Saturday, September 27, 2014

The best is yet to come.

It is hard to believe that this season is coming to a close. I have made vulnerable the journey of tremendous grief, my ups and my downs... You have watched me make mistakes, and then in Christ experience beautiful victories and glorious riches.

There is a lot I didn't get to write, didn't get to share, but time has brought me to this point, where I am changing position from widow to wife, from bereaved to beloved, from broken to being restored...

I am richly blessed, though a sea of grief and pain still washes over the base of my soul, and life everlasting continues to flow, overtaking me slowly but surely, making all things new...

How does one walk into a completely different life than they had once known and loved?

I count all things as loss, and I lay hold of Christ, who is my rock and my fortress, a sure foundation, my stronghold and everlasting God.

I know I am entering a new beginning... I know I am being restored... I know I am blessed and cared for by Almighty God.

My dearest Brent, I cannot wait to marry you in two weeks from today. It will be the beginning of another grand adventure. The best is yet to come...

Please note: This is the end of my journey as recorded on this blog. After the wedding, I will start something new, for a new season and a new life...

Monday, September 8, 2014

Ten Thousand Reasons

The music began as the congregation stood to their feet. The familiar tune rang in my ears and in my spirit. I thought, of course. Of course, this song. Today. 

I pulled myself up somewhat awkwardly, holding the wooden pew in front of me, seated in the second row on the left, with no one to separate or hide or hinder me from seeing and experiencing the full proclamation of this song...

The girls moved and shifted to my left, and I turned mechanically to tend to them, but Brent had already seen to it and they gladly climbed up into his arms. Brent is here. My heart tightened in my chest. It was our one Sunday in July when Brent was able to be with us on PEI, see our church, and meet our family and friends on the island. My heart churned within me as we explored what would maybe become... our new family.

The sounds swelled in the large room with high ceilings. I closed my eyes. Bless the Lord, Oh my soul! Oh my soul! Worship His holy name... 

The memories danced in my spirit, of Lynn leading the worship team in Truro, teaching them this song, seeing how it became a part of our congregational voice of praise, declaring Bless the Lord... Sing like never before, Oh my soul! I'll worship his holy name!

Then images of darkness beckoned me to the place of Lynn's funeral, where I had stood broken and bereaved, having created a funeral service of worship that would bless God and honor Lynn's heart of praise, and yet there having to stand and sing before the coffin of his dead body... Even there, we sang, with tears streaming down our faces, Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me, Let me be singing when the evening comes...

As grief overtook my life, day after day became weighted down with fears, concerns, unbearable emptiness, loneliness, and exhaustion. Still, everywhere I went, I would hear this song and in bitter agony wonder, Why on earth did I choose a popular worship chorus to be sung at my husband's funeral!?!?! But of course, I knew the answer. It was very intentional. A constant reminder of my good and great God, who was and is and always will be worthy of my praise and utmost devotion...  I knew He was with me. I listened as His word spoke to my heart. And in grace, by faith, I trusted in Him fully, that He would move heaven and earth to accomplish his purposes, for his glory, and come to my rescue.

For all Your goodness I will keep on singing, Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find!

There, in that service, and others since that day, I have stood mesmerized by the grace and goodness of the Almighty God, Holy Spirit, and Jesus my Saviour. My God who is three and one.  That he had been present in the praises of His people when Lynn and I worshipped and led... That he had been present with extravagant grace in the praises of a broken widow, a single mom, not knowing how to make everything work out right... That He had been present in the making of a new way, a new life, a new family, bringing about a new thing, making streams of water to flow in the desert, and waters to run in the wilderness (Is 43).

Sweet children of God, to exalt the King of Kings, no matter the circumstance, beckons his glory. For a child to put his/her trust in the goodness of Father God, despite death, or evil, or pain, or wickedness... this summons the supernatural provision of a fiercely loving God who longs for opportunities to reveal His heart! He cannot help Himself, but show up in an atmosphere of extravagant praise, with extravagant grace and divine glory.

Did I not say that if you believe me, you will see the glory of God? John 11:40   

Oh God, your grace envelops me. Your Presence has never left me. Your goodness has captivated my heart, and I will never bow down to any other God but You.

And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years and then forevermore , *Matt Redman

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Two years.

My thoughts are too numerous to list these days. SOOOO much change overlapping SOOOO much memory... 
Leaving my island, embarking on a grand new adventure...
In a one-week-turn-around, we listed our home on PEI, packed up the essentials, and "moved" to Sussex, NB to be there for the beginning of the school year.
We had our super fun annual family camping trip at Mactaquac Provincial Park

Alea conquering the KU annual slip and slide
We arrived Sunday night, the 31st, to officially start moving in (meaning officially kicking Brent out...) and joining the KU family, made up of many old and new friends.

Roya was quite excited to join Esther Maskery (and others) on the annual slip and slide, but Alea would not budge without Mama! So, despite the terrible traction of wearing jeans, we did it!!

The KU annual slip and slide holds another memory when Lynn (as he later shared) had first made note of his interest in me. He was acting student council president at the time, a junior, and I was a new freshman. I often heard him tell the story of when he watched me and Sasha (Blaikie) Labonte go down with such grace and poise :) 

There wasn't quite as much poise this time... But maybe a little grace?? And this time, we were followed by "Daddy Brent" and Nathan Maskery running and sliding, competing to get the most epic air time over the bump...

Roya's first day of Grade 1 at Sussex Christian School!!
Alea's first day of Kindergarten at Sussex Christian School!!
Roya and Alea started school today at SCS! They have expertly maneuvered these last few weeks of change, moving, camping, taking in university life!! They are so beautiful and ready to thrive :) I am so proud of them!

Brent came to pick us up for the official first day of school drop off :) He was an expert Daddy, and the girls are completely comfortable and secure in his presence. We went upstairs afterward to pay and sign paperwork. Brent signed as father in all the appropriate places...

1st KU chapel service kicking off Fall 2014
After dropping off the girls, it was time for the Fall kick off KU chapel service! I tried to stay in the back and take it all in, but I couldn't quite contain the emotions of the day...

Lynn died on September 2, 2012, two years ago today. And here I am. Back in this place, where we met, dated, where he proposed, where we first lived and served as a married couple... Here is where we were nurtured together in the word and in fellowship, preparing for a lifetime of surrender and service to God, and to the body of Christ...

Lynn and I sat in on early planning meetings for the design of this chapel building, and in less than 40 days, I will be getting married here in this very room.

There are so many of the staff and faculty here who love and care for us, who have known me since I had first arrived on campus in 2001. But there are new friends as well. My neighbour, Angie, came to walk to chapel with me, keeping me company on an emotional day... Her husband Dave approached as I was seated, and without even saying hello, put his arm around me and spoke a powerful prayer of grace and glory over this day.

Oliver Locke is here :) Mairi MacPherson is here :) and others who knew and loved Lynn as we served together in Truro.

And here I am... all worlds crashing together into one... With a man of God who loves and cares for us well. A new family being born.

So many incredible blessings, and yet each echoed by a cry of loss.

My brain is mush today, while my mind stubbornly exhausts its effort to untangle the great mysteries of life which are impossible to grasp...

Time moves forward. Seasons change. Life changes forever... All things are counted loss (Phil 3:7) and yet some things are never lost...