Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Peace and Pain

I am learning that trusting God brings a peace that passes all understanding. When I can say, "God, I do not understand why, but I trust that you know what is best for me, you are in control, and you love me and will not forsake me," there is a peace that comes and remains as long I keep trusting.

I am also learning that the pain doesn't always go away during those times of peace. I'm trusting, yet I'm hurting. I have peace, yet my heart is broken. I'm not sure when the pain will go away. I'm not sure if it will ever go away until heaven. Yet I am sure that trusting God brings a peace, an assurance, and a hope. How does one go through the difficult times in life without these things that come from a trust in a good and loving God?

Thank you, God, for your peace today that passes all understanding.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Raging Storms

It seems the storms are raging more frequently these past days/weeks. The memories of Todd's last few weeks here with us are ever present and create a sense of storm in which to find my way through these dark days. The memories are painful. I remember that Monday when he was helping Toby with a puzzle on the floor and couldn't get up. When we tried to help him, he said in a shaky voice, "Please don't touch me; it hurts all over." I nearly fell apart. Todd was a pillar of strength just a few months earlier. He did everything! Now he was crumpled on the floor, unable to move.

Yes, the memories can create such a storm and the tears have been flowing, yet I am so thankful for the good memories, too. In remembering how we talked Todd's final days here, how we remembered together all the fun times, how we assured each other of our eternal destinies, how God had blessed us over the years...we smiled through our tears. I can still see Todd's smile as the tears streamed down his face when he told me watching Toby play, "I want so badly to walk Toby down the aisle, but God has other plans. I'll be watching." I love that smile and I will always cherish it.

I found this quote on a music video and it is so true:

Sometimes God calms the storm....sometimes God allows the storm to rage and calms His child.

Thank you, dear God, for the calm and peace you provide through the storms of life. Thank you again for Todd and for his smile.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Caring God!

I had an interesting conversation with one of my former students. Here's a young man who knows a lot of facts about the Bible and Christianity, yet has chosen to claim he is a theist...he told me he believes in a god, but not necessarily the God of the Bible. He seemed very upset when I talked of my faith (which he knows very well), especially, as he put it, "praying to a God who you say is all-powerful yet who allowed your husband to die from something like cancer." He went on to talk about the lack of "proof" that God was real, active, or even cared about this world today. After some debate, I finally ended with saying, "I don't know where I would be right now without God and the knowledge that He does care for me."

These last few weeks have been filled with memories, some good, but most of Todd's last few days here with us. I'm surprised that I have any tears left, yet they continue to come every day. Going to sleep at night is my only relief from the pain, and then I wake up to the reality that Todd is not here, not coming home from work, and the pain begins all over again. Where does one turn when you feel like your whole world has caved in? Where does one look when everything seems so dark and endlessly lonely? There is only one place to go, and I am so thankful to serve and personally know a God who cares! Only the God of heaven, the true and living God of the Bible, is big enough, strong enough, caring enough, and loving enough to heal my broken heart. Thank you, dear Heavenly Father, for caring for "such a worm as I."

Monday, April 21, 2008

more memories....

The kids are often talking about Daddy and different things he had done or said. Tonight at dinner they were remembering one of our favorite things about Todd....his very opinionated comments on anything and everything. He had come home from work one day while the younger ones were watching Dora the Explorer. "What is that? A dancing cigarette?" No, it's a map, Todd. It shows Dora which way to go in the show. "It looks like a dancing joint to me."

Leave it to Todd. Now every time I hear "I'm the map, I'm the map, I'm the map..." all I can think of is a dancing joint. ugh.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Three years ago this week April 13th was on a Wednesday, and I was standing in front of four doctors at National Institutes of Health, after they had taken Todd back to his room. It was just me. My knees felt weak. They asked me if I had any questions. It had been a long two days, filled with tests and short procedures, and many tears. We were back for a follow-up after Todd's major surgery he had two months earlier. The surgery was to remove a large tumor that had overtaken his right kidney; the prognosis was hopeful to begin a new treatment at NIH to rid him of the remaining cancer, once he was strong enough after the surgery. He never got strong enough for the study in IL2...his only hope for survival.

