Friday, April 23, 2021

Grief and Trust in April


I love the change of seasons and look forward to each season as it arrives. But spring is my favorite. I enjoy watching the earth awaken from winter, robe itself in green, and burst out with the music of birdsong and blossoms.

For years I worked at a greenhouse. Every day my hands were in the soil, and I talked plants and gardening with customers. It was a dream job.

This spring may be more beautiful than usual, or maybe I just forget. I'm relishing all the spring joys. 

Yet I feel melencholy. I can't help but recall the past several springs.

2017 - Ed had more and more frequent headaches in April let to the discovery of a brain tumor and diagnosis of glioblastoma in May.

2018 - Ed's tumor returned, and he had his second surgery in March. In May he had a grand mal seizure which I veiw as the turning point of his cognitive ability.

2019 - In March we learned that the cancer had spread to the other side of Ed's brain. His quick decline to a wheelchair, then to a hospital bed, cumilated in his death in May.

2020 - Covid reached our area in March and normal life ground to a halt. 

While in many ways Covid didn't change my days as a mom and homeschooler, I feel like I've carried grief this past year. Grief for the misunderstandings and strained relationships. Grief for the loss of life. A grief that continues a year later.

*****

Years ago, when I was still a teen, one of the customers at the greenhouse was a sweet older woman who loved gardening. Many years later I met Ed and discovered that this lady went to his church. Throughout the years, I've enjoyed many gardening conversations with her. She usually sat in the row in front of me at church and at this time of year, she would ask if I had been to the greenhouse yet. I have a gift certificate in my purse that she gave me last spring to the greenhouse where we first met. 

But this spring she is in the hospital fighting for her life against Covid. While I know numerous people whose life has been taken by Covid, this is the first person who I saw often. Will you pray for a miracle for Esther?

*****

As I flipped through the photos I've taken the last few weeks, I realized that we've done many walks in the woods. 

At the end of March, I gathered with 25 widows (most of them strangers) at a camp on a Pennsylvania mountainside. We tramped in the woods that was still stark with winter, ate wonderful food, and spent hours laughing, talking, crying, and singing. I can't describe how soul-strengthening the weekend was for me.

A few weeks later, I hiked with my brother and children to Black Rock on the Applachian Trail. When Ed and I were dating, we hiked here often, but it was the first time I had taken the children. 

Last weekend I walked through the woods with my parents and enjoyed the redbud and other blooming trees. 

I've been thinking a lot about trust and what it means to trust a God who doesn't always answer prayer as I wish. A God who brings us each season despite personal or international grief. A God whose plans are bigger than mine. A God who walks beside us as we carry pain into a beautiful April. 

I'm realizing that I hold God at arm's lenth when He doesn't feel as safe and predictible as springtime. But I'm longing to find new life, renewed relationships, and joy that lasts longer than April blossoms.

And now I can't find a neat and tidy ending to this blog post. So I'll just close with verses that have been meaningful to me in case your April doesn't feel neat and tidy. 

That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;

That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 

May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 

And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. (Ephesians 3:16-19)

 I'm trying a new blog email subscription service and may have some bugs to work out. If you get this by email, I'd love to hear if you can view the blog posts.

28 comments :

  1. Most times spring is viewed as a time of renewel but in my life it has also been a time of endings. Thank you for sharing this post. I'm so glad you have such strong support systems in place.
    I will be in prayer for Esther. Covid is a monster. I lost my oldest brother to it last May.
    Praying for a renewal in your spirit this spring my friend.
    Blessings,
    Betsy

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  2. Thanks for a good ending of the blogpost. Blessings from another widow.

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  3. I get your updates by email, and everything worked great! I couldn't tell any change from usual.

    I'm so blessed by your description of the widow's weekend you attended. What a gift!

    I like hearing your thoughts on trust and grief. God is so good.

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  4. Praying for your friend!
    You said that you'd like to hear if you can view the post through email... I had no trouble reading it right in my inbox!

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  5. So sorry to hear about your friend, Esther, and praying Jesus will touch her body with His healing! Your blog post showed up in our inbox perfectly. :-) ~Eunice

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  6. It showed up perfectly in my inbox.

    Your weekend with the ladies sounds like such a blessing.

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  7. Thanks as always for your candor. Prayers as always.

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  8. Blog post performed just fine.

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  9. I always enjoy your posts.
    It came through fine.
    I love the pictures too.

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  10. In northeast MO, we received snow on the lilacs and on the strawberry blossoms. And everything else.
    Will pray for your friend!
    And I could read your email in my inbox.

