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!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Today . . . We Remember!

Today my sons and daughter and I will snuggle. We will snuggle in our great big bed that sits in front of our great big TV (both gifts to us right after Chad died) . . . it has been our place of refuge. In the days of the phone ringing 24/7 and the doorbell never ceasing to ring with folks eager to support and uplift us . . . .in the days of the loneliness when reality set in and it was clear that daddy truly was gone . . . in the days of figuring out that we, indeed, ARE moving forward . . . this has been our place of refuge. It has been where we have snuggled and wept, held one another in the moments when there was absolutely nothing to say because words could not begin to capture the depth of the emotion. It has also become a place of joy as we have traversed the waters of becoming a new family with a new normal. We have laughed in this bed. We have wept in this bed. For months and months and months my baby would cling to me each and every night as we slept in this bed. I would awake to Micah’s head buried in my chest . . . where he could hear my heartbeat. His daddy’s heart quit working, you know? I believe it was his security to hear my heart ticking deep within me. Night after night he would cling to me and bury his head there. Night after night we would snuggle, and hold, and trust that tomorrow would be a new day . . . a better day. Many women have held me in this bed. Many have prayed over me in this bed. Many . . . have wept themselves.

Today . . . we will snuggle . . . and smile . . . and laugh . . . and, yes, I’m sure cry. Today . . . we will remember from this bed.

Today . . . we will watch ALL of the home videos that I had put to DVD so that my baby could hear his daddy’s voice (please read my blog from ) Today . . . Micah will see his daddy. He will remember his hands, his smile,his eyes. He will see how tall and strong his daddy was. He will remember the hugs . . . many, many hugs from his daddy. He will remember fishing, and playing, and how goofy his daddy was. Today, we will all be taken back . . . to daddy. We will remember a time when we felt whole. When life was simple. When we thought we knew the answers and were happy that way.

The past two days have been spent boxing Chad up. Packing the house, and with it . . . Chad. The wonderful news is . . . you cannot pack up a memory . . . and so, we take daddy with us where we go.

The good news is . . . today . . . those memories will become larger than life.

Today . . . Micah will hear his daddy.

Today . . . we remember!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Darker Side of Alone

Well Friends! I don’t know who flipped what switch . . . but today ALL of the planning . . . .the house, the wedding . . . everything got put into high gear! Holy moly! Fasten your seat belts and hold on tight!

Yesterday I took all six kids shopping and we got the boys their black dress pants and white shirts. I am having their ties made – they will match the girls dresses which are also being made by a friend of mine who has a degree in fashion and is AMAZING at this stuff! The dresses she designed are absolutely perfect! I also got the boys clothes for the reception and we got the girls all shoes to go with their amazing dresses.

After about two hours of phone calls this morning – confirming everything with the rental company, going over details for the wedding and ceremony with both my soon-to-be mother-in-law (who I absolutely adore, by the way!) and my dear friend and wedding planner (and booking agent for my ministry), Collette . . . after ALL of that –Marn and I set out to Starbuck’s and then to begin plotting the registry. I am having a bridal shower - we have asked that no one bring gifts to the wedding – so Marni and I spent the day today looking at all the stores in Midland for towels, bedding, etc . . . trying to figure out what to register for for the shower. Problem is . . . I don’t have all the colors nailed down for the house – which is completely torn up and in the process of being dry-walled right now. It has been amazing to watch the house go from the original, to stripped down to the studs, the space re-allocated and framed in, insulated, and now dry-walled! Anyhow – I am meeting with the interior designer on Tuesday to figure out all the color schemes, and will then go register! Ah, the pressure.

Then, Marni and I took five of our kids and shopped (after a good workout so that I look great on my wedding day) for Practice’s clothes for the reception and honeymoon. By the way – someone asked if his name is really Practice . . . and no, it is not. His real name is Jim – but we call him practice for the blog. Read back to the Valentine’s Day post and you will learn a bit more. (I actually call him Farmer . . . but that one is just for me!)

