Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Blog bits and pieces

I have been tossing around the idea of starting a message board/forum for grieving parents. I'm not sure exactly what I'd be getting myself into, however, so I haven't set anything up yet. I really want it to be God's desire and His leading. I know it's what I want. Just not sure if it's what God's wants. I am keeping my eyes open for some confirmation on the whole thing. Tim and I also started a small group at church on Sunday evenings and are really excited about it. We plan on half an hour of praise and worship music, followed by a video series on the life of Joseph from Max Lucado titled, "You'll Get Through This." We've already seen the first lesson and were greatly encouraged.

Seven months with grief

Seven months

It sucks. Death sucks. Grief sucks. I realized, however, that death is a fake, a cheat. He appears to have won, but for those who are in Christ Jesus, we know that death ultimately loses. I am consoled by knowing that, in the end, there will be victory. Today marks seven months since your “re-birth”, Matt. You were born again (spiritually) when you accepted Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior of your life, but you were re-born (physically) when you died an earthly death, the death of your body. You are alive, re-birthed into heaven's arms. While we grieve down here, you are rejoicing with God, with Jesus, with grandpa, with Jean, with Julie, with Dave, with Kim, and so many other loved ones.

Jonathan gave your picture a kiss last night before bed. I hope you got it. I still pick up your pillow every night, hugging it, wishing it was you, wishing there was a way to bottle up your smell that's no longer there.

We're going to throw some more eggs outside today. I know it's something you would have gotten into! :) I'm still trying to come up with ideas, too, to mark your re-birth date on July 29. Believe it or not, we were actually contemplating going to a paint ball field, but I'm reconsidering since I discovered there's potential pain involved. Still tossing around other ideas.

In the meantime, I am trying to keep my eyes on God, on not what I/We have lost, but on the hope and the promise of eternal life and eternal reunion, a life without death, mourning, crying, or pain. (Rev. 21:4)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

You Are God Alone

You are not a God
Created by human hands
You are not a God
Dependent on any mortal man
You are not a God
In need of anything we can give
By Your plan, that's just the way it is

You are God alone
From before time began
You were on Your throne
You are God alone
And right now
In the good times and bad
You are on Your throne
You are God alone

You're the only God
Whose power none can contend
You're the only God
Whose name and praise will never end
You're the only God
Who's worthy of everything we can give
You are God
And that's just the way it is


That's what You are

I desperately needed to be reminded of the truth. The truth that God, indeed, is on His throne.
Because this is what the bad days look like:

These last few days have been excruciatingly painful. I have, honestly, wanted to die because the pain is so unbearable. I just want to be with my precious son. I want him back. So many people think I'm so strong, yet I feel like I am falling apart. I am overwhelmed and have absolutely no motivation to do the daily "stuff" of life. I can't do this without God. And I'm not even so sure I can with Him. It just seems that in a matter of months, my life has gone spinning out of control. Absolutely nothing is the same any more and everything has changed and continues to change. Relationships I once thought were secure are not. Places I once loved being at, like church, I now hate. I feel like I'm groping my way around in the dark in vain.

But thanks be to God for His truth! I may not know where I am going, but God does. He is leading me, as He did Abram. Abram did not know where he was going, but he knew who he was following. Abram trusted and obeyed, and I am asked to do the same. The amazing thing, too, is that the strength it requires of me is provided by God as well. Oh, how I long for the day when I can say with full confidence that God did work Matt's death for good in my life. For now, I will trust in His Word because He has been good to me. (Matt. 4:4, Ps. 13:2,6)

Friday, February 24, 2012


Some things about grief continue to surprise me. Blogging is one of them. While I love (and even long) to write, I hesitate posting. Everything unrelated to grief seems too trivial, yet I also know that life is more than death. But grief has a way of butting in, showing up uninvited into each joyful moment.

Obviously, the last few weeks have been difficult with the loss of Tim's dad, compounded with health issues and sickness, not only for me, but for the children as well. Sleep, thankfully, at least, has improved. We have, for the most part, resumed "normal" sleep patterns and habits. (The Sleep Number bed is great!) Mr. Monkey is consistently sleeping through the night finally, too. (Of course, last night would have to prove the exception to that!)

Tim and I continue to lean hard on God. We were only too happy to be back at GriefShare this week. It is such a comfort to be among those who truly understand what you're going through. One thing I've learned, however, from GriefShare is not to compare grief. Each person's grief is their own, and one is not greater or worse or less than another's. I've said this before concerning the circumstances of one's loss: "You get your heart ripped out. Either slowly, like in the situation of a loved one dying of cancer, or quickly, like in our circumstances with Matt. Either way, your heart is ripped out. One's not better than the other."

I also picked up Mary Beth Chapman's book, "Choosing to SEE" from the library. I couldn't even read the dedication without crying, nor the prologue from Beth Moore. I was struck by the following quote of Beth Moore's in the prologue: "We cannot fathom the intricacies of the divine plan. But make no mistake, when we are in the driest desert, we can receive the manna to make it all the way to the other side where trees bud again and children laugh. God sometimes delivers us from evils we never see. Other times He parts raging oceans before our very eyes. Still other times He says, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers they will not sweep over you....Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west" (Isa 43:2,5).

