 week days & 28 weekend days…
Sometimes I wish I’d known…not all the details, but enough to know I needed to make each minute of every day count. But that’s crazy! Of course I wouldn’t have wanted to know, but I often wonder how much time I wasted on things that absolutely didnotmatter…It’s a slippery slope when I let myself think this way-regret & guilt are not fun ever, but especially when you can’t go back and make things “right”.
So….Live with no regrets! Love deeply..tell them…OFTEN! Hug…OFTEN! (no matter how old they are) Laugh…Ask questions…Talk at dinner…Put love notes in their lunch (no matter how old they are 🙂 ) Tuck them in at night and snuggle in the morning to wake them up! And most importantly, if you don’t already, talk to them about Jesus!!!!!
Serve Jesus together…go to church and worship together…pray together, read your Bible together. They aren’t too young OR too old!! This is one regret you DON’T want to have!
(and…this doesn’t apply just to your children, but your spouse, your family and friends…LOVE them well and LOVE Jesus with everything you’ve got!)
Hmmm…not even sure I meant to travel down that road, but maybe Ineeded the reminder to make the most of my days with Jesus…
First Day of 8th Grade…
We did it!!! HE did it…. If you could see my face and hear my voice when I say that “He did it!!” you would know that a huge “AMEN!” is in order…. Everything that took place in this house on Monday morning was just like yours. Well…maybe…we take LOTS of pictures (lawwwts), so that might be different 😉 But we woke up extra early, ate a good breakfast (which may or may not happen on a regular basis), had all our supplies ready, and took ‘first day’ pics! All of this with NO tears…and believe me when I say tears are good and healthy and I should know…I cry all the time…however, Grace and Bill do not, so it was such a gift to me (and them) for mom to not cry!! Thank you Jesus!
Thank you Jesus for the “storm” before the “calm”… If I was judging how Monday would go based on Saturday and Sunday…it wasn’t going to be good. Instead, His grace was sufficient & we each experienced it beyond measure, and we had a “normal” day.
Opportunity and Courage…
No doubt this school year will bring difficult days as well as days filled with MORE of Jesus… However, whether in the middle of a storm or calm, we will praise him. Maybe through tears or even gritted teeth, but it’s only because of Jesus that we can face either.
Praying this school year brings more opportunity to Rise Up & Shine (to be radiant with the glory of the Lord Is. 60:1) and the courage to share our faith.
Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive, so that you will have the right response for everyone. Col. 4:5-6
We arrived in Zambia Saturday evening after 2 days of travel! We were exhausted, emotional and excited.. all wrapped up in one! We were greeted by a super friendly Camp Life staff, a choir of beautiful voices worshiping in song and dance, and the most beautiful scenery/backdrop I think I have ever seen.
It was truly powerful and evident from the very beginning that God was working and the Holy Spirit was moving..and this was just the first day!
Sunday was our first full day and a special one for sure….We worshipped together with the Zambian children, in their language and ours. The songs were songs of celebration as well as a cry for Jesus to come down. I remember the lyrics of a particular song that spoke to my heart that day…“We need you Jesus, it’s hard without you”. So simple, yet this message is the cry of my heart every day…And it’s the same with these children. They believe Jesus is THE answer, and their honest and deep need for Him was heard in every song. They don’t take anything for granted and the work that God is doing through Family Legacy is giving them an opportunity for a life outside of poverty they would not have otherwise.
I met two women on Sunday that God so graciously put in my path…Wendy and Elizabeth! Wendy was sitting in the worship center among hundreds of Zambian children as we entered into the Legacy Center. It was packed and we didn’t see many open seats. Grace left to snag an empty chair and I sat near her across the aisle. A few seats down sat Wendy, who quickly introduced herself to Grace and eventually to me.
It was a brief conversation, but one that gave me the opportunity to share with her about Warren. The look in her eyes and the kind words she spoke were more than the typical sympathy gesture. It ends up she is walking a similar journey with one of her best friends who has a son in Heaven.
Here we are, both from Texas, sitting in this room in Africa, full of people…and God uses her journey/story to encourage my hurting heart. I’ve even heard Grace tell the story of meeting Wendy..and how crazy it was that of all the places for us to find a seat in that crowded room…God sat us next to her!!
My “evangelist” or “Zambian helper”… This is her title but, she is SO MUCH MORE and the time spent getting to know her and work beside her is forever etched on my heart. She is in her 30’s, married with 2 children. She has a son and a daughter. Her son lives in Heaven. He died 2 days after he was born. She is a grieving mother who has placed her complete faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Her hope is Jesus. She smiles and laughs because she has set her sights on eternity….
