"Let it Go" {no this isn't a post about Frozen!}

I've gone back and forth on whether I should post or not, and I guess if you are reading this, it means I decided to share.

A little over 3 years ago, I started this blog and in the first couple of sentences I said:

 "I make no promises that it will be pretty and rosy and it might get a little messy! I do hope to dig deeper into God's purpose for life and for death, for hurt and for heartache as I write."

The last 3 years have not been all pretty and rosy.  We have seen good days and bad days.  "Life" gets messy at times.  God's purpose for life and death still isn't crystal clear to me, but I have seen lives changed because of God's sovereign hand in everything.  To say I understand hurt and heartache would be a lie, I don't believe that I will have an understanding of that until I stand before Him in Heaven someday and He can explain it to me.  All I know is there are more good days than bad now.  Time doesn't "heal all wounds" but it takes the sting away from them.  Grief isn't something that you process the five steps of and then tuck away in a neat, tidy little package never to be revisited again.

Wikipedia defines {grief} as:

"a multifaceted response to loss, particularly to the loss of someone or something that has died, to which a bond or affection was formed. Although conventionally focused on the emotional response to loss, it also has physical, cognitive, behavioral, social, spiritual, and philosophical dimensions"

In a great article I found on grief, a couple of statements jumped out at me:

The grieving process takes time. Healing happens gradually; it can’t be forced or hurried—and there is no “normal” timetable for grieving.

God has BLESSED me beyond measure by allowing Rick into my life, and bringing me LOVE again. Though I NEVER EXPECTED to love again, and surely not so soon after losing Rickey, i have come to realize there truly is no timetable for grieving.  I believe with my whole heart that I have grown in my walk with Christ because of the influence of both of the Rick{s} in my life.  Rickey has gone on to a WAY BETTER PLACE than I can ever imagine, and I have the assurance that he is at home with his Savior.  Rick is here for me now, bringing joy back into my life, and walking alongside me as we "do life" daily.  He has helped me as I've grieved, and he journeys through each day patiently at my side {and some days it takes way more patience than others}! I'd like to add here though that just because I have "moved on" it does not mean that I have stopped grieving or that there is not still a hole in my heart from the loss of Rickey

MYTH: If you don’t cry, it means you aren’t sorry about the loss.
Fact: Crying is a normal response to sadness, but it’s not the only one. Those who don’t cry may feel the pain just as deeply as others. They may simply have other ways of showing it.

I.DON'T.CRY.  I just don't.  Now, I might cry over a sappy Hallmark movie, or a sad Disney tale, but when it comes to the "big" stuff.  I don't usually cry.  I just don't.  I guess it's from years of being "tough", and being told that I was "tough".  I've been told, "you're strong, you can handle it" about many situations over many, many years.  I've somehow, over the years, {learned} not to "cry over spilled milk", or strained relationships, or broken promises, or unfulfilled dreams and hopes.  Crying didn't change or fix such circumstances, therefore, why cry? I've learned that crying is sometimes seen by others as manipulative, and I don't want to bee seen that way. So, why cry?  I remember when my dad had his heart attack, was taken on the Flight For Life to Green Bay, went into open heart surgery and had complications a week later, I never cried.  Never.  I watched people all around us in that ICU waiting room crying, boxes of Kleenex everywhere, wondering why in the world, they were crying, after all, their tears wouldn't change anything. Through all these situations and more, my "mantra" was "just suck it up".  "Be brave".  "Be strong".  "Trust in God, it's all in His hands anyway .... crying won't change it".  So I didn't cry. ... all in the name of being strong.
{which is the PERFECT segue to the next and final statement I'll share from that article}:

MYTH: It’s important to be “be strong” in the face of loss.
Fact: Feeling sad, frightened, or lonely is a normal reaction to loss. Crying doesn’t mean you are weak. You don’t need to “protect” your family or friends by putting on a brave front. Showing your true feelings can help them and you.

Um, wait a minute.  Sad, frightened, lonely is o.k.?  Sad? Even when I'm happy about where I am in life, excited about new doors that God is opening every day and the fact that for the first time in my life, I feel like I know "what I want to be" when I grow up?  Frightened?  Even when I don't know why?  Lonely?  In a house filled with kids, and pets and a new husband?  Crying doesn't mean I'm weak, I don't have to put on a brave front?  I've heard all this.  My mind tells me that I {know} all this. Still, I don't "practice" it.  I smile even if I'm sad!  I act brave even when I'm scared.  I feel guilty if i feel lonely, in a life filled with wonderful friends, family {and pets}! 

So, imagine my surprise the other morning when I found myself on my bed, curled up like a child, sobbing like I don't ever remember sobbing.  Crying so hard my chest hurt and my eyes burned and i couldn't catch my breath, no matter how hard I tried to remind myself of the {proper} way to breathe that I teach my students at Broga. Crying like I've never cried before.  I am not sure what triggered it but in those moments, I knew that I just couldn't {always} be strong anymore.  I had to allow myself to be weak.  I had to say it was o.k. to be vulnerable.  I reached out to some good friends who covered me in prayer.  I admitted to them that I WAS weak.  I shared with them my fears, and my anguish, and yes, my grief. And, guess what?  They STILL LOVED ME!  They didn't turn away because I was weak.  They didn't think less of me because I wasn't strong.  Even though we weren't physically together, they held me.  They held me in their thoughts and more importantly they held me in their prayers.  They LOVED ON me even though I was a wreck!  Later that day/evening I did my best to explain it to Rick {who bless his soul is a man and didn't completely "get" it} and he held me as I fell asleep .... tucked in my "safe place".  

So, why share?  why this long post now, at Christmas when we should all be happy and jolly?  Because I really want you to know that it's not always pretty.  That way too often I {and probably you too} hide behind our smiles, and our pretty packages under the tree, and the plates of cookies we have baked.  We hide behind the facade of "nice" so people don't have to see that we are real ... because if they know the "real" us, then they might not love us.  Guess, what?  That's not true!  In the middle of my "yuck" of a few days ago, a friend sent me a Facebook message that said, "Hope you are ok? Hang in there. Praying!!!"
She had NO IDEA I'd had a "yucky" day.  She is a precious sister in Christ, but honestly, we've had very little contact recently, yet, God prodded her to message me .... Oh sweet sister {or brother} as the ever famous song from Frozen says ...

LET IT GO ..... 

Really, let it go!  Stop pretending, be weak if you need to be weak.  Be vulnerable if you need to be vulnerable.  Those who TRULY love you will still be there.  You'll find out how much they really do love you.  You'll discover how much GOD really loves you!



It's been a year since my last post here.  Not a year of Rickey being forgotten by any means, just a year of us living life, and continuing on in this "new normal" that God is writing for us.

As I opened this page to write this morning, many thoughts flooded my mind, but I believe writing right now was divinely appointed.  At the exact moment I positioned my fingers on the keys to begin typing, "Amazing Grace, My Chains Are Gone" came on the radio.  In case you don't know, that was Rickey's funeral song.  The song I can FINALLY make it through without crying - most of the time - but not today.

November 2, 2005, my sweet Mama called me early telling me that she had called the rescue squad for my Dad, "We think it's his heart" she said.  As that day unfolded, my amazing Daddy was transferred from the E.R. to the I.C.U. at our local hospital where they attempted to stabilize him before feeling it was safe to flight him to Green Bay for further evaluation and treatment.  I will always remember how I felt late that afternoon as I watched the helicopter lift off and head south, holding one of the most important men in my life. That helicopter represented so much to me in those moments ... fear for my Daddy and his health, gratitude for the men and women who had taken care of him all day, and those who were caring for him on that flight, and desperate prayers that God please help my Daddy!  God wasn't through with my Dad's work here on earth.  After quadruple by-pass surgery, an implanted pace-maker and later an ICD, some setbacks and many medical "miracles" my Dad came home and today, 9 years later he is at hunting camp preparing for another hunting season!

