Chris Klicka's Journal
Written Oct 11, 2010 10:11am
Looking Back…and Ahead
“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe?” ~John 11:25
October 12 is just around the corner…the day when I last saw the face of my beloved Chris and felt his breath on my own face as I lay near him before he flew into the arms of Jesus. These past few days and weeks, I’ve been reliving memory after memory of our life together—funny comments he would make or heartfelt, passionate prayers he would pray to our Savior, strong words he would speak into my children’s lives in his desire to see them walk with the Lord.
I can hear his loud strong voice praising God in song; I can see strength in his inner man, even as his body was fading away the last couple years of his life. I can see the man who loved me and the kids so deeply and the Lord even more deeply and I am grateful to my God. And by His grace, I can even see him in heaven rejoicing in the presence of his King.
It’s strange, but in some ways, he still seems with us. His presence was so big and his interaction with our lives was so constant and natural that it isn’t like he’s really gone; perhaps out of sight and out of ear-reach, but here with us nonetheless.
Looking back over this past year, however, more often than not I have felt his absence. I have never once doubted the Lord was with us, but I’ve still deeply missed Chris. I have related to the man in the famous Christian poem who looks back at his life and at times sees two sets of footprints where the Lord was walking by my side. At other times, only one set of footprints could be seen; it was then that the Lord carried him when he was not strong enough to walk by himself.
This past year (and several years!), the Lord has definitely been carrying me most of the way. Sometimes He carried me by coming alongside with reminders of His presence and the gift of tangible expressions of His love through dear brothers and sisters in Christ. Other times God carried me more literally when I couldn’t see where to walk or didn’t have the strength or courage to take another step. These times have included some of the loneliest and most painful moments I have ever experienced and places when I was completely overwhelmed with life as a widow now.
“There are no words to express the abyss between isolation and having one ally. It may be conceded to the mathematician that four is twice two. But two is not twice one; two is two thousand times one.” ~G.K. Chesterton
Knowing the Lord is with me, however, makes all the difference in the world! Friends and family come and go, like the ocean’s tide ebbing and flowing. We were never meant to completely depend on people the way God calls us to depend on Him. It is in those darkest moments, when we feel most alone that we can have the certain assurance our Father is there. Would we really know this if all was well, if things were going our way, if we didn’t experience pain or loss or suffering?
WALKING UPHILL…A MATTER OF PERSPECTIVE
Saturday I went hiking with my children (including Ben & Bethany who have been visiting me this past weekend) in the Shenandoah National Park. Our favorite trail leading up to Stony Man Mountain summit which we’ve climbed for several years now (since John was about three years old, and when Chris could actually make the ascent), deposits you, when you reach the top, on the edge of some rocky bluffs overlooking miles and miles of the Shenandoah Valley. It is an exhilaratingly breathtaking site that has never ceased to put awe in my heart for God’s amazing creation. Today was no exception, and it blessed me very much to share this experience for the first time with my dear son-in-law, Ben!
I must admit I was a bit nervous about taking the hike this time because I haven’t exercised regularly since Chris became seriously ill with the MS almost two years ago. Oh, I meant to, but just didn’t make the time for it because there always seemed to be so many more important needs around me. As we started up the mountain I thought, “I hope I don’t slow my kids down too much having to stop and let my heart rate slow down!” They were not only very gracious and patient with me, but I actually did better than I thought I would. I guess walking around Scotland last month for two weeks helped!
On the way up I also thought about the past couple of years of our life; the trek has seemed all uphill for us, and the path has often felt closed in shadow where very little sunshine could get through. When you’re walking through the valley of the shadow of death with no view of the ascent in sight, it can be tempting to despair that you’ll ever see the sun shine through again. It is easy to become discouraged and feel that you’ll never get to the crest of this difficult uphill climb.
In the months leading up to his death Chris struggled so hard to do everything, when he faced long stretches of depression and even anger over things he was losing (like his taste buds on his last birthday when I had made a special dinner of coconut shrimp—his favorite meal was shrimp—and he couldn’t even taste it!)
I honestly didn’t know how I was going to get through a month, let alone a week (or even a day many times!) I felt helpless to encourage Chris, let alone myself. That walk felt all uphill and the path seemed very dark.
One day last year while having my morning devotional time with God, He gave me this thought to encourage me:
“There is no small amount of peace to be had when one yields themselves completely to the Lord, their Maker and Sustainer. Even the quaking heart and trembling hands can be offered up to Him in worshipful surrender.
