Good Grief

Good Grief

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Waiting on the Ball to drop. (Not the big crystal ball in NYC on New Years Eve)

Ahhhhhh week before Christmas.  I promise myself every year that things will be different the next.  Less buying, less busyness and enjoy the Prince of Peace's birthday.  So ironic that celebrating the Prince of Peace totally stresses me out.  Shouldn't be this way, but the world gets all over me and I can't stand it.  One year I will man up and do things the way they were meant to be.  Anyway, being a single mom, Christmas shopping is a bit of a challenge.  So I depend on the kindness of my mom and friends to watch the kids while I run around like a chicken with my head cut off to get things done.  So last night I ran the kids to my mom's to do grocery shopping and other "stuff."  To go to my mom's I have to pass the cemetery, so on my way back to Wal-mart I glanced up to see Shane's cross glowing at the top of the hill as I usually do.  Last night when I looked up at it, a flood of questions came all over me in a matter of seconds.  Questions that came out of nowhere, questions I haven't asked myself before.  The first one that popped up was 'DeAnn, do you really deserve to be happy?' then, 'DeAnn, do you really deserve to be happy this soon after Shane's passing?' and 'are you really sure you are ready to give your heart away again, something may happen.' So, I know how Satan works and knew from the get go that this had his signature all over it.  He makes me question things that shouldn't be questioned, he stresses me out the week I should be at complete and total peace, and makes me question my questions. (Does that make sense?)
I had a conversation with a friend at the AT&T store the other day and we were discussing our lives, her mom has recently passed from cancer and she said, "DeAnn, I'm not sure about you, but I find myself running from cancer, its everywhere."  I agreed and told her I fight with guilt about not being a better friend to a friend that is smack dab in the middle of her battle.  Its sometimes unbearable to go "back."  No excuse and something I am dealing with.  During our conversation I was telling her about some things that have transpired in my life that has made me really happy.  She gave me a big hug and told me how happy she was for me.  I, in turn, said, "But you know, I am fearful to let myself be happy, seems I am always waiting for the ball to drop."  She agreed and said, "When you have been through what we have lived through its hard to be happy without being a little scared."  Hence the title of this blog...waiting on the ball to drop. For the most part I have found  extreme happiness, but there is always Satan tapping me on the shoulder reminding me that happiness comes with a price.  Never sure what that price is. A while ago I questioned whether or not I would ever be brave enough to love again.  I decided with that question that it wasn't the fear of loving again but the fear of NEVER loving again and the fear of losing again. I also remember someone saying that to find love again is the best compliment you could ever give to the one you have lost.  With that, I decided I would trust God with all of the details and He would work it out knowing His plans for me is for the good of me.
Getting back to my questions the other night...I am not sure I deserve to be this happy, nor am I sure to be this happy so soon after Shane's passing.  I asked myself in the quietness of the car, do any of us really deserve to be happy? is there a timeline for happiness after death? is there a timeline for grief.  I had to think about what Shane would think if he could see me now, (not sure how aware those living in eternity are of us or if they really care), would he be like, "Whoa, she found happiness pretty fast, wanted her too, but not so sure I wanted her too quiet so fast." or "You go girl, live life to its fullness, never take one second for granted, love again, love with the depth and strength that God taught you and use that love that got you through my death, allow God to guide you day by day, and by all means be happy and BTW I prayed for that one."   For those of you that knew Shane-the latter sounds just like something he would say.  Oh wait, as a matter of fact, he pretty much told me these things when he knew he would be leaving.  Satan may make me  question and others may question, but I know in my heart that happiness is for me right now, deserving or not. For reasons I am still trying to figure out myself I see how God is orchestrating pure joy in my life.  The happiness I am finding is from Him, I continue to find peace and comfort from Him.  I've discovered a love for my Savior that I never knew I had.  I have discovered that I'm so in love with Him therefore allowing me to be as happy as I am.  I also know that God has allowed a wonderful man to enter my life at this time and I shouldn't question the happiness he brings or whether I am deserving or not of him or of loving again.  I like where I am at right now, except for the Christmas stress.  So Satan, drop the ball, its in my court now...and I choose happiness. 

Since life is crazy right now I'd like to wish all of you a very Merry, Blessed-beyond-words- Christmas.  Try and remember, amongst the craziness of the preparations, that we are celebrating the Prince of Peace, not the prince of craziness, not the prince of presents, or parties but the Prince. of. Peace.  So from me to you on Christmas, I would like to leave you with this song for your listening pleasure.  Turn my play list off and enjoy this one.  Merriest of Christmases. I love you Jesus and thank you for the lessons learned from loving you.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Once again, I have been asked to speak at a women's Christmas dinner/event.  When I am asked to speak, my first reaction is "Oh, no! Another chance for me to get nervous, anxious and worse...the attacks from satan. I'm not capable of this, Why me? and many other thoughts."  At the same time, I get this stirring feeling inside of excitement, joy, and an energy I can't explain.  When I got the phone call I told her that I would need to check my calender and pray about it.  I did so over a weekend, and all weekend kept getting that nudge to say yes.  So I said yes.  In the mean time, I also took on facilitating a women's Wednesday night bible study at my church.  I so wanted to say no to this request, but so glad I kept getting that same nudge.  Not sure if the women are getting much out of it, but I sure am.  Ironically, in that bible study we discussed "Mary & Martha"  and there is absolutely no doubt that I am Mary.  I would so much rather be the one sitting at Jesus' feet while someone else does the work.  But God, being God, has turned the tables on me (He does have a sense of humor) and has me speaking about the goodness and joy of Jesus.  I really couldn't be happier.  So as I ponder on what to speak about (my testimony or something else) I always go back to thinking God has had me go through what I have been through for a reason.  I expressed to someone the other day, that while I do want to give God the Glory He so deserves I sometimes just don't want to relive those 5 months of Shane's sickness and his passing.  I don't want to have to read the words in my journal and revisit the pain, and have all of it come rushing back as if it were today.  It's bad enough to face each day, knowing that 2 years ago, at this time, we were beginning the journey of it all.  The questions, wondering where God was in all of it, knowing that Shane's 40th birthday would be next Monday. 

I think the human mind somehow pushes painful memories back into a closet so as not to have to see them so vividly.  Don't get me wrong, those memories are never completely hidden but you do have to open the closet door to see them.  When I speak of those months, I open the door wide and sometimes its a little overwhelming at how vivid the memories are.  Its like reliving every single second. Only difference is, I know the outcome.  However, after saying all of this, in reading the book that goes along with my Wed. night bible study, the author spoke of the saying, "Time heals all wounds."  She asked if that statement were true.  I thought about it for a moment and agree a little with it but not completely.  After I continued reading I have to agree with the answer she gave-"Time does heal, but only when we're willing to talk about wounds.  Otherwise, our wounds fester through time." (You Matter More Than You Think-by Dr. Leslie Parrott)  So I think the nudging I get when asked to share my story is God's way of continuing to heal me.  He is knowingly making me open that closet door and face the wounds so that I can continue to heal and hopefully help others and share His goodness. My only hope is that He will nudge 3 children's spirit to open their own closets, so they too, can continue to heal.

 My very wise pastor said something last week in his sermon about how when we are telling others about the goodness of God how it should not come from whats inside of us, but what is overflowing from us.  My prayer is that God will continually fill me with His Spirit to overflowing so that I can tell of His greatness that I have experienced and continue to experience.  I want to be like Moses when he came down from Mt. Sinai.  29 When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the LORD. Ex 34:29.  I want others to know that I have experienced God's Glory.  In opening that closet door of hidden memories, I recall the day after Shane passed a friend came by and I was sharing with her, on my front steps, of my experience with God the morning of Shane's passing.  She looked at me and said, "DeAnn, you are glowing."  I thought it odd that she should say that, I had had no sleep, was planning a funeral and my husband had just passed away...but when I look back, I had never experienced my Savior quiet like I had that early morning in April.  I had seen God's Glory. WOW!! Thankfully, I will never be the same. How could I not speak of this??  Thank you Father for allowing me to see your Glory. Fill me up to overflowing with your Spirit and let my words be yours. Amen.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Encouragement and Birthday Wishes!!

