Thursday, February 25, 2010

Holding Out for A Future

Well, the dog is on hold for a bit....good chance we'd lose him in our crazy house right now. We started doing some painting and then building closets and one thing led to another and now the whole house is a wreck, but in a good way! I feel like we're "setting our house in order". So much got out of order last year, because there just wasn't time and really, it wasn't regrets about that. But now it is time, time to prepare for whatever comes next. And if there's any lesson I've learned well, it's that we have no idea what the future holds. So it's best to be prepared. Not that I don't think about the future. In fact, I think about it a LOT. When I look to the future through the eyes of my pain, I can feel fear and dread. Dread of the coming months, all our birthdays, her birthday, mother's day, spring, summer, fall, winter....knowing that each season will bring us times of great sorrow and longing for Jessica, and many tears. Yet, those aren't the only eyes I am looking through. Through Christ's eyes, I can feel hope, anticipation, purpose, and His love leading us through.

Talking with our pastor this week, I feel greatly encouraged about how I'm handling this "journey". I had determined long ago, when I first came to terms with Jessica's imminent death, that I wanted to do this journey as healthy as I could. Selfishly, I admit. I want to come out of this deep grief stage as quickly as I can, who wouldn't? I know that grief will be my companion to some degree until Jesus comes, but I want to get on with my life and do things that help make Jessica's life and testimony count, even though I'm not sure what that is yet. I want to pick up my guitar and have it not feel like a chore. I want to make plans for family vacations. I don't want to avoid certain places, songs, and stores forever. I want to find joy on this earth, somehow.

I will have to keep looking at my future looking through both sets of eyes. That can't be avoided. Humanity and holiness. His holiness overshadowing my humanity? I'm counting on it. I'm counting on comfort and love and a great future....and maybe even some joy. With or without a dog. :)

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Puppy Garden

"So, they must not have read the book," I told a friend who recently lost someone and was getting a hard time because of the way she was grieving. The book, meaning any grief truths 101 book! I mean the first rule is that there is no right or wrong way to grieve (well, within reason).

Honestly, though, I'm not a big grief book reader. I tried, really! But the ones I'd look through spent a lot of time discussing anger (at God), denial, depression, etc. and I just felt like those were issues that were best addressed in the Word of God or in prayer. And I'm just not the "angry at God" kind of person. Especially with the all ways He's shown His great love for us this year. But I do have a couple I make myself read through, just because I should. And, the GriefShare emails are excellent.  So between reading what I must, talking with friends who have lost loved ones and pastors, I have learned some basic truths about grief that are just that, truths. Like there is no right way to grieve, each person's grief will "look" different.
Or the stages of way or another, you will go through them. Or how hard the "firsts" are going to be, first holidays, etc.

Well, the big "truth" for me right now is change...lots of it! This also seems to be part of the journey. A few months ago, I hated tattoos. A few months ago, driving to Tennessee alone would have been out of the question. Deep red/maroon highlights?? No problem! (I'll post a pic of those:))....which leads us to the Puppy Garden.

 I am not really a dog person. I've always had cats and we now have 2 large ones. Mine (Daisy) and Jess's (Toby). Yet, over the past few weeks, a dog has started sounding like a great idea! Anyone wants to stop me, feel free. Seriously, our friends in SC had the cutest little Yorkie named Sugar. A sweet (obviously) little thing who hardly barked and, I was told, had the smallest little poops so it wouldn't mess up your yard! Great things to know....I think. But I just loved how he brought such joy to their family.
Then I was thinking about Joy and Jordan and how it would help fill the Jessica void...just a little. And how much work could a little pup be?? We did fine with our pet Betta fish. Until it died.
So, armed with stats and puppy sites to browse, including the Puppy Garden, we're beginning our search for the perfect dog. And a Dog Training for Dummies book might be nice, too! We'll keep you posted. 

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Just Another Day

It's just another February day, cold and bleak. One more day I won't see my Jessica. These are the times when I need to renew my mind in prayer and in the word. How easy it would be to linger in the sadness, climb back in bed and just mourn. Yet, the word says that mourning will come, but joy comes in the morning. And I have to tell you, I do have Joy. Without a doubt, the Lord named my littlest girl. She still climbs in my bed and I hold her very close these days. Just by being herself, she helps me immeasurably! For her and my other children, for Mark and even for myself, I will get refreshed and find a word of comfort, read my daily email on grief and get on with my day.

The Lord has more for me than a year of deep sadness, I truly believe. Through this I am to keep moving forward in my destiny, doing those things that I love, that bring happiness, that I hope will make a difference. That is the best thing I can do for my Jessica. Keep telling her story, keep loving on this beautiful family I have, keep honoring Jesus in everything I do. I think that's what she'd want.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Big Adventure

Hard to believe it, but I endured a tattoo!! I read a book recently written by a lady who lost her daughter to cancer (a VERY similar journey to ours) where she talked about "altars of rememberance." When Noah (the bible one) finally was able to leave the ark, he built an altar of rememberance, an altar to remember the goodness of God to him and his family. Her altar is a foundation in her daughter's name. While I may do other things in the future, my tattoo is mine right now, something to remember the goodness of God. He allowed me 23 precious years with Jessica, who's name means "grace of God or God sees", He never left our side during those long 18 months, and He still walks with us through our valley of the shadow of death. Just a little mark to remember, not that I'll ever forget!