In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Complainatations 3:24

Post Dave life is not fun.  I'm not a serious person, but life is seriously just yuck right now.  I feel like this terrible thing happened to me, and the kids, so I think that, at the very least, everything else should run smoothly.    I guess I thought that I would automatically be enrolled in some sort of "Angelic Protection Program," where I would get protected from the junk of life for at least a couple months.  I feel like the garbage disposal should just work. I feel like all three cars that I own should be running smoothly or selling smoothly. I feel like everyone in this family shouldn't be getting back to back colds for the 6th time in a row.  I feel like I shouldn't have to call Comcast every other day just for my TV to work. I feel like I shouldn't be getting bills that I don't owe.  I feel like there shouldn't be 50 people that need to see Dave's death certificate.  I feel like justice should be easy to come by, I feel like survivor benefits should just be paid and the list goes on.  Was life always this hard or am I the little guy on the playground getting kicked while I'm down?  A mix of both, perhaps.  Usually, I would have handed Dave the extra junky stuff to deal with and he'd do it willingly, but now it's me.  Fortunately, I have a lot of help, but even that isn't easy.  I am not bad at receiving help, but I just hate feeling like I need SO much help and for such an indefinite amount of time.  I guess that is why the Bible talks about how people should help the widows and the orphans, because He knew that we just can't do it on our own.

Sidebar - whenever I think of how I have no choice, but to take the help that people are offering, I think of how my old roommate, Shannon, and I used to hang out with these army guys.  Girls were always doing things for them, like cooking them dinner, sewing lose buttons back on their clothes, letting them borrow their cars, etc. . . . Shannon and I never really did any of that stuff (of course, we weren't the ones that ended up dating them either).  Anyway, we would always say, "some people are givers, some people are takers.  We can't help it - we were just made to be takers."  It was a joke then, but now I really wish it wasn't so true for me.  I feel like I've been made to be a "taker" over the past 3 years.  I do not like that.

But, how can I do all the things that I always did, all the things Dave did, plus all the stuff you have to do when your spouse dies? Most importantly, how do I play and connect with my kids, when I have three times as many tasks to get done?  It's overwhelming, to say the least.  I have to do all of that with less sleep and less emotional control.  I have yet to deliver one death certificate without crying, which is fine, but it makes for some long days, when my emotions have decided that each task requires tears. Oh, and I will say that it seems like every person I have to show the death certificate to, whether it is at our banks or AT&T, or anywhere,  it is always some young twenty something year old guy who awkwardly reacts to my tears, but then is just so sweet in their awkwardness.

While some of this post feels a little light, there is big frustration looming, but mostly it's small nagging things that are getting me down.  I feel like every other day, I'm going, "Really, God?  Now this?  . . . .  Seriously?"  There was no wavering in my trust in the days surrounding Dave's death.  Even though I still question what in the world is God thinking taking Dave, I also was so certain of his presence around me.  I could see his hand and protection in various ways as I have written in previous posts.  Now, with each new blow, I am questioning more and more, why God doesn't seem to be coming to my rescue?  I guess I can't fully say that, but some nights, after a hard day, I am seriously going, "God really?"  "Why?"  "Help a sister out, here!"

Someone mentioned the other day that my posts resembled the Psalms in a way.  Specifically, she said they resemble the Psalms, because I cry out about these these crummy things that are happening, but finish them with, "BUT GOD is still working." Well, I don't feel like writing a psalm.  I don't feel like saying . . .  BUT GOD is doing this, whatever this is?  I feel like writing more a lament.  I just want to whine and complain and wonder why life has to be like this.  I kind of want to insert some of my own complaints into Lamentations.  

vs. 2:11 - My eyes fail from weeping, I am in torment within;
my heart is poured out on the ground because my people are destroyed,
and now I have to go to Probate Court to try and get an undisclosed amount of money, 
which probably equals eleven dollars.  Really?

vs. 3:7-8 - He has walled me in so I cannot escape;
he has weighed me down with chains.
Even when I call out or cry for help, he shuts out my prayer.
Even though I bought a new van, the first time I went to turn the key,
The battery was dead and my parents had to come and rescue me. Really?  

vs. 3:16-17 -He has broken my teeth with gravel;
he has trampled me in the dust.
I have been deprived of peace;
I have forgotten what prosperity is.
I'm getting ANOTHER cold, 
even though I just recovered from one two days ago.