I love when things just fall into place.  Doesn't happen very often in my life, except for maybe the kids clothing falling into place on the floor, or backpacks falling into place and the oak leaves that are starting to fall in my yard.   Anyway, this week its been God's Word just falling into place.  I recently agreed to facilitate a women's bible study at my church on Wednesday night.  Having a Mary personality I was rather reluctant on taking this on.  However, felt that God wanted me to do this.  Yes, in DeAnn fashion, I have had moments of regret.  Sometimes when I commit to something, dread sets in, then insecurity sets in, all has to do with me never liking change.  This causes change to my routine and having to put forth a little effort.  I truly am striving to put a little Martha into my life and be more willing to serve.  Getting back on track, session 2 in our study was discussing mentoring and encouragement.  I have fallen head over heels in love with Barnabas.  We have been discussing how he mentored Saul/Paul, John Mark.  Then in my Wed. morning bible study we were discussing Nehemiah and how he was encouraging the rebuilding of the wall when things were really really bad for the people.  We discussed these verses:  24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.1 25 Let us not give up meeting together,2 as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another3--and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25
. We talked about how we should really consider how we encourage and what encouragement looks like.  I had to bring these verses up tonight with my ladies because when I read it this morning it was one of those times where it literally jumped off the page at me. In discussing this tonight my sister informed me that the youth leader has encouraged the youth to memorize scripture and these verses were ones my niece chose to memorize.  Talk about coincidence, or confirmation from our Father Just when I am questioning the why's of why I agreed to teach a bible study when I don't feel equipped to do so I have an A-ha moment and see v. 25 that we should not give up meeting together.  I have 20+ women willing to come to Wed. night bible study, wanting to meet together to learn more about God's Word.  Does it get any better than that?   I am praying that these women will be encouraged and want to encourage others by our "meeting." I pray that God will prompt them to encourage without judging and not want anything in return. 
I can't help but think of all the encouragement I received 2 years ago at this time.  Saturday will be 2 years to the date that Shane found "something" on his lung.  Molly's 3rd birthday.  I remember the encouraging text, phone calls, hugs, etc that started pouring in and didn't stop during the 5 months we dealt.  I told the ladies tonight that its time for me to "pay-it-forward" and that its my turn to start being the encourager.  I pray that God will fill me with his Spirit to recognize those that need encouragement, that need a kind word, a hug, etc.  I pray that I will want to carry others burdens as they carried mine for so long.  I pray,especially,that I will not be quick to judge or spout out opinions about situations but just be there when needed. That I will be a friend, confidant, as God intended me to be.  I pray that I may be the encouraging mother that God intends for me to be.  We discussed Timothy tonight,  how his mother and grandmother played such an influential role in his spiritual life even though his own father was not a believer. I realized even though I am a single parent I still can guide and teach my children what loving and trusting God looks like. I want to be what Barnabas was to Paul.  Knowing if Barnabas had not seen the potential in Paul and given him a chance our New Testament would not be what it is today. So I thank the Barnabas' in my life that have urged me, encouraged me and saw my potential.  You know who you are and I am forever grateful.  

By the way...Happy  Birthday to my sweet Molly.  May our memories be focused on the wonderful day you were born and the joy you have brought to so many lives for these past 5 years.  May your memories of your daddy live in your heart forever and may you feel his love for you every day of your life.  More importantly, may you feel your Father's love abundantly and may you seek Him daily all the days of your life. I love you Lil' Curl, you are a true gift from God. Mom   

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Hopefully, this will be short.  One of those nights when something is on my mind, got to get it out there, so I blog.  I was going over some notes from my women's bible study yesterday. First, let me just say I LOVE my bible study.  Its not about the fellowship, even though its pretty awesome to get to spend 2 hours with some courageous, godly, spirit filled women, its a time we all look forward to each week to jump in head first into His word.  So, getting back to going over my notes, TD our leader (and an awesome leader she is) shared with us a quote from Joni Ereckson Tada, it was one of those quotes that I couldn't jot down fast enough in my notes because it struck a chord inside of me.  So tonight I was googling Joni and found it, I've added the first part as well..

❝God is heaven-bent on making us more like Christ. He can use anything—be it a broken neck, a broken heart, a broken home. Suffering has a way of uncomfortably revealing to us the things inside us that need to be transformed. .
— Joni Earekson Tada

Strike a chord anyone???  I can definitely attest to this statement.  Suffering, whatever it is, makes you take a good long hard look within and if you will let it and allow it, suffering can transform you.  Praise God for that.  Suffering will also allow/cause you to hit your knees and crawl to Jesus like never before.  Another Praise God for that as well.  Suffering can be a good thing if you will allow it to transform you.  In my case, it has allowed me to look at my relationship with the very One who matters most.  I can say if it was not for Him and the relationship I had with Him before the suffering began, I would have never made it.  Instead, thankfully, I was upheld by Him from beginning and He continues to carry me through.  Suffering has allowed me intimacy with My Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit that I would have probably never had otherwise.  That deserves a loud Hallelujah!!  In my case the uncomfortable reveal was my lack of faith, fear, worry, trying to keep control of situations, not giving it all over to Him.  Of course I still struggle on a day to day basis with all of these and more.  I also, know from the past few years, that He has NEVER forsaken me, ever. I keep self-examining to see what good has come out of what I have been through and I prayerfully hope that compassion, total dependence on my Father, and prayerfully that I am glorifying Him every way I can.  Letting my light shine for Him.   If you are suffering, whatever it is, pray that it will transform you, that He will reveal things through suffering that you would have not ever seen before.  It may be that some things that are revealed  you have tried to conceal or have tried to forget.  Maybe its time to clean out that closet, purge it and let Him have it. Let God use it to make you more like Christ, that is my goal, to be more like my Savior. The above quote has become one of my favorites now.  Knowing Joni has suffered tremendously, but let it transform her into the women of god she is today.  She most definitely did not waste her suffering and I don't want to mine. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

A New Season

Ok, as much as I love summer and all the activities that come with it I have to say Fall is way up on the list of favorite seasons. As time moves on the sting of the happenings of fall 09 seem to be a little less painful.  I remember thinking on the day of Molly's birthday, October 29, '09, how I hoped that day would not always be "marked" by what we found out on that day.  Fortunately, with God's help those memories are still there, but not as fresh and know that with each year that passes will become less and less.  Not that I want to forget, I have to say those bad memories will constantly be reminders of what and how God has cared for me and walked me through suffering and the beginning of a great faith walk with my Father.  Watching Molly grow, knowing she will be 5 this year reminds me of the way life continues and I don't think I will be thinking of the dreadful news we received 2 years ago on her sweet birthday as much this year.
When I think of a new season and all the things that come with it I think of one of Shane's last gifts to me.  As most of you know the last 2 weeks of his life was spent upstairs preparing for the inevitable.  As much as we hated to come to grips with what was happening and knowing the time was drawing near for Shane to enter his real home we talked, planned and looked ahead and behind.  In those moments we spent together, just he and I, he told me things he wanted for the children.  We went over yucky business matters, what he expected and wanted in that area. A dear friend told us to dictate letters to our children on special days/ages and he would transcribe them for us.  As tired and sick as Shane was, we did it.  Not as many as we had hoped to do but he did them.  He also had a conversation with me about what he expected for me.  He told me he expected me to be happy to not grieve forever and to find someone.  When we had this conversation I protested, not wanting to talk about it at all.  He pushed the issue and told me he knew that I would find love again, that he wanted me too, wanted me to marry again, that I was young.  He had only one request, however.  He asked that it be a godly man, one that would love me, love his children and a man that would help me with them.  I just shook my head in agreement, that I didn't want to talk about.  As time has passed I have found that he had this same conversation with some of his closest friends.  What he expected for me.  Shane still amazes me on how unselfish he really was.  He made sure these men, that would be instrumental in my life, knew what he expected and knew that it was what he wanted for me and the children.  I also know that in the times Shane would be resting he would be praying to his Father and know that he was unselfishly praying for mine and the children's future.  I know in my heart, that at that time, God's ear was closer to Shane than ever before, for He knew the plan's He had for Shane, knew Shane's time here was growing short, He saw Shane's continued faithfulness, and know that God's presence was all around that sweet time.

Sharing this with you leads me to today.  I have often said that if I was to meet someone else that God would literally have to drop him in my lap.  Well, God dropped this man straight from heaven.  Most of you have heard, met or know this godly man that has come into my life.  It happened when I least expected it.  He is not a stranger to me or my family, we were childhood schoolmates, church mates.  He has had his share of heartache, different, but still the same.  This man loves our Father and seeks Him daily,  he has godly parents, a solid foundation and is truly amazing.  He is amazing with my children and my children's hearts have been opened to accept him into our lives.  Even the oldest, who always said, that another would never be allowed.  I think he is the most smitten of the 3.  He amazes me with his unselfishness, his attentiveness and he allows Shane's memory to be alive which is the best gift for my children.  He knows what heartache is, he understands and he sees brokenness as a way to grow in Christ and a way to grow together. 
I am continually amazed at God's planning and what He continues to do in our lives.  I continue to see pieces of a huge puzzle come together that only He can put together.  I continue to see Shane's prayers he prayed, in the end, be answered.  In the words of Jake..."When ___________ gets to heaven I just know dad will walk up to him and say, 'thank you for taking care of my wife(& children).'  Yes, Jake I think your daddy would definitely approve of this godly man that has come into our lives. Thank you Shane for unselfishly knowing that a new season would begin in our lives and thank you for praying in advance for the man you knew we needed in our lives. Thank you Father for all you continue to do, for allowing such a godly man to come into our lives, for 2nd chances, new seasons in life, for allowing such happiness to come out of broknness,  you continually amaze me with your love, grace and mercy.  I give you all the Glory. Amen. 

