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!
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…
This week has been hard. I miss Warren so deeply and there are just moments that I cannot move from the feeling of complete despair. I think I am having a difficult time understanding that I can rejoice in the hope of the Glory of God (Rom. 5:2), but at the same time be miserable in my suffering. For me, my heart aches all the time, but then some times it aches so badly that I cry and feel so alone that nothing seems to help…I open the Bible, music is playing in the background, I’m crying out to God for relief, but the tears keep coming and my heart and my entire body just get lost in the deepest hurt imaginable. My memory plays and replays time I spent with Warren, vacations, baseball games, tucking him in bed each night (yes, even at 13), his pajama pants that he always wore even though they were way too short, chocolate donut holes on Saturdays, his magic tricks, the way he would always make his bed, his showers every morning (in the dark),….and on and on. There are no words to describe how much I miss the very presence of my precious Warren Austin Barfield. We all do… the loss is great. It is real. It is painful. …not pretty.
“Be merciful to me, LORD, for I am faint; O LORD, heal me, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in anguish. How long, O LORD, how long? Turn, O LORD, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love” (Psalm 6:2-4).
Two things had been weighing heavy on me for several weeks since Warren died. The first was returning to the cemetery for the first time and the second was cleaning out his locker at school. There have been many day to day things that have been hard..like our traditional blueberry muffin Fridays, our silly goodbyes in the morning (often Warren would open the shutters and make silly faces as I left for work) 🙂 , and especially sitting at the kitchen table staring at the empty chair where he used to sit. All of these things have been difficult and yet somehow we face them head on each day because… we have no choice.
I was scared to go to the cemetery, because I wasn’t sure what to expect. I honestly couldn’t even remember where in the cemetery he was buried. What was there? Was there something there that identified him? Even typing these words is still so very difficult…dead, buried, cemetery and Warren, these are words that shouldn’t be together in a sentence.
Well I faced both fears this week…not alone, of course, one of my dearest friends actually faced both of these with me. How awful to drag a friend, with whom we used to laugh and watch our boys play ball together..our conversations used to include talk about baseball, girls, 8th grade dance, clothes, hair and make-up…the normal stuff. Now, I’m calling her up to take me to the cemetery. This.Is.Not.Right.
We arrived and had someone show us where to go. We walked up and the heaviness in my body and ache in my heart made it difficult to breathe. I noticed fresh dirt right next to the place where Warren is buried and I immediately felt invaded and apparently, with no hesitation, asked the women, “who is this?”… she answered me and even gave me a name. I cannot remember the name, but I do remember thinking someone should have asked me or at least informed me who would be laying next to my boy…weird, but it just didn’t seem right. The lady hugged me and left. (which was a good thing…I had not felt very comforted by her earlier)…I put my hands on my knees and leaned over his grave and cried. I would probably describe it more like sobbing….It wasn’t a pretty sight, but necessary….for me. After a few moments I sat down with my eyes closed. The day could not have been more gorgeous, and as the sun beat down on my face, I continued to weep. I touched the grass that had been placed over the mound of dirt. It was dry and brittle. There were chunks of dirt or clay that I couldn’t easily break in my hands. I just kept rubbing my hand over the grass and began to talk to Jesus. I asked him once again to help me…It seems like in times of my deepest sorrow the only thing I can think to say is “Please, Jesus, help me…help Bill, help Grace, we desperately need you…”
There was nothing at the grave that had his name on it. I had worried about that. I guess that’s not unusual since it takes some time to decide what type of marker you want and then have it made and placed etc. At least, I know, and I don’t have to wonder….Before we left, we talked about something..something like “now, which way is he facing? his head is there, and legs here?…..” We had a normal conversation too, but I can’t remember what it was. We stood, it had gotten a tad warm..seriously, I was beginning to sweat and thought this was good, but it’s time to go. It was simply good because it was no longer a mystery to me.
His locker…well, in short it was anti-climactic. Warren was a very neat and tidy person, just like his Dad. He cleaned and organized ‘stuff’ regularly. His locker was no exception. The school had offered to gather what was in it and give it to me weeks ago. However, it seemed important for me to see it. I had not ever been in the 8th grade building. I couldn’t even tell you the names of all his teachers. This is what happens when they get to middle school..especially if they are good students who make good grades and never get into trouble, which would describe Warren. So, I wanted to go there and see his locker in person. I wanted to see where he stood and where he hung out with his friends between classes… So, for that reason I am glad I went myself. As his principal opened the locker, I think I held my breath in hopes to see something that would speak to me..why not a sign hung inside that said “I love my mom”!!!? Or at the very least, a journal with more of his personal writing in it..nope, nothing besides 2 workbooks, 2 journals (one of which was math….or science-boring) and some unopened, lined notecards. I actually looked at the principal and laughed with tears streaming down my face..”that’s it? how disappointing..” So we put it all in a bag I brought with me, and walked away. There was a teacher in her room that came out and spoke very kindly of Warren, and how even though she did not have him, it was clear what an amazing young boy he had been. She hugged me and then I walked out of the 8th grade building….
*side note…Warren’s LA teacher emailed after I got home and said she had some things of Warrens to give me…I jumped in my car and headed back up to the school. She gave me a journal (which only included some notes), and a blue folder that contained one of his last tests..(dated 11-19-14) and something that he had written about himself at the beginning of the year. Apparently, they had to write their teacher a letter telling her about themselves. It was so beautifully written and brought a huge smile to my face…I can’t wait to share it! One thing I will tell you is that he used 5 words to describe himself that I think are spot on!!!! Generous, Athletic, Responsible, Respectful, & Devoted He was certainly those things and more…..Miss him so much!
So…as I sit here this Sunday evening after being at a cheer competition all weekend with Grace, spending our first Valentine’s Day without Warren, I have unexplainable peace, peace from God that surpasses all understanding.. (Philippians 4:7) Could I cry? Yes… Is my heart heavy? Yes…Do I miss him? Yes…Terribly, but I can rest in His promise that He will carry us…and that He IS enough for today, and when/if tomorrow becomes today..HE WILL BE ENOUGH!
Psalm 61:1-3 Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
Psalm 73:26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Psalm 62:1 My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.