Thursday, May 11, 2017

Loosing My Best Friend

There are days when nothing makes sense.  Today marks one week since I sat with my best friend all night long, the day before she died.

Cancer, it's an awful word.  How could it be that for 5 years she fought so valiantly. She was so vibrant and full of life.  Whether in chemo or at the grocery store she was still able to encourage others and point the way to Christ. There were so many times these last 5 years that I thought she was close to the end of her life, but then she'd gain strength and keep on fighting.  I expected this time would be the same.  I hoped. I prayed.  I so wanted to see her fully healed, here on earth.  I wanted her to be able to be the mommy I knew her heart longed to be. I wanted her to see her boys grow to men.

Her last night was so hard. She couldn't get comfortable.  She was in pain and the oxygen blowing in her nose hurt, the tube hurt her nose and face. Her legs ached and she went from bending to straight over and over in attempt to find comfort to no avail.  Her head ached and she was delirious in her babble.  She didn't recognize those around her very well. Her face was swollen, and her eyes stayed closed.  Yet even in that pain and torment she would offer a smile.  She would calm to worship music and she said more than once "I'm waiting for Jesus," in strained whispers.

5 years of battling breast cancer that took over her body and ate through her flesh.  Cancer that entered her other organs and filled her lungs with fluid. Cancer that formed tumors in her brain and made delirium set it.  I hate the word cancer and all that it means.

As she lay asleep finally resting after not being able to for 16 hours, her body looked lifeless.  She was swollen and pale but I knew she had not passed by the rattling sound each breath made.  I sat there hoping she would open her eyes and look around at the room full of people and crack a joke about everyone watching her snore.  I was hoping she'd wake up and feel well rested and somehow go on living on this earth.  I wanted God to physically heal her HERE.

Yet he didn't.

He healed her alright.  I have no doubt that she has a perfect body with no scars, or wounds, no odor that she hated.  No sign of cancer rotting her body.  No swollen cheeks from steroids. No missing hair.  I have no doubt she's perfect and looks even more radiant than she did on her wedding day. I'm so happy for her that she's not in pain.  That she's no hurting.

But....I'm hurting.  I'm wishing I could call her and just talk.
The other day I wanted to text her to see what she thought about a home school book I was going to use.... Tonight I wanted to run to the store on a late night shopping trip like we used to and I was wishing she was here to go along. She wasn't, so I didn't go.

For a split second my mind forgets that she's gone.  My mind can't make sense of it.  She was just here.

She's dead from this world, but not from our hearts, or our thoughts.  I'm missing our chats as we sat in parking lots and prayed together.  What about all of us, all of those left behind.  We are expected to keep going.  Keep working, and acting normal.  But this doesn't feel normal. Her boys don't have their momma to sing You are my sunshine to them at night. Her husband doesn't have his wife, his other half, his life partner.  And so so many of us don't have our friend who cheered us on and encouraged us in our walk with Christ.

For fourteen years I had the privileged of calling her my best friend. We studied together over chips and salsa in college. She prayed with me and cried with me over loosing my babies. She sat with me in my hospital room while I lay on bed rest with my oldest. She danced with me and my daughter at her wedding. We welcomed two babies together. We enjoyed camping trips and sleep overs.  I listened as she told the kids great stories of secret passageways she made up.  We played slipper feet through her old house making kids squeal together. We did water slides and 4th of July and kids birthday parties. She loved my chocolate cake and raved about it in front of me to make me smile. She brought light and laughter where ever she went.  I'm so grateful that I knew her and I'm so grateful that I'll meet her again in heaven. 

Monday, December 12, 2016

My Missing Puzzle Piece

Every child has a story and every child longs to hear their special story over and over.  Her story is different.  I wasn't there for the first 4 years.  I don't know what it was like to carry her in my tummy or if she kicked hard like my oldest.  I don't know what her first words were or when she learned to walk.  I wasn't there to see if she sucked her thumb and to hear her soft coos.  I missed all that.  So when she looks at me with those big brown eyes and wants to hear how she too belongs this is what I say: "You are my little missing puzzle piece.  I used to count my kids, 1, 2, 3, 4...where is 4.  I only have 3.  Someone is missing I would think and it was YOU.  YOU are my missing puzzle piece." And with a grin and squeal of delight she agrees.  God knew I would count, God knew I would feel like someone was missing and God placed a little birthmark on her that looks just like a little puzzle piece. It's her special story.  She was lost, and incomplete but now she's found and part of a bigger picture.  A picture of love and hope, healing and redemption. Thank you God that my little puzzle piece is found!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Requirements

Nearly 8 months have passed since the day I met her.  Eight roller coaster months. We entered a world with lawyers and interviews, social workers and home visits, court rooms and police stations. It's not the world I would have imagined 8 months ago.  Yet it's exactly where God put me.

