Wednesday, September 17, 2008

This morning as I was surfing different blogs, I came across one by Greg Laurie. ( He is the pastor of a church called Harvest Church and he recently lost his oldest son, Christopher. Christopher was killed in a car accident at the age of 33 on July 24, 2008. He leaves behind a wife, Brittany, and a daugther, Stella, as well as a little girl that will be born in November.

Like the mighty winds of a hurricane I was blown back to the months following Kyle's death. The heartache. The shock. The grief that takes your breath away. The fear. The overwhelmingness of absolutely everything. Oh, how I ache for that precious lady, Brittany. I remember, all too well. I wish I didn't. I wish I didn't know what it feels like to not just have life interrupted, but to have life as you know it come to a screeching halt, and the rest of the world just keeps moving. Oh how I wish I did not have this journey in common with her - how I wish both of our husbands were still here - watching their children grow and living life. How I wish they were here to laugh, to cry, to learn, to grow, to smile, to eat chocolate cake, (especially Grandmother's chocolate cake - Kyle's favorite).

Sweet Brittany, I don't even know you and yet, I ache for you, for sweet little girl, Stella and for the baby girl who will never see her daddy's face or hear her daddy's voice - for the days, weeks, months and years to come as you create a "new normal", as you learn how to live again. I wish I could wrap my arms around you and pour comfort onto your wounded soul.

Please join me in lifting this sweet family up in prayer.

Lamentations 3:322-23, "Because of the Lord's fatihful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness."

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The 23rd Psalm

The past few days have been surreal - with preparation for Hurricane Ike, the devastation to the greater Houston and Galveston area and the beginnings of clean-up. I haven't left my neighborhood too much - only three quick trips and right back. I'm scared to run out of gas (even though I'm still almost on full) because everything seems to be scarce - gas, perishable items such as milk, meat, other dairy items and frozen food. The lines for gas are beyond comprehension, grocery store shelves are empty and people are panicked about when they'll be able to get items that they need. I never imagined that this is what it would be like. In my neighborhood I feel safe - we have power, the kids are playing outside as if everything is normal.

While Ike wreaked havoc on the coastline, dating has wreaked a little havoc on my "heartline". It almost seems sacrireligious to write about dating on a site dedicated to the memory of my husband, as if I'm betraying him. In an odd sort of way, though, he's a huge part of my dating life. There's a small part of me that measures my dates according to what I think Kyle would think of someone. After all, in order to get married again, I have to date and if I date someone, eventually they could my kids' stepfather and they'd be helping to raise Kyle's kids. It's almost as if I want to make sure, if I ever get married again, that I marry someone Kyle would approve of. Someone that he could hang out with and laugh with. Probably that sounds odd to ya'll, but since ya'll haven't walked in my shoes, it'll just have to sound that way and you'll have to reserve judgment;)! I know, I know, I have a problem telling it like it is sometimes;)!

So anyway, I've dated some since Kyle died. Sometimes it has been fun and other times it has been downright tedious and horrid. Lately though it had been fun - I actually met someone with LTP (that's my code for "Long Term Potential" - emphasis on potential). The best news was he liked me too or so I thought, until, in the middle of all the hurricane stuff, he informed me that there were some things we didn't see eye to eye on. So I asked if he was telling me this in the context of "Here are some things I don't think we see eye to eye on, can we talk about them and see if there's been a misunderstanding or room for compromise" or was he just saying "Here are some things we don't see eye to eye on and I'm done." He's done. He and his ex-girlfriend have been talking and he'd really like to see what might happen. Great. I wish you the best. Oh, and did I mention that I started on some new allergy medicine and I learned the hard way that I can't take it on an empty stomach?? I learned this lesson as I almost passed out while he was telling me all of this. Seriously. Drop to the ground, put my head between my knees, ears ringing, lightheaded, can't talk, break out in a cold sweat, I'm totally going to pass out, be sick or both, right now. Yes, really! How fun was that??

And... to top it all off - we'd gone for a ride to see some of Katy and west Houston and taken Wyatt with us. Unbeknownst to me there was purple candy melted to the bottom of his booster seat so when I put it in my friend's car, yes, you guessed it-purple candy was left on the seat - so not only is he telling me he's done with me, not only do I almost pass out, I leave purple melted candy on the seat of his car! So today, I text him to ask when it would be possible to meet at Bubbles so I can get his car cleaned. He responded that it was already cleaned up, not to worry about it and then asked how I was.

Nice. "How are you?". Hmmm... let me see...(yes, you do hear some sarcasm) I am great - I don't know when I'm going to be able to fill up with gas or buy perishable items for my family, I've spent the past three days with an upset stomach and almost passed out all three days until I made the connection about my allergy medicine (I'm blonde - it takes me a while!), the hurricane kind of freaked me out and reminded me how vulnerable we all really are, and Mr. LTP is done with me. I am fine - absolutely fine. Wouldn't you be fine??

Seriously, I have mixed feelings. Although I do feel hurt, rejected and misled, I also had some little doubts, but was trying to give him the benefit of the doubt and get to know him better. I know all too well about jumping to conclusions and I really wanted to see what might happen. I wanted to take time to get to know him - emphasis on time - I didn't want to do what I normally do and that is, at the first sign of potential disagreement or conflict, I run. I cut things off and move on. Oh well. So, maybe it is better this way. I do wish him the best. Really, I do.

I have a ring from James Avery - I bought it when I took my wedding ring off of my left hand. My finger looked so bare, so alone, a reflection of all that I felt on the inside and I wanted something there, to cover up the nakedness. Maybe I hoped it would help cover up all that I felt as well. The ring says, "The Lord is My Shepherd". It seemed appropriate and I wore it everyday for a long time, then sporadically, and now, not so much. But this week, this week with all the craziness and uncertainty, I needed that ring. I needed the constant reminder of Jesus as my shepherd, going after me - the one lone, lost sheep. I needed to know that He was looking after me as tenderly and gently as a shepherd looks after his sheep. So I pulled it back out and put it on. (Did I mention I can't eat salt when I wear this ring - salt causes my fingers to swell and then I can't get the ring off - just a little freebie bit of info.)

When I got home from "the conversation" during which I almost passed out (seriously -how embarrassing!!) I pulled the ring off, sat on the edge of my bed and just rolled it between my fingers, contemplating. Contemplating all that had been said, all the questions I didn't ask and all the things I wanted to say (if you've been dumped, you know what I mean) and I felt my Shepherd put out His staff and use it to pull me close, to whisper in my ear that I am His beloved and that He is the real knight in shining armor. In those moments the 23rd Psalm became new to me all over again. Oh, the comfort that is in those few short verses, the promise that is woven throughout.

In this time where things are upside down and I'm stressed out by many different things, my Shepherd and your Shepherd is right there beside us. Pulling us close with His staff -Whispering in our ears, reminding us that He is all we need, gently leading us forward, preparing a place for us, and loving on us.

Psalm 23 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

"The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack. He lets me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He renews my life; He leads me on the right paths for His name's sake. Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff - they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You annoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Only goodness and faithful love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord as long as I live."

Aahh...the beauty of it - the Lord is my Shepherd - I will lack for nothing. He is your Shepherd too and you, too, will lack for nothing. In this time of hurricane recovery, may you feel Him pulling you close too! Blesssings.