Monday, September 12, 2011

Our Free Life!

Hi All - I wanted to let you know that I have posted my first blog in a LONG time on my website. Please follow the link and get caught up on our life . . . it will be worth your time, I promise!

Blessings!
www.sarahschieber.com

Monday, June 28, 2010

Been Too Long!

Greetings Friends!

I apologize for my long, long absence in cyberspace. My goodness it has been too long. I wanted to make you all aware that my blog is now being hosted through my website. I have just posted a new blog . . . and plan to be at it more regularly now. Please check it out at www.sarahschieber.com. It works much like this . . . only maybe even a little bit better.

Blessings! I hope to see you there!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Saved

Oh, my friends! I have to tell you . . . I am SO in awe of my life. . . but WAY more than that . . . I am SO in awe of God! I have to tell you that there is a growing amazement with all that happens in my life these days and with that, a continued and growing awareness of ALL that God is!

I have gone back to choir at our church. I was in choir when Chad died and tried to go back to it three months after – but it was just too painful. Too much like trying to pretend that life was the same. Too many songs that reminded me of him. Too many questions that I was wrestling with while ‘pretending’ that I was alright. It was just too difficult.

I have found it to be a breath of fresh air this time around. It is worship smack dab in the middle of the week (Wednesday night rehearsals.) I love worship. I love how no matter how I feel at the point of entering into worship . . . my needs at that moment are ALWAYS ministered to by the power of the Holy Spirit.

On top of all of that . . . I am being given the opportunity to sing some of the solo’s that were so precious to me before Chad died. Tomorrow I get to sing a solo called ‘Saved.’ The truth is . . . this was Chad’s favorite song that the choir sang. He LOVED it! The truth also is . . . I can barely contain myself as I sing it! You see – Somehow – through all that I have been through these past two years – I have found such amazement in the fact that YES, I am SAVED! Jesus gave HIS life for ME . . . so that I can live in salvation. So that I can know forgiveness. So that I can anticipate Heaven! But friends . . . what I have discovered at such a deep, deep level is that salvation is only the very beginning of what God wants to be to me. Salvation is only scratching the surface.

At one point in the song the lyric says, “You’re my Glory and the Lifter of my head, Strong Deliverer . . . You’ll fight my battles in my stead.” I want to absolutely jump out of my skin! FRIENDS!!!!!! God wants to be SO MUCH MORE to you than just a ticket into Heaven. Oh . . . don’t get me wrong . . . that is the first step toward SO much more. But friends . . . he wants to be the very foundation of EVERY part of your life. He wants to be the Glory and the Lifter of your head! He wants to fight your battles. He wants to be the cocoon that you crawl into on the days when you don’t know which way is up. He wants to be the wisdom in your job and the favor with your boss. He wants to be the peace in your home and the calm of emotions between you and your spouse . . . or you and your children . . . or whomever. God wants to be ‘relationship’ with you.

I have found, through the horrible trials of my life, that God is so much more than I ever dreamed He could be. How is that? I loved God SO much before. But now . . . now there is just an amazement. If salvation is the first step – the surface – then I believe one of the sweet, sweet gifts that I am finding FAR beneath the surface of ALL that God is, is that He truly is my Sustainer. I have found true surrender. I can do NOTHING on my own. I am SO very far from being all that God wants me to be. In fact, I am learning the gift of just letting go. I don’t want to control my life. My life is NOT my own – I would so much rather it be God’s. I would so much rather let Him be all that He wants to be in my life. He wants to be my sustainer, my deliverer, the glory and lifter of my head. My strong tower!

I have been to the valley of the shadow of death and the truth is that I did not find peace in the valley until I truly surrendered my will and ALL that was wrapped up in it (the questions, dreams, plans, hopes) and just let God be God. The truth is that somewhere along my journey I figured out that I could spend the rest of my life asking ‘why?’ Or, I could truly learn to surrender to the sovereignty of who God is. I could learn to let go . . . and truly let God. I could learn to be still . . . and know. Really? I will never know the ‘why?’ I HAD to choose to surrender my will . . . to His.

Maybe this is the place that Paul had come to when he penned Philippians 4 . . . that he had learned to be content in EVERY situation because he had learned the he could do anything with the help of Christ who gave him strength. Paul had learned that no matter what . . . he could just throw up his arms and trust the sovereignty of who God is! That no matter what he faced – he had Christ – Salvation . . . and SO MUCH MORE!!!!!!

