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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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)

another hard “first”

2012-05-29 20.07.09

Today was just as I expected…HARD!!!  Emotionally, physically, spiritually~ All of it!!  Even now, I keep trying to take deep breaths, but each breath falls short of giving my body the relief I am searching for.  My mind won’t stop drifting to the thoughts of what should be..and how He’s missing so much because he’s not here.  The heaviness just will not lift and the tears have been more frequent and seem to sting more painfully.  I just can’t seem to wrap my brain around THIS reality, that Warren entered the 8th grade  almost 10 months ago, we bought the yearbook, we bought the t-shirt, he played football…he walked the halls of MMS just 6 1/2 months ago!!  I can even open this school years agenda and see his writing.  His backpack and binders are still in his room~However, today when I was waiting at the school for Grace to walk out, I watched familiar faces leaving campus and Warren was not among them. He should have been there and he was not..Instead you will find his name etched on a memorial outside the school along with others who have died.

“Died”, I hesitate to even use that word.  It sounds ‘bad’ or cruel…But it’s reality, and I think it’s what makes today so hard.  With the close of a school year and the beginning of summer…Leaving behind and moving ahead, I find myself stuck…Stuck grieving November 24,2014.  Not ‘stuck’, like refusing to ‘Live’…But rather having to journey through the stages of grief has me moving more slowly though life than everyone around me.  It seems just as I feel like I can move onto the next “stage”, I am faced with another big day or event to make it through.  Today, the last day of school, was one of those events…Not having both my kids here to celebrate the arrival of summer, and another successful year under our belt has been especially hard.

It’s like there is a big party being thrown and I wish I could decline the invite, but I can’t!  Well, I guess I could, but that would require locking myself inside my house, and that’s not an option (for me)!  I remember so clearly that ‘feeling’ of the last day of school..Especially as a teacher, that day is filled with such emotion.  The count down begins after Spring Break and at some point  I wonder if I will make it to June.  But when that last day arrives and I hug those kiddos good bye, I (sometimes) fight back tears knowing  that I will miss our daily routines and our interaction together…BUT after they leave the building and I look ahead to summer with my family, I am overwhelmed with  JOY!  It’s like… I become ‘giddy’!!  I’m exhausted, but walk away, proud of my professional successes, looking forward to the time with my kids!! It’s that ‘feeling’ that everything is just… “good”…”accomplished”…

Today..that ‘feeling’ is replaced with a deep longing for my “normal” back!  I want Warren back.  Yep!  I’m just going to say it…I know!  I know!! But if I’m honest, I’d give ANYTHING to have him here..with me!!  We’d be complete and safe and under one roof!  For me, right now, anything less just doesn’t cut it!  It isn’t fair..not for me, not for Bill, and not for Grace!  We miss Warren!

Has today been extremely sad for me?  Yes!! But….Did I wake Grace this morning with  excitement in my voice that today was the last day of school?  I did…. Jesus!  Did I accomplish some chores today that required interacting with the public?  I did…Jesus!  Did I take Grace and friends to lunch after school today?  I did…Jesus!  Did I laugh with friends and enjoy a nice dinner with my husband?  YES!!  JESUS!!!!  None of it by my own strength, let me assure you…Jesus!  But you, O Lord are a shield about me, my glory and the lifter of my head.  I cried aloud to the Lord and He answered me from His Holy hill. (Psalm 3:3-4)

So, as I lay here in bed at 11:50pm, I can honestly say that Jesus was ENOUGH, even for my very hard TODAY!  “Jesus is enough” doesn’t mean it was easy, in fact it was not. But it DOES mean that I can trust Him with my hard days. Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge. (Psalm 62:8) It does mean that even though the sadness seems unbearable, it will not destroy me.  “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Cor. 4:8-9)

I need to get my pictures organized..I had  trouble locating ‘end of year’ pictures..very frustrating!  ….but here are a few!!

End of School Fun-2010
End of School Fun-2010 (1st and 3rd grade)

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5th Grade~2012
5th Grade~2012
5th Grade Graduation
5th Grade Graduation
2015~End of 6th grade
2015~End of 6th grade

Can I just say that I could not be more proud of my sweet girl!!  This is the face of perseverance and courage!  God has amazing things in store for her.  I am so thankful for how He is so tenderly holding her during this journey!

She is ready for summer 🙂

I also came across a few videos that were taken at the end of 2014 school year.  Bill was so good about recording the kids on the first and last days of school…When they were younger they loved it….but as you can tell I think Warren might have been a little “too cool” !

Ephesians3Earlier this week we decided to make this our verse for the summer.  Even though I am struggling to  face this big “first” without Warren we are going to trust that God WILL do abundantly MORE than we could ever imagine!! Eph. 3:20