This precious girl is who I was paired with!! God gave me Elizabeth! We, of course immediately bonded because we both have children in heaven. Only another mother who has experienced the death of a child can truly relate ..and that she did! We embraced. We cried. We laughed. We shared our stories.
Elizabeth prayed some of the most beautiful prayers I think I’ve ever heard. She came to me each morning with a Word or a scripture. Her rock solid love for Jesus was contagious and encouraging.
I miss her and think of her often. What a blessing she is to me!
Monday through Friday
As if Sunday weren’t enough God had so much more in store for us throughout the week. More special people and special moments… seeing God at work in Zambia has left us wanting more of Jesus. That one week, those 7 days, and 10 boys (each!)..have challenged me to live differently.
Most (all) of these kids are living in less than ideal situations. Abandoned. Orphaned. Some sleep on the floor, or a chair, maybe, if they’re lucky, they share a bed with another family member. Most eat only once or twice a day. They are not in school. The boys in my group are between the ages of 7&10 and most have never been to school.
You can help…We can help!
Family Legacy has 22 privately-owned and operated Legacy Academy schools within 18 different communities of Lusaka, Zambia.
Each child that is sponsored receives a daily hot meal, school supplies, uniforms and Christian discipleship services.
Family Legacy believes that educating these children is just the beginning to growing a new generation of Christian leaders in Zambia.
Below is a link for you to visit the Family Legacy website to learn more about how you can invest in the lives of these children.
If you are interested in this type of commitment, we still have a few that need your help! I would love to share more about this, so you can message me below.
Yes, its a financial commitment, but it’s also a commitment to pray and stay connected with your child. It’s a wonderful opportunity to invest in Eternity, to have Kingdom vision, & to use the gifts God has given us to help someone less fortunate.
I continue to be amazed by God’s faithfulness. I don’t know why I’m often surprised when He comes through so specifically and intentionally, like putting such amazing people in my life from Family Legacy!! I find myself just saying, “Wow! God you’ve done it again. Taking our unimaginable pain and loss and turning it into gain…His gain.”
I can’t imagine this journey without Jesus. My heart aches for Warren every single day. I miss him so much! Oh, what I wouldn’t give to have him back, to hear his voice, to laugh and joke with him. I am constantly wondering what he would be like today…15 going on 16. Almost driving…dating? baseball? friends? I know he wouldn’t trade eternity for those things, but my mind and my heart just can’t fully let go of the “what if’s”….
I surrender to His sovereign plan….but it’s a decision I have to make over and over again. Missing my boy will always be part of who I am, what I do, what I feel…But it isn’t without hope that I miss Warren. I miss Warren knowing One Day I will see him again!! I’m thankful for this promise. I love you Jesus! I love you Warren!!
He continues to be faithful and His promises are true!
As many of you know we had the incredible opportunity to experience and be part of what God is doing through Family Legacy in Zambia.
We traveled to Lusaka, Africa June 23-July 3…. Camp Life – Week 4. We served and loved on children all week, and ended up being blessed BIG TIME by some precious 9 & 10 year old little boys that we got to know and spend time with.
There is so much to share, as God continues to speak to my heart and transform me from who I was, to who He wants me to be. I am so thankful that this was not just an event, but rather a spring board for MORE of Jesus in my life.
He is working and moving…using Zambia to remind me that He has a plan for my life, for good and not evil…a future and a HOPE! (Jer. 29:11)
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners. Is. 61:1
These sweet boys stole our hearts forever…
Video Clip 🙂
I gathered some pictures from our trip and created a short video. Some of the pictures are ones that we took personally, while some were taken by Kate Swail, one of the CL photographers who became a very, very dear friend 🙂 You can watch the video by clicking on this link… camp life 2016 video
We are beyond grateful for Family Legacy and all those who helped make this trip possible. God continues to show me “new things”… He continues to bring healing to my brokenness, and purpose to my pain.
There wasn’t one day, one moment that I didn’t think of Warren and how much he would have loved being part of Camp Life. These boys would have loved him! It was an honor to share Warren’s story as we used it to share the Hope of Jesus Christ with these kids who desperately need something to hope in!
“Jesus Is Enough” isn’t just a clever christian saying…as I continue to preach this to myself every day, I believe it with every fiber of my being. I wanted each of these precious Zambian boys to know that no matter what they face, or how hard life seems to get, Jesus is the answer and He is enough. It’s not easy…in fact, it can be awfully hard…so I’m choosing to do “hard” with Jesus. In Christ Jesus, I am victorious!! Isn’t that good news? Oh, I want them to live victorious in Christ….
Stay tuned…because you can help 😉 I have so many stories, but I wanted to break it up , so nothing would be lost in a super long post.
