Monday, November 26, 2012

Throw out the Bandaids.

The last 48 hours or so, I have been swept away in a wave of grief I'm still not sure I'll recover from...  Coming off the adrenaline rush of taking care of the girls and finding the right activities, mingled with a dark foreboding that clouds the lights and bells of the holiday season...

My mom took the girls for a couple of days so I could rest.  As soon as they were out the door I was on the floor, huddled in a fetal-like position, holding myself together so the inner pain wouldn't rip me apart, then I would surely die.  I knew I needed to be alone, but also feared being alone, so I contacted a few good friends to check in on me every now and then. (Thank you, friends.)

Never have I felt so ugly, so full of despair, so far from hope.  Who is this person?  Who will I become, particularly throughout this month of December with smiles and joyful singing and families gathering together?  I felt no joy in my heart (a first) and no desire to celebrate anything.  I would be happy to lay in my bed, bury my head in my covers, never eat another meal, and fade away to nothing.

Sunday morning, it snowed.  I picked myself up, got "decked out" in black apparel :), and adorned my neck with pearls (one of my favorite gifts from Lynn), and went to church.

I parked across the street so I could easily sneak in and out, and sauntered in fashionably late, slipping into the back row of the overflow.  Every breath felt intentional, so heavy was the weight pressing on my chest. Breathe, just breathe. I thought to myself over and over again.  (Thank you to Lois and Carla who quietly came and sat beside me, offering quiet but loving support.)

I was like Amanda (Part A: Metaphor) mind swirling with thoughts, smells, memories.  During the worship, I mouthed the words but nothing much came out.  I closed my eyes and watched Lynn at the piano, bouncing on the piano bench, hands flying over the keys, moving to the rhythm...  Then I opened my eyes and watched my church family... How precious and wonderful you are!!!!

When Cory got up to speak, I realized for the first time it was Christ the King Sunday.  I was so thankful I had come.  I needed church today.  I needed to be edified in the Word and built up in fellowship with the body... And I needed to tell the Lord, or hear from Him, that He is still King.  He is my King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Yet again, God led me and provided what I needed to get through another day.

Later that evening I had a beautiful conversation with a loving friend who does not profess to be a Christian.  She was sharing some of her own journey and things she's learned along the way.  I thought O, Lord, help me to protect her heart!  How precious she is for opening up to me! What a journey she's walked!!  She is an amazing woman, and I realized my temptation was great to "stick a bandaid" on her story (and mine) with Christian words of truth and faith.  To throw out words about God's faithfulness and sovereignty, etc.  But it's that very approach that turned her away form God and the church...  

Help me in my brokenness not to stick a bandaid over a gaping wound.  The world sees Christians as broken bleeding people walking around claiming healing, all the while bleeding through the fabric of our faulty bandaids.  Help me to show real brokenness to these loved ones.  Help me to have the courage to say, yes, I have questions.  Teach me to lament in a society that longs to grieve but doesn't know how.

Lead me in the Way everlasting for Your name's sake...

Friday, November 23, 2012

Part A: Metaphor.

Amanda sits in her armchair, feeling the weight of her arms at rest on the coarse fabric.  In her mind, she recalls the familiarity of this chair, the greenish hue of its faded corduroy, the arc of the wooden frame, and the sun light coming in from the window across the room, caressing its visitor with glittering warmth...

Only days ago, Amanda was in a devastating accident that took away her sight.  Having been knocked unconscious during the crash, she awoke to an unfamiliar world of darkness.  She experienced the frightening sensation of all that she had known laying behind a sheet of blackness, beyond a vast expanse of mystery and uncertain emptiness.

Weeks ago, she would have run through this house at lightening speed, maneuvering every corner, leaping up and down the stairs, so familiar with this place she calls home.  But now... without sight, it is a foreign land.  Familiarity lies distant, almost unreachable, behind the thick veil of darkness.  So she sits...

Slowly but surely, the familiarity begins to return.  She learns to feel, hear, touch, and experience the armchair.  She shifts her weight in the seat and traces her fingers along the armrests.  She feels her long legs, comfortable with the height of the chair and the grounding of her feet planted firmly on the floor, offering a sense of balance and security.

So far, living within her new world is comfortable, doable.. as long as she remains here, on the chair...  But soon, she will stand up, and face again the trembling fear and draining challenge of maneuvering the room, this room.  She will stand up, feel with her hands, listen with her ears, will herself to remember the frame of her surroundings.  She will go around and around and around again, until this room becomes newly familiar, seen again through the eyes of the blind.  

