Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hi/Lo Thursday

Well, it's a Thursday and I am on Blogspot, so here goes.

My high is that I am off to Bunco with my mother-in-law in a few minutes. Bunco is a fun group game and there's always great food at Bunco parties, so those make it a high point. Mostly, though, it reminds me to be thankful for sweet in-laws who live nearby. I am so blessed with Bill and Pat. They love me as their own daughter and smother the kids with affection. I could not ask for better and am thankful that they are a part of my family.

My low is that Monday was the sixth anniversary of Bryan's death. It makes for a tough week and I tend to get a bit melancholy each time this year. I wish that I could be in VA to see his family and place a token on his grave. I miss you, Bry.

I thank you again for being a God who is with us in our highs and lows. It is a comfort that You are a constant. Thank you for providing high points during the low times in our lives to help us through. Thank you for the people who share Your love and ease sadness.

Friday, May 22, 2009

My Testimony

I have posted this in Cafemom and Myspace, but thought it would also make a good blog. I have learned that I love the story that God is writing, even the tough spots. He sometimes lets us face dark days so that we might better see His light. And, He never leaves us. Even in our darkest moments, He is there.

Psalm 28:7 (KJV)
"The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him."

So, this could be a bit long, but here goes. As a kid, my family didn't go to church. My parents were both raised in church, but we just didn't go. I always knew there was a God and when I was in the fourth grade, my neighbors started taking me to Sunday School with them. In fifth grade, one of the girls from Sunday School was in my class at school. We became best friends and I started going to children's choir and GA's (Girls in Action) with her. Her parents were wonderful people. Both of my parents worked, so on Wednesdays (when we had choir) I would ride the bus home with her. Her mom would feed us dinner and get us to church. I accepted Christ as my personal savior in Children's Church at age 12. My friend's mom, Mrs. Whetzel, was there. Shortly after I began regularly attending, my parents also joined the church. We started going together as a family.

Throughout middle school and high school, I was very involved in church activities. Youth Group, Sunday School, Youth Choir, Youth Drama, Church League Softball, Youth Ministry Council, etc. Most of my free time was spent at church and many of my closest friends were from church. I stayed out trouble during those years by staying busy with church activities, and I loved it.

My college years were a bit tumultuous. All of a sudden, there weren't all of these church activities to fill my time. My closest church friends went away to college, while I stayed home and I lost the positive influence that they had on me. I backslid big time. I let myself go down roads that I knew were wrong and didn't think (or care) about the example that I was setting to those around me. I met my husband during this time. He was not a Christian at the time and I entered into the relationship while I wasn't behaving as one. After about 6 months of dating, we moved in together and 6 months later we moved from VA to TX.

For some reason, even though I wasn't living to glorify Him, God chose to bless me with my husband. Despite my incongruous lifestyle, Trey accepted Christ and we married after 3 years of dating. (He is a terrific husband and father). Shortly after we married, we joined a local church and started attending a newly formed Sunday School class for young marrieds. We got pregnant about 2 months after we married but didn't share the news with our new class right away because there were several couples who were struggling to get pregnant. At about 10 weeks along, I miscarried. We were devastated and finally shared with the group. These wonderful people prayed for us and loved us through that hard time. Within 18 months, we saw 4 babies born to the class. I can't give the story justice here, but God truly showed that He answers prayer in ways that we don't even expect.

Since then, I have continued to grow in my walk. I hope to never travel down the dark road that was my late teens and early twenties again. My life isn't perfect and I have faced some dark days, but God has been constantly there. He has protected me (most often from myself) and forgiven me. He has loved me and placed people in my life that have nurtured me and my faith. I owe everything that I have and all that I hold dear to Him and His gift of grace. I can't wait for the day that we will meet face to face.

My favorite verse since I was a child is John 3:16.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (KJV)

As I have aged and grown, I have started to really love the Amplified version of the same verse.

"For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life."

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sweet-Bitter May

Another May has come and almost gone. May has become a tough month for me over the past six years. I am certainly traveling an emotional roller coaster this time each year and I have started calling the month Sweet-Bitter May.

I can't call May bittersweet, because six years ago May started out very sweet. Not bitter at all. Six years ago on May 9th, Sweet Baby Cass blessed Trey and I with her presence. We went from being a couple, to being a family. Cassandra was much anticipated and very much prayed for. After Trey and I married in October of 2001, we wanted to start having children right away. We did get pregnant almost immediately, but unfortunately I miscarried. We were heartbroken, but turned to a wonderful group of people at our new church. As a group, we prayed continually for babies and God answered abundantly. Cassie was our answered prayer. Our blessing. Our treasure. Our joy. God is always good, always has perfect timing, and always loves us. He showed us all of those things on that early, sweet May day.

Also in 2003, May ended quite bitterly. On May 25th, a close friend died suddenly. I grew up with Bryan and am not sure that I realized how much I cared for him until he was gone. As a kid, Bryan was mischievous and funny. He cared about others and stuck up for his friends. His sisters and I were close, and as a result, we loved one anther's brothers. Early on, Bryan was like another kid brother to me. As we got older, he became a friend. In the last several years of Bryan's life, he struggled with a lot of demons, but in the last year, he had started to turn things around. And then, suddenly, he was gone. May shattered. I packed my bags and my two week old, sweet, May joy and flew into my greatest sense of loss, regret, and bitterness.

Now each May, I am reminded of one May where I experienced for the first time one of God's most precious gifts and also one of life's most bitter losses. I watch my little girl grow and learn each year and am amazed at the joy I feel. Each May we celebrate her birth and remember the gift God gave us. I smile and reflect on this little girl who is getting bigger and smarter and yet has maintained so much of her sweetness. I also pause frequently each May and remember my friend. God has tempered my grief, but always I feel the loss. I struggle with the regret of not saying all of the important things to Bryan when I had the chance, but hope that I've learned from that bitter loss to be transparent to others, most importantly those whom I dearly love.