My plan was to write this past weekend about our family and how we have stepped out in faith. Then last week on Tuesday Kevin received a call that his 102 year old grandmother was probably about to go meet Jesus. We were actually all at church, which at least for the last several months as been rare. Kevin and I were working, Micah was with the media team and band practice for the youth, Andreah and Janae were in the gym at a volleyball practice, Maleah was helping us, and the other 3 were there hanging out. So we gathered our family in one of the classrooms and talked and prayed with them. Then we spent many sweet moments taking turns speaking to Grandma/Great Grandma and praying with here. She was unable to speak to us, but she did have some tears as some of us spoke sharing memories and giving her our blessing to go be with Jesus. She passed away less than 2 hours later. Due to a lot of unknowns, it wasn’t until later on Thursday that we knew details of the visitation and funeral. There were commitments that we had at church, and a few other challenges we had to work through. However, it all worked itself out after Kevin and I spent wasted energy fretting over what decisions to make (Doesn’t God always know best!) Knowing that bad weather was already happening in Northern Indiana and what we were about to get in middle Tennessee, we decided to leave at 2 a.m. Friday morning. Since we didn’t get home from church until late on Thursday night we had about 2 hours to pack before we left. Yes, there were some things forgotten - including a winter coat by one. It was 62 degrees when we left at 2 a.m.. Ha!!
Our trip up was not one I want to repeat anytime soon in terms of weather. For about 2 hours I felt like our 12 passenger van was more like a big roller skate on and ice skating rink. Yikes! It was crazy!! However, it was one of the most peaceful trips we have ever made. Except for about an hour when we stopped to eat and eating in the van, they all slept. Thank you, Jesus! NO, seriously. Even assigned seats don’t help and sometimes we have to do that. Ugh! Thankfully my parents were ready to house and feed us (they were glad for the hungry mouths to eat the food so that they can leave for Florida in a few weeks without a lot of waste.) Mom filled our stomachs with food and then Kevin and I crashed for the afternoon. We had a relaxing evening playing games and I actually slept 10 hours that night. Yeah!! Saturday was another much needed quiet day. It is a rarity that we can spend unplanned time with my parents since they are usually one of at least a few stops. Anxiety about Sunday and Monday were evident by some so it was good to have a day to “be still” first. Yesterday was a beautiful time of being with many of Kevin’s family. Many of us worshipped together before eating lunch and spending the afternoon at the funeral home visiting with the many people in the community that knew Ruby Bryant. She was a wife of 75 years, 6 children, 23 grandchildren, 41 great grandchildren and 5 great great grandchildren! As I shared today during the service, when I first met Ruby I in a sense already had a history with her. My mom knew the older kids from church camp and 4-H events. My grandma and Ruby would go to many Ladies Aids events held between the area Church of the Brethrens. She welcomed me like I was family as she did everyone. Grandma wanted to know what was going on. Before we adopted the girls she wanted to know all about them. I’ll be honest as the craziness of our family’s life and adoption my time to update her (or for that matter too many others) has not been the best. Last night we all gathered for what was probably the last time in the house that belonged to them. It is a unique house that they built (like my mom’s parents). Usually the family gathers in warmer weather so it was quite something to watch that many people weave in and out of the the narrow spaces to get from one place to another. In the midst of the snow falling today we gathered to celebrate the life of a beautiful lady who loved Jesus, always looked to the positive, always had a spunk to her step, had a garden even at the age of 100, and the list goes on!
I was reminded yet again at how blessed I am (and Kevin) to have grown up learning to love Jesus. It doesn’t mean that we always do it well, but we know we live because of His grace and mercy. The truth is we will not live forever. There are so many “things” in this world that vie for our attention. The older I get and the crazier I see things becoming, the more I desire to seek Jesus more - to rely on the Holy Spirit to guide me. I long for my children to seek this same path. I cannot make them. I cannot make their hearts choose the Joy of the Lord over what the world throws at us just like I can’t always make mine do it either.
I feel like Kevin and I are in a stage of trying to find our way about. One year and 4 months ago tomorrow Kevin walked away from 80+ hours working the corporate wheel. Our family was crumbling from the inside out. It snuck up on us. It was not in our plans - it just happened like it does for a lot of people. We put a stop to it. Crazy I know. At first Kevin rested, spent time with his family and began to dream. Our pastor came to us and asked if we would help create an area of our new building project at church. He began to do some work on learning to to voiceovers (a dream of his) that we had to put on pause, but hope to get back to it soon! The handiwork just kind of happened - well we know it didn’t. God provided. Kevin has enjoyed learning and working with his hands, and ultimately getting to be creative. All through these last 16 months God has provided. Yes, there were times we worried how it would all work out financially, but it has. There have been many people along the way who have blessed us as well - all part of God’s plan.
Our children overall I think are in a better place in terms of feeling safer. The emotional issues that we deal with will always be part of our daily life, but at least I don’t feel like I’m on an island dealing with it. Even with the changes we have made to try and help our children feel safer, there are still some things that cause us to weep at time. We know God will heal our girls - ultimately in heaven. We pray for it here on earth, but also must try and raise our girls to use their “tools” to help them navigate life. With Kevin home more it has been easier to tag team.
I wrote this while traveling home from the funeral. As much as my heart wants me to keep writing, my brain is telling me to GO TO SLEEP! I’m exhausted and I didn’t even drive. :) So. . . To Be Continued!
My devotional today was on Finding the Fun. I have struggled with that over the last 7.5 years. I”m trying to do better so it was a good reminder for me. I’m trying hard to have tough skin to the words thrown in my direction and to bring the others up when one is trying their best to bring us all down. Laughter is good medicine and I’m trying to do more of that too. Proverbs 17:22 says, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” I don’t want to be dried up bones! :)