If I’m Honest…

If I’m honest…I am relieved the “Holidays” are coming to a close.  I don’t hate Thanksgiving or Christmas, the festivities, and all that goes with them…In fact, being with friends and family is something I love very much..but I just struggle more during this time of year without Warren. It’s like every event, every gathering, & every picture is a reminder that things are not as they should be…

img_9485
Thanksgiving in Galveston
img_1001
Remembering WB…always and forever ~We Believe

img_9502

The expectations and the pressure (from myself) to make things “right” is simply exhausting. The music, the lights, the parties, the gifts, the decorations, the shopping…the overall stress can just about send anybody over the edge…now add to that the constant ache and longing for my boy,  that won’t be here again this year to celebrate…well, it’s almost too much

img_1248

In my opinion, this time of year is the hardest…because you just can’t escape it

The conflict…

I think the conflict of what I’m supposed to “feel”, and how I actually “feel” is more intense.  The holidays are supposed to be all merry and bright and everything jolly…and I want that, oh, I really want that…but it’s so much more of a “fight” between my head and my heart and I’m constantly having to ignore the pain so I can function.  I tell myself, “I’ll grieve later…I’ll cry later.”  And of  course it can build up and then I act like a crazy person or take it out on someone, usually one of the two people I love most….I say I’m sorry, but what’s done is done and the words I can’t take back…. Oh, it can be a vicious cycle.

The distractions that come with the season also make things harder.  Inevitably, schedules become busier and my attention is divided among too many things. Somehow, my routine of spending time in the Word can suffer, and oh how quickly my focus can be more on the things of this world…and then it’s only a matter of time before things spiral…downward…

The Hope of Christmas…

And then, when I  least expect it, I receive a text, a note, a gift, or a word of encouragement that switches my attention to what I do love about this time of year….People remembering and loving and giving of themselves.  My attention shifts from how I feel to what  I knowand what I know is Jesus… And because of Jesus and the people that point me back to Jesus, I can see a little more clearly past the hurt to the Promise of the One who never changes and who is One Day going to make all these sad things untrue.

On Christmas Day…I told Grace we’d have to “try again next year” to make it better or somehow easier.  What I actually insinuated was that maybe next year we could skip Christmas..and she immediately pulled back and told me I was losing my mind 🙂

She was right… and if I’m honest, I don’t want to skip Christmas.  The truth is, I need Christmas.  The Hope of Christmas is everything to me!

Flexible and Last Minute 🙂 …

We decided last minute to drive and be with family because being home alone, just the 3 of us, was  something we weren’t  ready for.

img_2326

Christmas Eve Service, celebrating Jesus with my family in San Antonio couldn’t have been more special …

img_9859
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it… John 1:5

The wonderful noise of my nieces and nephews Christmas morning was exactly what we needed.

My favorite Christmas moment…

My favorite memory was early Christmas morning with Grace and my nephew Tatum …He was looking for “the red shirt my mom told me to put on before going downstairs”, and after finding it, he had his head inside the shirt, and I said something about praying together before waking mom and dad.  Honestly, at the time I think i was using it as a stall tactic:) but when Tatum looked at me and said “ok” as if it were only natural that we pray first, I asked him what we should pray for….and with little to no hesitation at all he said, “Let’s ask Jesus to keep Warren safe in heaven and to tell Warren Merry Christmas.”  As you can imagine, my eyes were warm with tears as I softly whispered the words this 6 year old boy had requested.

img_2341
Tatum and Grace-Christmas Eve

May I never forget that it’s in the “hard” that somehow I see Jesus most clearly.  He never fails to show up and He is always perfectly ENOUGH!

img_9868

A quick trip to the JW in San Antonio Christmas Day…a hard place for me because of the memories I have of being there as a family of 4. If I’m honest, it was a difficult 24hrs.  I suppose the “let down” after Christmas is hard and the quiet that follows makes room for the reality of our life to settle back in… and so the “fight” continues to fix our eyes on Jesus…to remember that He is faithful..and to keep singing the song of victory…

Exodus 15

The Song of Moses
Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the Lord, saying,

“I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;
the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.
2 The Lord is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation;
this is my God, and I will praise him,
my father’s God, and I will exalt him.”

img_2611
Christmas 2013…probably one of my very favorites!

img_2612img_2613img_2614img_2617img_2618

Zambia Part 1

View More: http://familylegacy.pass.us/weekfour2016
I have come that they may have life and have life more abundantly!   John 10:10

What an amazingly wonderful God we serve.  

He continues to be faithful and His promises are true!  

As many of you know we had the incredible opportunity to experience and be part of what God is doing through Family Legacy in Zambia.  

We traveled to Lusaka, Africa   June 23-July 3…. Camp Life – Week 4.  We served and loved on children all week, and ended up being blessed BIG TIME by some precious 9 & 10 year old little boys that we got to know and spend time with. 

There is so much to share, as God continues to speak to my heart and transform me from who I was, to who He wants me to be.  I am so thankful that this was not just an event, but rather a spring board for MORE of Jesus in my life.  

