4 weeks . . .
28 days . . .
672 hours . . .
40,320 minutes . . .
2,419,200 seconds . . .
since it felt like the world stopped . . . but, it didn't . . . the earth kept spinning in orbit . . . the sun set that night, and rose again the next morning (in a BRILLIANT sunrise that was caught by my Aunt & Uncle on film and given to us as a BEAUTIFUL memory!), life marched on around us, while we felt like everything stood still.
We have come to discover though, that in those 2,419,200 seconds, life went on. It sounds "cliche", but it is a truth that has become our reality. Life DOES go on. The sun rises and sets, on schedule EVERY SINGLE DAY. We go to sleep and we wake up to face another day. Another day that does not have the "look" we had thought it would, yet still another day, another GIFT from God, another day to CHOOSE to serve Him and TRUST in His goodness to us - even in our "rocked" world. And AGAIN today, we saw His goodness expressed to us in SO MANY ways!! The visit of DEAR friends this morning, with groceries that included quick and easy meals (because they too, realized that life does go on, and we are BUSY living life). More important than the groceries though, was the love and friendship of these two beautiful "sisters' in Christ. We visited for almost an hour and 1/2, enjoying each other's company (and some DELICIOUS cookies that Kajsa & her friend made)! God touched me this morning through Becky and Lisa and I'll forever be thankful - to them and to Him! These wonderful friends had barely pulled out of the driveway when I came upstairs from doing laundry to find another dear friend & her two kids here! Nicole had just picked up their pork from the store and came to share some with us, so now we also have breakfast sausages, bacon, spare ribs and our CHRISTmas ham in the freezer! HOW could I doubt God's watchcare over us when He makes it SO EVIDENT over and over?!
The "daily verse" on my phone today was Romans 8:37 which reads: "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." The next verse (38) tells us that neither death nor life, angels nor demons, the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord! That is an AMAZING passage! In ALL these things, we are more than conquerors. If we "conquer" we are VICTORS. That means in the end, we are the WINNERS! And it's another time that ALL is used - in ALL these things, even in our world being ROCKED and time feeling like it stood still, in ALL these things, we are MORE than conquerors. It is a PROMISE from the ONE who will NEVER break His promises . . . He tells me that I (we) will be the conquerors, and that NOTHING can separate us from His love. That is enough for me to stake my claim on, and to LIVE each day to the fullest as long as I have breath to breathe! I may not understand the day-to-day as it comes my way, but, I do know the END of the story - the PROMISE that because I have accepted HIM as my LORD and SAVIOR and have a PERSONAL relationship with HIM, I will LIVE some day with Him in HEAVEN and be reunited with Rick, and all the others who have gone before me. But, until that day, I have a job to do here. I have a beautiful family that Rick and I were BLESSED beyond measure with who I am entrusted with . . . I will, with Rick's love that will live forever in my heart, and guidance from the Lord, be the best mommy that I can be to them!
My devotional today had these verses from 1 Peter 8: "Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of our faith, the salvation of your souls" (verses 8 & 9). I love the whole passage, but the inexpressible and glorious joy part "grabbed" me. That would be a good description of the last 4 weeks . . . even in the midst of the grief, there is still the underlying "inexpressible and glorious joy". That feeling that can ONLY come from God and can only come because we know beyond a shadow of a doubt WHERE Rick is today, and where he went 4 weeks ago . . . he went before us, but he went loving us - of that we have no doubt.
I also have no doubt going into this "most wonderful time of the year" that even if he could, Rick would not trade Heaven's glories for even one more second with us here on earth - no matter how much he loved and adored us!
So, tonight as I wrapped gifts (missing sharing them with Rick), as I placed them under the tree, as the girls and I (and visiting friends throughout the day) "lived life", we of course, missed Rick. We (selfishly) wish for more time, we WOULD change things if we could. Yet tonight, even with all those feelings pressing in, we will lay down and REST, knowing that the Lord never makes mistakes. He never sleeps and He is always holding us. He is helping us to continue to "live life", to "love life", to enjoy what each day brings our way, to see more beauty in everyday things, to value each other just a little bit more, to appreciate the little things that we used to take for granted . . . He is giving us GRACE FOR THE JOURNEY, this "journey to our new normal".