Overwhelmed with a grateful heart…
I love you Warren Austin Barfield…oh, “One Day” is coming!!!
A week ago we were honored to present 5 Stratford HS seniors
with the first ‘Warren Barfield Scholarship’.
This scholarship in honor of Warren’s life and legacy was made possible because of the money raised by a local group in our neighborhood known as The Wilchester Men’s Club. We were blown away by the generosity of those in our community and couldn’t think of a better way to use it than to give back. So with the help of our amazing friends at the Spring Branch Education Foundation office we created the Warren Barfield Scholarship to be given to graduating seniors for college.
As much as I’d like to express what an honor it was to be part of such a special evening (and it was!), I must also admit how very surreal it was. I could hardly wrap my mind around the reason we were there, yet at the same time.. ‘the reason‘ we were there consumed my every thought. It was difficult not to look around and think..”Warren will never have this opportunity. He will not graduate from HS.” My insides hurt and my eyes stung from the tears I tried to not let fall. It was another moment that just didn’t belong…How could this be my life? My story?
A side note…
Bill and I have started wearing our new Fit Bit’s to track our steps as motivation to exercise more…Well, this thing is so cool that not only does it tell me how many steps I have taken, it also vibrates when I get a text. 🙂
Before we left for the event I had texted a few people to be praying…
As we were standing outside the banquet room, waiting to go in…. literally my wrist begins to vibrate…over and over and over…Each vibration was a text….a different prayer of encouragement!!!
I was not alone!! I was being covered in prayer and (because I can be so stupid/slow sometimes) God used a physical touch to remind me that, once again, He would be enough! I mean, how cool is that? 🙂
It’s NOT about me
The evening was special. Each recipient was genuinely grateful. In my mind I guess I had envisioned talking to each student and sharing our story… etc. etc…. It did not turn out that way. However, what I heard God whisper to me was that all of ‘this’..Warren’s story, our journey, it’s God’s to use, not mine. It’s not about me!!
God is always working. I believe that with my whole heart. I am just here to live in such a way that others will know.. it’s NOT me, but God.
I pray God will use me. I pray that I will not waste one opportunity to be a light that points others to Jesus.
Thankful to have this man by my side. May 19, 2005 1995 (oops!) 🙂 I married my best friend. The last year 1/2 we’ve had to fight harder for things we used to take for granted. I love you Bill Barfield with every fiber of my being…we’ve got this…HE’S got us and NOTHING is impossible as long as we keep our focus on Jesus.
This popped up in my ‘Timehop” app today. This is part of a letter Warren wrote to his Granddad after learning that he had been sick. I cannot tell you what it means to have these scriptures written in Warren’s handwriting.
I can’t wait to see you Warren Austin….I love you-MORE!
The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me, your love, O Lord, endures forever- do not abandon the works of your hands. Psalm 138:8
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. Psalm 42:5
Mother’s Day…Year 2
I was reminded that I still need Jesus. I still need your prayers and encouragement.
It was a day that took a bit more strength to face than other days. It was bitter and sweet all at the same time.
There was laughter and joy as well as quiet tears because of the brokenness that has made it’s home in my heart.
I was loved well by Grace and Bill (I have the best daughter in the whole wide world!!!) She made the cutest pancakes for breakfast!
I greatly appreciated the text messages sent with such tender thoughtfulness.
I thought of Warren and missed him so much.
God’s glorious grace, once again, brought unexplainable comfort.
It’s Not Over
One of the hardest things about this journey is how disappointing it can be to wake up after Mother’s Day (or any hard day), only to realize I have to do this all over again next year. Not only that, but every other “difficult” day in between. It’s never over. I don’t get to wake up with a sigh of relief or a sense of accomplishment. I wake… immediately realizing another day of living with the heartbreak of Warren’s death, is in front of me.
I don’t know anything about how the brain works, from a medical point of view, but I do know from personal experience, that somehow you can ‘manipulate’ your thoughts. I’ve often wondered how in the world someone without the hope of Christ lives through the death of a child (or any kind of suffering). I’m guessing (maybe) that with some learned tools, over time, you can manage and learn to live with this type of pain (without faith). I am certainly thankful for the ‘tools’ I am learning in counseling which help me to work through my “grief”…
However, it is ONLY my faith and trust in Jesus Christ helping me to do MORE than manipulate my thoughts and ‘survive’ another day. In Christ, I am believing that there is more purpose to my pain than just surviving it. If it was simply surviving, I might have already given up that fight…But because of the abounding grace God has lavished upon me, I know that I am being strengthened every day for His assignment on my life. I wish it were different and some days I don’t feel up for the task. Oh, how…I wish it were different. Yet, in my weakness…on my hardest day, His grace is sufficient. His power is made perfect in me. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
I’m no expert on grief, loss, or dealing with pain and sadness. Half the time, I’m not even sure what direction I’m headed 😉 The other day I was trying to get some cards in the mail and realized I had put the stamps in the left hand corner instead of the right. I can wander around a store and not remember why I came. I can hold back my tears sometimes, and sometimes I can’t. I know there are steps to healing…but I think I’m writing my own! I often feel like I can’t put into words how I’m feeling or how things are going. This can be frustrating and hard especially on those around me, I know.
