I am constantly amazed at God’s kindness in ministering to my heart through your encouraging letters and emails. I am so thankful for your love and prayers. Honestly, there are some days when I am feeling our loss so deeply and the pain is absolutely beyond words. On those days, I am especially aware of the fact that without your prayers I would find it hard to take one more step forward. Yesterday and today were two of those days. I miss my precious man. I miss his laugh, his smile, his voice…. everything about him…..everything!
I went to Derek’s grave again yesterday and just stood there, still so sad and in disbelief that Derek’s earthly body now rested 6 feet below. I had no words. The tears just poured down my face. I was aching just to be able to hug him and to feel his arms around me one more time, not wanting to accept the fact that that is something I will never have again until I am also with Jesus. My thoughts were suddenly interrupted by the sound of a car door slamming shut and I turned to see who had arrived. It was a woman who seemed to be about my age. She had a large bouquet of roses and gently placed them on the vase that was attached to the grave she was visiting. I began to wonder who the precious person was that she had lost. We both stood there, under the blue sky, feeling our grief. I became overwhelmingly aware of the fact that there is so much pain in this world, for so many. I once again began thinking about what people do with their pain when they don’t know Jesus? What hope do they have? I can’t even imagine….
As I drove home from Derek’s grave, I asked the Lord to help me to be able to walk out the rest of my day with the strength and comfort only He could give me. I desperately needed Him in the middle of the pain of my weak and broken heart. As I pulled into our driveway, I got out to collect the mail in our mailbox and found a letter that was written to me by a precious woman whom I’ve never met, named Kendra. She began her letter by letting me know that we were all in her prayers and on her heart. She was so kind. Kendra then began to share some reflections that her pastor had written while he was battling terminal brain cancer for over 19 months. Just when I thought I didn’t have one more tear to cry that day…the tears began to flow, but this time I was weeping over God’s faithfulness once again, to encourage my heart. I began to feel His presence very near, as I began to read what Kendra shared with me. I pray this precious pastor’s reflections, passed on to me by my new friend Kendra, will be as encouraging to each of you who are going through your own sad, heartbreaking and difficult experiences, as they were and still are to me.
“Hope and despair are not opposites. They are cut from the very same cloth, made from the very same material, shaped from the very same circumstances. Most of all, every life finds itself forced to choose one from the other, one day at a time, one circumstance after another. The only difference between the two is that despair shapes an attitude of mind; hope creates a quality of soul. Despair colors the way we look at things, makes us suspicious of the future, makes us negative about the present. Hope, on the other hand, takes life on its own terms, knows that whatever happens God lives in it, and expects that, whatever its twists and turns, it will ultimately yield its good to those who live it well. When tragedy strikes, when trouble comes, when life disappoints us, we stand at the crossroads beween hope and despair, torn and hurting. Despair cements us in the present; hope sends us dancing around dark corners trusting in a tomorrow we cannot see. Despair says that there is no place to go but here. Hope says that God is waiting for us someplace else. Begin again.”
We’re choosing Hope to send us dancing around this dark corner into a future where God is very present!
Thank you Kendra and the rest of you who have not just said you would pray for us, but have truly been on your knees faithfully, taking us before the throne of God, asking Him to draw near to us, in the middle of our great sadness. He is truly our refuge and our strength! We are blessed beyond belief to have you in our lives; those we know well and those we’ve never personally met face to face.
I pray that the Lord will wrap each of you in a blanket of His precious love and that you will feel Him near.