 Ecclesiastes 3

A Time for Everything

1 There is a time for everything,

and a season for every activity under the heavens:

2 a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to uproot,

3 a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build,

4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance,

5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

6 a time to search and a time to give up,

a time to keep and a time to throw away,

7 a time to tear and a time to mend,

a time to be silent and a time to speak,

8 a time to love and a time to hate,

a time for war and a time for peace.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


So last night I was able to experience a great night.  I was able to attend the premier of a movie.  The night included me getting dressed up, time with some GREAT, AMAZING, WONDERFUL  company, a "red carpet" experience, meeting new people, great food and the A-T-L.  Nope, it wasn't a Hollywood premier but great fun all the same, minus the glitz and glam.  I was able to attend the premier of "Courageous."  I HIGHLY recommend seeing this movie when it comes out at the end of September.  This movie is from the creators of Facing the Giants and Fireproof.  I really enjoyed this movie.  I won't go into the details of the movie but will say that all daddy's need to see it.  I had been forewarned that there was a death in this movie so that it may be somewhat hard to watch.  It was a little hard, and I did cry, along with so many others in the theater, but it really wasn't from experiencing pain from memories of Shane's passing, I cried mostly from happiness at something that I so related to.  Luckily, I was blessed to be sent home with several books, one which was Courageous by Randy Alcorn.  I was thinking about the scene in the movie that touched me the most so started searching in the book to see if I could find the conversation.  I did, page 131.  It was the scene where one of the characters that experienced loss was talking with his pastor.   Here is an excerpt: 

Adam:  "How are you suppose to heal when you lose someone you love?"
Pastor: " I've heard it said it's like learning to live with an amputation.  You do heal, but you're never the same.  But those who go through this and trust the Lord find comfort and intimacy with God that others never experience.  Now, you've got to give yourself time to grieve.  But you also need to make efforts to move forward with your life."

These words could not be more true.  For anyone that has lost someone they loved it is like losing part of yourself.  Its coming up on 17 months and I feel I have allowed myself to grieve and continue to do so. Grief doesn't have a time table and its different for everyone.  I think grieving is different for those of us that find hope in Christ as well.  I feel that when you know where your loved one is, that your loved one is where they are suppose to be and know that God is in control of everything, that grieving process can and is a little easier, if I can even put those words in the same sentence.  When the tears started during the movie last night is was at the place the pastor said that those of us that trust the Lord find comfort and intimacy with God that others  never experience.  I think I was crying from pure joy of that statement being so true.  In the moment, 17months ago,  I would have changed things, but now as I get to look back and see the magnificent happenings that God had planned out I get to see His ways and love so different than others.  No, I don't think everyone should have to experience losing someone to get that intimacy with God, but know that those that choose to trust in Him will get to experience His love like never ever before or again.  His comfort is real, sometimes tangible, sometimes miraculous and sometimes so obvious and at others not-so-obvious.  His love is sustaining, like a drink of living water for a parched soul. I've said it so many times before, I am thankful for the hurt and pain and the total dependency on my Father because otherwise I would never have gotten to the place of complete and total, falling-in-love-with my Savior experience. 

Yes, I am still grieving, but in different ways now.  Tears don't flow quiet as easily now, the pain is not as sharp as it once was. It still hits me in the strangest of ways.  Things like being stopped by a passing funeral procession just 4 days ago, brought the sharp pain back to the surface again. Or how a simple First Aid class instructor talking about "death breaths" made me want to run out of the room to escape certain memories.   In experiencing that surge of pain, I was able to think back on how God carried me on the day of Shane's death and funeral, how it was almost surreal how He loved me through it.  The memories will always be there, the pain will continue even when not so deep and jagged, the pain will always be a reminder of what Jesus endured for me, of how He continues to love me, how He has carried me through so much and continues to do so. The grief is good....hence the title of this blog.  Good in a way that I almost can't explain, it will always be instrumental in who I am from now on, how I feel  and love my Father, how I love my children and how I love others and how I may glorify my Father.   Its instrumental in how I find joy, peace, happiness and comfort in God.  When Shane was first diagnosed my sweet friend LG shared a verse with me that still inspires me and pushes me forward.  On the days the pain resurfaces I just repeat it over and over in my head which gives me strength.  Here it is, hope you find courage through it as well, very simple words but powerful...

The joy of the Lord is my strength. Neh 8:10

Ironically, my upcoming bible study that I attend is going to be covering Nehemiah. Knowing I am going to find so much more strength in the Lords joy. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Being Loved Through It

This morning I was checking FaceBook and saw where a mutual friend had posted a video on my friend Buffey's wall.  For those of you that don't know Buffey she is fighting a recurrence of cervical cancer.  She will find out today results of a PET scan that she just had. It upsets me, angers me and devastates me to watch Buffey going through this. My heart hurts for her constantly. She is a single mom with 2 young children.  I have been with her, but not as much as I should have been.  I know she understands that going through it is still a little raw for me, but she has been completely understanding and I am so thankful for that.  I am determined to love her through it, no matter if I am with her, or just watching and praying from the side lines.  From experience, even though I was not the one fighting this stinking disease, being loved through it by so many is really the only way to get through it.  So this video is dedicated to Buffey, to my family and friends that loved me & Shane through it, and for all of those that fought and won, those that are still fighting and to all of those (and there are many) loving someone through the fight. Turn off my playlist and listen to this song.  Amazing.

I love you Buffey and so many others do too!  We are determined to love you through it girl.  Lean on us.  

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

God's obviousness-not sure if thats a word either, just work with me.

Bear with me on this-blogging from my iphone so not sure how it may come out. The kids and I came over to Shane's parents house for a last lil summer hurah, reason for iphone posting. I was enjoying the morning watching the kids sleep, listening to them breathe, their sweet faces when I received a text from my sister, Robin. It said something like "pray for Shannon, found out last night that she wasnt invited to a little spend the night party. Wouldnt have bothered her so much because she hasnt had much contact with these girls. One girl thought it would be fun to call Shannon and let her know she was missing out on all the fun." Teenage girls can be so dang mean!!! I have left out some of the things my dear sister said she would like to do to this little girl, cause, well, just wasnt real nice. Haha! I texted back that obviously S didnt need these girls as "friends" sent a prayer asking God to bless S with new friends at her new school, to let S know that God loves her and thats really all that matters. Prayed for the little mean girls heart to be changed and if it wasnt then to remove her from S's life. Told Robin to tell Shannon that i remember being "left out" a few times and it was usually for the good of me and in the grand scheme it doesnt really matter. R said her and Jamie both shared heartbreak stories and told S that sometimes thats the way God weeds out people in our lives. Robin then text me and said, "wouldnt you know it, i open up my Priscilla Shirer bible study and todays is on being left out of a party!" "I almost laughed at how stinkin' obvious God is sometimes!" I did laugh out loud, cause God is good like that. Our sweet Father knew my sisters heart was probably breaking more for her sweet daughter than Shannon's was for being left out, so He sends confirmation to my almost 50 year old sister through a bible study. Confirmation that we don't have to seek Him hard, He's sometimes so "there" that its laughable. He is so there in even the smallest of things so its apparent He is in the big things.
You probably are all a little tired of my "rainbow" stories but here's another one. Some things have been happening in my life, good things, but still sometimes doubt and uncertainity will creep in. I know God is in everything thats happening for many "obvious" reasons but sometimes you just need a little reassurance. Last Thursday was one of those days, nervousness, uneasiness was creepimg in. Then, my mom called and said go outside, i did and there it was...a rainbow. The colors were vibrant and clear as if God wrote in the sky, that all was well. So obvious!! I know, I know, I don't need signs and wonders from God to know He is there, but I tend to think that this is His love letters, confirmations to me from Him. I haven't experienced a rainbow in months, so I feel this was His obvious love letter to me telling me Yes, DeAnn all is well and it is good!" He is pretty stinkin' obvious sometimes and that brings me wonderful, fabulous, God given joy. I love you God when you are so obvious in your love, teachings and confirmations. You are so awesome!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Deservingness -is that even a word???

I have recently been thinking about the word deserve so I looked up the real meaning.

Deserve 1. to merit, be qualified for, or have a claim to (reward, assistance, punishment, etc.) because of actions, qualities, or situation: to deserve exile; to deserve charity; a theory that deserves consideration.

Over the past months I have used this word over and over, whether it be in conversation, with my kiddos, or in my prayers.  "I'm not sure what I have done to deserve this." "J,S,M I am sorry this has happened to you, you 3 so don't deserve this.""God, whatever it is that I have done to deserve this, I ask your forgiveness, I ask that you make it known to me so that I may come to you and fix it."  The list could go on and on. 

