This past week was just odd. That would be the best way for me to define it. It wasn't a great week. But it wasn't horrible. Just odd. Greg worked the 3pm -11pm shift. There are two shifts that I am not fond of and those are that shift and the 11pm -7am shift. I just have a difficult time with those work hours because I am restless, my head starts to think, think, and over think some more.
Greg and I both were married and divorced and remarried (now to each other). So there are a lot of things that can cause the fog to appear. We both had to learn to trust in others and in each other. In the beginning it was tough. We both questioned each other in a lot of things. And did some stupid stuff. Only to laugh about it years later. We had a lot of growing pains. And we still do experience them on occasion. But I truly believe it has been through the trials and tribulations that we have learned to trust in God. And ultimately we learned to trust in each other and he is truly my best friend, my love and a treasure.
We married not just each other but each others children. We vowed that we would be the best parents we could be to our new family. We promised to love, honor, cherish and support all five of them. And we vowed to do it as a team. God, the Holy Spirit, Jesus, Greg and me. We were all so different. Each member of our family gave the others a run for their money. Often we lived in a daily world of high emotions and righteous expectation. But by God's amazing grace and lots of prayer we began to adjust. God had some pretty spectacular things planned. And in retrospect I am so glad for all the craziness we had to go through just to be here today. The doubts, deception, deaths and ordeals. We vowed to remain a unit through it all.
I never had the pleasure of meeting my Mother-in-law, Grace or my Father-in-law, Richard. Greg lost both of his parents prior to us meeting. We began to talk to each other shortly after the death of his Dad and my Grandfather. I wasn't around to experience the pain of Greg's great loss. And, to be honest, I couldn't quite understand what he went through. My parents were both alive. They were an everyday fixture in my world. They lived with me and my three wild ones. But I knew that Greg had this great void. He told me stories about his loving parents and how they loved each other. We talked about their illnesses and how they lived their lives. told me of their hopes of one day having a place in Wildwood, NJ to retire to and just enjoy each others company. Sadly, they never had the opportunity. After Greg and I were married I began to notice that every year, beginning in November, he would change. He took on this "bahhh humbug" persona that would last for a few months. I found myself taking it personally. He would sit and think and think and think. There was this look in his eyes. I would try to understand. However, I just couldn't. It took years and the death of my own Dad to begin to comprehend what my husband was feeling throughout those months of reminiscing about his loss.
I have had loss in my life; miscarriages, deaths, relationships, and other things. But the death of my Dad was by far the biggest blow to my heart. My Dad was so much more than just a parent to me. He was my friend, my teacher, my go to guy when I needed advice. He was the person who calmed me when my head would spin out of control. There was one occasion when Greg and I were dating and my Dad was very sick and was in the hospital. I didn't know, at the time, that Greg had asked my parents for my hand in marriage a few days prior to Dad's hospitalization. So, every time I would go in to sit with my Dad everyone of my family members feared that Dad would say something and ruin the proposal. But he didn't. I sat with him one evening and asked him what he thought of Greg. I shared my heart, my fears and apprehensions with my Dad during that conversation. And his response was, "Kathleen, Greg is a great man. He loves you. And he loves your children. If you let him go I will kick your ....." Greg waited over a month to propose. He wanted to be sure that my Dad was in good health before he asked me to make the biggest decision of my life.
My Dad recovered and was able to be there for many more milestones with his nutty family. And he and my Mom both walked me down the isle on my wedding day. And as my heart was racing and my thought were running he was there to calm me and support me. All the while my Greg was standing there at the alter. And I know that his heart had a parent sized hole in it. Yes, as I walked down with my parents he stood alone. But later told me that he rejoiced in that moment because my parents officially became his parents that day. Yep, he wanted the whole package.
Greg was a huge support to me after my Dad passed away. God had prepared my heart. But my heart was broken in a way I never thought possible. It's an indescribable pain. And Greg knew exactly how it felt. A few days after his passing I thought that I was going to die from the pain. My stomach hurt. I felt numb. And my movements felt like I was in slow motion. My husband held me that night as I cried harder than I have ever cried in my life. I remember asking God why? Why did He allow the surgery to go great? Only to take him home the following day. I was confused and hurt. It took a little while for me to realize that God had blessed us with one more day. And that is exactly what we had prayer for, one more day.
I often think back to seeing my Dad with salty tear stained cheeks a few days prior to his surgery. And I wonder if Dad wrestled with God and the plan for his days ahead. I say this because right before his surgery I knelt in front of him and said,"Daddy, we want to pray for you before they come to get you." As we all gathered around him he looked at each of us. And instead of us praying for him he prayed for us. He was good at the sneak attack prayers.
There are times, when my fear of losing another close family member, takes hold of my head. And like I said at the beginning of this blog when I have too much time I think and think and overthink some more. Greg is out there climbing ladders, going on gas emergency calls and fatigued. I worry myself sick. I think about my Mom alone in her apartment and I worry about her health and well being. And the children. Yes, I even have silly fear for each of them. The mind is a creative thing. I could write a ton of suspense novels with the crazy thoughts that run through my head. Good thing, for me, that the Lord whispers in my ear, "Put a lasso around those thoughts and give them to me." And that is just what I do. Or at least try to. Ultimately, I know that He is a good God. And that He will bless us even in the tribulations.
There are great lessons in the pain. Greg was certainly able to help guide me through the process of losing a parent. And I am not sure how I would have done it without his prayers and support. We both handle our grief a little differently. And God is big enough to handle our anger, disappointment, frustration and lack of trust. We have learned to talk to each other and pray about how our loss makes us feel. And have both grown to love and trust deeply in God. The God that has a watchful eye on us, a comforting hand to hold us, and most importantly He has an understanding of our pain. The cross.
I am blessed that El Roi is beside me, behind me and in front of me. I praise Him for the people He blessed me with to support me. And those that He has put in my path to support in times of need and pain. I praise Him for that still small voice that pulls me closer. And I love that there is a fresh fill of grace that awaits this sometimes fear filled woman. And I love the reminders that He set's before me "In this world you will have trouble, But take heart (have no fear) I have overcome the world." ~John 16:33
Things to think about......
What kinds of people do you have the most difficulty seeing Jesus in? What kinds of people push your buttons?
Why do you think judgement and criticism are such natural responses to encountering other people?
What can you do when you really are too busy to stop and engage with another person? Do you think we should always have to stop and engage with people while we're working to get things done?
Blessings, sharing, hospitality, helping....which of these sounds more appealing to you? Which is the biggest challenge? What do you think this reveals about you?
What are so practical ways you can stretch, "see and be" without getting burned out or overwhelmed?
See you next week. Hope you are being blessed by "the God who sees you."