Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Rested, Refreshed, and Reset

Last week the kids and I joined my mother on a vacation.  We escaped the cold winter weather for a week in the sun, sand, and ocean.  It was a much needed week “off the grid”. 

While away, I quietly experienced the 2 year anniversary of Tim’s head and neck cancer diagnosis.  It was February 2012 when we received the call that his tonsil biopsy was cancerous.  So much can change in a few minutes on the telephone.  Instead of entering the battle over his 3 year old leukemia diagnosis, as we were anticipating, our lives took a completely new course; a journey unknown to us but known in perfect detail by our Savior.  

I pondered about these past two years on this anniversary day, but didn't mention it to the children.  There are so very many milestones for us to cross over; it seemed senseless to drill yet another date into their young minds.  It still hurt.  The memories are incredibly raw and my emotions are just right there under the surface of my resolve, ready to burst forth at the slightest opportunity.  Alone in the elevator, my mom caught glimpse of a tear and knew the dam was about to break.  I simply said, “Today is the anniversary of his diagnosis” and she knew the depth of my pain.  She and my father walked this road with Tim and me the entire journey.  They never once flinched at dropping everything in their own lives to fill in as parents to our children while we were in various hospitals for treatments over extended periods.  They are incredible individuals and we are blessed to have them as parents/grandparents. 

While I crossed through this anniversary and experienced intense sorrow, something quite amazing happened as well.  I found glimpses of pure joy in the horrible memories that flooded my mind.  JOY?  You might be puzzled by this declaration, which is understandable, so please let me explain.  I have run the gamut of emotions since Tim’s passing last month.  I have had deep depression, sorrow, anger, frustration, and fear; along with peace, understanding, calmness, gentleness, and laughter.  The pendulum of grief swings wide.  This past week, I experienced the joy that puts a smile on your face, a song in your heart and a bounce in your step.  

The main thought that God keeps putting in my mind is focused on Tim’s freedom.  

He is finally free of the mental stress from 26 years of dealing with cancer or the fear of its return.  He is completely free from the frustration of the many changes his earthly body endured throughout this 2 yearlong battle.  He is absolutely without the burden of pain that cancer brought him.  He doesn't have to worry about being brave anymore.  As much as I want Tim back right here by my side for years and years to come, simply knowing that he is in the presence of our Lord brings tears of joy to my eyes!  

I am so happy for him (and a wee bit jealous to be honest).  2 Corinthians 5:8 tells us that, for Christians, to die is to be “present with the Lord” or another translation reads “at home with the Lord”.  I love this!  As much as I treasure creating a comfortable, safe haven within the walls of our home for my family, God has created the BEST home for each of His children.  Tim is at home with his Lord.  {sigh}
My Tim was curious by nature.  He always wanted to know the full story.  He liked having all the details and facts.  He was an explorer, always eager to have fun, and full of intrigue and laughter.  I smile thinking about his elation in finally being able to see the whole picture.  The story of his time here on earth has been revealed to him.  He was often puzzled by how some people were allowed to beat cancer and others weren't.  Now, he has the ability to see the purpose behind his suffering and he is no doubt, discussing the ins and outs of the details with Jesus with a fresh, new perspective.  He has had his “aha” moment.  I can almost hear him whispering for me to “Hang on, babe” because heaven is better than we can dream of with our limited earthly minds.  I can see his brilliant smile and know he will be so excited to show me around when it is my turn to join him. 

I have mentioned before that life just keeps going, regardless of the stage of grief one is in.  I mean, I guess I could curl up in a ball and deny its existence for a while if I really wanted to, but eventually I would have to get up, go to work, pay the bills, buy the groceries, cook the meals, etc. again.  So I don’t really see a purpose in shutting down.  However, I believe my mother-in-law stated it best when I was visiting with her on the phone today about my recent vacation.  She said, “It must have been good to get away and reset.  You have been going a million miles an hour and needed something to just reset you, didn't you?”  She hit the nail on the head.  That’s exactly what this vacation did for me.  

It was time away from the constant managing of details, the dealing with death and its aftermath, the juggling of so many decisions.  It was a “reset” button that has allowed me to slow down my pace, breathe deeply again, refocus my attention, and re-prioritize my agenda.  It was needed more than I could have ever imagined.  

And now, I feel as though I can make clearer decisions and really drink in my satisfaction with my Lord.  Colossians 1:11, "May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy,"  

My deepest desire is to glorify His name.  After all, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” (John Piper)

So I continue on this path trying to walk in obedience to my Savior and trusting Him with my future.  I am a long way still from liking the journey, but with my rested, refreshed, and reset mind I am continuing to move forward and am finding some moments of joy…much sooner than I anticipated, and welcomed just the same.
God is good all the time!


  1. You continue to inspire me. So many times while reading your posts on Facebook I said "thank you for sharing" . . . I say it again. God bless you and your family as you continue on your journey, (as I go to post this, I see I have to do it as anonymous since I don't have accounts in any of the listed options, but I intend to open one.....for now, I'll say I'm Julie from Kansas. I think it might help you to know where replies come from, how far your story has reached.)

    1. Thank you, Julie from Kansas...for taking the time to read and comment. Thank you for praying and for walking along this path with us. We appreciate your support.

  2. Staci Matthesen/Perry OKFebruary 26, 2014 at 10:23 AM

    God bless you and your children as each of you find your way in this life while waiting for the next time you will be with Tim. Even though you may not see it yet, your blogs are helping so many going through the same thing. As raw and fresh as your emotions are , they are helping to breath the life of Jesus into those who need to know Him. I look forward to reading your thoughts, not because I want to see how you are doing, but because I see how Christ Jesus is carrying you through it and that in itself is a message that you didn't premeditate, or plan, it is purely inspired by God and it is received by many who are hungry for hope. I continue to lift you up in prayer. Joy is a wonderful feeling, especially when you can find it amidst so much deep sorrow. I hope you continue to find it daily.

    1. Staci,

      I read this comment and clap my hands with excitement that YOU GET IT! Christ Jesus is absolutely carrying the kids and I through this. It is only by Him that we are able to function, He is our sole source of strength. You have no idea how ecstatic it makes me to know that people are comprehending that we are not the story here, but the story is Christ in action from within us....His power in our weakness, His glory shining through. Amen, amen, amen. To Him be all glory!

      Thank you!

  3. Susan Jones, El PasoMarch 1, 2014 at 8:07 PM

    You continue to inspire, Lori.

    1. Thank you, Susan. (By the way if you are the same Susan that stopped by my brother's home....my sister in law accidentally gave you the wrong address. Private message me from the Facebook support page and I will get you the correct one.)