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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Love of God

Wow! It's been a while since I have written. Iz and I have battled colds, but are definitely on the mend. Izzy has also been honing her walking skills. Last night she walked all the way across the great room into the kitchen as Tre' and I cheered! She's still a bit wobbly, but she has just about got it down. She's quite proud of herself -- you should see the grin on her face!

This weekend we had the opportunity to spend the weekend at the beach with 4 other families who have experienced loss. We were the newbies of the group and the time that had passed since the loss was right at a year for us up to just over 3 years. We spent a lot of time talking about grief and how it affects relationships (with family, your spouse, siblings, friends), sharing what helped on tough days (days I call Catie Days), laughing together, and being free to talk about the child(ren) we had lost without any inhibition. It was freeing to be able to ask big questions that I struggle with and see other heads nodding because they understood or they remembered being where we are now.

I came away from the weekend with a completely different perspective on a couple of things. One of the things was how I perceive God's love. I have believed in God my entire life. There was never a time in my life that I didn't... I KNOW that I KNOW that I KNOW that God loves me... but one of the things that's been hard the last year is I haven't always FELT God's love. Now, I know this is a Jenny issue, not a God issue. His love is unchanging... But praying for Catie's life to be spared and not receiving the answer that I wanted.... having God not give us the thing we wanted more than anything else in the world.... it's given me some issues to work through. Don't hear me wrong... I DO believe in God's love, it's is what I FEEL that I'm talking about.

One of the things that came through the planning of this weekend was the recommendation to read a book called The Shack, by William P. Young. I am about halfway through it and it is BLOWING ME AWAY!! Even though I haven't finished it yet, I feel safe in recommending it -- I'm grateful to those who suggested it to me. It is a fictional story that contains much Truth. The overwhelming thing that I am reminded of as I read is of God's love and God's goodness. God did not create us to be broken as we humans are... He created us for relationship and wholeness. We had to go and throw sin in the mix and mess it all up. I must remember (and sometimes relearn) to TRUST God.... even though it means that the answers to my prayers still might not be what I so desperately hope for. That is very hard at times... I want that security, that comfort... So, I must choose to trust God with my family even as I acknowledge that trusting God with Catie didn't bring what I, as an earthly, human mom wanted most. But I must trust that in the End... where things really matter, that I will be amazed to see what God has brought from the mess we humans have created... I will stand in awe as it is revealed.

I do believe in His love and in His goodness... sometimes the feeling part is still just a little hard. But... I am human, I am broken, I don't have my Heaven eyes yet... I have to remind myself of my limitations and of the fact that one day.... one beautiful, beautiful day God will place that eternal view in my eyes and I will truly see...

On Saturday night, we had a remembrance service. Scripture was shared about the great reunion that will be and we lit candles and shared something about our children as music played. There were tears, oh yes, but how meaningful to hear such words of love spoken. We then broke bread and shared the Lord's Supper together. I thought that was the perfect way to follow the remembrance service... by remembering the sacrifice made so that we have the promise of seeing Catie again. Dear friends sang Amazing Grace to close our time of worship. Then we cranked up the music, broke out the Wii (the guys all had a blast) and just had a great time together. I promise, if you had walked in then, you wouldn't have believed we were there together because of the great losses that had reached into each of our homes. I'm so grateful for the time we shared together.

Today is a Catie Day of sorts. There have been waves today, waves of missing and longing, and of wishing things could have been different. But I wouldn't take from her what she has now for anything... no matter how much I miss her... we'll get there one day and she'll be there then...

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

WOW!! How very true those words are - your entries are just amazing to me. We continue to pray for your family and enjoy the stories of Izzy (I have a 16 month old daughter). We pray for easier days and comfort. Hope your dad is doing better. Hope your Valentine's is special.

Myra Elder
Ball Ground GA

Anonymous said...

Valentines ... To Heaven

This Valentine is not of the ordinary kind,

It's still filled with love... and blessings inside;

But mine has to be sent on the wings of Love...

Because its destination is the Heavens above.


It's not being sent to my parents so dear,

For they are still with me each day of the year;

Its being sent to my child .. who left earth so soon,

Who's now in the Heavens with the stars and the moon.


