Thursday, July 17, 2014

Sunsets, Day-breaks, & Awaiting a Glorious Unfolding

Psa 30:5(b) Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.

Lam 3:22-24 ​​Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, ​​Because His compassions fail not.  ​​They are new every morning; ​​Great is Your faithfulness.  ​​“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, ​​“Therefore I hope in Him!”

With the current heatwave we have seen some amazing sunsets in our area lately, I have been hearing the song by Steven Curtis Chapman; Glorious Unfolding a lot lately. The combination of these have begun to trigger some thought processes about sunsets, sunrises and life.

A little over a year ago, I watched as the sun set on my best friend/husband's life... and it felt in many ways that it was setting on mine too, I knew better but the heart feels what it feels. I put one foot in front of the other and pressed forward, some days better than others, but forward none the less. Today, 14+ months later, I continue that journey forward, thankful for a loving God who has been with me every step of the way!

A while back I started hearing the song, "Glorious Unfolding," on the radio, a lot. I started listening to the lyrics, and somewhere along the way I started HEARING them, again reminded that it was not my sunset last year, but rather the darkness before the dawn of what is to come. 

I wrote in my last blog that I have entered the next chapter of my life, I have come through the darkness and am moving into the sunrise... that glorious unfolding of what lies ahead. I had an amazing trip to Alaska and traveling home down the Alcan (Alaska/Canadian) Hwy. The beauty that I saw really was a reminder to me that God's fingerprint is everywhere, including my life and my heart. I really did get a refreshing break, I detached from work and was able to enjoy the journey.  

Enjoying the journey of life, a life lived in the Lord, that's what I want to do. Yes, the heart still aches, but at the same time, I know that I have more life ahead of me, and I am excited. Do I have a clue as to what it will look like? No. But I know that I have a Father in heaven that does, He has known since before I was born, and I know that I can trust him to open the doors each day that I am to walk through... this is only the beginning of my future.

Take a moment, if you haven't heard this song, listen to it...
Be Blessed!!

Lay your head down tonight
Take a rest from the fight
Don’t try to figure it out
Just listen to what I’m whispering to your heart
‘Cause I know this is not
Anything like you thought
The story of your life was gonna be
And it feels like the end has started closing in on you
But it’s just not true
There’s so much of the story that’s still yet to unfold

And this is going to be a glorious unfolding
Just you wait and see and you will be amazed
You’ve just got to believe the story is so far from over
So hold on to every promise God has made to us
And watch this glorious unfolding

God’s plan from the start
For this world and your heart
Has been to show His glory and His grace
Forever revealing the depth and the beauty of
His unfailing Love
And the story has only begun

And this is going to be a glorious unfolding
Just you wait and see and you will be amazed
We’ve just got to believe the story is so far from over
So hold on to every promise God has made to us
And watch this glorious unfolding

We were made to run through fields of forever
Singing songs to our Savior and King
So let us remember this life we’re living
Is just the beginning of the beginning

Of this glorious unfolding
We will watch and see and we will be amazed
If we just keep on believing the story is so far from over
And hold on to every promise God has made to us
We’ll see the glorious unfolding

Just watch and see (unfolding)
This is just the beginning of the beginning (unfolding)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Life Moves On --

It's been over a month since my last post... and what a month, the year of firsts is now completed, including the anniversary of Glenn's Celebration of Life and burial. I am ready to begin this next chapter. I am ready to take a deep breath and continue to move forward, I am ready for my heart to continue to heal and the waves of emotion to continue to smooth out.

This chapter is off to a good start-- beautiful weather, a garden planted (though we'll see how it does, lol), a new job on the horizon, and a very soon a trip to Alaska, followed by the relocation of my son and his family to the valley. Yes a very good start, I will soon have all of my children, and grandchildren living in the area and I am very thankful for that. 

Sometimes we need to learn to appreciate life; A game of golf with my son, a movie with one or both of my girls, an afternoon with a grandchild be-bopping around the house, a conversation on the phone with the kids, coffee with a friend, or any one of a million little things... the little things all add up to memories. Memories are precious, and the older you get the more you realize this.

Cherished memories are a way of looking back with a smile, not living in the past, but just a moment relived in our mind and heart. When someone you loved is gone, you no longer have the opportunity to sit and talk about the silly, or important things you did together. But the memory of those things at least allows for a moment of reflection and a quiet smile to cross your lips.

The last month has been a lot more of an emotional drain than I anticipated. I really felt that I would be more settled than I am emotionally. What has occurred has been an up and down time, kind of like a row boat in choppy waters. As the 1 year mark has passed, I have had some moments that, my memory gates opened up like flood gates, instead of the quiet release of a trickling brook. Don't mis-understand, the memories are wonderful! What it has stirred up is, the loneliness of not having Glenn here to talk with, whether about those memories or the moments of the current day to day- in a way that only he could really 'get.' He understood me like no one else, he really was my best friend and other half of me.

Last year was the chapter of closures, the initial shock waves of life without Glenn have past, and this year is the chapter of new beginnings.  I find myself really looking inward, and upward as I begin to contemplate, who I am. I am having to relearn who, "I" am, as opposed to who 'we' were, I still find myself using references to us, for present day, even though it's just me... this is hard.  But God is seeing me through.

I have always been somewhat of a "Pollyanna," and that's not such a bad thing. If you don't know the term it comes from the attitude of the title character in the novel by the same name. Pollyanna's philosophy of life centers on what she calls "The Glad Game", an optimistic attitude she learned from her father. The game consists of finding something to be glad about in every situation. It originated in an incident one Christmas when Pollyanna, who was hoping for a doll in the missionary barrel, found only a pair of crutches inside. Making the game up on the spot, Pollyanna's father taught her to look at the good side of things—in this case, to be glad about the crutches because "we didn't need to use them!"

