Friday, July 10, 2009

It's a Hundred Little Things


It's the unspoken sadness that seems to have taken permanent residence in the eyes of my husband. It's friends who are no longer able to make eye contact with me. It's hearing my husband whistle, wondering who will inventory the pantry, who will kiss away each and every one of my little children's boo-boos. Its curling up in my chair while Lulea rubs my arms, smiles and says, "I wuv ou Mama." and knowing that she isn't old enough to remember me long term. Its that infernal racket that the leaf blower (big boy toy) makes when my husband uses it Saturdays.
It's the grin on my husband's face when he comes in with a grocery store bouquet of flowers for me. It's trying to hide my heart as my children turn to each other, guarding their own hearts against a future of pain that they realize awaits them. It's watching them cry themselves to sleep and knowing I can't fix it.
It's when my younger kids ask me about getting a part-time job when they're older and want to know what they can do? As I start to answer, I realize that I won't be here to help them decide. Or when one of my older girls dissolves into tears finally choking words through tears and tells me, "You won't be here to help me plan my wedding. Who's going to take me shopping for things for my dorm room? Daddy can't do that."
It's our tradition of biscuits on Saturday morning after which my heart takes a picture of my two older girls gripping each other's hands for strength across our broad kitchen table; one brown hand of fingers locked and lovingly blended with the white ones across the table. It's my heart pictures of an older child curled up on the sofa helping a younger sibling with schoolwork. It's building a fire in the fire bowl on the patio and making S'mores in the evenings on summer weekends. It's the realization that after 31 years of doing Thanksgiving for our families that I may very well have hosted my last. It's knowing that some of our favorite traditions will likely be broken, Grand Illumination to start the Christmas season in Williamsburg, baking Christmas cookies and handing out our tins of them throughout the neighborhood, our annual MOMYS retreat (there won't be a MOMYS in the house anymore), shopping trips to the outlets in Smithfield, family vacations of spring at the beach, summers in the mountains. It's knowing that I won't be able to do a hope chest for my younger girls like I have done with the older ones. It's knowing that likely my tradition of giving each child a meaningful Christmas ornament every year will likely be discontinued. It's wondering who will do a birthday celebration for my younger children - cake and ice cream at 7:00pm. What will they do with my violin?
It was that final stroll down Duke of Gloucester Street. It's trying to figure out real priorities of my pending projects; several scrapbooking albums in desperate need of finishing, updating photo albums for the kids, the cooking, cleaning, laundry, schooling, and a multitude of other items all vying for my time, attention and ever dwindling energy. It's the realization that my time is really limited.

How can I leave, how can I say goodbye? Then almost in direct response to my questions God lays on my heart a few simple sentences from a sermon I heard many years ago. When Howard and I first joined our church, Jarvis Memorial our associate pastor was David Fishler. He was not there for very long after we joined and I honestly do not remember anything else he may have said during that time. But I distinctly remember a portion of his sermon shortly before Christmas. He was talking about King Herrod and how sorry he felt for Herrod. David made the statement that Herrod was unwilling to give up what he had, even to have something better. How sad for Herrod that he clung so fiercely to the familiar and comfortable. He could have had so much more if only he had made a different decision for his life. David spoke with the authority of one who truly knows what he is talking about through personal experience. You see, David was Jewish, or at least he used to be. When he made a decision in his life for Christ he walked away from everything which he had ever known. He was literally dead in the eyes of his family. This man lost everything familiar and comfortable in his life when he, as Peter, bravely stepped out of his boat and onto the water to the outstretched hand of Christ.
Would I have chosen to leave my family prematurely had it been left to me? Fairly obviously no mother would chose to leave her little children or a wife to leave her husband so early in life. Over and over I have heard God quietly nudging my heart with a persistent question, "Do you love them more than me Cindy?" Honestly I have struggled with this question. Clearly scripture tells us that we must love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and first above all others. However, I am human and I have children as young as five. It has been so difficult to come to terms in my heart with God's question. Am I simply clinging to the abundant blessings I have even when being squarely confronted with the prospect of something even better awaiting me? Oh this is so hard!
Shortly after the auto accident in which three of my children were involved last fall I received an email from a very wise friend. She said that she felt God was showing me that He will take care of my children. I agree with her, as if I really should have needed anything more to know this. As the time progresses I see more and more evidence that He is calling me to release them to Him.