Amanda will conquer the unusual familiarity of every room in her house.  She will build a new normal... a new way of seeing and feeling and moving throughout her world.  But the outside world... what about that?  With the outside world comes unexpected noises, busy streets, the hustle and bustle of daily lives.  How does she learn to maneuver blindly in a world of sight?  How does she exist socially in a world of body language, sudden movements, too many people talking at once?

One day at a time, Amanda climbs her mountain.  She learns new ways of coping as a blind person in a seeing world.  She finds new ways to congregate and fellowship with others.  But it is painstakingly slow.

Imagine if Amanda went from the armchair to the center of a busy mall?  Imagine if she was suddenly thrown into a crowd and expected to find her way?  Imagine the bombardments of smells, sounds, bumps and movements from busy passersby?

Amanda's journey from terrifying darkness to a new way of seeing takes years of hard work, patience, and loving support.

I did not lose my sight.  I lost my husband.  I do not wish to minimize the incredible trauma of blindness!  But wonder if the dark void that was once sight can be used metaphorically (however inadequate it may be) to express the ongoing trauma after the loss of a spouse, learning to live under the shadow of a painful and overwhelming void...  It seems so incomprehensible to a world of social culture and couple oriented activities...  (I am planning to write a Part B, but we shall see...)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Moving mountains.

Today, my Roya girl started school. :)  I had been wanting her in the K4 program at the Christian school, two days a week, and in the last couple of weeks, it all came together!  I am so proud of her!  She received a beautiful welcome from her teacher and classmates and it was everything I could do not to ball my eyes out!  She sat at her new desk with her name on it with nervous excitement.  I waited outside the classroom window, hoping she'd glance my way one last time for a little smile of reassurance... Sure enough she did and her eyes lit up as we exchanged glances.  Oh, my girl... you're all gown up!!!! :)

Alea's been settled in her preschool class for a while now, two mornings a week, but continues to ask for dance lessons.  She was enamored with Roya's new school this morning, and with every building we passed she seemed to ask, Is that my new dance school???

The last month or two (however long...) I have made it my mission to "build a new ground beneath my family".  My daughters needed to feel loved, cared for, and secure even in the midst of our traumatic loss.  I feel like it has taken all of my strength, every last drop of it, and feel exhausted beyond anything I have ever known... but I think we're doing it.  The girls are sleeping better at night, have a pretty consistent routine, and seem comfortable and confident in their activities... I've been so encouraged by the comments from outsiders looking in (my friend Liz being one of them) who see the change in our grief and family environment.

Paperwork and to do's will always take up a lot of my life, but I am so thankful the bulk of "transition" paperwork is mostly done.  I don't feel like I need to carry a folder of death certificates around in my purse anymore. :)  (Seriously.)

I finally made it back to our house church and hope to build this important fellowship back into our routine.  This was a hard step for me, as it was one of the most precious areas of mine and Lynn's ministry together.  It was one of the only times we were together as a family, ministering in our gifts as one (though not perfectly...).  I miss that.  But it was so good to be back, and the new location is lovely :)

I feel like we have moved mountains in our family in just a few short months... but I know there are more mountains ahead.  December will be hard.  I don't want to do a lot.  I just want to continue providing a loving home for my girls, get through all the firsts December brings, and then breathe again when it's over...

Then, maybe I'll be able to face the largest mountain of all that seems to loom high and large and wide on the path ahead... Sunday morning church.  For a number of complicated reasons, this mountain seems the most treacherous.  It is inevitable.  I will face it.  But I cannot seem to face it at the same time as so many other smaller ones.  It's just too big, too much at once... I hope to write more on that in the future, though I have already tried unsuccessfully in the past.  I will get there.  Just not today.

Today, is American Thanksgiving!  Roya's first day of school, Thanksgiving at the Schrock's house, and then another visit from my Mom and two beautiful nieces, Destiny and Jewel (who I think are anxious to meet our kitty!).

I am so blessed by my friends and family!  HAPPY THANKSGIVING AMERICAN LOVED ONES!!!!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


I went to a movie with my movie-friend, Nicole...  Yes, I saw the new Twilight movie.  Why?  I'm not sure.  But it was good.  (Though I closed my eyes a little... I still do that even though I'm old and supposedly desensitized.)

The theatre was packed when we arrived so that we couldn't sit together.  I ended up beside two lovely mothers, discussing the trauma of leaving their babies at home for the first time.  (Nicole ended up beside people who balled through the whole movie... Apparently, hard core fans.)

