Saturday, February 27, 2010

New territory...God's promises.

Its funny how much a difference a week can make. This time last week, I was sitting on the couch crying inconsolably. Today I'm sitting on the couch just thinking how good my God is. It's been a great day for me. Went running, cleaned the house, lunch with my sister, car washed, bought a book for Kaytie and I to do a Bible study together, and got a pedicure. Not a bad Saturday:) The running thing has been a goal for me since the accident. Let me explain a bit. Troy and I started running together before the accident. It was a great way for us to spend time together. I have some really great memories of running the track at the middle school or running in Florida during spring break. Well I really should say I would run and Troy would jog beside me talking the whole time oooh it was frustrating;) So after the accident, I knew I needed to do something besides sit on the couch and eat cookie dough;) Running it was. Somehow felt like I was keeping him with me. Who knows maybe he is running with me up in heaven. Except he is no where near out of breath and MUCH better scenery. I decided my goal was to run a half marathon this year. I want to do it in September the one year anniversary in memory of him. Hoping accomplishing that will somehow make that month not so hard. Guess we will see. The good thing today was I was able to run four miles and that is a HUGE accomplishment for me. When Troy and I started, I could barely do a mile. I'm slowly on my way to my goal!

Anyways back to sitting on the couch thinking how good my God is. I read last night this verse Psalm 57:2 "I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills His purpose for me." How encouraging is that verse. Added that to my truth box: "remembering that God will fulfill His purposes in my life." He has never left my side and has already worked out so many things. I sometimes get frustrated with the thoughts that "I'm so tired of grieving." People say "its only been five months", but have you ever stopped and thought about that statement. Five months of being heartbroken is a LONG time. When I think about it in my head without truth, I feel completely overwhelmed that I will never be happy again. Don't get me wrong I have peace and joy that I would not trade for anything, but I'm still sad every day. I read that verse last night and knew that God would keep His promises. He will continue to heal my broken heart. I know one day I won't feel sad every day. Looking forward to that day in some ways, but also scared because I already feel like I'm forgetting what our life was like together. I had that exact moment last night. I was sitting in the spare bedroom with all his stuff and realizing that I'm now used to him not being here. I really don't like it, but it's true. I'm living my life with out him. It's getting harder for me to remember what it was like to live with him. It was such a short period of my life. Thirteen months was not long enough. Some days it feels like a dream. I know I will NEVER forget him or stop loving him, but slowly as my heart heals things are changing. It's a scary new territory I'm entering into these days. Then I read that verse and know peace. My WHOLE life is in God's hands and He will fulfill His purpose. Thank you, Lord!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Confessions of despair, but surrendered to peace.