The Lord does not despise the weakest of these gifts. Rather, He delights to show Himself mighty to the frail heart, strong to the weak-kneed, generous to the poor in spirit, gracious to those who bow in humility before Him.
Doubt you not, the greatness of our God, but cast yourself wholly on His goodness, O my soul!”
The climb was definitely uphill Chris’s last year with us, but having a different perspective based on the knowledge of God’s goodness and power helped me to press on in hope.
LOOKING BACK TO ANOTHER HIKE…
A year ago my children and I again had hiked the Stony Man Mountain trail, shortly after Chris passed away, with my daughter Megan and Brendan (then newly engaged) who had flown in from Chattanooga to join us for Chris’s memorial service weekend. As with Ben, I was glad to share our family tradition and this new experience with Brendan, my future son-in-law. It was a happy moment in the midst of our great sadness in losing Chris.
When I look back over our past year the way again has been very much uphill, not only for me but also for my children. My son-in-law Ben and daughter Bethany moved back to Virginia this past December. While I’m thankful to have them back and glad Bethany is able to finish her last year at Patrick Henry College, the reason they are back is painful for them. Ben, who had been in the jet program for the US Marines when they married two years ago, had that door closed to him last December. He loved flying for the Marines and still has a deep desire to fly, but for a reason only He knows, the Lord has said “no” for the time being.
Wondering what God has in mind, Ben is waiting on the Lord for His leading for this new season in his and Bethany’s life together.
Meanwhile Megan, who is home now for a short visit, called two weeks ago to tell me that her fiancée Brendan (after asking her to marry him just over a year ago right before her daddy died), called off their engagement. Of course she is heartbroken; not only was Brendan her fiancée, he is her best friend. Her pain is intense, but Megan is purposing in her heart to believe in God’s goodness and faithful love toward her through this loss. She knows the Lord is with her and is pursuing Him and His Word with all her heart, looking to Him to be her Reward and source of joy and strength.
The Lord gave me this poem last summer when I asked Him to speak to my heart with His reassuring love:
Through bleakest night
Too dark for sight
My Father still is there
Though feeling lost
And tempest tossed
I’m held within His care
His promise given
I am to live in
God holds my hope secure
THINKING ABOUT MOVING...
This past summer after spending much time talking to the Lord about the idea, I sensed God might be leading us to sell our home and move north, closer to our church family and HSLDA. Chris and I talked about this idea about two years ago, but with his significant health needs, we both realized it just wasn’t a possibility. In very small steps I explored some homes in the area that could be a great fit for our family, as well as serve as a ministry base for doing/teaching art and practicing hospitality (both ideas I’m very passionate about!).
With courage in my heart from God’s Spirit, I found a great home that unfortunately was three weeks under contract. A month later I discovered another home that seemed really wonderful, only to learn that it is situated on a hundred-year flood plain and that it had indeed been completely flooded out and restored in 2003 when Hurricane Isabel came through.
Disappointed, I decided to wait a little before looking for another home. Then one afternoon I had a window of time and decided to look. This time I found a home that, when I toured it immediately felt this was the perfect place for us, a home that would combine the living space I wanted for our family and room for practicing hospitality. In addition, it had an amazing old 1820 stone barn that with not too much work could be turned into a terrific art studio and gallery, as well as a beautiful place to hold church functions like weddings and receptions!
I tried to hold it loosely in my hands while I started to take steps to get our house ready to put on the market. I was hopeful that as it hadn’t had any activity since it was listed the end of July God might save it for us. Last Tuesday I found out that someone put a contract on it. The buyers have already sold their home and everything is on a steady course to go to closing.
Do I feel devastated? I do. I shouldn’t be teary over losing this home, but I am. Some of my kids have said, “Mom, it’s only a house,” but it represents so much more than that to me. It marks the hopeful, expectant embrace of this new season of our lives in the goodness of God, accompanied by anticipation of entering in to what I believe the Lord is calling me to. While I cherish all the memories we have here in our home of over 20 years (the only home our children have ever known and the one that houses all the memories they have of their dad), their openness to start fresh in a new place, making new memories together has been an encouragement to me. Yet God has called me to wait again on Him.
LOOKING BACK WHILE LOOKING AHEAD
Yes, looking back the path seems very different than when we started out last year. God took Chris home just a year ago. Then in December He took the Marine jet program away from Ben, followed by last month taking Brendan away from Megan. And now He’s taken away this house.
