Storm before the calm…

(journal entry 8/20)

Saturday morning before school starts…heavy heart searching for some relief

Thinking about Grace’s first day in 8th grade and how she will feel walking into the 8th grade building…How will her teachers treat her?  She doesn’t want special attention…but it’s hard to ignore the fact that some of her teachers were the last teachers Warren ever had.

Will seeing his locker be difficult..?

How to face another day where Warren’s absence seems to be more obvious and painful

Everything about summer ending and school beginning is not at all how it should be for our family …  Jesus help

(journal entry 8/21)

School starts tomorrow…I can’t stop crying…trying to hide the tears

Jesus help me to rise up!

Jesus help me to keep my focus on You.

The last 3 or 4 days have been waves and waves of emotion…lots and lots of tears.  The rollercoaster of ups and downs has been exhausting.  My heart has been victim to to the unrelenting pain  of missing Warren and wishing so much that he was here to start his sophomore year.

Surreal..

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August 2014

Helping Grace get ready for 8th grade…so exciting and yet so surreal.  This will be the year she passes Warren in school and age.  She will do things he never got the chance to do…8th grade dance, planning for HS etc.  Everything about the next few months will be especially hard as we get closer to November 24th.  It’s just hard to wrap my brain around the fact that 2 years ago we were living life like we had years and years of time ahead of us…but in reality we had 94 days, 3 months and 2 days, 66 week days & 28 weekend days…

Sometimes I wish I’d known…not all the details, but enough to know I needed to make each minute of every day count.  But that’s crazy!  Of course I wouldn’t have wanted to know, but I often wonder how much time I wasted on things that absolutely did not matter…It’s a slippery slope when I let myself think this way-regret & guilt are not fun ever, but especially when you can’t go back and make things “right”.

No regrets…

So….Live with no regrets! Love deeply..tell them…OFTEN!  Hug…OFTEN! (no matter how old they are)  Laugh…Ask questions…Talk at dinner…Put love notes in their lunch (no matter how old they are 🙂 )  Tuck them in at night and snuggle in the morning to wake them up!  And most importantly, if you don’t already, talk to them about Jesus!!!!!

Serve Jesus together…go to church and worship together…pray together, read your Bible together.  They aren’t too young OR too old!!  This is one regret you DON’T want to have!

(and…this doesn’t apply just to your children, but your spouse, your family and friends…LOVE them well and LOVE Jesus with everything you’ve got!)

Hmmm…not even sure I meant to travel down that road, but maybe I needed the reminder to make the most of my days with Jesus…


 

First Day of 8th Grade…

IMG_0361We did it!!!  HE did it…. If you could see my face and hear my voice when I say that “He did it!!”  you would know that a huge “AMEN!” is in order….  Everything that took place in this house on Monday morning was just like yours. Well…maybe…we take LOTS of pictures (lawwwts), so that might be different 😉  But we woke up extra early, ate a good breakfast (which may or may not happen on a regular basis), had all our supplies ready, and took ‘first day’ pics!  All of this with NO tears…and believe me when I say tears are good and healthy and I should knowI cry all the timehowever, Grace and Bill do not, so it was such a gift to me (and them) for mom to not cry!!  Thank you Jesus!

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Thank you Jesus for the “storm” before the “calm”… If I was judging how Monday would go based on Saturday and Sunday…it wasn’t going to be good.  Instead, His grace was sufficient & we each experienced it beyond measure, and we had a “normal” day.

Opportunity and Courage…

No doubt this school year will bring difficult days as well as days filled with MORE of Jesus… However, whether in the middle of a storm or calm, we will praise him.  Maybe through tears or even gritted teeth, but it’s only because of Jesus that we can face either.

Praying this school year brings more opportunity to Rise Up & Shine (to be radiant with the glory of the Lord   Is. 60:1) and the courage to share our faith.

Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity.  Let your conversation be gracious and attractive, so that you will have the right response for everyone.  Col. 4:5-6

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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!

afraid yet filled with joy…

 

 

March….

Spring Break ~ Warren’s 15th birthday ~ Move ~ Easter


 

Spring Break 2016

Florida with Bill and Grace for Spring Break.  Spring Break in Florida without Warren.

