Friday, November 11, 2016

I Will Give You Rest

“My presence will go with you and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14
Sometimes I am just tired.

Wiped out.

The exhaustion is typically fleeting; I know better than to allow myself to camp out in the negative thoughts of “woe is me”. My mind is trained to focus on the positive when I get tired or lonely.
But every once in a while I am so busy I fail to realize how tired I really am. When in a period of unacknowledged weariness, as I am chugging along with my daily responsibilities, oblivious to the time needed for true rest, tears will unexpectedly leak.  I am so distracted trying to be the best me I can be at work, in our home, with ministering to others, I can fail to pause and really feel those under the surface emotions.  Driving down the road, on my millionth errand of the day, not even thinking about him or the reality of widowhood…tears randomly fall from my eyes.  It is strange.  I am not sobbing.  I wouldn’t even classify it as crying, really.  Yet my eyes drip salty liquid of their own accord.
It’s as if my body is begging me to slow down and rest.

For the first few months after his passing, I suffered intensive physical grieving. There were sharp pains with each intake and exhale of breath, deep cutting twinges in my chest (doctors clinically describe this as a broken heart), full body joint aches, and a lot of fatigue.  It was excruciating and surreal.  I’m unsure of when the attacks subsided, but with time they did.  Just like my body knows when the 11th rolls around each month, even when I am oblivious to the date on the calendar.  He passed away on the 11th and since then I have found myself being more easily frustrated and on edge each month during that time.  It took me over a year to connect those dots and learn to control my responses; but like my body responds to dates subconsciously, so too does it know when I am overdoing it and need rest.

I was driving yesterday and my eyes did their odd little leaking thing.  Then again this morning as I was on mile four of a ten mile training run, they briefly started back up.  Stopped and reoccurred around mile seven.  I am void of emotion when this happens.  It is typically when my mind is free of detailed thinking; which is one of the reasons why I run in the first place, to clear my mind and just exist.

We speak a lot in this ministry of moving forward, walking in grace, choosing to really be alive and present in this life we are blessed with.  And we should.  We should absolutely be actively working towards all of those goals.

But we also need rest.

Our bodies will tell us when we are pushing too hard.  But are we listening?  We do ourselves a disservice to be stuck in a cycle of pity, refusing to do the work for self-improvement; likewise, we also do ourselves a disservice when we neglect resting.

We are in this for the long haul. Our loss will never be left behind.  It takes its toll on every portion of our being.  It affects us spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically.  Consequently, we must remember to tend to our physical needs.  Exercise and fresh air are important.  Strengthening and stretching are vital.  Daily time sitting still in God's presence and listening for His voice are crucial. 

And rest is necessary.

However you find it.  Whatever it looks like for you.  A nap, soaking in a bath, sitting alone in silence...find what works for you and let Him give you REST from the inside out.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

34 Months...

Dear Tim,

This week marks thirty-four months since I last kissed your forehead goodbye. 

Thirty-four months.

I can't process this reality.

It is unexplainable to me how life continues without you by my side.

Minutes tick to hours.  Hours roll into days.  Days become weeks.  Weeks tumble into months.  Months morph into years. 

It is too much to wrap my brain around.

Our son, 14 years old at the time of your passing, has grown in wisdom, stature and favor with God and man...just as we prayed together that he would. (Luke 2:52)  Now at 17, I look up to him, both physically and in awe and respect.  I know you are beaming with pride over his maturity and growth. He exhibits self-control and determination at levels rarely seen in youth these days.

When you died, our 13 year old daughter was standing with me at your bedside.  She has weathered the hell of grief and battled for every glimpse of happiness she can muster since that moment.  She is slowly learning how to breathe again. At 16, your song bird has finally returned to singing regularly. 
When I hear her voice echoing through the halls of this new home, I can't help but smile knowing her singing was your favorite sound on this earth.  You are no doubt proud of her battle scars and the strength God is building within her. 

Life progresses and changes constantly. 

Everything is different now without you here.

Every. Single. Thing.

Losing you has made this life take a sharp turn and not one portion of our existence is unaffected.

And yet time just keeps slipping away. 

We probably now daily come in contact with as many people who never knew you as we do with those who did.  And I don't really know how to comprehend this fact.

I won't lie.  I don't prefer this new life.  I miss the comfort and stability of our old life. It was so close to perfection.  Our laughter, our fun, our working toward common goals while supporting each other's independence.  I miss parenting with you.  I long to discuss politics, religion, and current events with you.  I miss dating you!  You were my husband, but you were also my boyfriend and my best-friend.  What we had was pretty special.

I am convinced that the three of us left here without you can learn to still live life fully.  We can love each other and choose joy.  We can serve others and choose humility.  We can adapt to our new and still cherish our old.  I may never prefer life this way, but I can find things to love in our new. 

Because the time is going to pass, whether we are choosing to be miserable or choosing happiness.  I want us to honor you by living this altered, unplanned, and often awkward feeling life well. 

I love you forever,