Sunday, April 25, 2010

My Lovely New Wedges

Check out these fabulous shoes I bought yesterday. I normally don't shop. My excuse? I'm a bridesmaid in a friend's wedding and needed gold heels.


Aren't they great? These are a little adventurous for me. I normally stick with flats and fairly conservative ones at that. But I am loving these. My sister was so proud!

By the way if you are reading this, I still need get-away suggestions! Read the post below. Thanks!!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Thankful for the Sun

I am thankful for the sun. It has come out. Literally. Today it was sunny. But today, also, for the first time in four weeks, I was also truly happy. Not just okay. Or fine. I was happy. I know that it's still a long road and that I need to treasure these days, but it gives me hope that there will be joyful, happy days even after my brother's death.

Thanks for bearing with me these last few weeks. The posts may have been hard to read for some of you. And I can't guarantee there won't be more of those. I'm processing. But the sun is back, and today it's shining. I'm thankful for that.

While I'm talking about happy things, I have something you could help me with. The hubs and I are wanting to take a trip. My dad, so generously, gave me miles for my birthday last year. Woo-hoo! So we can fly anywhere. We had talked originally about going to visit friends, but now I'm kinda wanting to do something on our own. What are your thoughts? If we went somewhere soon, we would definitely stay in the US - or possibly Caribbean or Mexico, but not over seas. If we went in the fall, it could be over seas... but the fall is just so far away... I kinda want to get away from life now... so now I ask you, What's someplace you've been that you love?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Redeemer of Circumstances

A friend sent me this quote today. I don't have the energy to integrate it into a post or share my thoughts. All I know is it's brought me comfort. God won't waste my pain. He won't waste a single tear.

This quote is just a reminder of that truth. God has not only redeemed me, but He has redeemed my circumstances as well. This is true whether we find ourselves facing grief, an addiction, an unwanted pregnancy, or something else we never dreamed we'd face. Our God redeems it all.

"God is not only a Redeemer of our sin, but He is a Redeemer of our circumstances as well.  He will not waste a single problem, a single heartache, a single tear.  Our God is a Redeemer God, and He stands minute by minute before us, inviting us to let Him have the sorrow, to let Him have the pain, to let Him have the disappointment.  To trust Him to make something useful, something creative of every tragedy that darkens our lives.(Quote taken from an unknown book... tell me if you know)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Pillow

I was missing my brother this weekend, so I decided to take one of his t-shirts and make it into a pillow. I mean, an XXL t-shirt is too big for a comfy night shirt. So I put it to good use!


Austen wore this shirt all the time. It actually had holes under the arms... and it's really thin in places. He loved it. And now I can love it too.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

2 Weeks

It's been a little more than two weeks since my heart broke. Two loooong weeks. I'm not even sure how it's only been two weeks to be quite honest.

While in Houston, I had good time with family, especially siblings. Love you guys! It was refreshing to be able to bicker with them in the midst of such pain and grief. That may sound strange. But there's something special about the relationship between siblings. With a sibling, you fight just because you can. And you don't always mean it either. But even when you do mean it, the relationship isn't severed. It perseveres because that's the beauty of family. You love each other despite of your differences.

 William likes to pinch our love handles. We have to protect ourselves.

A sibling trip to Tastee Delite.
Brendon took the pic.
Left to right: William (17), Madison (William's girlfriend), Meg (step sis, 14), Cassidy (Austen's half sis), Anabelle (16), and me. We were just missing Alex (11) and Baby Morgan (19 mo)!

Back to life...

Coming back to Dallas has been difficult at time, comforting at others. I just kept thinking that coming back would be hard. Everyone else's world went on as normal, and mine stopped. It didn't just stop. It was shattered. And in the midst, I lost almost two weeks. Some moments I am overwhelmed by the loss of my brother and the loss of time, but other times I am just thankful for the amazing community God has put around me.

One of those communities is my DTS family, who has been amazing. I am so thankful to be there during this difficult time. Friends created a care calendar to bring us meals, as I'm trying to finish school. And professors have given me a lot of grace. It's awesome to be surrounded by believers during such a trying time. I did have a minor issue with the registrar, but thankfully that has been resolved. Also, I applied for an extension for course work. I'm banking on that, so hopefully it will go through. I think the extension would allow me to maintain sanity and emotional stability. Beyond that, I am still set to walk in May and graduate in August!

