Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year????

Well, my friends ~ this morning as I did my devotions and sat and pondered the year we are about to say goodbye to and the year ahead . . . there were many realizations. It occurred to me that at the beginning of 2007 I believed it would be one of the greatest years of my life! I knew that we would release ‘Gratitude’ and launch a marriage ministry – there was so much anticipation. On a personal level we were taking our first major family trip (to Disney in April of ’07) and would have all three kids in school ALL day come fall (you can figure that one out !)

That year, however, ended in such despair that I truly cannot put the depth of that feeling into words. As I turned the corner from ’07 into ’08 just one year ago tonight . . . it was with dread and fear and pain. I was saying goodbye to the last year I could ever ‘be’ with my beloved . . . and entering into my first year of ‘alone.’ I had no idea what ’08 would bring . . . but I knew I didn’t want it . . . ANY of it! I wanted my beloved . . . but I knew that there was NOTHING I could do but trust God! And trust I did!

2008 began with me truly wanting to die. “Please God . . . can’t our home be filled with carbon monoxide and ALL four of us wake up with You and Chad?” This is me . . . being real . . .with you! I DID NOT want to continue without my beloved. I am so thankful, however, for God’s sustaining grace and strength. I made it through those first dreadful months of ’08 . . . truly, only for my children. Slowly ~ hope for a new future began to emerge . . . despite dealing with illness that put me to bed for most of June and July. I am so thankful that God is bigger than me (duh!) and works despite me. All the while I was working to grieve and mourn, God was working to continue to bring healing and hope and a future.

Throughout 2008 I can truly tell you (and with a smile on my face) that I have found ‘ME.’ You see, when you are married . . . you work to meld two into one. That is our job as a married couple. Not that I LOST me while I was married . . . but I wasn’t ever just ‘Sarah.’ I was Chadandsarah! That is how we wanted it. That was our command from the Lord . . . the two shall become one! We spent 12 ½ years working toward becoming one person. I entered 2008 limping – feeling that ½ of me had been ripped away and I was wounded and bleeding and exposed. I cannot tell you the depth of that feeling. I remember walking through stores, driving through town, attending church or kids’ activities with a constant ‘wonder’ within me . . . . trying to figure out where Chad went and who in the world I was without him. Even, and especially, into June and July my journal read “I don’t know me without you.” I remember frantically looking around wondering who would marry me . . .because I certainly couldn’t be alone! It was a terrifying feeling. I didn’t trust my own emotions through any of that . . . but I was so afraid to be alone . . . I got married so I wouldn’t have to be alone! Now what? How could I possibly face life alone?

But, I am so happy to tell you, friends, that I have figured out who ‘Sarah’ is . . .well, I should say, I AM figuring out who ‘Sarah’ is. It is a wonderful feeling. I do not feel the ‘need’ to have a man . . .should God bring one along I will be blessed . . . but I WILL NOT settle out of loneliness or despair. I will not have a man JUST to not be alone. All that being said . . . guess what? I am going on a date! Someone called and asked me! Isn’t that exciting? I won’t tell you when or where . . . that is for me (and him) to know and you NOT to find out .

When Chad first died, people told me “don’t worry, Sarah, you are young and beautiful and there will be men lined up around the block.” Well, in November of this year (over a year after Chad died) I told my brother that I was clearly standing on the WRONG BLOCK!!!!! And, while there certainly is NOT a line . . . It is exciting to know that someone is interested and we will just go out and have fun . . . and THAT will be nice!

Also!!!!!! I have VERY exciting news!!!!!!! Last week Christmas In Heaven hit the charts at #30 on the Billboard Christian (radio airplay) chart AND #17 on THE national Christian airplay chart ~ (click on the title of this blog to go to the chart) (! That is the top 20!!!!! Today, a radio guy I know wrote and congratulated me . . . my Christmas song beat the new Casting Crowns song!!!!!! Wow!!!!!! Thank you God! I am truly SO, SO thankful!