In the middle of an innocent chit chat about motherhood with two strangers before the movie, I end up in the inevitable situation, though this time it took me more off guard.  So, do people ask you all the time when you're going to have your third??  (meaning third child, of course)  Momentarily at a loss for words, I wondered if I should answer... Well, no.  My husband died, so no one is really asking me that anymore... Than I remembered that Roya is still asking for a baby brother, quite regularly, and in front of innocent stand-byers, inevitably leading to awkward situations... A little.  I responded.

It didn't seem appropriate in that instance to drop the bomb of, Oh, I'm not just an innocent young wife and mother complaining about her lack of sleep anymore... My husband died.  I've tasted death.  My children lost their father...

Later in the movie (without giving anything away), a young girl asked a question about death.  The whole room seemed to erupt in Ahhhh... like Isn't that so sad, a young girl asking about death.  What a shame!!   I thought to myself.  I have two young girls who ask about death all the time... It's common casual conversation in our home...  Both of them used to ask me regularly if they could die.  They wanted to die so they could go be with Daddy.

The cannon ball I have grown quite accustomed to rested again in the pit of my stomach, releasing heavy pressure in my gut and a tightening of the chest...

At the end of the movie, there was that word again... forever.  Yesterday, I read the card Lynn gave me on our wedding day.... To my bride, it said... Forever he said.

Forever feels very different as a widow.  But I also feel blessed... Blessed to have known a love that is forever, and not one made up in a movie of vampires.  :)

Monday, November 19, 2012


This weekend...

There was lots of excitement in our home over our new little fur ball, Thumbelina, and our precious visitors, Liz and little (not-so-little) Emily.  The girls played, chased the kitty, carried her around, and fought over her all day long (not Emily, just my two!).  Thankfully, Thumbelina takes it with grace and dignity, making her a naturally assimilated Erskine female. :)

During one of the kitten's run-for-your-life escapades earlier this weekend, Roya chased her behind the washer and dryer in the laundry room.  I was saying, No Roya, you may not go back there!  Leave her be!  Let her have her space!  Yes, Mama!?!?!  She eventually backed up and crawled out from behind the laundry equipment and all was well.  Until... this morning, while I was running some errands, Liz was helping with the laundry...  Both of us had failed to realize that, during Roya's escapade behind the washer, she managed to unhook one of the pipes particularly relevant to the washers rinse cycle... Thus leading to a major flood on my basement carpets... :)

We soaked up what we could of the water, had to say goodbye to our friends, ate lunch, Alea napped, and we spent the rest of the day dancing over wet towels and soggy blankets, soaking up the sea of swampy carpets.  Even Thumbelina (or Phumbelina, as Alea says) seemed to enjoy running along the flooded path, puddles squirting up around her as she scurried by...

For supper, I made a meal Lynn would have been proud of, sprouted rice with quinoa blend, peas (because Roya eats them), raw carrots (because Roya eats them), and whole almonds I toasted on the stove with a little oil, salt, and chilli powder.  

I called the girls to come to the table and low and behold, they came down for dinner dressed in their Indian outfits Daddy had brought back form his trip to India in February 2011.   Our meal wasn't necessarily Indian, but it seemed fitting nonetheless and brought back many memories with our global-justice minded and culturally savvy husband/Daddy.

We are finishing off the day with jammies, story-time, and feeding Thumbelina her pill... Because yes, not only did I pay money to buy a cat, along with the necessary "stuff"... I bought a sick kitten who needs 3 more days of medication...  Oh how Lynn would cringe. :)

Every day is a day of grace.  Some days the grace of God allows us to enjoy what is happening.  Some days the grace of God allows us to endure what is happening.  But every day, is a day of grace.                -Graham Cook

Sunday, November 18, 2012


Song of Solomon 2:3-6

Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest,
So is my beloved among the young men.
In his shade I took great delight and sat down,
And his fruit was sweet to my taste.
He has brought me to his banquet hall,
And his banner over me is love.
Sustain me with raisin cakes,
Refresh me with apples,
Because I am lovesick.
Let his left hand be under my head
And his right hand embrace me.

When I read this poetic passage of Scripture, I can close my eyes, go back in time (only a few months!), and remember my beloved husband, and rejoice in the love we shared...

Still, I hear His voice beckoning... I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine.  (Song of Solomon 6:3)

Realizing that God is my Beloved Husband brings mixed emotions.  What a comfort to know that God is more than enough for me.  What a blessing to trust in a faithful God for provision and perfect love.