Lord, may we know the fullness of ALL that You long to be in us and for us. Lord, may we learn to truly surrender. Thank You for Salvation. Thank You that we can surrender . . . and be content.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Happy 111 Day!

Did you know that today is 111 day? It is January 11th. I know – it means nothing to most of you – but to us, it is a special day. You see, Chad’s badge number was 111, and after he died it was our ‘sign.’ We saw 111’s everywhere and it always felt like Chad was just giving us a squeeze or saying ‘hi.’ I will never forget the Sunday after Chad died. Our pastor asked me to have my CD available to purchase after the two Sunday services at our church. (At that time I only had my first solo album Gratitude recorded.) Between the two services we sold 111 CD’s. Coincidence? I think NOT! It just felt like Chad was saying, “Babe, I’m still taking care of you . . . don’t worry.” You may think that is ridiculous – I probably would have BEFORE I lost the (first) love of my life. But now? Now I believe. Hebrews 12:1 tells us that there is a ‘great cloud of witnesses that has gone on before to cheer us on.’ I believe that Chad is more a part of our lives now than when he was on Earth. He is cheering us on AND . . . has a direct link to God. Hmmmmm . . . . something to think about.

Tomorrow . . . is my baby girl’s birthday. Abbi will be 14! Wow! Tonight we are having a birthday dinner with all six kid’s and my new in-laws (who are WONDERFUL grandparents to my kids.) I have to tell you that as I was getting dinner ready and thinking about wrapping her presents . . . I was just overcome with grief. Ug! I want to ask ‘will this ever end?’ But, I know the answer to that question is ‘no.’ The grief will never end. Practice held me and let me cry. It doesn’t seem to be bothering Abbi – but it just doesn’t seem fair to my mama’s heart that she has to celebrate her birthday without her daddy here! So, I mourn once again for my child . . . and some days . . . Chad’s death still pierces me . . . and all days . . . it just doesn’t make sense.

That being said, I have some exciting news. If you have followed my blog for long, you may remember that I have felt the stirring to write a book. I had hoped to have it written and released by now, but on the heels of writing and recording an album that was VERY emotional . . . I just needed a break. Not to mention the fact that I got married and moved! So, I have been feeling the pressure to get back to writing – but not feeling the ‘stirring’ AT ALL! Friends – I don’t know if you have noticed, but I am not a ‘daily’ blogger . . . or even a ‘weekly’ blogger. I just can’t see the sense in writing if there is nothing ‘stirring.’ I figure if YOU are going to take your precious time to read what little ol’ me has to say, then it better be something profound or moving. So, I wait for that ‘stirring’ to hit.

I have just been waiting to feel that ‘stirring’ to begin writing the book again. Beginning to worry . . . and praying it would come. Well friends – last week it hit and I am so excited to take the process back up and write the book. Know what? I am also very excited that I took the time off that I did . . . because I sense God taking this book in an awesome direction that I think will have a profound impact on many people. Originally, the book was going to be about a man. It was going to tell the story of Chad, and I, our life together and all that God did for us after his death. Today though, I really feel that the primary focus (while still telling our story) will be on ALL that God took me through after Chad died and God’s amazing faithfulness. It WILL be the journey of my grief . . . told in and through my journals from the year following his passing. As I read my journals now . . . they are profound. They are like modern-day Psalms and as I share them in concert or through counseling others who are experiencing grief – they really seem to touch lives. So . . . the process is taking off. I am so thankful for the ‘stirring’ and so truly desperate for God to speak through me. I don’t want anyone to see me . . . I want God to be exalted and glorified! So as I leave you on this 111 day . . . I think I will leave you with a short entry from two years ago today . . . . This one really isn’t that profound . . . but it IS a window into where I was at three months into my journey.

January 11th, 2008
Today is 111 day. Chad Michael – I miss you so much! We just had spiritual emphasis at church – you would be so excited! I just can’t believe how much I miss you. My heart and spirit are pierced with grief. The kids got new furniture today – you would love it! My dearest love . . . I can’t breathe without you! I miss you!


Blessings All!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

In Awe!

Friends . . . I am absolutely in AWE of my life! My goodness. Today I would like to take you on a journey back in time. My prayer is that by giving you a glimpse into one particular part of my journey, that you will be encouraged for your journey. I know that SO many of you who read this blog are hurting. So many of you have lost and are grieving.

