Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Glue & Other Ties that Bind

Blogging grew out of a compulsion I've had to write and share the amazing things God has done for us. I am convinced the power of prayer is what has bridged the gap for us. The comfort and strength we have found did not come from within. God is so faithful! He has taken care of the big things and little details every day since my husband Paul died very unexpectedly.

We have been overwhelmed by the love and support that has been poured over us. The women of our church were having a retreat when Paul died and they prayed as a group for us. Meals came from the church and the school. The porch was filled with groceries from a still unknown giver. The cards and personal notes we received are like hugs from God himself.

My husband traveled with 'Up with People' years ago and shared an incredible bond with his cast mates. Their support from around the world has been a huge encouragement. One of them happened to be in Israel the week he died and prayed for us at the wailing wall. This was especially significant to me because one of Paul's most recent favorite books had been 'Christianity is Jewish.'

Getting connected through serving and study with groups at church has been a critical part of our spiritual growth. We've been very lucky that the small groups we've been in are places where it's safe to share your struggles & find encouragement not condemnation. If you don't yet have friends to 'pray you through' life's storms, find some ASAP!

This email is the first thing I wrote after Paul died. It was sent to the families of the praise team my daughter's are in at church:

I wanted to thank you all for your prayers. We are truly blessed to be part of such a loving church family. I am certain that the strength we have found these past two days is due to the power of prayer and the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. I thought I would share some information with you. Paul died very peacefully. He apparently had cardiovascular disease. His arteries were so clogged that his heart and lungs were not getting enough oxygen. He died in the middle of the night and we found him in the morning. The coroner said that even if we had heard him fall and called 911 at the time of death due to the issue they probably would not have been able to do anything. The fact that he went quickly is a blessing.

The praise team has been key in building the faith of both the girls. My favorite verse about worship is "The Lord inhabits the praise of His people." ( this is my paraphrase, I believe it is in Psalms ) The faith our kids have at 7, 12 and 14 is stronger than what I had as a young adult. I believe with all my heart that the time in praise team has drawn them closer to the Lord than they could otherwise be. I wanted to share something Rachel said with you that has been a deep comfort to me. As we were all standing holding each other waiting for the coroner I shared the verse from first Colossians with the kids that in hard times I know Jesus has held me together. 'He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.' Rachel had an awesome paraphrase of it, 'Jesus is the
glue.' We've repeated it several times to each other over the last several days. We have saying that sits on our microwave ' We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.' As much as our loss the heaviest burden we've faced, we know God is there to take it and help us. I am so grateful that the kids truly get that Paul is with our heavenly Father through the gift of our Savior and in Jesus' own words, everything is complete.

We were not meant to do life alone. Unfortunately in our modern world, loneliness seems to be more prevalent than ever. It is ironic that God has used the loneliest time of my life to show me every single day I am not alone. Much of His loving care has been expressed through others. When we don't let other people in, we limit God's ability to work through them and in us.

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Ecclesiastes 4:12

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