As a young girl it came from a sense of security in the family around me, and yes a level of naivety. In my adult life it's more because I trust the Lord and what He says in his word. Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. And add to it Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. So, I think it's not a bad thing to be a Pollyanna.

 I am thankful that the Lord put this optimistic side into my personality, I want to be thankful in all things. I want to be a positive influence on the people around me. I want the Joy of the Lord to dominate my life. This is what helps me press through in the hard times; I will be honest, lately I have had some struggles with the area of depression, fortunately I recognized it for what it is and I am going to overcome. It's not that it's on me all the time, I refuse to allow that, but it hits and can hit hard. But knowing what it is, allows me to give it to the Lord, and battle it with prayer, the word and worship! And through God's strength, I will get the victory!

Remember, the valleys allow us to really enjoy the breathtaking beauty of the peaks!! So, I take a deep breath and put one foot in front of the other, moving forward and enjoying the beauty of the Lord around me, and taking in the moments that will be the memories of tomorrow! Life moves on, and I will move on with it.

a.k.a -- PrairieMouse

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

End of Chapter 1

You may think that the title of this blog is odd, but then again if you know me, or have been following my blog, it may just make sense after all. The 1st chapter in my life without Glenn, year 1, is almost over.

Philipians 3:14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

As I have been out and about recently I am aware that everywhere you look, you see it and you know it... Spring has sprung. Spring is a reminder that life has cycles, after the winter comes new life. That is what I am looking forward to in me, spring... this last year has been a long winter and I am ready for the spring, and I am confident that it is coming. I don't know how long the season of budding before the bloom will be, but I am beginning to feel that I am entering a bud stage. The year of firsts is nearly over and I have survived, and grown.

The year has been a time of hurdles, closures and many firsts without Glenn. I am glad that this time is coming to it's own sort of end.

Hurdles-- that would be adjusting to a new chapter in life, balancing my business plus a full time job, my personal life including time to rest and recharge (never my strong suit), and try to find a way to get back to doing what I did before with in my involvement in church. I need to remember that this chapter is really more of a steeple chase than the quick short hurdles on a track. The hurdles vary in size and intensity, some are easily seen, some I knew were there and chose to go around them temporarily- I will be facing them shortly, and some are like the ones that hide behind a hedge on the steeple chase course. They come from no where but with God's help I have gotten through them and will continue to.

I can look back and feel both frustrated and yet okay at the same time, there are times when I got mad at myself for shutting down, letting my emotions get the best of me. I'm not one that likes to give into emotions, tears and the lack of control that they create-- but I am human and I lost it plenty of times. I want to be in control, to be on an even keel, and some people may be surprised by this; but I like to know the 'plan,' For obvious reasons, that hasn't been the case, so I have learned that I need to be ready to flex, to 'jump' or turn as the Lord leads.

Firsts -- firsts, lots of them... important days celebrated with out him, some holidays and some days that may have only had meaning to us. Some were harder than others, some were surprisingly good, as thoughts and memories added to the presence of family and thoughtfulness of friends counterbalanced the 'empty' factor. One person really went out of their way in a way that probably did the most to get me through what might have been the hardest time of year... and I am forever thankful to them, and I can only hope they read this to know just how much those 12 gifts meant- you see, they were anonymous.

In this last few weeks I have found myself way more emotional than I have been in months. The first year is almost to a close, a lot of the pain has resurfaced. I miss Glenn so much it hurts, physically at times, and and I know that this is normal and natural, but it still sucks!

On the upside, I have found that God is constantly reminding me that I am NOT alone in this, He is always present with me, and His arms are around me.

Closures-- closure can be a good thing, it's not always easy but it's healthy. There have been a variety of things that had to be 'buttoned up,' finished or 'what have you.'  Some were simple to do, yet hard on the heart... things like changing a car title, not a big deal- but a closure. Bank accounts, bills... you know, stuff. There was one big thing that was still looming until a couple weeks ago, our old house.

During the market crash, we, like so many got hit hard economically and fell behind and into foreclosure. Well for several years that house has been in a holding pattern with no auction date. During the fall of 2012 God opened the door for us to buy the manufactured home where I live now, it is affordable, in an area I like and feel safe in. His timing amazes me, we were able to move and know that no matter what, we (I) wouldn't be in a bad spot when the inevitable happened and the house would be auctioned. Well, ironic timing, that time has come and with it the final closures all at once, the auction of that house and the close of my first year without Glenn will occur the same week. Needless to say the last few weeks have been a bit crazy, but I am pressing through them, with God's never-ending grace firmly with me. It will get done, because it has to, but the good thing is... it will be finished, no more limbo land to drag my heart and emotions out. A big closure, and a much needed one, no matter how uncomfortable it's been.

Looking to chapter 2 - I'm the same me as I was before, but yet, I am not at all who I was. Last year was a time of shock, adjustment, often times just survival mode, and possibly semi-catatonic at times. I spent my share of time crying out to God, and sometimes just crying to God, and He brought me through the year. He has blessed me with an amazing family both in the natural and my church family... I couldn't have survived the last 2 years without their love and caring.

I don't know what lies ahead but I know that what is in my heart, and that is to keep pressing forward toward the things that the Lord sets before me. I want to be obedient to the things that He calls me to do. This 2nd chapter is really the start of my new life, you see, in so may ways I think last year was more of an epilogue to one book of my life and the prologue to the book I am now in. Only God truly knows what lies ahead, but I can honestly say that looking backward, I can look forward with confidence and trust knowing what it says in Jeremiah 29:11 really is true for me.

May the love of the Lord touch each of you as it has me.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.