I want you to know that two years ago today, I thought my life was over. Two years ago today I could NOT see a future. Two years ago today I did not WANT to see a future.

One year ago today . . . I met Practice. One year ago today . . . we went on our first date and the beginning of the rest of my life happened. The truth is, though, that the beginning of the rest of my life was happening LONG before one year ago today.

And today, friends? Today . . . I am the happiest woman in the world . . . absolutely in awe of all that God has done . . . but . . . we will get to that in a moment.

I want to share with you my journal entry from January 2, 2008. I remember HATING the ‘New Years’ holiday that year. Everyone talking about all the good from 2007 and ‘looking forward’ to a new year! I hated it! HATED IT!!!!!! I didn’t want to live! I didn’t want a new year! I didn’t want life to keep moving forward when ALL I wanted was my old life back! Here, friends, is my journal ~

January 2, 2008

Purposeless. We have turned the corner on a new year and I feel lost. Purposeless. My purpose and hopes and dreams and prayers were wrapped up in the joy of my marriage and all we felt called to. Now, I am lost!

God – please nuzzle me in. Please give me signs that You are still working on my behalf. I need big and awesome signs right now – not to lay down a fleece. How do I go back to the activities of life? Please give me hope, vision, strength.

How can Chad really be dead? I just can’t fathom it – my God!!!!! My heart hurts so badly. The turn of this new year means returning to so many of the old . . . choir at church, bible study, etc . . . all without Chad. I mourn the old. Please help me to see the future – PLEASE God! I feel so lost!

Chad, how could I ever miss you more? My heart is broken. I would rather die than be without you! I cannot stop weeping! I feel so alone.

Oh, God! I miss Chad SO much. How can this be my life now? God, I feel so alone from you, too. Lord, please minister to my spirit! Please help me walk through this grief. There are SO many questions.

Can I be happy without a man and will You make me learn to be happy without one before You’ll bless me with one? I’ve never seen myself alone. All my hopes and dreams had Chad in them. I don’t want to be alone! Please don’t punish me! Please bring me a wonderful man. Please God – PLEASE!

I feel so alone! Please bring a daddy for my babies. Lord . . . how do I walk through all this pain?

Lord, somehow I know that You are holding me. Please help me! I am CHOOSING to trust You! I do love You, Lord. All I’ve ever wanted is to serve You. That is harder now. Please forgive me for questioning You. I am sorry this is so hard.

Oh, friends! I know that many of you are there today. I know that for many people . . . the turn of a new year is just a magnifying glass to their pain and problems. Please let me encourage you! Folks! I have said it before and will say it again . . . GOD IS GOOD! Whatever circumstances you are facing today – they DO NOT CHANGE WHO God is! God is STILL good even when you are facing a mountain of pain and ‘purposelessness.’ Even, and ESPECIALLY, when life seems hopeless.

So, here we are today . . . in my life . . . two short years later. Oh, who are we kidding? They were long, painful years! But here we are, none-the-less. January 2, 2010. I AM the happiest woman in the world today! God is a God of restoration and not only has He restored . . . but He has blessed, my friends!

There is an AWE about my life that I am coming to realize will never leave. I thought maybe it would wear off . . . but, it won’t. I am so thankful for every breath! I know what it is to ‘lose’ in an instant – to have life as you know it change, radically and horribly, in ONE HEARTBEAT, and because of that I am left in awe of every single breath.

There is not one thing about Practice that does not leave me in awe! The fact that he is breathing. The fact that he is warm. The fact that I get to look into his eyes, and snuggle with him. I get to touch him . . . and be touched! I get to be friends with him and build a life with him. I get to watch him learn my children and be living, breathing arms around them. Those arms around my children are an extension from Heaven . . . of that . . . I am convinced. When Practice hugs my babies, I know that Chad is smiling down from Heaven!

We had the MOST wonderful first Christmas together . . . and I KNOW that Chad was smiling down on us! His babies are happy. They are smiling and laughing and engaged in life again. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Chad picked Practice for his babies. I truly believe that when Practice hugs my babies, Chad does too. You see, friends, THAT is the miracle of how God works.

