"For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling; I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living." Psalm 116:8&9

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Feeling Loved

This week was Valentines Day. To be honest, Valentines Day was never a big deal for Barry and I. We celebrated our anniversary 4 weeks after Christmas, so when Valentines Day came just 3 weeks after that, it never seemed to be a big deal.  

This year, God continued to be very generous in providing sweet, thoughtful friends to love me and encourage me as I celebrated another "first" holiday without Barry. A friend handmade beautiful Valentines with scripture on them for the kids and I. She even decorated William's with dinosaurs - he LOVED it. Another friend got me a beautiful wall hanging asa gift. And several people emailed or texted to encourage me. Over and over again, they said the same phrase: "I just want you to feel loved today." And I did.

As I sat reflecting on the day Monday night, I realized something very sweet. Yes, I did feel loved by thoughtful friends. And they brightened my day. But, if no one had remembered me, if no one had called, if no one had said a word, I would still have felt very loved. I am confident I always will. Barry loved me deeply and passionately. He constantly found ways to show me how much he loved me - not just on holidays, but everyday. He spoke love over me. He showed me he loved me through gifts, touch, and actions. He wrote me hundreds of love poems. And he continually did the most loving thing any husband can do for his wife - he pointed me to Jesus every day.  

My heart is full. I feel deeply and perfectly loved by God, who has sustained and blessed me throughout the last year. I feel loved by compassionate friends who encourage me daily. And for the rest of my life, I will feel loved by Barry, despite his physical absence.  He loved me well. I am so thankful...

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Reflections on Ice

There was a big ice storm in Texas this last week. Most of the country would have continued life as usual, but here in the lovely state of Texas, life came to a screeching halt. From Monday evening until Saturday evening, we could not (or rather would not..) leave the house. Schools were canceled, businesses were closed, life seemed to pause for a few short days. 

As a widow/ single mom, life is different than it used to be. Most days are okay. (By okay, I mean productive, with little drama, leaving me feeling content - but shy of happy.) I am thankful that most days are okay. Some days are sad. Some days are stressful. Some days are lonely. Some days are overwhelming. But most days are okay. Very rarely are my days angry. But let God throw some snow and ice on the ground, and I begin to battle anger. Sorry to be so blunt, but it is the truth.  

On the surface my anger stems from silly things. I HATE to build the snowman for my kids. They are too young to build one yet, but insist on having one, so I endure burning cold hands to build them one. With small kids, your somewhat trapped in the house when the weather is bad. I can't send my husband to the store if we need something. Either we all go, or we go without. And, it is now my job to do those fun chores of scrapping ice off the car, porch and driveway. I know it seems sexist, but I really think that's a man's job - not mine!  

But during the last week, I have realized that God has been doing a very quiet, very sweet work of healing in my heart. When I woke up to ice on Tuesday morning, I wasn't angry. (Maybe it had something to do with not having to build a snowman - I'll take that small victory!) Instead, I was thankful that we had a warm house, full of food to enjoy the day in. When the power went out, after a brief moment of panic, I made a plan for what to do if it stayed off for too long. When people started saying their pipes were frozen, I found my home repair book and figured out how to quickly turn off our water, should we need to. All of these things would have made me angry a few months ago. I would have been angry that I had to do those things on my own, angry that Barry was gone. But, I feel like now it is time to learn those things and own my new role as the head of our family. I am sad he's gone and wish he were here to protect and provide for us in those ways. But I have learned that I am capable of doing those things. And I don't do them alone...

This week, God showed me that He will provide help for me. I have amazing friends. Friends who love me and the kids. Friends who loved Barry. Friends who know how Barry felt about the Biblical role of men and women. Friends who have stepped in to help during the last year. Friends who remembered us this week. Friends who called to check and make sure we were okay. Friends who offered to go to the store for us. It wasn't anything big. It never took them more than a phone call and a few minutes of time. But for me, knowing that they remembered and cared made me not feel so alone. So instead of angry, I found myself thankful. Thankful for friends. Thankful for a week of uninterrupted time to play and enjoy my kids.

So, for my fellow Texans - I hope you enjoyed the ice. I hope you had sweet moments with your families and recognized the generous provision of God in sending ice to slow us down. For my fellow friends walking the long road of grief  - know that the road gets a little easier and you don't have to walk it alone.  

And finally, for my daddy - thanks for driving thirty minutes to come help me scrap ice off my driveway! It is not a fun or easy job. I am thankful that God blessed me with such a generous and faithful daddy. Every day of my life, you have pointed me to God through your actions. I am thankful. And hopefully, William can help us out soon...

Is a four-year-old old enough to shovel snow????