Cancer · Change · Joy · Life · Single Mom · Sorrow · Trials · Trusting God · Widow

October 2014

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October has always been one of my favorite months. It houses fall, football, cooler weather, wassail, chili, because we live in a small football (and baseball) town, the town is always a buzz, but most importantly… our anniversary. October of 2014 we got to go to a few high school games as a family, we had met our sweet friends the Garretts in September and were now finding tons of fun things to do together! We even went to a movie at the park to see the Goonies. I had never seen the movie.. and apparently the 3 of them forgot how much “bad stuff” was in it and we quickly sent the kids to the playground so they wouldn’t hear and see it. We took the boys to the fireman parade… looking at these pictures is so fun! Oh how little they were!

Jeff had bought me 3 roses one day just because I was having a bad day… things like this… I really miss. Another thing I miss… date nights. Jeff and I had gone to see Left Behind as an early anniversary gift. It was a great night out.

It’s weird now to see pictures from when he was so healthy because for the last year of his life, he slowly turn and deteriorated, especially in the last 6 months.

One of the things Jeff and I loved to do together was watch tv, for us it gave us the chance to wind down together and we would talk about the shows that were in season, which was a blessing when he was unable to move much because we could sit together and enjoy them rather than feeling the need to go out and do things. We loved watching Dancing with the Stars, and this season Alfonso Ribeiro was on it. For those who didn’t know Jeff.. he could do a mean Carlton. The video I snuck of him doing it is something I treasure so much! I laugh at it all the time & it reminds me of the free spirit he was.

October 8th is our anniversary, it’s hard to believe we were 3 years into marriage and 6 months into the cancer battle. we didn’t do anything special on the actual day since we had celebrated early & had plans a few days later. One thing that did happen though was our son lost TWO teeth that day.

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I am so glad he was able to be there to see so many milestones, but I grieve when new milestones come up that he isn’t there for. Like learning to ride a bike, soon it’ll be the first day of middle school.. high schoolfirst dates, graduations, wedding. All things Jeff will miss, but still… we are thankful for the time and moments we had with him. On the 12th we got to have another date night and go see Kari Jobe at our church. It was a wonderful night of worship & a great way to celebrate our anniversary.

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On the 25th we took family photos that turned out to be my favorites we ever took. I am forever grateful to Natalie for taking amazing photos.

October is in the season of changecolors changing, temperatures changing, typically switching over from baseball to football… it’s all about change. This year will be no different… then again, my whole year has been about change.

October 2014 was a great one, possibly the best one we ever had together. This one… will be a hard one. Praying for the Lord’s comfort every day, but this coming October… we will need extra prayer when it comes.

God Bless,

-A

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Cancer · Change · Joy · Life · Single Mom · Sorrow · Trials · Trusting God · Widow

Changes

So it’s been a week and a half since I posted my last blog about the truth that punched me in the gut. Well the punches just keep on coming.

I like to think I handle changes fairly well for the most part. Pretty much got a crash course in that with Jeff’s cancer battle. Does it mean I like the change? Of course not! Change is hard! And this summer has been full of changes. Some are good, some are bad & some seem like they’re bad, but are likely just not developed enough to see the good that will come of it.

You’ve seen it on here before when I’ve asked how I can pray for people. I often get asked how I can be so uplifting and pray for others when I have my own things to pray for. My answer is always that I get joy out of going to the Lord about things, especially for others. Even though circumstances are hard, talking to God always fills me with joy. Does this mean my pain is taken away in that moment? Often times not… and why not? Why wouldn’t God just take away my pain when I ask Him? Wouldn’t a God who loves me just want me to be happy all the time?! NO!!! God doesn’t call us to be happy… He calls us to be OBEDIENT to His calling. It is in our times of trials and suffering that we get closer to God (when we choose to lean into Him and not run from Him), when we are closer to God we can more clearly understand His will & His will for our lives is simply this: to live a life that is holy and pleasing to him (paraphrasing Romans 12:1), because that is true worship of God. He wants us to love Him and trust Him in the good times and bad. When times are good, it is so easy to get wrapped up into thinking we can do it on our own and that we don’t need God.

So back to the topic of change. So much is changing in my world & if you think of me, please pray for me as I navigate all these changes and the emotions that go along with it. I so desire to handle these changes with humility, honor, integrity & to be a compass to point people to Christ. But changes are hard, and right now I’m hurting. I don’t like it, at all, but I’m going to trust in the providence of God because I know He sees all and is in all, therefore I don’t have to see it all to keep walking the path He is leading me down.

