Friday, January 25, 2013

Thoughts at 47 Weeks...

Yesterday it occurred to me that in a mere five weeks, Chris will have been gone an entire year. That is shocking. I have been without him for 47 weeks! In some ways, though, it feels like 470 weeks...
I found this old picture from a road trip we took with Abby & Jake

 The loneliness is suffocating at times. To know the pleasure of marriage and then to have it all gone... To be separated from the one who knew me best. To know that there is no marriage in heaven. Chris and I no longer belong to each other. Almost a year, but it still feels quite foreign. And in many ways, the passage of time magnifies the loneliness.
So this is a big, daring, vulnerable thing for me to say so publicly. But here it is: pray for another husband for me? Another father for my girl? Not to replace Chris--but to be another amazing man in our lives.
I desire to be satisfied in God alone! And I also ask him for this good gift. Would he really give it twice? Is that a greedy request?
"A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy habitation. He sets the solitary in families..." -Psalm 68:5-6a

Friday, January 18, 2013


One year ago today, we decided to move into my parents’ home.  The day before, the nurse had been out to the house.  She confirmed my thoughts about Chris’ rapid decline that week: it wouldn’t be long.  I was drowning in grief and in the needs of my two people.  I was tired and overwhelmed.  I needed back-up.
That day, Chris’ brother Steve came over to help him get some projects completed for Erika.  He signed birthday cards for his kiddo for each of her birthdays until 21. And a card for her wedding day.  And one for the day she becomes a mom.  And he recorded some video for her—telling her all the things we wanted her to know (and had the camera focus on a healthy picture of him with her, rather than on his gaunt face). And Steve recorded him reading a few of her favorite books to her.

And then he helped me to carry Chris into the bathroom, where I showered my skeleton husband for the last time in our home.  Steve, I will never forget that trip down our hallway.  I looked at your pained face as you carried your baby brother. What a contrast to see your bodies next to each other!  One so strong and able.  The other so weak and broken.  I will never forget the love and tenderness with which you helped me to care for him. Thank you, my brother.
That night, a crew of family came to pack us up for our big move.  Aunt Sissy told me to go into the bedroom with Chris and to shut the door.  She told me not to worry—they would take care of all the packing. I will never forget that evening with my beloved.  Completely relieved of all responsibilities, I soaked in some of the deepest fellowship of our entire marriage.  I read to him some of our favorite Spurgeon devotions and we talked about heaven and about how blessed we felt to have walked together on this earthly journey for a little while.
I wrote this on his CaringBridge that night:
I am so very honored to spend intimate last moments with the best man I know. He is my best friend. He has shown me how to be graceful and trusting in seemingly the worst of circumstances. A prayer is always on his lips. I love him so dearly but am also so filled with peace that I can release him. His service is almost done on earth. And I want for Him to go soon to a place where there is no more sickness and no more tears.
This week I have been overwhelmed again by the gift Chris was to me—an undeserved gift. And I’m grateful for the grace we each received to walk through that awful time with a peace that passed understanding. We cried out: “Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; and in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, until these calamities have passed by.“ (Psalm 57:1) He was merciful. He was near. He tucked us into the shadow of His wings.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Missing Daddy

This whole single parenting thing... It's hard.

Yesterday Erika had a day of questions about heaven, tearful episodes about missing daddy, and general melancholy. I feel often completely ill-equipped--unable really--to do this. It's been a very long while since she's cried for Daddy. Since she's told me she wants him. She's sad about him. I sort of thought (naively) that maybe she wasn't going to cry for him again... I thought I might be alone in the missing of him. How wrong I was!

How can I minister to this little girl's hurt? I don't even understand developmentally how she views death! How can I help her? This is what I always come back to: I CANNOT help her. Not truly. Jesus is the great Healer of hearts. He alone binds up the wounds that are so deep and aching that they feel as if they will never stop hurting. They are beyond human capacity to soothe. I can only let her know it's ok to be sad. And teach her to run to Jesus with all of our hurts.

And so, I tell her that I know. I want Daddy too. I'm so sorry she's sad. BUT Jesus cares when we are sad. And He wants us to tell Him about it. And then I pray with her. A very simple prayer.

 Jesus! Help us! Give us peace and joy. We miss Daddy. We are so sad. Help us.

Pray this for us too? And we pray for your hurts, our dear friends.

Friday, January 4, 2013


I find myself floating somewhere between overwhelming sadness and exciting hope about this new year. Sometimes it seems impossible to go on. To take the next step. To walk this painfully lonely path. And at other times, I wonder what this new year will bring. What adventures and new things or people will this year bring for me? For Erika? 

But today it seems too much to look forward to--or to dread. 

And so, I do (as Elizabeth Elliot admonishes) THE NEXT THING. I have my coffee with my quiet time. I get Erika breakfast. I shower. I read to her and find ways to fill our morning. I make lunch. I go into work for a bit. I pick up dinner. I thank my mom for being my right hand. And then I try to get eight hours of sleep.

Much like many of you. 

I made no resolutions this year. Except perhaps this: to keep doing the next thing and to stay faithful. To my God. To my daughter. To my family and friends. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Ten Months and a New Year

2013... A year Chris never saw. A year without him in it. It seems rather depressing to think of it in those terms. And so, I resolve to think of it in the way my dear friend stated it to me yesterday, "You need a new year, don't you?" A fresh, new year. Filled with hope.

I remember reading Spurgeon's morning devotional last New Year's Day and weeping bitter, awful tears. It seemed to have been written for us. There would be one of us who would see Jesus. And the other would still "tarry on earth." I knew it for sure, and I knew it would not be long.

"They did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year." --Joshua 5:12  

Israel's weary wanderings were all over, and the promised rest was attained. No more moving tents, fiery serpents, fierce Amalekites, and howling wildernesses: they came to the land which flowed with milk and honey, and they ate the old corn of the land. Perhaps this year, beloved Christian reader, this may be thy case or mine. Joyful is the prospect, and if faith be in active exercise, it will yield unalloyed delight. To be with Jesus in the rest which remaineth for the people of God, is a cheering hope indeed, and to expect this glory so soon is a double bliss. Unbelief shudders at the Jordan which still rolls between us and the goodly land, but let us rest assured that we have already experienced more ills than death at its worst can cause us. Let us banish every fearful thought, and rejoice with exceeding great joy, in the prospect that this year we shall begin to be "for ever with the Lord." 

A part of the host will this year tarry on earth, to do service for their Lord. If this should fall to our lot, there is no reason why the New Year's text should not still be true. "We who have believed do enter into rest." The Holy Spirit is the earnest of our inheritance; He gives us "glory begun below." In heaven they are secure, and so are we preserve in Christ Jesus; there they triumph over their enemies, and we have victories too. Celestial spirits enjoy communion with their Lord, and this is not denied to us; they rest in His love, and we have perfect peace in Him: they hymn His praise, and it is our privilege to bless Him too. We will this year gather celestial fruits on earthly ground, where faith and hope have made the desert like the garden of the Lord. Man did eat angels' food of old, and why not now ? O for grace to feed on Jesus, and so to eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan this year!

"O for grace to feed on Jesus!" This year also.

Today is ten months since Chris entered his rest.