I was having a conversation the other day with someone that has endured a fair share of heartache and hurt and we talked about how we are leery when someone says, "you have been through so much, you deserve so much more"(fill in the blank...happiness, a break, blessings)  Do I deserve more?  I am not sure. I love the verse in the last chapter of Job.  The LORD blessed the latter part of Job's life more than the first. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. Job 42:12  It does remind me that if I am faithful and obedient then there will be blessings in store for me.  I have heard time and time again that I will be blessed for what I have endured, as well as my children.  Will those blessings be here on earth, or will they be waiting on me in my real Home?  I can't answer that either. As I have just turned 42, I am watching the 2nd half of my life unfold before me.  I was blessed beyond measure the first half, do I deserve more during the 2nd half??  I'm not sure.  I do know that what I have lived through, whether deserving or not, even the ugliness of it all, are all blessings wrapped up just for me.  Had I not endured the pain and suffering over these past months I would have never experienced my Father in the way I have.  I have to say that God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, deserve so much more from me.  My God, the one that knows infinitely what I deserve, deserves so much more from me, in the way of praise, thanksgiving and service.  He is awesome and deserving of so much more than I am sometimes willing to give.   I am thankful that I deserve His comfort, peace, love, patience, understanding, forgiveness,  (I can say deserve in this sentence because I referred back to the definition to where it says to make claim to) I claim all of those, so yes I AM deserving.  I am thankful for whatever He thinks I am deserving of--good or bad.  Because He knows me and knows what I deserve.  Thank you Father for loving me, for constantly carrying me day by day, for knowing what I do deserve here on earth and what lies in store for me in Heaven.  Thank you for loving me even on the days I feel I didn't deserve any of this.  Thank you for knowing what my 3 are deserving of and constantly loving them.  Thank you for so many things happening in my life that I see as blessings (big and small). You are worthy of ALL my praise, in Your Great Name...Amen.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


The other morning as I was reading my morning devotional by Papa Stanley (found this devotional at Dollar General in PCB of all places) I loved the title of the mornings devotional...Expect the Unexpected.  After I read that title I thought that was something to contemplate on.   I never expected Shane to get cancer, I certainly never expected him to pass away from it, and I really didn't expect for him to fight for such a short time.  I never expected to be a single mom of 3 babies and never expected to have to face what I continue to face due to Shane's passing.  I never expected to be sitting here on my 42nd birthday blogging about expectations (Happy B'day to Me), or feeling somewhat melancholy that Shane will not celebrate with me another year turning older. I also never expected to feel a little liberated knowing that I have made it thus far, but only by the hand of God and by my family and friends love and support.  I am always surprised at the way I expect people to be or act and how my expectations are either way off or right on.  Expectations can sometimes be a dangerous thing, especially when you put way too much expectations in people, money, power, things.  I have found from experience that if you expect too much from someone or something that you will constantly be let down and disappointed.  I find myself, constantly shaking my head at people for either how they act, what they say, or what they are doing.  Yes, I guess you could say I am judging people, and yes I confess, I find myself doing that often.  People never cease to amaze me in a not-so-good kind of amazement.
I  was talking to a friend the other day about people and their worldly worries, complaints and gripes and antics, before I thought I responded, "sounds to me that if they had someone they love be diagnosed with cancer they wouldn't be griping and complaining about stupid stuff, they may have too much time on their hands." Guessing you didn't expect that??  I know, awful thing to say, but dang it, its the truth. See, you had expectations that I would never say such an awful thing, but I did.   No, I am not wishing cancer on anyone, its just sometimes cancer, or hard times, or when things are not going as expected  you get a new perspective on things.  "Things" pale in comparison with cancer, the possibility of death, loss of a job, marriage, etc. I guess I am saying that people need to wake up, know that things can change in an instant very unexpectedly, and worlds can crumble and expectations need to be placed on the One that matters.  Yes, I find myself looking at peoples very good lives, knowing they, like me a few years ago, had expectations of what life was to hold for my family and I and how the unexpected happened and how easily it could happen to them.  I hate thinking that, but, there, I said it.   I find myself expecting the best of people and getting the worst.
But. There. Is. HOPE.  I have been thinking that my expectations in people should be  transferred to my Heavenly Father.  My expectations in Him always amaze me, but only in a good way.  But what really amazes me is the unexpected gifts that I receive from Him. He Never. Ceases. To. Amaze. Me.  The thing about God is when He does something unexpected He does it in the most subtle of ways, no pomp or circumstance.   Papa Stanley said it  best when he wrote..."If we have seen the miraculous workings of God in some extraordinary providential deliverance, I am sure the thing that has impressed us most has been the quietness with which it was done, the absence of everything spectacular and sensational, and the utter sense of nothingness that came to us as we stood in the presence of this mighty God and felt how easy it was for Him to do it all without the faintest effort on His part or the slightest help on ours."  Takes my breath away every time I read that.  Brings me back to the early morning of April 3, 2010.  God showed up, and showed out without any help from Shane, me or anyone else. There was no pomp or circumstance, nor was it needed and what I witnessed was no effort to Him.  This is God, the One that controls the sun, moon, stars, births, breaths, and deaths.  I didn't know what to expect knowing Shane's time on earth was almost over.  I didn't know what to expect to feel.  We had discussed it many many times.  I can tell you that even 15 months later I am still blown away at the memory of what I experienced that night with my Heavenly Father.  I never expected to find joy in the death of my husband and my children's father, I never expected to find peace in his passing.  Yes, I am still saddened at him not being here and constantly find myself going back and forth with all these feelings of good and bad, but overall I find peace.  I also never expected for God to sustain, comfort and love me the way He has during the past months.  I have felt His love like never before. I never expected for God to show His Glory to me in this way, but I am thankful for the unexpected.  I have decided that expectations should not be wasted on people or things of this earth but to place them all in God.  The One that I know will never let me down.  I have learned many lessons & things about God during this season in my life, and one of my favorite things I have learned is-- to expect the unexpected from Him. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Call

I was just reading a gentleman's blog the other day titled "How to Lose your Blog following" and well, I think I have done everything right on how to lose the small following that I had.  The best way is to not blog regularly.  I could give a ton of excuses of why I haven't blogged-kids, school, kids, kids, but its not just that.  Just haven't had lots to blog about. I have felt since I started blogging that this, was in a way, a journal for me and my kids.  I am well aware of the fact that they may never want to rehash the feelings that we felt this past year with the passing of Shane but its here, nevertheless.  Also, I have had so many people tell me that, no, they don't comment, but that they continually find inspiration from what I write.  So for those that find a little inspiration I will try and do better with putting my thoughts into blogging. 

Seems like I have wrote about this once before about the feeling of discontent and well, I have that feeling again.  Call it summertime, schedule is off, kids are crazy wild, still getting use to the change of being a single mom (not my choice,) and just the ugliness of the world right now.  Seems every time I turn around someone is getting some kind of bad news of some kind. I guess the biggest feeling of discontent comes from the feeling that I still don't know what I am suppose to do with what I have been given.  I am still bound and determined to not waste Shane's cancer and homegoing.  He made it clear that it was not to be wasted.  However, the discontentment seems to hinder me.  I will have my mind set to do this, and think, ' no its too soon, or no you're not ready.'  Then I think, 'well I am going back to my old mindset of I am in control and I will do what I think is right,' instead of the Christian mindset of waiting to see what my Father wants for me. 

All this brings me to the title of this blog...The call.  No, no, I don't feel like I have been "called" into the ministry- that was Shane's, however I picked up my Papa Stanley(referred to for remaining post as *PS) devotional tonight and that is what it is on, the call.  I will try to write this out to where it doesn't sound like mumbo jumbo so bare with me, cause there is alot going on in my heart and mind that needs to come out.  Yes, I was saved at an early age, or not so early, age of 10ish.  Never forget it, I was a little shy so I didn't ask anyone to pray the sinners prayer with me but remember it like it was yesterday.  I was in my Sunday School class with my Sunday school teacher, Mrs. McCullough (still think the woman has wings and don't think she will ever know what she did for this pre-teen.) I remember it was summertime and the metal chairs were cool, at the end of class we prayed and I remember asking my Savior to come into my heart at that moment.  No, I didn't feel a miraculous change right then, nor did I go on to live a sinless life.  However, I did keep my eye on Jesus and tried to live a good life.  Unfortunately, getting older, teens, 20's and even in to my 30's I see now where I had my life planned according to DeAnn's plans and God was just a part of it.  He wasn't the main part, part of the part, but just part.  I went through the ebbs and flows of the Christian life as most of us do.  Tragic.  *PS explains that the first call we get is Called to Salvation-when He reaches out to establish a relationship with us.  Thank God I heard that call loud and clear in a cement walled Sunday School room.  He reached out and I heard it and took it.  Can't say I really did anything with right then, but Hallelujah I got that call. 

Which leads me to the next call that Papa explains as the Call of Sanctification-big word with bigger meaning.  *PS explains that sanctification = holiness.  He states that, "it sets us apart for His purpose."  He explains that this begins at the moment of Salvation and continues until our physical death, it does require a commitment from us.  Even though it began at the moment I prayed that prayer I don't think I actually "got" sanctified until I committed to His way a few years ago.  Oh how I have questioned His sanctification and how I have assuredly felt "set apart for His purpose."  No, still don't like it most days but know that my, now verse for life is a promise.... "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.Jeremiah 29:11 (just received a shirt with this verse today from a sweet friend.)  *PS stated that sanctification  is not a perfect life but one that is bent on righteousness and obedience. I can say a loud AMEN to that...not a perfect life, but pray that I will be obedient. 
Lastly, *PS ends with the last calling...Called to Service.  I think I am seeing the bigger picture and see where some of my discontent is coming from.  While I know that sanctification is an ongoing process and part of Christian growth, I can honestly say I know firsthand what being sanctified means in the Christian walk.  I think now I am somewhere knowing what that is and I am now hearing that call to serve loud and clear.  Problem is, I don't know what that looks like or feels like.  Honestly, I am so much a Mary that I truly long to just sit at Jesus' feet and soak it all up, I have never really had that servants heart mentality like sister Trace received my dose and a few others I think.   I would rather let someone else do the serving while I am enjoying seeing what He is doing, searching for rainbows, if you will.  I am not saying being a Mary is a bad thing, I think I am just starting to see how important Martha's are too.  I always thought Martha's were just too busy to really see Jesus.  There has got to be a balance somewhere.  It is my goal to find that balance.  I want to serve in a way that will bring Honor and Glory to the One who so deserves it.   I truly feel blessed to be in this place of discontentment and glad that it is because of a walk with Christ.  So thankful that I have decided that its not DeAnn's world and God is just a part of it, instead He is my world.  Praising Him for calling me many years ago, thankful that I finally know what the word sanctification really means and thankful that I now know I have to get off my "Mary" fannie, cause I just received the call to serve, even though I don't know what or how, but I got the call and I don't think there is a decline button for this one. However, the HOLD button may be used until I know exactly what I am to do for HIM. As my favorite journal is called....Jesus is calling, are you answering???