I hate the phrase “when God closes one door he opens a window”… to me that tells people:

1. The answer is right next to you & you’re not looking hard enough

2. The window of opportunity is smaller than the door that was shut

3. You have to work to get yourself through the window (have you ever tried to climb through a window?!)

I do not believe God is opening a window for me… I believe He is providing a path for me to follow. If I do not take the steps of faith to follow the path He has for me, then I will not see His will for me, but without the path to follow, I will get nowhere. Down the path God has made for me is another door, a better door than I could have imagined for myself. I may have to walk the path a while,  but it’s down there somewhere!

I know I’ve said it on Facebook, and I may have even said it here before. I LOVE the song Even If by Mercy me. It always speaks to me, often times makes me cry (but I always need the cry!) & I learn something different almost every time I sing it. I had recently been praying for an outcome to a situation, but still prayed that I accept the answer no matter what the outcome. Well the answer was not what I wanted… So today when listening to Even If, these words stuck out way more than they ever had:

But God, when You choose
To leave mountains unmovable
Oh give me the strength to be able to sing
It is well with my soul

So now, I must continue to sing “it is well with my soul”… even when it hurts… ESPECIALLY when it hurts!!!

So I’m telling you what I’m going to tell myself!!

1.Keep your eye on the path God has for you!

2.Don’t be distracted by windows!

3.Trust where He is leading you!

4.Praise Him along the way!

5. And when you reach the door… jump through feet first and be ready to shout to the world about all He has brought you through!!!

God Bless,

-A

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Let Go & Let God!

In reading part of Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem tonight, one thing in particular struck me pretty hard:
“We cannot study this subject (referring to the living God) dispassionately! We must love all that God is, all that he says and all that he does.” Deuteronomy 6:5

Y’all, loving who God is is pretty easy, loving all God says is pretty difficult because of our sin nature & loving all He does can be very hard because of our lack of understanding God to the fullest, because we are finite & He is infinite! But that does not change the fact that we still must love all of who God is & trust Him in all things!

What are some ways you do not fully trust God as a believer in Christ? I will be searching my heart and working on any area I am struggling with, will you join me? Will you trust God with everything? Finances? Health? Future decisions? Your kids? Your lost family and friends? I can say that from the moment I actively chose to trust God with Jeff’s cancer was one of the most freeing moments of my life. Don’t let fear of the unknown and the chains of control keep you from living a passionate life for Christ!!

Let Go & Let God!

God Bless,

-A

Cancer · Joy · Life · Single Mom · Sorrow · Trials · Trusting God · Widow

Better Is One Day….

Lately I have been listening to older worship songs. Most of them from the late 90s and early 2000s, not sure if that’s me holding on to my youth now that I’m 30 or what haha, but either way, that’s what I’ve been doing.

One of the songs that really stuck out to me was Better Is One Day (the version that was recently playing was Charlie Hall)… the chorus goes:

Better is one day in Your courts
Better is one day in Your house
Better is one day in Your courts
Than thousands elsewhere
Better is one day in Your courts
Better is one day in Your house
Better is one day in Your courts
Than thousands elsewhere
With the 3 month of Jeff’s passing yesterday & hearing this song along with others that talk about Heaven, it has been on my heart…  When I hear this song, I think of huge mansions on the most gorgeous beach (my happy place), the most delicious foods and drinks, puppies and dogs everywhere, friends and family laughing and playing sports and games, and simply relaxing with praises to God going on everywhere! Sounds pretty awesome to me! And what this song (which pulls from Psalm 84:10) is saying is that even my best fantasy of a perfect place could not compare to the awe and wonder we will see in Heaven! I cannot wait to get there one day, though I know my time on earth is not yet complete, until the Lord calls me home. With whatever time I have left here on earth, I am to be living out a life that glorifies God! This time here is so short, a blip in time compared to eternity with Christ in Heaven… so why not make the best of the time here?
These months have been hard, but a huge source of peace in my life comes from knowing there is a much greater place waiting for me, a place that Jeff is enjoying right now! He’s in the presence of the Almighty God, the Risen Savior! I’m a bit jealous, but my time will come! Oh until the day to see the Heaven we sing about! Better is one day… and I will one day get eternity there!!
God Bless,
-A
Cancer · Joy · Life · Single Mom · Sorrow · Trials · Trusting God · Widow

Three Months

Wow, THREE MONTHS. Life is moving so fast it feels like it has been so much longer, yet at the same time feels like it was just yesterday Jeff passed away. It especially feels like yesterday when memories flood uncontrollably. Like this morning, seeing in my head the moment he passed away. I remember it so clearly. I will go into more detail at a later time, because in this moment I’m afraid I’ll start crying again and I won’t be able to stop. When the memory came to mind, I quickly turned on my grief playlist, a group of Christian songs that help me to process the emotions. Some are sad, some are happy, all are about hope in Jesus. Because at the end of the day, that is what we have to hold onto. HOPE. I am so thankful each day that I am able to attain this hope because of the sacrifice Jesus made for me on the cross. Clinging to the cross today.