The author of Lamentations obviously has a leg up in his poeticism, but our themes are the same . . . suffering.  I don't know.  Maybe mine are more like complaints.  I have a lot of complaints, that I can surely fill my own book and call it, "Complainatations." Honestly though,  after reading Lamentations, I really do feel a touch better.  How relieved I am that I can complain and lament to God about His perceived absence, without Him actually taking leave.  I'm still mad, though.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Dave - A Father of Four!

Believe it or not, I have not been dreading Valentine's Day.  It's not like life with three kids really brings you to some love pinnacle on the fourteenth of every February.  Maybe our first couple of Valentines' days were full of passion and bliss, but the past few years, Valentine's Day, has been more of a reminder of how hard it is to stir romance in the midst of three kids, a dog and the monotony of the daily grind.

I have certainly had a couple of teary moments today, like writing this post and when the elderly ladies at the Y were casually sharing their plans for Valentine's Day, but for the most part, I have been a little giddy about it.  How can that be, you ask?  Only because of Dave.

Dave's purest love could be seen in the story of Negusu.  Dave was so amazingly selfless about Goosey.  I have always loved Negusu, but have also spent a lot of time being conflicted about how hard to pursue bringing him home.  Dave was always 100%.  Just a few months ago, Dave and I were in the living room and Dave pleaded in one of my more wavering moments, "Holly!  We are bringing him home.  He has nothing!  I will work two jobs and we can hire a nanny. We have to bring him home."  Of course, a few days later, God was crystal clear about closing the door. God seriously spoke to us.  It was crazy.  And now, I think of what I would do, if I had to make the choice to not bring Negusu home on my own, knowing that it was Dave's deepest wish.  I mean seriously?  God spared me and protected me as His child.  God knew what was best for us and for me.

A few days after the door was officially closed and a supernatural peace had swept over this decision, Dave did something that I never thought he would do.  He got a tattoo.  It wasn't even a small and inconspicuous tattoo.  It announced that Negusu was his and would never be forgotten.

Dave and Negusu had an amazing bond.  The thing that is so crazy about it now, is that Dave is just as much Negusu's daddy as he is to Maci, Leah, and Spencer!!!!!  It makes me so excited to know that Negusu kind of has an earthly father, even though he is in heaven.  I can't wait to go see the Goose someday and explain to him the love his daddy had for him and that his daddy is up in heaven praying for him and waiting to welcome him home, along with Spencer, Leah and Maci.  WOW!  

So, that is why a day infused with LOVE, seemed like a perfect day to Goose somebody.  Dave and I would usually do this together, but I'm sure that Dave would approve of my choice.  I always pray before I set out on hours of trolling through adoption blogs.  The kids and I did it together the other day, but the Holy Spirit was pretty quiet.  However, when I came across this particular one a couple weeks later, it was an immediate "yes" from the Holy Spirit and I knew that Dave would be all in.  What we had decided was that we wanted to "Goose"  families that had a hard adoption journey.  I suppose that particular requirement is met by about 98% of adopting families, so I guess it really boils down to "Goosing" families that the God leads us to "Goose."  The family that we have decided to Goose is at: and their story seems to parallel our in many aspects.

Another really amazing thing about "Goosing" people right now, is that my financial capabilities to Goose others comes straight other adoption families.  Some who I only know from facebook.  It is such an inspired gift.  One that gets me so excited, even on a day, that could potentially be so difficult without Dave.  Today is all about Dave's love for Goosey and how we will all be together again someday.

I just love how in this sideways video, Negusu is looking at Dave and saying "Da Da."  He's got that right.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Weekend Waves

I never thought I'd hear myself say this.  I can't wait for Mondays to get here.  The weekends are the ultimate WORST.   They were when Dave's presence was most enjoyed and now they are when his presence is missed the most.  Everyone knows it, too.  Maci will just start bawling at random times and say, "I love Daddy."  Leah will say, "I miss Daddy," or "the only person I like is Daddy," about every hour and Spencer and I will usually have at least one long talk about Dave, heaven and Jesus sometime throughout the weekend.  I just kind of cry a lot and talk a lot to whoever is the closest human with functioning ear drums.  It seems like a lot of people think the night times are the hardest, but nights don't even hold a candle to the weekends.  Dave wasn't nearly as fun, adventurous and helpful when he was asleep, so I don't miss him nearly as much at night as I do during the weekends.

