Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Community and Preparation for this Season

I REFUSE to let Tuesday slip away without sharing some Grace Notes and capturing some thoughts from the day.  As it's late I'll share the BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front). I am grateful today for community and for God preparing us for a season of change about to come...

I began the day with the boys...Arielle had a couple of meetings to attend. Family is a vital part of the community which surrounds us. Danny was moving too quickly for photos today. 

Charles is intent on sorting

Benny informed me Uncle was probably really good with puzzles. I think he was less than impressed with our progress. LOL 

I have been unmotivated to LEAVE the house. Today I had a full day planned...I would watch the boys until 11:45. I would meet a friend. I would go to our food co-op and pick up produce. I LOVED my time with the boys, but I began to suspect I had scheduled too much for the day. 

I was blessed when another co-op member and neighbor messaged me and asked if she could bring our produce to us rather than me making the trip to the next town. Linda is a sweet part of our community. I agreed it would be a big help because I was already running out of energy at 10:30 a.m. 

I have a friend, Brenda, who lost her husband three years ago. Unfortunately, I didn't understand what she needed in that season, and was not the support I could have been. Though, to be clear, I THOUGHT I was offering what she needed. ::sigh::   As often happens life swirled around both of us, and we moved in different directions. We lost contact with one another for a couple of years. 32 days ago, we reconnected. We met for tea, shared our hearts and agreed we wanted to meet again - soon. It was a good touch of community for both of us. I shared with Brenda that day I was feeling unsettled...

29 days ago, Josiah was shot and killed. Brenda watched as the news reports began to add details and reached out to me. She knew the grief, the inability to think clearly, the pain we would be experiencing. She also understood when she reached out and I simply wasn't in an emotional place to meet. She assured me she would be around when I was ready...and so today we met for soup and tea. I had questions and thoughts I've been saving to bounce off a counselor, group or someone who has journeyed this way. 

I was astounded it had only been 32 days since we previously met. My life has totally changed. It feels like an eternity, and it feels like a blip - all at the same time. We shared. I asked questions. We cried. She asked questions. I cried some more. She let me know while it doesn't feel I'm making progress, I AM. She shared her experiences with various local resources. I'm sorry to have missed a Grief Share group covering the holidays...She encouraged me to MAKE the phone call to Hope to Alaska and get counseling set up for ME...and then to consider joining a Grief Share group.  It was a good visit...and I'm thankful Brenda is part of my community.  

I'm in awe God brought us back together at just the time when I would need her most. She is right - we are kindred spirits, and it is good to be back in relationship. 

I got home and there were packages from a few friends who don't live close...again...community. 

CHECK OUT THE WATCH BAND for my new watch! Julia's wise encouragement has been such a help. This band looks like flannel - it's perfect. Anna sent me the mug with fireweed and forget-me-nots on it...and the book...I think it's going to be a good one. I'm thankful for community spanning a lifetime and literally the world via Facebook and such. 

Linda showed up with our bag of produce and 1/2 case of oranges. We've not been eating produce. It seems like a good step to begin moving back to normal habits. Linda gave me an in-person hug and said I can call if I ever want to talk, cry or shout! Community. 

I am also grateful for what we now see as little hints life was about to change. Two weeks before Josiah was killed Michael had a dream. He came out and told all of us. The dream was ominous though he couldn't remember why. In the dream our life was changing, and we were stepping away from many of our responsibilities. None of us felt a need to immediately jump on the dream...but we prayed for clarity. Two weeks later we found ourselves grieving murder and stepping away from all our ministry responsibilities to be able to change our focus to helping family through this season. 

The sermon at Josiah and Carrie's church the DAY before his death was on grieving and the fact that GOD IS ALWAYS GOOD. 

The same day I was reading in the gospels before church and read about the rich young ruler. I noted and dated in the margin a few thoughts. "Jesus fingered that which the young man treasured. What do I treasure most?" I jotted down community, health, family.  "Would I be willing to follow if it cost all that I treasure?" I was contemplating these things on Monday - before and after the fateful phone call. 

Also providential is that Carrie and Josiah had gotten Livie into counseling as a proactive measure with lots of upcoming changes in her life. Because of this Liv had an established relationship with a counselor when life blew up. 

I am nothing if not theologically honest....and so realizing God HAD prepared us for change...I found myself wrestling with WHY He didn't DO SOMETHING if He knew what was going to happen. I don't have answers. Other than I know God is good. I know He is still with us. I know we are seeing answers to many long-term prayers from the situation. I know He restores and redeems as we live in a broken world which contains evil.

It's been 29 days...its o.k. to have questions.  It's o.k. to have good days as well as bad days. Our lives changed 29 days ago. I changed 29 days ago - and I have yet to fully see or understand how. 

Please join us in continuing to pray for our family as we journey through the Holidays and this challenging season of grief.  Pray for the young lady whose life we value so dearly. Pray for the young man sitting in jail in Anchorage...we pray for both justice and salvation. I will admit there are days I pray a bit harder for justice, but God is changing my heart. 

1. Community- relationships which bless both near and far. 

2. Hints from a loving God that something was coming.

3. I cooked a real dinner - and my family was appreciative. 

4. Jared and Larissa are hosting the family this year for Thanksgiving - and I believe this is a lifeline for this first holiday.