It has been an unintentionally quiet month on the blog.
Let’s play catch up, shall we?
On May 25 my life changed forever. I was driving home from picking up lunch and called my Dad while I drove, like I do several times a week. I will never forget that conversation & how quickly my heart sank as my Dad told me he had just gotten to my Grandma’s house to find that she died some time in the night. I remember screaming into the phone NO SHE DIDN’T and YOU ARE KIDDING ME over and over. My Dad sat in silence while I screamed, cried and miraculously kept driving safely toward home. I hung up the phone with him and in a panic started calling everyone I knew to call. My work to let them know that I wouldn’t be there for youth group that evening. My Mom. My sister. Michael. Jen to tell her that I wouldn’t be in Sarasota to pick her up when her flight came in the next day. I arrived home, threw things in a suitcase and left to pick up a rental car and start the drive home. The highways between Florida and Missouri have never felt so long and empty.
As soon as I arrived home the next day (after a few hours of tossing & turning in a Georgia hotel) I was catapulted into a week of funeral plans, visitation, shaking hands, accepting hugs, listening to condolences from well meaning friends & family, attending services…. It was and is a blur in my mind how I made it through the first few days. As soon as the funeral was finished we began the gut wrenching task of cleaning out my Grandparents house. The house they lived in all 26 years of my life. It is the house that hosted sleepovers and holidays. It is the house that holds many of my favorite childhood memories. It is the bedroom that was mine with my nightlight & my pillowcase. It was the basement that watched my sister, my cousins & I put on plays, practice cheerleading, sing songs & play pool. It was the living room floor that held the pallet we got to sleep on with Grandpa as kids. It was the kitchen that held the big green popcorn bowl & our favorite sippy cups. It was the huge yard where we played, lit fireworks, rode the riding lawn mower & picked up pecans & walnuts. Watching that house empty over the course of the week was one of the hardest experiences of my life thus far.
I do not understand why God chose to give me the Grandparents He did, but I am convinced that they are one of the greatest gifts I will ever receive in this lifetime. The truth is, I would not be who I am or where I am without their unconditional love, encouragement, wisdom & prayers. Watching them love Jesus & live it out every single day of my life is truly the most inspiring thing I have ever witnessed. I am & will be forever grateful for the blessing of the most incredible Grandparents in the world.
Unfortunately the expression “when it rains, it pours” is what best sums up the month that followed.
The short & sweet recap … A week after my Grandma died I received another devastating, life changing blow. I may never be ready to discuss that experience on the blog, but truly the Lord has used desperate brokenness to reach those final places I have been holding back as “my own”. I realize how desperately I need Jesus and have tasted how nothing else compares to satisfying the deepest desires of my heart the way that He does. It is painful, but it is good to realize again how much I need Him.
It is also good to realize how much I need people. I struggle deeply with feeling like I am a burden to anyone. I will hold things in & fake it so that I don’t have to divulge the mess that is happening in my heart and “force” someone else to bear the weight of my brokenness. When my Grandma died & my heart got broken within a week of one another, I knew that I could not walk through the pain alone. There are not words to express how deeply grateful I am for the three women that God has blessed me with to walk through this painful season. I am grateful that Jody answers my midnight, sobbing phone calls. It amazes me the way God has gifted her with the ability to be steady, calm & wise in moments of chaos. I am grateful that Janna sits on the couch & listens to me cry. I am grateful for the peace she exudes that is unlike any other human being I have ever known. For her capacity to understand & ask the best questions. For her ability to shed light & clarity on places of confusion. For the way she speaks with thoughtful wisdom always. I am grateful for Jen and the fact that she is, quite simply, always there. I never have to doubt if she will be available or present or understanding. She is a precious gift to my heart. I am grateful to not have to walk through this season alone.
It has been a painful month, without a doubt. There have been many moments where grief was so heavy I wondered how I would keep breathing. There have been more tears than I could count and more ice cream consumed than I care to admit. But there have also been beautiful moments of peace that is unexplainable apart from the Lord who knows and cares more than any human ever could. He truly fills all the empty space & picks up all the chaos of my life in His more than capable hands. He proves to me over & over that He is faithful & worthy of my trust.
I ache, but I am grateful.