We Believe

For years Bill and Warren labeled 
EVERY SINGLE baseball
with his initials. (making it easier to keep up with their balls during practice) 
We have buckets of worn and used
 baseballs that not only remind us of our 
Warren, 
but they also remind us …We Believe.  
We Believe Jesus is better.   
We Believe all His promises are true.  
We believe God sent his one and only son to earth.
We Believe He was crucified and died.
We Believe He rose again.
We Believe He will return.
We Believe the best is yet to come. 

All things work together

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….

Click here to read the “beautiful, behind the scenes” Believe Story.

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.

Another First

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!

Believe…The Backstory

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 in that 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~

Dearest Julie,

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
  • On sale
  • 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………………

Perspective…

Perspective

This word has been on my mind all day today.  Bill and I are headed to Passion 2016 this weekend.  (we cannot wait!!) We are asking God to show us HIS perspective as we enter into 2016.

perspective– a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.  (outlook, position, attitude, frame of reference)

Websters definition of perspective–  (a) the interrelation in which a subject or its parts are mentally viewed (b) the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance   {Trying to maintain my perspective}


 

My “perspective” has been all over the place this holiday season.  Trying to keep a “handle” on what’s important.  We’ve been busy and overwhelmed with emotion since the unavoidable arrival of the one year of Warren’s death, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and now the New Year.

Many days have been spent trying to gain perspective and/or keep perspective.  What was important?  Do we get a tree this year?  Should we spend the holidays with family or alone?  Travel or stay at home? Gifts or no gifts?  Laugh or cry? Anxious or calm?  Attend the party or decline the invitation?  Remember or choose to forget?  Memories…allow them to settle and remember fondly or avoid the excruciating pain they can bring?

Each of these moments can bring me into a downward spiral (which they sometimes do…) Or, in God’s tender mercy, He helps me to see things through the lense of Heaven…Eternity…where I will be Forever with Jesus & Warren!!!

Looking back with perspective…eternal perspective, I can see God’s faithfulness…His goodness…His love for us…and His very tender care over us during this last year, especially these last two or so months.

It is definitely easier to look back opposed to looking ahead.  My past…our last 13 months are secure.   God was faithful and He did what He promised.  He walked with us and never left us alone.  We “made it” because He was enough and through it all He was bigger than our hurt.  We know this because we’ve lived it and have seen Him miraculously meet us in our desperateness.

Perspective…I simply need to remind my weary heart of the awesomeness of God…even in the middle of my hurt.  He has been ENOUGH and He will be ENOUGH!!   It’s easy to get overwhelmed with life’s circumstances…I know of others who are facing situations, that are very much not what they thought of when they were making plans for 2016!

Jesus we want to SEE you.  Open our eyes Lord.  Open the eyes of our hearts and do not let us miss the MORE that you are offering.  As painful as it might be, we are trusting You with our wounds…Seeking the One who continues to be our ROCK and our REFUGE.

It has certainly been messy at times and my perspective has been challenged, but even still, God was and IS at work !!!  Whether I like it or not, 2016 is here and we are moving ONWARD & UPWARD!!

We will shine the light of Jesus and we will lean into the glory and brilliance of the Lord.

This last year was a year of BELIEVING with all our heart, mind and soul that Jesus Christ is Enough for Today and that our only HOPE is found in Him.  We know, that we know, that we know…He is the same yesterday, today and FOREVER….

As we move forward into 2016 we are claiming this scripture and asking God to continue giving us ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE.  

Arise [from spiritual depression to a new life], shine [be radiant with the glory and brilliance of the Lord]; for your light has come,
And the glory and brilliance of the Lord has risen upon you.

Isaiah 60:1

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Our last Christmas with Warren…..Christmas 2013 in Gatlinburg, TN

It was pretty much the most wonderful Christmas ever!  Even if I’d known it would be our last, there isn’t much I would have changed…so thankful for such a wonderful memory, and one that truly warms my heart as I reflect back on it today.

Miss you so much bud…your laughter, your silliness & your tender heart toward your family.  Longing to be with you … So proud to be your Mom!  I love you, MORE!

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