Saturday, April 30, 2011

On windstorms and whispers

We had a windstorm in the Niagara region this week.  What an amazing show of God's power!  I don't mean to diminish the damage that happened, but when I drove into work that day, I had was given such a sense of awe over how great and mighty a God we serve.

Thursdays are the day I spend at the church office while the kids go to my sister's place.  My drive in requires me to cross the Burlington Skyway bridge, something I generally dislike given my odd fear of bridges over water.  I knew traffic was going to be stupid because of the wind, and my expectations were confirmed when the sign over the QEW read, "Severe winds on Skyway.  Reduce speed."  It's always bad when they upgrade it from "high winds" to "severe winds". 

It got even worse as I was driving along, and I could see in the distance that there wasn't even any traffic going over the bridge at all.  I knew right away that they had actually gone and closed the bridge due to the wind.  Luckily, they had just closed it, so the traffic wasn't too horrible yet to go around on Eastport Drive.  I don't really know why, but I was in a good enough mood that morning that the bad traffic and forced detour didn't actually bother me that much.

It turned out to be a way cooler way to drive in to work that day than taking the bridge.

Obviously, we were traveling at rather slow speeds, but this just gave me a chance to look around at the bay and the lake on both sides of me.  I could watch what the wind was doing to the water, and it was incredible.  Have you ever seen waves blown backwards?  It's a sight to see, let me tell you.  The lake had spots of mist rising out of it, kind of like what you would see sometimes when it's early in the morning and the water is warmer than the air around it.  When the sun managed to find a few moments to shine through the clouds, it turned the water an odd green/blue/gray colour that I've never seen on Lake Ontario before.

To say the water on the bay side was choppy would be an understatement.  Turbulent might be a better way to put it.  Some might even call it "tempestuous."  All I know is there was water in the air, and I couldn't tell if the spray hitting my car was actually rain or the bay being blown out of it's cradle in the earth.

Then God showed up. 

The sun broke through the clouds again long enough to light up the mist, and a glorious rainbow filled the sky from one side of the bay to the other, a massive arc of colour over the city.  And God reminded me of His promise to Noah that He would never destroy the earth again with a flood...(although I'm not too sure about His position on windstorms...)  I think every hair on my body stood on end at the reminder of His majesty.

And in the quiet of my soul, I heard a whisper, "I am God.  And I am here."

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Armadillidiidae in my laundry

I have bugs in my basement.  I used to call them "potato bugs", but then this morning I Googled it, and the pictures that came up are not the bugs that I have in my basement.  Now, granted, other people call these bugs "potato bugs" too, but it turns out a more correct term is "pill bugs" or "roly polies" because of they way they curl into a ball when they're on the defensive.

I have to admit, Googling bugs before 7am in the morning is not recommended, especially if you haven't had breakfast yet.  There's something about those close-up photos of insects that really turns one's stomach.  But I did think that if I was going to the effort of blogging about these little creatures, I should probably make sure I know what I'm talking about.

So why am I talking about bugs before 7am in the morning?  Well, it turns out these funny little roly polies not only like to live in my basement, but they also like to crawl into my washing machine.  I have had to make a habit of checking inside it before I put in my laundry to make sure there isn't anything that's decided to take up residence there, and more often than not, I'm forced to evict an unwanted guest or two. 

Now, I could just keep the lid to my washer closed all the time, but all good washer-people know that you're supposed to keep the lid open between loads so that your washer has a chance to dry out and not start growing things.  At least this is what I remember being told at some point when I started doing laundry...

And so I've resigned myself to being on a constant look out for these "pill bugs" when I make my forays into the basement to do my laundry.  I never venture into the abyss without wearing slippers in case I step on one, as inevitably, they are crawling on the ground around the washer and dryer as well.  I always check my baskets before putting the clean laundry back in them in case the bugs have crawled in there as well...which they occasionally do.  And I've located an excellent ultra heavy-duty set of pliers near my washer with which I can oh-so-not-at-all delicately remove any undesirable tenants from my laundry appliances before I wash my family's clothes.

I am awfully thankful that with the coming of spring, it seems that they have stopped attempting to expand their territory up from the basement and into the rest of the house.  Now if we could just figure out where all the spiders are coming from...

