Sunday, June 30, 2013

Finding Rest

I got a bit nervous with my long to-do list.

Of course, I had many offers of help (and accepted help from several), but many of the details in the wake of Ted's passing needed my personal attention. I plunged ahead into new territory, taking the responsibility, wanting to do a good job.

Running at a breakneck speed, I thought if I got things done faster I would feel better sooner. Details paraded through my head day and night. My mind would not shut off and I was getting very little rest. No matter what I got done, there was still plenty more to do as I tried diligently to whittle down that overwhelming list. Of course, the list wasn't getting any shorter because as I crossed things off, I added what was coming next on the horizon...

Yesterday, God spoke to me through another woman's blog. She described how the turbulent details of her life had her "sprinting," yet their life was going to be more like a marathon. Like Kathryn, I realized I have to pace myself. I can't keep this up forever. I can't be two people, accomplishing all we did together as a couple, when I am just one now.

I thought of something Ted told me several months ago when I was heavily burdened. He encouraged me to think of a visual that would help me transfer my burden to the Lord (as we are instructed in Matt. 11:28-30). We came up with the idea of a backpack, in which I would stuff all my work and worry. I would then lay it down at Jesus' feet, watch Him pick it up, sling it on His back and carry it. Then I would walk alongside Him as He carried my burden.

Now I am replaying this new picture of abiding (and sweet memory of Ted's wise advice) as often as necessary -- whenever I feel the stress of "doing" taking over. In the middle of my to-do list, I took a break and sat on the deck and closed my eyes. Allowing more space in my life helps me to more easily hear God shaping my perspective to get the right things done, instead of trying to do it all.

A rested soul makes a great deal of difference. My perspective has changed; my burden is lighter.

Lord, I give you my "backpack" to carry and I want your rest for my soul. As you've impressed upon me many times before, I will once again... Be still. Do less. Be more. (See post from March 2011.)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

10 Ways He Said "I Love You"

Ten years ago today, my sweetheart proposed to me on the top of Casa Loma in Toronto. Our time together was short, but we loved each other well. Now he has gone on to be with the Lord, and I want to share just 10 of the many ways he showed his love for me in the "daily stuff":
  1. He always had a bright smile to greet me when he opened his eyes in the morning. He made engaging eye contact that told me he loved me.
  2. He'd make me coffee and breakfast each weekday morning, since his day started later than mine. He liked making homemade "egg mc muffins" or making that small plate colorful with fruit slices.
  3. When I got dressed for my work day, he always made some positive comment about how I looked or what I was wearing. He loved variety.
  4. As he’d walk me out to the car, he'd talk about whatever plans we had for the evening, referring to them as dates (baseball dates, hockey dates, bible study dates…).
  5. He always opened the door for me – car doors and the doors to buildings. Our friends would tease him, “Ted, you’re making me look bad.” Once in the grocery store parking lot, a man commented from his truck, “Hey dude. It’s great to see that chivalry is not dead!”
  6. He'd often phone once during the day, and count the hours till we would be together again. He would linger on the goodbyes, telling me sweet things when he hung up the phone. Sometimes it would embarrass me because my peers at work were listening. How silly of me was that?
  7. He'd fill up my car with gas, whenever it got low. I never had to think about it.
  8. When thanking God for the evening meal, he’d also thank Him for bringing us back together safely.
  9. As he watched the nightly news (or a favorite hockey team), he’d tell me to come and sit close by him. He really enjoyed the side-by-side time... and so did I.
  10. If he wanted to stay up late to watch sports, he’d come and pray with me as I went to bed, and tuck me in -- and always kiss me goodnight.

Was this fairy tale real? Oh yes! He was a sweet man who actually did all these things – on a regular basis – and a whole lot more. What a gem I had. I will love him forever.

Thank you, God, for the wonderful man you gave me and the time we had together. He reflected your love and grace and helped me know you more.


Saturday, June 8, 2013

Spirit Lead Me...

After a great period of living on the mountaintops, I now find myself walking through a deep valley. I have wonderful memories, precious family and terrific friends, but missing Ted has left such a huge hole in my life there are times I can't imagine ever being whole again.

As I wade through tedious to-do's, I am exasperated that seemingly simple transactions can become so difficult as I am sent through endless strings of automated attendants and people who can't help me. Then the details of my days burst into my consciousness at night and steal my sleep. 

But as I lay awake, I call on my Lord. A beautiful song (Oceans: Where Feet May Fail) I heard in church a few weeks ago drifts through my mind to soothe me:
You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
I realize this is a period of making my faith stronger, making me more effective for my Lord. I am called to trust Him without borders -- wherever He leads me. Just as I have been learning all along, I must keep my eyes on Him, not on the waves.

Gracious Lord, you have given me many reminders that you are near. Your grace abounds in these deep waters. You will be my husband now and I look to you to fill that great hole in my heart.