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Puzzle Pieces

Today has been a bit bittersweet.  The stress of knowing May 18th(would have been our 15th wedding anniversary) was coming up made me feel yucky along with many other things.  Seems to be so much hurt floating all around me, just worldly stuff, divorce, financial issues, job loss, sickness, betrayal, time and energy suckers, just real world life. While I've reflected so many times through the years about May 18, 1996, how perfect it was, magical, happy, everything I had ever dreamed a wedding would ever be with a man I dreamt of all my life.  It almost seemed unreal, and life just got better and better.  Our marriage was not perfect by far, but we were perfect for each other.  We built our life together, God gave us amazing babies, things continued to work out. 
 Up on April 4, 2010.  While the bitterness is sometimes unbearable I so try and focus on the time Shane and I had together. Yep, I still feel cheated for the time that I don't get to spend with Shane, but I truly am so thankful for the time we had, short but wonderful. I will say it again, we had something some search a lifetime for and so thankful I was allowed to experience it. 
I usually spend my time with God at night when we all are settled in and kids are quiet. For mother's day I purchased the kid version of my new devotional for the kids.  I told them I wouldn't be a mother without them, so happy mother's day to them.  I usually read mine then read theirs, I did tonight and for some reason their version spoke to me more than mine.  Here is part of
what it said...
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. Is 55:9
"I gave you an amazing mind.  With it you can think great thoughts and dream great dreams.  But My mind is infinitely bigger and more amazing.  My thoughts contain all of creation and the universe, all of the past, present and future.  And because I understand all things and all times, My thoughts and My ways are different from yours.
Life can be like a box of puzzle pieces--with the box top missing.  When you look around at your life, all you can see are the pieces.  But I see the final picture.  I know how all the pieces fit together.  I know how to join together all the jagged pieces of hurts and disappointments, plus the smooth pieces of victories and joys. 
Trust My timing and My ways.  Trust Me to fit all your pieces together into a wonderful life.  And trust Me-at the end of your life-to lead you home to heaven."--Jesus Calling

After I read it aloud to the kids, Jake in his adult fashion said, "wow mom, that's perfect for you today, being yours and dad's anniversary."  I had to agree.  Yep, my life to me looks like a bunch of pieces and right now can't imagine the other half being any better than the first. Even though I don't agree with some of the pieces He has given me I think I will continue to trust the One who had it mapped out long before I was conceived.  He loves me and He knows what my "puzzle" looks like complete.  He knows me so well that He gave me a wonderful reminder when I picked up my Papa Stanley devotion...for May 18, titled-Supreme Love, based on 1 Corinthians 13.  This happens to be the scripture read on our wedding day, the scripture Shane based his last sermon on, and the exact scripture that I had placed on our headstone.  Coincidence?  No way, He loves me like that and He consistently gives me these little reminders.
Thank you dear God for the time I had with Shane, the lessons I continue to learn from him, the 3 blessings I call our children,  thank You for assuring me that no matter how hurtful this world is I have the assurance of living eternally without hurt or pain, thank You for allowing me to know what being loved in this world is all about and more importantly allowing me to experience daily, Your Supreme love, because the greatest of these is LOVE.  Amen

Saturday, May 14, 2011

God is Good---Not just some of the time but--- ALL OF THE TIME

A friend and I were having a conversation the other day and she mentioned that she had been doing some "deep" thinking.  She said she gets really tired of recieving emails/updates on people that are going through something and when things are not good they just ask for prayer but when things are good they end the email/update with "God is Good."  She said it made her stop and think why some do that.  When things are bleak are not so good why don't they end it with "God is Good" instead of just ending good news stories that way.  I agreed and said yep, He is good all the time, not just some of the time, or half of the time, but all the time. I told her she needed to reply to the bleak news with God Is Good all of the time and maybe they would get the hint.   I have since reflected on that conversation over and over.  I thought about it one day this week when I had heard of a dear friends news of her cancer recurring after 4 years.  Even though I was highly ticked at God ( I think He is use to me getting mad at Him now, but He is bigger than me so He most assuredly can take it), I thought of it when I heard of another young lady "winning" her battle of cancer and how her kids now have lost, not 1, but both parents to this stinkin' disease.  How, even though, they are college age, they are now orphans. The most recent time I thought about it was on a morning walk this a.m.  As most of you know our neighborhood (which has to be the best hood to live in in Rome, awesome neighbors, kids, community) was hit pretty hard by the recent storms.  As I was dodging piles of debris in the road and looking at houses having to be rebuilt, our neighborhood clubhouse fence demolished and just the destruction all around, I thought how good He really is even amoung this.  In all of the destruction only hearts were broken but no bones, no injuries.  As I was rounding the corner of one of the streets, with Shane's praise music coming through my earplugs from his Ipod, a sparrow (amazing I know) almost flew right into me.  I had to smile, I love how God is humerous like that. Literally, a sparrow, I know it was a sparrow because of the way his wings looked, when he flew up away from me.  I immediately started singing in my head "His eye is on the sparrow, and He watches over me..." (even when MercyMe was ringing in my ears)
Sparrow in Flight
It scared him as much as it did me.  I'm so thankful that God's Spirit has let me be open to receiving such small reminders of just how good He really is.  Even in the midst of heartache, much pain, destruction of tangible things and destruction of hearts and spirits He continues to be the very same God.  He is the very same God that miraculously knits babies in their mommies wombs, He is the same God that places rainbows in the sky after storms, and lets the sun rise the day after, the same God that created one of my most favorite things... the ocean, He heals people daily, restores us secondly, loves us unconditionally.  Yes, He is the same God that flooded the earth, allows tornadoes to destroy, allows cancer cells to invade bodies, doesn't allow some to have those babies knit in their womb, He allows things that we don't like-BUT- He does this to benefit us, grow us and grow His kingdom. So no matter how bleak or how wonderful things are please please please remember that God is Good and He is Good ALL of the time, not just some of the time, part of the time, a fraction of the time, but ALL the time.  Open your eyes and hearts so you can see it.

1 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; for His lovingkindness is everlasting (Psalms 107:1).

19 How great is Thy goodness, which Thou hast stored up for those who fear Thee, which Thou hast wrought for those who take refuge in Thee, before the sons of men! (Psalms 31:19).

5 Afterward the sons of Israel will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king; and they will come trembling to the LORD and to His goodness in the last days (Hosea 3:5).


Saturday, April 23, 2011

The hours after and Day Before

 I  have always loved Holy Week.  Now, after last year, this week has taken on a whole new meaning. The days remembering Jesus' ride into Jerusalem, the day He shared the Passover with his disciples, the night in the Garden of Gethsemane, His beating and finally the crucifixion should make a Christian very uncomfortable.  They do me, realizing exactly what He endured for me.  For some reason today I woke up with something on my heart that has never occurred to me.  I watched a little of Passion of the Christ last night and have been watching my favorite, Jesus of Nazareth.  When I woke up this morning I couldn't help but think of those that watched all of this unwind in front of their eyes.  I can hardly stand the thought of what if I had  been there to watch it all unfold.  I watched for the 3rd time in horror how they depicted Jesus brutal abuse and the crucifixion during Passion of the Christ.  I can't help but hurt and cry every time I see it.  For some reason this year the thoughts of being there watching it is almost unbearable.  My thoughts carry me to the hours of the crucifixion watching Jesus cry out, " Eli, Eli, Lama Sabacthani?" "My God, My God, why has Thou forsaken Me?"   Knowing full well, that I too, would have been having my doubts, wondering why He couldn't save himself, wondering why He let it get this far, if He was, indeed, the Son of God.  Also, thinking He continues to cry out to His Father while being crucified and questioning all of that.  Then I think of what I would have felt had I watched Him take His last breath.  After witnessing death last year I can honestly say that its something you don't forget, not that Shane's death was anywhere near the brutalness of Jesus.  However, seeing someone you love take their last breath is something that is embedded in your mind.
I can only imagine how the Mary's and his followers felt... helpless.  I know I did watching Shane.  Knowing full well what the outcome was but not being able to do anything to stop or make things better for the one enduring the suffering.  I can only imagine, as a mother, the strength Mary had to keep from climbing up on the cross to hold her Son as she watched Him leave her. 

