I have been wrestling these words on a daily basis for a few weeks now. It's been an extremely hard day for me today and these words keeping knocking. I really don't want to answer.

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

These have been the daily prayers of Jeremy, me, and the kids since I can remember. 'You hear each spoken need' - that's like a kick in the stomach, because it makes me feel like God thought I didn't need Jeremy. I still need him. 

‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights 
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

These are the words that have haunted me in my sleep. One of the faith issues I've been having with myself is realizing how much closer I feel to God now. Not close like buddy-buddy or to say I'm now so spiritual. I'm still angry and have a hard time wanting to get on board with God some days, but in my despair, I've called out to Him more times than ever before in my life. I never used to talk to God this much when I
did believe what I was preaching. Now suddenly, when I want to throw everything out the window, God finds this way of seeping in, of keeping me at arms length just waiting to wrap His arms back around me when I'm ready. 'What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near.' It just hurts to even think it.

"What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise." What could God have possibly saved me from by allowing me to lose my husband at 31?!?!? I want to scream this at God, but truth be told, I'm afraid He'll answer. With the blinders I have on, I can't possibly see anything worse than losing the love of my life so young, while carrying his third child. I don't want to think that it was God's mercy in disguise.

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know the pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home,
It's not our home

Ah, this is where it lies: "We know the pain reminds this heart that this is not our home." If it was, I'd have left it awhile ago. For the first time in my entire life, I don't feel at home here. I don't feel like I want to stay. I'm ready to be home. Perhaps it's dowsed in the yearning to be with Jeremy, but it's the pull to hold on to everything I know to be true, even though it just doesn't make any sense right now.

‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights 
Are what it takes to know You’re near

What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise

God, please hear my prayer. I am not ready for these words in my heart yet. They sting and seem to suck the validity out of the pain I feel. But they keep knocking and knocking and knocking. And every time I try to walk away from it, I still hear the tapping. I want to hold on to my selfishness, that says I'm the only one who matters in this dark time. Open my eyes to appreciate the blessings that have come through raindrops. Let my heart accept the good that has come with this bad. Right now, I just don't want any of the good - I want my old life back. I want my love back. The future is much too scary to look into, help me take it one day at a time. And Lord, if this awful pain is a mercy in disguise, keep it from me. Make me unaware of anything more painful than what I feel today.


Real Hope:School Edition. Win a $500 Visa Gift Card!

For all the good that people have been doing for me lately, I now have an opportunity to use my blog to spread the word about doing something good for someone else - and possibly win a $500 VISA gift card in the process...

Some of the fantastic college students where my husband was employed, and where we both attended, are a part of this fantastic movement - check it out!



This Sunday, the Rochester Church of Christ is canceling classes as our congregation walks next door to the campus of Rochester College, where my husband worked, together to dedicate a memorial to him in honor of his service there.

Already, I was blown over by yet another incredible thing to honor my love. But oh no, it's not just one thing. It's a hundred things and a hundred people coming together to make something else happen. What started off as an idea for a stone and a maple tree (for Jer's canadian roots) to be placed in his honor became an entire sanctuary space of beauty and memory. Three maple trees, a beautiful giant stone and inscription, a bench and decorative stones....all facing the lake where Jeremy worked and fished, and next to where we lived when we first got married and where we've spent many hours together. It's above and beyond anything I could have ever imagined. Even though Jeremy would have never believed it could all be for him, I know his presence is already there, approving this memorial that is soooo him.

Our dear friend John, who, among the countless other things he's done for my family, was setting this all up and asked if I'd like to have the kids and I place our handprints in the concrete that set the stone before they covered it. Are you kidding? What a great idea I never would have even thought of! It will mean so much to us for years to come. I can already see us years down the road looking back on this day, talking about how big the kids were when they put their hand prints in the cement. And how Faith freaked out cause she didn't want to touch the sticky cement but I forced her to anyway cause I knew it would be important to her later. And how Carter had to put his footprints in because he was so small and I couldn't unclench his hands enough to get them in the concrete. And how the kids got to have a ride in "Daddy's Kubota."