Monday, April 25, 2011

Losing a Church: The Final Service

I apologize if this post isn't as well written as some I've done lately.  I'm having a hard time articulating what I'm thinking today, and I'm not entirely sure of all the reasons, (although one of them may be that Reuben woke me up at 5am today because his cough is bugging him).  But I did think that this is a post that needed to be written, however rough around the edges it may be.  So you'll have to bear with me.

Yesterday was officially the last service for our church.  Next week will be our Celebration of Ministry potluck, and then we are done.  It was a little bit hard to work through the mixed emotions about the service given that yesterday was also Easter Sunday.  It felt very surreal to think that the end is finally here, and that we were celebrating the joy of Jesus' resurrection at the same time as feeling the sadness of our last time worshiping together.

Over the past few weeks, I have largely come to a quiet acceptance of the decision that's made, and I am able to trust that this is God's will and that He will carry us on into whatever future He has in store.  There was a certain sense of relief that I am now experiencing that we will soon be able to put this church experience behind us and move on to a new church.  As much as I know it was necessary to be able to have these last few weeks together, it has also felt like a long way to end.

But the end is now here.  It came quicker than I expected.  I think I am ready for it.  By God's grace, I will be.

In a way, it has helped that yesterday was Easter.  I can focus on the great joy that I feel in knowing that I have been set free by my Lord's death and resurrection.  Jesus is alive!  Those words struck such a chord within my being when I read them yesterday.  He is alive, and I am washed clean by the blood He shed for me, and I can look forward to a new life with Him because He has conquered the grave.  Can there be any greater joy than that?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

How to Travel Alone with Small Children

As promised, I'm finally getting around to posting some tips for traveling with small children, particularly if you are traveling with small children by yourself.  This is something I do quite frequently given Tim's hours of work and him being gone four nights out of the week.  Over time, I have found a few ways of coping to get through those long drives trapped by myself with two small ones in the backseat.  Here's what I've learned:

1) Bring lots of books.  The one way I have found that will consistently keep my kids entertained is to have them look at books.  Make sure you teach your kids to pass the books back to you when they're done instead of tossing them on the floor, or eventually you will run out of books and only one kid will have gotten to read each of them.  Besides, if the trip is long enough, sometimes you can recycle through them.

2) Bring kids' music or kids' books on CDs.  I know, listening to Max and Ruby or Thomas the Tank Engine for hours on end is enough to drive one bonkers, but if it keeps the screaming me-me's in the back to a dull roar, you must learn to put up with it.  You could also teach them to like the same music you do, but this is both challenging and not as effective at making them be quiet.

3) Bring food.  And by food, I mean anything you think your kids will eat, although preferably things that are healthier.  My kids love apples, so I will try to cut up a couple before we go and have them in a container or a bag ready for me to hand out.  Crackers and raisins also work well, especially because you can put them in individual containers for each kid.  Be prepared to clean up a mess when you get home no matter what kind of food you serve.  Inevitably with kids, food will always end up on the floor and mushed into the seat. 

4) Bring drinks.  Preferably in sippy cups.  I don't care how old your kid is.  It is hard to drink liquid in a moving vehicle. 

5) Be flexible, as in physically, and if possible, grow longer arms.  Seriously.  I'm not kidding about this one.  You must be able to reach the children in the back seat while you are sitting in the front seat.  Find a way to grow longer arms.

6) This goes along with Tip #5.  You must learn how to keep your focus on the road while passing said books, food, or drinks to the children in the back seat.  Believe me, this takes a special kind of brain power.  Harness it.  You are no good to your children if you get killed in a car accident because you were trying to keep them happy while you were driving.  If this is too difficult to master, (or something has fallen that you just can't reach with your super long arms), pull over.

7) Bring the kitchen sink.  No, really.  Bring the kitchen sink.  ...okay, not practical, but bring something that you can use to wipe sticky fingers, as in wet naps, dry napkins, kleenex.  If you are feeding your children, they will get messy.  Also, my kids are notorious for needing me to wipe their noses while we are driving.  (My super long arms will not permit me to pull this off while the vehicle is moving, so they either end up doing it themselves or waiting until a stop light...or I pull over...)