Ten months ago I was a mother of 3, with dreams of adopting. Of course I told God it would be a boy and he would be under 2 and would have no abuse in his history.

Oh how God must have shook his head at my requirements.  How he must have laughed....perhaps that's why nine months ago while putting my children to bed we began talking of all the children going to bed without a mommy to sing to them.  Perhaps that's why that night my youngest prayed if there was any little girl or boy that didn't have a good home that God would provide them with a family. Perhaps that's why my prayers began to change and I thought of the many hurting, lost, abandoned and abused children that desperately need love. My heart was touched to the point that I wrote in my prayer journal to God, "If my child has already been born Lord protect him or her, and surround them with love and the Holy Spirit so that they  feel safe and are able to sleep tonight." My heart yearned for them.  I knew in that moment that my child was somewhere without me and I prayed not knowing who the child was. But God saw. 

He looked down and saw my little girl, alone and scared and he put the ball in motion.  Who knew an egg hunt would be the means to join me with my child. The start of a rescue mission. Here I am 8 months after that egg hunt waiting for papers to be finalized, but now a mother of 4. My requirements were not met...but my destiny was.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Safe with Me

The journey has been hard.  Oh the things I didn't know.  When those dark eyes pierced my heart I knew not what the future held. And now I see God was sparing. For had I seen it all perhaps I wouldn't have stepped out in faith. Perhaps I would have said, "This is too big for me."

 I took a snap shot at the egg hunt.  One snap shot, and I starred at it. The child in the photo was not my biological child, yet every time I looked at it I saw my daughter. I memorized her face, her grin, the short dark curls around her face. I prayed and asked God, "Is this really my daughter. Do you really want me to step out and move forward?" Was I to just be a friend, help out the caretaker, give play dates and opportunities. I could do that. But that was not all I was to do. I knew in my heart. I knew she was mine.  I kept saying this is bigger than I know. God's doing something bigger than I know.  My head thought perhaps he was going to bring salvation to her lost family, or perhaps bring companionship to her caregiver.  Something sweet and smooth and glorious.

I didn't know that it would be ugly and dark.  People were not what they seemed.  Reality is so much messier than you imagine. But oh yes, God was doing something bigger than I knew.  When I faltered, when I stumbled and lost my way.  He would repeat to me. "She is your daughter.  I will make the mountains into plains.  I will do it. Not by your power, or might, but by my Spirit." When I rested in that I saw God move huge mountains and in the process uncover such darkness, such pain.  Yet he is doing something amazing and beautiful and glorious.

It was bigger than I knew. It was a rescue mission.  He saw her, he knew. He saw the hurt and the wounds and he knew.  Though man failed to recognize, God saw.  He heard her desperate cries and he plucked her out of the darkness and filth and set her into a family. And that is something beautiful and glorious.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

And the curve ball was....

A little girl. With her dark curls and goofy grin she stole my heart. We were told she needed a family and boom my life changed. She looked up at me with deep brown eyes and called me Momma with a question. She was asking, searching, "Will you be my mommy?" "Will you take care of me?" My heart said yes. God moved mountains of obstacles and provided every step of the way. Though I knew nothing that I know now, I knew she was mine. She had adopted me. Now it was my job to follow through and let her know, "Yes, I will take care of you, you are safe with me."

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Life Throws Curve Balls

Life is constantly in the business of throwing curve balls my way. 

Like I think I'm throwing an egg hunt, but instead God plans for me to meet people there that will forever change my life.

I plan to do one thing and something totally different happens. 

I'm learned that this is a part of life.  I just have to go with it and hold on to God. 

The thing I know is constant is our Father in heaven.  He never changes and He is always there for me.  I'm thankful for that!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Awana

Wednesday is Awana day for my household.  During the summer we had Five Day Club, from Child Evangelism Fellowship, in our backyard.  The kids that came to that have continued to come over every Wednesday for Awana.  One little girl actually buses over after school.  The kids play, sometimes we do a craft, or practice their Awana verses, we eat dinner together and then I take them to Awana.

The year has had it's ups and downs.  There are days when things go perfectly and days when there is massive girl drama and I'm the referee.  But it's an example of influence I talked about yesterday.  My family and I can influence these kids through little things like them sitting at the dinner table with us praying, and talking.  I know when I grew up with a single mom some days we ate together at the table but I remember more often then not we sat in front of the t.v.  I remember a couple meals we had regularly rice with pork chops and gravy and tuna casserole.  Other than that I remember eating lots of cereal, or ice cream or ramen noodles.  The sad thing is that many kids today never sit down at a table with their family to pray, to eat and talk together.  Either they are on the run all the time and getting fast food or they're all on their own electronic devices too busy to talk with each other, or their parents simply are not home.  The simple act of breaking bread together can greatly influence the lives of others.

How can you use your influence today?