Then I think of all of those that had doubted and accused Jesus.  I can only imagine how they felt experiencing the veil of the temple being torn from top to bottom and experiencing the earth quake
and watching tombs open, and Saints raised.  All the while realizing, that when a common man dies, these things do not happen.  I can almost feel their embarrassment and their shame, almost like when you are told something is going to happen and you totally dismiss it.  The feeling of wishing you had believed and knowing there is absolutely nothing you can do to change things now. I think of how Mary Magdalene must have felt when she went to tell the disciples what Jesus had told to share with them after seeing Him, how they probably looked at her like she was a little bit crazy. Almost like some of the looks I receive when I tell people the story of Shane's last 10, they want to believe it but its hard too when you were not there.  Finally, knowing how His 12 must have felt when He finally appeared to them.  Imagine the embarrassment and guilt they must have felt by not believing that everything He had been telling them was true.  I can just hear John saying while hitting his hand to his forehead 3 times..."stupid stupid man I am, He told me that this would happen and I sooooo thought He was crazy, even though I watched Him perform so many miracles, raise people from the dead and I still didn't believe Him."  I chuckle a little when I think of the men walking to Emmaus (Luke 24: 13), how they must have felt when realizing this man that they were talking and walking with and discussing was Jesus Himself.  One of those duhhhhh moments. 
All brings me back to present day.  Jesus has put it all out there for us all to either believe in Him or deny Him.  As I think of all these feelings all of those probably felt watching the crucifixion and the hours after, or should have felt, I think of those that continually deny who He is today.  I can not even imagine what those will be feeling when He comes back and some are left behind.  Then, it will be too late to hit their head 3 times and say, "Dang, I should have believed and accepted Him when I had the chance.  Now I will have eternity in Hell to beat myself up for not believing in Him." 

My sister recently sent me an article by Max Lucado and his thoughts on the realness of hell, you can read it here...  She said she thought I would enjoy the end of the article where Lucado compared the death experiences of a believer and a non-believer and how she thought of Shane's final 10.  He said that the unbeliever was an atheist and wanted no mention of Jesus even on her deathbed.  He mentions how at the end of her life she was heard by her family while barely conscious and talking to someone only she could see, "You don't know me? You don't know me?" she asked. Was she talking to Jesus?  Maybe she was wishing she had paid attention to Matthew 7:23 "I never knew you; depart from me."  Then I think of Shane and his total belief in Jesus Christ and how he unashamedly proclaimed his love for Him and how, during final 10, saw peace, eagerness and willingness to enter in to Heaven's door.  Shane never had to ask, "You don't know me?" when he came face to face with Jesus.

So today, the hours after Good Friday and the hours before Resurrection Sunday, I pray that those that question and deny who HE is, will come to know Him and I pray that I can show someone Who HE is through something I say or do.   It will be me who is ashamed and wishing I had done differently if I don't share the Good News that HE LIVES!!!!  Praying that all of us that do believe in Him are remembering in what he endured for you on the Cross and will be rejoicing in knowing that HE LIVES, indeed.  Hallelujah and Amen!!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Lessons Learned & Still Learning

Before  I start with my thoughts I will let everyone know that we did make it through the 1 year anniversary of Shane's passing.  Again, the days up to the day were worse than the actual day itself.  Actually, Sunday, April 3rd was a very GOOD day.  The whole weekend actually was.  Started it off on Friday night with a girl's night out of sorts, a sweet friend came back in to town and we had dinner, we all pretty much got kicked out of the restaurant.  Seems that's what happens when you don't get "out" much.  Saturday was spent doing the baseball thing then out to eat with family & friends.  We camped out in honor of Shane.  Before going to sleep I set my phone to wake me at 2:45.  I thought I would wake up, read the scripture that was read for Shane while he entered Heaven.  The peace that was over me can only be described as the same peace that covered me this time last year.  Not real sure what I thought I would feel at 2:45 a.m. but when I woke up, I was exhausted, I prayed until going back to sleep.  I think God knew that if I opened my bible that it may be just too hard to relive what happened exactly 1 year ago.  So instead, He let me peacefully sleep.  I did however, wake up again at 4 with Shane on my mind.  Ironically, I felt joy knowing Shane had been with his Savior for 1 year.  Knowing he is as busy there as he was here.  I can just imagine how he loves it.  Shane's friend that was with us, that happens to be our neighbor, the one that read the scripture for him last year, decided he too, wanted to be up at that time.  He chose to sit on his front porch with a cup of coffee and spend a little time in John again.  He said it was ironic how our golden rretriever Buddy,  barked at 3:00 a.m. just as he did last year at that time.  I jokingly said he must have a keen sense of the Holy Spirit seeing how He was here last year and obviously here again, watching over me and giving me restful sleep.  Not sure what I thought I would feel waking up on Sunday morning, I did have moments of recollection on what I felt last year, which was hard.  Went to church, lunch, then out to Berry for our own kite flying day.  When we first got there and was looking at how beautiful the day was Jake said, "I think this day was ordered by daddy."  I wholeheartedly agreed.  Shane would have loved a Sunday like that.  Just relaxing with family and friends at one of his favorite places.  We did make it,  but I will say like I say often when someone ask how I am..."Still Sux, Kids are good."  Even after 1 whole year it still really sux.

Now on to lessons learned.  Yesterday, as I was leaving Wal-mart, I saw a man that I have seen before.  He stands on the corner of the parking lot with a sign that reads something like...Have Cancer, need work.  I read the sign before I ever got to him then had to stop  right beside him.  I couldn't even look him in the eye.  When I drove on I was appalled at myself.  Here I was with a car full of groceries with time to spare before picking up Lil' Curl and I drive right by him without even looking at him in the eye.  One of those times when your soul gets all stirred up but you still just trudge on through your day.  My day went on, picking up kids, baseball games, etc and I didn't give it much more thought.  Fast forward to Wednesday morning bible study.  Guess what the chapter was on...MERCY.  While we discussed the real meaning of mercy and how God continually shows us mercy my mind took me back to yesterday.  I dropped the ball on showing that man some mercy.  Me, of all people, that has been showered with mercy galore this past year by the Father and by the body of Christ, drove right by an opportunity to show a little mercy to someone.  Instead of rolling down my window and asking his name to tell him I would willingly pray for him, I sat and judged him (which I found out today is the contrast of mercy.)  I sat and thought all the things most would think...Does he really have cancer?  Why don't he just get a job instead of panhandling on the street?  Is he just wanting his fix for the week? I brought this up this morning and we discussed it, how I shouldn't condemn myself for it, how to know when the Holy Spirit is urging you on and how to know if its me or the Holy Spirit.  With me writing this I  know it still bothers me, not really about this particular man but everyday situations.  How much more mercy could I be showing to others?  One of my favorite lessons that I learned from Shane happened right after he was diagnosed with cancer.  I blogged about it you can read it here
A part that I didn't blog about the girl I mentioned wrote about it here for the Redmond Regional Surviving to Share, she actually won the essay contest see Casie Payne.  Anyway, it was one of those days that Shane showed so much mercy to complete strangers.  When he told me to write a check out to them I was not being as obedient as he was. I was so reluctant thinking about ourselves, thinking about all the bills we were going to have to pay with chemo, meds, doctors and all.  He was steadfast and I could tell he wouldn't be talked out of it.  I remember how he not only showed them mercy by also truth.  Also learned today that one is no good without the other.  You can give mercy all day long but without truth its no good.  I also remember him praying out lout in the parking lot for this sweet girl.  I was amazed at him praying for someone else with the news we had recently received. Casie and her husband will tell you today that they were forever changed by Shane's mercy that day.   I encountered so many times Shane showing mercy to others.  He got it!  He knew that God showered him with mercies new every morning and that he should do the same.  Finally, I am getting it too!  Not to say that I will be always willing, that's still a work in progress.  Hopefully, I can be more like Christ and less like me.  I thought about what Jesus would have done yesterday, He would have looked the gentleman right in the eye, gave him a smile, that I can't wait to encounter, and he would have prayed with him on the spot.  He wouldn't have cared if he REALLY had cancer, if he was needing a fix, or what someone might think by being seen talking to him.  He would have pulled over (or kicked his sandals off) and showed an abundance of mercy.  He would have showed no judgment, no self-righteousness, no embarrassment, just mercy.  Small word with lots of meaning.  I've been looking up some scripture on mercy tonight and Matthew 25:34-45 is fitting.  WOW!! 
Needless to say, I have some work to do. I need to show more mercy as a mom, friend and as a stranger.  To close I was just doing my Papa Stanley (aka Charles Stanley) devotion for the night, even though it was on a completely different subject, it still hit home..."We are His body-His eyes, ears, voice, feet, and hands-pointing others to Him." -Charles Stanley. See, when we show a little mercy we flash a big neon arrow to HIM!!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Amazing Love-Continued

Today is the 30th and the overwhelming dread hovers over me.  I try an make things as normal as possible for me and the kids but just knowing what faces us is hard.  I spoke with a sweet friend this morning at Bible study that has lost both her mom and dad and we were talking of the "death" anniversary.  She told me that she has found that the anxiety and dread before the actual date is worse than the actual "day" itself.  I completely get that.  After bible study I was able to have lunch with a dear dear friend that was a tremendous encourager, helper this time last year. I enjoyed our time together and her insight on the whole matter.  While there I spotted a sweet acquintance, that unfortunately, lost her husband yesterday of last year.  I had to get my arms around her.  Bless her, she had her tray in one hand, bag in the other and I pretty much tackled her.  She doesn't know me that well, or my enthusiasm so she probably thinks I am a freak of some kind, it was just really good to see her. I have had her on my heart so much these past few days.  Even the memory of receiving that news this time last year puts me right back.  Funny how God had us at the same place, same time today.
Please pray for her.
Anyway, I know I am suppose to finish what I started so here goes. 

