Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Praying Friends

I have a great privilege in having praying friends! Tonight I have to take time to publically thank the faithful, praying friends God has given me. THANK YOU!

Today was a difficult one. I had to go back to work, and this is not an easy thing to do! I was physically sick today. My stomach hurt all day, and I couldn't eat. I was shaking, crying, and a total mess. Todd's absence seemed immense. Tears were just under the surface or spilling out over my cheeks through the day. I remembered the many who said they were praying for me, and emailed two for "extra" prayers. I was scared I wasn't going to make it today. I know for a fact the only way I got through this day was with God's almighty strength and goodness.

I received these verses in emails today. I praise God for His Word and for His promises. Before I left for work I recieved: Psalm 100:4 "Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His face continually." What a timely reminder!

Then on returning home I was reminded of these wonderful verses:
Isaiah 43:2 &3a "When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the LORD thy God." The praying friend who wrote this added, "you could easily say you're in the rivers but the Lord's promised not to let it overtake you." Praise the Lord! His promise was not broken, and the waters did not overtake me today! God is good.

Just as others have noted in comments and in emails, God is in control. He is control of even the waves and undertows. Praise the Lord for His goodness to us! And I am praising the Lord for praying friends!! Thank you...that doesn't seem adequate, but thank you.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Undertow

The days are just moving along. Some days I feel like I am riding the waves with my head above the water. Other days I feel as though the waves are just pushing me through the hours. Still some days I feel like the wave has knocked me to my knees and sometimes to my face in the sand, and crash over me, making it difficult to stand again. Thankfully, those days seem to be getting farther and farther apart, yet they still come. I hate the really big waves. I can't wait to get to the "golden shore" and be done with all the waves! phew. One day...

Sticking with my ocean and waves analogies, I thought today how things were going ok, yet there is this constant "undertow" that never seems to leave. In the middle of a smile in watching Toby struggle to draw the letter "B," or in the midst of listening to siblings squabble over who got more cookies, there is this constant undertow of pain and missing Todd. It's always there. Everyday, all day. I'm afraid that sometimes it takes me off my "mark," and pulls me to where the waves are strong and overpowering. It's like a constant battle to keep those feelings of pain and sadness away, so that they do not pull me too far away from the shore. Sometimes when I get pulled too far out, I wonder if I'll ever, ever make it safely back closer to the shore where the undertow isn't quite as strong. I seem to always make it back. This must be God. He is still in control of the waves and the sea, just as He was in that boat with the disciples. "Peace, be still." Praise the Lord for the peace He can bring in the storms! He is so good. Thank you, God. You are my strength, my hope, and my salvation!

And yet some, dare I say, most people seem to think I should not be struggling anymore. Afterall, it's approaching quickly on 31 months living without Todd now. Shouldn't I be "over" this undertow, this pain, this missing him so much?? I try, God knows I try! But that doesn't change the fact that it is still here. I wonder if it will ever go away. I sit here typing this with tears in my eyes....I miss Todd, I miss his voice, his laughter, and his gentle and secure touch. I miss the confidence he gave me. I miss him so much.

We got rid of the pumpkins. The kids keep telling me, "Dad always started decorating the first of December, Mom." I guess Saturday we need to drag out the Christmas decorations. The undertow feels stronger than ever tonight. I pray it doesn't take me too far out to those big waves. I'm scared of those waves, but I need to find my strength to fight them with God's help. Help me, God. I need you more now than ever. Thank you for what I know you will do these coming weeks.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Riding the Waves

God is good. I can definitely feel the prayers from God's people for me and my family. Yesterday I felt like I was just riding the wave through the day. This is a good change, because when I think back to other difficult days (birthdays, holidays, anniversary...), I felt as though that wave had knocked me down and I was scrambling for air. But yesterday was remarkably different. I was above the water. I was "riding" along, hurting much, but surviving. This was surely God holding me up through the storm of the day. Thank you for your prayers.

Todd loved the ocean. We could watch the waves for hours. I remember one time watching the remnants of a hurricane from the boardwalk in Ocean City, and how we talked of God's power as the waves crashed down on the shore. The sky was dark and ominous, yet I stood there feeling very secure with Todd's arm around me. The wind sprayed our faces with salty water. We knew God was in control, and we talked of his great power. I miss my sweetie, but I am trying to rest in our good God's capable Arms.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Aaron Kilmer

I know it's Thanksgiving. I know I should probably be writing tonight about the things I am thankful for, or I should at least be thinking and thanking God for the things that I am thankful for. However, tonight, and all day, my mind and heart have been with Jackie and Bob. See, Jackie is my friend and today she publically said goodbye and buried her son, Aaron, who was only 18 years old. His homegoing to heaven was tragic. It was untimely, at least in all of our eyes. I can't help but wonder what he and Todd are talking about. I know they have had to have met in heaven. I know Todd and Aaron would have gotten along great here on earth, so how much better are they getting along in heaven, praising God together and getting to know each other now? I wish they had met here on earth, but I hadn't met Aaron until after Todd was in heaven.