So, my friends, as I turn the corner into a new year . . . there is much to be hopeful about. We have made it through what I hope will live down as the toughest year of our lives. The kids and I are happy and healthy . . . PLEASE don’t mistake that for thinking that our hearts don’t still break . . . for, every single day they do. I DON'T WANT a top 20 song because my husband is dead . . . I DON'T WANT to go on a first date because my husband is dead . . . but, though this isn’t the story I would have been chosen it is the story I have been given and I WILL make the best of it! I WILL glorify God through ALL of it! I WILL rejoice in ALL that HE is doing and I CHOOSE to trust ALL that HE is!

I realize that today, as YOU turn the page on a new year, you may be facing great pain or many trials. I understand that, my friend! PLEASE hold on to Jesus! Please REST in WHO God is and how truly faithful He is! He IS good . . . even, and especially, when you don’t FEEL it! Nuzzle yourself under the shelter of the shadow of His wings (Psalm 91:1) . . . stay SO close to Him that when light or dark surround you it doesn’t destroy you because you are so close to Him that His shadow protects you from whatever it is that comes at you. It doesn’t mean that you don’t feel the heat or the pain . . . it is not a magic ‘eraser’ for this life and this world and all that it holds . . . but it IS a sustaining recipe for our lives! Christ . . . and ALL that HE IS will get each of us through WHATEVER 2009 holds! That, my friends, is for certain!

God Bless your 2009!


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

quick update

Greetings Friends! Thank you all so much for your very sweet comments . . .they bless me richly. I am so thankful that the song Christmas in Heaven is ministering to and blessing so many people. Last night I received an e-mail from a manager at 'Billboard' . . . as in Billboard Magazine . . . the Top 40 . . .etc . . . He said that the song Christmas in Heaven is 'charting' on their chart this week and that they need more information!

Wow! I may have a 'Top 40' song! Can you believe that? Little ol' me . . . little Sarah sitting in Midland, MI . . . just trying to honor her husband and get through some very painful holidays . . . little ol' me . . . so thankful and honored . . . Billboard! Wow!!!!! Let me say it again . . . BILLBOARD!!!!!! Now, I think they might chart the top 100 songs . . so, I could be number 98 . . . but, that's o.k. :-) I'm still on the Billboard charts . . . and, I'm thankful.

Well, Friends. These holidays ARE proving to be very difficult. I cry a lot. For months the crying had really tapered off . . . but in the past week I have cried enought to make up for any lack of October and November. It is just SO hard and SO painful. I miss Chad more than I could ever even begin to describe. My heart breaks for my dear children.

Last Saturday Noah had a good break down. He cried and cried and told me he wishes we could just skip Christmas this year and that he wants to die and go Home to be with Daddy. Oh, how my heart broke. I couldn't hug, nor hold him tight enough. Sweet baby . . . 10 years old and carrying a weight SO much larger than he.

If you were to look back to the winter months of last year, my journals would read the same as Noah's wishes . . . 'Lord, can't there be Carbon Monoxide in our house and all four of us just wake up in Heaven with Chad? . . . Please Lord! Get us out of this misery!' Perhaps you think that means we have little faith. You can think what you like . . . judge away if that makes you feel better. It just meant that my heart broke more than I ever dreamed it could . . . I understand little Noah! Bless him, Lord. Please bless these precious children this Christmas and help us all to celebrate even when the pain is just so great.

I have much to say . . . I have Blogs begun that will BLOW YOU AWAY :-) . . well, they'll give you something to think about . . .but right now I am just working to get the kids and I through this holiday AND keep up with the CD orders . . . there are waiting lists all over this area, and I have envelopes addressed and ready to fly out of here . . .but NO CD'S!!!!! I am not too happy with UPS right now! They were supposed to be on my doorstep last Friday (It is now Tuesday morning). A terrible snow storm kept them away . . . I understand that. Nothing we can do about that. However . . .they SHOULD have been delivered yesterday and were not.