I ended Monday with the statement about all of "this" being a love story between a man, a woman and their Heavenly Father that loved them.  Please let me clarify what I mean. I knew what I wanted to say on Monday but so glad I didn't finish because today while having lunch with "D" I realized exactly what I meant about it being a love story.  In talking with her about what is going on in my head and heart I, again, said "Why this happened, I don't know."  She quickly answered, "I know why, because look where you are now."  I have said all along that Shane taught me how to really love through our relationship. I can't even put into words how much I love that man, probably more now, than this time last year. I could write forever on how much.   However, the greatest thing he ever gave me and taught me was how to really love GOD.  What is more precious than that?  What can a husband give his wife any better than that???? There is nothing in this world that I would ever trade for that.  Even better still, he gave my children that same gift.  Albiet it will be up to God to write out their testimonies, but Shane showed them how to really love Christ.  Could he have done this for the children and I here, in the flesh??  Of course he could have!  Would we have received it as intended? Probably not.  What we were able to witness was what true FAITH, HOPE and LOVE in Christ is really all about.  This whole love story was written out by the same God that created Heaven and Earth, that placed each star in the sky, the same God that has my name, Jake, Sam & Molly's name written in the palm of His hand, He wrote the scenes of this love story before I was even placed in my mother's womb.  He knew that Shane would endure this, did he endure it for me and the children and many others?  I believe with my whole heart and soul that he did and would do it over again if asked.  The best part of this love story is the love that our Heavenly Father has for us.  The same peace that covered and surrounded me this time last year, I am experiencing again at this very moment. Things may be different for me come Sunday, but He is the same God as He was this time last year and I have confident faith that His presence is here just as It was last year.  I find comfort knowing He has taken care of us and He won't forget us now.  His love never changes or waivers due to circumstances, He loves me the same, yesterday, today and tomorrow.  If I could edit the story I probably would just so I could continue my life on with Shane as I would have written it, but this is not my story, its Gods, and I have full confidence in knowing He is a better writer than me.  I am just thankful for the chapters I was able to share with Shane and all that I learned, I look forward with anticipation when I get to the last page and see The End so I can place this book on the shelf and open up a new one that's entitled  "Welcome HOME!!"
And now these three remain...Faith, Hope and Love, but the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13

Monday, March 28, 2011

Amazing Love

Today is March 28th and we have dreaded this week for sometime now.  I can hardly put into words what is going through my head so I can't imagine what is going through the kids heads.  I have openly talked about the 1 year anniversary of Shane's passing with the kids.  I was first planning a beach getaway but then we couldn't pass up a week with the grandparents over spring break.  I talked about how we were going to escape for the day.  As I don't want to focus on the 3rd as a day of dread it has been recommended by many to escape.  Although we can leave on that day, we can't escape the reminders of day to day.  When we came home from the beach a week ago I couldn't believe how the green grass and our pear tree outside our bedroom window made me go right back to last year.  Baseball games are just beginning for the boys as they were last year at this time.  The temperature, the rain, the smells all take me back to this time last year.  How do you escape that???  I can't even imagine being here on the day before and the day of the 2nd and 3rd.  I told a friend just the other day that I can't know what I will be feeling as the days draw nearer but I do know I have this overwhelming feeling of dread, much like I had this time last year.  The only thing different this year is I know what the outcome is.  I also have that overwhelming feeling of joy and peace that I also experienced last year.  Strange how devastating grief and extreme peace go hand and hand right now. When those memories come streaming back of the oxygen running, medications, Shane slowly becoming too weak to talk with me, the constant people coming and going in my house I try and cancel them out with the memories of the love that surrounded us, the peace from my Father and the presence we experienced the days leading up to and  that early morning.  I have to be honest, there have been times this year that I didn't want life to go on.  I have yearned to go to that same place that Shane is now, I have yearned for Jesus to come and get me and the kids, then something will remind me of how Shane expected us to live on.  I continue to get to see how much Shane really loved me and how he continues to love me.  Just when one of those days comes along that I could care less about living I may receive a letter from one of his dear friends about a conversation that they had with Shane over lunch.  I can see that Shane knew the inevitable may happen and that he was planning out who to tell what- knowing that they would share it with me.  One friend wrote that when they were saying good-bye, on what was to be their last lunch together, how Shane paused and said, "If this doesn't turn out good for me, tell DeAnn how much she meant to me."  I just received that letter in February.  God knew I didn't need that letter back in April when Shane's love for me was still fresh, He knew I would need it almost a year later.  He also knows how that one single bird in the morning singing his morning song, always makes me smile and makes Molly say, "Good Morning Daddy." God also knows that the red cardinal (which I think is the one that sings his morning song) that sits on a branch right outside my bathroom window reminds me of Shane and gives me so much comfort.  Just like the night of the 3rd last year when I dreaded getting in our bed without him how a bird sang a little song at 10ish, which made me smile and gave me the strength to lay my head down and rest, I could put money on it that its the same bird.

While I thought this past year would be unbearable I have to say we have come a long way. God has everything to do with that.  When I look back now to this time last year it amazes me that I was not crouched in a corner with my hands over my eyes and ears shouting "I can't do this."  It amazes me that I was a functioning human being taking care of the human being that I loved the most.  It amazes me that we planned plots, caskets, a funeral.  It amazes me that Shane and I continued to enjoy each other immensely, that he continued to make me laugh and cry in an instant.  It amazes me that even though he knew he was dying he took the time to make sure I knew how much he loved me.  I have to say it was a love story that could not have been played out better in a great novel or movie.  It was not just a love story of a man and a woman but of a man, a woman and their Heavenly Father and His love for them.   "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love!" John 15:9    To be continued....

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Well it’s back to reality for me and the kiddos. We enjoyed a week at Ft. Morgan AL last week with Shane’s mom and dad. They treated us to a sweet house on the beach, oceanfront. I have decided I need a shack, house, trailer on the beach for my respite. They wanted this trip to be for us, and it was just that. We all had a wonderful time. Extremely bittersweet, the drive down was the exact drive we took so many times with Shane, 11 times to be exact, the restaurants we ate at, the ice cream place we stopped at, the grocery stores, all were just reminders and memories. When we went to Orange Beach the memories hit Jake pretty hard and seeing him hurt made me hurt and all that hurt made Shane’s mom hurt. Jake realizes that this is just all a part of the healing process. He even said himself that next time we are there it won’t be quiet so hard. It was a time of healing and making new memories all at the same time. I struggled being there without Shane, it was our favorite place to vacation with our little family. Each child visited there as tiny babies and the last time we were all there was 2 years ago. The day I was packing and getting the boys golf bags ready to go, it slammed me in the face that they should have been planning to play golf on vacation with their daddy. Something he couldn’t wait to do. He was not like me in the sense that sitting on the beach from sun up to sundown got a little mundane so he was looking forward to when he and the boys could play golf together. I have to say I was looking forward to that day too, hoping Molly would be like her mom and love the beach from sun up to sundown. Don’t get me wrong I am so thankful that Paw Paw, aka Big D, was willing to take them but it still should have been their daddy.

Before we left I decided to get the book my sister had recommended to read. I decided to read it while I was there because the author is from Orange Beach and the story took place in the area. The book is The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews. I highly recommend this book. It is a true story and has just enough history, suspense to keep you from wanting to put it down. The main reason it kept me captivated was the whole theme of the book…forgiveness. As I got to the end of the book I was on the beach with the kids and of course my kids can detect tears a million miles away now, so Jake asked me if I was crying. Yep, I was and this time it was because of a dang book. As rare as it is, that day my kids were ready to head in and did so with Shane’s mom, aka Pooh. So I finished the book without interruption and then had ample time to sit and think about it. Again, the whole theme of the book is about forgiveness. While I watched dolphins splash by, and watched the sun go deeper I started thinking about what I needed to forgive. I thought I had forgiven God for taking Shane away, but when I really think about it, I don’t think I fully have. Then I thought about a conversation I had just had the day before on the beach with a gentleman that shared with me that his wife had a terminal disease and probably had about 2 years to live. He was telling me he completely understood what I had been through and hated to know that he was going to know what it felt like for his spouse to pass. He asked me if I had fought with being mad at Shane during his sickness. This conversation made me ask myself did I and had I forgiven him and myself? So many times I wanted to yell at him to FIGHT!!!! I wanted him not to give up, I wanted him to fight this stinking disease. While I know from the pit of my heart that he did absolutely nothing to be forgiven by me I know I need to purge this and get it out there. I also realize that I need to forgive myself, for beating myself up for thinking I could have done so much more, more time, more patience, more understanding, just more. I had time to sit and think about all the forgiveness that I needed to take care of in my life.