8) Plan for your trip to take an extra half hour to an hour for unplanned stops.  I once took had a trip that should have been two hours actually take three hours, and we had to pull over four times for dropped toys.  It sounds silly, but when you're stuck in a car alone, you really have no choice but to pull over because it's just too insane to try and listen to the screaming that will ensue if you don't stop.

9) Pray your kids sleep in the car.  I will often plan my trips around the kids' nap times in an effort to up my chances that they will sleep.  As they get older, this gets harder and harder, but the drive really is that much easier if they sleep for a good chunk of it.

10) When all else fails, crank up your music really REALLY loud.  This will accomplish one of two things, (or if you're lucky, both things).  First, if the music is loud enough, you won't be able to hear the incessant "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy" coming from the back seat.  Second, if your kids are anything like mine, they'll hate that you've blared the music, and you can use it as a bargaining tool for them to be quiet.  If they're quiet, you turn down the music.  If they start whining again, you can crank it again.  It's surprisingly least for my kids.  Once your kids get to the age where they actually like having the music super loud, this might not work as well.  In that case, make sure you have music on that you can stand listening to at ridiculous volume levels.

11) My last and final tip for traveling with children alone: if at all possible DON'T.  Beg, plead, cajole, pay someone if you have to, TAKE SOMEONE WITH YOU.  I don't think I can stress enough just how much easier your life will be if you have someone in the passenger seat (or you in the passenger seat with someone else driving). 

I could probably come up with some more advice on how to travel with small kids, but these are the most important ones.  There are never any guarantees that the trip will go smoothly, no matter how prepared you are for every possible situation, but I've found that these few coping methods do go a long way to making a long drive easier.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Falling on His grace

Do you ever have one of those days where nothing seems to go right, but you can't really put your finger on what's wrong?  That was my day yesterday.  Maybe it was the weather.  Maybe I still need more sleep after the weekend.  Maybe it was the fact that I had to wear the same pair of socks two days in a row because I really needed to do laundry that badly...(did I just admit that online?)

Whatever it was, it felt like the kids and I were miserable all day long.  Or maybe I was just miserable, and it rubbed off on them.  Who knows?  But Kaylee was still cranky from getting over her fever -- she seems better now thankfully.  Reuben and I kept arguing over everything -- my three-year-old tries to reason with brain can't keep up with the kid.  And it was too cold and yucky to go outside and blow off steam at the park.


I am so thankful that we have a gracious God that we can turn to at the end of it all.  I am so thankful that He gives us new mornings and puts our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.  I am so thankful that He has His hand on my children, so that on days when I screw up, it doesn't necessarily mean my children will be irrevocably screwed up for life (I hope and pray).

And I am so thankful to know that He will give me the strength to get through this new day, even though a thunderstorm woke me up at 1:30AM and went on for at least an hour and a half, leaving me feeling not a whole lot more rested then I did yesterday. 

But today will be different from yesterday.  Today is a new day.  And today, I am choosing to keep my focus on Him, and not on all the little things that drive me crazy.

Today, I focus on His grace.

"And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." 2 Cor 9:8

Monday, April 18, 2011

And two became one...

I'll admit, in the excitement of the moment, I was watching her and not him, but when I remembered to look back at the groom, the obvious look of joy on my brother's face as he watched the woman he loved come down the aisle toward him was unmistakable.  I had tears in my eyes as I watched the two of them standing together gazing at one another after they had said their "I do's" and lit the unity candle.  In most weddings I've been to, the bride and groom will stand side by side looking out at the congregation after they've signed the registry/lit the candle/done whatever symbolic ritual thing.  But at this wedding, the wedding of two incredibly special people, they did it this way, and it was a precious moment to see them filled with such obvious love for one another.

Overall, the weekend and the wedding went very well.  The drives there and back were long, as expected, but my sisters came with me so I had help with the kids, which was awesome.  Reuben was a great little ring-bearer and did his job very well.  Of course, him and Kaylee couldn't sit still during the ceremony, but what do you expect with small children?  I was extremely thankful that we had arranged for them to have a babysitter for the night so we could enjoy the reception.  Which we did.  It was a great time.  I love family weddings because the speeches actually mean something and you actually recognize the photos in the slideshow.  :)  And of course, how could it not be fun to drink wine and dance the night away?

