another hard “first”

2012-05-29 20.07.09

Today was just as I expected…HARD!!!  Emotionally, physically, spiritually~ All of it!!  Even now, I keep trying to take deep breaths, but each breath falls short of giving my body the relief I am searching for.  My mind won’t stop drifting to the thoughts of what should be..and how He’s missing so much because he’s not here.  The heaviness just will not lift and the tears have been more frequent and seem to sting more painfully.  I just can’t seem to wrap my brain around THIS reality, that Warren entered the 8th grade  almost 10 months ago, we bought the yearbook, we bought the t-shirt, he played football…he walked the halls of MMS just 6 1/2 months ago!!  I can even open this school years agenda and see his writing.  His backpack and binders are still in his room~However, today when I was waiting at the school for Grace to walk out, I watched familiar faces leaving campus and Warren was not among them. He should have been there and he was not..Instead you will find his name etched on a memorial outside the school along with others who have died.

“Died”, I hesitate to even use that word.  It sounds ‘bad’ or cruel…But it’s reality, and I think it’s what makes today so hard.  With the close of a school year and the beginning of summer…Leaving behind and moving ahead, I find myself stuck…Stuck grieving November 24,2014.  Not ‘stuck’, like refusing to ‘Live’…But rather having to journey through the stages of grief has me moving more slowly though life than everyone around me.  It seems just as I feel like I can move onto the next “stage”, I am faced with another big day or event to make it through.  Today, the last day of school, was one of those events…Not having both my kids here to celebrate the arrival of summer, and another successful year under our belt has been especially hard.

It’s like there is a big party being thrown and I wish I could decline the invite, but I can’t!  Well, I guess I could, but that would require locking myself inside my house, and that’s not an option (for me)!  I remember so clearly that ‘feeling’ of the last day of school..Especially as a teacher, that day is filled with such emotion.  The count down begins after Spring Break and at some point  I wonder if I will make it to June.  But when that last day arrives and I hug those kiddos good bye, I (sometimes) fight back tears knowing  that I will miss our daily routines and our interaction together…BUT after they leave the building and I look ahead to summer with my family, I am overwhelmed with  JOY!  It’s like… I become ‘giddy’!!  I’m exhausted, but walk away, proud of my professional successes, looking forward to the time with my kids!! It’s that ‘feeling’ that everything is just… “good”…”accomplished”…

Today..that ‘feeling’ is replaced with a deep longing for my “normal” back!  I want Warren back.  Yep!  I’m just going to say it…I know!  I know!! But if I’m honest, I’d give ANYTHING to have him here..with me!!  We’d be complete and safe and under one roof!  For me, right now, anything less just doesn’t cut it!  It isn’t fair..not for me, not for Bill, and not for Grace!  We miss Warren!

Has today been extremely sad for me?  Yes!! But….Did I wake Grace this morning with  excitement in my voice that today was the last day of school?  I did…. Jesus!  Did I accomplish some chores today that required interacting with the public?  I did…Jesus!  Did I take Grace and friends to lunch after school today?  I did…Jesus!  Did I laugh with friends and enjoy a nice dinner with my husband?  YES!!  JESUS!!!!  None of it by my own strength, let me assure you…Jesus!  But you, O Lord are a shield about me, my glory and the lifter of my head.  I cried aloud to the Lord and He answered me from His Holy hill. (Psalm 3:3-4)

So, as I lay here in bed at 11:50pm, I can honestly say that Jesus was ENOUGH, even for my very hard TODAY!  “Jesus is enough” doesn’t mean it was easy, in fact it was not. But it DOES mean that I can trust Him with my hard days. Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge. (Psalm 62:8) It does mean that even though the sadness seems unbearable, it will not destroy me.  “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Cor. 4:8-9)

I need to get my pictures organized..I had  trouble locating ‘end of year’ pictures..very frustrating!  ….but here are a few!!

End of School Fun-2010
End of School Fun-2010 (1st and 3rd grade)

DSC_0025

5th Grade~2012
5th Grade~2012
5th Grade Graduation
5th Grade Graduation
2015~End of 6th grade
2015~End of 6th grade

Can I just say that I could not be more proud of my sweet girl!!  This is the face of perseverance and courage!  God has amazing things in store for her.  I am so thankful for how He is so tenderly holding her during this journey!

She is ready for summer 🙂

I also came across a few videos that were taken at the end of 2014 school year.  Bill was so good about recording the kids on the first and last days of school…When they were younger they loved it….but as you can tell I think Warren might have been a little “too cool” !

Ephesians3Earlier this week we decided to make this our verse for the summer.  Even though I am struggling to  face this big “first” without Warren we are going to trust that God WILL do abundantly MORE than we could ever imagine!! Eph. 3:20

4 thoughts on “another hard “first”

  1. Rodney and Kathy Moore June 4, 2015 / 9:00 am

    Julie,
    Thank you for your honesty and transparency. In 1994 while at West End baptist Church, Meredith developed a half tennis ball sized lump on her neck. Dr. Holly and his nurse couldn’t look at us in the eye as they gave her meds and told us to come back in one week. She was healed, but in the process I told God I could not lose her, but I knew He would provide grace if He took her home. I can’t imagine your pain, but I see the grace and strength in you! Keep on being honest and transparent with your Heavenly Father (yell, kick, scream, cry) and ultimately worship. He will hold you! I know your / your family’s story / Warren’s story is ministering to many people…I’m one. Love, Blessings and His Peace, Rodney

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  2. Kelly Blickenstaff June 4, 2015 / 12:29 pm

    All my love, thoughts, and prayers are with all of you….

    Like

  3. Carolyn McCall June 4, 2015 / 2:40 pm

    My dear sweet friend – so many things I want to say but I can’t seem to be able to articulate! First, pain – physical pain watching a family – a mom – go through the unimaginable. Second, anger – the unfairness of it all takes my breath away. Third – and strongest feeling – praise – for your faith and for our God. He has you – He loves you – He is with you.

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  4. debbiedodds68 June 9, 2015 / 2:03 am

    Those videos are so beautiful… made me smile and cry at the same time. “It’s so unfair” is the truth, yet your faith stays strong! Y’all are truly inspiring! I read Grace’s moving post on Instagram. You are raising an amazing and faithful daughter. I pray y’all have a fun summer.

    Like

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