I have struggled with when to write this blog for months. I have struggled with the title of it and how much I would share. And I have struggled with my FAITH.
For a second time in my life, the man I love has been taken suddenly. Like on the phone for hours one night and the very next day, a heart attack would take him from this world into the next. The man who has been my best friend, my voice of reason, the calm in my storms, and so much more for the last eleven years. The man who would buy all my tennis shoes and send me chocolate covered strawberries for Valentine’s every year. He would open all my doors for me, take my coat on and off me, walk on the outside of me to keep me protected, and would always send me things I needed or wanted but would never get for myself.
Timothy is who would bring me closer to the Lord without even knowing it. After being together for ten years, he called things off between us. When he retired from the Marines, he moved to my city partly because of me and partly for a job. This happened when I was the busiest I had ever been with my girls. Between my busyness and his transition, he would eventually become so unhappy we split. This happened when I found out about my daddy having cancer and my oldest leaving for college for the first time. I really didn’t know what to do but the Lord pulled me outside to walk the very next day and I spent the next year walking and praying for him. Praying that the Lord would be whatever he needed Him to be. I prayed for his happiness and his peace. I prayed that if it were God’s will, he would restore our relationship. The Lord would put him so heavy on my heart daily that I knew I was to pray for him without ceasing. Slowly but surely the Lord would start answering my prayers. I mean even the smallest of prayers. In my praying for Timothy, the Lord would reveal to me other areas of my life where I needed work, where I needed changing, where I needed to give Him control!
And then we started spending more time together and talking more and more each day. Timothy only lived 5 minutes away from me. I felt like the Lord was truly writing our love story. That our relationship was going to be a testimony for Him. I even thanked Timothy for calling things off when he did because the Lord used it to show me what I had become and He used it to show me who I was meant to be.
I did everything the Lord told me to do and not just where Timothy was concerned. I learned patience and how to truly pray fervently for someone. I knew that the Lord was going to show up for us in a big way and I began thanking Him for it in advance. And then he was gone. I was so very angry with God. I did not understand why He would be in the process of restoring our relationship if He was just going to call him home. I’ve been down this road before. My husband left me for 6 months and I prayed and asked God to bring him home. A year after he came home, he was in a fatal car accident. Taken so suddenly from me and here I am facing the exact same, long, hard road ahead. The same road of grief. The same road of anxiety and heartbreak. I’m already dreading the first holidays. I wake up dreading each day knowing I won’t hear from him or see him. This road is not one I thought I would be traveling again so soon. I did not expect this story to be exactly like the last one.
I literally can’t breathe some days. I spent days in bed binging on Netflix to try and keep my mind off things. I drove by his house checking on it daily until his family came to collect his things. I still cry thinking about him never walking through my door again. Never calling me “Little One” again. Never opening my door. Never being my voice of reason. Never taking my bad day and turning it around by the mere sound of his voice. I started working out for me but he kept me motivated to keep pushing myself more. He encouraged me daily to take my training farther than I ever had before and afterwards I didn’t even want to walk much less run. I was scared to get out there by myself and hear what the Lord had to say to me because I felt like He didn’t hold up His end of the bargain. He didn’t answer my prayer the way I thought He would. I was prepared for a yes or a no. I was not prepared for this.
I yelled and screamed til my throat hurt asking God WHY ME?? WHY AGAIN?? WHAT DID I DO TO DESERVE THIS?? WHY WOULD YOU ANSWER ALL THOSE PRAYERS TO JUST TAKE HIM AWAY?? WHY HAVE ME WALKING AND PRAYING FOR HIM EVERY SINGLE DAY IF YOU WERE JUST GOING TO TAKE HIM AWAY??? WHY MUST I TRAVEL THIS ROAD AGAIN? WHY CAN’T I BE HAPPY??
