Monday, April 28, 2014

Lost and Wandering

The bathroom floor was hard and a bit cold, but it was refuge from the caring eyes all around.  I sank down and opened my book, my daughter's scrapbook.  I opened it with the purpose in my mind of reading everything I had written and allowing the tears to come.  I fulfilled my purpose.  I have no idea how long I sat in there.  I know I got a little uncomfortable--the motel bathroom floor wasn't very big and it definitely was hard.  I looked through Nicole's book and I cried, not gentle tears that slowly trickled down, but gut-wrenching sobs.  Not loud wails because I didn't want everyone to know, though I think they suspected and they cared.  But it was better than crying in Marshall's and having a complete stranger ask me if I was okay.

It's not that friends didn't care--they did and they loved me in spite of my sadness this weekend and for that I will always be grateful.  But when I need a good gut-wrenching cry, I don't like people watching me.  Dave is the only one I really want around at a time like that.

Why did the grief strike on a weekend I was away with friends, you may ask?  I can explain.  The closer I get to my due date, the harder it becomes.  Other people's happiness can create a huge void and hunger in my heart.  There is a spot in my heart that wants to rejoice with them in their joy, but overriding the joy is the face of loss.  It comes, it stares, it creeps in and it overtakes.  There is almost a physical ache in my arms that longs to hold my baby girl, to wrap my arms around her and kiss her sweet little face.

Yes, I know she is better off with Jesus, but right now I don't care too much about that.  I want her with me--in my arms.  I would protect her and keep her safe--or I would die trying.  Yes, I know that she will never have to experience pain and suffering the way other little children do, but I don't care about that either.  I just want to hold her and touch her and love on her the way mothers do to their little girls.

Don't try to offer me platitudes---I want none of it.  I don't even know that I want your sympathy, though I know you mean well.  I want your love though-- I don't want you to give up on me--I don't want you to walk away and think I am impossible.  I want you to care.  Don't hide from me though I will hide from you. You may call, but I may not answer; you may text, but I may not respond.  Don't take this as rejection, it's not meant that way. It's just one person's journey through grief.  If I have learned anything, it is that the process of grieving is different for everybody, but underlying it all is the deep, solid, unending ache of loss that can feel overwhelming.  Be patient with me is all I ask.  Give me space, but don't go too far.  Don't take it personal if I don't want you to come to my house or if I let you come, but I don't communicate well.  I want to learn to care for others again, but sometimes, the energy of survival consumes all the energy I have and it's too much work to come up with questions to show you that I care about your life.  Know this, I do care even though I am showing the opposite.  Someday, Lord willing, it will be different.

Out of the Depths by Edgar Harrell USMC with David Harrell

This book was given to me by Bethany House for the express purpose of reading it and writing a review about it.

This book gets a thumbs up from me.  It was an edge of the seat gripping story.  Obviously because Edgar was the one writing the book from a first-hand experience, you knew he survived, but what he went through and still survived is nothing short of a miracle.

He was aboard the USS Indianapolis when it was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine during World War 11.  Within minutes the ship had sunk and the 1000+ people aboard the ship had either already died or were left to survive in the ocean.  This whole catastrophe was especially sad because it seemed somewhat preventable.  Higher intelligence realized that the waters they were sailing through was enemy territory, but because they didn't want the Japanese to realize they had broken their code, they refused to have a destroyer ship accompany the USS Indianapolis.

They also didn't have a plan in place for what happens when a ship fails to show up, so nobody missed the USS Indianapolis when it didn't arrive at its designated location on time.  The men lived in the ocean for over three days with nothing to eat and drink. The ship was attacked on July 29 at midnight and rescue began August 2 in the evening and was finished on August 3.  They were found by a miracle.  Only a little over 300 people survived the awful tragedy.

They were in shark-infested waters and would lose people to shark attacks.  People would start hallucinating and break away from the groups and would never be seen again.  It was an awful experience.

The story was well-written and very interesting.  I would recommend it if you like a good read.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Lost and Found

This book was given me by Bethany House Publishers for the purpose of reading and writing a review about it.

Lost and Found by Sarah Jakes

This book is the story of Sarah Jakes daughter of Bishop T. D Jakes.  She got in with the wrong group, had her first baby at 14 and then wound up marrying a man she was determined to love and also sure that he would give up his womanizing ways and be devoted to her even though he had showed no signs of faithfulness.  She is 25 years old at the time of the writing--divorced with 2 children and she tells the story of her journey.

I don't normally quote from books in my reviews, but for this book, I just want to pick out some of the quotes that stuck with me when I was reading the book.  I don't really like when they put quotes in bigger letters on the same page that it is written on because I feel like I am reading stuff twice, but it is nice for later on.

"Time, like life, isn't about how much we have; it's about what we do with it."
"How do we show the world the power of God's love when we, as Christians, fail so often to show love to one another?"
"If we discuss only our victories and not our struggles, we allow others to believe that you can win a war without engaging in battle."
"Perhaps our biggest issue is not that we can't see ourselves; it's that we can't accept that even when we're broken, His love for us has not been distorted."
"So often we look for Him to calm the storms of our lives.  But there are times when the storm can't go away because we need the rain."
"Could it be that our sin is not in being ruined, but in not letting Him find the glory in our pieces?"