Tomorrow Practice and I will go get his suit for the ceremony, rent refrigerators for the reception food, go to pre-marital counseling, AND we hope to go pick out carpet and flooring for the house . . . then he needs to sleep a couple hours and heads into work to work a 12 hour night shift.

Next week I need to get his house ready for us to move into (remember me saying it is all torn up right now?????) Lots of cleaning and dusting to do - PLUS beginning the work to make room for an entire ‘other’ household to be brought over. The week after that . . . I will work to pack my house up. Then, the Tuesday before the wedding we will move (the kids and I will sleep in the guest bedroom of OUR house until the wedding day.) OH MY!

In the midst of ALL of that . . . I continue to wrestle with emotions! Yesterday was a tough day. Practice and I actually had two hours alone together. We went out to eat . . . and the emotion of all that is taking place came over me as we drove back to the farm for me to get in my van and drive the half-hour home to my house. I cried and cried and cried all the way home and went straight to the cemetery and wrote the following ~

Tonight I am acutely aware of the fact that there is a BIG difference between being o.k. with ‘being’ alone . . . and the ‘feeling’ of alone! Tonight, I feel completely alone. I am not! There are people who love me ALL around me . . . but NONE of them . . . not one of them. . . have been where I am at today. Three weeks from Saturday I will say ‘I do’ to the man of my prayers. I will become his wife. With two little words I will close an enormous chapter of my life. In one beautiful, intimate, worshipful ceremony before our closest family and friends – I will leave my life as I know it. I will leave my life with Chad. With that, I take my three children with me. I am so aware of the fact that they really have no say in this matter. For the past twenty two months their lives have had no stability. And now, I have made a choice that will remove them from ALL that they have left that is stable . . . but with that . . . I have made a choice that I believe will provide them with long term, lasting, ‘daddy’ stability! Something that I, as the mama, know that they all three need . . . and so . . . I have made a decision that I believe is best for not only myself . . . but for my babies, as well.

I am SO thankful for the new! So thankful that the new has a name and a face and arms to hold me and a life to build with me.

Yet, I find myself feeling alone and exposed as I leave everything I built with Chad. We built a wonderful life! I will do the same with Practice. I can’t wait to be Mrs. Practice . . .

But here I am . . . feeling so alone! How in the world can you want two different things SO badly all at the same time? How can you long for old and new all in one breath? How can you weep . . . yet rejoice at the very same time?

And so, I am aware . . . that the ‘feeling’ of alone . . .is tough. It is scary, and painful, and difficult. I . . . am . . . alone!

Today broke with an overwhelming feeling that in three short weeks all of this craziness WILL be done. In three short weeks I WILL be Mrs. Practice. In three short weeks I won’t have to drive home anymore . . . home will be in his arms at the end of every day!

I know there will still be times that I feel alone. When the feelings of missing Chad hit . . . I feel alone now matter who I am with or what I am doing. I don’t know if that will ever change. But at the end of all of that, I, will be Mrs. Practice . . . and that, my friends, is a wonderful thing! Thank you, Lord! Thank you!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Wonderful World of Widowhood!

Good Day Faithful Readers!

I am so excited to tell you about the weekend I just had! I tried to write this blog while the weekend was actually happening . . . but I couldn’t figure out how to get onto the internet at my hotel (go figure!) Then, Marni suggested that I write it on the plane as we were flying home, which was a great idea, in theory. The only problem was that Marni talked me into letting her have one of my Zanex (anti-anxiety pill) and I spent the ENTIRE flight from California to Ohio trying to keep the woman from climbing the walls of the airplane! She completely LOST her mind. Suffice to say, there were moments I was laughing so hard I thought I would pee my pants . . . thank goodness I only took one Zanex and not my usual two – which puts me completely out! Had I done that I’m not sure who would have kept an eye on her!

