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…

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

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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

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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.

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

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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.

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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!

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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.”

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Christmas 2013…probably one of my very favorites!

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Remembering…

But as for me, I will look to the Lord;

I will wait for the God of my salvation;

My God will hear me.

Rejoice not over me, O my enemy;

When I fall, I will RISE

When I sit in darkness,

the Lord will be a LIGHT to me.

Micah 7:7-8


Remembering…This past weekend seemed to mimic the weekend 2 years ago that Warren was injured in an ATV accident that ultimately took his life….or better said, the weekend Warren met Jesus face to face, the weekend Warren made it Home!  The weather & the blue skies…it was so similar and hard to ignore.

The details of the weekend and how normal life seemed to be until that horrible moment have me thinking and remembering…

The obvious….How VERY much we miss Warren and wish that day almost 2 years ago had turned out differently.

The other…How quickly life can change, how fleeting this life is, & most importantly, how all of this points me to Jesus ..STILL!

It’s been almost 2 years, and I’m not sure if it seems like yesterday or the longest 2 years of my life..Both, maybe.  But One thing remains, our Hope is Jesus.  He is the Light of the world and because of this Promise, we will RISE UP and be thankful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ..and because of The Gospel we KNOW that Warren is ALIVE and we will see him again…

You remembering Warren is important to us.  It is important to know that you have not forgotten.   I know the how and the what are difficult and you want to be respectful …if it makes you feel any better, even within our immediate family, we don’t always know what we want or need..and that may actually complicate things , BUT what we do know is that however you choose to remember our boy…it will be perfect!

Be a LIGHT, Be the Hands and Feet of Jesus to a neighbor, Show kindness, Talk about Warren, Be thankful, Post a favorite memory, Send us a text, Wear your camo, Let someone know they are LOVED…Share on social media #warrenswarriors

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2015~LIGHT
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2015

 

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2015
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2015

We are grateful for our family, friends..our entire community and how so many of you have bravely walked beside us ..both near and from a distance.  We have not forgotten and we could not possibly thank you enough.


This song and the lyrics are a powerful reminder of Jesus and the unshakeable Hope we have in Him.  He is the One that quiets our doubts, echos within us every Promise.  His Word is louder than our fears and His JOY is greater than our grief.

I have set my heart on You.  You have every part of me.


 

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2015

 

 

 

Reminded I Still Need Jesus…

The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me, your love, O Lord, endures forever- do not abandon the works of your hands.  Psalm 138:8

Why are you downcast, O my soul?  Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.  Psalm 42:5

Mother’s Day…Year 2

I was reminded that I still need Jesus.   I still need your prayers and encouragement.

It was a  day that took a bit more strength to face than other days.  It was bitter and sweet all at the same time.

There was laughter and joy as well as quiet tears because of the brokenness that has made it’s home in my heart.

I was loved well by Grace and Bill (I have the best daughter in the whole wide world!!!) She made the cutest pancakes for breakfast!

I greatly appreciated the text messages sent with such tender thoughtfulness.

I thought of Warren and missed him so much.

God’s glorious grace, once again, brought unexplainable comfort.

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Mother’s Day 2016

It’s Not Over

One of the hardest things about this journey is how disappointing it can be to wake up after Mother’s Day (or any hard day), only to realize I have to do this all over again next year.  Not only that, but every other “difficult” day in between.  It’s never over.  I don’t get to wake up with a sigh of relief or a sense of accomplishment.  I wake… immediately realizing another day of living with the heartbreak of Warren’s death, is in front of me.

I don’t know anything about how the brain works, from a medical point of view, but I do know from personal experience, that somehow you can ‘manipulate’ your thoughts.  I’ve often wondered how in the world someone without the hope of Christ lives through the death of a child (or any kind of suffering).  I’m guessing (maybe) that with some learned tools, over time, you can manage and learn to live with this type of pain (without faith).  I am certainly thankful for the ‘tools’ I am learning in counseling which help me to work through my “grief”…

However, it is ONLY my faith and trust in Jesus Christ helping me to do MORE than manipulate my thoughts and ‘survive’ another day.  In Christ, I am believing that there is more purpose to my pain than just surviving it.  If it was simply surviving, I might have already given up that fight…But because of the abounding grace God has lavished upon me, I know that I am being strengthened every day for His assignment on my life. I wish it were different and some days I don’t feel up for the task.  Oh, how…I wish it were different.  Yet, in my weakness…on my hardest day, His grace is sufficient.  His power is made perfect in me.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.