So, today, my dear friend Christy is driving to Saginaw to PICK THEM UP and begin delivering them to all the bookstores that are out and then will bring them back here so we can begin stuffing envelopes and filling the last of the order.

Just a quick note - you can now digitally download the song on CD BABY - so if you are waiting on a CD to arrive, and need a 'temporary fix' . . . that is an option. If you are waiting - I am SO very sorry . . . this has truly been out of my control!

Blessings to you all this Christmas season! May the Lord give sweetness to your Christmas festivities . . . even if, and especially when, they may be seasoned with pain!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Greetings Friends ~

At about 10:30 this morning, after doing a radio interview with a station in Port Huron, Michigan, I sat down and began a blog. It is now over 12 hours later, and I have barely had time to breathe today - much less finish the blog.

I do believe this is what record companies are for, but alas, I am an indie artist - so the grunt work all falls on me . . . and my wonderful girlfriends who are with me around the clock right now! They are helping me return e-mails (they are flooding in from people around the country who are being touched by Christmas in Heaven), fill the constant stream of orders, answer the phone which is ringing off the hook with people wanting to stop in and pick some up or bookstores wondering if they can sell it, assisting with the many business details (like verifying bank accounts, e-mail programs that MAY NOT WORK when you need them too!!!!!!, etc .. ) . . .and the list can go on and on! These are truly SUCH WONDERFUL problems to have. I am very thankful.

What noone can help with is the fact that what I would really like to do is have the time to go curl up in my nice warm bed, clutching the flag that laid over Chad's casket and weep for my beloved whom I miss more than anyone could ever know. What noone can help with is the fact that at the end of all of this chaos and business that are my career going to new hieghts - my beloved is still dead and the reason that I get to sing this incredible song is because he is gone. What noone can help with is the fact that in the midst of all of this our hearts still break.

One of my children had a meltdown . . . absolute meltdown tonight! One came home sick today. One had a meltdown yesterday. We are dealing with some major issues, and there is no daddy here to help me. No partner to give me the perspective that I so desperately need right now. Noone to say 'Sarah, you are doing it right.' Well, that is not true . . . Marni and Christy and Missy all told me that today. But, I really want Chad to tell me that! I wish he was here. I need him! I want him! Sometimes I just don't know if I can do all this . . . And yet, in the midst of it all, as the tears stream down my face as I type this, I know that God is giving me a strength and a peace that truly come from Him!

Right when I need to know what to say as a parent . . . the words are there. Right when I need to make a decision as a business woman . . . the wisdom is there. At my weakest . . . the stregth wells up from inside. Right when I need a hand . . . someone is here to lend it. I just wish Chad was here.

Underlying everything . . . the excitement of hearing my song on the radio over and over and over . . . the thrill of seeing orders escalate day after day after day . . . the knowlege of knowing that today, and tomorrow, and the next day I will have the chance to be on both radio and television all across the country and encourage people that they CAN make it . . . underlying everything, my friend, is a constant thread of pain. A constant ache. A constant knowlege that this is our suffering being redeemed . . . even as the suffering continues.

I am thankful. God is good. God is faithful. I know and feel ALL of that tonight! I hold tight to Jesus and ask Him to PLEASE tell Chad I love him. . . and to please tell Chad how much we all miss him.

Blessings - and good night!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Order Information

Well - please read on down, my friends . . . but many of you are wondering how you can get the Christmas In Heaven CD ~

They are available for sale on my website They are beautifully packaged as a single and make wonderful gifts. You can purchase them for $5 each or 5 for $20 - I cover the shipping.

Thanks for asking!

By the way . . . I sold 199 today! Just today on my website! Yea God!!!!! And . . . Thank You, God! I am so humbled!!!!! Thank You!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


This is going to be a quick one, my friends. I just wanted to let you know that today I stand in absolute awe of God! Not that I don't all days . . . but today I am just amazed at His sweet goodness and faithfulness.

