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…
Julie, as always, your precious words have touched my soul in a way I cannot explain. Thank you for being so brave and vulnerable to share your heart, your hurt, your hardships and your HOPE with us. God is using you and Warren’s story in such a mighty way, my precious friend. You and Bill and Grace and Warren are so so very loved!
Thanks for this. A moment of reflection on what really matters.
I’m so glad a mutual friend posted your blog post on her FB…she was a Godlink…I needed to read your message of Hope today. I too travel this difficult road you are on…we are members of a club no one wants to join. I am further along on this journey but I needed to hear your message of wisdom. I too look for the small connections and messages from God…like the time that was on the clock…to help me know He is still there and knows and understands my pain. He sends us messages, Godwinks, if we just pay attention to notice them. Again, thanks and may God continue to give us both strength and hope, suzanne alston
Amazing, courageous post! There is nothing quite like answered prayer and the comfort of peace through the suffering, accomplishing just getting through the day by His Might not ours! How blessed are we to understand these things, I can’t imagine how anyone copes in this heartbreaking world without Him! Thank you for sharing your truth so vulnerably and for allowing your hope to encourage us so greatly. Blessings to you!
I think about you so often. Maybe because all those years ago I never imagined such pain.. I am reminded daily of His grace on my life..and knowing I don’t deserve it. Oh, if I had only known back then what really mattered. Thankful for His constant pursuit on my life and those I love so dearly. He is good and always working! Love you friend!
I lost my 19 year old son a month ago and can relate to so much of this.
I am so sorry. My heart has hurt for you and your family since hearing about the sudden death of your amazing son. I am just so sorry. I have connected with your wife and am praying. Praying as she takes your daughter back to school. Praying as your youngest manages without her older brother..and decisions about school, future etc. I believe you have another son, and Im praying for him too. The days ahead will be difficult..but you know that. However, what a peace we have that Jesus is our Hope…and we don’t have to miss our boys without hope. We know that we will see them again and it will be crazy awesome!!
I don’t pretend to understand or even be ok with God’s plan…but I do believe He is sovereign and I believe He is working…I surrender again and again to His will. I trust that His ways are higher and that He holds me in the palm of his hand.
I know Jesus in ways I never knew possible. He is good and He is enough!
Too familiar a story. If ever you want to connect please don’t hesitate to reach out. 🙏🏻❤️
Mark and Cathy Speed