Hello my love,
Sissy started school this week. I really hope she has a great senior year. I hope even more that I am able to keep it together enough to enjoy some of it along with her. Unfortunately, the spectacle that is “back-to-school” has been unavoidable and has already started to drag me down. Of course that means football season has started back up as well. I wonder how many hours I spent watching a game when one of my greatest sources of joy and entertainment was right in front of me? It makes my heart ache…I don’t beat myself up too much for this, we played together a whole lot. I just wish I had every moment – every decision – back. I remember you watching games with me… “Who are you rooting for dad? I’m rooting for the one with 48 points…(brief pause)…which color are they?” That always made me smile, it still does. I don’t think I’ll miss football anyway. I had pretty much reached the point where it was only enjoyable to watch if I DVR’d it, skipped over all the beer and car commercials and found a way to ignore the commentators (mute). The challenge is…can I, will I… find something better to do?
I haven’t been sleeping well lately. I have a problem turning my brain off long enough to fall asleep. Those nights where I toss and turn, my memories of you dominate my thoughts. It’s torturous sometimes. I try to keep the dark awful thoughts at bay so I either pray or replay my favorite memories over and over on a loop in my mind. I wish I enjoyed those good memories more, we have so many -I cherish ALL of them-, but right now, they still shred my heart into pieces. God must be holding my heart together in his hands. Though, even as I write this, I cry out, “But God…you broke my heart!…my family! Why must your plan for my life involve so much heartache, so much suffering?” In my plea, I recall..
Consider the work of God:
who can make straight what he has made crooked? (Ecclesiastes 7:13)
Though he slay me, I will hope in him;[a]
yet I will argue my ways to his face. (Job 13:15)
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Luke 12:34)
I also read John 14 whenever I need a boost of encouragement, which I’ll put down at the bottom of this letter because I wish I would have read it to you like a bedtime story, and I want to read it to you now.
I have a hard time including any verses that have the word “trial” in them. Not because I do not believe them. I just choose not to draw a parallel between losing you and a proving or testing by God. Why not? Well, for one, it makes me feel really uneasy, and two, God’s intentions are incomprehensible to me…why try and infer anything from something I have no business trying to understand. After all, all of those verses about trials will no doubt apply to the rest of my life. I feel pretty confident about that. The mental/emotional fortitude required to fend off the urge to crawl into a hole and live my life in despair is physically exhausting. Some days I just don’t have enough. I still find it near impossible to make it through an entire day unscathed. I recover a little quicker, but it will have taken most of what I built up earlier in the day. As more time passes, I realize that my life (and Mommy’s), however long that is, will be so much more difficult now. It’s not just birthdays, holidays, back-to-schools, family get-togethers, graduations, weddings…It’s all of those things and everything in between. The worst times come when I’m alone and are set off with something as benign as a glance in my rear view mirror that reveals nothing more than an empty back seat. Your smile is not there.
Sometimes I feel like I’m climbing up a mountain. I’ve been climbing for months, but the valley still feels so close. The peak seems impossibly high, concealed by clouds, I don’t know how far I must go. I don’t like looking up because all I see are sheer rock faces and no easy way up. There are days where I foolishly look up, become discouraged, and choose to sit in childish protest, in utter disbelief of my circumstances. Why is this so hard? Why did God allow me to love so deeply knowing that death would separate us? A love so pure, so good…why is death allowed to get in the way? It’s miserable…the separation is agonizing. If it weren’t for hope, if it weren’t for Christ, I’d be lost and I wouldn’t know where to find you.
5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, 6 which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth (Colossians 1:5-6)
I’m sorry to write about things being so difficult without you. Sooner or later, you’ll want my perspective to change. I don’t know when that will come, but I long for it too. Perhaps that is enough for now.
Mommy and I got to hear this little one’s heartbeat today. I closed my eyes and allowed myself to smile as my eyes filled with tears of joy and sorrow. Amazing, but this hymn just popped in my head. I don’t think I’ve heard it recently:
When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.
So, amid the conflict, whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end
Verse 1 & 4 of “Count your blessings” by Johnson Oatman
I can attest that thanking God for everything I have been given, even after losing so much, has been paradoxically therapeutic. I couldn’t explain it even if I tried. I thank God for sending me you each and every day.
I miss you Clara.
With all my love,
I Am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life
1“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God;a believe also in me. 2In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?b 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4And you know the way to where I am going.”c 5Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7If you had known me, you would have known my Father also.d From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
8Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.
12“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14If you ask mee anything in my name, I will do it.
Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit
15“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper,f to be with you forever, 17even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will beg in you.
18“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” 22Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” 23Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.
25“These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. 27Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. 28You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. 30I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, 31but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.
(John 14 ESV) http://biblehub.com/esv/john/14.htm
luke phillips katy phillips clara phillips