Last year, just after I started this CaringBridge site, I wrote an entry pondering this thought from one of my favorite writers, Andree Seu—
“When I pray, am I open to the possibility that God will not answer ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, but this instead, ‘You have no idea what’s going on behind the curtain of your sensate reality, so you best make up your mind once and for all—I do love you. Will you trust Me?’ ”
I am praying that God will give all of us grace to trust Him and worship Him while we are waiting, like John Waller's song from the movie Fireproof:
“While I’m waiting I will serve You
While I’m waiting I will worship
While I’m waiting I will not faint
I’ll keep running the race, even while I wait.”
“I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.” ~Job 42:2
As we reach the one year anniversary of Chris’s death tomorrow, we’re still climbing. The path is still steep and often shrouded in shadow. The Lord, however, has been, is and will continue to be with us, guiding us in His perfect wisdom, power and love.
Dear friend, when your path seems steep and the way seems dark, your soul needs to be reminded that God, who is on the throne, is mindful of our frailty and fear. He is ever-present to help, to cheer, to carry us if necessary. For those in Christ, He IS working all things together for our good in His great love!
Thank you for keeping our family in your prayers!
God is good…all the time,
Written Sep 13, 2010 4:53pm
THOUGHTS ON ABIDING…
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” ~John 15:4
In the last ten days I’ve had an opportunity to see eight castles, several abbeys and unparalleled beauty and majesty in the highlands and lowlands of Scotland. I am humbled at God’s kindness in allowing me to take this journey on the Landmarks of the Faith Tour with Little Bear and Marilyn Wheeler. It’s a long story of how I got here, but suffice it to say it was all God’s doing. How I praise Him!
On this tour I’ve gotten to walk where some of the most significant people in Scotland’s history have walked, and have seen with my own eyes where some of Scotland’s greatest events have unfolded. Struck with a sense of awe at God’s sovereign rule over the nations and His merciful, gracious hand on the lives of His people (even those who have suffered martyrdom), I am gaining a new appreciation of what Christ told His disciples to do when He said, “Abide in Me.”
The saying “Ideas have consequences” certainly comes to mind when you study the history of any nation. Scotland’s history is a rich spiritual one, yet also full of considerable controversies and great struggles where thousands of lives have been lost. Just look into the lives of the Covenanters, the reformation movement here in Scotland and the Jacobite uprising (the Forty Five as it’s called) to name just a few and you will see what I mean.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me and I in him, bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing.” ~John 15:5
As a believer in Christ Jesus, I’ve asked myself throughout this trip, “Lord, what are You speaking to me? What do You want me to learn from all this?” As I looked upon the ruins of castles built to stand for thousands of years and heard the stories of battles won and lost, I heard Jesus remind me, “Abide in My love.”
Webster’s 1828 dictionary gives these definitions of the word abide:
“To rest or dwell”, as in Genesis 29; “To continue permanently or in the same state; to be firm and immovable,” Psalm 119; and “To remain, to continue,” Acts 27.
When I feel that my efforts to be a woman who pleases the Lord or be a godly mother are hindered by my sin, God wants me to rest, to dwell in Him. In my own hands, the walls of the castle of my life will crumble; it is God who holds all things together. Built upon the foundation of Jesus Christ and established by His workmanship, it will last.“Just as the Father has loved me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” ~John 15:9-11
When I am tempted to think that anything this world offers will truly satisfy me more than my Savior, God wants me to continue permanently in His Word and will; He will help me to be firm and immovable. By the power of His grace, I can press on toward godliness in thought and deed, and thus bring glory to His name. Oh, how I long to do that!
“If you abide in Me, and my Words abide in You, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you. By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples.” ~John 15:7-8
When I am discouraged and keenly aware that as a widow, I am faced with limited resources, time and position, God wants me to remain, to continue in Him. I looked up Matthew Henry’s commentary on this passage and appreciated what he shared:
Believers, like the branches of the vine, are weak, and unable to stand but as they are borne up. The Father is the Husbandman. Never was any husbandman so wise, so watchful, about his vineyard, as God is about his church, which therefore must prosper. We must be fruitful. From a vine we look for grapes, and from a Christian we look for a Christian temper, disposition, and life. We must honour God, and do good; this is bearing fruit…
The word of Christ is spoken to all believers; and there is a cleansing virtue in that word, as it works grace, and works out corruption. And the more fruit we bring forth, the more we abound in what is good, the more our Lord is glorified. In order to fruitfulness, we must abide in Christ, must have union with him by faith.