I miss Warren and my heart still aches.
I know that God is protecting my family and keeping us close to Himself and each other..I am so grateful for that. I know that God is working and that He loves me. I know that He will fulfill His purpose in me. (Psalm 138:8)
Like everyone else, we are wrapping up another school year. These weeks are always so full of activity and very busy. I find myself thinking about the summer and even wondering what it will be like as Grace begins her 8th grade year in the fall. What will it be like when she turns 14. Warren will always be her older brother, but since he died at age 13, in the middle of his 8th grade year…I just wonder…
I Still Believe
I still believe that God will keep providing the strength we need. I believe that He is still very much enough. I still believe that Heaven is better and the best is yet to come!! I believe His work in my life & Warren’s life is greater than I can even imagine. I will trust Him because I still believe He is good.
I love this picture of Warren. It reminds me to be strong and courageous. It reminds me to be brave like Esther. Thank you buddy for pointing me to Jesus. I love you so very much!
Spring Break ~ Warren’s 15th birthday ~ Move ~ Easter
Spring Break 2016
Florida with Bill and Grace for Spring Break. Spring Break in Florida without Warren.
Beautiful water, blue skies & white sand….
Beautiful and New. Laughter and Sorrow. Stories and Adventures. Tears and Joy.
This is how we do our new normal…experiencing new, while remembering the past and longing for how things used to be. Moving forward, but desperately wishing we could go back. Making new memories, but fondly remembering the old…
We continue to trust The One in control…but Oh, how we wish things were different.
Happy 15th Birthday to my first born!!!
We celebrate you every day…so when March 23rd roles around each year, we will praise God for the days we had with you on this earth, and JOYFULLY look forward to the forever celebration to come….Love you…MORE!
I guess we thought we would “eat” our way through the day… 🙂 So we had some of your favorites! Grace and I also went and had our nails painted blue! Honestly…we fumbled through the day not knowing really what to do or how to do it. It wasn’t perfect…it won’t ever be, i guess…So we just asked God to be glorified and to surround us with a love greater than all loves…and…He did just that. So thankful that we serve a God that loves us and considers us in our time of need.
La Madeleine for breakfast (quiche lorraine, strawberries) 🙂
Bar-b-q for dinner (ribs…)
There is so much behind this picture…There is NO WAY I can put into words or even begin to describe how God used these (and others not pictured) to minister, encourage, support, and physically help us with this move. My heart is full every time I look at these faces and remember the sacrifice of time and energy they gave to our family, on their day off, to come and serve.
In case you didn’t notice in the above pictures…there is one person who just might have experienced the biggest blessing of all! You see, on Sunday, 5 days before this picture was taken, he was in the hospital. 5 days before this picture, this man, My Dad, or better yet, Warren’s Granddad, was wearing a vest that was monitoring his heart. He was weak and possibly looking at surgery to place a pacemaker that would control an abnormal heart rhythm.
5 days before this picture, I asked God to completely heal his heart. I knew the pacemaker and the doctors caring for him could assist in his getting better…but I asked that God would heal his heart completely. 3 days before this picture, my brother called and said..”hey, the doctor said Dad’s heart has reverted back to normal. they are removing the vest and he has no physical restrictions.” Dad said to the doctor, “this is a miracle!” and the doctor said…”well, thats one way to look at it.” We are so grateful to the doctors and nurses and how they have cared for our Dad. We just believe that it is God’s sovereignty that instead of a pacemaker keeping his heart in rhythm, it’s beating just fine on its own!
So…as dad hugged each neck, and shook each hand, He was blessed in a huge way!
Jesus hears us. He loves us…& He is the Great Physician.
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies though his Spirit who dwells in you. Romans 8:11
After what seemed like a month of “hard” … we closed it out by switching our focus to the cross, the resurrection, and the Hope that ‘Sunday’s coming’! I just believe it wasn’t a coincidence that the first morning in our new home was Easter morning. Easter. Pointing us to look back and to remember, and in remembering, we can confidently look ahead, knowing that deliverance IS coming! Our future is secure in Christ! It might not be yet, but IT IS coming!