It is 10:00 a.m. in Michigan . . .and I have already sold almost 100 CD's TODAY!!!!!! That is just amazing! Christmas in Heaven is taking the country by storm! I am so thankful. I sold almost 100 yesterday, as well.

Yesterday morning I had the opportunity to do an interview on a very big secular station in my area. Soon after leaving the station my cell phone rang. It was a very sweet mama who lost her son two years ago. He was in his young twenties. She had heard Christmas in Heaven and had to have the song. She is struggling in her faith - the questions and doubt looming within her. I was able to encourage her to continue walking in her faith and I prayed with her.

"Lord, today may You continue to bless that mama as she tries to make sense of her loss. Father, at the end of the questioning may she surrender back to You. You are good, and faithful. We can't always see that . . . but Father, we KNOW it to be true so we TRUST YOU! Lord, please continue to anoint this very sweet song "Christmas in Heaven." Please use it this Christmas to minister to thousands of wounded hearts. We will be so careful to give you ALL of the glory! Thank you, Lord."

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Some days . . . I cry.

Today, I cry. It has been a while since I have had a 'day' in which all I want to do is cry . . . but today, it has come around again.

I must say that at times my life just seems very overwhelming. It is hard to be both mama and daddy. I had to spank Noah today and I had to call the parents of Abbi's long time best friend to tell them that Abbi did not want to attend their child's birthday party because the girls are just not getting along. It is hard to parent by yourself. Chad and I always worked so beautifully as a team . . . I know he is here, cheering me on . . . but I long for him HERE . . . WITH me! A couple of Micah's birthday presents have broken and I need to take him to the store to look for replacements . . .but oh, how I long for a daddy for him to help a little boy pick appropriate little boy toys. I can and will do it . . . but that is what my heart feels.

Plus, there is laundry to be put away, laundry to be done, an invisible fence for the dog to be ordered, dishes to be done, a driveway to shovel, beds to be stripped and redressed, a swim meet to pack for, I need to unpack from TWO, yes, I said it . . TWO trips! . . . the list could go on and on . . .

I have been planning all week to decorate for Christmas today . . . I've even been excited to do so. Marni and I bought some new decorations yesterday and I've looked forward to this day. But now that it is here it just seems overwhelming. I look around the house and see so many HUGE and beautiful funeral plants and I don't know where the tree(s) will go this year and it just seems like such a BIG job.

Today - I would rather curl up in my big bed with a sappy movie than face my life. On top of all of that I have a long, long list of 'should do's' regarding my career . . . I'm not going to go into all that, though.

Sometimes I think that if I go to the grave and sit above the casket maybe, just maybe, I'll feel closer to him. Our life is moving on. . . we have a lot of happiness in our daily lives . . . we are finding the new normal. Yet, I still long for and miss the life I had planned. I long for and miss my beloved. . .

What amazes me is that in the midst of longing for Chad, I am also beginning to long for someone new. I know that I need to blog about this new adventure that will be 'dating' . . . but that is a discussion for another day and time. My heart does wonder, though, HOW can I long for what was and yet look forward to what may be? How can I weep for my husband all the while praying that somehow, someway, my sweet Heavenly Father will bring us a new husband and daddy?

Oh, the diversity of the emotion . . . this great big ball of emotions that we call grief! Alas . . . God is good. I trust Him for all of this!

Now, I'm going to light a fire with my sons and try to make sense of the boxes of Christmas decorations and all these blasted funeral plants! Blessings to you all . . . if you have not read the next blog entry down . . . please keep reading . . .it may just change your life!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Big Questions

Good COLD December evening, friends!