But what about my other beloved?  What about my heart as a wife, still ready and positioned to love?  What about the tangible strength of my husband's embrace and the presence of his warmth at night in bed?

Pressing into the Lord right now is... interesting.  Can I rejoice that I have a loving God when a deep sadness pools at the base of my heart like a heavy sea of loss?  Can I be wooed into the fullness of Him who fills all in all? (Eph 1:23)

It is strange to realize that even God can't replace Lynn.  That's not His design.  And though I ache and long for the day when I will see his face again with new eyes in a new place... He will not be my husband then.  In that day, we will glory together as one, the Bride of Christ, and eat at the Lord's table, our Beloved Bridegroom...

The truth is, as I am coming to accept it, slowly but surely... I am alone. single. not married. My husband is gone. Yes, Lynn is alive.  But, I will never live another day in what was.

I am not happy about this.  This wasn't my plan.  I'm sad, deeply saddened, and sorrowful.

Father, can you woo me to a place where I rejoice in my Beloved Bridegroom, and revel in His Presence when I am longing for the other...?  Does your love permeate the secret places of my heart, all that I am as woman... wife?

Can you make me whole and complete in the fullness of Him who fills all in all? 

Saturday, November 17, 2012


Okay, here it is.  The post we have all been waiting for...  Meet Thumbelina!

We got a kitten!!!  Hahahahahaha!!!

Lynn and I were not pet people.  Let me emphasize... NOT pet people.  Lynn, in fact, would actually consider considering divorce if I ever mentioned the idea of bringing home a pet.  He was firmly opposed to any and all kinds of pet ownership and no amount of blue eyed eyelid batting was going to change it...

Days after he died, after having to tell my daughters that their Daddy was gone, I looked at Roya and broke over the deep sadness she was feeling.  She has always had a special love and connection with animals, and I felt a desperate need to provide a pet for her to snuggle and talk to throughout her grieving process.  I remember looking upwards and saying under my breath, I'm getting her a dog and there's nothing you can say about it!

After some consideration, (and probably some intervention), I decided we were not ready for a puppy :)  Slowly but surely, I came around to the idea of introducing a snuggly kitten to our new little family.  As month 3 began and progressed, I became increasingly confident that this would add some much needed love, joy, fun, and distraction to our mundane, grief-laden existence (without the demands and commitments required when adopting a puppy). So, we went to the SPCA, chose our kitten, bought the necessary "stuff", and here we are :)

So far, it is everything I had hoped for with the girls.  But I feel... sad.  I am confident it was a good decision and committed to the task, but still feel sad.  It is just one more step toward a new life...  And one more step away from Lynn.

When we purchased her, I felt shame, like a child, knowing she was doing something wrong, and knowing she'd be in trouble when she got home.  But I'm home and I'm not in trouble.  Because Lynn's not here.  

We are smiling and happy and my girls are rejoicing!!  But I am sad that this is one more way I have lost him.  One more part of him that is no longer here, influencing our family...

I miss him.  So, I suppose a soft little snuggle from a kitten every now and then won't be so bad...  And she is kinda cute :)

But NO, I will not be turning into a crazy cat lady, for those of you who have already asked or thought about it. :)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Daddy's arms.

Last week, we were visiting friends.  I have not asked permission to write this, so I will ask forgiveness instead.  This is what happened...

My girls kicked off their boots and ran, comfortable in their familiar surroundings.  One went up, the other down, kids playing in different places all over the house.  The atmosphere was fun and inviting.

The Mom was upstairs in the kitchen (naturally...) and the Dad hadn't arrived home from work yet.  I sat in the family room, watching some of the kids play, while Alea climbed all over me, as usual.

Soon, we hear the door.  Dad's home! someone says.  Dad comes in ready and engaged.  He goes throughout the house, seeking out his children, just to give a touch and say hello.  Alea makes eyes at him... He smiles back, saying I'm gonna get you in just a minute... Alea continues to tease and he laughs, while trying to finish his conversation with someone else.  Soon, they are tickling and giggling, chasing and hiding, laughing and playing... The giggles erupted out of Alea with such joy and enthusiasm.  She was in her glory, being loved on and played with by a Daddy.

I watched this with laughter of my own, and with unbearable pain.  I had to turn my face away before he saw my sobs (though they weren't hidden very well).  He was so much like Lynn, just how Lynn would have come home.  He exposed our loss, the void that was Lynn, Daddy, and I missed him so.  
STILL, it was the most beautiful gift... Daddy.  