For now we see in a mirror dimly but then face to face, Now I know in part, Then I shall know FULLY, even as I have been FULLY known. (1 Cor. 13:12)
Leaving the house where Warren last lived , packing up his things…putting them in tubs so fearful we were leaving him behind… was painful for my still very tender heart. But as I take the time to look back at how graciously God provided ~ His mercies NEW every morning , I am strengthened once again to take a step of faith forward.
‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy… (Matthew 28:7-8)
Today, I am thankful that He goes before me. I am also thankful that as a mom who misses her boy, I can be ‘afraid YET filled with Joy’….
So, I’m trying to organize pictures… which is not an easy task!
I am so thankful for all the photos we have but I often get overwhelmed as I try to sift through them. With i cloud, drop box, Facebook & Instagram I feel like I’ve got pictures all over the place.
“all over the place..” Not only does that describe the state of our family pictures, but my emotions these days!! It seems to be that more often than not, I can’t think clearly. My daily tasks take me longer to accomplish (if they get accomplished!). When asked, “What do you have going on this week..?” I genuinely can’t remember, although every day seems busy. I feel like my head is constantly spinning with ‘to-do’ lists, and I’m doing good to take care of the necessities ….grocery shopping, getting Grace to and from school and cheer, being a wife to Bill…I mean, if we’ve got food and toilet paper, its a good day!
This may be a bit exaggerated, but things do seem to be moving all around me, while I’m still 2 steps behind..always playing catch-up and never feeling on top of things.
Grieving is a full time job!!
15 months-457 days-65 weeks
That’s how long its been since Warren went to Heaven. Crazy! Crazy! Crazy! I miss him so much!!! Sometimes I feel like missing him is the only constant in my day… A year and 3 months and my heart aches and my thoughts are consumed with the reality of him not being here.
I don’t typically know how many days its been since he went to Heaven….some days it feels like it was yesterday, while others feel like it was forever ago. All I know, is that being 3 months into year 2, I miss him the same as I did 457 days ago. Has anything changed? Yes… But not how much we wish Warren were still here with us!
What has changed is the fact that I have 457 days of God’s faithfulness behind me!!!
Today in my daily devotional (Heaven On Earth) the title was ‘Hang On to Hope’….
We want you to know what will happen…so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. (1 Thessalonians 4:13)
Biblical Hope:’It’s present enjoyment of a future reality, an active looking forward to what we know to be true. It’s the truth of the future in our hearts today.’
‘Whatever it takes, cultivate HOPE. God is bigger and better than any circumstance. Find his promise and purpose in everything. And hang on to HOPE against everything that tries to steal it from you.’ (from Heaven On Earth)
I believe in His promises Today, because He was faithful yesterday..and I believe He will be faithful tomorrow, because He will be faithful TODAY! Talk about a Truth to get lost in…His faithfulness!!!
Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:7,8)
Remembering how He has been faithful is so important…. To remember and recall all that God has done, confirms His sovereignty over our life and reminds me that Warren’s death has not been wasted. God is working … all of it…for HIS GLORY!
So grateful for the MANY ways our friends and family continue to love on us…..We love you more than you will ever know!!
I’m a visual person…so here are a few pictures to SEE how God has been faithful over the last couple of months!!
Delivering turkeys with friends for Family Point Resources
Random Acts of Kindness in honor of WB…
Family and friends posting photos wearing their camo!!
I had simply “mentioned” (weeks before the 24th) wanting this day to be full of “light”… So…..Special friends came over to decorate both inside and outside our home. Paper luminary bags with personal messages covered our front yard! We even have the decorative lights still hanging inside our house. 🙂
A sweet group of Warren’s friends came over on the 23rd to share memories, pray and encourage one another! We were so very touched by this….we laughed and cried and LOVED all the stories!
This was a very special time for Grace to be surrounded with friends! It is so important to us that Warren not be forgotten…this was a perfect way to keep his memory alive! Thank you!
The morning of the 24th, we woke up early to go get donuts from Krispy Kreme! At one point Grace and I were sitting in the car, we looked up and literally could not believe what we were seeing. It was the most beautiful sunrise!! It was absolutely spectacular! I have no doubt this was God’s way of wrapping us up in His loving arms…blanketing us with His tender mercy and grace!
Oh, the kindness of a good, good Father that loves us so well!
Our neighbor took this picture of the sunrise over our house…
After Warren went to Heaven, our community tied blue bows all around our neighborhood in honor of Warren. One evening, we were driving home and a precious friend of Warren’s and her Dad were writing a verse and ‘WB’ on the window of this vacant building. A year later, it is still there…I drive by it at least once a day and it warms my heart!
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.
