Saturday, July 30, 2011

Patience 101. Faith 102. God's Goodness 103.

Lessons in Widowhood 201 are difficult, and not always  the easiest to explain, but going to try to catch everyone up on the specific things that God is teaching me as I enter new stages of widowhood.....

Several weeks ago I was catching up with a wise man who listened to me talk about where I was, and how life had changed since last summer.  I told him I was doing well, but he kept questioning, and finally proceeded to break down some barriers, and get to some deeper issues.  The truth is I have been struggling with patience, waiting on God's timing.  He gave me an analogy that I was in a class.  God had signed me up for this "one on one" class with Him.  He was my teacher, and I was going to have quizzes and tests and maybe even a paper (decided this blog is my paper haha).  This was how I was to look at my patience lesson.  I thought okay this is an interesting way of viewing things, and it definitely gave me something to think about well about two days later I read these verses.  Isaiah 30:19-20 "For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you.  And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, 'This is the way, walk in it.'" WOW...okay now I really saw that the Lord was wanting to teach me something!  So my eyes were opened to this idea.  A week or two later I spoke with another wise man, and he told me that every trial or affliction is a fork in the road: it can be a test from God or a temptation from Satan.  A choice must be made as to which we will allow it to be.  So with these two thoughts of "I'm in a class, and I want this to be God testing me to make me more like Him" I was ready for something....

Something came by way of huge breakdown last weekend.  I lost it every five seconds tears would come falling down.  I missed Troy.  I felt all alone.  I had no hope.  I was miserable on the couch, crying, wrapped in his bike jacket. I looked at pictures, and remembered how it used to feel in his arms.  I watched our wedding video just to try and remember what his voice sounded like.  I will never kiss him again. I was so lonely and tired of being this way.  Will I ever be able to share my life with another?  What if I'm alone for the rest of my life?  What if..What if...What if... I think you get the picture...focused on "me" and "circumstances" no truth involved at all that weekend!

Monday, I went back to camp with a realization I was wrong, and confession to God about my selfishness, but no real hope.  The message that night was about God's goodness.  Awww...the truth is several of the messages this summer have been about God's goodness. Yes, He was trying to get my attention.  It has just taken me a while to hear.  So message starts, and I realize I can't sit and listen.  I need to get away because tears were quickly coming.  The lesson and testing were here: "Do you believe God is good all the time?"  I could easily answer "Yes, God is good looking back at the past."  However; where the future is concered the honest answer was "No!"  Before the accident, bad things do happen, but nothing like that ever happens to me.  I didn't think that tragedies would ever affect me personally.  Selfish, yes, but just thought I was immune.  Well now I know it can, it did, and could happen again.  So in the back of my head there is this doubting voice of something bad could happen today or tomorrow, and you don't know what the future holds.  This voice caused me to really doubt God's goodness all the time.  I left the message, got on my knees with a Bible in front of me, begging and crying for God to help me.  I wanted to believe what I knew in my head was true.  I turned to the passage in 1 Peter 4:19 and WHAM God hit me over the head with this verse: "Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good."  His will is for me to be a widow, and all the pain that comes with it.  BUT He is faithful!  Do I trust His faithfulness?  What do I know about faith so I went to Hebrews and read the following verses: "let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith" (because of what Christ did on the cross) "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful" "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."  With all these truths in mind, my test from God is not really anything to do with patience because if I believed then I would not worry because I would be resting in the truth He is faithful and good.  So really the lesson He is teaching me is FAITH!  The truth is "No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly."  If I believe God is good, then I know that even though I can't see the future, anything that is coming will be good because that is what He says. God is stretching me in my faith and this is a hard lesson, but sooo good.  I am learning to sit back, and wait as He opens doors, points me in new directions, and teaches me much needed lessons in all areas of my life.  Because I believe He is good I rest patiently!  The end of the verse in 2 Peter says "while doing good."  This means for right now, I do the next right thing while I wait for Him to continue to lead me.  Right now...I'm at camp, and this is the ministry God has given me.  I know that I need nothing else in my life because if I did He would give it to me.

This weekend HUGE difference.  Joy and peace are flowing from my life.  I want to shout from the rooftops "HE is good" and "It is worth it to lose all for His sake" "He knows best" "He loves me wretch that I am" and on and on I can go.  I pray that all this makes sense as it has been such a good journey God has been leading me on this summer.....I end with these lyrics because this where I stand tonight on the twenty-two month anniversary of Troy going home....
"I can hear it in the distance
And its not too far away
Its the music and the laughter
of a wedding and a feast
I can almost feel the hand of God
Reaching for my face
To wipe the tears away
Say its time to make everything new
Make it all new
This is our hope
This is a promise
This is our hope
It will take our breath away
To see the beauty that's been made
Out of the ashes, out of the ashes
It will take our breath away
To see the beauty that He's made
Out of these ashes beauty will rise
We will dance among the ruins
We will see it with our own eyes
Out of this darkness new light will shine
And we'll know the joy that's coming in the morning"


Saturday, July 9, 2011


Since I am on a roll today of catching up on life, I thought why not keep going by adding another entry here ;) I'm backtracking a bit since this is from about a month ago when I traveled to Israel, but Jerusalem was one of the high points of my trip so wanted to share.  Being a widow, this city meant so much to me because I know one day I will be in the New Jerusalem with Troy :)  However; more importantly it was here that my Savior died and rose again.  It is because of what He did here that I have hope!!!  It was what happened here that radically changed my life.  Here God demonstrated His grace, mercy, and love in way my mind will never be able to comprehend.  This song was playing while we drove into the city, and brought tears to my eyes.  I thought it was perfect to use for these pictures..... So here is a little slideshow of some of the highlights of the city.  Hope you enjoy :)

Holy Land City: Jerusalem Slideshow: Sarah’s trip from Greenville, South Carolina, United States to Jerusalem, Israel was created by TripAdvisor. See another Jerusalem slideshow. Create your own stunning free slideshow from your travel photos.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Long overdue update!

Wow, I've slacked on keeping up on this blog.  I would blame lack of time, which would be partly true, but really just an excuse.  I'm sure at some point I could have found the time to write about this journey.  I just passed the twenty-one month mark.  I can hardly believe two years is around the corner.  This will not be long although it should because so much has happened since I last wrote.  This is just an update and hopefully a small step into writing again.  I was reading back, and this has been a great way to keep track of this journey. 

Mini update: Finished first year of graduate school.  Spent two weeks in Israel and Jordan (definitely should have blogged about that AMAZING trip).  Now working at camp again.

So what is life like these days...that's a loaded question.  I hate, hate, hate the idea of moving on, but I guess that is part of living life without that person.  So in the "new normal" of life....I sold his motorcycle.  That was huge! Tears came, but also relief in finally making a decision.  I no longer wear his ring everyday.  It is my security blanket, and comes on and off dependent on my level of grief.  I don't look at pictures very often.    The cemetery visits are only occasional now.  I don't always realize it's the 30th each month.  I don't cry every day, or even every other day.  I can go over a week now without tears yay!  I think less and less of what life could be if he were still here.  I can on a rare occasion watch a romantic movie again.  However; tears do usually follow so not my first choice.  At 5 o'clock every day, I no longer think he should be walking through the door finally home from work.  I don't lose it when I hear or see a motorcycle.  I've been to a wedding, and survived to tell of it ;)  Random things I realize, but all parts of this learning a "new normal."

The lessons God has been teaching me would seriously take all night to type up.  So basics are faith and patience.  My truth box has turned into a real idea!  I have a box now, and am constantly writing down truths He is teaching me.  A little back drop to what the Lord is doing now.... The second semester of school was a little bit of just coasting through life.  Being my independent self ;) unsure of the future, and worrying that God was done working.  My time with Him was daily, but not very productive.  Fears and independence were rearing their ugly head in my life.  Thankfully God hasn't allowed me to stay there.  So these days I'm mediating on He is walking right with me through this trial.  "Fear Not!"  He will not forsake me!  Thank goodness since this is one rough journey.  These past few weeks have been quite a struggle of realizing how much I know truth, but do I believe.  No matter what the circumstances do I believe God is who He says He is and will do what He promises?  God has been stretching/testing me in walking by faith not sight.  Many tearful nights, crying out what are you doing???  He is teaching me trust and wait patiently.  Not my strengths!  Good thing He is patient ;)  These difficult lessons have drawn me closer to Him, and that is worth every tear and every second of wondering about the unknown future.  I've been driven to His Word and to my knees.  Doubt and worry are being cast aside as I see the many promises He has given me.

So not the longest or most in depth about this journey, but a mini update of the last several months.