Monday, April 06, 2009

Where have I been?

I'm sorry I've just disappeared!

April has been very busy. I've been preparing for VBS, and working on Sunday school stuff. Plus the daily doings of a busy household with small children.

Now I'm in Tampa with Javier and the kids. My dad got married to Wanda on Friday. We arrived late Wednesday night in Tampa and on Thursday before the wedding we drove to Brandon and met Wanda and Paige, her four year old granddaughter.

I wondered how I would feel seeing my dad and Wanda together for the first time. You know what? It felt completely natural. I knew I would like Wanda but I just wondered how it would feel to see them together. There is something about Wanda that is comforting, warm, and a calming love you can feel.

There is much I want to share about the wedding, but I will have to come back later and write more.

Saturday we went to Jacksonville and went to my dad and now Wanda's home.

Dread filled my heart. I didn't want to go inside, but running away solves nothing. What else can one do but push forward? What was I dreading, you might wonder. Honestly, it had nothing to do with the changes. Simply put, that doesn't bother me. It had nothing to do with Wanda. It feels comforting and right that she is there. It was only about the fact that my mother wasn't going to be opening the door, waiting for me.

It was HARD. Harder than I thought to be there. Had I not had two small children and a husband there with me, I would have jumped in the car and driven straight to my mom's grave. Every fiber of my being wanted to fling myself on her grave and dig her out, screaming, "you're not supposed to be dead to us. Don't you know you're supposed to be in your house?"

I've never felt so angry about her being gone, her spirit so far away, so untouchable in heaven. I wanted her home. Greeting us in her kitchen. I could see her smile, imagine what she would say and do.

There were many bitter, angry and depressed tears. I haven't grieved like that before. I know where my mom is, my heart is set on the place where she is, my eyes focused on the goal of one day getting there myself. But Saturday's tears boiled down to pity.

I don't regret those tears or letting myself grieve like that. I know God understands and gave me the space to just simply be human.

But you know what, one can't stay in that frame of mind long. It's a dangerous, dark place that pity, depression and anger leads you. They beckon with their cold, sharp tentacles. Desperate to wrap pity around one's mind and it's a horrible trap.

Thank God for His mercy and LOVE that are stronger... that are more powerful... and more wonderful than one can imagine. Thank God for His HOPE that is fresh... that flows like river... that fills your heart and gives life!

Sunday was a new day and I woke feeling... released, renewed and refreshed. Ready for a bright new future. Worship at Southside Assembly was wonderful! I went with Jesus by my side and praised my God just steps away from where my mother's coffin once held her earthly shell. I raised my hands in VICTORY because death didn't win! Through Jesus, there is eternal life. I smiled knowing in heaven my mom was dancing along with me! I felt like I was smiling with her, knowing a wonderful secret!

My heartfelt prayer: Dear Jesus, I thank you for being so close beside me this week. Thank you for allowing me to grieve and release my anger and hurt. Thank you for allowing me to be myself and still loving me despite that! Thank you for taking care of my mother, for giving her such a wonderful place to be, in heaven and in your presence. Thank you for the gift that is Wanda. I see her for the beautiful treasure she is, and I stand in awe of your blessing to our family. Simply put I love you, Jesus. Love, Jennifer


Anonymous said...

Bless your sweet heart. I think your feelings are understandable, and it is good to know you can't stay there. You haven't fully grieved your mother, but you never will, you will always miss her. Praying for you!

Anonymous said...

I admire your honesty, Jennifer.
I cried just reading about it.
You're a living, breathing example of why we need Jesus. He is our ultimate Comforter, our Strength, and the lifter of our heads. I imagine him lifting your little-girl chin, wiping your eyes, and setting you back on your feet again.

The first visit home after a death is the hardest. It will get a little easier in time. I know this personally. What a tender heart and a loving spirit your parents have given you. Hang in there.

milton dykes said...

Jennifer, you are one wonderful daughter. Your mother is very proud of you and I am too. Wanda has always loved you from the time you were a little girl. God could not have given us a more wonderful, loving person to bless our family.

You told me first, only after Jesus, that Wanda was the one for me. You were right, and she is the one for our family too.

I knew it would be hard for you to return home, and I really prayed for you and Julie for God's love and comfort to come to you. God is faithful. He will help you every step of the way. Keep trusting Him and following Him.

I love you dearly.


Granddad Dykes said...