Update on Ang's father: he was able to walk her down the aisle in the end, although he was still in some pain and had limited mobility in his left arm.  The MRI results showed a disc pushing up against a nerve, which may or may not need surgery.  Please continue to pray that he will be able to come to complete healing.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Strength for the day...

Reuben had me up at his standard ungodly-early hour this morning (5:30).  Usually, I lay in my bed, and he joins me or lays in some blankets beside my bed, and I try to convince him to lay quietly enough that I can doze for another half hour or so.  We didn't do that today.  Today is The Day.  The Day I have to finish all the packing, mine and the kids and Tim's, so that we can all leave tonight.  The Day I still have to somehow fit in a visit to the church office to take care of my responsibilities there.  The Day I have to drive six hours to Michigan with the kids in our van, and hopefully with one of my sisters if not both to help keep them under control, and even more hopefully that they end up sleeping most of the way since we won't be leaving till 6pm.

The Day that I actually remembered to turn to prayer when I started feeling anxious while I was yet in my bed thinking about all the things I had to do today.

God brought to mind the song "Always Enough" from Casting Crowns that I've been listening to lately.

"In a dry and weary land
Lord, you are the rain...

Your love is peace to the broken,
faith for the widow, hope for the orphan, strength for the weak
Your love is the anthem of nations, rings out through the nations
And you're always enough for me"

Today I want to remember that when I'm dry and weary, He is the rain that brings refreshment.  Today, when I'm tired and weak, He gives strength.  Today, when I'm going out of my mind with craziness and packing, He is always enough to get me through it to the other side, and He's drawing me closer to Him.

I remind my soul to sing,
"I rejoice for my Savior reigns
I rejoice for He lives in me
God on high, He has set me free
And worthy is the Lord."

He reigns.  He lives in me.  He has set me free.  He is so worthy of all my praise. 

Even when I'm crazy busy packing.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Prayer Request

Please join me today in praying for my future sister-in-law's father Ed.  Angela has let us know that her dad is suddenly experiencing a lot of pain and is unable to use his left arm.  With the wedding coming up on Saturday, this is certainly adding unnecessary stress to their week.  Please pray that he will come to complete healing so that he will be able to walk Ang down the aisle and enjoy the wedding day.  Pray for strength and peace for him and the family.  Please also pray that they will get the answers they need as to what exactly is wrong.

"Again, I tell you that if you two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven." Matt 18:19

"This is the confidence we have in approaching God: if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us." 1 Jn 5:14

"Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." Mark 11:24

"Now to Him who is able to do more thank all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations, for ever and ever.  Amen!" Eph 3:20-21

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Our Crazy Busy Week

At the risk of boring my small readership with no new posts, I thought I'd least give you a little blurby on what our week is looking like so you'll understand a little when I don't have much to say right now.  This coming Saturday my little brother is getting married, and Reuben is the ring-bearer, so we are busy getting ready for that right now.  Tim is picking up an extra over-night run down to Boston that leaves tonight, and he won't be back until late tomorrow hopefully.  I'm still working in the church office during the day on Thursday, and then we're dropping Tim off again that evening so he can do a short run to Michigan where he'll meet up with us for the wedding, and I'll be caravaning down there with my sisters and praying the kids sleep in the van.

That basically gives me today and tomorrow to get everything done and packed.  Ick.  I need to clean out the van, pack clothes, do laundry, get groceries, figure out what we're going to eat while we're down there, call to confirm our accommodations, put together our tax papers so we can bring them away...and that's just the beginning.  I'm pretty sure there's all kinds of other things to do that I haven't even thought of yet. 

I need to start a list so I don't forget anything.

So this is why you probably won't hear a whole lot from me this week, but hopefully once we get back, I'll have more to write about.  I'm planning a post on how to take a long trip on your own with two small children.  Ha.  I'll let you know how it goes...

Peace, my friends.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Losing a Church: The In Between

The official announcement of our church closing has come and gone, but our final service on May 1 is still four weeks away.  It's an odd place to be.  I've traveled the road of intense emotions that come when a grief is first observed, and by the grace of God, I'm left in a place of quiet acceptance, albeit tainted with some lingering sadness.

But the end is still yet to come.  At the risk of overstepping my bounds, I find myself seeing parallels between the situation we're in with our church, and the situation the wider Church is in with regards to waiting for the return of our Lord.  The only difference is that our church knows when our end will be, but the Church does not know when to expect the return of Christ.  But we all know the end is coming, and everything we are doing now is in anticipation of that day.

Our last services have been focusing on glorifying God and looking back at how He has been working in each of our lives through our church.  In a more practical way, my job has completely switched focus into working on wrapping things up and preparing for our final Sunday.  I've been given the task of putting together a slideshow presentation using all the pictures from the last six years of our church's short history -- there are a TON of pictures!  I've been busy putting together inventory lists and removing our church from various mailing lists.  And that's just the beginning.  There is still so much more to do...

Back to the point, it's not a particularly easy place to be, this already come/but not yet stage.  We know we're closing, but we're not there yet.  Sometimes I think it will be easier once it's all over.  We'll be able to turn our focus to moving on and finding new church families.  It will be time to put the past behind us and look forward to the future.

But just as God has a purpose for keeping us waiting for the Glorious Return, He also has a purpose in giving us these last four weeks together as a church family.  It is good to have a chance to look back, and it will be good to have a chance to celebrate on our final Sunday.  Through it all, we need to keep our focus on Him, and He will be glorified. 

"You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being." Rev 4:11

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

The continuing saga of my yellow rubber gloves...

I have no luck with my rubber gloves.  There's nothing special about them.  They're just yellow rubber gloves that you can buy at the grocery store, and I use them for when I do dishes.  The cold air of winter gives me enough trouble with dry skin, and constantly having my hands in water doing dishes only makes the problem worse.  So I wear gloves.

The problem is that I have gone through at least four pairs of gloves in the last two or three months.  First the issue was with my cat.  Apparently she has a taste for yellow rubber, and I wasn't very good at remembering to put my gloves back under the sink when I was finished doing dishes.  It was partly logical thinking on my part; I would drape them over the sink so that they could drip dry before I put them away.  But of course, in those few minutes or hours while they would lay there drying, the cat would inevitably snatch them up and chew the fingers off of them.

And of course, she always picked the right-hand glove, which is the hand that I use to hold the dishes in the water.

So after losing three pairs of gloves this way, I have learned to always put my gloves in the cupboard under the sink to dry, and I have managed to keep my current pair of gloves safe from my glove-eating feline.

But now, it seems my gloves themselves are betraying me.  Go figure, one of the fingers has sprouted a tiny hole in it, and now every time I do dishes, the glove slowly fills with water, negating the purpose for wearing them in the first place.

And wouldn't you know it, it's the right-hand glove that got the hole.

I blame it on a stray fork or knife piercing my poor defenseless glove, although my finger seems to have escaped unscathed, so I have no idea when or how it actually happened.  All I know is that once again, I have to buy another pair of rubber gloves.

I can't win. 

Sunday, April 03, 2011

For Meditation

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows." 2 Cor 1:3-5

"I have put the Lord always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken." Psalm 16:8

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls." 1 Peter 1:3-9

Saturday, April 02, 2011

God's Sense of Humor

Shhhhh...I have a secret.  Don't tell anyone.

I'm actually beginning to like doing dishes.

Yes, you read that right.  The one chore that has been the bane of my existence is now becoming the one chore I enjoy doing the most.

Why the sudden change you may ask?  Well, it seems that God has a funny way of taking things in life that I never said I'd do or things that I say I hate and turns them into things I do or things that I enjoy.  For example, I always said I'd never live in Hamilton.  (This was as a kid growing up; I'm not sure why I had such a bad impression of this place.)  And now, I've been living in Hamilton for almost six years.  I always said I'd never marry a truck driver.  (Again, not really sure why I said this.)  My husband is a long-haul truck driver.  I always said I'd never marry a smoker.  (This one is self-explanatory.)  My husband is also a smoker...although this we might still try to work on.  :)

And now, lo and behold, the chore I always said I hated the most, God is turning it into the chore that I almost look forward to doing.  Before you think I've gone completely off my rocker, let me explain further why this is.  Doing dishes has become a time of day when I can actually get the kids to more or less leave me alone, and I get to spend time thinking, praying, and having a bit of a breather.  My kitchen window has a great view of a beautiful birch tree, and I get to watch the little birds making their homes in it and the tree coming back to life after winter.  Added to all that, there is definitely a nice sense of accomplishment in going from a cluttered counter to a clean kitchen, just by doing a sink full of dishes and wiping things down.