Perhaps you are somewhere warmer than I . . . lucky duck! I would like to begin by thanking you all for your kind thoughts, comments, and especially prayers of blessings over my sweet baby, Micah. We have spent the last two evenings celebrating his birthday ~ last night we had a special family dinner and tonight he took six of his closest friends to Chuck E. Cheese for a party. Micah has begged for YEARS to go to Chuck E. Cheese . .. it isn't a place that we frequent. The kids had a nice time, but I will say that there has been a 'frustration' in Micah for the past couple days - today included. I began to feel a bit down - perhaps I try to make up for Chad's absence a bit too much in material ways (a question I ponder often, and still think the answer is 'no' . .. but I don't want to not ask myself the hard questions and in doing so let it get out of hand)? Did he not appreciate the party? As I was tucking the kids into bed tonight and reflecting back on Micah's mood I was once again hit with the notion that we continue to celebrate the holidays . . . all the while 'pretending' that everything is alright . . . but knowing that everything is, indeed, not alright. I sensed that in Micah this past couple days. So, again, I thank you all for your prayers offered up on his behalf!

Well, I could probably end there tonight . . . but there is much more to come. In fact, I believe that what I am about to post is probably THE MOST IMPORTANT thing that may ever go on my blog. Please don't check out on me.

If you have followed this blog for any amount of time, you know about my new friend Jenny Coin. Jenny was widowed unexpectedly three and a half months ago, and soon after she lost her beloved husband, Shawn, she miscarried their first child. Jenny and I have been ministering to one another, and in doing so we are becoming good friends. Jenny is strong! I am so proud of her. Jenny asks really good questions and we are saving all of the letters that we write back and forth to one another so that we can soon launch a new blog of our letters and our journeys through grief as young women.

On Monday morning I awoke to find this e-mail from Jenny. My kids were all home because of a snow day . . . and when I found her e-mail I knew that this could possibly be one of the most important e-mails I have ever, or will ever respond to. I asked the kids to keep the noise to a minimum and proceeded to answer her questions to the best of my ability. Below you will find her e-mail to me . . . and my response. Please stick with it to the end . . . and I would like you all to know that if anyone has a question about a relationship with Jesus and you would like to e-mail me, personally, I would welcome your e-mail. You can find me at Blessings!

Hi me again,

I got another sympathy card in the mail again yesterday...they just keep coming. However this one got me thinking. The card was from a family that I used to babysit for while I was in college, when Shawn and I were living in Marquette.

Anyways there was a note at the bottom of the card. The note said "There must be a better grand plan for you because you are a wonderful person and deserve great times ahead" Several people have told me this the last three months, especially after the baby. Actually many people have been telling me that my 'new life' will be so much better, that the plan for me has changed and my new path will just enhance my life more and bring me more joy. Well for some reason just today it got me thinking two different things.

1. I know when people say this to me, they only mean the best for me and mean well. But sometimes I just want tolook at them and say to them "what the heck are you talking husband just died and I just lost our baby....what do you mean my life is about to get better?
My response to that at first was...well I don't want a 'better' life, I loved the life that I had...I loved my husband and our life...I wanted to have our baby...I wanted the perfect family...I didn't ask for nor did I want a different life, I was perfectly happy with the life that I had.

I know I have a lot of time to grieve yet and to figure out my 'new life' and what I want to do. I think just now after 3 months I'm realizing that my life is going be extremely different from what I had "planned". I'm trying to come to terms with having a different life and trying to figure out how my life is going to be so much "better" then what I had. For now, I'm going to keep doing what I've been doing for the last 3 months...breath in and breath out and take one day at a time. I also have been remembering Matthew 6 that I found on your blog. I am a HUGE planner, that is where I get my control and security from. I'm quickly realizing that you can have everything all planned out, but just as soon as you can have a plan, it can all come crashing down around you.

So I guess my first question is...After Chad passed away did people tell you that God had a better plan for you? and How did you respond to that?