Beautiful sunsets…

Beautiful flowers…

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Beautiful water, blue skies & white sand….

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New adventures…

Beautiful and New.  Laughter and Sorrow.  Stories and Adventures.  Tears and Joy.  

This is how we do our new normal…experiencing new, while remembering the past and longing for how things used to be.  Moving forward, but desperately wishing we could go back.  Making new memories, but fondly remembering the old…

We continue to trust The One in control…but Oh, how we wish things were different.


 

Happy 15th Birthday to my first born!!! 

We celebrate you every day…so when March 23rd roles around each year, we will praise God for the days we had with you on this earth, and JOYFULLY look forward to the forever celebration to come….Love you…MORE!

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I guess we thought we would “eat” our way through the day… 🙂  So we had some of your favorites!  Grace and I also went and had our nails painted blue!  Honestly…we fumbled through the day not knowing really what to do or how to do it.  It wasn’t perfect…it won’t ever be, i guess…So we just asked God to be glorified and to surround us with a love greater than all loves…and…He did just that.  So thankful that we serve a God that loves us and considers us in our time of need.

La Madeleine for breakfast (quiche lorraine, strawberries)  🙂

Bar-b-q for dinner (ribs…)

Lemon cake…

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We moved…….

There is so much behind this picture…There is NO WAY I can put into words or even begin to describe how God used these (and others not pictured) to minister, encourage, support, and physically help us with this move.  My heart is full every time I look at these faces and remember the sacrifice of time and energy they gave to our family, on their day off, to come and serve.

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In case you didn’t notice in the above pictures…there is one person who just might have experienced the biggest blessing of all!  You see, on Sunday, 5 days before this picture was taken, he was in the hospital.  5 days before this picture, this man, My Dad, or better yet, Warren’s Granddad, was wearing a vest that was monitoring his heart.  He was weak and possibly looking at surgery to place a pacemaker that would control an abnormal heart rhythm.

5 days before this picture, I asked God to completely heal his heart.  I knew the pacemaker and the doctors caring for him could assist in his getting better…but I asked that God would heal his heart completely.  3 days before this picture, my brother called and said..”hey, the doctor said Dad’s heart has reverted back to normal.  they are removing the vest and he has no physical restrictions.”  Dad said to the doctor, “this is a miracle!” and the doctor said…”well, thats one way to look at it.”  We are so grateful to the doctors and nurses and how they have cared for our Dad.  We just believe that it is God’s sovereignty that instead of a pacemaker keeping his heart in rhythm, it’s beating just fine on its own!

So…as dad hugged each neck, and shook each hand, He was blessed in a huge way!

Jesus hears us.  He loves us…& He is the Great Physician.


Easter…

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow

If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies though his Spirit who dwells in you.  Romans 8:11

After what seemed like a month of “hard” … we closed it out by switching our focus to the cross, the resurrection, and the Hope that ‘Sunday’s coming’!   I just believe it wasn’t  a coincidence that the first morning in our new home was Easter morning.  Easter. Pointing us to look back and to remember, and in remembering, we can confidently look ahead, knowing that deliverance IS coming! Our future is secure in Christ!  It might not be yet, but IT IS coming!  

For now we see in a mirror dimly but then face to face, Now I know in part, Then I shall know FULLY, even as I have been FULLY known. (1 Cor. 13:12)

Leaving the house where Warren last lived , packing up his things…putting them in tubs so fearful we were leaving him behind… was painful for my still very tender heart.  But as I take the time to look back at how graciously God provided ~ His mercies NEW every morning , I am strengthened once again to take a step of faith forward.  

‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee.  There you will see him.’  So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy…          (Matthew 28:7-8)

Today, I am thankful that He goes before me.  I am also thankful that as a mom who misses her boy, I can be ‘afraid  YET filled with Joy’…. 