These were a few of the quotes I really liked.  I didn't necessarily agree with everything she said in her book. I don't believe in eternal security.  As I was reading the book, I wanted to say, "Really, you couldn't grasp what was going on?  What were you thinking to marry Robert knowing he hadn't been faithful to you up to that point?"  I also recognize that when you are in the heat of the moment you don't have the benefit of perspective, either.

I would recommend this book--it was an interesting read and it was a beautiful story of God being able to take what was broken and use it for good.  My hope would be that people who read this book would be able to learn from Sarah's mistakes and avoid going down the same path she went down.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Three Months

The fake flowers lay on the ground, their petals definitely dirty and shabbier, but still there.  Still giving a little life to the otherwise brown and muddy ground.  Obviously they do not make good deer food as the deer pellets laying all around would indicate they may have been sampled.

The tiny little mound indicates that life has moved elsewhere. There is only a shell in the cold, muddy ground, the real life, the real beauty is up above singing with the angels.  Maybe in some way this is like a seed.  For a seed to produce a beautiful flower of lovely fragrance, it must lay in the cold, harsh earth.

Nicole's life is so much better than it would have been had she lived.  She is now living the life she was made for--eternity with Jesus.  No heartaches, no longing for something more, no grappling with the questions of life.

I have to keep this in perspective--it helps a little, I think. From the words of a song I have really come to love:
"Waiting here right now, Lord, it seems so hard to do.
Longing just to hold her as other mothers do...."

That is pretty much where it is at right now.  Knowing that the time is coming closer to when I could have wrapped her in my arms and held a screaming, squally red-faced baby the ache grows deeper and the longings stronger.  But I know my little girl is being held in the arms of Jesus and His arms are the best of all and I need to rest in that fact.

Love Comes Calling

This book was given me by Bethany House Publishers for the express purpose of reviewing it and stating my opinion on it.

Love Comes Calling by Siri Mitchell

I was really excited to read this book as Siri is one of my friends' favorite authors.  I'm not sure if I got all the apostrophes where they are supposed to go, but anyway.

I will be honest, I was a little disappointed.  Siri painted Ellis as a girl with ADHD back in the 1920's when nobody understood how the brain worked in a case like that.  Ellis definitely couldn't stay on task, but it almost made her out to be a dimwit--alway being reproved and corrected and always disappointing everyone, except of course Griffin, who she was trying to avoid because he actually liked her for who she was.

I do realize that this might have been exactly how a well-to-do person back in the 1920's would have been treated--the oldest daughter had been a disappointment to Ellis' mother and now Ellis was unable to stay on task in a day and age when appearance and performance were all that really mattered to the wealthy.

I would like to read some more books by Siri Mitchell before I decide on whether or not I like her as an author, but this book is not one I would highly recommend for high quality reading.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Sensible Arrangement

This book was given to me by Bethany House Publishers for the exclusive reason to read and write a review about.

A Sensible Arrangement by Tracie Peterson

This is your typical relaxing fiction.  I have always been intrigued by mail-order bride stories.  Of course, in the fiction books, the couple always falls in love, but I wonder how many couples ended up splitting.  It would seem to me without a solid foundation of God and trust, it would be hard to make a marriage work if personalities varied too widely.

Anyway, this book was a very interesting read.  It took Marty from Texas, the land she hated, to Colorado. It took her from working cattle, cooking, and taking care of herself into a life of opulence, maids and fancy tea parties with prim and proper and completely surface level rich women.  It took her to a man who couldn't wait to get back to Texas and ranching and the life she wanted nothing to do with.

So, to prevent the return to Texas from happening, she withheld the truth that she owned a ranch in Texas.  But once, she restored her relationship with God and felt her love growing for her husband, she realized she needed to tell him the truth.  This nearly broke up their relationship, but both were able to forgive.

That is the thing that stuck out to me as a spiritual application:  lies will get you nowhere. Lies breed distrust and hatred.  It is always best to tell the truth.  Peace with God is more important than always pleasing the ones around you.

I really enjoyed this book--light reading is just perfect for me right now.  I like Tracie's style of writing.  The only thing lacking is she failed to say if the really did end up in Texas or not.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Visitor from Heaven

Visitor From Heaven Lyrics

             by Twila Paris


A visitor from heaven
If only for a while
A gift of love to be returned
We think of you and smile

A visitor from Heaven
Accompanied by grace
Reminding of a better love
And of a better place
With aching hearts and empty arms
We send you with a name
It hurts so much to let you go
But we're so glad you came
We're so glad you came

A visitor from Heaven
If only for a day
We thank Him for the time He gave
And now its time to say
We trust you to the Fathers love
And to His tender care
Held in the everlasting arms
And we're so glad you're there
We're so glad you're there

With breaking hearts and open hands
We send you with a name
It hurts so much to let you go
But we're so glad you came
We're so glad you came

My sister had sent me the link to this song right after Nicole died and now my sis-in-law borrowed it from the library.  I have listened to it twice so far in the last 24 hours.  Such a lovely song.  

And yes, it is true.  While the grief is a hard process, I am so glad she came.  

My Great Big God by Andy Holmes

Illustrated by Marta Alvarez 20 Bible Stories to Build a Great Big Faith This is a beautiful hardcover board book that tells 20 Bible ...