Worked the last two days full twelve hour shifts yay. Slowly getting back into the swing of work life again. Thankfully work has gotten much better. No crying in the parking lot or on the floor which is always a plus. Last week was a very rough one for me. Saturday was a major break down. A spiral into despair. I think it started back on Sunday being Valentines day. Then Troy's dad came into town. I had a couple of days spending time with his family. I love being able to stay a part of their lives and would not trade it for anything. However; it's hard because it's so noticeable that he is not with us. I then had lunch Saturday afternoon with one of Troy's best friends, Ryan. Also love being able to hang out with his friends, but thoughts of him tend to come rushing back. To top it all off, Greenville was having a beautiful sunny day and the motorcycles were out in full force. All I could think about was this is the type of day we would go out on a bike ride. This is where the spiral downward started. My thoughts were solely focused on "I want him home now. I need him right now." I went to the cemetery later Saturday afternoon and pulled up to an open casket holding thing (don't know what they are really called) where I park. "Agh, he was buried in one of those. In the ground. No, no, no" By the way, somehow think that they should only have those open at night. It is NOT okay for grieving people to have see that. Maybe should write someone about it;) I sat down by his headstone and just sobbed. The crying started there and I could not get it together. I came home and well pretty much an emotional basket case. Oh yes, lets not forget when I got home. No power due to a car running into a power pole and the puppies that I got that week had decided to pee everywhere. So I'm sitting on the couch maybe a little on the hysterical crying side. The dogs in the crate staring at me thinking they have sent me home with a crazy lady. This is what my parents walked into. Thankfully they are amazing. They were hoping to console me. The problem was I had gone from being sad to circling the drain of depression. I sat on the couch and all I wanted was Troy home NOW please somehow please!!! My poor parents were at a loss for words. I know this is hard for them as it is and seeing me that upset heartbreaking. I know what I needed to do. Open that truth box that I have and re-direct my thoughts, but nope I was just didn't want to. I didn't feel like it. It was too much work and too hard at this moment. I deserve this because I have been through so much (these were the lies I was telling myself anyways). This has been my confession;) because by the end of the night, I was very convicted. I finally did start praying and immediately had to confess my selfishness. I have been learning a lot about what it means to be walking in the spirit. In learning this, realizing how difficult it can be. I certainly can't do it in myself. I have to let the Holy Spirit guide my life which is a constant surrender. As Paul so nicely puts it in Romans 6, my sin is crucified with Christ on the cross. So that surrender of my flesh is something I will be doing for the rest of my life. Stupid flesh. I can't wait for our glorified bodies no more sin yay:) I know that its okay to be sad. Yes, there will be days when I'm going to REALLY miss him, but those are the times I'm supposed to be turning to the only person who can make it right. After Saturday's breakdown, its so amazing to see in my life the peace God gives when I turn my eyes towards Him. I've been doing a study with my couch buddies and the verse I've added to my truth box is 2 Peter 1:2-3 "May grace and peace be multiplied to you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord. According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him, that hath called us to glory and virtue." Wow! Okay so when I need peace, God promises to multiply it through my knowledge of Him. It has been so true these last two days. When I focus my thoughts on the things I know about my God there is joy and peace. There is no way to humanly explain how this works, but I'm so thankful it does:) My God is so good. So this is my confession. One of many struggles, but thankful we have a God who can fix it:)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Valentine's survived and Freedom in the cross.

Valentine's day is over. Another holiday survived. Valentine's day would be hard in general, but it was an extra special day for me because Troy proposed. Two years ago, Troy and I went to dinner downtown. He was a little nervous, but I didn't let on that I knew something was up. All week he had kept saying we need to go to the rock garden after dinner. This was a special quiet place for us. We would go there occasionally and climb onto the rocks by the waterfall and talk. So after telling me several times duh I kinda got the hint;) Anyways after dinner, he kept getting on the phone trying to be nonchalant, but again I knew he was up to something. I kept it to myself because I knew he wanted to surprise me. We pull up to the garden and I walk down and in the middle of the rock bridge is a dozen red roses, balloons, and a jewelry box with a black ring box inside. I picked it up and looked inside. A diamond ring:) I then turned to him and he asked me to marry him. He was so nervous. It was very cute. He did not get down on one knee and I was forever teasing him about this, but he played it off saying he was so nervous he forgot. Of course, I said yes! He then pulled out his i-pod radio thing and started playing our song "God bless the broken road." In the middle of the bridge, we slowed danced to our song. It was very romantic. He did great. This valentine's day not so romantic. I went to the cemetery. It probably looked like something from a depressing painting though. The ground was still covered in snow with only the headstones showing. It was a beautiful scene. Then there is me standing next to my husband's headstone in my black dress, hose, and heels(for the record, heels and snow not a good combination very wet feet and I made sure Troy knew about this). If anyone drove by, I'm sure I looked a like a sad young woman with the wind blowing my hair and tears coming down my face talking to his headstone. Are you getting the dramatic picture I'm painting for you. The "Young Widow" would be the title of this sad, but beautiful painting. Hey, I have to find some humor in it. Troy would so be laughing at me describing this and saying "Sarah, you are way over dramatic" ;) I did make sure he knew that he did NOT do a good job this year. So not exactly how I would choose to spend the day, but once again reminded that my ways are not God's ways.