He is working and moving…using Zambia to remind me that He has a plan for my life, for good and not evil…a future and a HOPE! (Jer. 29:11)

These sweet boys stole our hearts forever…

View More: http://familylegacy.pass.us/weekfour2016
He calls us His children and that is what we are 1 John 3:1
View More: http://familylegacy.pass.us/weekfour2016
Villa 5 -Thank you Jesus for community and sweet friendships!

 

Video Clip 🙂

I gathered some pictures from our trip and created a short video.  Some of the pictures are ones that we took personally, while some were taken by Kate Swail, one of the CL photographers who became a  very, very dear friend 🙂  You can watch the video by clicking on this link… camp life 2016 video

Thank you

We are beyond grateful for Family Legacy and all those who helped make this trip possible.  God continues to show me “new things”…  He continues to bring healing to my brokenness, and purpose to my pain.

 

Remembering WB

IMG_8041

There wasn’t one day, one moment that I didn’t think of Warren and how much he would have loved being part of Camp Life.  These boys would have loved him!  It was an honor to share Warren’s story as we used it to share the Hope of Jesus Christ with these kids who desperately need something to hope in!

“Jesus Is Enough” isn’t just a clever christian saying…as I continue to preach this to myself every day, I believe it with every fiber of my being.  I wanted each of these precious Zambian boys to know that no matter what they face, or how hard life seems to get, Jesus is the answer and He is enough.  It’s not easy…in fact, it can be awfully hard…so I’m choosing to do “hard” with Jesus.  In Christ Jesus, I am victorious!!  Isn’t that good news?  Oh, I want them to live victorious in Christ….

 

Stay tuned…because you can help 😉  I have so many stories, but I wanted to break it up , so nothing would be lost in a super long post.

Overwhelmed with a grateful heart…

I love you Warren Austin Barfield…oh, “One Day” is coming!!!

 

 

 

 

A constant fight…

9-7-2014
9-7-2014

Every day is a fight.  Every moment there is a choice to be made.  I do not just wake up believing that Jesus will be enough.  I do not get dressed and go about my day with hope in my heart and joy in my step…just because.  No!  Does anybody?  Maybe…but the reality is, the fight for my affections begin as soon as I am awake and continue off and on throughout the day.  The choice to put on “eternal lenses” is a constant fight.  Believing the promise that Jesus will be enough..is a daily fight…and as far as Hope and Joy, those don’t just happen either.  I am a mom who wakes every morning to the reality that the battle is real and the fight is not over.  I wake each morning with a heavy heart knowing I will walk by an empty room, see a bed that hasn’t been slept in for months and clothes that haven’t been worn.  Every morning I am reminded that death stole something from me that I will never get back this side of heaven… And then the “fight” begins!

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. But Jesus…But Jesus…Yes!  Jesus has come that I might have life and have it abundantly!!  Jesus has been enough!  He is enough!  He will be enough again…today!  Jesus, Jesus, Jesus…. The struggle within..”Why am I discouraged?  Why is my heart so sad?  Why?… But, I will put my hope in God!  I will praise him again-my Savior and my God.”(Psalm 42:5,6)

Please Jesus, help me to remember that what I suffer now is nothing compared to the glory you will reveal to us later.(Rom. 8:18)  You tell me in Your Word that my present troubles are small and won’t last very long.  Oh, yes, they are real..yet they are producing for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever.(2 Cor. 4:17)  I Believe!  Jesus, help me with my unbelief!

Today I will believe with confidence, that because of His grace, I have been declared righteous and will inherit eternal life.(Titus 3:7)  I will look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ will be revealed!(Titus 2:13)

This kind of “preaching to myself” usually happens before I even get out of bed, and then again and again and again all day long!!  And I can say with absolute confidence,  when I call upon the name of the Lord, He listens and He hears me.  He holds me and He walks me through the suffering, the pain, the tears and the heartache of missing Warren.  It’s not always pretty, and the ache often threatens to take me down…but even down at the very bottom of my grief my Hope in Jesus is SURE and STEADY!

9-13-2014
9-13-2014 Kyle Field

Nearing the ‘one year mark’ of Warren’s death I find myself looking at pictures and thinking…”this time last year”.  It’s crazy to think that as November 24th,2015 comes and goes, we enter into a different phase of our journey.  There will no longer be memories of ‘this time last year’ that include Warren on this earth.  Crazy, just crazy!

Labor Day 2014…

IMG_3537

IMG_3518

IMG_3467

However, I was also reminded this week that our future will be far greater than our past!  I am part of something Jesus is doing, and He will prevail!!  The possibilities are endless when Jesus is in the story.  The world would say I have lost, but Jesus, eternity, says the best is yet to come!!

Nothing here on earth will be our ultimate consolation.  Our ultimate consolation is eternal!  As long as I keep my eyes fixed on this promise, I believe that I (we)can become less and less devastated because… at the end of the day something better is coming!  Praise God!  He is coming back!