Even in my current state of being a widow, I can remain in Christ, continue in Him. As I trust God my Husbandman to care for me as perfectly as only He can do, even when that involves pruning, and abide in Christ by keeping His Word, I can ask for all that I need and He will graciously supply. He will enable me to bear fruit for Him, abound in what is good and ultimately bring Him more glory.
A TESTIMONY OF GOD’S CARE
Speaking of giving Him glory I do have one little story to share about my trip here in Scotland. On day two of my trip, I drove my rental car the ten miles from my lodging to visit Inveraray Castle, a working castle and seat of past and the current duke of Argyll. After a delightful tour, I decided to take some photos of the grounds and garden, as well as walk down the road through the woods towards Argyll estates.
After capturing a good many photos and upon returning to my car I discovered there was no rental car key in my purse! I must have dropped it somewhere along the road. I had stuck the key in a Velcro-enclosed pocket on the outside of my purse and it must have slipped out somewhere along the walk!
Carefully retracing my steps, I started thinking about the significance of not having the key. I’m stuck at the castle (“Maybe they’ll have pity on my and let me spend the night…”); I am supposed to leave in the morning for the next night’s stop several hours away (“Hmmm…can’t do that without a car”); key fobs have buttons you can press to help you locate your vehicle (“Oh, Lord, please don’t let anyone find the key who might be tempted to steal the car!”)
After thoroughly searching the road (the few folks I passed going down must have thought I was being very anti-social with my gaze firmly planted on the ground!), on the way back I thought I had better ask the folks I passed if they had seen a key.
I fought the temptation to start crying, though I was close to tears, and kept saying, “Lord, You know where that key is, even if I don’t. You can certainly find it for me, for surely I cannot. Father, please find the key for me.”
As I was walking back to the car and pondering what my next move should be I noticed a man walking my direction I’d seen earlier working on the grounds of the castle. “Excuse me, sir, you wouldn’t have happened to find a car key, would you?”
He answered with, “What make of car is it?” To which I replied, “A Peugeot.” At that moment, he pulled my key out of his pocket and said that two elderly women, one of whom was in a wheelchair (and therefore probably closer to the ground), had spotted the key on the castle grounds in the gardens.
The gardens! I forgot I had first walked around the gardens after locking up the car, then walked down the road! This nice man shared that when the women turned the key in he didn’t know how to find the owner, but then a couple came into the gift shop informing him there was a woman walking down the road looking for a key!
You can imagine how grateful I was to this man who took the time to walk down the road to find me. I almost hugged him on the spot!
Walking back to the car this time, I couldn’t suppress tears of gratitude to my Father who heard my cries, and when I asked, answered my prayer! How great is His love!
In Edinburgh on the royal mile between Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood (or Holy Cross) Palace sits the shortly lived-in, final home of John Knox, the man who with a full, undeterred passion for Christ and His Word, brought the reformation to Scotland. I’m thankful for the opportunity to tour the home one day during our time in Edinburgh and came away more impressed by and grateful for his staunch commitment to bringing and living out the gospel in Scotland.
And though at times I feel a bit overwhelmed (like the day I was looking for that car key!) or when we, as Christians feel outnumbered as we try to live God-honoring lives in a godless society , it is good to remember John Knox’s wise words— “A man with God is always in the majority.” Amen! Praise to Him who sits on the throne!
Thanks for your continued prayers—Soli Deo Gloria,Tracy
Written Aug 23, 2010 9:51am
A VIEW FROM 30,000 FEET
“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.” ~Psalm 103:11
Three weeks ago I attended a Christian mom’s speaking/writing/blogging retreat called the Mom Heart Leader-in-Training Conference hosted by Sally Clarkson of Whole Heart Ministries. She is not only a dear friend and fellow homeschooling mother, but is also a gifted and anointed speaker, teacher and author on the subject of a godly mother’s calling. My purpose for going? To seek God’s leading for this new season of my life.
Flying out to Colorado Springs for the retreat, however, was not easy for me. I had not been there since Chris passed away last October, and as I looked out the window at Pike’s Peak while we made our landing descent from 30,000 feet elevation I found that tears flowed freely. Memories came rushing back and I relived scenes from Chris’s last days with us there in the Springs. The poor man next to me must have thought I had a powerful fear of flying!