So while grief continues to coexist with moments of joy and laughter, we continue to walk through this season of sorrow. Some days, crawling and limping, trusting in God's character and the hope of eternity. Other days, unable to walk, carried by God and the prayers of so many concerned friends and family. The days where the indescribable, debilitating pain of our loss is overwhelming are excruciating. Days that I still continue to be amazed that Tim and I are alive and survived such a blow. Yet I have a Savior. A God to turn to in those moments and others. I am greatly comforted that I am not alone. He is with me, and, though I may not understand His plan, I know that He is trustworthy and Sovereign. His banner over me is love.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Streams in the Desert - Devotion for Feb. 16

I try to read this little devotional nightly before bed. Yesterday's was very powerful and comforting for me.

Weeping May Last For a Night

"Though I have afflicted thee, I will afflict thee no more" (Nah. 1:12).

There is a limit to affliction. God sends it, and removes it. Do you sigh and say, "When will the end be?" Let us quietly wait and patiently endure the will of the Lord till He cometh. Our Father takes away the rod when His design in using it is fully served.

If the affliction is sent for testing us, that our graces may glorify God, it will end when the Lord has made us bear witness to His praise.

We would not wish the affliction to depart until God has gotten out of us all the honor which we can possibly yield Him.

There may be today "a great calm." Who knows how soon those raging billows will give place to a sea of glass, and the sea birds sit on the gentle waves?

After long tribulation, the flail is hung up, and the wheat rests in the garner. We may, before many hours are past, be just as happy as now we are sorrowful.

It is not hard for the Lord to turn night into day. He that sends the clouds can as easily clear the skies. Let us be of good cheer. It is better farther on. Let us sing Hallelujah by anticipation.
--C. H. Spurgeon.

The great Husbandman is not always threshing. Trial is only for a season. The showers soon pass. Weeping may tarry only for the few hours of the short summer night; it must be gone at daybreak. Our light affliction is but for a moment. Trial is for a purpose, "If needs be."

The very fact of trial proves that there is something in us very precious to our Lord; else He would not spend so much pains and time on us. Christ would not test us if He did not see the precious ore of faith mingled in the rocky matrix of our nature; and it is to bring this out into purity and beauty that He forces us through the fiery ordeal.

Be patient, O sufferer! The result will more than compensate for all our trials, when we see how they wrought out the far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. To have one word of God's commendation; to be honored before the holy angels; to be glorified in Christ, so as to be better able to flash His glory on Himself--ah! that will more than repay for all. --Tried by Fire

As the weights of the clock, or the ballast in the vessel, are necessary for their right ordering, so is trouble in the soul-life. The sweetest scents are only obtained by tremendous pressure; the fairest flowers grow amid Alpine snow-solitudes; the fairest gems have suffered longest from the lapidary's wheel; the noblest statues have borne most blows of the chisel. All, however, are under law. Nothing happens that has not been appointed with consummate care and foresight. --Daily Devotional Commentary

Asking "Why?"

Cried driving to the bank today thinking of Matt, asking again, "Why?" Then I got home and saw the daily Griefshare email in my inbox, which is normally there every morning, but wasn't today (yet).

What to Do With the Whys?

"What do you do with the whys?" asks Kay Arthur after her husband committed suicide. She answers, "You have to lay them at the feet of Omniscience and, by faith, leave them there and say, 'If You want to show me why, God, fine. If not, I'm going to cling to who You are and what You promise.' When you're asking why, and you're in the dark, and you don't have any reasons, you are to cling to Him in hope. He is the God of all hope. The thing that you have to realize is you are here for a much larger purpose than you realize."

Hope in God, knowing that your questions may not be answered. Each day make a point to look beyond your situation to the all-knowing God of truth, who will not leave you nor fail you. Learn about His attributes and cling to them in hope. The path of life that you travel is different from what you expected, but He will guide you.

"I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them" (Isaiah 42:16).

Lord, I am truly in the dark, and it scares me. In my fear, I lash out wildly. Shine Your light in my heart. Lead me along this new path. Amen.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentine's Day

**Last Wednesday, Tim's dad passed away. We headed back to ND on Friday and just got back this evening, Wed., the 15th.**

We spent the day at Grandma Pat's today (Tues.) going through condolence cards and visiting w/ relatives. Tim's dad's funeral was yesterday. The visitation on Sunday evening was bittersweet. There were many stories told, almost all with accompanying laughter. Laudie was a hard-working man with a gregarious laugh and an ever-present smile. His humor and simple wisdom were remembered by many. Others remembered being chewed out being on the receiving end of his stern lectures after they screwed up improperly performed farm chores or work.

I took a few pictures during the burial at the cemetery, also. It was a moving ceremony. The color guard performed a six-gun salute, followed by an officer playing taps on the bugle, and then having the American flag being presented to Grandma in appreciation for Grandpa's service to our country during the Korean War. We had a good time of visiting with relatives all weekend. As I've said before, thankfully, the visiting was possible because of all the prayers offered up on our behalf praying for our health.

