Saturday July 4,2015 ~On an airplane headed to Hawaii…our first vacation since Warren went to Heaven….sadness, empty, fear, anguish, uncertainty, anxious, questions…I love Bill and Grace and I am happy to be with them…very happy! But it’s hard!
Psalm 36:5-6 Your Love O Lord reaches to the heavens, Your Faithfulness to the skies, Your Righteousness is like the mighty mountains… Your Justice like the great deep…
I’m reading a book, Beyond the Valley..It’s so good. As I am reading something struck me…I’m not on this grief journey to “get through” anything, my journey is finding God’s Hope in the midst of my struggle. The struggle, the suffering…my journey will always be about what God is doing in the middle of my hurt.
Lamentations 3:21-22 This I call to mind and therefore I have Hope; Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed. Just like Jeremiah, I can have hope in Jesus because even in my suffering I will not be consumed. He will be enough every day and every morning His mercies will be New! Because Jesus loves me, and because of His never-failing compassion I have Hope!
A quote from the book…“it almost feels like abandonment to let go of the terror in our hearts in exchange for the hope God offers” (Beyond the Valley) So…I must choose to let God work in the middle of my pain and sorrow. The Lord is my portion, I will wait for Him..Lamentations 3:24
What is your word for me this week? I will do my part and proceed with confidence…Give me courage. For your Glory…
Not to us O Lord, not to us
but to your name be the Glory,
because of your love and faithfulness
This was an entry from my journal on the day we left and traveled to Hawaii…The plane ride was almost 8 hours and honestly, I loved every minute. I was able to sit, read, talk to God..and listen as I was expecting to hear from Him.
I expected to hear from Him, see Him and couldn’t wait to meet with Him each morning or evening (hopefully both) on the beautiful beaches of Hawaii. I knew friends and family were praying with sincere faith that this trip would bless and bring rest to our weary souls…praying that somehow we would experience God in a fresh way simply through the sound of the waves, the sand under our feet, the smell of flowers, the sunsets and sunrises.
The truth is…it didn’t happen like that! And believe me, I looked and I spoke the name of Jesus with every sandy step I took, and with each wave I heard splashing up against the shore. I excused myself from the dinner table so I could walk outside and capture our first sunset with the camera…only to stand with tears streaming down my face and then realizing as I heard the frantic call from behind me..”Mom, Mom! Where are you?” that I hadn’t let anybody know where I was going. So that “moment” was not exactly how I had pictured it in my head.
It’s not that the sunset wasn’t beautiful…It was…But my heart was suffering the ache as usual, and I so wanted relief, even if just for a moment. I have seen some beautiful sunsets right here in Houston, so observing a beautiful sunset just wasn’t how God was showing Himself to me. This didn’t keep me from noticing and being thankful for His beauty in the sunsets….I looked forward to them each evening!
I will tell you that with every fun adventure…we saw some of the most beautiful sights. The beaches ….I have never seen more beautiful shades of blue in all my life. The clear water made it feel like we were in a swimming pool. I was mesmerized by the water! It was breathtaking! The scenery around the island is so tropical and the colors make for lovely pictures! Yes! It was a beautiful place…but it was not in experiencing His beauty that God met me and held me during this “first” without Warren. No, my God is too creative for that!
The main reason for our trip to Hawaii had been to visit Bill’s sister Beth, her husband Chad and our niece Capri. They are stationed in Hawaii, as Chad is a Colonel in the United States Marine Core. We had originally talked about going over Christmas(2014)…this was a trip that we started to plan while Warren was still alive. I was not sure I could even take this trip, considering it’s only been 7 1/2 months since Warren went to Heaven. But God…He made a way and He went before us and knew exactly how He would carry us through this difficult “first”. (Beth is my sister n’law that was saved after Warren died and was baptized on Easter Sunday(2015) at their church’s Easter Sunrise service.)
I’m thankful I journaled while I was there, because with each day I can go back and read how He was faithful. It’s funny how you think you won’t forget when God shows up in your life, but you do, or you will…so it is important for me to write it down and never forget.
…(Oh, how I love this girl!)
On Sunday I wrote…
7-5-15 It’s hard, it doesn’t seem right….Yet, somehow God is pouring out His Grace, Jesus, to meet us right where we are.
My precious niece, Capri who is 4 (will be 5 in October), sings and talks about Jesus constantly! She asks about Heaven and wants to know when we are going…she wants to go to Heaven. (Tonight she said she thought we would be going on Saturday :))
One of the songs she is singing goes like this:
“We come here, Expecting God to do amazing things, Right here, Right now. Our friends and family gather here to have some fun, Right here, Right now…..”
Christian music is playing in the house and in the car~such comfort for me. Thank you Jesus!
Each day I looked for God in all of the beautiful sights and sounds, and there is no denying that Hawaii has so much of that every where you look…but what God had for me was something way better, incredibly more special than the ocean waves (salt water isn’t my friend:)), more amazing than the clear waters, and more beautiful than the rainbows we kept seeing…Yes, God met me there in a much more personal way…Music & Jesus! I got to listen to praise music (Honolulu has an awesome Christian radio station!) and have conversation with my niece about Jesus!!
Someone recently asked, “What brings you the most comfort?” I told them…”Jesus. Being with Jesus.” I know that may sound like a “sunday school” answer…but it’s simply the truth. When I’m with Him…and often times, when I’m with others talking about Him, is when I feel the most peace. So, the idea that my Savior didn’t just use the extraordinary landscape of Hawaii to minister to me, blows me away. It wasn’t until I shared this with a friend that I realized how God had orchestrated things, in order to prepare such a unique time with Him, by using Beth and Capri to bring me comfort during a difficult time. I am in awe!
From the moment we arrived Beth and Chad worked tirelessly to provide meals, activity, unique sights and a comfortable place to rest. We are beyond grateful for everything they did and how they loved on us.
After getting home, people have asked about Hawaii…How was Hawaii? Wasn’t Hawaii beautiful? Didn’t you love Hawaii? The honest truth is, “Hawaii was Hawaii without Warren”. I think our trip to Hawaii was different than most people’s trip to Hawaii. The “dream” vacation was clouded with the fact that our son, our brother was not with us. It was hard to appreciate the beauty…it was hard to enjoy each activity, the way “normal” families enjoy Hawaii. Our time with family was special…But, Hawaii was “just Hawaii” because Warren wasn’t there. However…We will not stop believing that Jesus is Enough for every ‘Today’…..
Whatever the cause of our mourning, Christ can be the lifter of our heads. He can give us beauty instead of ashes. (Beth Moore)
Psalm 145:13-14 Your Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom and your dominion endures throughout all generations. The Lord upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down.
Absolutely beautiful, Julie! Thank you for sharing the beauty of your heart with us. Love to each of you!
Thank you for sharing so beautifully! My heart aches for you guys! Praying for your sweet family! Kylee (friend of Shelby’s)
I’m so glad God ministered to you in an unexpected way through your family and their hospitality. What a gift to be ministered to by someone so close to you who came to know Christ through Warren’s life. Thank you, Lord.
We, too, went to Hawaii about six months after our son Jason died. I wrote about it here: https://onewomansperspective02.wordpress.com/2011/08/06/something-to-look-forward-to/ … and here: https://onewomansperspective02.wordpress.com/2011/08/12/hawaii-a-respite/
As you said, it just wasn’t the same without Jason.