I am blessed to know real community.  I am blessed to have beautiful friendships.  I am blessed to have this one among many men in my life who did not shy away from us because we were awkward or emotional, and have no male counter-part... But he approached us in love, acceptance, and respect.  A Daddy who offered his arms to my daughters telling them by his actions, You are still worthy to be loved! You are still worthy of a father's attention!  I will be the arms to remind you of this love, even if only for a moment.

What does it mean to care for widows and orphans? Do we ostracize them?  Do we avoid them because it's uncomfortable?  Or do we love them?  And what does this love look like?  I am convinced that what Heidi Baker says is true... What is love if it doesn't look like something?  In this case, it looked like arms, laughing, playing.

My friend, those arms around my daughters wiggly body... Thank you for giving them each a Daddy's love and opening up your heart to them, even if it was for a moment.

(This is one story among many.  I am so blessed in my community of friends and family.  We are not meant to journey this alone and could not make it if we tried.  Thank you.)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

My friend.

The rain is pouring down on my rooftop.  The sound is beautiful. rhythmic. mesmerizing.  Lynn loved the rain.  It soothed him.  He was still, tranquil, and romantic when listening to the rain.

It's about that time... This is the time I would be up in bed, waiting for Lynn to get home, knowing that if I wanted to sleep it had to be before he arrived, because otherwise he'd keep me up talking, but also knowing I was too anxious to see him and would undoubtedly stay awake until I heard those sounds...  First the car, then the gravel, the car door, then the front steps, the front door... And soon enough he'd be bounding up the steps to our bedroom to see me.  Sometimes, I'd pretend to be asleep thinking.. Oh no.  He's full of energy tonight.  I soooo want sleep!!  But he knew :)  And I couldn't keep away from him.  Soon we'd start talking.  His day would start flowing.  He'd carry on until I kicked him out.  Then, he'd go downstairs to our living room rocking chair and read running articles or food blogs online on his IPad...  After an hour or so, if he still couldn't calm his brain down, he'd be back for more.  He'd bound into bed, still full of energy, trying to let me sleep but unable to reign in his loving heart.  I was after all, his best friend.  So he'd share some more, then roll over and snore.  Yet, again, I would sigh into his back, roll over to my own sleeping position, and stay up half the night pondering the things he'd shared...  Unable to sleep by both the burdens Lynn had shared, the noise of his snoring (sometimes), and... sheer frustration that he'd done it to me again :).

Being married to my best friend was wonderful.  We shared everything.  We enjoyed every moment of each others company.  The adjustment to parenthood and active ministry was hard, but we were determined to raise the standard and make it work.  We loved each other.

This is the card I read from him tonight, written November 5, 2001, when we had known each other only two months and were not even dating yet :)

Thanks again for the walk and talk last evening.  I appreciated your openness and welcome you to continue that.  Thanks also for really relaxing me and calming me down.  It's a treasure to have such a close friend with whom I can be completely myself.  Thanks for listening to me ramble non-stop.  It's nice that you pay attention even when I get boring.  You really encouraged me last night, and I hope I can be just as kind to you sometime.  God bless you for your Christ-like heart and uncanny sensitivity.

I miss my best friend.  I miss hearing about his day and knowing his heart and loving him there.  I miss being that listening ear that he relied on so much, even though at times I resented such a responsibility :)

The rain falls.  It pounds to the beat of my heart, longing to hear those familiar but distant sounds, even just one more time, and know that he is coming home to me...


I've been away for a lovely weekend with the family.  I am blessed beyond measure, but glad to be home.  And anxious to write!!

What can I say about the spattering of thoughts and emotions that have crowded my mind and heart in these last several days.  I think in particular, I have meditated on Romans 12:15, Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

Being a widow is unique.  I am not divorced, or separated, or single... I am widowed.  Re-entering society as a widow is not easy.

In all of my relationships, all of my comings and goings, there is a disconcerting awkwardness.  No one knows what to say or how to be.  I don't know what to say or how to be.  I am committed to honesty, but find myself in all kinds of situations when I think, How can I be honest without making this person feel uncomfortable?  How can I be real without breaking out into sobs that make me feel embarrassed and everyone around me awkward?  How can I tell this person how I really feel when they have no way to relate to me and don't understand what I'm going through?  How can I show people that I'm still here, but cannot hide or avoid the fact that the man I love is dead and I miss him more than I could ever say?

Sometimes, no one talks about it, and I want to scream.  Don't you know my heart?  Don't you know that my husband died?  Not talking about it makes me feel like its taboo, inappropriate, too awkward for others.  It makes me feel like people want to gloss over it as though he never existed.  This causes me tremendous pain.