I was reading today in Genesis about Joseph and something really stood out to me. When Pharaoh called for Joseph to interpret his dream, Joseph said, "It is not in me; God will give..." It was a reminder to me that God is the one who has done everything in my life. I made a comment today that I survived yesterday, but the truth is God helped me survive yesterday. Everything that I have and do is because of Him. God is so good. Also been reading Romans 6 and I absolutely love this chapter. God has opened up my eyes so much to see the truth in this chapter. We are free from sin because Christ took it for us on the cross. He also conquered death on the cross. What amazing thoughts! Paul explains speaking in human terms we are slaves to something either slaves to sin which leads to more sin and eventually to death or slaves to righteousness which leads to sanctification/eternal life. I remember hearing off and on all my life sin is bondage, but never grasping that to be true. I mean sin can be fun. Looking back, its so very true that sin is only fun for a season and realizing now what a hold it had in my life. I was a slave to it. Now in coming to the cross and grasping what Christ has done FREEDOM! Such peace that comes....

Friday, February 12, 2010

Public speaking nerves, but sincere thankfulness.

I had my first experience speaking in front of a large audience today. AAAAGGGGHHHH its ok I'm still alive and functioning;) Hillcrest (the high school where Troy taught) had spirit week this past week and today was the last big day of events. Mr. Chamness (the principal) had mentioned a couple of weeks ago that he might want to me to say a few words, but I hadn't heard anything this week. So I a let out a huge sigh of relief thinking I was in the clear. Not that I didn't want to thank them because I really did, but public speaking not my forte. Well every year they have a student/faculty basketball game and if you knew Troy you knew he was a HUGE basketball player. Last year he played in the game and from his version a big hit;) This year Todd was asked to play in his place. I being the ever supportive sister-in-law was going this morning to the game to cheer him on and show my support for Hillcrest. When we arrive I'm informed of a slight change of plans "pep rally this morning, basketball game this afternoon, and we want you to say a few words before the rally starts." Okay, okay I can do this ummmm slight problem no speech prepared. This is where my panic level went from zero to five in matter of seconds. Don't think it can rise that fast trust me it can. I tell Todd that I really want to be able to share why we know Troy is in heaven, but not having anything ready I don't know how to do this. So Todd and I pray that God would give us the right words that would bring all the glory to Him. So sitting there watching all these kids pile into the gym and now panic level is up to about an eight. Hands are shaking and I haven't even gotten to the part where I will be standing in the middle of the gym. "Lord, I know this is about You so could please help me stop thinking about me" Wish I could say that this calmed my nerves, but no still in shaking mode. Mr. Chamness announces me and Troy's family. Panic level now officially reaching a ten!!! Todd and I get up and walk to the center of the gym to a standing ovation for Troy. What a moment! His students and faculty truly loved him and I feel so honored to be a part of it. "Okay Sarah this isn't about you at all." Unfortunately that message in my head did not get sent to the rest of my body. So standing in the middle of a gym full of two thousand people, I have the microphone and every part of my body is shaking. Didn't know it was possible to actually feel the muscles of my legs shake. Guess what? They can! The saying about knees knocking mine were;) Have no idea what came out of my mouth, but don't worry my loving mom has it captured on video. She is planning to share it with the world as soon as she can figure out how to get it off her camera to the computer. I'm not going to help her with this one so maybe it will take her a while haha;) I know I was able to thank the students and faculty so much for all their support, encouragement, and efforts to keeping Troy's memory alive. I was able to tell them how much he has changed my life in knowing that we are not guaranteed tomorrow and that we know he is in heaven with our Savior probably smiling down right now. I know if he could have seen me he would have been laughing at my nerves. Thankfully Todd is a much better public speaker and he was able to clearly lay out the gospel of why we know Troy is in heaven and if they ever wanted to talk please feel free to contact us. It wasn't exactly what I would have said if I had a speech prepared, but I think the points of thankfulness and the reason we have hope were clearly expressed. After out speeches, we handed the microphone over, took our seats in the bleachers, and I think I started resuming a regular breathing pattern again. I could never express in words the honor I felt from his high school. They are truly an amazing group of people who have reached out and encouraged more than they will ever know. God has given our family such a unique opportunity today and for that nerves and all I was sooo thankful. So that in a nutshell was my first public speaking experience. Minus a couple of minutes of pure nerves (which may have shaved a couple of minutes off of my life) I was glad to be able to tell them how much they have meant to me over these last couple of months. To anyone from Hillcrest reading this: Thank you does not seem enough, but I know no other words so know from the bottom of my heart THANK YOU! Anything that was done today from me and Troy's family was all to point upward to the person who gives us strength, peace, hope, and most importantly salvation. On that note, my warm bed is calling my name and hoping tomorrow to enjoy some of this beautiful snow God has given Greenville:)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Pity party for one, but one day it will be all right.

