The Peace that Transcends all Understanding

If anyone were to ask me my favorite verse of the Bible, I think I’d choose Philippians 4:4-9

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or see in me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

Never have these words meant more to me than during the past few weeks. When my husband was rushed to the hospital, my life spun out of control. The long days and nights at the hospital ran one into another. Time had no meaning. My prayers were constant, both silent and aloud. I sat by his bedside while he was on a ventilator and read from the Bible, prayed with him, and told him how much I loved him. He couldn’t respond, but he could hear me. Occasionally, he would open his eyes and nod. One such occasion was when I was talking to my Pastor and I said I knew where my husband was going and that one day I would go there, too. My hubby nodded his head.

There were many answered prayers during this time. Many small blessings which deepened my faith that Jesus was with us every moment, holding us close, crying with us, comforting us. During the last hours, as I sat by my husband’s bedside watching him struggle to breathe, I prayed for God’s mercy. I prayed hard, cried, and kept reassuring my love that he was not alone. These were the hardest hours of my life, and the most difficult thing God has ever asked me to do.

My love, my soul mate went to be with Jesus in the wee hours of the morning on Wednesday, June 26. No longer is he suffering. He is walking on streets of gold and he has no more pain, no more need for oxygen tanks and hoses, breathing medications, and heart medication. He is not grieving, for he is rejoicing and singing praises to our LORD.

The grieving is for those left behind. As a Christian, my grieving is not the same as a non-believer, for I know the truth. I know that my love has not died. Only his earthly body died, but his spirit lives on and he has a new body, a new life. I miss him terribly, especially in the quiet hours of the night. God gave us 33 1/2 years together…the most wonderful years of my life.

Now I must move on and follow the path God leads me upon. He has deemed my life here is not yet over. He has things for me to do. And I continue to pray ceaselessly and am filled with the peace of God.

Blessings,

Living with a Cracked Heart

Today we laid my beloved husband’s body to rest. He went home to Jesus on June 26, 2013 at 4:00 a.m. I’m no longer his caregiver.

There is a huge crack in my heart where the sorrow within is seeping out, too much to be contained. I walk through the rooms of this empty house not knowing what to do. My mind is confused, overwhelmed, and if I were a computer, my hard drive would need replaced. But I’m not. And a cracked heart cannot be replaced, although I know in time it will heal.

To be loved as I was is something I wish for everyone. Tender hands held me when I was sad or frightened, wiped my tears with gentleness, and cradled me close for comfort. We laughed, we dreamed, we cried. But most of all we loved.

Even though I know he has not died, but lives in heaven and walks streets of gold, I miss his earthly presence with every fiber of my being. I long to feel his arms close around me and tell me it will be all right. I ache for him to kiss me one more time. To cradle me in his arms tonight as I cry myself to sleep.

Now I understand the meaning of the words: “Parting is such sweet sorrow.”

If it were not for my deep faith, I don’t think I could take the steps into this new life. Jesus will walk with me. He will carry me when I cannot walk. I can do this and all things through Christ for He is my strength.

Some people have said how strong I’ve remained through the past few weeks. I’m truly not strong, but I have strong arms holding me and guiding me. I am blessed and I am humbled.

 

Baby Steps of Grief

August 2008

As spring approaches and my mind wanders to the warm, sunny days ahead, I pull out memories of my hubby and his love of fishing. I will miss making a trip to Deer Creek and sitting at his favorite fishing spot, my lap filled with a computer resting on the lap desk he made. I can hear the birds, the movement of leaves in the breeze, and I smile. Below the bank where I sit, my husband rests in his fishing chair, tackle box at his feet, a pole in his hand, and his head protected with his comfortable old hat.

 

Writing outdoors brought inspiration and creativity. The quiet, the peacefulness… I wonder now what went through my husband’s mind as he sat for hours holding that fishing pole and watching the water. We never had that conversation. I wish we had.

Camping days are over for me, and I don’t think I’ll make a trip to Deer Creek to write. The memories would be too overwhelming.

There was a game I played as a child called “Simon Says.” One person would be Simon and the other children would line up in a horizontal row. I remember hearing, “Simon says take one baby step forward.” Or “Simon says take one giant step forward.” Then there was “Simon says take one step backward.” This is how the grief process works.

One day I take a baby step forward, and then there are those backward steps. Overall, I believe I’m making progress taking baby steps. Who knows? Maybe one day I will take a giant step forward and visit Deer Creek, complete with computer and lap desk.

With God all things are possible. I thank Him for the gift of words and the passion to write. Each day I pray for the strength to move on and His love never fails. I am comforted in knowing this is just a temporary separation and in the meantime I’m thankful for each baby step.

Blessings,
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Trapped, available in print and ebook formats

Book One in Havens Creek Series

Carol Ann Erhardt invites you to purchase “TRAPPED“, the first book in the Havens Creek series, for a reduced price of $1.99 (ebook only) as a spring special. The second book in the series “Becca’s Heart” will release in Spring 2014. Travel to the small southern town of Havens Creek and meet the characters who will keep you turning the pages and rooting for a happy ending.