Good Grief

Good Grief

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


I had the sweet pleasure to meet Karen Rainwater of Captured Phoography this past Sunday. It was way past time to have some family photos made of just the 4 of us and I loved some of her work she had photographed of several friends so gave her a call. She's from out of town but familiar with Rome we met downtown to take the photos. When I got out of the car I started explaining that if she saw tears it was because this was our first photos of just the 4 of us---she started shaking her head in agreement and said, "Shane...I prayed for him." Stopped me cold for a second and she proceeded to tell me that her cousin Christa, shared our story . Also, some of our good friends had their family photos made around the time Shane became ill or right after and they shared our story with her as well.

I couldn't have hand picked a better photographer for this "first." The kids had an instant connection with her, her oldest daughter was with her and she was precious, (Karen)she was so fun and she, like her company name states, CAPTURED my 3's personalities, and some awfully sweet moments. At one time we were sitting on the steps of Molly's pre-school/my workplace, she closed her eyes and said, " I'm picturing something." She asked us to look off in the distance and not smile. I knew exactly what she was doing-she was capturing us thinking about the one that was missing from our family. If I hadn't known I would have quickly gotten a clue-because she teared up. She was amazing-in just a short 45min to an hour-she knew us, she knew our hurts and our triumphs. So glad I chose her for this first. Then later that night I received this message from her....(hope you don't mind me sharing publicly)....

There are no words for what took place short time with you and your wonderful children has forever left a mark on my life.  I don't know if you realize the peace, joy and life that radiates from each individual person and as a family unit...but it is CONTAGIOUS AND LIFE ALTERING!  When Halle and I returned to our car we just looked at each other and wept.  It was the perfect way to wrap up our conversation on the way over.  It was obvious that happiness does not lie in the circumstances of this earth, Lord knows you were dealt some difficulty, but in the Person and Presence of Jesus Christ.  I am forever thankful for having the opportunity to make your first photograph of a new season of hope and healing.  You are a part of our life now as we will pray for you as you lead your family.  LOVE THE PIX!! 

Still makes me smile when I read this. I messaged her back telling her where that joy comes from...Jesus. I also shared with her that during one of the shots where I was loving my children I had a thought that I should be forever thankful for my "here & now," whatever that looks like, whether its a season of joy, or a season of wilderness. Little did Karen know I had just made a hard decision a week before that ended a very special relationship, for me and my children, but she was still able to see joy. My only explanation is Gods sweet sweet love. I'm extremely thankful that His love is apparent in me but I'm over-the-top thankful that it is revealed through my children's spirits as well. A sweet friend told me that she really didn't know Jake, but recently after a ball game she witnessed Jake, high fiving, chest pumping her teenage son and how she saw joy in him that night and how after all he's been through seeing it shine. After Karen posted the photos, I too, witnessed that joy in my babies not only in their sweet smiles but in their eyes as well. I'm with them all the time so i sometimes miss that. seeing this in them  makes this momma really really happy and overwhelmingly  proud of my 3. They have endured so much, so much that I wish I could take away from them. On the other hand, I'm so thankful that my 3 have experienced God the way that some adults never experience Him, and some never have the desire to. My 3 and myself get to experience His love everyday, He's guided us through one wilderness and looks as if He is holding out His hand to us once again to guide us again. Thankful that my 3 are walking it with me, experiencing His grace and seeing their mom depend on Him. They just Can't learn any of this in school, church, or by listening to others-instead they are learning it firsthand from the One that writes their story. I will continue to pray that Jake, Sam and Molly will always realize that their strength comes from God's joy and their joy from His strength.

Thank you Karen, for a sweet time, some awesome photos, for capturing special moments and helping me to realize to be happy in my here & now, to not get caught up in my circumstances but to stay caught up in HIM. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Learning to Listen While Sitting on the Fence (and not the voices in my head) ;)

Listening is so not my thing-I admit I had a little trouble with listening in school, seems I was talking when I should have been listening. I also have to admit that I'm not a very good listener when it comes to listening to my kiddos.  I can't tell you the times I hear them saying, "mom, are you listening, did you hear me?" I hear that after I have finally noticed them either saying mom repeatedly or poking me in the arm. Then I may or may not wholeheartedly listen. Know that's awful to admit, I've often self-diagnosed myself with ADD. It's either that or I have an extreme ability to "tune" things out.