As I stood there in front of the doctors, after they had just told Todd and I that the cancer had spread rapidly since the surgery, and that he was now ineligible for the IL2 treatment, I knew the question I had for them. I didn't want to ask. Looking at the floor, tears streaming down my face, feeling sick to my stomach, I muttered, "How long?" The response was delayed. The doctors shifted their weight. They looked at the floor, each other, and then began telling me more about the cancer and the type it was, etc. Finally they grew quiet. One of them said softly, "8 to 10 weeks." I couldn't hear or see anything. I felt dizzy. This wasn't happening. I had to sit down, because I had no strength in my knees. The four prestigious doctors gathered around me. They were saying things I didn't hear. I have no idea how long we were there. I knew Todd was waiting for me in his room. I had to get up. I couldn't move. Somehow I made it back to Todd's room. He had a big smile and said, "What happened, did you get lost?"

I can still see that smile. That's when I started hearing and seeing things more clearly. He was in incredible pain and exhausted, yet that that smile I saw his love again. I wasn't lost. I was right where I wanted to be.

God is good. I thank Him for the memory of Todd's smile and for Todd's love. It is something I will cherish forever. Thank you, God. Thank you for Your Love as well, and for your tender care for us. God is good.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Children: Blessings and Heartaches

Yesterday morning before church, Abe received some heartbreaking news about a friend of his. They weren't close, but Abe and this young man shared common interests in the computer gaming world. Abe was asked to pray for this guy, who had made some poor choices and is now paying some grave consequences for the sin and subsequent destruction to not only his life, but many others as well. It breaks my heart. Here is a young man who, in my mind, was full of energy, joy, and zest for life. He told me how he and his family were praying for our family when Todd died. He was sincere. He was active in his church. His father was a pastor. He had so much to offer, so much to give, so many talents. Today it appears as though the world and the devil's deceptions have distracted him, and now he is paying a great cost.

There are so many things in this world calling out for our children's attention. The devil is fighting hard for their souls. He uses alcohol, drugs, sex, porn, depression....anything to get them to choose to turn away from God and into sin and destruction. When the wrong choices are made, heartache always follows. I'm saddened as I write this for this young man, yet I am thankful for the blessings my children provide in making good choices.

I am often criticized for "sheltering" my children. Often I hear people tell me that they are not provided enough social atmosphere. This weekend I was told that they need to go to a "real school" and how important it was for them to have friends outside of the church and home. I don't understand this.

Our oldest (19 next month!) is attending classes at Penn State University and doing very well. He studies on the weekends. He's home on the weekends. He attends church on the weekends....all good choices for a 19 year old. Our kids are not perfect by any means!! We have our battles; we have our struggles. By God's grace, and by continuing to stay close to Him in our personal devotions and family devotions, our children seem to be making the right choices in life. For this I am blessed, very blessed. Yet, as I talked with Abe last night, we both acknowledged that we could very well be dealing with the same issues as his friend is facing today. We are ALL capable of the same sins. We are ALL capable of making wrong choices. I reminded him again to "guard his heart." I pray for our kids every day. Don't forget to pray for yours! They are being bombarded at every level from every direction.

My heart is heavy today. I wish I were sharing these things with Todd, and I would do anything to be praying beside him, on our knees, for our children and for Abe's friend, even at this very moment. Our children need our prayers.

"A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother." Proverbs 10:1

Sunday, April 6, 2008

35 Months

I haven't written in longer than I realized. When thinking about my blog and what to write, I try at some point to remember and share how good God is. God is good, and He shows it in so many ways. This morning in church we sang one of my favorite hymns, "Count Your Blessings," but I couldn't finish singing without crying. Todd loved this song as well, and he would add words to the end of the lines and sing it often around the house. It made me miss him.

These last few weeks have had countless memories of Todd and many tears have fallen again and again. You would think after 35 months that the pain would lessen. You would think that the memories would decrease. You might even think that his voice and mannerisms are so far in the past that I would find it difficult to remember what it felt like to be held in his arms or tickled by his mustache. These things have felt more real to me than if he had died only yesterday. I taught Jr. Church for the first time without Todd today. I could hear him laughing and picture him making the children laugh. But for some reason, I couldn't even smile; all I could do was hold back tears. Even after 35 months, it still hurts more than I could express. The pain is deep tonight. I miss my love. I wonder how I can possibly go on without Him, and that's when I must turn to God's promises.

God promised He would never leave me nor forsake me.
God promised He would meet our needs.
God promised His love for me.
God promised Jesus would return and we will be reunited with loved ones (my Todd!).