Other times, all people want to do is talk about my grief.  I get tired of talking about it.  Exhausted by it, and sometimes long for something light and unrelated!

Still others might approach me with pity.  All they see is this poor broken widow.  Oh dear, isn't that awful?  You poor precious thing.  Well, we just can't believe it.  Etc.  This makes me stand up a little straighter and want to hold my head up high.  We're fine.  We do not need to be defined by our grief.  We do not need your pity.

Inevitably, I find myself in the presence of many happy families, loving relationships, smiling children, and solid marriages.  This is a joyful experience that cuts deep with a bitter sword.  There is no way around it.  It hurts.  Yet, I would want nothing less for these people, these families.  Be blessed!  Cherish your loved ones more deeply than you've ever done before!! and despite each others imperfections!!

As a society, culture, or community... How do we rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep?  How do we get beyond the awkwardness, the elephant in the room sensation, or the inability to relate to someone else's struggle?  I have concluded that it is not easily done and trying often wears me out.

This is messy.  Grief is messy.  I am messy.  The grief and apathy and depression would keep me locked away in my bedroom, content to grieve alone... But you've all been there.  You're all trying to be there for me.  I am needy of your graciousness and have been so blessed by your generosity.

I am working hard to do this in a healthy way, as awkward and messy as it may be.  Someday, my grief will be turned to joy (Jn 16:20) and smiling will come a little more easily...

Thursday, November 8, 2012


I have had the most fascinating morning.  There is no way to capture it all in this blog post, but I needed to get some of it down :)

I was meditating on Isaiah 41:10, an old favourite Bible verse God brought to my remembrance: You are my witnesses, says the Lord.  And my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know me and believe me and understand that I am He. Before me there was no God formed, nor shall there be after me.

One of my favorite things about the Lord is how He reveals Himself, despite the churches poor efforts to bear witness to His name :).

Many years ago, God began revealing Himself to me, opening up my mind and heart to learn of Him, to know Him, beyond any particular denomination or theological context.  Dare to trust me and seek me in the Word and by the Holy Spirit, no boxes, and no limits...  Lynn was so good at this.  He encouraged me in it.  He had no fear when it came to branching out, exploration the true nature of God.  He always said, God is big enough to handle it if I make a mistake.  When we stay grounded in the Word and keep our eyes fixed on Christ, we can dare to trust Him to keep us and perfect us until the day of Christ Jesus...

Through this verse as well as others, God began in me a passion to know Him as He really is and not as we, the church, would make him.  It stirred in me a passion to see God glorified in and through His church, that we would be true witnesses to the world of a living God, who breathes life and speaks perfect love, in pure blamelessness and holy otherness while being intimately close and making us His very dwelling place...  This is the God I love and this is the God I serve!!  He is the God of paradoxes,  who cannot be contained within my historical context, my personal context of Biblical interpretation, or the extent of my own personal experiences of Him... He is always bigger and better than we think and He is who He is whether we get it or not! :)  (I Am that I Am. Exodus 3:14)

This morning, as I was meditating on this verse, God brought me up into the rafters as I often call it, to remind me of the bigger picture at work in my life.  He filled me with His Spirit, a renewed hope, and a glimpse... I caught just a glimpse of the woman He is making me to be.  She looks vastly different from the girl I am most familiar with, that scared little girl, shy and afraid, hiding in her bedroom, praying for light and love. :) But I saw her, a woman strong and secure, grounded in love and powerful in the Spirit.  God began this good work in me so long ago, but I didn't know if He could really do it!!!  Surely it's not possible!!!  With God all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26)

His faithfulness to complete His word is astonishing!!

As I was praying this morning, without warning, God stirred up in my heart the words I had written to Lynn:  I see you.  The real you.  I know you.  And I will always love you.  I'm here.  I'm yours.  You'll always be my king.

In this song I wrote for Lynn, You are My King, God was teaching me about loving and honoring my husband.  This time, though, He carried those words forth as a new expression of love directly from my heart to my King of Kings.  I see you.  The real you.  I know you.  And I will always love you.  I'm here.  I'm yours.  You'll always be my King.

Lynn was my Beloved king, but God has always been King over my heart.  His word to me is clear: You are My witness, says the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen, that you might know me, and believe me, and understand that I am He.  Before me there was no God formed, nor shall there be after me. I even I am the Lord and besides me there is no saviour. (Is 43:10, 11)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


February 14th, 2008
Wife, you are a daily answer to many prayers!  I cherish you, protect our relationship, and anticipate so many great things ahead.  You've captured my lifelong love and respect.  You are my inspiration.  I love you!  
(I counted the XO's to be sure it was accurate!)

