Tag Archives: God

The Upside of Death

light in the dark

What is it about death that causes you to stand up and pay attention to life?

I used to be a very content home body. Happy being wife and mum, in fact, I felt it was my highest calling. I know I’m supposed to go on about how women can have it all these days, but for me, it was having it all. Oftentimes that calling was exhausting and time alone at home was a rare prize. But I loved it. Now I can hardly contain the need to get out and live.

I guess living becomes more deliberate, more on purpose; after all it is precious and finite. I know that now. I think the living helps the loss to shrink. It pushes grief out of the way, like light chasing away the shadows and illuminating a path to hope I was convinced I’d never see again. Not denial, I certainly know it happened, that empty space beside me screams it, I am fully aware of what I have lost.

I also feel a responsibility to show the kids life goes on, even after our darkest days. I’m it, the only parent left so I better be fit, healthy and living a full and happy life. I can do this, and so can they. Of course, realistically, I still have grief moments that interrupt the living, but they are part of the remembering and that’s OK, as long as the living is resumed.

Loving kids, family and friends have been crucial, I would not have made it on my own.  But I can see now that my faith has been a huge influence. Even when I blamed God and couldn’t understand how He was loving and just in letting Paul die, even then, I felt His hand in the small of my back nudging me on, willing me to live. A patient Gentlemen who never swore back at me, even in the coldness of my accusations. I am eternally grateful.

So I guess this is an upside of grief…that seems so wrong to write, but surely I deserve an upside, a silver lining, a rainbow after the storm?? Life is the upside.  A determined spotlight on living.

The contrast between life and death is massive, like the difference between light and dark. Once the light hits the darkness it just isn’t dark anymore.


Single Parenthood – Grace in the Desert

                                                   hand-pouring-sand

I realize single parents have to do all the tasks; laundry, cleaning, shopping, endless running around after kids etc. But it’s not always those things that are the hardest. Of course sometimes the actual doing of these things is exhausting beyond belief but when rest finally finds you, recovery follows.

I am a widowed single parent. Something hard to understand until you’ve faced it personally, when you’re forced to stare in the face of circumstances and make them part of your life. Your own life, not someone else’s, not a movie you can watch and leave behind in the cinema, but yours. This is hard for me, I know I am a single parent logically, but in my heart I still find it hard to accept. All the responsibilities land on me, no one else, no Dad somewhere else, no consultation about anything. I have focused hard on coming to terms with my widowhood, and focused on trying to heal, but being a single mum adds another dimension.

The hardest part about being a single parent for me is not having a partner. Sounds obvious right? What that means to me is that there is no one else on the face of this earth that has the same vested interest, unconditional love, or do-whatever-it-takes energy towards my family as I do. No one to come alongside when I have had enough, no one that chooses not to just come and go in the kids’ lives as they please, because parents, well good parents, no matter the circumstances are always there for their kids. So when two becomes one there is just less and that just seems so unfair for the kids. That becomes part of the kids “loss” and the control freak in me just can’t handle not being able to change that.

For arguments sake let’s say shared parenting is about 50/50. Now that I’m on my own, can I possibly become the 100% they need? I really don’t believe I can. My reality is that I became about 75%, give or take. Your normal 50 + everything extra you try to cover. But try as I might I can never be male, never be their Dad, never be all they need; I come up short, and very tired! So two things come to mind about figuring this out. Firstly I just need to accept the reality, it is what it is so for goodness sake I should take the pressure of myself and quit trying to be everything. Secondly, I have faith in God and He will need to help me accept the first thing and I need to trust Him to be there tangibly for my kids.

I have come to believe that Gods love for my kids is endless, fearless and pursuing. Even if they can’t see that yet. From the time they were but a twinkle in His eye He has loved them unconditionally and without hesitation, and will continue to do so forevermore. Gods position on that love does not move if they doubt or make a mistake, His desire is relationship with them not retribution, He is fearless. God is a pursuer, He never gives up on people, instead He waits for them to choose Him. He never forces, He actively waits, endlessly offering love, acceptance and grace.