Yesterday I read a quote that has hung in mind:
"God uses the troubles of our lives, culminating in the inevitability of our own deaths, to pry our grips off this world and refocus our hearts on what lies ahead with Him." -- Rick Holland

This was hard to read, but timely. My journey is necessarily and not unhappily toward home. That home is not here on this earth. I am but a temporary resident renting space in a temporary dwelling (my earthly body). It is hard to leave them. My fears are for them. It hurts my heart to think of the pain they will endure. But yes, Lord, I love you best.

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Cindy, this post makes me cry. I often think about you and how hard it must be on you, but also I wonder about your dear husband and what he must be feeling. I've never met your husband, but I imagine him trying to be strong for you while his heart is breaking... So when I pray for you, I also pray for those so close to your heart, that God will strengthen, and comfort them and hold them close. The one who leaves this life, goes on to something better with Jesus. My husband preached recently that this life is just a dress rehearsal for eternity as scripture tells us our real citizenship is in heaven. But our hearts are still here, with our loved ones, and we cling desperately to this life that we know.

I don't really know if I am making sense. But I want you to know that my heart goes out to you and that I pray for you and for your husband and children regularly. May God's grace sustain you in the coming days, weeks and months. May the light of Jesus shine ever brighter in your life. May you touch many for the Saviour. And may God give you sweet days with your loved ones.

Love,
Cathy Barnett

Linda up north said...

Oh Cindy... I can but imagine the pain you are all going through. Fear Not. God Loves your family more than you do, but He also knows how very deeply you love each other. Keep your eyes on the prize. This life is so short for all of us, but Praise to our Savior, this life is not all there is, not nearly. I pray for you continually. May your aching heart, and those of your family, be filled with Peace.
With Much Love from afar
Linda

Angel said...

My dear friend, Being one of your 'imaginary' friends is hard at times like these because I feel I am just starting to know you. I do not know how you are so brave except to know it is your Faith. All I want to do is scoop you up and hug you long. I want only to ease your pain, to lift your Spirits.
I too think of your family and how hard it must be for them also.
You will be missed by so many people, people who are blessed to have known you as I have, even for such a short time.
Feel my imaginary Angel wings surround you with all of the love I feel for you.

Angel

Kirsti Bertrand said...

I feel as though I should send you encouraging words. The funny thing is, every time I read your blog, you inspire me. This time it is the "comfort zone." I so happily live in mine. Thank you for continuing to post your blog and give me things to think about. I, too, feel like I don't know you as well as I wish I did. You have an amazing family. Thanks for just being you and in doing so, showing me what faith is about.

vietmomchronicles said...

Cindy . . . I have been following your story for a few months now since before I brought my daughter home from Viet Nam.

Excuse me . . . I had to stop writing this comment because she saw me crying and wanted to comfort me. She is turning into such a sweet, loving child. Your story had driven home to me how precious those moments are. I never turn down a chance to stop and love her and experience her magnificence. Thank you for helping me maintain that clarity. Hang on. . . here she comes again . . .

There is little I can say to you that you haven't already heard or don't already know so I'll just say that I continue to pray for you and your family. Your fears are the same that mine would be; any good mother will always be more concerned about her children's fate and future than her own.

I think you and I do not live so very far away from each other. I am familiar with the Smithfield outlets which are about a 30 min drive for me. If there is anything I can do that would help you in the coming months, please reach out . . . I know you have an entire community in your corner . . .that is how we do it here! You can add one more . . .

Bless you all . . .

Sharon

Anonymous said...

Cindy,
Your post has me in tears. As another MOMY of 10 I can't imagine going through this; I guess it's one of those things you can't truly understand until you're there. I am praying for you, your dh and your children, that God would wrap his loving arms around each one of you, and give sweet comfort and peace. Your faith is an inspiration to me.

Love,
Laurie in MN

petersonclan said...