What is the meaning of forever?  I am tired of reading it!  Is forever over?  Was lifelong really supposed to be so short?

I have been angry with Lynn.  It's quite humorous actually.  I was often angry with Lynn :)  We loved to bicker and challenge each other, to see who could be more stubborn.  (He always won.  Just in case you were wondering.)

At times, I have been accused of being sweet and gentle.  But no.  Lynn knew the truth.  Truly, I am a fierce lioness (one who is beautifully elegant... a lioness of royalty... naturally).

When Lynn and I were really angry at each other, we'd say, We're fighting.  But then, Lynn, in his obsessively stubborn nature, had to change the We're fighting to I'm fighting, because I can't make him feel anything, just like he can't make me feel anything.

Lynn had this brilliant way of winning arguments and making his statements heard one way or another.  I could holler, beg, or cry all I wanted, but he could think circles around me!!  and knew it!!  In that particular instance, he was making it very clear that whether or not I would accept it, he had no intention of taking responsibility for my feelings.  He would, however, take his own feelings to the Lord with prayerful consideration.  Grrr... that made me angry :).  (Did you follow my emphases?)

So maybe I win the stubborn battle after all.  I read Lynn's cards and he says, forever.  Then I think of him in glory and he says, Let me go.

Let you go??  Let you go??  And just how am I supposed to do that, Husband???  HOW?

I am angry.  We're fighting.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Grief is like a storm.

I feel like I am huddled quietly in a life raft, calm and carried, my eyes are closed and fixed on Christ, while the storm rages around me.

The waves of grief and depression, anger and sadness, sweep over me at their own will.  I want stand up as Jesus did and command the wind and the waves to stop!  But I hear the Lord's gentle whisper... Just ride.  And trust Me.

As I rest, I picture large beautiful hands reaching down into the waters and sweeping through the rocks and sand at the base of my ocean.  Every pebble, every grain of sand, once touched by the love and oneness I shared with Lynn, now being turned over by the healing touch of Jesus.  Not one stone can be left unturned for my healing to be complete.  And so I ride.  And I wait.  I brace myself against the waves.

Slowly but surely God is healing my heart.  God will heal my heart.

And He will heal yours.

I look down at my hand and finger my wedding rings... My two worlds colliding.  The pain and brokenness of losing my husband and aching for him with every fibre of my being and the awareness of a new me being put together, crafted, moulded, assembled...  Now, I am just riding.  I don't belong in the past, but I am not ready for the future.  And so I wait.  And the waves come.  And the Hands of God minister to my weary soul.

Monday, November 5, 2012


Deep depression.

Heavy fog.

Crushing fatigue.

It's like every space in my life that had been filled by my husband is now a massive dark cloud, thick and heavy, sapping me of strength and the optimism I once had.

Depression is real and scary!

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
    Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
    I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

(Isaiah 41:10)

There's a lot I'd like to say to the Christian community about this...  I've not fallen or backslidden or lost faith.  Logically, I can ascent to the fact that I'm pretty much on track according to other widows and what my resources tell me.  Should I assume that because of my faith I get to skip the grief stage of depression?  I don't think so.

I think because of my faith, I can choose life in the through.  And therefore know that mercy is coming in the morning, that His grace is sufficient, that in my weakness He is strong.

Lamentations, a book of the Bible, seems almost discarded by the Christian community.  And yet, it depicts depression with depth and accuracy.  Why do Christians frown upon and have to hide some of the most basic of our human emotions?  Can't we let God meet us there?  Can't we realize that God is big enough to handle our raw emotions?

In grief, I can attest that I have little control over my emotions!!  I am deeply wounded and discouraged.  But rather than avoid or ignore these real emotions, I think the key is, and we often need others' help, to choose life in the through.  Every day is a step.  I will not stay here, I am moving forward, one day at a time, knowing beauty will rise out of these ashes (Steven Curtis Chapman, Beauty Will Rise).

I remember my affliction and my wandering,
    the bitterness and the gall.
I well remember them,    and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind   and therefore I have hope:
 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
(Lamentations 3:19-23)

Friday, November 2, 2012

2 months. (Another PG warning...)