Missing you so much…We all are!  Love you, MORE

9-20-2014
9-20-2014

Below are links to 2 messages I listened to this past week that were a huge encouragement to me:

Alamo Ranch Community Church-Michael McCracken

Passion City Church-Louie Giglio

I just miss him…

First day of 6th grade ~ 2012
First day of 6th grade ~ 2012

I miss him.  I really, really miss him.   I want Warren…here…at home…with me!!  I want to hear his voice and put my hand on his arm.  I want to sit with him.  I want to look at his face and into his eyes.  I want to say to him “I love you” and hear him say ” I love you too, Mom”.  I want to call out his name and have him answer.  Instead of figuring out how to “handle” our first day of school without him, I want desperately to discuss the first day of school WITH him!   I just miss him.  I really, really miss him.

My pain is great and my sorrow seems consuming.  When relief does come, it seems brief .  My tears are frequent and harder to hold back.  The strength I do have is reserved for Grace and Bill.  I love them both so dearly…and it hurts to know they are struggling as well, to carry their own pain while trying their best to keep moving forward.  We are all doing it differently…but we are all  hurting deeply.

I hesitate to share these thoughts that are typically only for my personal journal…and honestly, even as I type I have no idea if I will actually hit ‘publish’.  I keep typing and deleting, trying to make this …not so sad.  I feel like I should have already put a scripture in here to assure you that   “Jesus is STILL enough”   …HE IS and I WILL….but first I need to be real and share with you how much Warren is missed and how much we still need you to pray for our family.

First day of school ~ 2012
First day of school ~ 2013

As summer comes to a close and a new school year begins we are faced with a pretty big “first” without Warren.  Even the week, leading up to the first day of school, has been emotionally hard.  So many memories of ‘this time last year’, as well as all the things my 9th grader is missing out on.  Yes, I know he doesn’t see it that way…but as his mother, who is still waiting for The Day to see everything with perfect clarity, and to know everything completely(1 Cor. 13:12), my heart aches to have him here…with me.

first day of school ~ 2014
first day of school ~ 2014

So….. we miss him, and we are hurting, but life continues on around us…Bill is crazy busy with work..traveling and preparing for trial.  He continues to add to his already full plate, because he’s always been a hard worker and that’s what he does! (very well, I might add)  Grace is getting ready for her first day of 7th grade.  She starts Monday.  We said we would practice this week by going to bed early and getting up early…but that hasn’t really happened.  🙂  I mean…seriously, why would we do that?  Since God is allowing me this season to ‘stay at home’…(whatever that means) I am trying to be intentional with my time and alert to how God wants to use me in and out of the home.

 living while grieving…or grieving while living ~ we are doing it, one day at a time, ONLY because His grace continues to meet us in the middle of our pain and suffering.

A friend reminded me of these verses in 2 Corinthians 1:8-11

…For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.  Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death.  But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.  He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us.  On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.  You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many. 

I believe that God has used and continues to use your prayers to strengthen and heal our family.  God is sovereign and His plan is being accomplished in and through our lives, AND He is using you as you remember us in prayer.  Thank you!  We need Him..desperately, and He desires that we intercede for each other.

Satan wants to steal our future and make us feel hopeless…He does not care that we are grieving..In fact, I think he sees an opportunity to attack and would love nothing more than for us to believe the lie… that it is not possible to ever be happy again.  We would so appreciate it if you would continue to pray for us.  

I love  in scripture where it describes the saints, that have gone before us, as cheering us on…I’d like to think that Warren is shouting…”Come on Mom!  You’ve got this Dad!  Way to go Grace!  Fix your eyes on Jesus!  He is coming soon!!”   

I am challenged to persevere through my suffering so that others may be encouraged.  When people look at me may they ONLY see Christ.  Thank you Jesus, that I am forgiven.  Thank you that by Your wounds I am healed. Thank you that you are for me and not against me.  Thank you that you are the lifter of  my head.  Thank you Jesus that you understand our suffering.  Thank you that you have already equipped us for the journey.  Thank you for your unfailing love and comfort.

September 2014
September 2014

It’s been almost 9 months since Warren went to Heaven.  We miss this boy so much…It’s exhausting some days, a lot of days!  I wouldn’t describe the journey as getting easier, in fact in some ways it seems harder as the ‘fog’ is being lifted and we face more and more of the harsh reality.  

But… as we move further along in this journey, we are able to look back and remember and see God’s faithfulness.  His goodness.  What He has done for us these last 9 months, He will continue to do.  Thank you again for praying and continuing to reach out and encourage us.  We love you and are grateful for you.

Help us, Lord, not to become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Gal. 6:9)

You, O God, will never leave us.  Never will you forsake us. (Heb. 13:5)  You are the only absolute guarantee we have in all of life.  Help us cling to the one thing we can never lose.

You, Lord, are close to the brokenhearted and save those who are crushed in spirit. (Ps. 34:18)  You are surely so close to us, Lord.  Help us to sense your presence in our life.  We need you more than we need our next breath.

(from Praying God’s Word ~ Beth Moore)