The last two days have me laid up on the couch being completely and totally lazy. I woke up Monday morning with a sore throat and it has progressively gotten worse. I don't feel horrible, but I don't feel like running a marathon either. I think there are hundreds of tiny little knives handled by tiny little people stabbing the inside of my throat when I swallow NOT an enjoyable experience. I'm also having a little bit of a pity party. This is the first time I've been sick since the accident. I don't like it at all. I want Troy to come home and take care of me. Spoil me a little bit. Let me lay my head on his lap while we watch tv. I have had one of those days (mostly because I've had nothing to do but lay around) thinking is this really my life? Is Troy really gone? Do I really own this house? Am I truly single again? Will I ever be able to think about Troy with out crying? Is Troy really gone? I just kept thinking that last thought over and over again. I don't know why just having one of those days thinking these last couple of months don't seem real. However; like the dream the other day reality came CRASHING in tonight by way of his motorcycle. Devon, Joey, and Brandon were so kind to come over and help finally unload the bike into my garage. I have seen it a couple of times at Jill and Devon's, but hadn't really taken the time to look at it. Tonight I did. Its definitely totalled. The thought "this was the last thing he touched while he was alive" went running through my head. I had to touch the handle bars as if maybe somehow I would feel him, but nothing other than an overwhelming sense of loss. Of course, tears came. Poor Devon, he was stuck with an emotional girl standing in a garage crying over a bike. Good thing he has a wife so he knows how we girls can break down at any moment. I thought for a long time that I wanted the bike in my garage. Tonight not so sure. It is such an in the face reminder of Troy's death.

I was reading today in Psalm 39 and David was asking "Oh Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am. Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my life is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath!" David was wanting God to teach him how temporary life is. Troy has taught me just this and I am thankful for that. I try to always remember that life could be over in a second. What kind of testimony am I leaving behind? What have I invested in my future home? It was a good reminder for me today that God is continuing to teach me so many lessons through this heartbreaking experience. I just have to keep trusting. Troy's dad wrote me a letter a couple months back for my birthday and at the very end he tells me he can picture Troy up in heaven saying "Everything will be all right, Dad" and proceeds to tell me "Sarah, one day everything will be all right." I have that letter sitting next to my bed and constantly remind myself that one day everything will be all right again. It may or may not be on this earth, but I know that one day I will be face to face with Jesus and Troy and then everything will more than all right!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Firsts and A Vacation.

Firsts are typically an exciting experience. A first birthday, the first time you drive a car, a first date with that person you have been wanting to go out with for as long as you can remember, a first kiss that gives you butterflies, the first time you step on a scale after going on a diet and the number has finally gone down;) All of these firsts are great, but my life is now full of firsts and they are so very far from using the word great. I went on my first vacation this weekend with out Troy or being able to come home to him. I realized on my trip that I still have so many first things ahead of me. My next big first is taking my rings off and with that being officially single again. I have not quite come to this step yet, but I know it is coming and I am trying to figure out if I will ever really be ready for this step. I'm thinking probably not. One of these days just deciding its time. I did ask Troy to give me a sign....