Well, anyway! I spent this past weekend in San Diego, California at the 1st Annual National Conference on Widowhood. A mouthful, huh? Well! Let me tell you – what an incredible experience!

The idea for this conference was birthed out of a woman named Michele Neff Hernandez. Michele was widowed four years ago, very unexpectedly and at a pretty young age. She set out to interview other widows all over the United States to figure out what a widow was supposed to look like and be. How do you get through it? What does widowhood look like in our modern age? Who are we supposed to be?

What she found was that there is not one specific answer to these questions . . . and . . . that widows are a breed unto their own. They are strong, intelligent, amazing women. She began teaming up with other widows to support and uplift one another and along the way formed the WidowsBond website, the Widow Match program, and the Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation.

Through all of that came the idea for this conference. There were 110 attendees and 25 speakers. I was blessed to be able to both speak and sing. This is a conference with no religious affiliation – so I was very excited to teach a seminar on how my faith has sustained me through my grief. When I began my presentation I explained that I am a born again Christian and that that was the premise of my talk. Two women got up and left! That was o.k.! The wonderful news is that two women came up to me afterward and told me that they have been so angry at God. . . .unable to pray or go to church. They were encouraged by my talk and were going to work on their relationships with Christ! THAT, my friends, is what it is all about!

There were women there from all walks of life! Many, MANY of them were young! What a gift to each of us . . . to find each other!

Friday evening there was a welcome reception. A very sweet young woman had just registered and turned around from the registration desk to find an empty hallway. Just then, I walked by. I could tell by the look in her eyes . . . she was so very, very lost. I introduced myself and asked her her name. Come to find out – she was widowed just three months ago. She had heard about the conference and came all by herself! My goodness! God bless her. At three months you have no idea which way is up . . . and here she stood! Wow! What an amazing woman. I met another woman that evening – with the sweetness of the Lord ALL over her. Her husband of many many years died unexpectedly just four months ago. She was a beautiful woman – both inside and out. Her daughters had brought her. How sweet to see a family clinging to one another as they grapple with the realities of this Earth.

So – what do YOU think, my friends? What does a widow look like to you? Have you ever thought about it? I sure have! I would love to hear your thoughts . . . so please let me know in the comments! When I say the word ‘widow,’ what image comes to your mind?

You know what’s funny? I still see a woman with white hair. Isn’t that weird? Here I am . . . a picture, myself, of a widow . . . but ‘me’ is not what I see.

What I see happening, today, is both a beautiful and a horrible thing . . . us younger widows are redefining widowhood! We are forming alliances and groups and support ALL over this world!

Oh yes, did I mention that there were women there from all across the globe? Friday afternoon began with a speaker’s luncheon. I sat a table with a doctor from Bagdad, Iraq! She was there to raise the plight of widows around the globe. There was another speaker there from Kenya. Hold on and fasten your seatbelts because what I am about to tell you is going to sicken you . . .

In many countries of this world, when you are widowed you are thought of as bad luck and you are then treated like the plague! In India, for example, when you are widowed they strip you of all rights and take your children away from you and place you in an area where all the widows go. Can you imagine? CAN you imagine? Oh my! I can’t! I got through my widowhood by clinging to Christ and my babies! How in the world would you make it through in a situation like that? My goodness!

A short conclusion to all of this . . . then I am off to take two cats to the vet (FUN!), clean my house, begin packing up my house to move in less than three weeks, AND . . . to keep working on wedding plans! Please check back almost daily right now! I think I will use the blog as a journal for the next few weeks as we countdown to the wedding! I am SO excited!!!!!

Well – you know that I have asked the question . . . what is a widow? I would like to tell you a discovery I had along the way this weekend . . . it is one I have had before . . . but was reconfirmed this weekend.