I can see, now, that I have a perspective that is different than most. You see, if I may be so blunt, I know that there are many who are walking away from their marriages. Many, even, who are throwing them away. It angers me! So many are choosing infidelity over faithfulness. Many are choosing to carry offense over forgiveness. Many are choosing an end . . . over the work to make it good again. Marriage IS NOT easy! This ‘blending’ thing is one of the hardest things I have ever done. It takes CONSTANT work and communication on Practice and my part. It can be exhausting. Know what? It is also absolutely wonderful. Why? Because it is a gift. It is an everyday, living and breathing, us being Jesus to one another . . . gift! It is eight people learning to work together as a whole. It is a mama and a daddy learning to serve one another as we serve Jesus and praying that these babies will see Jesus in everything we do. It is hard . . . and big . . . and scary, sometimes. But is it is also absolutely worth it. It is a miracle!

How in Heaven’s name did God find me a farmer? How in the world did he orchestrate two broken families . . . a hurting mama and her babies, and a hurting daddy and his babies . . . finding each other and becoming whole? I will tell you that one of the keys in all of this is that the mama and the daddy had figured out how to be whole in Christ . . . THAT was the starting place. But, if you only knew ALL of the intricate stories of the back-story of our lives that eventually led us to one another. You would say it is a miracle. I . . . would agree!

And so, I am in awe! I am in awe of a great big God who was . . . who is . . . and who always will be . . . ALL that He says! He is good. He is the Healer. He is Hope and a Future.

The beginning of the rest of my life began one year ago today. No, that’s not true. It really began at 12:55 p.m. on October 7th, 2007. The moment I hate! It felt WAY more like an ending than a beginning. But, friends, I believe that is the miracle of WHO God is! Please trust Him for YOUR new year! Please trust Him for your . . . miracle!

Monday, November 16, 2009

God Is . . .

Good November Morning Friends!

Once again, I apologize that it has been SO, so long since I have blogged! My goodness. . . . is time flying by!

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of ministering at my brother’s church – Fremont Wesleyan Church – in Fremont, Michigan. It was a WONDERFUL morning of ministry. It always amazes me . . . the way the Lord shows up! He is just so faithful. It is fun to go to church after church. You might find this funny – but churches have different personalities. There are times that I go into a church – as a guest speaker/singer – and hardly a soul greets me. I leave and barely even know who the pastor was. Then, there are churches that have arms that surround me, bring me in, and connect with me. That was the case at Fremont Wesleyan. What a sweet church with a sweet spirit. Thank you to all who were there yesterday – and to the leadership of the church who made me feel so welcome and appreciated. May God continue to grow your church and bless your ministry in the Fremont area!

Do you have a church family? If so . . . I would LOVE to minister at your church! We are branching out all across America. I would love to minister at your church through a concert or a women’s retreat . . . or any combination! Please check out my website at www.sarahschieber.com and contact me regarding booking an event at your church!

My concerts are a bit unique because they are WAY more than just music. I recently went to a great concert . . .but it was all music and very little message. Mostly entertainment. That is fine . . . but it is not what you will get with a Sarah Schieber concert. You know, if a pastor gives up his pulpit on a Sunday morning – that is a HUGE burden to me . . . a huge responsibility! That pastor just handed his flock over to me to minister to. I do not take that lightly!

Honestly, I always get a bit nervous . . . not about singing . . . but about sharing my story. The reality is that my story is not a real ‘fun’ story . . . I struggle to keep it ‘up.’ But, I have to keep reminding myself that people are hurting . . . for many different reasons . . . and mine is a message of God’s faithfulness through the storms of life. THAT, my friends, is a message that transcends ALL ages, races, religions, etc . . . THAT, is a message for ALL people!

So, as my heart continues to heal, the ‘fun’ of my overall concert is returning . . . but, at the same time, the ‘heart’ of my message remains the same . . . God is SO very, very faithful! Jim told me the other night as we were analyzing all of this . . . that the message that stands out the most to him each time he sees my concert is this . . .

I tell people that the God of October 6th – when my life was good and perfect and wonderful - and the God of October 7th – when my life came crashing down around me . . . ARE THE VERY SAME GOD!!!!! If I believed that God was good on October 6th . . . then He was still good on October 7th. If I believed that God had good plans for me on October 6th . . . .then I still had to believe that God had good plans for my life on October 7th and on ALL of those horrible, painful, terrible days to follow – the days when I could barely get from one breath to the next . . . .