These Days

I’m no expert on grief, loss, or dealing with pain and sadness.  Half the time, I’m not even sure what direction I’m headed 😉  The other day I was trying to get some cards in the mail and realized I had put the stamps in the left hand corner instead of the right.  I can wander around a store and not remember why I came.  I can hold back my tears sometimes, and sometimes I can’t.  I know there are steps to healing…but I think I’m writing my own!  I often feel like I can’t put into words how I’m feeling or how things are going.   This can be frustrating and hard especially on those around me, I know.

I miss Warren and my heart still aches.

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I know that God is protecting my family and keeping us close to Himself and each other..I am so grateful for that.  I know that God is working and that He loves me.  I know that He will fulfill His purpose in me.  (Psalm 138:8)

Like everyone else, we are wrapping up another school year.  These weeks are always so full of activity and very busy.  I find myself thinking about the summer and even wondering what it will be like as Grace begins her 8th grade year in the fall.  What will it be like when she turns 14.  Warren will always be her older brother, but since he died at age 13, in the middle of his 8th grade year…I just wonder…

I Still Believe

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I still believe that God will keep providing the strength we need. I believe that He is still very much enough. I still believe that Heaven is better and the best is yet to come!! I believe His work in my life & Warren’s life is greater than I can even imagine.  I will trust Him because I still believe He is good.

I love this picture of Warren. It reminds me to be strong and courageous. It reminds me to be brave like Esther. Thank you buddy for pointing me to Jesus. I love you so very much!

A constant fight…

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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!

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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…

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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

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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

“Hawaii, was Hawaii without Warren”…

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…

Psalm 115:1

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.

2015-07-06 00.07.42It’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!

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Kane'ohe Bay
Kane’ohe Bay

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!

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Kaneohe Bay in Oahu

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Bill's sisters Beth & Susan
Bill’s sisters Beth & Susan
La'ie Point
La’ie Point

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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.)

Hanuma Bay
Hanuma Bay

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Waikiki…

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.

2015-07-18 10.36.15My 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!

2015-07-18 10.39.31Each 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.

Chad...
Chad…
Beth...
Beth…

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We love you!!

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Lanikaki Pillbox Hike
The Lanikai Pillbox overlooks the Lanikai Beach and the "Moks"
The Lanikai Pillbox overlooks the Lanikai Beach and the “Moks”
surfing in Waikiki
surfing in Waikiki
"hang loose"
“hang loose”
Romy's Shrimp Truck Yum!
Romy’s Shrimp Truck
Yum!
Luau in Waikiki with Madison & Allyson
Luau in Waikiki
with Madison & Allyson
Beth, Chad, Susan
Beth, Chad, Susan

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 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’…..

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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.

Summer so far

You split the sea

So I could walk right through it

My fears were drowned in perfect love

You rescued me

So I could stand and sing

I am a child of God

Romans 8:15-17
For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear,but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba Father!”. The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs-heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Isaiah 43:1-2
When you pass through the waters I will be with you; and through the rivers they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.

Summer 2003
Summer 2003

Well, 14 days of summer and counting….  How are we doing?  I have absolutely no idea…I’m finding that there is no such thing as a “good” day or even a “bad” day.  It can change from one moment to the next, and for no real apparent reason.  Sometimes I can even be standing with someone and my heart seems protected from the pain but all of a sudden it’s like a wave of reality knocks the very breath out of me and I can’t focus to save my life.  Part of me wants to cry, while the other just wants desperately to push it out of my mind.  To let myself cry opens up the raw part of my hurt and I feel so vulnerable.  Vulnerability in grief is a scary thing…It’s like I have no control of my own emotions or any idea how or when the moment will end.  On the other hand…If I push the pain away, then I begin to have guilt.  Guilt, that doesn’t make sense..but it’s like I’m saying “I can’t, Warren…not right now..I just can’t”.  I hate to use the familiar expressions: ‘ebb and flow’, ‘roller coaster of emotion’..But, there is no better way to describe how one minute (or minutes) I can be functioning and carrying on like things are good, and then the next feel like I just stare right through the person and wonder how fast I can remove myself from the moment.  This is the part of grief that makes it so hard to plan anything.  When my thoughts are taken captive by the painful reality that Warren isn’t coming back…nothing feels right.  However, when experiencing moments of God’s grace and unexplainable peace…I can actually participate (and enjoy) social interactions with friends and family.

