Crickets… Yes, I admit I kind of left the blog in a virtual cricket chirping world. The last time I checked in with this little oasis, it was February. The third anniversary of Joel’s Homegoing, and a month before all chaos broke loose in the world with the “C-virus”. Shhhh… I’m afraid to say it out loud for fear of giving it even more power.
OK…in all seriousness. Life looks drastically different than it did 6 months ago. For me, six months ago represented a new normal. It was the beginning of my 4th year of being widowed (for the second time). My four youngest kiddos were in the third quarter of their school year, and life was pretty crazy…but normal, as we knew it. But then…
Covid-19 arrived on the scene, and everything that once seemed “normal” went out the window. Thankfully, I’m always toilet paper loaded with my crew, so I didn’t contribute to that crisis. And…I’m doubly thankful we had a freezer full of meat (even if it was mostly sausage and fish donated to us), because I knew we wouldn’t starve. But, what I didn’t anticipate was being “on duty” as mom 24/7 with my four adopted kiddos (all with various levels of special needs).
We’re together a lot y’all, but I didn’t realize how much I valued their time at school. As a self-employed freelancer, I work from home normally (not just during a pandemic). When my children arrived on the scene and needed to do virtual school, I found my work started taking place in the middle of the night. Not healthy for me, but I had no choice. As a result, we’ve all been surviving the last 6 months, but I wouldn’t say we’ve been thriving. Normally, I would have been better prepared for summer (with various camp activities, etc.), however stupid Covid-19 messed that up too.
And…so, here I am…on what would have been my 8th wedding anniversary with Joel. I honestly haven’t even had time to dwell on that or process it, but when August 25 rolled around, I knew what that meant. I have such precious memories of that day in 2012.
I also laugh when I think we deliberately flew into a hurricane/tropical storm in Miami for our cruise-based honeymoon and got stranded for 3 days. Those few days were rough, but I’d give anything to have them back now. In all honesty, I could basically say that about most days prior to March 2020.
Existing during this pandemic season and realizing life will probably never look as it did before has taught me several things:
- Be thankful for what you have, as it could be stripped away at any moment.
- Life could always be worse than it is right now.
- Take nothing for granted, especially time.
- This world is not my home.
- I’m thankful to have the opportunity to spend eternity in Heaven.
- Crisis will not test your faith, but it will expose it.
Oh…that last one has left me scratching my head a bit. As a matter of fact, I didn’t come up with that one; I heard it spoken by someone on the radio a couple weeks ago (or something to that effect), and it has really done a number on me.
As I think about all the various crises I’ve experienced in my lifetime, I have to also wonder what exactly was exposed about my faith during all the difficult times? Did I crawl up into Jesus’ lap and let Him guide me and carry me when I didn’t have the strength to it myself? Quite often. Did I bury myself into the truths of His Word rather than the lies the world speaks? I’d like to think I did more often than not. Or, did I take matters into my own hands and try to be my own doctor/fixer/helper? Sadly, I did that too during some seasons. But, I always come back to the same conclusion. My life is always better with Jesus.
Even the worst days of my life are better with Jesus. I can’t handle crisis in a healthy way on my own – I’m always stronger with Jesus. He leads me to make better decisions – always! Others may bail from my life, but He never does. Now, sometimes I neglect Him, but He never neglects me. But, He doesn’t force my hand in anything either. That’s one thing I love about my God. He wants us to love Him, but He doesn’t force us to (even though He has the full power to do so). That’s love friends!
So, on this, my 8th wedding anniversary with Joel, or what would have been my 8th…I celebrate the fact He’s waiting to be reunited with all of his loved ones in Heaven. As much as I want him back, I’d never wish him to leave that glorious place to spend even one more second on this pitiful earth. I celebrate the time we had together, albeit short. And, I continue preparing my heart and the hearts of my children to long even more than we already do for our eternal Home! Thank you Abba for that precious gift!