The message is the same as our Valentine,

"I Love You, My Sweet Precious Child Of Mine;

My love is still deeper than the ocean is blue,

And it's sent with tons of hugs and kisses .. from me to you."


I know you are with me each and every day,

You listen as I talk to you and hear what I say;

For that is one thing that Cancer cannot do...

You'll always be a part of me and me a part of you."


"I know God did not give you that awful disease,

Thank Him for His comfort he gives me .. would you please?

I don't know what I would do without his undying love...

Sent to bereaved parents from the Heavens above."


"I know you are in the best of care,

But it's so hard for us left on earth to bear;

Could you put in a request from us left behind...

For God to send the knowledge so a cure we can find."


"So that no other family has to go through this pain,

Our lives without you will never be the same;

When I get lonely I look to the sky at night and see you shining down your big, beautiful bright light."


"Happy Valentine's Day Sunshine.. I miss you SO much,

I know you know how many lives you have touched;

You'll always be mine ... I love you with ALL my heart,

I know we'll be together again one day .. and then we'll never part."


So you see my Precious Daughter, the meaning is still the same...

The method of delivering this Valentine is the only change;

Mine is being sent to you by a little white dove..

On the Wings, of my Undying Love

(Author Unknown)

Pam Doughty said...

and never, ever forget... she will just be turning around to look for you, with joy shining in her eyes and that precious, Southern drawl...
Wishing you a Valentines Day filled with love, surrounded by hope, and sprinkled throughout with joy!

Mixed Up Me said...

I'm glad you had the opportunity to spend time with some friends, and talk, and laugh, and cry. Catie must have been enjoying listening ot hte music and watching everyone smile on Saturday night!

Congrats to Izzy on her first steps. Such a big girl!

I'm glad you and Izzy are feeling better. That nasty virus has made it's way all over!

Take care . . . Thinking of you always!

Talley Images said...

what an encouraging experience that seems to have been - Im so glad that your family was able to have some healing.... I hope yesterday was a good day for you and today as well

BP said...

It sounds like a very encouraging experience. God bless your sweet family.

Catherine Rogers said...

Oh Jenny I can so relate! I prayed, pleaded with God as I watched the breath of life go out of Terry before the paramedics arrived. No time to think, to prepare, to bargain, deal or discuss it with God. In a blink he was gone! He was ready, and willing to go. But as for me, I had issues later because I'd laid my hopes out before God wanting the love of my life to stay here with me. God could have saved him. Yet, God knows all. His ways are truly not ours. I don't understand why I had to lose him now, just as we were enjoying growing older together, now that the 30 years together had blended us into one being. I recall he cried the day I told him sweet Catie died. He was caring that way. So tender, so loving. Why did God take him now? The best was yet to come -I thought. But God knows best. Someday, only my God will be able to tell me why. Until then, I will walk by faith and not by sight. It sure would be easier to see the road ahead, but then if I did, I might even lose the faith I do have. Surely He knows best for us all. We serve a loving father. Bless you and yours dear.

Rachel and Bob said...

Jenny, I've read your words millions of times and this time more than ever they speak to my heart and soul. IN fact I am the "Just keep Swimming" lady but now I am doing the swimming. You see I recently lost my husband to ALS, it was a 9 month journey that I would not wish upon anyone. And this is why I so understand how you feel about God's love. I didn't realize that before now but after reading your words I totally get how I feel. I have always believed in God's uncontinal love and I have surely seen His Grace. In fact I believe that this journey has been about Grace which in turn is teaching me about His Love. You see I feel like how can God love me again after I feel so broken since part of me is missing. And yet I see it when I look at what my husband left behind in our daughters' eyes. I have witnessed God's grace throught the disease that ravaged my husband that stole him from me but let him remain and witnessed his joy at remembering God's love and feeling God's love even when I was not. I felt God's grace when my husband left this life for one of freedom and joy. I see God's grace when I am with my children. And I know that in knowing God's Divine Grace I will know and will remember His Divine Love. I am not and will not equate our losses they are different but I do now get exactly what it is that you feel about feeling and not feeling God's Love and wondering where it was and is on some days. I will tell you this much I am continually reminded of "Footprints...I carried you" is what He said to the man when he only saw one set of footprints through the hard parts of his life. I believe that the only way we could have gotten through this journey still knowing and receiving GOD's love and grace is that we have been carried.