We had thought we would spend this evening, Valentine's day, at a Jason Gray concert, but discovered the newspaper had made an error in the date. It was disappointing, but it did leave more time for visiting. Tim and his siblings and mom spent time going through old photo albums. I saw one of Grandpa and Matt together and broke down crying. Later, I took advantage of Tim's brother Dave's internet connection and hopped on the computer. I was checking my FB when I saw the FB sidebar random status updates. I don't usually pay attention to them, so I was taken aback when I saw that one of them was Cake Boss and that Matt Cherney “liked” it. The amazing thing is this: Just about a half hour earlier, the kids and I had been watching Cake Boss on Grandma's television. Wow. That's what I call a “God-cidence.” I really feel it was God's way of bringing me comfort on this day, reminding me that Matt (and heaven) is not so far away. And even more special that it was on Valentine's day.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Grief and Sickness

Before Matt died, I was completely ignorant on how powerfully grief affected one's immune system. In fact, I might have even thought that the extent of grief physically was that it made one very sad, and maybe depressed. Little did I know how extremely hard a hit one's body takes when it suffers the loss of a loved one.

Our family has been sick with various illnesses off and on for the past six months. Exactly one week after the visitation, we were all hit with the flu, with the exception of Tim. The flu was followed by various colds and coughs, which remained for several weeks. Right on the heels of that, the three boys came down with the chicken pox. Shortly after recovering from the pox, a few of us ended up with strep throat. On top of all of this, there has been the constant lack of sleep.

Most recently, just when we were finally getting a break and sleep patterns were returning to “normal,” Sweet Stuff got strep throat for the third time, and I noticed blood in my urine. A week and a half after that, Uncle Flu returned and Miss T.T. got a nasty case of hives. But lest it all be about sickness, I must add that Dh's wallet was stolen (or misplaced) last Wednesday.

February barely begun, we received a call on Thursday that Tim's dad was not doing well and were advised to say our goodbyes. We packed up on Friday and headed out on the road. We left much later than we usually do, after noon, but still anticipated arriving before 8pm. Drama boy had just gotten over the flu and was doing well, so I was thankful not to have to worry about that while driving. Mr. Monkey had gotten the flu first and so was fine. I had been praying fervently that no one else would get it. All was well until about 4 1/2hrs. into the drive when I realized that the nagging pain in my back on the left side had suddenly become excruciating. I think for an hour or two before that, I was in denial, thinking that I was just imagining the pain in my side. Feeling a bit of nausea, I told Dh that I wasn't going to make it to Fargo. I wanted an E.R. and I wanted it now.

Thankfully, Fergus Falls was 10min. away and I was seen immediately. Long story short, I had a 6mm kidney stone, an infection (most likely bladder or urinary tract), and am anemic. The Dr. wanted to admit me, but after explaining our situation and promising with my life to follow up with my own doctor on Tuesday, they discharged me with four prescriptions and iron pills.

No sooner had we left the hospital and gotten on the road when we quickly realized it was going to be slow going. The roads were covered in dense fog and visibility was poor. After only about twenty miles, the fog had increased and was now joined by freezing rain. It was after 10:00pm and we decided it wasn't worth driving another hour and a half in those poor conditions. We found a hotel and, luckily, got adjoining rooms.

Just when I thought the drama was over, however, morning came, and with it, Miss T.T. puking. The hotel was gracious enough to consent to our taking an ice bucket and even gave us several bags to line it with. I was beginning to think this was the trip from hell. I called a few friends and asked for prayer and had a prayer chain sent out via email throughout our church.

We finally arrived Saturday afternoon at the nursing home where they had transferred Dad back to. Unfortunately, he had the flu and was quarantined. Any visitors were under strict orders to suit up with shoes covers, face masks, gowns, and gloves before entering. And children were strongly discouraged. Grandpa had been unresponsive the night before, but began talking Saturday morning. When Tim, Grandma, and I entered the room, he stayed talkative for about an hour. He even gave the kids a thumbs up sign from his bed to out in the hallway where they were standing.

After seeing grandpa, we went to grandma's apartment where several of the relatives were visiting. Tim returned to the nursing home later that evening, but grandpa was unresponsive again and hasn't spoken since Saturday afternoon.

Anticipating grandma's apartment being full, we had planned on staying at the farm, so we headed out there. Miss T.T. was still feeling ill, but by the time we got to the farm, she was doing great and even wanted to eat supper. I have no doubt it was due to the prayers on our behalf.

We were able to attend our “church away from home” on Sunday morning and were blessed with a wonderful time of worship and praise. After church, we went back to the nursing home one last time. This time, we let the kids decide on whether they wanted to suit up and go in to see grandpa. Three of them suited up. Grandpa wasn't responsive, but we will be forever grateful we got the chance to say goodbye.

We are on the road headed home right now and I haven't had any pain since Friday evening and all the children are doing well health-wise. We are being carried by the prayers of so many. We don't know how soon it will be for our return trip, but are trusting God in the details.