2. This is a biggie! Ok, how am I who just had MY perfect life ripped out of my hands supposed to one, believe that there is a bigger/better grand plan for me? When all I've ever wanted in my life was to be the best wife to the man I love and a mother (I thought that was my plan and truly why I was put on this earth) those are both now gone and two after I have just had my 'original plan' ripped out from under me, how am I supposed to put my faith, heart and sould into a new plan...what if that plan gets destroyed and I get hurt again. I don't think I can handle it if anything else 'bad' would happen. The new plan makes me so scared as well. I sit here typing this with tears streaming down my face as I listen to Bring the Rain from Mercy Me.

I don't know maybe I'm just feeling this way because like I've told you in the past...I haven't been a very religious person. I have always believed in God and said a prayer here and there, especially in times of struggle but I don't think I've ever really let him into my life. Correction I know I haven't really let him in. Does that make any sense to you? I will honestly tell you though that during the last two months I have been really trying to let God into my life more. I need to know why...I need to know what is next for me...and I now know that God is the only one who knows this. I didn't let him in so much the first month, I was so mad at God for taking Shawn from me, I even prayed the morning Shawn died on my way to work for him to please keep Shawn healthy and to please fix what was wrong with him. I mean I really really prayed hard, out loud and everything. Three hours later he died. I haven't told anybody that, nobody knows that I prayed that morning. Like I said maybe I'm just feeling this way because I just don't know how to feel. Maybe I'm feeling this way because I haven't been to church in a really long time. Maybe I need to find a church and just go.

Wow this email is making me think of a zillion things. Maybe I will wrap up this email and we can talk about some of my other questions another day. Funny how such a life shattering event can make you feel like you need to re-think the religious or lack of religious aspect of your life. I wonder if I would have belived harder in God before if Shawn would still be here with me?

Ok, well I'm going to go and read for a while and try to stop thinking so I can sleep. I will talk to you soon and sorry this got so extremely long. Maybe this would have been better to ask in person.


Jenny ~ Wow! What wonderful questions you are asking! They are good, and healthy, and I am so glad that you are asking them. I'm not sure I know where to start - so let's start with the most important part . . . God!

Jenny ~ The one thing I am absolutely sure about is that God wants to have a relationship with you! Can you believe that? The God who created Heaven and Earth and who keeps it all in order and in motion wants to have a relationship with YOU! Jenny, He doesn't want to be some far off god that you pray to on holidays or when you really need something. No, my friend, He wants to be your friend! Just like you and I have become friends . . . that is who God wants to be in your life. Please forgive me if I go into more detail, or tell you something you already know, but there may be someone who eventually reads this who does not know these things. Jenny, God the Father sent His beloved son to die on the cross because sin had separated us from Him. Jesus died on the cross to reconcile us to God the Father once and for all. For thousands of years people had needed to offer sacrifices as a way to reconcile themselves and their sin. God sent His son as the final sacrifice so that we could walk in relationship and have the assurance of eternal life.

I, personally, think that the 'relationship' part of this is the key. Think of it this way ~ if you wanted to have a relationship with me, but only called once every few months or when you needed something . . . would that be a relationship? God never changes and He never moves! He is ALWAYS surrounding us waiting for us to call out. He tells us in Romans 3:23 that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." But in verse 24 He goes on to say, "Yet now God in His gracious kindness declares us not guilty. He has done this through Christ Jesus, who freed us by taking away our sins." In Romans 7 the Word tells us that we wrestle with this thing called "sin" all our lives. It is why we do the things we don't want to do and don't do the things that we do want to do! It goes on, though, in chapter eight to tell us that when Jesus comes into our hearts the power of sin is broken and that it is like the lights come on in a dark place! There is a new power at work in our lives.

How do we get this reconciliation and new power? We do it by repenting of our sins - basically, admitting that we were born with sin in us, and asking Jesus to come into our hearts and have a 'relationship' with us.

