"...and they will call Him Immanuel"

..."The virgin will conceive and give birth to a Son and they will call Him Immanuel (which means "God with us")!" ♥

That's a verse that is always associated with the Christmas story, yet, I don't know that I've ever "felt" it as much as this year.  "God with us".  A simple 3 word statement.  A PROFOUND 3 word statement. GOD WITH US.  It is 3 words, without limitations.  It does not say "God with us in the good times", or "God with us when things are going well" or "God with us when you have money to pay all the bills".  It doesn't even say, "God with us when things go wrong", "God with us when life is turned upside down", "God with us when we don't understand".  It simply says GOD.WITH.US.  That has to mean in the GOOD and in the BAD.  In the HAPPY and in the SAD.  In the REJOICING and in the GRIEVING.  In the "Journey to this New Normal.  God with us.  I think it has become one of my new favorite words, Immanuel ♥ it even has a nice "ring" to it, don't you think?

Today was a "normal" day, as far as "normal" goes these days.  We did very "normal" things.  Work, school, BPA practice (early morning for Tessa and after school for Taya), basketball "got milk" pictures for the Varsity Boy's Basketball team & Cheerleaders (and managers - which included Tessa).  All of us home by shortly after 5:00 p.m.  Supper together around the table (with one empty chair), laundry done, kitchen cleaned up, cupcakes baked for tomorrow's bake sale . . . all as "normal" as much as can be.  To say that the empty chair doesn't SCREAM at me would be to lie.  To say that when we hold hands to pray, I'm not FULLY aware that there are hands that aren't there that I think should be.  To say that I go past channel 49 (the Outdoor Channel) QUICKLY - because it's the channel that was ALWAYS on (unless the Packers were on another station!) is an understatement.  Yet, in all these things, the empty chair, the missing hands, the skipped channel . . . . IMMANUEL.  And THAT is why I can go on.  That is why I can lay my head to rest each night and DO sleep.  That is why I can get up and face each new day.  Immanuel.  God with us (ME)! . . . the beautiful song "Because HE Lives" is a truth . . . 

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone.
Because I know, I know Who holds the future
And life is worth the living, just because He lives!

Those words are a beautiful assurance, because HE lives, I can FACE TOMORROW.  The final verse of that song, holds a whole new meaning to me as well, because I know that BECAUSE HE LIVES, the last verse is no longer just a "song" to Rick, but his reality:

And then one day, I'll cross that river
I'll fight life's final war with pain
And then as death gives way to VICTORY
I'll see the lights of glory and I'll know He lives!

No, not every day is easy.  But what is "easy"?  That is differently defined by different people.  We each have our own version of "easy" and our own version of "difficult".  I'm trying to remember that as I face each day.  We ARE moving forward, we do "live life" each day, we do "enjoy" life each day.  We do miss Rick terribly each day.  We do wish Rickey/Daddy was HERE with us as we live each day.  Yet, we do make plans for Christmas vacation, for Christmas Eve, for the future.  Rick would have wanted us to.  But is it easy?  No.  It is not easy.  Not by any means.  But, it is POSSIBLE.  Because with GOD, ALL things are possible.  He paves the way for each day.  For each decision.  For each activity.  Not easy, yet more "normal" as each day passes.  A "new normal" to be sure, but a moving forward with our hands held tightly in HIS.  HIS promises of the hope we have for the future.  

I find that I am much more easily irritated recently with "silly" problems (those problems that I perceive as "silly" that is).  People who complain about the weather, or the rules, the price of gas . . . . things that we can't change, things that really, truly DON'T MATTER.  Sometimes I want to SCREAM . . . "Really? Really?  You think THAT is bad . . . let me tell you . . . . "  But, I don't.  I try to remember that each person's problems are theirs.  To them, they ARE a big deal.  I'm learning to "see" things more through Rick's and God's eyes, but it's a process.  I'm NOT a patient person.  I'm black and white.  I'm "type A", but, I'm learning.  My patience with my girls is much greater (Rick was the patient one, me the impatient - I think he left me some of his measure of patience!).  My view of "problems" has taken on a new perspective.  The value I place on some things (relationships) has INCREASED.  The value I place on things that are not really important is becoming less.  In a way, I think I face "life" with less fear than I did before November 5.  I have faced what I would have named to be the WORST CASE SCENARIO, and thanks to the LORD, I (we) have survived.  Changed, yes.  Grieving, yes.  Confused at times, yes.  Thankful for what we DO have, yes.  "Life" will continue to happen.  Every day.  And me, even with my "type A" personality, cannot change the course of life God has for me.  So, yes, 
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow, Because He lives, all fear is gone".  I can't say "ALL" fear is gone, but yes, there is less.  Less fear, some less worrying, MORE trusting, MORE leaning, MORE loving . . . All things from HIS hand.

Today, was a day filled with good for another reason.  My dear Uncle Norm ("Funny Pup" to the girls) had quite a major heart surgery (and he's not exactly a "spring chicken"!), but the latest news is that the surgery went well.  He is in recovery.  His family will be seeing him soon (or probably has by now).  My cousin (his daughter) posted a picture on Facebook of "Grama doing a happy dance"!  My dear aunt, wearing Uncle Norm's cowboy hat with her fist pumped in the air, and a HUGE smile on her face! :)  

 It is a GOOD day!  God is on the throne.  He is still listening to all our prayers!  HE LOVES US!  I will go to sleep tonight thanking God.  Thanking HIM that I can trust Him for every detail of my life.  Thanking Him that He was with Uncle Norm's Dr.'s and nurses today.  Thanking him for being Immanuel!

"Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work in us."  Ephesians 3:20

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