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Dressed for the Game…

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March 2011-White Sox (10 yrs old)

I absolutely love this picture of Warren!!  I love the arm bands and the black and white rope around his neck.  He wore these things himself.  Whenever he stepped foot on a baseball field (for a game or practice), he was ready…mentally, physically, and completely dressed.  And by completely dressed, I mean his shirt tucked in with a belt!  ALWAYS!  This was initially encouraged by his Dad, but eventually Warren would do this on his own without any prompting from us.

I love this picture without his baseball cap on!  I can see his eyes and his freckles.  I can tell his hair has been recently cut. He seriously looks so handsome!  It almost seems like yesterday….I like seeing him with all his gear, but this  picture where I can see his whole face makes me smile.  We had many great seasons of baseball and loved each of them for different reasons.  However, this may be one of my favorites.  I just remember Warren growing so much as a player this season…not to mention lasting friendships that came from this team!!

Baseball is starting up …What I wouldn’t give to be  watching our #12 play!  It still hurts in ways I can’t explain.  I miss it all…carpooling, practices, games, tournaments, blankets, friends, winning, losing, bats, bags, dirty baseball pants, gloves, caps, ( & I can’t forget sunscreen!)….It just can’t be, really, that those things will not be in my life….at least not as we once knew it.  I miss it and it makes me very sad.

Is that ok?  I just want to be sad.  I want to explain that not one single day goes by that I’m not sad.  At some point, every single day I think of my boy and I am sad that he is not here with me.  A little more than 12 months has passed and being sad is still daily …for me.  Sad, doesn’t always mean tears, but sometimes.   Sad doesn’t mean I can’t function, but sometimes.  Sad doesn’t mean I’m hiding at home, but sometimes.  Sad doesn’t mean I can’t laugh, but sometimes.  Sad doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy time with friends, but sometimes.  SOMETIMES when I’m sad I do just want to hide and cry, but other times I choose to focus on the eternal and remember my Hope is found in Jesus Christ.  In those moments …my “sad” moments, I’m reminded to trust even more in Jesus.

So, I’ve been sad that Warren didn’t get to try out for the Stratford baseball team.  AND, if I’m really honest,  I feel like he missed out. It’s not about whether he’d made it or not, but he didn’t even get a chance.  It stinks!!

We actually went to one of the teams’ first scrimmages on Friday afternoon…the weather was amazing, it was so good to see some of his buds, and visit with friends.  But as we left, I had this overwhelming feeling like we were leaving something/someone behind.  I used to feel that a lot right after Warren died…but Friday night, walking to our car, that feeling consumed me.  I guess in some way I was leaving something behind…MY hopes and MY dreams of watching Warren play HS baseball.  Nothing wrong with those hopes and dreams, but at this point on our journey that’s what they are…hopes and dreams for my precious boy that I must lay at the feet of Jesus and trust that His plans are better than mine…that His ways are higher.  It’s not about me…or Warren.  It’s much bigger!  I’m trusting, still… that God is working, that HE loves me and that He is Good!!

As I sat in those stands Friday afternoon I was reminded that Warren actually had been on this field before.  Several years ago (4th grade, I think) Warren was a bat boy for one of the Stratford HS games.  That was a pretty cool experience for him!  So, I found some pictures from that evening!  Sweet boy….

I feel like so much has happened over the last couple of months and God has been MORE than we could have ever asked or hoped for during some very difficult days…   We continue to be overwhelmed by our family and friends who are still journeying with us..WOW, is really all I can say.  We love each of you and cannot imagine doing this without your love and support.  

Today in Bible Study it was said that…”God is moving!”  I believe this to be true… I want to be ready “keeping my ear to the ground” (thank you Hannah)..waiting, expectantly waiting, longing for the “more” that He wants to pour out on His people!  So, if I may, I want to be like Warren, who was always dressed and ready for the “game”..

The Lord your God is in your midst,  a Mighty One who will save;  He will rejoice over you with gladness;  He will quiet you by his love;  He will exult (rejoice)  over you with loud singing.

Zephaniah 3:17

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“Safely Home”

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August 31, 2014

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.  

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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!

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June 22, 2014

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 CrossJesus…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.

Isaiah 53:4-5

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!!!

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November 2,2014

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!

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September 1, 2014
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September 2, 2013

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…

September 2013
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A constant fight…

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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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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.