When all seems hopeless, dry deserts, lost loves, battles lost, God offers us love, grace and repair. That’s one amazing Dad. Even if I tried my hardest every single minute of every single day I could not offer what He can, I can never ever be enough, it’s His design. I will believe in that design and hope my actions follow suit. I will trust that He is enough for my kids, enough for me; He is Father to the fatherless.

This is the way God put it:
“They found grace out in the desert,
these people who survived the killing.
Israel, out looking for a place to rest,
met God out looking for them!”
God told them, “I’ve never quit loving you and never will.
Expect love, love, and more love!
And so now I’ll start over with you and build you up again,
dear virgin Israel.
You’ll resume your singing,
grabbing tambourines and joining the dance.
You’ll go back to your old work of planting vineyards
on the Samaritan hillsides,
And sit back and enjoy the fruit—
oh, how you’ll enjoy those harvests!
The time’s coming when watchmen will call out
from the hilltops of Ephraim:
‘On your feet! Let’s go to Zion,
go to meet our God!’”
Jeremiah 31:2-6 (The Message Bible)


Life and Other Sadness

I lost a friend this week, a beautiful lady, mum, wife, sister, and woman.  So much sadness. She was young; she has 2 gorgeous girls and family that are aching for her.  I get it. I know the sadness, I know that ache, the yearning for it not to be true, the disbelief, loss is hard.

When I heard the news I felt my heart resist, turn off, I didn’t want to feel the sadness, not again. But I have learnt something this week, I don’t need to be afraid of sadness, it won’t kill me, I can live this life, it won’t be the same, but it will be OK.

It means risk to keep my heart open; an open heart can be crushed so easily, to close it off makes more sense. To hide behind excuses of “well I need to protect my heart after such grief” or “it’s just not in my personality” may hold some truth but will only cause my heart walls to harden. It will shut out any potential for pure life that I have, so I won’t do that.

Life dishes up sadness sometimes. It also offers joy and love. God offers me the ultimate choice between life and death. He encourages me to choose life. It occurs to me that so much extreme sadness drains said life and erodes away the ability to choose. So many lives are cut short because there doesn’t seem like a choice exists anymore, there seems like only one way out…such a tragic illness.

So today I choose life, sadness and all. I will not be afraid of sadness, I will embrace it as part of my journey, part of the fabric of who I am knowing that God holds me close, whether in joy or sadness. Yesterday, today and forever I can count on that.


Waiting

Waiting-For-You-Hd-Desktop-Wallpaper

 

Waiting waiting, waiting. I am impatient and stubborn by nature, waiting is murder for me. But at least when I’m waiting in anticipation for a something, an end in sight, there is hope. In this new chapter as a widow, (I still find that word hard to swallow), I don’t know what to wait for. What’s supposed to happen now? I have never been one to go along aimlessly, and it seems absurd to do that now, especially now. Yet try as I might, I cannot conjure a purpose up on my own.

I’m ruined you see. Ruined to ever just live in order to buy a new TV or whatever computer gadget comes out next. When I was 16 I made a choice; a choice to no longer live another moment just for myself. But to live the life I had for a higher purpose, a life and heart surrendered. A plan that was not my own. I believed God created me and knew what was best for me.

But I have a confession.

My higher purpose was interrupted when my love died. Like the internet went down and the download had to start again. How annoying is that! My trust in God slipped and caused a break in the connection, it’s repairable, but it will cost me.  Not in money, but in the vulnerability of my heart. To let the walls of self-protection down and allow the same God that took my love away to lead me again is a bigger ask now than ever before.  To trust someone, anyone, with the control of my life after such a catastrophic disappointment seems like asking for heartache. But I’m believing it won’t be. I’m believing, deep breath now, that life can not only be happy again, but full and purposeful.

So I’m waiting.

Waiting for the connection to be strong enough once again to handle the gigabytes of life yet to come my way. New things, old things renewed, who knows. But I want them, I really do. So every day I will choose to open my heart to God, the Creator of the universe, and trust Him with all that I am, and all that I am yet to be.

Let’s see what happens. Let’s see what life after death looks like.

Waiting.


Uncrackable

Is the cosmic boogie man really sitting out there waiting to pounce and make a liar of me? Or is it that the normal ebb and flow of life is exaggerated after a particularly wonderful day? Either way, trying to stay positive in the face of disaster is hard at the best of times. Yet after you have announced to the world that “My Cup Overflows”, it feels like a whole other beast!