So there it is people.  Point and laugh.  Doing dishes, the chore I previously detested with all my heart, has now become the one chore I love. 

Friday, April 01, 2011

Losing a Church: The 5 Stages of Grief

In an effort to come to a place of personal healing and also to share with you the experience of having our church close down, I'm working on a bit of a series of blog posts.  Today I'm going to be focusing on the 5 Stages of Grief and how those relate to the loss of a church.

Just to give some brief background, the 5 Stages of Grief are commonly known as Shock or Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance.  When experiencing a loss, everyone goes through those stages to varying degrees, although it doesn't always happen in a straight line.  What often occurs while grieving is that one travels back and forth through the stages, being first in one stage, then another, sometimes being in more than one stage at a time, and not always in the order they're listed here.  There is also no set time limit for how long one might be experiencing these stages of grief.  Some people might take a very short time; others might have a longer struggle with it.  The important thing is that eventually, in order to come to healing, one must reach the final stage of acceptance.

I think it's safe to say that I have been through the first stage of Shock/Denial.  What this looked like for me: the day before the official announcement was made in church that our Board was recommending that we end our ministry, I was visited by a Board member at home who broke the news to me in advance; this happened because I am technically an employee of the church, and as such, this decision has the added implication of my job ending.  I spent the rest of that day and the next feeling a bit numb.  And then I ignored it.  I went on with my life.  The decision hadn't been formalized yet as the church still needed to vote on it to make it official.  I think that was the denial part of it.

I moved onto the Anger stage for a while.  I focused on and struggled with feelings of extreme frustration and anger at how it seemed as if this decision was coming completely out of the blue for myself and the other members of the church. I didn't understand how it hadn't been more clear to me that our church was having issues that went this deep.

I think the Bargaining stage also came into play a little bit while I was dealing with that Anger.  This came out as questions of "What if" things had been done differently, "what if" people had been given a chance to talk more about the vision of the church, "what if" I had done more to help earlier on, "what if...what if...what if..."  It is very easy to get stuck in this stage until you get so wound up in asking "what if" that you find yourself back at the Anger stage over all the what if's that never happened.

Once the official decision was announced in church following the vote, there was a brief moment of Shock, with some disbelief thrown in, before the Depression hit.  I could go into long descriptions of what this stage could look like, but that would take forever, so for the purposes of this post, let's just say that for me, it involved tears and sadness, and throughout this past week has taken on the form of feeling very melancholy and down about the situation, mixed with an inability to focus on little else.  Given my past struggles with depression on its own, it has been slightly frustrating to be back at this again, even though the circumstances are vastly different.

This past week has been filled with various moments spent in all these first four stages of grief.  There have been moments still of Shock and disbelief, often feeling a numbness that it can't possibly be real.  There have been moments of Anger over how it has all taken place, and of course, the Bargaining and what ifs to go along with it.  There have been the moments of Depression, looking back at what was while going through photos to put together a slideshow presentation, wishing it didn't have to be this way.

And so we come to Acceptance.  I would be lying if I didn't say that this stage has come into play as well over the past weeks, at least in part.  God has been gracious and faithful to bring me into a place in my relationship with Him where I am able to trust that through it all, this decision is His will.  I question His timing now and then, and the way that it has come about, but I have actually not had that many moments of questioning the actual decision.  I know that the only way to come to complete healing is to be fully in the place of Acceptance, and for that I am looking to God.  Daily I wrestle with Him about how to feel this grief, and process it, and move through it to come to healing and Acceptance.  I know that He will carry me through, and I know that at some point, the grief will move on.

And I'm sure at some point, forgiveness is going to play a part here.  But more on that in a future post...