Side-note---saw an E-card that said---I know the voices aren't real, but sometimes what they say are very interesting. Love it!!

This blog is not really about my ability or inability to listen to things physically but more listening spiritually. I am currently in the midst of an awesome bible study with my Wednesday morning women. This is an awesome study and just love diving into it. Don't get me wrong ladies-I love my fellowship with you all, but I love jumping into Gods word so much more. I'm one of those that can and will pick up the bible and read it, chew on it, and can draw some wisdom and parallel to my life. However, there is nothing more I like better than being asked to read, dig, answer questions, and truly experience His word the way I do during a bible study. This one, One in a Million by Priscilla Shirer, is challenging me and making me think about so many things. The gist if this study is traveling with the Hebrew people out of Egypt to the promise land,  how God chose to lead them through the wilderness, their experiences in the wilderness, their experience at Sinai and how they heard from God. Can't wait to keep traveling along until they reach Canaan but for now-boy am I learning. Love studying the Old Testament and love knowing that I am guided, just like they were, through seasons of wilderness.  Yep, they experienced God during their days in the wilderness, they questioned Him on almost everything they experienced, but they were experiencing Him. When we first started this study I caught myself saying, " I am in a season of wilderness, thankful for being able to experience Him like never before, but please Lord don't let mine last for 40 years." Then my ADD kicked in and i started thinking oh no if it does last 40 years I'll be 80ish and  life will be over for me, Lord please have mercy on me. Then my attention quickly switches to trying to get out all I can during this season. I'm just going to be real honest and say I continually ask God why am I still in this? There's some things that continue to linger on as a result of Shane's passing that are yet to be resolved, nothing major, but would be so nice to have some closure. Then there is the ever present grief. I still deal with waves of grief and emotion that i thought would be better by now. Add in the grief and emotion and sadness my kids experience that I cant do anything about.  I continually ask what is God wanting me to learn-please spell it out so that I can start learning. Then I find myself in, yet, another situation of waiting and seeing, which way and where is life heading now. I sent an email to a sweet friend explaining  some things going on in my life and told her I was pretty much 'sitting on the fence' right now. There are decisions to be made with several aspects of life and in my wiseness that I've obtained over the past 20 something years I've learned that sitting on the fence is sometimes a very good thing.  Problem is while sitting on the fence I should be listening for guidance from the One who is the author of my life. Instead I listen to those voices in my head(couldn't resist), the noise of those around me, the what-ifs start happening and I find myself not listening and everything just get garbled up and confused. Oh how I wish I could have a visible fire and a cloud leading me in the way I should go.  In this weeks homework for bible study, we have been studying when/how the Hebrew people experienced God at Sinai. While reading and studying I was wishing that I could hear God as clear as they had. I thought about how it must have made them feel to be so in His presence, to realize at that given moment how they must have recounted all that He had done for them-Red Sea, bitter water at Marah to sweet water, no food to plenty- how everything that they had grumbled and complained about seemed so insignificant as they "heard Him." Thinking that not any amount of ADD or tuning out would have been happening at that moment. Then, as I have done throughout the study, realized that I am the people of Israel, I have experienced, still experiencing my own wilderness, and yes, I've done my fair share of complaining and yes if I will just listen I too can have a Sinai moment.

I will admit that I'm not a "sit on the fence" kind of person. I want to know what's in store, I don't like surprises, nor do I like to be still and listen. I want to move hastily forward, sometimes against His will. One of the best chapters of this study reminded me that these times of sitting on the fence are as important as the deep valley-oh heck experiences, to the mountaintop-God is great experiences. I just have to learn to accept the times of sitting, waiting, wondering on what He is doing, what He will have me to learn and remind myself that He has this-He is leading me to my Promise Land. It may not be the way I would have chose, the route that's easiest, prettiest-but it's His journey-I'm just traveling it to get to Him. In the meantime, I'm learning to listen and always expectant of my Sinai experience.