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  11. Once again, u have blessed me with your blog post. It did show up just fine in my email complete with the seven pics. ( I love pictures)
    I’ll keep Esther in my prayers.
    God bless

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  12. The warmfireplaceApril 24, 2021 at 3:40 AM

    I have got your blog post, you and children are always in my prayers, I shall keep Esther in my prayers too. My husband has non hogkins lymphoma, he has had 5 months of chemo and stable for now, we are enjoying every day together, we do not understand why, but an elderly man Nigel met with it said to him, "why not me" we keep praying that we will have more time. Blessings to you all. sue

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  13. Hugs to you! There is definitely such a thing as a certain month or time of year triggering emotions from past events ❤ Your paragraph about carrying grief the past year resonates.

    I wish I could get you to show me what you did for a new email subscription service... I'm going to have to change something too and I've been putting off figuring it out!

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    1. Send me an email and I'll be glad to help if I can though I sure limped through it.
      Gina

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  14. Thank you for sharing, Gina. Life is never neat and tidy...yet we can be settled in the love of Christ. Blessings and prayers to you and yours.
    The email came through fine and the blog post link in the title worked great.

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  15. Beautiful thoughts and words, Gina, with a fitting ending. Peace and light to you and your family, always. Prayers for healing and light for Esther.

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  16. Thanks so much for your kind encouragement and understanding. And thanks for your prayers for Esther.

    I'm sorry that some of you go two emails. I'm switching to MailChimp so next time you should only get one. It may go to your promotions so if you don't hear from me in the next week, go searching!
    Gina

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  17. There was something very poignant about the picture of the widows walking in the woods. It is a beautiful thing that all of you can find comfort in the Lord and in being together.

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  18. Got the post by e-mail - everything seems fine. Will pray for Esther.

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  19. My heart resonates with you and the feeling of grief at certain seasons. Praying that Gods mercy will abound in your life. God alone is safe.

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  20. I got your post by email, but then I clicked onto the website and it came up fine.

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  21. Love this post...you'll be in my prayers!

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  22. This post brings tears to my eyes. Yes, the last year has brought grieving situations. I would love to go on a hike and talk/listen. Ginger and I are hoping it can happen soon!

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  23. Your blog post was a much needed blessing and the bible verses were greatly needed and appreciated. I have been dealing with grief since losing my sister, mother-in-love and her husband within a 6 month period. This has been difficult times for so many people and I am so very thankful that God is with us through it all. I will keep your friend Esther in prayer. Have a blessed week.

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  24. Thank you for your honesty. I find it so encouraging to see transparency from fellow pilgrims on this not so easy path of life. Some grief is deep and wide, others is a dull ache, sometimes a sharp pain, and it is not meant to be compared with others, it is our story with Jesus! If you haven't read Adore by Sara Hagerty I think you would be blessed by it. Lean on sister, he is faithful.

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  25. Dear one, beloved of the Lord. The deep love of Jesus, through my brothers and sisters in Christ, gave me this wisdom, as I walked through deep dark valleys of painful losses in my life, time and again, many years ago. I offer this to you, with the prayer for seasons of refreshing and peace in your valleys: How heavy must have been our brother Noah's heart as he continued to act on Gods instruction for ?? around one hundred years. Very likely, he bore constant heckling, even harassment for taking one step after another on the path of following his God. Then , one day, it started to rain. Relief will come to you. Caleb, sent in as one of the spies, stood against the realities of giants. "Voices" pointed to the likelihood of being overwhelmed. He told the voices, "Yes, I saw the giants, too. But God is on our side". God will remove the giants of heartache that you face. Joseph told his brothers, when they realized he recognized them in Pharoah's court and assumed he would kill them, "It wasn't you who did this evil. God allowed it so that an entire nation could be preserved." A legacy of faith is being preserved through your path of following Jesus while passing through deep, unfair sorrows. He is with you and will heal your broken heart. The one who "keeps all our tears in a bottle", never fails. God bless you and your beautiful family dear one. I offer my prayers for Esther also.

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  26. Thank you for your honesty. I will be praying for you. I enjoyed your sourdough recipes for a long time. Today I decided to read some of your posts. This one touched my heart. I am very sorry for your loss. The verse that has become so real and personal to me in my own personal trials of late is from 1 Peter 5:7 "Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." Sometimes, I have to cast them multiple times a day, but he takes them every time.

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  27. Grief for the misunderstandings and strained relationships.....im sorry that your story also carries that pain that is so very common among us. God give you grace and courage. Spring carries the exact same feelings of loss and delightful freshness for me as well. Because He Lives I can face tomorrow!

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