One of the greatest gifts that I will take away from my widowhood is gift of knowing the beauty of ‘alone.’ Last Friday I had to drive from L.A. to San Diego . . . alone. I had to deal with traffic, unfamiliar cities, and get checked into the hotel . . . alone. I had to figure out where to park my rental car, unload my luggage, and find the nearest Starbuck’s . . . alone. Thankfully . . . the Starbuck’s was right in the lobby of the hotel! What a relief!!!!! I had to get unpacked (yeah, right!), figure out what to wear to the speaker’s luncheon, and walk into a completely unfamiliar setting where I knew no one . . . alone! After the luncheon I went to the pool . . . alone. Later that day, I went shopping . . . alone.

You know what I have found? It is that while I love my friends and family . . . while I am so thankful for the gift of Practice and ALL that he has brought to my life . . . while I can’t believe the friend that I have been given in Marni (and a fabulous travel companion, by the way!) . . . I have found that I am o.k. . . . alone! I am alright . . . even great . . . as just ‘me!’ I can conquer the world . . . and drive through Los Angeles . . . .ALONE! I have found that there is not much I cannot do . . . alone! What a gift I have found in my widowhood!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

A New 'Fit'

Well All ~

This morning I awoke to the sound of a beautiful rain right outside my window. I love to listen to rain, and even better – there was soon a soft rumble of thunder! Oh! Do I love that!

I came out to my living room to let Miah outside and the view across the back lawns of the neighborhood was breathtaking. A soft sun beginning to shine down on the wet, green grass; a subtle bit of hays lifting to the sky. The birds are singing and the entire neighborhood is alive with the sounds of nature.

We have lived here for over seven years and as I looked out over this lovely scene, it struck me. Five weeks from today I will marry the man of my prayers! In just 35 days I will have a new view to take in each morning. In just 35 days I will awake in the arms of a man each morning . . . a gift that far outweighs the beauty of ANY view (although, I must say that the view at the farm is breathtaking, as well! )

In five short weeks the entire course of our life will change, yet again. I am amazed as I watch all four of us . . . and yes, venture to say, even all eight of us . . . adapt to these changes. I will not speak for Practice and his sweet babies . . . only for me and mine.

Our life truly HAS been one big adjustment since the day Chad died. I can see the excitement in my baby’s eyes – the love that is growing in them for their new step daddy and his entire family. Yet, there is so much to adjust to. It is funny how they all adjust at different times. One struggled very early on but now seems very excited and fine. One has no qualms about it at all. And one is really struggling with it all today – excited for the new – but worried about starting at a new school and losing friends back here in Midland.

I am watching the adjustment my boys are making as they work to fit back into being ‘sons’ to a father. I never would have expected this. Chad and I have always been BIG disciplinarians! I tried to keep that up after he died – but the reality is that we just survived for SO many months. I can see now where my kids probably ‘self disciplined’ and took care of each other while I was busy grieving and oblivious to the world. On top of that – throw in the fact that there have been MANY men in and out of their lives for the past two years. Men who have spoken into them and been here for them – but not one of them would have disciplined them. (Not that I would have expected them to or wanted them to.) We all were just trying to keep them going . . . trying to fill in a void.

Now enter Practice. He is honestly one of the wisest men I have ever met. He is one of the best fathers I have ever watched. I am amazed as I watch how he handles his children – SO, SO differently than Chad and I would have handled ours . . . it is fascinating, as a woman, to be so intimately in-tune to two different men. I was once nuzzled under Chad’s covering and I will soon be nuzzled under Practice’s. I see, even now, that I am beginning to think more like Practice . . . and a little less like Chad. It is fascinating to be the wife of two men (not that I am his wife yet . . . but I can see the transition happening as the days tick down.) Well, that is a blog for a different day.