I absolutely lovethis picture of Warren!! I love the arm bands and the black and white rope around his neck. He wore these things himself. Whenever he stepped foot on a baseball field (for a game or practice), he was ready…mentally, physically, and completely dressed. And by completely dressed, I mean his shirt tucked in with a belt! ALWAYS! This was initially encouraged by his Dad, but eventually Warren would do this on his own without any prompting from us.
I love this picture without his baseball cap on! I can see his eyes and his freckles. I can tell his hair has been recently cut. He seriously looks so handsome! It almost seems like yesterday….I like seeing him with all his gear, but this picture where I can see his whole face makes me smile. We had many great seasons of baseball and loved each of them for different reasons. However, this may be one of my favorites. I just remember Warren growing so much as a player this season…not to mention lasting friendships that came from this team!!
Baseball is starting up …What I wouldn’t give to be watching our #12 play! It still hurts in ways I can’t explain. I miss it all…carpooling, practices, games, tournaments, blankets, friends, winning, losing, bats, bags, dirty baseball pants, gloves, caps, ( & I can’t forget sunscreen!)….It just can’t be, really, that those things will not be in my life….at least not as we once knew it. I miss it and it makes me very sad.
Is that ok? I just want to be sad. I want to explain that not one single day goes by that I’m not sad. At some point, every single day I think of my boy and I am sad that he is not here with me. A little more than 12 months has passed and being sad is still daily …for me. Sad, doesn’t always mean tears, but sometimes. Sad doesn’t mean I can’t function, but sometimes. Sad doesn’t mean I’m hiding at home, but sometimes. Sad doesn’t mean I can’t laugh, but sometimes. Sad doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy time with friends, but sometimes. SOMETIMES when I’m sad I do just want to hide and cry, but other times I choose to focus on the eternal and remember my Hope is found in Jesus Christ. In those moments …my “sad” moments, I’m reminded to trust even more in Jesus.
So, I’ve been sad that Warren didn’t get to try out for the Stratford baseball team. AND, if I’m really honest, I feel like he missed out. It’s not about whether he’d made it or not, but he didn’t even get a chance. It stinks!!
We actually went to one of the teams’ first scrimmages on Friday afternoon…the weather was amazing, it was so good to see some of his buds, and visit with friends. But as we left, I had this overwhelming feeling like we were leaving something/someone behind. I used to feel that a lot right after Warren died…but Friday night, walking to our car, that feeling consumed me. I guess in some way I was leaving something behind…MY hopes and MY dreams of watching Warren play HS baseball. Nothing wrong with those hopes and dreams, but at this point on our journey that’s what they are…hopes and dreams for my precious boy that I must lay at the feet of Jesus and trust that His plans are better than mine…that His ways are higher. It’s not about me…or Warren. It’s much bigger! I’m trusting, still… that God is working, that HE loves me and that He is Good!!
As I sat in those stands Friday afternoon I was reminded that Warren actually had been on this field before. Several years ago (4th grade, I think) Warren was a bat boy for one of the Stratford HS games. That was a pretty cool experience for him! So, I found some pictures from that evening! Sweet boy….
I feel like so much has happened over the last couple of months and God has been MORE than we could have ever asked or hoped for during some very difficult days… We continue to be overwhelmed by our family and friends who are still journeying with us..WOW, is really all I can say. We love each of you and cannot imagine doing this without your love and support.
Today in Bible Study it was said that…”God is moving!” I believe this to be true… I want to be ready “keeping my ear to the ground” (thank you Hannah)..waiting, expectantly waiting, longing for the “more” that He wants to pour out on His people! So, if I may, I want to be like Warren, who was always dressed and ready for the “game”..
The Lord your God is in your midst,a Mighty One who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by his love; He will exult (rejoice) over you with loud singing.
My heart has been stirring since walking out of the Toyota Center Monday afternoon. Stirring and overflowing with a sense of urgency…An urgency to Trust God bigger and Believe that there is MORE. Not an urgency associated with fear…more like an eagerness to know Him and see Him and remember Him.
“Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your truth, we wait eagerly for you, for your name and your renown are the desire of our souls.” Isaiah 26:8
We had the amazing opportunity to be part of Passion 2016 over the weekend. This is a “Jesus” movement that is typically geared toward the younger generation…18-25 year olds. (We are way older than that…!!) However, we were able to “sneak” in (not really, but…) and be under some crazy amazing teaching and praise and worship. This event couldn’t be more timely as we face another year on our journey of grief!