So AMEN Jenny AMEN! You continue to carry on and be carried. You just keep swimming and we will all be better for it.

Knowing and living in God's Grace,
Rachel Carnahan (lilcrazymamac@hotmail.com)

Tonya said...

Jenny,

I can't seem to find an email address and since what I'm about to say will likely "ruffle some feathers" I decided to "comment" on an older post so maybe I won't cause any trouble. O;-)



Here's part of an explanation as to why we home-church....

It all started when we lost Brent. We'd been members of this First Baptist church and went faithfully. They were in the process of building a new "church" so we'd been meeting in the gym FOREVER. Well, the new church opened and not long after we lost Brent. Going in the "new church" for the first time happened at Brent's wake and the second was his funeral. We tried to go back but each time all we could remember were scenes from the wake/funeral. I'd like to say, "It just so happened" that another couple "pulled out" at the same time but I KNOW it was a GOD thing. They called us up and asked if we'd like to meet with them at their home. We agreed and the rest, as they say, is history. There are now at least 30 people who attend something that was never "planned" to begin with.

Now, When I say we "homechurch," we are not only meeting in someone's home rather than a building - we are basing how we meet on 1 Corinthians 14.

1 Corinthians 14:26-40 (New American Standard Bible)

26What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation Let all things be done for edification.

27If anyone speaks in a tongue, it should be by two or at the most three, and each in turn, and one must interpret;

28but if there is no interpreter, he must keep silent in the church; and let him speak to himself and to God.

29Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others pass judgment.

30But if a revelation is made to another who is seated, the first one must keep silent.

31For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted;

32and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets;

33for God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.

34The women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves, just as the Law also says.

35If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church.

36Was it from you that the word of God first went forth? Or has it come to you only?

37If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord's commandment.

38But if anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized.


39Therefore, my brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak in tongues.

40But all things must be done properly and in an orderly manner.



So, the directions for orderly worship say that each one has a "word."

Well, the way we do it.. we all study a previously agreed upon topic and then everyone has input. Well, I say "everyone"... all of the women do NOT SPEAK. Some take the verses 34 and 35 literally. I am one of those. I BELIEVE that ALL SCRIPTURE is GOD BREATHED. I don't believe that was put in there if it wasn't meant to be.

Of course we also sing, pray and voice prayer requests. It's AWESOME!!

Now, I was once one who thought if a Christian wasn't in "church" they were living in sin. LOL!! After stepping back and rethinking how we worship and WHY we worship the way we do... well, I realized that A LOT of things in traditional churches are WRONG.

Besides, doesn't the Bible say that where TWO or more are gathered, HE IS IN THEIR MIDST?? JESUS didn't lay out "ground rules" for church the way most people do it. He did NOT say you have to go to a building to worship HIM. He didn't say you have to be there "x" amount of times a week. He didn't say you have to be involved in a DOZEN "Bible studies" to be right with HIM. JESUS asked that we spend time with HIM in HIS WORD and prayer. (Now obviously the more we talk with our LORD and the more time we spend in the BIBLE the MORE we will become like HIM - and the closer we will draw TO HIM) JESUS met people where they were.

The Bible DOES say we should assemble - but it's to encourage each other... not to go through a bunch of man made rules....

Isaiah 29:13
The Lord says: "These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.

I DON'T mean to sound like a church basher. I just feel that "traditional church" is NOT the only way... and not necessarily the right way. I think as humans we sometimes put a bunch of rules and regulations on each other that GOD DID NOT intend. (At least not AFTER we went from being under the law to when CHRIST began the day of "GRACE.")

I suppose what it all boils down to is a relationship with GOD. Whatever means you need to go through to get closer to HIM is what's best... ESPECIALLY when a family is under circumstances like ours and traditional "church" is just too painful to do.

I hope that helps explain what and why we're doing what we do. If you have any more questions feel free to ask.

LOVE YOU,

Tonya