Hi Jennifer, your post is simply awesome. What manifestation of dependance on God's grace, strength, and help. You expressed it all so purely.

It was good to visit with you, Javier, and children. We love you. Thanks for being an inspiration to all of us. Sweet Granddaughter!!

Granddad Dykes

Kate said...

Precious Dear Child,

Our comforting our Father's Love is to those of us who grieve. How thankful I am that those of us who grieve knowing Jesus grieve with Real Hope.



B. J. Brooks said...

Jennifer what a wonderful post and such a testament to all of us to see Jesus as you do.

It blesses my heart to see how loving you are toward Wanda. Stepping into an established family can be very difficult, but you have made it into a "Blessing" with your encouraging words to your father and to Wanda.

There are many families like yours that are hurting and your witness of how loving and beautiful life can be even with changes is inspiring.

Many Blessings
B.J. Brooks

LaDonna said...

Hi Jennifer,
I've read your mom's blog, now your dad's and yours. I knew your parents and they've been a blessing to my husband and I over the years. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. I know this isn't easy.

I've added you to my blogsite so others can read and be ministered to from your life's journey.

God is so good! like your mama always said!

THOMBU1 said...

Comfort and Joy

What peace You bring our Lord, our King
To hearts that break and start to ache
The tears flow down, smile turns to frown
Then hope seems lost and faith is tossed
Such hurt such pain such loss like rain
Pours down and wets our minds with

Joy is so near, no need to fear
God waits with care He hears our prayer
Holds in His hand His master plan
Open the seal, here is the deal
Comfort and Joy I bring to you
Joy in all you need to do
Comfort for all that you've been through
Cares all Mine, till end of time
Worries tossed on Me to bear
Are kept and in My love and care.
Comfort and Joy
Sweet peace return, called forth from pain
Sweet faith restored, called back from fear
Comfort and Joy are Mine to bring
So set your heart My praises to sing.

THOMBU1 said...

You are not alone in your grief. I share your pain after having experienced it twice with Mom and Dads passing seven short weeks apart. You will survive. Yur faith will sustain you. The poem I wrote above isn'tthe best, but I felt it summed up a lot of things in my heart. God bless you, Beloved of His

Kate said...

Jennifer, dear,

I've checked back in here several times, hoping to find another one of your sweet posts, especially about the wedding.

In re-reading this one, something jumped off of the screen at me--

You are Right!! Your mom is Supposed to be in her house--and she is! She is in the Mansion that our sweet Savior prepared for her. As Christians, we have that most beautiful of hopes before us.

I know how often your arms must ache for your mom....but as your dad said--she's so proud of you...and in the meantime know that her mansion is undoubtably (sp.) the most beautiful ocean color in Heaven!



Anonymous said...

Dear Jennifer,

Thank you for being so honest. What you are going through is a normal part of the grieving process. Anger, confusion, and sorrow are all to be expected. You're right when you say that you shouldn't get stuck in it, but don't be too hard on yourself if you have these times again in the future. You have recently suffered a deep loss and each one of us progresses through that in a different way and at a different pace. Put yourself in God's hands and allow Him to lead you through it in the way He has for you personally. Don't compare your way of grieving with anyone else's -- we are all made differently and God deals with each of us in a unique way. I pray and trust that, in time, your pain will not be as raw and jagged as it is now.


Norma McGee said...

There was such a mixture of emotions this past weekend. The joy of witnessing Milton and Wanda being joined in marriage, the sorrow of being at Milton's home without Kristy, the joy of seeing all the beautiful decorating of Milton and Wanda's home, the sadness of visiting Kristy's grave, the amusement of Milton's new grandson helping him carry his tray at the restaurant and on and on.....

I am proud of you and Julie for walking thru all these moments of grief. You are allowing God to comfort you, heal you, teach you.

I love you.

Aunt Norma

cindy said...

As I read this,tears just fell...
The words that you shared are exactly what i went thru just a few short yrs ago when my mom passed away...Going to my moms house for the first time after she was gone, had to be the HARDEST thing ive ever experienced...

thank you Jesus for bringing Jennifer thru this difficult time...Thank you for your love that you show....

Jennifer thank you for sharing these personal feelings...i know it couldnt be easy, but God is always with YOU....

Your mom is very proud of you...for the woman you are and for the FAITH that you have....

God bless you

In Gods Love