The virus that produces enough snot and flem to stretch across the state or the car you need to sell blowing up, are both poking holes in a supposed happy persona. What the hell?? Well that is actually a very good question? Is it hell? What about heavens help? Huh? What about it?

Actually…I think it’s still the same.

The things that caused me to feel that indeed my cup really does runneth over, are still the same. A couple of life events, that we all face, do not equal an empty cup. (At this point you really need to have read my last blog entry!) Sure inconvenience, spending extra money and illness can get me down but they do not change the good things.

My kids still make me laugh, they are healthy (well you know, excusing winter lurgies), my heart is not the trodden down mess it was, life is getting back on track, I can live a great life again, I don’t need to be lonely forever, My God is still now and forever looking after me; I am His child and He is my Husband.

It does strike me that the God factor in life’s equation really is the only non-variable. My world can, and was, turned upside down, spat upon and kicked to the curb, but the non-variable anchors my everything. There really is hope and purpose in trusting Gods best for my life; it gives me foundation, strong and uncrackable. In contrast my heart itself proved weak and crackable! Crackable is to a word spellcheck!!!

So cosmic boogie man ruining my day or not, I can still smile, and still trust in the goodness of One that knows my day before I even wake. What a comfort. Good day or bad day, my cup, my heart, can still overflow with blessing.


My Cup Overflows

2 years and 7 months I have waited for this. To truly feel once again that my cup does indeed overflow. Full to overflowing, running over with honest to goodness love. It’s been a long time.

I used to muse to myself of the goodness, the love, and the absolute blessing I felt just being wife and mum to beautiful people. Ordinary people to the untrained eye, but with my well-honed mumma skills it was clear: they were beautiful indeed.

Then the tragedy.

Cancer stole my love.

My cup was empty.

My cup was broken.

Now to hear my children’s laughter, and have it warm my heart, to hear them talking to me, really talking to me and be able to engage, to once again find joy in simple things is beyond priceless. It’s pure gold.

My cup must be mending.

All the tears, all the determined searching for answers, all the willingness to face the pain head on, has done something. It has begun healing my cup, my heart. I cannot say that I have willed it from my own strength, because I had none, or discovered hidden reasons, because there are none. It was the God of all creation, who made the cup, who made my heart, He knew what it needed when it needed it and healing is the result.

I am sure that my grief is not completely over, because my life isn’t over, and for as long as I live I will hold love in my heart for my Paul. But I feel love and joy again, and I know that I know that’s a good sign. I can once again be full of love and blessing. Nothing grand so far, nothing the papers will write about, but I know it’s going to be OK. In my everydayness I can smile and have life overflow.

My cup overflows.


The things I am now.

I am a single parent.

I am just Janene, no Janene and…

I am the payer of bills.

I am the keeper of my own secrets, not shared so much.

I am the decision maker for EVERYTHING…including toilets!

I am owner of a car stuck in my yard cause I don’t know how to make it go.

I am the owner of tools I cannot even name.

I am unsure what to do now.

When I lost my partner, I lost an actual partner. Shared decision making, shared responsibilities, shared love, shared frustrations, and shared fun all things of the past right now. I lost a good partner. But I think even when a partner is sick, sad or lacking somehow you still actually lose a part of yourself. Someone that you joined with for life vanishes from you, even if the vanishing began years before they died. Either way, life becomes something else, something you had never imagined. It becomes just me. It becomes just you.

So now I need to figure out who this “me” is. No one can do it for me. It just has to be done. Two things I know to do. One  is put one foot in front of the other and be open to the person I discover. To keep my eyes open and gingerly push on a door or two. Shyness and fear may try and hold me back. Why? Well that’s for another day!

Two is that I have a deep assurance that I am held by One greater than I am. I still have questions, less as time goes by, and some may never find answers. But my faith in God remains. I believe He restores, rebuilds and mends the broken. I am a candidate for all. What once flourished will do so again.

What do I do next?

Where do I go from here?

I don’t know, but at least I am willing to see.


%d bloggers like this: