Wonderful, Merciful Savior

Wonderful, merciful Savior
Precious Redeemer, and Friend
Who would have thought that a Lamb could
Rescue the souls of men?
Oh, you rescue the souls of men.

Counselor, Comforter, Keeper,
Spirit we long to embrace:
You offer hope when our hearts have
Hopelessly lost the way,
Oh, we've hopelessly lost the way.

Almighty, Infinite Father,
Faithfully loving your own;
Here in our weakness you find us
Falling before your throne,
Oh, we're falling before your throne.

You are the One that we praise.
You are the One we adore,
You give the healing and grace
Our hearts always hunger for,
Oh, our hearts always hunger for.

Tonight we went to the Sunday School Christmas program at the church Rick & I grew up in, the church our parents and some of our siblings still attend.  It was another "first" - the first time we have been there since Rick's accident - not that we always went together, it's just glaringly obvious now, that we are going alone, because it's our only option.  Bev and her friends sang this song - and I just LOVE it!  You offer HOPE (that has been such a recurring theme, in the last month & 1/2 - HOPE that comes ONLY in our TRUST in GOD) when our hearts have hopelessly lost the way (oh, and ours feel like they have lost the way, how do you move on when there is such a hole in your lives?) . . . . Here in our WEAKNESS (oh, yes, WEAKNESS like nothing I've ever known, weakness that can only be overcome by HIS strength) you find us, falling before your throne (FALLING before HIS throne is the ONLY place I can find true strength and peace and HOPE)  . . . . YOU are the one that we PRAISE (yes, I will PRAISE, even now), you are the ONE we ADORE (the ONLY ONE who deserves true adoration), YOU give the HEALING (a little more each day) and GRACE (Grace that makes NO sense to me . . . yet it is poured out on me daily) our hearts always hunger for (yes, I hunger for HIM and the PEACE and HOPE He continually gives to me!).

So, here we are, at another Sunday night.  We have made it through another weekend - those are the hardest - the "routine" of the ordinary just isn't there, yet, each weekend, we survive, we receive blessings for the moment, we learn lessons from God's hand.  Today is also 1 month since my Birthday.  When I think back, look back, I can see that healing has begun.  I can see that I don't feel as "raw" as I did then.  The pain is still fresh - the wound hasn't healed (I don't believe it ever does, completely), the emptiness is sometimes more glaring now that things have "settled in", yet, the fluttering of my heart, the "panic" feelings, they don't hit as often.  There is often more peace than turmoil.  The memories are more often the GOOD ones, not those of "that day".  The laughter comes a little easier, the reminders from God continue to give us strength and courage to continue on!  So yes, time is healing.  Time is NOT forgetting, but it is a moving forward, learning anew how to "live life", how to navigate this "new normal".  And because of God's grace, we are doing that. 

Sunday is another interesting day in our journey.  It is the only day of the week that all 5 of us were home getting ready, a change in the routine of the week when Rick usually climbed out of bed as we were walking out the door!  Sunday, he was the first to leave (sometimes with a girl going with him - depending on our speed in getting ready) as he was the greeter - and he took that job VERY SERIOUSLY (sometimes, I hate to admit, to my frustration).  So, when I finally arrived at church most Sunday mornings (always running late), Rick was there, holding the door open, with a hug and a kiss for me. So, to say walking in to church is different is an understatement!  My sweet Aunt Ev told me today that they come to church a little later than they used to - because they liked to come and chat with Rick a little before finding "their" seat - I never knew that!  She is ALWAYS so sweet, and I can just see the pain in HER eyes when she talks to me - she's so sweet and encouraging - and I love the hugs from Uncle Gordy - we really are SO BLESSED!  I'm AGAIN reminded why I am so thankful for my family and friends!  The sermon (that I ALMOST missed today, but that's a whole different story!) was from Matthew 1, specifically verses 22 & 23:  All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet (spoken by the prophet in Isaiah 7:14 - check it out - it's ALMOST word for word) "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel".  Not sure if you see it or not, but, I see another theme emerging here . . . so many times over the last few weeks, I've heard songs, sermons, read devos . . . all speaking of our Immanuel - GOD WITH US!  I guess he wants to make SURE that I am LISTENING and REMEMBERING that HE IS WITH ME (us)! :)

Sunday afternoon football just isn't what it used to be either, though I still love OUR Packers, I have come to cherish other things much more than a Packer WIN (thank goodness too, because today, they didn't get one!).  Football is a fun past-time, I enjoy watching WHOEVER is playing actually, but in the BIG plan of life, well, it's really quite un-important!  (though I am sure hoping for more PACKER WINS this year!)  All things that are a part of the new life we are living - changes, reminders of what is missing, but along with the sad reminders, the good reminders of WHAT is important, that GOD is ALWAYS there, that HE will always carry our burdens, and no matter how dark things may seem, HE has plans for our lives - and they are plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).

So along with some of the trials of the day, we also looked to the future (the NEAR future actually) as we did laundry and started to organize and pack for our little road trip to CHICAGO.  A HUGE change of pace for us country girls!  Christmas time in the CITY!  Excitement and anticipation is settling in.  The girls and I have done much "adventuring" in the past (Rick always said, "Go, have fun, I have my hunting trips and hunting season" and since most trips involved shopping at one time or another, he didn't mind not tagging along!).  So, we plan, knowing that even if Rick were still physically here with us, we would plan this trip with his blessing, he would say, even if he couldn't get away from work, "Go, have fun!"  He loved "us girls" and encouraged the times we had together (looking back, I think, was this God's way of preparing us, through Rick's blessing and encouragement, because HE knew it would be "just us girls" at this point in our lives..... ?)  I really do believe that God and Rick prepared us for this.  We have driven places by ourselves alone (though not to the "big city"), we have checked into and stayed in hotels alone, we have enjoyed our time together as "the girls".  We do know how to do those things.  The difference, the BIG difference, is that this time we won't be sending texts and pictures to Daddy/Rick.  We won't be calling home to  share our adventures, won't be looking for little presents to bring home for him. But still, I think, he WILL know, he WILL want us to have fun, he HAS given his "blessing" on this trip . . . We as "earthly beings" have NO IDEA what Heaven is like, but it's nice for me to think that Rick is "watching" and "encouraging" us in all we do each day.  I do know that I knew him well enough to KNOW that this trip this week DOES have his blessing, his encouragement, his LOVE!  It is one thing that I feel each and every day.  I KNOW, without a DOUBT, that Rick left this earth LOVING us.  Of that, we have no doubt, and though he is missed DEARLY every moment of every day, we do have peace in that knowledge...we said I LOVE YOU OFTEN between him and I, him and the "little" girls, him and Nick & Ashley . . . every phone call ended with Love you, say hi to Brian/Ashley and give the kids hugs . . . RICK LOVED US, of this we are SURE!  And to know THAT and to know that God's love for us is even GREATER, well, that is cause for feeling peace, even in the midst of the storm!

He can.  He does.  He shall.  Hope for it.  Pray for it.  Believe it.  "The rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain, and the Glory of the Lord will be revealed."  Isaiah 40: 4-5

I remember sharing a "word picture" with my Aunt Peggy a couple of years back, it went something like this ... During ROUGH times, I picture myself walking in the woods, in the PITCH DARK on a VERY CURVY trail, it could be SCARY, very scary, but I'm not afraid.  I'm not afraid, because there is a LIGHT showing me the way - but, JUST ONE STEP AT A TIME.  Not too far ahead so I have to chase after it, not behind me by one step so I might stumble, but just enough for THE NEXT STEP.

That's the road I am walking right now . . . DARK, CURVY, SCARY (at times), yet I don't have to fear.  God is lighting my path - just ONE STEP AT A TIME.  I just have to keep my eyes on the LIGHT of HIM and He will bring me safely through.

Thy word is a light unto my feet and a lamp unto my path . . . You are my hiding place and shield . . . I HOPE in your word!  Psalm 119: 105 & 114

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