Now, fast forward to my Wednesday morning bible study, what was it on today???? Yep, forgiveness. Just like God to put it right there so He would make sure that I was going to deal with it and not let it just wash out with the waves of the gulf. Our leader hit it home when she answered her own question of, “What do we usually need to forgive?” She answered, “Sometimes don’t we have to forgive what our circumstances are?” She got a loud Amen on that one from me. That was it. I need to forgive God for what I have been handed. We talked about how God forgives us and what makes a person think we are so much better than Him, to think we can’t forgive. We are not even close to who HE is, so why do we think He should forgive us if we can’t forgive others. I almost could hear a loud slap on my hand from my Father. So as I finish this post I ask you, what do you need to forgive? Something small, something huge, something trivial, something that seems almost unforgivable, something you have to dig really hard inside to pull out, or something you just don’t want to let go of?? By not forgiving someone it will steal so much joy that God has promised us. We also talked about how unforgiveness will also drive a huge wedge between you and God. I challenge you to dig it up, purge it, let go of those grudges and hurts and forgive whatever it is. Life is too short!! God forgives us so easily why can’t we be like Him and forgive as easily??? Are you better than HIM?? I can answer that with a big fat NO! I am going now to settle some things of my own.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

One year ago today!

 It's been a bittersweet weekend here. Yesterday at my church we celebrated the Rev. Charles Evans. This man has been in the ministry 70 years.

Can you imagine?

As usual,his sermon was eloquent and insightful and from the heart. He spoke about how we need to take every opportunity to speak about our Savior. He spoke about how many times he has had the chance and didn't do it. I can't ever imagine Preacher Evans not speaking about Christ and His goodness, but I have to remember he is human. It was bittersweet knowing that he is at the age of needing to retire, but I have a feeling he will not retire from spreading the wonderful news of Jesus Christ. Lakeview Baptist gave him the honor of Preacher Emeritus of our church. As he spoke about it being the possibility of it being his last sermon (God forbid) I had a wave of emotion fly over me, remembering 1 year ago on the dot that Shane was behind the exact same pulpit giving what we now know was his last testimony/sermon. I also thought about Shane doing exactly what Preacher Evans said we all should be doing. Then I sat convicted that I am not taking EVERY opportunity to talk about Jesus. Shane admired and respected Preacher Evans in so many ways,he loved to hear him preach and said he could listen to him talk all day long and loved how he always included in his sermons the Lord's prayer. As I was leaving yesterday and gave Mrs. Adele and Preacher Evans a hug, I told him how much Shane admired him and his response was, "Shane was a special man, he was an anointed man of God."

Those words from such a Godly man meant so much to me and I will always be thankful. I'd like to end with the post from Caring Bridge from 1 year ago following Shane's last time behind the pulpit.

Saturday, February 27, 2010 4:18 PM, ESTGot a few minutes and thought I would give you the low down on the YACS meeting and what not. First of all thanks for all the support we have received for starting this support group. River City Bank and Craig Brewster, you are amazing, they are allowing us to meet in their beautiful building, they (or Craig) provided Chick fil A for us. How awesome is that. For our first meeting we had 12 in attendance. I had a wise lady remind me that 12 was a pretty special number. Hadn't even thought about that until she mentioned it. Dr. Dillmon (Shane's doctor) was there, and that meant the world to Shane and I. She has been extremely encouraging, has awesome ideas, and seems to be willing to help anyway she can. She is pretty awesome, and we adore her. Overall, it went pretty well. Basically, I just went over why we decided to start this support group and then Shane facilitated the rest of the meeting. It took a little while for everyone to warm up, but once they did, people were very open and had some great ideas for upcoming meetings. It was awesome spending that time with those that truly understand each other. Everyone was so extremely nice and seemed to enjoy themselves. We are going to attempt to have a Relay for Life team. So be watching out for that. We are in the works on ordering t-shirts, etc. Today we are gearing up for Shane's post cancer diagnosis testimony that he will share tomorrow morning. He is feeling pretty well, he started steroids yesterday to give him a little umph for tomorrow. His flushed cheeks are always a tell tell sign he is taking steroids. He even went in to the office today (tax season) and did a few tax returns, then showed up at Jake's baseball practice. I am a little nervous for Shane, hoping he has strength to get through it, that he won't start coughing as he sometimes does after talking for a while. Sounds like there will be lots of his friends there to support him and that always makes me a little bit nervous also. He seems fine with it, depending on Jesus to get him through it. I try and put myself in his place and wonder what I would want to share if given the chance. There is so much I would want to share that I really don't know where I would start. I do know that I would share how God has taken such great care of us through this. Also, Shane has mentioned Paul before, when he was first diagnosed with cancer. How Paul was torn on being with God in heaven or staying in the flesh and doing what he needed to do here on earth. What I am seeing is Shane, no matter if he has been diagnosed with a life-threatening disease or not, wants to continue to do God's work here on earth. No matter how bad he might feel he still wants to share with others what He has done and is doing in his life. I am not so sure if it was me that I could or would do it. So today, I just want to tell everyone just how much I love Shane and how PROUD I am of him. He is suffering well. How many of us would be willing to suffer the way he is???? Don't get me wrong, he has had his bouts of anger, feeling sorry for himself, etc. but overall, he is doing exactly what God wants us to do when faced with adversity. Just like the song says..."He never promised that the cross would not get heavy, or the hill would not be hard to climb, He never offered a victory without fighting, but He said help would always come in time." Shane seems to be carrying the cross up the hill with courage, and love for God and waiting to see what God is doing. Say a prayer for him that tomorrow he has the strength to speak, that the cough will stay at the door, and the Spirit will surround Shane and everyone that will be present in our church. I'll let you know how it goes as soon as I can. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Guilt, Anger, and Impatience

I was told this morning by an old friend that it was time for me to blog, so here goes. Let me start by saying God always allows those that make me smile to out of the blue call and leave a message on the days I need it most.  This week hasn't been good.  Can't put my finger on whats going on in these emotions of mine but know that I have that unsettled feeling again.  I know lots has to do with the time of year it is, remembering this time last year.  Also, baseball has started for both boys and there is a HUGE absence on and off the field.  Little things like new cleats and a new bat does not seem right with out the one that knew the game better than most.  Standing in Hibbetts yesterday I found myself feeling really sorry for me and my kids, and we were just there buying cleats.  As much as I love this weather it is totally bringing back memories of this time last year.  I know lots of these feelings I am feeling because it is getting so close to the 1 year anniversary of Shane's passing, and know this is all a normal part of the grieving process.  However, I don't like it and I don't have to like it.  I shared in my bible study, this morning, how I don't like these feelings I am feeling and how I feel guilty to constantly be asking for people to cover me and my children in prayer.  How I feel guilty when I hear other peoples problems and think, 'seriously are they really complaining about that?' I feel impatient right now, impatient on wanting these feelings to get better, impatient on wanting to see what God has in store for me and impatient on really wanting God to be glorified through my life. Impatient on waiting on Jesus return. I am tired of feeling angry, angry that my husband is not here to give me a hug, to sleep beside of me.  Angry that I can't talk to him about some really important things.  Angry that this emptiness inside of me is not going away.  Angry that my kids don't have a daddy to come home after work and cheer them on at their baseball games or tell them what they are doing right and wrong on the field.  Angry that I am having to think of somewhere to go so we don't have to be here on the anniversary of his passing.  Angry that on Saturday I went to his grave to see his headstone for the first time.  Seeing it "in stone" made me even angrier.  Angry that my kids get excited to actually be seeing his new headstone.  They should be excited about other things.  I am angriest that I'm all of these, guilty, impatient and angry.  I know this is not of God and that's why it makes me angry.  Most days I do have that unexplainable peace and joy but here lately all of these have been sneaking in.    I know I probably sound like I am rambling, but I think if those reading have ever experienced great loss or hurt then you can empathize with me.  My very good friend/spiritual mentor does know how I feel and continually tells me, "DeAnn, it hasn't even been a year yet, these feelings are so normal." She reminds me to just to be where God has me right now, because that is exactly where He wants me.  The sketch that hangs on my wall is a constant reminder of this very statement, its Jesus holding a lamb on his shoulder right up close to his face.  I know that is where He has me and I want to be comfortable right there, however long He wants me there.  So I will "abide" in His care and ask you (guiltily) to pray for me.  My specific prayer is for God, God alone, to feel this emptiness as only He can.  I know He can but I just have to let Him.  I need to get passed all of these emotions and just let Him hold me close to Him.  Which brings me to this song.  This is what I long for, I am seeking you my Savior, and loving you more by the day, loving you for being my shepherd who loves me.  Like a shepherd He will tend his flock, In His arm He will gather the lambs, And carry them in his bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes. Isaiah 40:11