Summer 2003
Summer 2003
Summer 2003
Summer 2003

For example, last week Grace had to go back to the dentist for sealants.  I hadn’t thought much about it…not like before, when I KNEW it was going to be tough walking in for the first time.  I sat in the waiting room..texted with a few friends, even saying how ‘good’ summer had been so far! (mind you, I think this was last Monday…what? like day 1 of summer break 🙂 )  Grace and I got in the car and I commented to her, “We did it!  We accomplished the dentist!”  She smiled…and I was proud and thankful.  I mean, when I really thought about it…Of course, God brought me back to a ‘hard’ place to show me…”See, not so hard…one day at a time.  I will see you through this.  I WILL HOLD YOU!”  Thank you Jesus for the amazing reminder of your ‘bigness’ at the dentist!  Yea, for the dentist 🙂 

summer 2003
summer 2003

And then there’s Target…Shopping with Grace.  This was only a few days later and I hadn’t seen this as being a big deal. But….. We walked in, and the smell, the sounds, the feeling of ‘summer’, all the people…I could hardly breathe.  My chest seemed to tighten, I began to sweat, or feel “sweaty”(which happens..it’s weird) and I couldn’t focus on what we were there for.  Had Grace only known…this trip to Target could have been her lucky day!  I would have said yes to just about anything…I just wanted out.  But…We were there to buy some shorts and tops, while also looking for a swim suit(so help me), so I needed/wanted to pull it together.   So, this was one of those moments I would try to push the pain aside…think of something else, force my heart to not “feel”, and  will my tears to stay away …for now.  However, everywhere I looked I was reminded of Warren.  I’m not sure I ever strolled through Target noticing so many ‘boy’ things.  All I could think of  was: how unfair…why me?….why us?  could this really be?  I stood outside the dressing room, approving (and disapproving) of her outfits…I stood staring as people would walk by.  I wondered what their stories were.  I know very well, that I am not the only one with a story…but like so many, we go about our lives pretending that everything is ok…scared to let anyone in, not wanting to let anyone in, or like that day, just needing to do “normal” for the sake of accomplishing a necessary task.

summer 2003
summer 2003

After what seemed an eternity, Grace looked at me, obviously noticing that her mom was physically there but not emotionally, and said she was done.  Happy with our Target finds, we paid for our things and made it to the car.  I looked at Grace and honestly shared how difficult that had been for me….how being there reminded me of Warren.  I was reminded of how we had shopped last summer for a last-minute trip to the beach, when we tagged along with Bill on a business trip.  My very brave girl just smiled, a half-smile, because I know she feels it too, and we just sat, for a moment staring straight ahead, not saying anything..because nothing needed to be said.

Summer 2003
Summer 2003

Every single day, every single minute we (me, Bill and Grace) are making choices on how we deal with the hurt, the pain, and the screaming void in our lives.  If we are laughing or smiling, it’s because we are choosing to see our situation with eternal lenses…something inside us gives us the strength to hold onto or be held by Jesus.   Maybe it isn’t even a conscious decision, but nonetheless, some laughter that comes from our body is genuine laughing that brings much-needed rest and peace from the relentless pain.  But just as the laughter stops and the smile on our face begins to fade…we can also choose to let the tears come, quiet fall, or words  communicate how very much we miss our brother, son, and friend.

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All of this happens every single day….choices, whether we recognize it or not, on how we will handle our new normal.  One minute I can be texting a friend to express how awful I feel and the next minute pose for a silly pic that Grace can add to her snap chat.  I look back at some of our more recent pictures/selfies and get confused myself as to how I was feeling that day or moment?!?

Summer 2003
Summer 2003

Grief doesn’t make sense and it doesn’t seem to follow a rule book.  I assume that things I experience and feel as a grieving mom are different from other grieving moms..even if our situations are similar.  I am an emotional person by nature, so I cry easily and probably more often than some.  I don’t mind being alone (most of the time), in fact, I find comfort in being at home with time to read and listen to sermons.  So much of what God is teaching me happens during my time alone with Him…I crave it and desperately need it!  I can’t imagine this journey without Jesus being my lifeline…CAN-NOT imagine.  God has also placed amazing people  in my life to encourage me along in this journey.  The other moms (whom I now call friends) that know all too well this road of suffering, have been, and continue to be absolutely priceless…I am beyond grateful and in awe as God provides, very specifically, to my unique needs each and every day.  His promises are true, and He continues to be our Healer and our Comforter!