I'm so proud to have stood beside a man who through many flaws and weaknesses, revealed Christ to so many. And through his life, brought a community to its knees. I can't wait to feel Jer's presence on Sunday in that place.

We were lucky to have a friend capture the day for us, so I will leave you with some of our moments.


Thank You

Over the course of the last few weeks, I feel like I've had a lot to say. But I haven't been able to get any of it down. Actually, I think of a million things to say each day and forget by evening. I'm guessing that's widow brain.

Honestly, things are busy. My kids were all sick (spent the night in the hospital with Carter for pneumonia), I'm getting close to closing on a house so I've been trying to pack up a little at a time, and I've been able to spend some time with friends this week. And through everything, I'm noticing that every day it gets easier to breathe. Just a hair, but it's worth something. I'm starting to see back-to-back consecutive days where I'm okay. Again, that's worth a lot.

Yesterday marked 5 months. I can hardly believe it. And what really struck a heartstring was me realizing that even after 5 months, when I thought for sure people would have forgotten, I am STILL being blessed by so many. I can't tell you how many times I've sat down to write thank you cards. But I have no idea where to start, and half the time, I don't even know where to send them. There is just no possible way I could come close to getting it done. And while I know people aren't reaching out in hopes to get a measly thank-you card from me, the thank you is still on my heart.

Thank you first and foremost for every.single.prayer. that has been put up on our behalf. I have literally felt them some days holding me up. And we still need them.

Thank you for the hundreds, maybe even thousands of cards I've received in the mail and through other places. I've read every one. Just knowing someone is thinking about our family means a lot.

Thank you for the care packages, gift cards, prayer quilts and shawls, and the random gifts for the kids that have come to us. We've been overwhelmed with love.

Thank you to my incredible church family. And when I say incredible, I mean I don't know how I would have gotten through this mess without them. I've never been more honored to call a church home.

Thank you to all the other congregations who have added us to prayer lists, sent cards because they were connected with Jeremy in some way, or who donated to our family.

Thank you to those who have donated money to our family. It's taken a lot out of me to be able to accept monies, but I know so many people who have seen the need and want to help making breathing easier for all of us. It means more than I could ever say.

Thank you to my friends who have been my rock. Jodie, Vicki, Tamara, Mark, Jon, Holly, John, Bekka, Stephanie, DeeperStill, the Utley's, and so many more. Especially to my sweet Sarah, who will never know the magnitude of love she has taught me, or the imprint she has made on my heart. No one could have a better friend.

Thank you to the Robinson's who have taken us under their wing as an extended part of their family, let us nap at their place when we were too far away, babysat for us, fed us, and let us sit around your house for hours. I love you all so much.

Thank you to all the incredible people who have coordinated events to honor my husband. The memorials, the birthday party, the pheasant hunt, the concerts - It's warms my soul to know people are still keeping Jeremy's memory alive.

Thank you to my family, for being a support. And to Jeremy's family for grieving with me and still allowing me to still be a part of their lives. They will be my family forever.

Thank you to the men who have come to fix things, clean things, repair things, and have wrestled with my children. You are priceless.

Thank you to the women who have cleaned my house, coordinated things for me when I was too cloudy to do anything, stood by me, cried with me, and prayed with me. You are a blessing.

Thank you to the teens who have reached out. Teens who have been touched by Jeremy's ministry, or have heard us sing, teens at Gulf Coast and other rallies. For the letters, for the sacrifices, for the babysitting, for the song dedications, for the emails and cards. What hope you all give to my heart.

Thank you to the kind strangers, around the world, who have reached out. It gives me hope for my children's future to know that there are still so many good people out there.

There has to be so many more, I don't even know how to cover everything that I have been blessed by over the last 5 months. Thank you all for teaching me about love, sacrifice, and prayer. Thank for you taking the time to pray for us when there are so many other things going on in the world. Thank you for your encouragement, advice, and shared experiences. If you have reached out in any way, thank you. Know that for even for just a moment, you have planted a seed of healing on my heart.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you.


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