Life has a funny way of keeping me grounded and always aware of how much I'm unable to live any part of my life with out Jesus. So last Wednesday, I was talking to Laura telling her how much my heart was being healed by the Lord. The verse "Heal me ,O Lord, and I will be healed. Save me and I will be saved" has been my prayer. I'm constantly praying Lord please heal me and trusting that He will do just that. Well on Wednesday I was driving to the cemetery because it was a beautiful sunny day and right now in Greenville those are few and far between trust me I'm seriously craving hot and sun. Anyway the drive was so peaceful and I had such inner joy. At the cemetery there were some tears because I miss him, but just knowing in my heart the Lord is healing me. In this healing process, He is constantly restoring the joy of my salvation. Such a good day feeling the Lord's presence followed by the next morning with CRACK, BOOM, SMACK reality comes crashing in. I woke up from a dream where Troy was so very real. In my dream, I was missing him and half awake knew he wasn't beside me so I thought I'm going to call him and for about thirty seconds as I was waking up I was ready to use my phone to call him only to be fully awakened to the reality he was gone. Immediately the tears start coming. I couldn't seem to get it together and I was supposed to be leaving for vacation. My first thoughts were I really don't want to go anymore I want to stay in bed, but knowing I can't do this so what do I know I can do oh yes pray. I fell to my knees "Lord I need you so and I'm struggling to trust. Please heal me. Restore my joy." I got up and finished getting ready and once again God was healing me. The Lord had given me peace that can only come from above. Its absolutely nothing I can do. I have such an amazing heavenly Father. The Lord is healing my heart a little more every day.

My first vacation was to TN to catch up with the Schindels (my youth pastor and his family from FL). It was a good time of fellowship and fun. Mikaela their oldest is growing up into such a sweet young woman and is now driving oh that makes me feel old since she was a baby when I was in youth group. The boys, Andrew and Caleb, are well they have a plenty of energy and personality. Andrew told me "don't touch my stomach. You will break your fingers on my rock hard abs" sounding familiar well if you knew Pastor Dave you would say just like his father;) The youngest Karis who is five is a riot as well. She told me the first night I was there (after I explained why I had Troy's ring on my necklace) that "you are not married and you need to take the rings off" She then proceeded to try and pull them off. Maybe this was my sign from Troy. I had just asked him the day before at the cemetery haha;) Such an exciting family weekend. I did however come to a very wise conclusion about showering. I grew up in a small family one brother and sister. Troy grew up with a much larger family one brother and three sisters a much different experience. Remember the last four months I have been living completely on my own. So my conclusion came when I was slightly overwhelmed to be constantly surrounded by either adults or children. No alone time EXCEPT when showering. I've always wondered why people took such long showers and this weekend while showering I finally understood it. AWWWWW peace and quiet! I say all this because it was a funny realization of why Troy took such long showers, not at all because I didn't enjoy the "organized chaos" that I was able to be a part of this weekend. It was fun to be part of the family and truly an honor to see the other side of ministry. Their entire family are such a great example of selflessness. It made me realize how much of a sacrfice our pastors and their families willing and lovingly do for their church families. Huge thank you for your testimonies!!! Also a conviction on how selfish I am on a daily basis. Another lesson God is teaching me: less of me and more of Him.

I am now back to my house and it is very, very quiet I am missing the noise;) Guess I will have to return again soon.....

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Rainy day and my Truth Box.