Summer 2003
Summer 2003

So…How is summer so far?  Well, I can say that we miss the heck out of Warren and the hurt is deep and pretty constant.  There are no words that I can come up with to explain this kind of suffering or heart ache.  I think about him all the time.  I am either yearning for summers past or wishing he weren’t missing out on this summer…it’s awful!

Summer 2003
Summer 2003

I can also say that the reality of our days so far have not been as bad as I had imagined.  I imagined long days with Grace at the house…each of us confused and alone, not knowing how to “function” with so much time together.  I worried how we would wake up each morning without Warren here and what those moments would look like…Truth is…I worried about our “tomorrows” !!  Even last night I found myself shaking my head and thinking….”I can’t do it”…”I can’t do it”!!

IMG_1494So how is it not as bad as I imagined…?  Jesus.  Jesus comes through EVERY DAY!!  In fact, EVERY DAY Jesus is waiting for me..ME!  He gives me rest, but He does not sleep!!  Where does my help come from?  Why can I say that the summer hasn’t been as awful as I imagined….?  Because every day I am reminded where my help comes from…My help comes from the Maker of Heaven and earth.  If I will just lift my eyes to the hills, above the wind and the waves, above the storm, He will not let my foot be moved.  He will keep and protect me from stumbling.  When I find myself in a “Target” moment….I Look UP!!  When I can’t breathe or take one more step…when my tears seem to have no end…I Look Up!!  When I begin to wonder if Jesus is enough….I Look Up!!  I find Him every time.  When I choose to Look Up.

Psalm 121: 1-3  I lift my eyes to the hills.  From where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.  He will not let your foot be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber.

Hebrews 4:16  Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

summer 2003
summer 2003

I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned before, but I struggle with fear.  Fear can be crippling.  Fear is not from God…and Satan has certainly had a field day distracting me with this stronghold…I recently heard a missionary speak on fear and he shared some amazing truths that have begun to create a shift in my thinking…He shared a couple of songs with me that I have been playing over and over the last couple of weeks.  I believe that (loud) praise displaces fear….so I thought I would share these songs with you!  The words at the beginning of this post are from one of the songs… ‘No Longer Slaves’ by Bethel Music.  The other song, ‘Break Every Chain’ feat. Kristen DiMarco is absolutely life changing!  I will post them with my other favorite songs!

 Also, I mentioned that I listen to sermons.  I come from a family of preachers…My Dad and my brother are both pastors.  On days that I am home alone and sometimes in the evenings, I will find a sermon series to listen to…A few of my favorites include:

*Michael McCracken (my brother) @ Alamo Ranch Community Church, Pastor Gregg Matte (our home church HFBC), Matt Chandler, and Louie Giglio.

Colossians 3:16  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

2003
2003

I can look at these pictures and remember, like it was yesterday, your laugh and your smile that brought such joy to our family.  This first summer with your new baby sister was so special.  You loved her and treated her so tenderly.  You enjoyed being outdoors and splashing in the pool or playing in your sandbox that Nana and Granddad gave you.  You also loved to swing and play on your ‘big boy’ swing set.  I remember it like yesterday, yet it also seems so far away…I love you buddy with my whole heart.  Jesus is teaching me so much and I am trying so hard to be brave… Brave like Esther..(Granddad taught me that)  I just read something that you wrote…that we were made to be “proclaimers” for Christ.  I’ve not ever been really good at that…but I’m asking that God would continue to use your life’s story and that He would strengthen me and use me to “proclaim” the gospel of Jesus…Without Jesus, we have no hope!   I just continue to be so proud of you.

I can say with confidence that Christ is my life…I am not ashamed, for I  know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me. (2 Timothy 1:12)

I love you Warren Austin Barfield.  I miss you every morning.  I miss you all throughout the day, and then I miss you at night as I lay in bed.  I can not wait to meet Jesus face to face with you right by my side…promise me you’ll look for me!!

Me:  “Good night, love you so much!!”      You: “I love you more!”

Me: “Are we seriously going to argue about this?  I love YOU more!”

You:” No, Mom, I love you More…end of story…!”      ….and on and on we would go!!