Do you know what the truth of the Gospel is friends? The truth is that our circumstances DO NOT change WHO God is! If you believed God was good before you got cancer, before you lost your job, before your child rebelled, before the storms of life ravaged your life . . . .then the reality is that you have to dig deep right now! You have to go back to the foundation of Christ in your life . . . I KNOW it is hard! Oh boy . . . do I KNOW it is hard!

I could not SEE God’s goodness through those toughest days of grief! And I certainly could not FEEL God’s goodness. One of my counselors, though, told me that it is in times like that that we must go back to what we KNOW to be true about God . . . not what we FEEL. Wow! Think on that one for a while.

Today – no matter what circumstances are staring you down. No matter what storm you are facing . . . I simply want to encourage you to go back to what you KNOW to be true about God. What did you KNOW before your circumstances changed? What did you believe before the waters rose?

My friends . . . God is God. Period! The end! Our circumstances DO NOT CHANGE ‘Who’ He is!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Chad Schieber Memorial Run is this Saturday!

Please join me this Saturday morning, October 17, for the Chad Schieber Memorial Run. It starts at 11:00am at Emerson Park in Midland. This is an informal 5K run. We're asking for a minimum donation fo $5.00 that will go to the Chad Schieber Memorial Scholarship Fund. Or you can donate on-line. See details below.

Through this scholarship we will be establishing a young drivers incentive program that Chad dreamed of doing someday. This is a fabulous way to make Chad's dream come true!!

DONATE ONLINE: This link is to the Midland Area Community Foundation ONLINE donation page. Please follow the steps and complete the form. Note that when you click on the link you will notice that under FUND (which has a drop down menu) it defaults to the “MACF Unrestricted Endowment Fund” – this is the fund that needs to be used for your donation. Please also note that you must type in Chad Schieber in the “This gift is in memory of” section and check the box to the left. This is the only way the Midland Area Community Foundation will know that the donation is for the pinecone fund.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Beast!



Well Folks! Here we go again!

I really don’t know why . . . maybe it is because of the level of happiness in my life right now. Maybe it is because it feels like we have started over and are living a new life. Maybe it is sheer naivety! Whatever it is . . . I have once again been struck by the ‘mack truck’ of grief!

What am I na├»ve about? Well – tomorrow is the two year anniversary of Chad’s passing (October 7th), and I really thought that I could skate through this week without many tears! Ha! Boy, was I wrong! Proving, once again, that the beast of grief is a force all it’s own with a mind of it’s own AND emotions that do not always follow the course I think they should take!

My very sweet new Mother-in-law called this morning. She lost a son in a car accident 19 years ago – and so, has an understanding of this beast! She intuitively asked if maybe we could go pick out a tree today - that the kids and I can plant tomorrow so that we have a piece of their daddy here on the farm. What a wise and wonderful woman! What a gift!

I have wrestled with what to do tomorrow. . . last year was SUCH a big deal! We treasured every moment of it as a family. Everyone came (even my sister – all the way from Pennsylvania). I took the kids out of school for the day. We had a private and wonderful day which ended in me giving the kids our dog Miah (you can read about it on my October blog from 2008.)

The kids, of course, thought that they should stay home from school again tomorrow . . . to which I told them ‘no.’ I told them that we are alive this year – there are school pictures tomorrow . . . the boys both have football practice and Abbi has a basketball game. I told them that this year we are FULLY alive and that that is the way their daddy would want it.

But, at the same time, as their mama . . . I realize that it is MY responsibility to keep Chad’s memory alive for them. The reality is that there are two days a year that will forever be ‘daddy’ days. Two days each year that as their mama I really and truly have a burden to honor their daddy apart from all else. . . the day he died . . . and his birthday (November 27th.) You know what the truth is? October 7th will NEVER be ‘just another day’ to us! It can’t be! October 7th is a day that sticks out at the forefront of my life’s journey . . . and surely it does for my kids.

I will work VERY hard, as their mama, to keep tomorrow upbeat! To ‘celebrate’ their daddy and his life! To remember the good! But the truth is . . . is that in my private time – I have already and I’m sure will once again – weep! Last night I just couldn’t keep it together. Jim left to run an errand, the kids were all SIX in bed and sleeping, and I . . . crumpled in a heep on my closet floor and wept. It still amazes me that while the pain is truly so much further and farther between . . . when it HITS . . . it is still as deep and as painful as those horrible days when shock was turning to reality! Gut wrenching! Ug! Last night I thought I might puke my gut wrenched so bad with grief! What a beast it is! I have a wonderful new husband and wonderful new life! Where does this come from?

