I have to say that this has rocked my world. When my grandmother passed away last summer (my mom's mom) it was easier to grieve. I miss her but she was 92 and led a long, blessed life. Mourning her was made simpler by a quicker acceptance of her death.
Tuesday was that day.
It was actually the first day of school for my girls. And it started out a bit chaotic. A little of rushing. Picture taking. Forgetting things. Some tears. Tummies filled with butterflies. But after getting them to school and kissing them a thousand times, I arrived to an empty home. So I washed breakfast dishes, and prepared our school room for the following day. Then I decided to bake some goodies for my girls since they had a rough start, I figured I would give them something to smile about.
And as I scooped flour into a measuring cup, a rush of all my emotions came out of nowhere. And I began to sob as I combined ingredients. My thoughts became consumed with regrets, immense loss, what ifs and if onlys. I had promised myself not to walk in regret but I am human. Vulnerable and fragile. And those thoughts are normal but the pain is so acute now. My mom is gone. I will never be able to call her and ask her for her cooking expertise (she is a gourmet cook and I am so not one), or tell her about her grandbabies, or hear her laughter, or visit her. I began feeling guilty for living so far away, for letting trivial things in the past become reasons to not speak, for grudges that are absolutely ridiculous now. I ache that if God ever blesses us with another child whether through adoption or biological...she will never hold them in her arms. I will never hug her again, or hear the sound of her voice telling me she loves me.
And most importantly...I will live the rest of my life not knowing what she believed about eternity.
Oh my broken heart.
I can honestly say that I am living and breathing each day knowing my God and King holds me in the palm of His hand. That He covers over me with His love and perfect peace. He is sustaining me as I walk this strange and unreal road. So obviously I have had no desire to post. I feel even guilty for life moving on. I am sure so many of you have endured this same painful journey. Its surreal at best. But our church has loved on us with meals and more prayer then you can imagine. I am so thankful for my friends and most of all for them standing the gap for us. Especially those first few days where I didn't have the strength to pray.
I am also thankful to have delivered her eulogy and stand before her precious friends and family and share the wonderful things about my mom. But also to challenge a room full of people to live a life not wasted. I shared a "Come Before Winter" message. Have you ever heard this preached in a church? My pastor does this each year and it is referencing when Paul, in 2 Timothy 4:21 urges Timothy to “Do your best to come before Winter.” At that time, Paul was in prison and urging him to come quickly. In those days, you could only have passage through the Mediterranean from spring to late autumn. After that, the winter weather conditions and ice made it treacherous and unsafe to travel by ship. We don’t know if Timothy heeded this request but if Timothy did not, he would have missed Paul because he was executed for his faith before the spring came.
***This is a message about doing what we ought to do. Now. And I’m not talking about a vacation, a home renovation, or a sale at the car dealership. I am talking about relationships. People. Because when we come to the end of our lives, we never ask for our possessions. We ask for our loved ones to surround us. Yet we take for granted these precious relationships every day. Oh, we have good intentions. To make that phone call, to write that letter, to visit that friend or family member, to reach out to someone when it’s hard but fearful how they may react. But procrastination is the destroyer of good intentions. If you know what you can do…DO IT NOW.
-Repair a relationship that is broken.
-Extend kindness instead of merely tolerate that hard to love person.
-Seek forgiveness for a person you have hurt or wronged.
-Forgive that person who has wronged you.
-Break that habit that holds you in bondage and alienates you from the people who care
-Stop and look your children in the face and actively listen
-Spend that money on a plane ticket instead of saving it for something that perishes and is only of this world
My mom and I had our ups and downs over the years. But in the last few, we had come to a beautiful place. Her last visit was so wonderful and I was so elated that our relationship was becoming close. And just a few weeks ago, after a visit with my in-laws that was so special my husband and I sat down and discussed that this year we are going to make a concerted effort to visit all of our parents this Christmas. We planned on driving up and staying at all three houses . We talked about doing this last year but I put it off.
But my best intentions were too late. I promise you I will not make this a guilty place of regret. But rather to be purposeful about living a life not wasted. Francis Chan said a quote that has always struck me…”Our greatest fear should not be fear of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.”
I don’t want to waste another moment. To say the things that needs to be said and not worry about being rejected. To spend the time with people I love and make every effort to let them know I love them. To play with my kids instead of clean the house, to reach out to a neighbor I don’t know, to laugh off what I take too seriously and take seriously what I laugh off.
For those of you who may not know me well…I gave my life to Jesus Christ almost 17 years ago and I never looked back. My poor mother thought I joined a cult…bless her heart. We laugh about that now. My mom watched as my faith has sustained me through extremely hard times and He is sustaining me now. He is my comfort and my strength. I have never understood how I can walk a path such as this with the incredible hope that I have in Him. I can do nothing without God and Anything with Him. He is my joy even when I am in pain and He is my strength in times of utter weakness.
And though I am emotionally spent, I know I can keep walking this path of life with confidence that God will always go before me. Even as I ache for one more moment with her.
Oh, how I miss her. I will miss her hugs, her smile, the way she was only person on the planet I would let call me Jessie and every time she did, I felt loved. I will miss her emails where she would type the whole message in the subject line because she couldn’t be bothered to title the message. I will miss how she used to tell me no one could make her laugh like I could; it always made me feel special. I will miss telling her I love her and hearing it back. I will miss seeing her with my children and how much they loved her and she loved them.
Most of all, I will miss the fact that I can’t make any more memories with her and memories is all that I have. In James chapter 4, it tells us. “Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”
The death of my mother was so sudden, so unexpected. It has completely shown me what the bible says…life is indeed but a vapor.
Though I would give anything to have my mother back, I am thankful she has taught me to “Come before Winter.” To not let any opportunities become missed opportunities that I will never get back. To love with abandon the people around me and to do what I can…NOW.
Even in death my mother has helped me to choose life to the fullest. What a gift she has given me and I pray it is a heritage I can give to my own children. No regrets. Just making the most of every opportunity we are given. ***
So I just wanted you to know. It seemed odd not to share it with all you precious friends. I hope that you come here not to just see pretty things I make (though I hope you do) but to know me. The good, the bad, and even the nitty gritty things of life. The above info between the *** is actually an excerpt from my eulogy. I hope it encouraged you and helped you in some way to maybe see the people in our lives a little bit differently.
Love to each of you. I will be back soon with some creative inspiration.