And tons of people (non-DTSers too) have reached out to us. I've appreciated all of the cards, meals, cookies, gifts, and Facebook messages. Thank you for them. I've gotten a few messages in the past few days too. Some of you have worried you were late or that I wouldn't want to hear from you anymore. But honestly, while I hate the circumstances, it is nice to know you care. And like I said, it's hard coming back to a world that continued on while mine stopped. It's nice to be validated and to not be expected to be finished grieving after two weeks. So thank you. I always appreciate your words and prayers.

One more thing. It's been really cool to see the faith of my family during all of this. A friend told me about a friend's family that lost their 21-year-old daughter in a car accident last summer. She said watching their grief, even now, compared to that of my family in the past two weeks has been starkly different. I don't know what to say. I haven't met this family. But I understand their pain. I can't imagine being on their journey without the faith I have in the Lord. Because without the Lord, I don't know how I would make it through each day. I know my parents feel the same way. The Lord has provided an awesome peace (though the waves of tears still come) and assurance in the midst of this tragedy.

By this next part you will probably be able to tell I'm a seminary student, but I'll take the risk... I've never understood the eagerness some Christians have for end times, when believers will be raptured and get to delight in the Lord's presence and reign with Him in the millennium. I love the Lord, but honestly I love my life here too. I look forward to being a mom, being a grandma, and maybe even a great grandma. I'm excited to see what God has in store for me as far as counseling and/or ministry. And the thought of spending another sixty years with my husband thrills me. Why would I want to give any of this up?

Maybe this is because I have never lost anyone close to me or truly mourned the state of our world. But for the first time, I have found myself looking forward to the new heaven and new earth. I yearn for that time, when,
"He 1  will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death will not exist any more – or mourning, or crying, or pain, for the former things have ceased to exist.” 2  (Revelation 21:4, NET Bible)
God is carrying me through now. But someday, He will conquer. And that will be a great day.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Our Bodies

I keep thinking back to the visitation on Wednesday night. I saw my brother's body laying in the casket, yet it looked nothing like him. Nothing like him.

I know people say that a lot when people die. And when I've had grandparents die, I thought they looked slightly off - not like their normal selves. But this was different. My brother was a big guy, with lots of chub on his face. Yet somehow that wasn't what I saw on Wednesday. His forehead looked huge. His cheeks were slim. His eyes were sunken in. And his nose wasn't flat.

Growing up in my family we used to have contests to see who could hang a spoon on their nose the longest. I was usually a finalist. My pointed nose lends itself to spoon balancing quite well. But my brother could never even get the spoon to hang from his nose. His nose was too flat. No point on it at all. So where did that nose come from on Wednesday?

The body does funny things when life leaves it. I just didn't realize I wouldn't recognize my own brother.

Image courtesy of Sportydykare.se

SMom was really composed at the visitation. She kept saying that seeing Austen's body was just proof to her that his soul was gone and with the Lord. She compared it to a scuba diver. A scuba diver needs a ton of equipment to scuba dive. He needs his wet suit, which covers him head to toe, flippers, a mask, and a breathing tank. This all allows the scuba diver to breathe under water. Yet when the scuba diver comes up out of the water, he takes all the equipment off. And the person standing on the boat looks quite different from the scuba diver seen under the water. He's able to strip himself of the equipment because he no longer needs it to help him breathe. It's the same with our bodies.

We can't bring anything into this world, and we can't take anything out. My brother proved this to me. Though he's with the Lord, his body remains. I saw it.

So then why do we place so much emphasis on our bodies if they're so temporal? Why cover that gray hair or get that elective surgery? Why do women starve themselves trying to be thin? And why do I spend so much time getting ready in the morning?

I'm not sure I have a good answer for these questions. All I can think is that I'm missing the big picture. I'm missing part of what God intended when He created my body. I don't quite get it, but I'm wrestling with it.

I'll leave you with this:
"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your body," (1 Cor. 6:19-20).

Isaiah 61

It's been a long week. I'm just now able to go through some of the Scriptures people have sent. I'll continue to post them as they come.

Isaiah 61, A Servant Song:

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners, 

2 to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,

3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.