It comes from a place deep inside that my new husband once told me would always be there. If you have been following – you will remember that Practice told me on our first date that a part of my heart will always belong to Chad . . . I guess this grief comes straight from there! Most of the time, anymore, that part of my heart feels like just a sliver. But tomorrow . . . and last night and today . . . it feels enormous! You know what? That’s o.k.! There is SO much about tomorrow . . . so many emotions and memories that live only in MY heart and mind. There was SO much that happened to ME that day in particular – from the horrors of running a marathon in 100 degree weather with no water – having to pick used and trampled cups up off the ground just to get a tiny bit to drink . . . to searching frantically for my husband in 100,000 plus people . . . to ‘the’ phone call . . . to I.D.’ing his body . . . to knowing that I had to get home to tell my kids . . . to . . . to . . . to. . . to . . . Oh My! October 7th will NEVER be just another day!

Last week we had a special service at church – and as I sat there this blog entry came to me –

There has been a change . . . the air . . .the season. There is something about it – the smell of the air, the way the wind blows, the erie sound of the changing leaves on the trees. It is as if I cannot escape the memories. Almost as if they sit on my shoulder and haunt me. Most times of the year I can push them away. But through this season they are so profound. The await around each blink of my eyes or sniff of the air.

Tonight we had church – and let me tell you WE HAD CHURCH!!!!!! I worshipped and felt SO happy and free and full! So thrilled to feel whole again! I am amazed at how far two years has brought me . . . brought us! As worship ended I reached over and hugged my little Micah . . . and I was INSTANTLY on the front pew of the very same church with a six-year-old boy in a suit and tie and a very lost and confused . . . blank . . . look on his face as we stared at the casket with his daddy in it.

Then – with my thoughts wrapped around that memory of October of 2007 – the choir began to sing. Friends – the choir was away at the Brooklyn Tabernacle the weekend that Chad died. Right after hearing the news of his passing – some of the people in the choir being as close to Chad as family – the choir listened as the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir sang a song. It was a song that left an unforgettable mark on that choir and on many of them personally. Now, fast forward two years. On this particular Sunday night . . .the choir began to sing that very same song! There I was – wrapped in memories of October 2007 – but being ministered to by the timeless and precious body of Christ and the Holy Spirit! The words of that song began to wash over me and strengthen me!
I never lost my hope!
I never lost my joy!
I never lost my faith!
But most of all . . . I never lost my praise!


How about you, friend? Have you lost your hope? Have you lost your joy? Have you lost your faith? Oh, my! Have you lost your praise?!!!!

Truth be told – on days like today I sometimes ‘feel’ like I have! But I am thanking Jesus that He is so much more than my ‘feelings!’ HIS hope – HIS joy – HIS faith – and the praise of WHO He is are what sustain me even on the hardest days of my new life! God is good . . . PERIOD!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

This Chapter!!!!



Oh Friends!

I just dropped all three of my babies off for their first day of school at their brand new schools in our brand new town! Two of them looked absolutely terrified and one was off and running . . . never skipping a beat!

Abbi is in the eighth grade. She is already on the basketball team and has made a good little friend there who has introduced her to a bunch of other kids. Abbi and Amanda met in the parking lot and were off and running. Father – please protect Abbi at school. Please give her wisdom and discernment as she chooses friends. It is a very different ball game in eighth grade . . . please bring the right friends alongside her. She is so beautiful . . . please give her wisdom beyond her years in how to handle that beauty with modesty and grace!

My sweet little Noah is not only starting at a new school . . . he is also starting middle school today. He has shown no signs of fear AT all . . . but the look in that boy’s eyes as he crawled out of the van this morning . . . ug! He seemed a bit overwhelmed. Lockers . . . changing classes . . . who to sit with at lunch . . . and just the sheer awkwardness of being eleven years old! Lord, please bless that baby today and give him peace deep within himself! Bring some good friends his way, I pray!

Then there was my baby, Micah. I walked him in . . . in elementary school they are not too cool, yet, for you to do that! The principal greeted him at the door and knew right who he was and pointed him to the gym where all the kids were gathering by classroom. He didn’t know one child in his class . . . but his new big bonus-sissy (I like that much better than ‘step-sissy’ or ‘step-mom’ . . . so I’m calling them my ‘bonus-kids’!) came running up to hug him and so did his new cousin. As I left I could see the overwhelmed look in his little face as he scanned a gym full of kids and didn’t know any of them. Lord, please bless Micah today, as well! Please bring some wonderful little friends alongside him!