And you know what? It was ok for me to be mad….my God is a big God and He can take it. Being a child of God does not mean I won’t have heartache. It doesn’t mean my life will make sense. It doesn’t mean I won’t experience loss. What it does mean is that when I do, the Lord will be there with open arms waiting for me. He is waiting to give me strength. He is waiting to comfort me and help me find my peace again. He wants to carry me through those days that are still coming where I won’t think I can make it through the day. He is waiting to hold my right hand and walk beside me on this road to healing. He is waiting for me to get back out there to walk and talk with Him. I have to trust Him and know that He has me in the palm of His hands and He will carry me through. He still has a plan for my life. He will never leave me or abandoned me….He is waiting. Right now I feel so lost. I feel like my world has been turned upside down again. I’m not ready to get out there and cry it out in the streets with the Lord. I do know He is waiting…..And when I am ready, I will run to Him! I hear Him whisper, “I will make beauty from these ashes.” I know He is not only waiting for me to come to Him but He hasn’t left my side through this all. I feel His comfort even when I’m not asking for it. I feel the prayers of all my friends who have been standing in the gap for me. I am so thankful and blessed for those that knew when I needed to be left alone and knew when it was time to push me out of my bedroom, out of my house, back into the streets to at least run if I wouldn’t walk. My running partner made me get out there and run and she held me up when I couldn’t breath from crying out with the pain and grief afterwards. My girls made sure I ate everyday in those first few weeks of grief. They never let me leave the house by myself even though I would only leave to go to the gas station for a Diet Dr. Pepper. One of them went with me every single time. I am so thankful my oldest was with me when I found out. She held me and cried with me and then drove me to his house so that I could get the box that had been delivered on his front porch. The Lord has taken care of me every step of the way. Even in my anger I was always thankful for that. Thankful that He continued to show up for me even when I didn’t want it. Thankful for every moment and memory I still had of Timothy. Thankful that He gave me closure when I didn’t think I would get any. Through the tears, I am thankful!
Timothy was always encouraging me to forge a better relationship with my biological mom and three months after I lost him, she passed away from cancer. She lived in Chicago and I hadn’t seen her in many years. We didn’t have the best relationship but this is one of those areas that over the last year the Lord had been dealing with me about. I began to call her more and answer all her phone calls. I began to pray for her. I knew she was going through so much with her cancer and that the pain was more than she could bear some days. I had just found a place of peace with Timothy when I got the call about my mom. The next few weeks would be incredibly hard dealing with the things that came along with her passing. I wasn’t able to carry out her final wishes, I wasn’t able to tell her goodbye, and I felt like the Lord was giving me more than I could handle.
My daddy had his final chemo treatment in September only to have to start again November 6 after spending a week in the hospital. He was feeling like himself again only to find himself unable to breathe from fluid in his lungs which would lead to testing that would show his mantle cell lymphoma active again so soon! I am so tired. I have days I don’t want to get up out of bed. I know this is all more than I can handle even though others would remind me that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle but I disagree. I believe He does at times give us more than we can handle but He will never give us more than He can handle. Doesn’t the Lord tell us His power is made perfect in our weakness? It is my lack of strength and my inability to handle all this that will keep me near to Him. I cannot do this on my own. It is too much. I want to be like Paul and be happy to boast of my weakness so that the Lord’s power will shine through me.
I cannot count the times I have been told that I will be ok because of my strength and my faith. I know people look to me as a strong woman and I worried that I let people down when all this started happening. I wanted to say I got up the next day and went for a walk with the Lord like I did a year ago. I wanted to say I didn’t have to go to the doctor and get help to make it through the drowning grief and anxiety that would make it hard for me to even be at work around so many people but I couldn’t. I was holding onto that blanket of grief. It was like it comforted me and kept me close to the ones I loved and had lost. Even now I know there will always be days like today when everything will make me think of Timothy or even my mom. There will be days like today when I can’t seem to turn off the tears. I also know that I will be ok…in fact, I will be more than ok but not because of who I am and my strength, but because of who I belong to and His. That I will always have FAITH in!