Back to the boys . . . where all these different men worked so hard to fill the void of one man . . . now God has sent one man to fill that void. Practice will be a covering over them, as well. One strong man to be the ‘head’ over us all. What a gift! What a sweet blessing from above. But now, we must all (even me, you know . . . I have become a VERY strong woman over the past 21 months!) ‘fit’ back under the covering of a daddy. I can see my boys testing that. I can see them wresting with it a bit. They are truly, truly sweet and wonderful little boys . . . but there is definitely some adjusting to do.

Please pray for Practice as he learns to be a daddy to three more babies! What a tall order! God must really think he is something else to entrust him with us! We need a ton of wisdom right now . . . but I can tell you. . . Practice really is something else! He is truly the man of my prayers!

Thank you, Jesus!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Still

Greetings Friends!

I am so sorry it has been so long since my last post! Almost a month! I'm sure you may think I have dropped off the face of the Earth, thankfully, though - I have not!

The past month has been one of many struggles. Getting through the CD release was very difficult! I cried and cried and cried! There was just SO much emotion wrapped up in all of it - - - the keen awareness that none of it would have been happening had Chad not died.

Actually . . . that is the reality of ALL of my life right now. As Practice and I begin the transition into a life together . . . wedding plans, house plans, planning for 'our' future, etc . . . it is all seasoned with the awareness deep inside that this is ALL because we lost our beloved. How does one wrestle with that? (smile) I do not have that answer, my friends. One thing I have learned through all of this is to just take one day at a time. Matthew 6 tells us not to worry about tomorrow because tomorrow WILL worry about itself. I have found that to be so true. And so, I just work on getting through today. Some days are filled with so much new joy that I cry with gratitude to the Lord. Some are still laced with the deep bitterness of missing Chad. Each and every one of them are marked by God's continued faithfulness! He is SO good!

Practice is wonderful. 48 days until I get to be his wife . . . but, who's counting?

The biggest struggle of all this past month - and the main reason I have not blogged - is that I have been dealing with some pretty big health issues. The two weeks after the CD release concert were spent in bed. I have become very anemic (again) and my iron levels are VERY low. The purpose of iron in your blood is to carry oxygen to your brain, organs, and entire body. Normal levels are between 37 and 170. Mine is 12 - and I am struggling to keep that where it is without getting lower. There have been days where just walking from my bed to my kitchen (I live in a ranch house) has left me out of breath and struggling to get a good breath. My mind is foggy ALL the time and I struggle to just think straight (no jokes, please!!!!) Anyhow - all of that makes the little things in life seam pretty big some days.

We are working to get it all straightened out. I am taking an iron pill, have received two iron infusions (a four-hour IV of iron straight into my blood), I am doing homeopathic remedies that I have used before and work VERY well, AND tomorrow I begin a new regimen of Chinese Herbs from a specialist in Chicago. I have also seen a specialist here in Midland.

All of that to say - if you think of it, please pray for me! Some days I feel great! Others, I really struggle. I have two concerts and a radio appearance in the next three days and I am feeling very tired and weak! God is always faithful and will give me just what I need! THAT, my friends, is always true!

I will keep up better on this blogging . . . or shall I say . . . I sure will try!!!!

Blessings to you all - - - whatever journey you are on, my friends, keep holding tight to Jesus and keep on keeping on!

Blessings -
Sarah

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

CD REALEASE - MAY 29TH!!!!!!!

Good Day All!


I just wanted to invite anyone close by to PLEASE come to my CD Release Concert at Christian Celebration Center in Midland, MI on May 29th!


The concert will begin at 7:00 pm and is free . . . I really want to do this concert as a 'thank you' to everyone for their love and support throughout our journey!


PLEASE come out on the 29th for a celebration of ALL that God has done in our lives! It will be a wonderful evening!!!!! Invite all your friends and show up early . . . as the seats are sure to go fast! See you there!!!!!!


Blessings!
Sarah

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A Funny Little Saying

It is a funny thing, this thing called ‘grief’ . . . .and, this thing they call ‘moving on.’