Believing God wanted me here, I asked Him for grace to step foot on the ground my dear Chris last saw in his earthly life. “Lord, You have called me to walk this new path alone with You. My life is Yours; my hands, my feet, my voice, my heart—it’s all Yours. Please use this time to whisper in my ear, to stir my heart to do Your will, for Your glory, O Lord.”
With about 40 mothers who share a passion to encourage moms through writing, blogging and speaking, Sally and other speakers shared their experience and their vision for reaching mothers with a message that is so critically needed—encouragement to see their high calling from God as nurturers, teachers and mentors of God’s Word and of all this is true, beautiful and good.
MY MOTHERHOOD STORY…HIS-STORY
I have loved being a mother to seven wonderful children! Oh, the stories I could tell—of crazy days, sweet heart connections, hilarious escapades, scary episodes, touching spiritual moments when we felt closer to the Lord and to each other, and on and on. What a privilege it is to be a mother—knowing that God has placed these seven eternal lives in my life! I love this place God has called me, yet also realize I am woefully inadequate to fulfill this calling on my own.
When I look back over the last 23 years as a mother though, I see more often than not just that one set of footprints the famous poem talks about. God has carried me when as a new mom I knew nothing. I had no training but relied on books and a few mentors, godly moms who were just a few years older than me, but light years ahead in wisdom and experience.
Even after I gained more understanding about parenting with each child God gave us, He wanted me to clearly know it was only and always by His grace I could be a mother that could please Him. He gave us seven children in ten years! Considering that as an early teen I said I never wanted to have children (I had the very unfortunate experience of babysitting some kids who were real stinkers!), this is nothing short of a miracle.
And for those who might be wondering—“Yes, I know where babies come from.” and, “No, I wasn’t crazy to have all those children.” Chris and I believed God knew best how many children we should have, and He gave us the faith to let Him decide. I’ve never regretted His decision once.
SEVEN CHILDREN, SEVEN BEAUTIFUL STORIES
Subsequent to being told after Bethany our first child was born in 1987, that I would probably never be able to have children again (I almost died that year from an initial onset of ulcerative colitis), I was thankful for each precious child the Lord allowed us to have!
That first year with Bethany I was wasting away from my at-the-time, untreatable disease. I lost 50 lbs. in five months, could only eat green pea soup and Ensure, and got so weak and sick doctors were concerned for my life.
Even still, those baby days with Bethany were nonetheless, sweet ones as I cared for her from my bed, with such love, support and help from Chris. I remember wondering, though, if the Lord was going to allow me to live to see this precious child grow up into adulthood, get married and have children of her own. The Lord was merciful, however, and sent us a doctor whose treatment brought relief to my condition, slow healing and renewed strength and energy.
Two years after Bethany was born we wanted another child, but I could not get pregnant. We asked the Lord for almost a year to give us another child before He finally answered. I remember the doctor’s visit where my first sonogram failed to detect a heartbeat; I was on the verge of tears at the thought of losing this child.
Expressing her concern, the attending very pro-life nurse thought using an internal wand might help determine if our baby was alive or not. After some minutes her heartbeat was finally heard. Oh, how I then cried tears of joy and thanked my merciful, heavenly Father! Just short of three years after Bethany’s birth our precious Megan was born in 1990.
Next came dear Jesse, the son Chris and I had been longing for two years after Megan was born. I remember his birth so clearly as if it was yesterday, for his was the birth I got to watch. He made labor seem almost easy after Bethany’s 32-hour all-back labor! Seeing him born, all nine pounds of him, was an awe-inspiring moment.
Shortly before Jesse was a year old, Chris and I visited some friends who had six pretty rambunctious little kids—now, that was a memorable experience! Over dinner on our date night shortly after that visit, we have a conversation that went something like this:
Chris: “No one should have that many kids!”
Me: “I agree totally. Don’t you think we have the perfect number of children now? I mean, three kids; that’s a great number,” not realizing at that very moment we were pregnant with our fourth child!
Eight months later, in March of 1994 our sweet Susanna was born. She and Jesse were only a year and a half apart, and I remember for the first time feeling like life was a bit out of control! Four children six and under—how on earth do you juggle that?
