November 27, 2008
Well, my friends, today would have been Chad’s 37th birthday. My goodness . . . that sounds old :-) Ironic that this year it falls on Thanksgiving. He always loved that. He was a pie lover . . .he could have skipped cake all around – but NOT pie! He loved it! He loved that he could have pie with a candle in it for his birthday. Chad used to tell stories of his mom making him his very own pumpkin pie for his birthday . . .and he didn’t have to share it with anyone! It always put a smile on his face! He said no one could rival his mom’s pumpkin pie!
So, today we will celebrate two holidays – Thanksgiving, and my beloved’s birthday. We will begin bright and early at the cemetery. The kids and I will go to the grave and place a beautiful, orange rose there to honor our husband and daddy. We will then pick up my dad and head off to my brother’s house over near Grand Rapids. My whole family will be there. The last time we were all together there was the morning after the marathon when we gathered there to tell the children of Chad’s passing. These next few days, I must admit, will be seasoned with very painful memories.
One year ago today I was being crushed under the weight of uncertainty. My entire world had been turned upside down and inside out all within one heartbeat. There was no warning and there were no goodbyes. I know that at Thanksgiving time last year I was still in such a state of bewilderment and confusion . . . still in a total daze! I really did not understand what had just hit us and I certainly could not see any end to the pain and confusion. I literally could only breathe in, and breathe out. There were moments in those early days that the mere act of breathing was even asking a lot.
I am certain that some of you who are reading this today might feel the weight of uncertainty in your life. Perhaps, today, the simple act of breathing is asking a lot. Perhaps questions are haunting you or maybe you are facing a mountain that seems impossible. This is my journal entry (part of it) from last November 27th ~
“Happy Birthday, My Love! Do you have any idea how much I miss you? How much I hurt? I just can’t take this! I miss you SO much . . . I feel so lonely without you! I love you so much, Chad! Please God – if he can’t see this – please tell him! Oh, Chad – I miss you! I still just can’t believe this! How could you just be gone? We had a party for you tonight. Michael (one of Chad’s best friends) lost a stone in his wedding band about a year ago and he had it replaced with your birthstone as a tribute to you and to what we have sown into their marriage. Also, Pam Wellington came over today and told me about her hair dresser and her husband. They have both given their hearts to the Lord since your funeral. Could you have ever guessed it, Babe? May our children know your legacy! Can you believe it – funeral? It just doesn’t seem like it could really be! I would give anything just to touch you one more time – or to talk to you – tell you goodbye and that I love you! You were all my dreams come true! Thank you for being Christ in flesh – for loving me and filling all the dark holes in my heart. I love and miss you. Do you know how miserable we all are without you? Lord, I just give You all of this – may You get the glory!
Those, my friends, are the words of a young woman completely blindsided by uncertainty and pain. I am amazed at how much pain time has healed. One year later there is still uncertainty . . . yes, there is definitely still uncertainty. But, you know what? It is o.k. I am learning the beauty of Matthew’s words in Matthew 6, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.” I used to spend so much time planning and analyzing and thinking about where we were and where we were going and how to handle the in between of all of that. In one instant all of it was stripped away.
I am learning the beauty of the word ‘rest.’ You see, no matter what my plans are, there is a plan that is way bigger than I. Perhaps we are all just pawns in the Father’s hand. I could wish for nothing more than that, really! To be a pawn in His hand is the greatest thing I could imagine! If that is the case, then all I have to concern myself with is staying so close to Him that His hands encompass me. It takes me back to all the evening when Chad and I would put the kids to bed and then sit snuggled up on the couch. We were snuggled so closely that if one of us reached for the remote it would move the other one’s body as well. I long to be snuggled so close to God that when He moves I am there to be a part of it.
Some of you may know already that I love the sweet old hymn, ‘Be Still and Know.’ It has ministered to me in profound ways since Chad’s death! Oh, the sweetness of those simple words . . . “Be still and know that I am God.” Saying and singing them may be simple, but following through with it on an emotional level is a bit more difficult. How do you ‘be still’ when the world around you is swirling, when the waves are crashing against you, when the winds are shredding all that you know to be true? That, my friend, is the place where ‘seeing’ and ‘faith’ collide.
Today, you may only be able to ‘see’ the storm that rages around you. Three very dear friends of mine are walking through stormy waters today. One just buried her mother, one is spending Thanksgiving with her beloved father who had a stroke last week, and the other just found out that her beloved daddy has lymphoma. Big storms! But, it is in those places of seeing the storm rage wildly around us that we must trust that our Abba Father is bigger than the storm. It is in those places of trial, that we must know that His precious word is true! Psalm 46 says, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in times of trouble. So do not fear, even if earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge! . . . The Lord almighty is here among us . . . Be still! And know that I am God.”
This Thanksgiving . . . rest. Rest in Him! Rest in a Daddy who has tomorrow in His hands. Rest in a daddy that is bigger than whatever storm you are facing and who says to not fear the storm. Rest in a daddy who says you can be still . . . because HE IS GOD!