November 5, 2011, a police officer and my Pastor and his wife met us in our driveway prior to a frantic drive to that same E.R. where my Dad's journey had begun just over six years earlier.  I clearly remember as we pulled into the parking lot, I longed to see the landing pad set up with Eagle III waiting. That helicopter represented {earthly} life and hope to me. The course of November 5, 2011 wasn't anything like the course of  November 2, 2005.  Rather than a helicopter swooping in and whisking Rickey to another medical facility for treatment and {earthly} intervention, as it did for my Dad, God reached down with divine intervention, calling Rickey home to Heaven.

"Time heals all wounds" they say.  I do not agree. Time softens the hurt.  Time allows you to breathe again.  Time gives you a new, better perspective. Time allows for acceptance. Time brings God into focus, and allows you to lean on Him like you've never leaned on Him before. Time does not stop, just because your life feels like it did. The wounds that we experienced on November 5, 2011 will always be with us.  The wounds have softened, though some days they feel just as fresh as they did that day.  We are able to breathe a little easier, most of the time. We have a better perspective, of life on earth, and the hope of our eternal life in Heaven, things that once seemed so important have faded some in light of eternity. Time has allowed for the acceptance that God has a bigger plan for our lives. Time has allowed us to fully lean on God and we have grown closer to Him than we ever imagined we would. Time has not "healed" our wounds.  They are still there.  We still miss Rickey. Every day. We miss the commotion around this time of year, getting ready for hunting season.  We miss the things that he, as a Daddy/Grandpa "should" be here for, the graduations, the birth of babies, the big and little events that we used to take for granted! 

"Time" has passed.  Three years of time.  Thirty-six months of time.  1,096 days of time.  26,304 hours of time. 1, 578,240 seconds .... yes, time has passed, and continues to pass each moment. Life did not stop 1,578,240; 41, 42, 43, 44 seconds ago .... it keeps on ticking away.  Rickey's "time" on earth did stop three years ago, but with that last fleeting breath here on earth, he breathed his first breath of eternity.  At that moment 1096 days ago, God spoke softly, "Child, come home", and Rickey did! As I type this, 26,304 and 1/2 hours ago, I fully believe that Rickey stepped into the presence of his Savior and Lord and heard the words, "Well done My good and faithful servant, well done."

Yes, we still miss Rickey today, three years later.  We still, at times wonder "why"?.  We still feel the hurt, time did not "heal" that wound.  We will always have a piece of our hearts that left with Rickey that day. We miss his laughter and soft, gentle personality. But, as one of the girls put it, "We had Daddy as long as we were supposed to."  Our earthly minds cannot comprehend God's ways. We will not fully understand this side of eternity why God chose to call Rickey home that day three years ago. We will however rest in the fact that

 "Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be. " {Psalm 139:16}

We will believe that God in His sovereign will had designated November 5, 2011 as the ending of Rickey's "days ordained {on earth} for him, before one of them ever came to be".  We will also believe that Rickey's last and most important prayer would be that one day, he is able to stand there and greet you at the gates of Heaven {as he greeted everyone coming into church on a Sunday morning} with an "I'm glad you are here" as he hears Your Lord proclaim to you "Well done My good and faithful servant, well done."

Time does not heal all wounds, but time does not stop either!  Each of us, like Rickey will breathe our last breath here on earth.  When you breathe your last earthly breath, do you have the assurance of an eternity in Heaven as Rickey did?  If you do, live each moment FOR eternity, use your life to bring glory to God, and lead others to Him.  If you don't have that assurance, please search your heart, dig into your Bible, ask someone some questions and make that decision today.  It is the most important decision you will ever make! You can never be good enough or nice enough, or giving enough to get into Heaven. You will not get into Heaven through regular church attendance, service or by being baptized {that's your outward profession of your internal decision!}.  The ONLY WAY you can be assured of hearing "Well done My good and faithful servant, well done" is to have a personal relationship with Christ .... don't wait - you aren't promised your next earthly breath, life can change in the blink of an eye!

So many changes ...

We like to tell people that we love Chattanooga so much we moved here twice! Since my last post in 2020, we spent eight months in Michigan...