Jackie was a wonderful encourager to me. This is not her first loss. She also lost her husband, Wayne, when he was murdered years ago, leaving her with five young children. Who else would I call when I was hurting so badly? I knew Jackie would understand, and she did. She prayed with me. She sent daily verses from Psalm 119, and she prayed for me. I know she did, because I could almost "feel" her prayers for me. She helped me to get out my deepest thoughts, then guided those thoughts to Scripture and to my Father in heaven. She always took me to the Father, and would remind me of His love for me. I could never thank her enough.

But this week, this Thanksgiving week when we are being thankful for our blessings, Jackie is again grieving. Wayne and Todd are rejoicing with Aaron in heaven this Thanksgiving, but Jackie and Bob are left here in anguish. All who knew Aaron are grieving, but none as much and as hard as Jackie, Bob, and his many brothers and sisters.

This Thanksgiving is, for our family, the third one where Todd will not be sitting at the table with us. He will be greatly missed again. Yes, we have much to be thankful for, but I am most thankful for my salvation. Because of Christ and Calvary, I am promised an eternity with Him, Todd, and so many others who are already in heaven. I am sure they are all thankful for Christ and Calvary as well!

So this Thanksgiving, I not only praise God for His Son and for Calvary and thank Him for the promise of heaven, but I also thank God for Aaron Kilmer. I thank God for Aaron's 18 years here and for all the smiles and kindness he gave to so many, especially to his family. Aaron will be missed. I pray for the hurting family and friends left here. All questions will be answered in heaven, so hold on to the truths you know and to a God who knows all. Thank you, God, for Aaron. Hold him tight till we see one another again...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

New Drivers

Abe got his driver's license today. Nathan is scheduled to take his test Dec. 5th, and Trina will be getting her's next September. That makes three new drivers in less than a year! yikes.

These are the days and times Todd talked about that he was certain would bring excitement to our family. Today wasn't that exciting with him not here to enjoy it with. While waiting to take the driver's test, the boy in front of us was escorted by his father, who seemed more joyful than his son when he passed the test. Both of them wore huge smiles. The boy behind us came inside walking on air and repeatedly telling his mom, "Call Dad! Call Dad! He has to know I passed!" She smiled (ok, beamed) and walked outside to call his Dad. I choked back tears as we waited for Abe's license. Abe wasn't smiling, but he was happy he was getting his license. I wanted to call his Dad and tell him. Instead I swallowed hard, prayed silently, and on the way home told Abe that his Dad was very happy and proud of him. Abe mumbled, "Yea, whatever."

It just stinks. I hate living here without Todd, without the kids' Dad. It just stinks.

Sorry for the complaining. I should be in "thanksgiving mode," but I'm having a difficult time this week. Thank you for your prayers. God is good.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


I forgot my camera today, but this was taken a few years ago. Two of my soccer kids:

Another season concluded today with the awards ceremony, as we watched Tiffany play one last game for the season. Afterwards we all gathered and cheered for each team. We've been doing this for ten years now (wow, didn't realize it's been that many years!). Today seemed almost surreal. As the sun was setting quickly behind the trees, I swear I could hear Todd screaming, "Score! Shoot! Just kick the ball!" He was a very enthusiastic parent, and everyone: coaches, refs, other cheering parents, and players, all loved him. When the boys were playing on different teams, he would go from field to field yelling for them to "SCORE!" He never could understand why they just couldn't simply kick the ball into that big net, obviously so intent on his own child that he never took into account the opposing players, the keeper, and the distance his children were from the goal!

Tiffany played well. I could hear her Daddy yelling for her to score. I wonder if she could hear him. Shoot! It seemed to be echoing across the soccer fields today.

....just moving through another day without Todd. I don't like it. The days feel like they are in control now. I do what they have planned for me. I go where they want me to go....

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Outward Appearances

A comment was made, "I am ever thankful for your strength (though you don't think you are), your courage (though you wonder if you have any), and your trust in the Father (though you may wonder about that, too). Your faith is amazing." This was from Mel's Mom, who is the Mom to an incredible young lady named Mel, whose inspirational story has encouraged me and uplifted me...check out her blog for a real blessing!

Anyway, this comment reminded me of similar words spoken from a dear lady who recently started coming to our church. She said, "Wendy, I really admire you. Every time I see you here at church with all your kids, well, I just think you are doing so well and are so strong." I looked at her and as my eyes filled up with tears, I whispered to her, "Do you want to know the truth?" She just stared at me. "The truth is, I am falling apart inside. I am empty and lonely, and if it weren't for the fact that my children are all watching me right now, I would probably be screaming in pain, because I hurt in places I didn't know I could hurt." The lady stared wide-eyed and then began to cry. So I quickly added, "Anything good that you can see in me, any strength, anything at all positive, is God. It's not me. It's God. He is what is holding me together." The lady asked me for a hug. She thanked me over and over. I'm not sure what the thanks was for. Perhaps my honesty? But what I do know, and what I want all to know, is that any "outward appearance" that is good at all, is God. Because right now, I am a total mess. I am nothing. I have nothing to offer anyone but tears and heartache.