One of my dear friends had to say goodbye to her husband last year... one thing she said to me one time is that there is a Bible verse that states there is wisdom found in the valley of the shadow of death. I have found that to be true in their case.

However, given the choice I would rather (selfishly) keep you here. Your family is continuously in my prayers. Know you will be greatly, greatly missed, my friend.

Every time RAD boy does his thing, I think... "Bless His Heart..." in your voice and accent. You will be remembered.

Amy/FFLF said...

Cindy, It's hard enough to watch someone you love make the journey to heaven. Harder still to be the one who's leaving. God is Love. Love never dies. Let your children know that. Our love for you and your family here online won't ever die, either. We'll always pray for your children. God Bless you. No, wait, he already has, right?

Amy

Anonymous said...

Cindy,

You have always been such an inspiration to me. I am one of the MOMYS. Your faith had me believing you would be fine. My heart is breaking for you and your family today. I have tears running down my face as I read your MOMYS comment and then your blog. I will be remembering your dear husband and sweet children, as well as you, Cindy, in prayer in the coming days and weeks and months. You have left a lasting impression on my heart. God bless dear lady.

With love, Justine
Mum to 6 homegrown boys and 2 Ethiopian girls in Canada

Shea said...

My mother died when I was 17, and my brother was 6. I have always talked of her, and yes, he does remember her. I have absolutely no idea what to say, for nothing can make any of this any better. Please know you are in my prayers, and have no doubts of the legacy you leave. Your will live in your children's hearts forever. The traditions may change, but some will carry through, and looking down on them, I think you will be surprised and what unfolds in their lives. Christmas was my mother's favorite holiday. I go overboard every year. No one ever understands why. I HAVE to have colored lights though as time goes by, I wonder what white ones would look like. Momma loved sitting by the tree adn looking at colored lights. There are many things I do with a smile that my mother taught me. To me, she is never really that far away. God Bless.

Anonymous said...

Cindy,
I cried as I read your post on MOMYS and now your blog here...I lost my mom to cancer just after my 18th birthday (now 15 years ago). I am praying for you and your family.
Just something I was thinking of and I don't know if you are able or have the chance to do this but I will mention it anyways. I would have loved to have had notes to read from my mom as I grew up and hit milestones in my life (maybe our first Christmas without her, when I got married and when I had my first child etc) Even if it was one note that got "passed down" to each child as they hit those milestones would mean the world to them.
On a side note, I remember thinking before my mom passed away "that I wasn't going to be able to survive without her". I want to testify that God is faithful. I know I had many people praying for me (and you and your family do too) and I truly know I experienced God's peace that passes all understanding in those days. 15 years later I still miss her dearly but I know that I am a stronger person, I see God in a deeper way that I wouldn't have without that experience in my life, and that God placed other people in my life at different times to fill the role that my mom wasn't able to fill these years. God will do the same things for your family too.
I am praying for you all and thinking much about you. If your children want to email or call me, they can find me through the MOMYS board if they want to talk and need another perspective.
IN HIM-
Sacha MOMY to 5 in IL

Janet MF said...

Precious memories.........my heart goes out to you and your family.

mamazee said...

Thinking of you and praying for you, Cindy. I'm one of the momys in Canada, too - and also was so sure God would heal you completely. I am still praying that God does do a miracle.

stephanie
www.homeschoolblogger.com/mamazee

Vicki said...

I often times reach for my mom's Bible to find comfort. She, too, was a very Godly woman who battled cancer for 3 years before going Home when I was 13. Here are some words of comfort she had found:

"This that has come to pass could not have been had it not been allowed. Then LOVE allowed it. __Gold by Moonlight__, Amy Carmichael. Suffering, hunger, poverty, baffling circumstances, cannot of themselves make anything but confusion. But if there be the touch of the Hand, all these things work together for good, not for ill, not for discord, but for something like the harmony of music."

You are loved, you are cherished and you are blessed. Thank you for blessing us!! I know your older children's pains and please assure them that Jesus WILL carry them through!! Your legacy will live on through them as they touch the lives of others!! They will inspire your precious husband to keep going!!