I really thought I would be in tears right now. . . but, I am not! Jim is at work, and I am alone for a bit in my wonderful new home. I thought today might be tough . . . but instead it is filled with joy!

I am keenly aware that we are now, with the start of school underway, completely engulfed in our new life! The new chapter has not only begun . . . but we are fully living it. My babies don’t go to school today as Chad Schieber’s kids . . . they don’t wear a sign that says ‘my daddy died.’ They don’t face the certain pity of all those who know our story.

Today, they once again, are just Abbi, Noah, and Micah. Oh, sure, there was a security in who we were . . . but really . . . there is a sweet freedom in who we now are! I was just reading, yesterday, in Psalm 30 verse 5 . . . “Weeping may go on all night, but joy comes in the morning.” O God – may You please restore to my babies their joy! May today, and the next, and the next be a continuation of all that is good that You have restored back to us! Thank You for sustaining us! Psalm 28 verse 7 says, “The Lord is my strength, my shield from every danger. I trust in Him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy.” Lord . . . I pray that over my sweet children . . . ALL SIX OF THEM! May You be their strength and shield . . . and please, God, please fill their hearts with joy!

Adding to the reality of what today is, is the fact that yesterday marked the 23 month anniversary of Chad’s passing. That means that one month from yesterday we will mark two years! My goodness! Some of those month markers come and go and I am not affected very much. This one was one where each hour I was aware of the events of that day and all that transpired hour by hour. It was just one of those days.

I have been wide awake and praying since three A.M. Jim left for work at 5:30 . . . so I got up and made his lunch and saw him off. As he walked past me in the kitchen I reached out to touch his back . . . guess what? He was alive under that shirt. I’m sure that sounds very funny and maybe even dumb to those of you who have never lost . . . but sometimes I am just so aware that Jim is alive! Oh, thank you Jesus! I lye in bed at night and listen to the sound of his breathing . . . and I am so thankful and so in awe of God. Where did this man come from? Why was I given the gift of his love? Why does God love me so much??? And just as quickly as the thoughts of him being alive comes over me . . . my heart is filled with prayer that this husband will live!

Last night Jim looked deep into my eyes and said we will love one another for the next fifty years. I WILL not be bound by fear! And so, at the start of this new chapter I am driven to once again quote the verse that I just prayed over my babies. “I WILL trust the Lord with ALL my heart. I know He helps me, and my heart IS filled with joy.”

Father God . . . as we begin this new chapter of our lives . . . we choose to trust You! We will live each day to the fullest! We will love as never before . . . and laugh more than ever . . . and experience joy in a deeper and more pure way! We have learned the sweetness and fullness of who You are in a way that has never been known to us. We have been to the valley of the shadow of death and now are fully alive!

Father . . . as we begin this new chapter . . . we do trust You. But, Lord, please hear the cry of this Mama's heart! Please let this chapter . . . be a forever one!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Hello From….Mrs. Practice!

Greetings All! Would you FINALLY like to see some pictures???? I have been told that my readers will revolt if I do not show you all some pictures soon! So, to avoid an uprising. . . please click on the title above to see the blog of my photographer, Renee Deckrow. If you live anywhere near the Mid-Michigan area you will want to consider Renee for your next photo shoot! She is amazing. You can click on the link above to go to her blog and some of our pictures!

There is so much to share with you all . . . and once school is in session next week I will be able to blog more. For today, please let me just say that I want to encourage you all to keep holding on to Jesus. My personal journey has been marked with so much suffering . . . but I can truly tell you that God is the redeemer of our suffering. Today – if you are walking through deep waters – please just keep hanging on! Keep holding out for a brighter future through Christ and His sustaining love and strength.

I cannot tell you how truly, truly happy I am! I also cannot tell you the depth of my gratitude to God for the way he has woven such beauty out of the pile of tragedy that was our life just 23 months ago. Truly – ONLY GOD could do this!

So, today, in your life, PLEASE cling to Jesus! He IS SO good! He loves you and cares for you so very, very much – even if you don’t feel it today! Trust Him. Hold on to Him! Let Him be your strength and guide! He WILL make beauty for ashes! I promise . . . but more importantly . . . so does He!