Yesterday, I cried ALL day! ALL day! Most of the day, Practice was here with me . . . and I still cried. We went out to lunch . . . and I cried. We came home and discussed wedding plans and moving plans and plans and plans and more plans . . . and I cried. He went home . . . and I wept and wept and wept all alone in my giant bed . . . missing my beloved.

I know what triggered the tears. Mother’s Day. Yesterday morning I ordered gifts for all the mothers in our lives . . . and all I could think was that if I don’t ask someone to take my kids shopping for me for Mother’s Day . . . that they won’t have anything to give me on that day. Now, please note – it is NOT about the gift . . . I could care less about getting a gift . . . but it IS important to my kids! And if we go giving all the other moms gifts and they realize they don’t have anything for me . . .that would crush them. And so, it hit me, that this is their daddy’s job . . . and he is dead. And the tears began and would not stop! I’m sure this is the plight of every ‘single mom’ across America and that many of you can relate.

I am so thankful for a new beloved. I love Practice more than I ever thought I could love another man. I am so truly, truly grateful to a loving God for sending me a new beloved and my babies a new daddy. I am so excited to have three MORE children to love . . . and so, something I spoke out of faith very early on in this journey has come to fruition. . .

I will never forget one evening about a year ago now. I had gone to a concert and while I was there I got ‘hit on.’ It wasn’t the first time – but I came home and said something about it to my kids – kind of jokingly. Well, I wound up with Noah begging me to get married (because he needed a new daddy - he is my very BLACK and WHITE child!) and the other two crying. I remember snuggling into bed that night with Abbi as she wept and told me she didn’t ever want a new daddy because she wanted everything to be exactly the same as down here on Earth - when we all get up to Heaven. I tried to explain to her that when and IF God ever chose to bring us a new daddy, that it didn’t mean we would have to stop loving OUR daddy. And I went on to tell her a story . . .

I told her about when she was a baby, and we found out we were pregnant for Noah. Chad and I wondered how we could ever love another baby the way we loved Abbi. It was scary, in a way. How in the world would we ever or could we ever have so much love for another child? And yet, we soon found out what every parent of multiple children finds out along the way – that we were not given just one dose of love that had to be divided . . . but our love grew.

I tried to assure Abbi that if God sent us a new daddy, that our love for Chad would never, ever change – but that God would give us more love to go around – more love to love a new daddy with. We would NEVER have to stop loving our daddy or love him ANY less! Never could I have imagined that not only would we get a new daddy – but three new babies to love, as well.

And so yesterday, as I am weeping alone in my bed, thinking of how much I miss Chad and yet how much I love Practice and his babies . . . I was reminded of that conversation . . . so steeped with bitter tears and pain for one of my babies . . . and I knew that what I has spoken to her that night IS indeed true.

And this, friends, is where the ‘moving on’ part comes into play. I believe that as it relates to grief . . . the statement is FALSE! You see . . . there I sat weeping for my old life while loving and embracing the new. The reality is . . . there is NO SUCH THING as ‘moving on’ as it relates to Chad. Each and every day of my life I have the pleasure of looking into the eyes of his precious children and seeing glimpses of him. Every day I hear one of them laugh, and I am reminded of him. My sweet little Noah is a servant through and through JUST like his daddy – and I am reminded of him. Abbi looks just like a ‘Schieber’ - and I am reminded of him. Micah has Chad’s constant ‘twinkle’ in his eye – and I am reminded of him.

Our hearts are growing – they are not ‘moving on.’ They never will ‘move on.’ Chad will always be my beloved. Practice will be too. My heart does not have to divide the love, Praise God! My heart gets a double portion and I can pour ALL of that sweet, sweet love into a new relationship and a giant new family. One that will be stronger and wiser and appreciated all the more BECAUSE of my first beloved. But, in NO WAY, are we moving on!

Practice was right, back on our first date . . . a part of my heart WILL always belong to Chad. . . and that’s o.k. . . . because my heart just keeps growing!