On a typical Saturday morning, I would go for a run, then Dave would go for a run, then I'd have coffee with a friend or go to a baby shower or something like that, while Dave was outside doing some project.  One of his last projects was making an outdoor bench out of a crib that was recalled.  I mean, where did he come up with these things?  While he worked, the kids would make about 100 laps on the driveway with their bikes or create something with the leftover wood.  Then we'd eat lunch, go on a hike or go to the park and then gear up for a night with friends.  Nothing too crazy, but we loved the weekends!

Last weekend hit so hard, it felt like the news of Dave's death was just as fresh as the day it actually happened. The sting was back.  Maybe it was just that I forgot to prepare for the weekend.  Or maybe it was another wave of grief that had been gathering speed and force throughout the week and it just so happened that the crest of the wave was starting to fall early Saturday morning.

This was my personal journal from last weekend: "This isn’t getting any easier. It actually feels like it is getting harder.  Why is that?  The memory is not fading, which is good, but the days of missing him are just piling higher.  One after another, I miss him still, than another day, I miss him still, and then another day, I miss him more, then another day, I miss him again.  The only thing that would make everything OK again, is for Dave to walk back through the door one day.  Could you even imagine?  It would reverse it all.  Literally, the only person and the only thing that can fix all of this and set everything back on the right track, is for Dave to come back.  I’m feeling it more, my kids are feeling it more and the weight of one more day of missing him is making me feel heavy.  I don’t feel like I’m gonna throw off these chains.  I feel like I might drag them around for quite awhile. "

Right as I wrote the word "wave" I had a flashback of a college trip to Cancun and this wave flashback describes last weekend pretty accurately.  This motley crew I was with, was headed for the beach one day.  Upon first glance, it seemed like we had hit the beach just right.  There was hardly a soul anywhere, which made sense, because it was pretty overcast.  As it turned out, nobody was there, because the "Danger - Do Not Swim" flags were out, but we didn't notice them until much later.  Anyway, we entered the water with excitement.  The waves looked a little unruly, but we didn't sneak into the Sheraton resort for nothing.  Perfect for body surfing, thought everybody else.  It was my first body surfing experience.  The waves would come and everyone glided effortlessly on top of the water.  Everybody, but me.  My timing must have been a touch off, because I found myself twisting and tumbling in the waves.  I vividly remember thinking, "Joni Erickson Tada," over and over.    I was at the mercy of the waves and had no control whatsoever over where I was going to land and in what condition.  Fortunately, I came out of the waves unscathed, but panicked.  I frantically scanned the surface of the ocean to do a head count and asked if everyone was OK.  Of course they were.  They were all gliding on top of the wave - not pummeled inside of it.  These ocean waves were simply not for a terra firma, mountain girl.

So, there is my analogy.  Last weekend, I was caught in a wave.  I didn't even see it coming. I was tumbling, grappling, trying to get out, but I couldn't.  I didn't want to be home, so I was trying to get out by shuttling kids everywhere in a desperate attempt to find someplace that didn't feel so empty without Dave.  But no matter where I went, Dave should still be there.  I finally just surrendered to the wave and let it toss me around, hoping that I would come out still breathing. I'm still breathing.

This weekend I was turned the other direction.  I was watching for the waves.  I had a plan.  I know that I can't escape the waves and I don't want to escape the waves, but I wasn't sure I could handle another weekend like the last, back to back.  I decided that home was not going to be a bad place to be - I need it to be a safe place - not a place to escape.  So, in adoption terms, our family just sort of cocooned this weekend.  I felt like I needed to reestablish who our family is now and that our home is a cozy place.  Friday night, me and my kids just watched movies and went to bed, Saturday we went to a pancake party and then came back home and spent the rest of the day at the park behind our house and playing at home.  The kids spent hours making homemade forts.  I even asked Spence what he thought about just hanging out at home this weekend.  He thoughtfully answered, "It was actually pretty fun."

I know these waves will continue to come, no matter if I am prepared for them or if I am swept off my feet into an innocuous looking swell.  I am learning, though, that the most healing way back to terra firma is to allow God to settle my heart.  It doesn't mean that I'm not going to find myself in a wave, but if I am looking for Him and grasping His hand, even while getting tossed around, I know that I will land upright on the shore.    

Simply put in Psalms 73:26 "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."