Thank you for reminding us to cherish our husbands, children and friends. I'm so glad you're here and allowing the Lord to speak through you!!

Love always,
Vicki E.

GA FOSTER MOM said...

While journeying around the blogs never knowing where I will stop or where I will go...I landed on yours today through Cindy B.
Cindy, I thought of you last night after hearing that my cousin had lost a dear friend on Weds. to cancer, leaving a young son fighting for his life also with cancer. Her son lost his fight Friday, now joining his mom just within days. In reading his blog, I saw that he had had the gamma knife surgery. Flash you were there in my mind.
I love the way you write, you just speak/write freely, pure, and honest. My thoughts and heart go out to you and your family as well as the Billings family, and Morgan Family. I know that we can 'Trust' and find comfort in that God does see the big picture. I have struggled over the last few years with a condition that begs me to cling to the 'familiar' when I need to be willing to make changes to be healthy. I am working so hard to be where God wants me to be and with the correct healthy attitudes. We (God & I) are making progress... He just isn't finished with me yet. I am learning so much from Him through my trial.
I pray that I can be just 1/4 of the inspiration that you have been to 'invisiable friends'. If you reach Heaven before I do, just give 'Little Quincey' a big hug and tell him "TEMPY" still loves him. He slipped out and met Jesus on the 23rd of Feb.(1 month old) I have never witnessed anything like what we experienced with him. I believe God was preparing us for a journey later in life since we still have 6 parents. I knew from the time we received Quincey that We were to be his Resting place for a season. I knew God wanted us to love Q. Loving Q gave me the greatest experience in showing Jesus to others. I had total trust and peace in this decision to Trust GOD and Walk that special walk with Quincey. I/We couldn't have walked it by ourselves. I grew in my Trust and Faith in God/Jesus that HE is there, HE does hear our prayers, HE knows our thoughts, HE really does care, and HE LOVES Each and every one of us just as if we were the ONLY Kid. I have been so blessed by reading just the few writings you have done. You are a wonderful woman/Mom. I admire your strength and wisdom and aspire to be like 'you' because you truly try to live like Jesus.
I struggle so hard with clinging to the familiar and letting go, yet knew when the foster opportunity with Quincey presented it's self I knew that it was a 'GO' for the Camp family. God was with us just as He is with you and your family. I believe it is hard sometimes to Love God THE MOST when we are used to 'our familiar' & what we see. I pray I too can say I love HIM MOST. You have given me just what I needed to hear today from the LORD. Thanks for sharing with others.
With our name being Camp, and us liking to camp, a few years ago it came to me that we
are all "Just CAMPING" here on Earth or "Just PASSING THROUGH". SEE You Soon!

Love Jan Camp

Melanie Young said...

Oh, Cindy! How hard. I am crying for you and for your little ones. I am thankful for you! I think of you with happiness for all the little Providential interactions we have had over the years - when you adopted, on MOMYS, when I was looking for a place for a friend's daughter to stay. Several times the Lord has unexpectedly brought us into contact and you have blessed me everytime. You sent me a gift when we were struggling with medical bills, prayed for me and for Katie, and have given to me just by reading your beautiful testimony. Thank you!

Cindy, I want to send you a link to a letter I wrote to children who have lost a parent. My Daddy went to heaven when I was 14 and I wrote this years ago when a friend of mine lost her husband. I thought you might need to hear it, too. God took care of me! He was faithful! He brought us through! And we still think and speak of him often over 30 years later. I look forward to introducing him to all of his grandchildren one day! http://mamahadeen.blogspot.com/2007/05/letter-to-children-who-have-lost-parent.html

I am praying for you and your whole family.

With much love,
Melanie Young

Anonymous said...

Mama, I am sitting here with tears streaming down my face. Partly because they are bad partly because I am so grateful to have a Mother who not only loves her husband and children so dearly, but who loves her Lord even more. As long as I shall live Lulea will never forget who you are. She will ALWAYS know who you are and what kind of a mother you are to us all. I was there in China the day we got her and she will know everything. You have been such an inspiration to all of us and at times have been the sole reason our family has stayed together. YOu have gone to bat for me a million times more than I deserved. You are the epitomy of the word Mother,Mama,Momma,Mommy,or MOMY. And that will always been known. You are my super mom and I love you with every piece of my heart. For now and forever. No matter what.