2 months ago today, as of this minute, Lynn was enjoying a Daddy-daughter date with Roya.  She loved going on special dates with Dad to Tim Hortons for a donut.  Later, early evening, we all snuggled up on the couch downstairs, the four of us, watching Lynn's favorite... the Muppet Show.  I can picture him... what he was wearing, his laughter, and how he mimicked the characters...

Several times throughout that afternoon, Lynn had shivered unusually, like a chill, saying, Ugh...  I have this nervous energy about my run tonight.

He had originally planned his run for the afternoon after church.  He had his route all mapped out and recorded into his online running apps... (He mapped out his runs well in advance, enjoying the challenge of planning a route according to whatever mileage was suggested on his training app.)  Later, though, he changed his route to accommodate Andrew's schedule, so they could enjoy their first run together since we'd returned after vacation.  He left the house around 7:00pm that evening (I think), waving goodbye in his running gear, running belt in place, some tracker in his shoe, and his IPod strapped to his arm, counting his milage.

Later that evening, I was reading a book in bed.  I thought to myself.  Oh Lynn.  He's late as usual.  Probably hanging out with the Boone's and chatting up a storm. *endearing sigh

The phone rang.  I missed it.  I saw it was the Boones and assumed it was Lynn telling me he's on his way home (10-10:30pm?).  I called right back and heard Sara's voice.  O, I thought, it's not usually Sara...

Then she's asking me questions.  Lynn's not doing well. The paramedics are pounding on his chest.  I am to meet them at the hospital.  Sara is coming to stay with the kids so I can leave...

I walk around in a daze.  I think, O, Lynn only has his sweaty running clothes on.  I'll pack him a change of clothes for after this fiasco when we're ready to come home.  Sara arrives.  I take my purse and my bag of Lynn's clothes, socks, shoes, and all, and head off to the hospital.

The road is empty and the urgency is building inside.  I run red lights.  I pass a car on a main road across the yellow line.  Like a robot, I get out of the car and walk towards Pastor Cory who's waiting for me at the door.  He doesn't know what happened, either, but was told to come.

Soon I am ushered around the corner.  People are watching me.  Then I am intercepted and led in the other direction to the family waiting room.  The sights, the smells... Inside I know.  I talk to Andrew and ask what happened.  The Doctor comes in.  Three sentences: His heart stopped.  He stopped breathing.  He's dead.  

Andrew cries.  Cory sucks in his breath.  The air is thick and heavy.  The lights dim and hazy.  I stand up and ask (demand actually) to see my husband and they lead me back down the hall.  I walk in and gaze upon the impossible.  My husband... an empty shell.  Bruised and lifeless.  Completely gone.  Empty.

The presence of God was with me, filling me.  I looked at the most traumatic scene, I never could have imagined it, contrasted with visions of glory dancing around the room.  I said, God, I have the faith that you could raise this body from the dead if it is your will.  But this is Your time?  Somehow, I knew it was.

I sat.  I answered questions.  I called my Mom, who screamed and said they're on their way.  I held his hand.  I felt the last bit of warmth leave his body.

Then I went home (Shannon drove me and others followed), with my bag of Lynn's change of clothes, walking into a heavy darkness I had no idea possible, with the comfort of God's presence aglow within my heart...  Only vaguely aware of everything I would have to do and face in the coming days, weeks, months... years?

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Grieving in Christ is like walking through the Red Sea.  The past is gone.  The future is unknown. The present is full of God's grace and strength... His wonders!  But the through is inescapable.

When Moses led the Israelites through the Red Sea (Ex 15), they could not go back to all that their life used to be.  Nor could they see what was ahead.  In time of crisis they cried out!  But God had already made a way.  He had led them there.  And when the enemies pursued and the way ceased, God lifted the waters to rise up around them.  What a miracle!

But they walked through.  Were they afraid?  Did they worry that the invisible walls might give way, the heavy sea water crashing down upon their heads, the heads of their children, a whole people never to be seen again?  Did their wagons break and their legs tire as they moved along the bottom?  What was it like for them in the through?

God does so much work in me during the through parts of my journey.  Walking through requires such faith, patience, endurance, and trust.  It requires me to put one foot in front of the other, to co-operate with the work of God's wonders and His all-sufficient grace, to rely on His pure kindness.

In every day their lies a step.  One step through this journey I walk.  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. I will fear no evil for He is with me.  (Ps 23:4-5)

In every situation, no matter how dark it may be, He has set before me life... Now choose life! (Deut 30:15)

It is one step.  One step in each and every day.  One choice in each and every moment, every situation of our lives...

Position yourself towards glory.  Point your feet towards life.

He has set before you life.  Choose life in the through.