God is good. He is my strength. He is my courage. He is trustworthy and faithful; I only wish I could be trusting and faithful in return to Him. Outward appearances can be deceiving folks! But God sees all and knows all. Thank you, God, for your goodness, strength, faithfulness, and LOVE.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Dear God... (Special Requests)

There is much about heaven that we do not know. God has chosen, in His wisdom, not to share many details with us. I find myself "talking" to Todd often. This is obviously different than "talking" or praying to our Father in heaven. We are told to make our requests known unto Him (God). So lately I've had some special requests.

Last night at church, the children played baseball. Watching the Tobster try to swing a plastic baseball bat for the first time, brought a smile and tears to my eyes. My request? "Dear Father in heaven, please somehow let Todd know and be able to see his little girl trying to swing at a plastic ball with all the "big kids" cheering her on. Please allow Todd a glimpse of her running to the wrong base, with shouts and screams from her team mates, "Go to first, Toby!" as she turned in confusion, yet with a a huge smile on her face." I pray Todd saw it all.

Today Winter received a certificate, a pencil, and two books in the mail from her teacher. It was a reward for reading the most in her class during the month of October. A note, "Excellent job, Winter" from her teacher brought a huge smile to her face (and to mine). My request? Dear Father in heaven, please somehow let Todd see and know of Winter's special award for all the reading she did last month." Todd was always reading to the children. He loved to read and encouraged them to do the same. Todd would have made a huge deal about this and made Winter feel even more special. Tonight I told Winter how proud her Daddy was of her. I pray he knows and saw it all.

Some friends took us to a restaurant tonight where we had never been before. It was one of those places that cooks the food in front of you. The children were fascinated. Nathan caught a shrimp in his mouth, and he hates shrimp! I couldn't help but make another request, "Dear Father in heaven, please somehow let Todd see us in this new experience and be able to laugh with us and see what his family was doing." Todd would have made the evening so much more enjoyable, as I felt awkward and out of place without him. I hope he saw us. He would have been proud of the way the children behaved so well and had fun. We would have had even more fun with Todd.

I've had plenty of special requests lately, and I'm sure I'll have more as the holidays come upon us. I miss Todd, but I pray he is able to see and share in some of these things. I'm certain he is busy praising His Father and rejoicing with the others who are in heaven, but I also pray he is able to see some of these things.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

2 1/2 years

A friend wrote: "It seems so long, and yet it seems like time is flying. Don't know how it can be both ways." ...and she is absolutely right.

It's hard to believe that it has been two and a half years since Todd went to be with His Savior. I can remember every detail as if it were yesterday. I can still hear his voice. I can still see his smile. I can still feel his presence and see him in my dreams. And yes, I can still picture and remember all those horrible details of that last week, as he sufferred in terrible pain, as he grew weaker and weaker, as we watched him around the clock giving him pain all seems so fresh, yet it has been 2 1/2 years!

Psalm 23 has become very dear to me. It was given to us anew when a pastor came to our home to help us tell the children that the doctors did not think Daddy would live very much longer. (he lived for only 5 more short days after that visit) He shared with us Psalm 23, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me..." He reminded us that for those who believed in Jesus, there was no "death," only a shadow to pass through.

I remember my words to Todd on that Friday morning, reminding him of that verse and praying that Todd would fear no evil. Todd smiled. He wasn't afraid. It was only a few hours later when he passed through that shadow, knowing God was with him, and now standing in His presence.

I miss Todd and I'm "homesick" tonight...homesick for heaven, my home one day. Again, that song comes to mind and again I pray the words:

You're in a better place, I've heard a thousand times
And at least a thousand times I've rejoiced for you
But the reason why I'm broken, the reason why I cry
Is how long must I wait to be with you

I close my eyes and I see your face
If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place
Lord, won't you give me strength to make it through somehow
I've never been more homesick than now

Help me Lord cause I don't understand your ways
The reason why I wonder if I'll ever know
But, even if you showed me, the hurt would be the same
Cause I'm still here so far away from home

In Christ, there are no goodbyes
And in Christ, there is no end
So I'll hold onto Jesus with all that I have
To see you again
To see you again

I could never express in words how much I miss Todd and how much my heart still feels broken. As the holidays draw closer, I ache to see him again, to be held in his arms again, to share so many things with him, but once again, I face these days alone. Yet, God has promised He will be my Shepherd and will never leave me nor forsake me. "For thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me." I must hold those words close to my aching and broken heart. I must keep trusting my God, my Shepherd, and my Savior. Heaven has never felt so real to me, and my salvation never more precious... God is good. I can't wait for heaven.