Theresa said...

I have no words of wisdom at all. You bless so many of us with your thoughts, words and experiences. I love you and I pray for you and for your family....

Shel @ Life With Seven said...

Cindy,
I am a regular reader of your blog (I originally found you through Big Mama's blog), and I am also on MOMYS. I want you to know I am praying for you and your dear family. What a beautiful example you are as a wife, mother, woman.

Tia said...

I remember working with Aubri last Fall and encouraging her to be a big girl and a big sister to Lulea. Although we would just talk about it, I could see the determination in her eyes and how much she wanted to do her best to be a good sister. I have to say that she has learned that sense of determination and courage from you. I'm thankful that you have shared her story with me. She worships the ground you walk on and you have truly saved her, along with all your children.

I am thinking of you all.

-Tia

Anonymous said...

Cindy,

I just wrote a raather long blog. I hit a wrong button and it disappeared. I'm too exhausted to write it over if I could remember what I said. Sorry I'm behind. Had a "lost week" last week.

Thoughts and prayers,

Anonymous said...

Cindy, I know you love the Lord more than anyone I know. However, I just refuse to believe that your time is near. I refuse to believe it.

Anonymous said...

As someone who lost my Dad when I was 10, I know that there is nothing that I can say. I had tears in my eyes while reading your blog. I know from experience that God will lead and guide you and your children and your husband through this difficult time. I will be keeping you and your family in my prayers.

God bless you!

Mom Of Many said...

Two comments up Anonymous said, "I just refuse to believe thatyour time is near. I refuse to believe it."

I am not one who gives up! I want you healed - in Jesus Precious and Matchless name!! I know there is a balance and I just want to see the body of Christ rise up and fast for your complete and total healing...is that too much for God? NO! Nothing is impossible with our Miracle-working, Mountain-moving, Awe-inspiring, Gasp-giving God!! NOTHING!!

Kathy said...

I sit here, teary eyed, not knowing what to say, but wanting to know that you have touched me. I will be praying for you and your family.

Ohilda said...

Cindy,

We have not and will not stop praying! I totally agree with Linnie....NOTHING....NOTHING is impossible for the God of creation.

The body of Christ WILL rise up...and WILL pray and WILL fast for YOU...for HIS miracles and HIS will to be done.

Much love, many hugs and an over-abudance of prayers being sent your way.

Ohilda

Amy said...

I just wanted you to know that I am praying for you and for your family and praying that you all feel God's loving arms around you always.

redmaryjanes said...

Your faith is so very inspiring to me. You will be in my prayers every day. Your words are so true, but I am in tears here reading them. My friend has posted about a fast for you and I have never fasted before, but I am going to do it. I want God's will to be done in your life. But if I can do anything to help, that is what I want to do.

Dadoo's Wife said...

you are precious, dear one, and YES....HE KNOWS your heart....you are HIS...and HE delights over you with singing. I don't know that i have ever read anything so transparent. The HOLY SPIRIT spills out of you in a way that radiates. I will be fasting and praying for you, Cindy....
and one day, in Heaven...we will ALL meet and rejoice before HIM forever.
lovingly,
tabitha

Laura said...

You are so faithful in your time of weakness...what a blessing to your children, a spiritual blessing they will carry all their lifelong each time they face the "impossible"...what more can we hope to pass on to our children but that we know Who to turn to in a time like this?
God bless you sweet sister, I'll be praying...
The story of Jehoshaphat in II Chronicles 20 was so comforting to me...
much love, Laura

Anonymous said...

Cindy I dont know what to say to you I wish you wernt gointhrough any of this.I know you are a wonderful person and a terrific mother. I know this because my daughters as well as yours have told me that . You told me in a email that your little kids just dont have a way to understand their big sisters will help them.We pray for you daily very hard and will continue to do so. I pray that God will heal you so you will be her for all your kids, they need you so much. Please know most of all that i thank you for all you have done for my kids. God bless you

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