Now, Jenny, I would like to tell you about my personal relationship with Jesus. I grew up in a Christian home. I knew all about Jesus . . . but I will never forget one night when I was thirteen years old I decided that I wanted more . . . I needed a relationship with him. My daddy had left us when I was eleven, and I needed a 'constant' in my life. I needed someone whom I could trust was ALWAYS there and would ALWAYS love me. In the book of Philippians the bible tells us the "Jesus will never leave us nor forsake us." That, was what I needed. I took a step one night at a church service and went to the altar and gave my heart . . . ALL of me . . . my hopes, my dreams, my life . . . to Jesus. Since that night, I have lived my life with Jesus in mind. I had watched enough Christians by this point to know that a life with Christ didn't mean a life free of trouble, rather, that when troubles come there is a constant . . . an anchor.

This, my friend, is the crux of all of this . . . please hang on here for the most important part . . . Jenny, when Jesus died on the cross, He rose from the dead and not long after that He ascended up to Heaven to live there with Father God. When He did that, He sent something called the Holy Spirit. When we ask Jesus into our hearts, at that moment the Holy Spirit is deposited into our "spirits." One thing the bible teaches is that there are three parts to our physical being . . . our body, our spirit, and our soul. Our soul is our mind, will, and emotions. Basically, at the moment of salvation, we lay down our souls and let the Holy Spirit come in to inhabit our 'spirit' being. The Holy Spirit is an amazing, incredible part of all of this! The Holy Spirit is our counselor, our guide through this wonderful and horrible life, our constant companion and our light to follow. The Holy Spirit becomes that little voice that directs our path . . . the world sometimes refers to women having a 'sixth sence.' Well, what I have come to know as a believer is that my 'sixth sense' is the Holy Spirit that lives within me. . . always comforting and guiding me.

Jenny, there is something regarding my faith that I am really chewing on right now. What I am chewing on is this concept of 'peace.' You see, what I know beyond knowing as I look back over this past year of my life and all of my grieving is that all of my pain and fear and mourning and questions have been enveloped in a very sweet peace that has come from the Lord. When I was thirteen years old, I had NO idea what my life would hold . . . .the good OR the bad. But that decision as a teenager has changed the way that I relate to my life. I could have become paralyzed the day Chad died - paralyzed with fear, pain, or both. But instead, I look back on that day and know that, truly, the Hand of God ushered me through every horrible step of the grieving process. That doesn't mean that the pain was magically gone or that I didn't question or get angry with God or Chad, or even that I didn't sometimes want my own life to end! It didn't mean that I didn't feel hopeless at times as I grappled with the most horrible pain I ever could have imagined. It doesn't mean that I didn't question how in the world my life could ever go on. What it does mean is that through ALL of the questioning and grappling that there was a CONSTANT! Jesus was with my through every step and every tear. The Holy Spirit was, and is, my very constant companion.

In Phillipians 4 the word tells us that, "when we present our requests before God, with thanksgiving in our hearts, that He will give us a peace that passes all our understanding that will gaurd our hearts and our minds." Jenny ~ I DO NOT understand how it is true! But, my friend, I KNOW that it is! I have had a peace that has truly stood gaurd around my mind and my emotions. It is way bigger than I . . . It is truly something that only God could do! I am so thankful for my relationship. HE is my best friend! The Word says that we will have a friend in HIM that will stick closer than a brother! I have tested it and know it is true! He is SO good.

One thing that one of my counselors told me this past year was that it is in times of great trouble like you are going through that we must go back to what we KNOW to be true . . .NOT what we FEEL! I tell people in my concerts, that the God of October 6th - the day before Chad died when my life was perfect and good - and the God of October 7th - the day my whole life came crashing down on me - are the SAME GOD! My circumstances don't change WHO God is! God is good! Period! I trust that! I trust Him!!!!!

Now, for the comments that people say to you. Hmmmm . . . I am so sorry that people feel that they have to make sense of all of this for you! The best thing for them to say would just be to say they are sorry - but they feel that they need to help, so they tell you that there will be good ahead. You know, Jenny, there WILL be good ahead. I know that because God's Word tells us that "All things work together for good for those who love Him." I am a BIG believer in the fact that God "redeems our suffering." That is a topic for another time . . . but basically, it means that God does not waste our suffering.