God Bless,

-A

 

Cancer · Joy · Life · Single Mom · Sorrow · Trials · Trusting God · Widow

August & September 2014

 

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AUGUST                                                                                                                                                 So the month of August was pretty steady, we didn’t have really any updates to give, Jeff had still been adjusting to chemo, but he was feeling well for the most part. About the only thing that stuck out to me was I had been doing 2 fantasy football drafts in the same night.

So lets talk about football for a moment…. For those who do not know me or did not know Jeff… we were a household of 5 passions… God, Family, Game Nights with friends, Baseball and Football. Each year as football season would roll around, our house instantly got crazier and often filled with tension. You see, especially in the football world, Jeff and I had NOTHING in common. When it came to college, he was a die hard Texas A&M fan, and I am a die hard University of Texas fan, and though they are no longer still in the same conference, the rivalry still runs deep between these two teams. When it comes to NFL, He was an all out Green Bay Packers fan (just having to type that out made me feel a little yucky) & I am an all out Houston Texans fan as well as carry family loyalties to the Denver Broncos. Our high schools didn’t even like each other, but at least we could back the hometown team together. So for half the year in our home, there was always lots of trash talk, yelling at games, compromising with how to watch the games, many games watched separately, it was a madhouse!!! So as I was looking back at posts from August and seeing all the football excitement, there is a little bit of a relief, but also oh so many things I will miss. I for one am glad to have the stinkin’ Green Bay & A&M stickers off my car, out of my closet (don’t even get me started) & out of the constant conversations. Now let me say now, Jacob is free to choose whatever teams he wants to root for… however… I will not be supporting monetarily unless its for my teams & I will not bend over backward either. I will miss doing fantasy football together, I will miss just the enjoyment of the sport of football together, I will miss going to the local high school games together & just his excitement (sometimes I’ll miss it) for the game. Oh how he loved football.

SEPTEMBER                                                                                                                                            So one of the really cool things that happened was that as I got into my car (I think this was even back when we were still in the hospital if I recall), and on the radio was our local Christian station, I didn’t hear all of what they were saying, but I heard them ask people to call and tell their story about the peace the passes understanding. This phrase had been something Jeff & I had been saying over and over again. I felt the Lord spur my heart to call in and tell them about our journey with Jeff’s cancer & how we felt God’s hand on everything. So I did just that! Well as it turns out, it was a contest for tickets to see Big Daddy Weave!!! Fast forward to September  21st and it was time for the concert! We took our friends Sarah & Edmundo with us & let me just say, that was one of the most Spirit-filled amazing concerts I have ever been to! You felt the Holy Spirit just flood the room! It was amazing! And the fact that we were there all because I was faithful to follow the Lord in calling in and telling our testimony made it that much better! This has been something over the last 3 years that has been a life lesson! Listening to the Holy Spirit is so key for Christians y’all! Sometime He hits you in the face with what He wants you to do, and sometimes you have to be very quite and in tune with God to hear it.

God Bless,

-A

Cancer · Joy · Life · Single Mom · Sorrow · Trials · Trusting God · Widow

The Day I Became A “Mom”

Today is the 2nd anniversary of the day I adopted my son. As I go through the more of the months, we will eventually come to this story, but I wanted to take a moment to celebrate!

I know that I was put in Jeff & Jacob’s life to be Jacob’s mom, as a stepmom I never felt like I didn’t have full responsibility to take care of, support (financially & emotionally) and love him… he was my son. But what this step meant to me, was no one could take him away from me (oh how that is such a beautiful picture of God), there no longer was an instinctive tug at Jacob’s heart that he didn’t have a “mom” in his life, he could now feel free to call me mom (& sometimes he does and sometimes he still calls me Mamie), and logistically with paperwork, insurances, etc. there was no need to put in the word “step”.

Happy Adoption Anniversary Jacob! I love you so much!!!

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God Bless,

-A