Boston longs for a good friend and misses Phoenix alot right now. Though he is settling into a new soccer team and has only broken out one window with a soccer ball this summer. Greyson is better with settling in and adapting more quickly but is on a wild cooking rampage, at the moment, and messes up the kitchen more than usual with his creations. Isabella heightens the drama when things get too boring so she seems to be ready for kindergarten and a whole new audience. Aspen and Annalise are in the throws of potty training. Twice as nice is not an accurate phrase when it refers to having more than one set of soiled panties to change. They are managing it pretty well. Or maybe I am just more laid back after having trained 3 kids previously. I actually took them to a store today (they don't get out much due to the 2 to 1 ratio they have on me) in panties of all things! Now I never would have braved an outing so early on in the potty training days with my other 3, but I needed to get some things done so... About halfway through the store Aspen tee-tee'ed in her panties. I proceeded to wrap them in a paper towel, shove them in my Coach purse and keep shopping (Aspen sans underpants). I guess the level of what really gets to me these days has lowered considerably. ha.
So, as I count down days til school starts, I add up all the things on my to-do list that need to be accomplished. I know my depression has lifted because I do care about things again. Things like cleaning out closets, organizing recipes and sorting through photographs. It is good to care again. But with the caring comes a sense of overwhelment (just made that a word if it wasn't already). Will I ever be able to be do it all? Be a new wife and spend quality time laying the foundation of mine and Jim's new marriage and life together? Be a good mom to five kids who need me more now because they have moved away from so many that were an integral part of meeting their daily needs? Learn to be a new mom to a teenage boy? Make new friends? Cook (for 8!)? Clean up after those 8? Minister for the Lord? Be a student of the Word? Keep in close contact with loved ones? Okay, I am tired just typing the list! I have no idea how I will ever do it all. And honestly, I feel a bit defeated right now. But the one thing I know is Christ has proven that I never do it alone. He either silently walks beside me, imparting His own strength or He sends a physical presence into my life. I know He sent Jim to me and me to Jim so I am confident He intended for us to be each others helpmates on this crazy ride. As we journey I know we will face obstacles; bumps in the road that we have to ride over or go around. We have already faced some unknown twists and turns with just learning how to juggle NEW EVERYTHING. I think Jim and I must have been talking about this new routine when I thought of how it does feel a bit like walking on the moon. Every step is a new one into unchartered territory. There are dips and bumps and we are learning to navigate through them all. It's exciting but when you look back to earth, that just still looks so familiar and EASY. You knew your way around earth; what to expect and how it felt to live there. Even the air is different on the moon. Don't misunderstand, the moon is beautiful. It is mysterious and intriguing. Peaceful and serene. But it is quite different.
I have watched Jim be at peace with his new life with us and watched him wrestle with it a bit. Just as he has watched me do the same. He and I had never even considered living one minute of our entire lives without Andrea or Troy. Now, here we are not just considering the thought but immersed in totally new lives void of their presence, except for the physical reminders of our children, their earthly belongings and some memories written on paper or caught in a photograph. That is what we were pouring over on Sunday afternoon; our respective histories. Rich histories. Lovely histories. Is it okay to love history and fully embrace today? I do believe it is. I know Jim struggles more right now because he has had less time to learn to live without her. I had over a year of that learning before I met Jim. So I give him time and love and grace and attention and a little space. I pray that the Lord will continually show us how to fully embrace His new will for our time left on earth. First, His will in allowing our most treasured loved ones to die so young and leave us so alone.
"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints" Psalms 116:13
But also His will in allowing this new unique blessing of a second marriage and new children to come into our lives.
"See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs us, do you perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland." Isaiah 43:19
I know that some people, at times, had to look at Jim and Andrea's defeated battle with cancer as a wasteland. I am sure that many of the same saw me and my kids as wandering in the desert when Troy suddenly died and left us alone. Jim and I would be lying if we did not, at times, feel that same abandonment ourselves. Death making breaking news right in the middle of our perfect lives... But, faith makes one choose. And I see our lives (both past and present) and our marriage as an entirely new opportunity to tell others what a great and mighty God we serve. I see mine and Jim's pasts as gifts and stepping stones to lead us to not just this new place on earth but to eternity.
Troy and Andrea were no average husband or wife. They each loved us with a devoted and selfless commitment. But more than that, they loved the Lord. I believe Jim and I established that devotion and commitment in our relationship way back when we saw the Lord's "miracle of the moment", as Jim mentioned, happen to us so quickly and powerfully. But now I believe Jim and I have a commitment to go further with our relationship. We don't get to live naively anymore. We do understand that a loving God can permit unspeakable tragedy to enter our lives. We do know the reality of rolling over in bed and feeling the emptiness laying next to you.
However, we have a better understanding of faith and trust in our Father. We have felt Christ weep with us. We know He is real. He is moving and working in us. Therefore we must look not only to one another for answers or fulfillment, but we must focus our gaze on Him who holds the world in His Hands. I know, from God's Word, what should probably now be at the very tip top of my to-do list.
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength" Deut. 6:5
I do belive that if Jim and I put our first energies into that (even in the 3-ring circus that is our life) we will grow in grace, flow with love and finally accept our new gift - us.