Once again I'm faced with another anniversary although this is more of a "would have been" anniversary. Eighteen months ago Troy and I were married. I remember bits and pieces of that day it all happened so quickly. However; I do distinctly remember a car ride to the reception. It involved me crying in the backseat of the car because it was the ONLY day in I swear the month of August or July that we had rain and not just a little afternoon shower NOOOO a torrential downpour. So here Troy and I sat in the back of the car with my parents in the front and my poor brand new husband was having to deal with me having a "mini" ok well probably more like "major" melt-down. Troy was trying to calm me down and I was slightly (because a bride does not yell) raising my voice with tears trying to get across the point of "did he have any idea how much we had spent on this outdoor reception." My mom was trying to help my poor husband out, but I was a little bit out of control. This scenario made me think of why people say "Rain on your wedding day is good luck" and where it even originated from. I came to the conclusion that is was some brand new husband or mother of a lovely,gracious bride (little sarcasm here) trying to console her out of her hysterics. And why do I know this well because I was that bride;) However; due to recent events I would have to call that statement completely FALSE just sayin. Oh what I wouldn't give to go back to sitting in the back of the car with Troy. I smile when I think back to that moment because I was so sure that the rain on my wedding day was one of the worst possible things. If only I had known what was coming, something that would be so beyond my understanding of bad. I miss him so much today. So back to the rain, it rained on our wedding day, rained on our one year anniversary trip to Atlanta, and raining today so apparently rain is closely associated with Troy and I's wedding day;)

Today is hard I'm sitting on the couch lonely and feeling low because this is not at all how I pictured my future eighteen months ago. My friend, Laura, told me about a month after the accident that I needed a truth box. What is this truth box thing you are very curiously wondering I know;) Let me explain, its just truths from scripture that I'm learning stored up in my head so when I'm having days like today I go back to what I know is true. Laura explained this idea to me and its a very good thing because I open up my box quite frequently these days. I highly recommend using the same concept when things are not going as you expected or when you are feeling low (prime example right here). So decided to open my truth box for you all to see. Now don't be alarmed, but basically going to just type what goes on in my head so beware could be a scary thing....Troy, why did you leave? I need you here to hold me and comfort me. Feeling so alone. Hate sitting on this couch knowing you won't come walking through the door today or EVER again. I'm all alone.....(Since you guys can only read whats going on in my head I'm letting you know if you could see me I'm crying at this point ok back to in my head) Okay, Sarah, get it together what do you know is true. "I will never leave you nor forsake you" Lord, I need you right now so badly. "My ways are perfect" "My thoughts are not yours neither are my ways your ways, My ways are higher than your way, My thoughts than your thoughts" Lord, I'm going to trust You even though I really don't understand. "My grace is sufficient made perfect in weakness" As I'm sitting on this couch crying feeling very weak Jesus please give me more grace. "Steadfast love of God" Remember from all your reading how many times through out the Psalms David mentions God's steadfast love. He loves me so much. Father, I need to feel Your love and comfort right now please. "His mercies are new every morning...the Lord is my hope" Lord, I know you will restore my hope. Please turn my eyes to You. Sarah, focus on hope what is my hope right now: I will see Troy again one day soon. "Life is only a vapor" Jesus I feel like this is a very long vapor and I know one day we will look back and laugh, but not right now. "Restore the joy of my salvation" Father, I know you are the only One who can restore my joy. Please restore it now and I need some peace as well. "Be still and know that I am God" "Wait patiently upon the Lord." Thank you for Your words to me. I'm here Lord waiting and listening quietly for You. I rest in peace knowing You are returning for me and Troy's waiting for me too. "You went to prepare a place for me that where You are I may be also" Thank you Jesus so much.....So thats kinda how my truth box works in my head. My truths are all scriptures some paraphrasing goes on in my head, but this is how I get my focus back on truth so I don't stay down in self-pity and sorrow. Some days it takes me a little longer to get open my box, but once it is opened and I start focusing on it life doesn't seem so unmanageable. What a wonderful Father we have because He left us with hope:) Hope no one got too scared going into my mind and I hope that this encourages someone in their walk as it has for mine. One of the top pieces of advice in my Christian life so far was this "Truth Box" concept!!!! Thanks Laura:)