“It is my privilege and my purpose to share the hope and joy of Jesus!” ~Louie Giglio (Passion 2016)
I told Bill that being in the presence of Jesus with that many people singing and worshipping the King of Kings must be a tiny taste of what Heaven will be like. At one point one of the worship leaders (I think it was Chris Tomlin) said, “Let’s join with the saints as we worship…” I remember looking up, as if I just might be able to “see” the Heavens open up and all of His glory would be visible to the human eye. I pictured myself standing with Warren as we sang, worshiping with complete abandon…Free, humbled, unworthy and yet completely loved by my Heavenly Father.
He is a Good, Good Father…. and I am more convinced of this than ever before.
JW Marriott in San Antonio ~ One of our favorite places
My life and my testimony are not squeaky clean…in fact, I have things in my past (and my present )that I’m not proud of…But here’s the Good news…when God looks at me He doesn’t see any of it. Because of His great mercy and love for me, He sent His son to die on a cross. He paid the ultimate price for my past, present and future sin. Because of the empty grave I worship a living Savior!! I am alive in Christ Jesus because before the foundation of the world He chose me. I am a daughter of the King!!! He loves me…And He loves you! He is pursuing you and wants a relationship with you …and with me!
As we face another 365 (minus the 6 that have already passed) days without Warren I just wonder how God is going to make them count. I want my answer to whatever He asks of me to be “Yes!” The good, the hard, the celebrations, the trials…the waiting.
So, as we move into 2016 “eagerly” waiting and watching for Jesus I wanted to share a few of my “favorite things”!!
cheer competition in Galveston 2013 ~Such a supportive big brother 🙂
Jesus, help me to love you more than life. You are my greatest treasure and I can’t imagine life outside of Your presence. Take me deeper with you. Awaken my heart and mind to MORE of you. Give me courage to “go, and tell”…
I woke up this morning…rolled over to see what time it was and the clock read 3:23 I’m struggling to sleep through the night, waking up early etc….so my first reaction was a weak sigh wondering how I would make it through another day with such little sleep. It took my brain a few seconds for it to register, but 3:23 is Warren’s birthday! I’m not going to make a big deal out of this “coincidence” (if you want to call it that)…but for a single moment I stared at the clock, and then whispered to my precious boy..”mom sure loves you!” The time on the clock changed, I laid still, somehow wishing I could reach out and turn it back. Oh, to turn back time.
I know it might seem crazy to some, but those few seconds in the dark this morning felt like a sweet kiss from Jesus…and a nearness to Warren that I so desperately needed. I’ll give up sleep any day, to be in the holy presence of Jesus…I can’t think of a better way to spend my waking moments. So, I’m grateful to my Heavenly Father for the gentle reminder this morning that He is near, He is holding me, and that He will never leave.
Yesterday was a big day for me…A HUGE answer to prayer…that brought both thankful tears and tears of great sadness. Two weeks ago I received an email from the general manager of the cemetery where Warren is buried. She was letting me know that the marker we had ordered from a company in Tennessee had arrived.
As I read her email tears streamed down my face as I knew that God had come through yet again! Not only was she informing me that the marker would be placed immediately, but she also apologized for the “lack of followthrough” given to us as we were trying to get this ordered. She took full responsibility and was extremely sorry for how things had been handled..We had dealt with 3 or 4 people during that period of time several months ago, but I had not ever reached out to the manager. Looking back, I’m not sure why I didn’t. So, when I realized that the delivery of the marker ended up on her desk (who knows why), and that there would be no problem getting it placed at the gravesite, I immediately knew that God had answered my desperate request that this would all be handled and settled before Nov. 24th.
The kindness of this woman has so blessed me. Since sending my last email (several wks. ago) and never hearing back from anyone, I had struggled with feelings of frustration and anger when I thought about this whole situation. I had no idea how God would work this out…Would I always feel bitter when visiting the cemetery? It’s amazing how the caring words of this one woman have been a refreshment to my heart and soul. I no longer have these ugly feelings of anger… AND the marker is placed..WAY before the 24th!!! So thankful that God is always in the details!! Weeks ago, the word God gave me was that He would take care of this…but He was going to do it His way, in His timing, so that when it was accomplished there would be no doubt it was God and not me.
I hate it and I love it. I hate it because it is a reminder that my life has changed and will never be the same. I hate it because it reminds me of how desperately I miss Warren!
I love it because it perfectly reflects our boy..where he is-Safely Home, & Who he was-adored, extraordinary, and passionate.