However, please let me assure you, Jenny, that God did not take your husband from you so the He could give you better! That is absolutely NOT the way a loving and tender Heavenly Father works. When God created Heaven and Earth, death was not in His plan! However, when sin entered the world, so did death. I am so thankful that God made a way through Jesus for us to be reconciled back to Him . . .and therefore back to our Husbands who now live with Him in Heaven! The notion that somehow God did this to you so that you can have a bigger, better future is ridiculous!

Does God have a plan for you? Absolutely! Will it be good? Yes and no! I TRUST my precious Lord who gives me this amazing thing called 'peace' to have a good future me. I don't believe that my life will be without struggle. I DO know that God longs to redeem all of this pain and anguish and I trust that somehow, in some way He will bring good into our lives.

Jenny, remember our little pup Miah? She is named after Jeremiah 29:11 that says, "I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and to give you hope and a future." THAT is the heart of a Heavenly Father who does, truly, want good for you.

Psalm 91:1 (God's 911) says, "Those who live in the shelter of the Most High God will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty." Jenny, God longs for you to be snuggled in so close to Him that you will be sheltered in His shadow. Cry out to Him! Open your heart completely to Him and let His sweet Spirit envelope ALL of who you are - your pain, your future, your hopes, your dreams! He longs to hold it all in His hands . . . so that when the plans YOU make fall apart - He is there to hold you through it!

Another part to all of this, is that I would recommend that you get into a really good, supportive, bible teaching church. Marni and Collette and I would love it if you would like to come with us! Our church is great! I know you have a church . . . but I'm not sure how plugged in you are. Our church has absolutely been a rock to me through all of this! But, we can talk about that later!

I love you so much, Jenny! And I pray God's best for your life!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

My Little Micah

Greetings All!

Well, you have blessed me greatly! Thank you all for your comments, thoughts, and encouragement! They mean the world to me . . . as do your prayers . . .and I know that many of you are offering those up on our behalf, and I thank you!

On that note . . .would you please lift my little Micah up in prayer tomorrow . . . it will be his eighth birthday. No matter how much we brace ourselves for the inevitable "hole" in our holidays . . . it is still there. Will you please pray a blessing over this baby ~ that his birthday will be one of joy and laughter and that his memories of his daddy will be sweet and comforting as he continues his journey through his little life?

Kids can and will be mean and every now and then we have to deal with the reality of that. Last Tuesday Micah came out to the van after school and his usually pleasant face was looking a bit glum. He said that he never wanted to go back to school again! I asked what was wrong and he told me that a little boy in his class had teased him because his daddy was dead. Oh, man! My heart just sunk! My poor little guy! I explained to him that what the little boy had done was wrong but that I think he did it because he is confused about death and maybe even scared by it. But all of my explanations and coddling at that point could not remove the pain that must have pierced Micah's heart when that little boy said that. Micah's teacher has been very compassionate and has done what she can to help the boys work through this, and for that I am very grateful.

I am finding that when holidays and special events roll around my kids seem to be a bit on edge. They are too young to verbalize the depth of the emotion that they feel and therefore it comes out in sheer crabbiness! That is fine . . . may our sweet and faithful Heavenly Father bless them each as they work through their grief as 12, 10, and 8 year-olds!

Father in Heaven ~ will You please Bless my little Micah tomorrow? Please bless the next year of His life. Please give Micah hope for a wonderful future. I ask that You will help him to like school and that You will anoint those working with him to know exactly how this precious little guy's mind works. Father, please guard his heart and mind with Your sweet peace and pour into and out of him all the counsel and comfort that is his through your Holy Spirit. Thank you, Lord, for the gift of Micah ~ our wonderful little surprise. I know that You have incredible plans for his life and I thank You for them. Please keep the memory of his daddy ever present in his little mind. Please bless, bless, bless him, Lord! Amen.