Well, God definitely has a sense of humor for In 1994 I became pregnant again when Susanna was just five months old. Chris had recently been diagnosed with MS toward the end of that year and his health was declining rapidly. Then came the call from the doctor wanting to do a follow-up for some abnormal blood test results.
Two days before Christmas I had the sonogram that revealed not one child but two—Merry Christmas! Twins were the last thing I ever expected to have. On top of Chris’s recent diagnosis of MS, my pregnancy was a high-risk one. Amy, our smaller twin was actually falling behind in development. At this point she was three weeks behind but later in the pregnancy would be two months behind in development.
The weeks that followed were filled with repeat sonograms and predictions from every doctor that Amy would not survive the pregnancy. They only hoped that she would live long enough to give her identical twin sister time to reach viability. Realizing that only God could save our daughters, we fervently prayed over Charity (named thus that God might give her the grace to live up to her name and supernaturally give nourishment to her starving sister). Our prayers for Amy were for miraculous healing and provision for life in the womb.
However God chose to answer our prayers though, we wanted our hearts to be in the place of trusting Him! Amy means “beloved” and since we didn’t even know if we’d ever get to hold this precious child, we prayed she would somehow know how beloved she was to us.
At 29 weeks I went into premature labor, and the doctors prepared me for a severely mentally and physically handicapped child, if she survived at all. After the removal of 3 ½ gallons of amniotic fluid in less than a week from Charity’s sac, God wondrously stopped the build-up of fluid, however, and helped Amy to start growing. This was just one of many miracles God performed in saving these two precious babies!
And at 37 weeks on April 29, 1995, Charity (6lbs) and Amy (2lbs, 13 oz.) were born. Amy was too small to bring home, so after being in neonatal ICU for five and half weeks, Chris and I were grateful when we could finally bring our little 4lb, 7oz peanut home. That was the best Mother’s Day present I ever received!
With overflowing hearts of gratitude for God’s kindness and mercy, we embarked on an amazing journey of raising six children, seven years and under, four in diapers, and nursing two! From my finite perspective, this task to nurture and care for all these little ones was impossible. Yet with God, all things are possible.
God amazingly gave me so much joy those next years—sure we were tired, busy and didn’t have enough hands between the two of us, but the absolute delight of having these precious little ones around us was a truly wondrous time for both of us. The sweetness of those days was some of the happiest of my life. God, You are so good.
Our caboose, John arrived two and a half years later. The largest Klicka baby at 9lbs, 13ozs, John’s big puppy hands and feet inspired me to nickname him “our little man.” Even at two and three, though he was short for his age, because of his personality and demeanor folks would say, “Why, he’s a little man!” to which we replied God had given us that very nickname for him. At a very early age, John had a tender heart toward God and a maturity beyond his years.
THE WEIGHT OF PROMISES
"For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself." ~Acts 2:39
And now my “little man” is twelve. God knew what He was doing when He made each child the way He did. I have no explanation as to why God called my husband home when my youngest child was only 11 years old. I don’t understand why He has commissioned me to raise five teens as a single parent—it is so rewarding but also the most labor-intensive, God-dependent time in my life! It is a mystery that must wait for its answer in heaven.
Do I miss Chris’s unique gifting as a father and spiritual leader? Of course. Do I feel woefully inadequate for this task of shepherding my children’s hearts alone? Yes. Is my perspective often that of looking up at the mountaintop from the shadow of a dark valley? Absolutely. As I parent five young adults and two grown children, do I know what I am doing? No, not really.
I do know this, however—God, who is supremely wise and who does all things well, has called me to be my children's mother for His glory. He has given me His Word and an abundance of promises upon which I can stand all the days of my life, including in this very challenging new season as a parent.
God has also given me children who have the capacity to both grieve the loss of their daddy and look back and see God’s goodness through the last 15 years of our lives together. Is this not amazing grace?
I am so blessed to have seven remarkable children. Even more, I am astounded to have such an incredible God I can call Father. And when I look at my current situation—as inadequate as I am, as challenging as this season is —when I lean hard upon God’s true, unshakeable, inerrant promises, my perspective becomes one from about 30,000 feet. And that view is very good indeed.
As we prepare for entering this new school year I would be grateful for your prayers that God would help me both in planning and teaching. May I not give in to the enemy's pressure to put anything above being my children's mom first and foremost, not even their education. May He help me to rest in all His plans for us and unshakeably know that everything He does is for our good.
Thank you for praying for us!
God is good...all the time,