Friday, April 13, 2018

BUT GOD....

Five years ago today I looked upon the face of my dear Amy for the last time. I kissed her forehead and it wasn't warm but it was cold, I laid my head on her chest and it wasn't soft but so very hard and I held her hand and it didn't feel like her hand anymore. The funeral director asked me if we wanted more time, and I hesitated and then said, "No, close the casket."  
The day of her funeral and burial I was so strong. I was depending on God for my strength and He gave it to me. If I knew at that time the deep grief and heartache that would linger so long after... I think I would have just crawled into the casket with her and died too. 
But God...God in His mercy gives us what we need for each day. As the days go by and turn into weeks and the weeks into months and the months into years it is getting easier to live without my sweet girl.

Last Sunday, the 8th, the five year anniversary of Amy's death, we  met at the cemetery and released balloons and prayed like we have each year since she has been gone. 



This year there were eleven balloons, one for each of us. The grandchildren will probably have no memory of this day except from the pictures they will see. 
But they will in the years to come realize that this is something we do each year to remember their Aunt Amy; whom they never knew but was so very dear to their parents and grandparents and Auntie Em. 
We have had such a long winter but the daffodils came up early and I was worried they would be all bloomed and gone before April 8th. Not so. We had so much cold weather and snow that they weren't blooming at all! I felt bad that I wouldn't have my flowers to put on her grave. Emily and I went the week before and put a ring of fake flowers around the base and cleaned out the grass and weeds that were starting to grow. I noticed some bulbs just starting to come up that I had planted in the fall. I couldn't remember what they were. But God... He knew and He allowed them to be blooming on Sunday. As I approached her grave I just burst into tears. They were miniature daffodils and they were in full bloom! Yes, only God could have provided those flowers that He knew my heart wanted this year.
 The kids brought whirly birds, pinwheels, and pinecones to decorate Amy's grave. 

The last months have been full.

In February Bill and Emily went to Andros Island to do some ministry work.

While they were away I worked on a Christmas tree skirt made out of Amy's Christmas scarves.

On Amy's birthday weekend, March 9,  Bill and I took a few days off and drove east. We wanted to visit some state parks, do a little hiking and maybe see some wildlife. 


 We drove through the small campus where Bill attended his first two years of college. 





We discovered Susquehannock State Park, but it was way too cold and windy for any hiking.

We visited Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area and saw a lot of cool birds!


 Thousands of Snow Geese.
 Swans
  And Canada Geese

Then we ended our weekend by visiting one of Pennsylvania's landmarks, the town of Hershey and Chocolate World. The last time we visited Hershey was about 8 years ago and Amy was with us.  


Micah turned two.


Marissa Amy turned three. 




Easter.





And....we had our share of snow.





One of the biggest blessings in my life the last few months is that we have decided to keep attending the church we've been going to since December. God has blessed us there and our whole family worships together once again. The first time I held little Samuel at church I cried tears of joy. This was my one fear, I never thought we would all be able to worship together again, But God...

A few weeks ago we sang a song I had never heard before. The Title is:

So Will I 


God of creation
There at the start
Before the beginning of time
With no point of reference
You spoke to the dark
And fleshed out the wonder of light
And as You speak
A hundred billion galaxies are born
In the vapor of Your breath the planets form
If the stars were made to worship so will I
I can see Your heart in everything You’ve made
Every burning star
A signal fire of grace
If creation sings Your praises so will I
God of Your promise
You don’t speak in vain
No syllable empty or void
For once You have spoken
All nature and science
Follow the sound of Your voice
And as You speak
A hundred billion creatures catch Your breath
Evolving in pursuit of what You said
If it all reveals Your nature so will I
I can see Your heart in everything You say
Every painted sky
A canvas of Your grace
If creation still obeys You so will I
If the stars were made to worship so will I
If the mountains bow in reverence so will I
If the oceans roar Your greatness so will I
For if everything exists to lift You high so will I
If the wind goes where You send it so will I
If the rocks cry out in silence so will I
If the sum of all our praises still falls shy
Then we’ll sing again a hundred billion times
God of salvation
You chased down my heart
Through all of my failure and pride
On a hill You created
The light of the world
Abandoned in darkness to die
And as You speak
A hundred billion failures disappear
Where You lost Your life so I could find it here
If You left the grave behind You so will I
I can see Your heart in everything You’ve done
Every part designed in a work of art called love
If You gladly chose surrender so will I
I can see Your heart
Eight billion different ways
Every precious one
A child You died to save
If You gave Your life to love them so will I
Like You would again a hundred billion times
But what measure could amount to Your desire
You’re the One who never leaves the one behind
by Hillsong
It's a beautiful song, but this line:
"If You left the grave behind You so will I......"
burned in my heart and I knew God was telling me that it was OK to feel good again. To rejoice in Amy's life that was and to rejoice in the life the God has now given me. 

I know this is long. I wanted to share a lot of pictures, though, and to be honest, God has not given me the words to write until today when I was rocking Samuel to sleep. 
Thank you for reading my blog. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

For Now We See Through A Glass, Darkly

Since the first of the year Bill and I have been taking a class on grieving at the church we are now attending. We have been reading through the book "Beyond the Broken Heart, A Journey Through Grief" by Julie Yarbrough. It has been a great class and it has helped both of us and also get to know and sympathize with others in the class. The author lost her husband and a few months later her father passed away. As she writes about her father it has brought back so many memories of my own Daddy. I have written about Daddy in other posts so if you have followed my blog you know what a dear man he was to me. He was in fact, my first true love.
Every day he was an example of the love of God to me. From him I learned discipline, dependability, orderliness, commitment, faithfulness and (most important) love. From him I learned that my Heavenly Father loves me with a steadfast unconditional love, because that is the way Daddy always loved me.  I thank God for the extraordinary relationship I had with my earthly father. I will forever cherish the life and memory of the man who I was privileged to call my Daddy.  

I came across this picture tonight, looking for something else. It was taken on the farm about 10 or so years ago. We had gone outside to play in the snow and we threw some snowballs at the window where Daddy was sitting watching us. In the reflection of the glass you can see the bare winter trees, the snow on the ground, and if you know where to look, the post and bird feeders that Daddy made. We are outside in the cold and emptiness but what is so precious to me is what I see inside the glass. Daddy is in the warm, light and life filled home.



  Instantly this Bible verse came into my head, "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face." 1 Corinthians 13:12a. I'm sure the verse is talking about something else, but I thought how wonderful it will be to get to heaven and see Daddy again, face to face, without the pain and sorrow, without the limits of age, in the wonderful light and warmth of our Lord.  
I miss him so much. Happy Valentines Day, Daddy, my first true love.