I miss you Warren Austin Barfield. Nothing about this makes any sense. I can’t wrap my mind around it. I don’t want to wrap my mind around it. I wish you could come back…
As the 24th nears I feel VERY sad…but I also feel VERY held. This is something else that doesn’t really make sense. Since Sunday (11-1) there has been an incredible peace that has covered us in a way that I just can’t explain. What’s complicated about this peace, is that it’s not what you might imagine. Yesterday was awful hard..awful! I cried and cried every time I thought about Warren and the marker that had been placed where his body is buried. I could barely pull it together to get Grace to the dentist and then to school for a theater arts performance and then to cheer after that! I was a mess..exhausted AND YET….unexplainable peace that met me right at the bottom of my sorrow -filled pit! God’s grace is always enough and no matter how low or how dark things may get…He meets me there and tenderly holds me! He is absolutely the lifter of my weary head and the One who offers hope when all around me seems hopeless!
We have begun a new series at church…The Unstoppable Gospel. The month of November is dedicated to sharing the Hope of the gospel. I cannot help but think that God is using this timely sermon series to help us keep an eternal perspective. The Cross…Jesus…our Hope. This is the Good News that we want you to know and really understand…that no matter where you are or what your going through, Jesus loves you. HE is a Good, Good Father..Always. He is calling you into relationship with Him. This isn’t “religion”..The grace that meets me in my darkest hour has nothing to do with “religion”. He wants to pour out His love on us, He wants to rescue you from whatever seems unbearable. The Gospel changes EVERYTHING!! He has made a way so that we can come, just as we are, broken and unworthy.
He was despised and rejected by men; A man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces, he was despised and we esteemed him not.
Yet has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.
This is the Gospel…without the Gospel we don’t have Hope! I am here to tell you, that not by my own strength could I have faced the last 11 months without Warren, much less the next 40 years, if I didn’t know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is NOT my home…I’m only passing through!! ‘Eternal Lenses’….It’s real and it changes everything!!!
I’ve never known hard, like we are experiencing on this journey. Every day we miss something different about Warren. There is always something that reminds us of our brother… our son. Sometimes the memory makes us laugh, sometimes it makes us cry, or sometimes both! I pray that these memories always stay fresh..that we will never forget the very things we miss so desperately!
One of my favorite pictures….This boy would work and play hard from the moment his boots hit the ground at ‘Uncle Bob’s’ Ranch!! He didn’t want to waste a moment-So he would crash before we made it off the dirt road!! ~Love him so…
For the last 10 months the “24th” has not been especially significant one way or the other. Sometimes it even sneaks up on us…We usually speak of it only to remind ourselves that it’s ‘that’ day, and people might mention it, so just be aware that today’s the day that Warren died ‘x’ months ago. It’s not that we don’t appreciate the gestures of you remembering. In fact, for me, I’m glad you remember and I’m glad when you acknowledge it. Equally so, if you don’t acknowledge it, we are good with that too. So many of you are an encouragement on “other” days and I think it goes back to how God uses certain people at just the right time, and for that I (we) are beyond grateful.
However, today, is different and I’m not sure why. I’m guessing it’s because it means that we are that much closer to the ‘1 year’. Or, maybe it’s because of special memories like this time last year when the kids were getting out for early dismissal….
I remember pulling in the driveway from work and Warren meeting me out at the car to help me… actually, I don’t think I had asked him for help with anything, he just met me at the car as I pulled up. He didn’t have plans for the early release day, so he had been home alone (because, I am certain Grace did 🙂 ), and was glad to have some company! (even if it was mom!!) I immediately could tell something was “off”. He just didn’t seem himself. Not sad, just bummed…. I remember him (finally) sharing with me about a text conversation that disclosed some news that maybe a girl didn’t like him the way he’d thought (or hoped). Of course my heart broke for him, and even the memory of this conversation makes me sad. I do remember that this ended up being no big deal and even if Warren never had that “special” someone, he was a good friend to lot’s of girls and apparently was even asked by some of his friends, on occasion, to be the “go between”…which I always told him was the perfect place to be !
I wish he were waiting on me today…I don’t know what else we did that afternoon, but I know today I would drop everything and just be with him!
I’m not exactly sure why today seems harder than the last 24th…but it does, or at least I feel more teary. It has me flipping through pictures and remembering how handsome he was, how funny he was, and how loving he was. I think some of my favorite pictures are the candid shots of him, better known today as “selfies”. They show a side of him that make me smile and remember fondly his stage of life…as a 13 year old boy!
The “24th”…just another day to remember our precious, silly, good hair, freckled, music loving, hunter, baseball cap wearing, t-shirt lover, sensitive, strong, confident, Jesus follower …Warren
I must include a couple other “selfies” of the other people that make my heart glad!!
Declaring this today…
“I can walk
Down this dark and painful road
I can face
Every fear of the unknown
I can hear
All God’s children singing out We will not be overtaken We will not be overcome”
A friend called me last night to see if I could see the sunset…I was sitting at my kitchen table and could not, but I grabbed my keys, headed out, and found this…a gorgeous display of God’s awesomeness. Continue reading →