As I drove past the cemetery yesterday afternoon, I realized that I needed to do something special for Nick and Adrienne as we entered Memorial Day Weekend.
I left the house this afternoon and told Tim I was going to go see what I could find. I ended up wandering through three different stores, looking for things that I thought best represented the spirit of the weekend and the heart of Nick and Adrienne. Nick loved the American flag so much that I knew this had to be the theme of the decorating on a weekend when our country, as a holiday, takes time to remember all those who have gone before us and especially those who have lost their lives defending our freedom.
I have to admit that when I was buying the balloons, I had a sick feeling in my stomach that the cashier was going to ask me what the balloons were for and that I would burst into tears. Thankfully, she did not. She simply said, "Have a nice weekend," and I was able to smile and reply, "You too!" as I headed towards my car.
In one store as I was looking for a little something special to place in Adrienne's vase, I accidentally knocked something off on the other side of the shelf. As I tried to adjust the items in front of me, I knocked off a second item. I walked around the shelf to pick up the things I had caused to fall to the ground and immediately wished that my camera was in my purse. Laying in front of me were two packages of soaps and bath gel each in the shapes of a pair of feet.
I couldn't help but think that God was telling me to keep walking, keep pressing on, and to simply follow in the footsteps of both Jesus and my children who are with Him.....it was a moment that I had to soak up all alone but a moment that I will never, ever forget.
As my friend Donnette and I headed to the cemetery, I was secretly hoping that somewhere along the way I would find a penny. Mom and I have found, however, that we never seem to find pennies when we are looking for them so I kept telling myself to quit thinking about it and simply KNOW that God was with me.
As we finished our decorating and got back into the car, there was a flyer in between the two front seats that I had gotten in the mail today and that had somehow slipped from inside the newspaper and was positioned so that the first words I saw were these:
I looked at Donnette and said, "Read what this says!" She looked at the flyer that had been mailed to us from Tim's Alma Mater and shook her head.
We both had a good laugh right there in the cemetery drive believing that Nick was cheering us on not with ONE penny but with ONE BILLION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I can't even begin to tell you how loved we felt in that very moment.
I share this story in hopes of encouraging you in your walk with God. I know how tough life can be. I know how confusing it can seem when you are trying to live the right kind of life and yet bad things happen.
There is a Scripture that I held on to so tightly when Nick was sick and truthfully felt somewhat betrayed by when Nick was taken from us, because I was praying for Nick's cancer to be taken away and this verse seemed to say to me that God could not only take away Nick's cancer but even do more than I could ask or imagine......Over the past year and a half, however, I feel that God has had me on a special journey so that He could redeem this passage's promise deep within my heart. And for some reason, I feel compelled to share the verses with you tonight in hopes of strengthening your faith in a God who truly longs to do more than we could ask or imagine. This doesn't mean that He will always do EXACTLY what we ask.....but it does mean that if we trust Him NO MATTER WHAT then, I believe, He will give us the ability to grasp just how GREAT THE LOVE OF CHRIST IS FOR US and He will fill us with the fullness of Himself. He will do all of this to bring glory to His name, and that is why I write tonight......for His glory and His alone.
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in
heaven and on earth
derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
I am sometimes still overcome with grief. I was mowing just the other day and had a flashback to a day that Nick was zipping through that very place in our backyard in his electric wheelchair..smiling as he sped past me, knowing that he was scaring me as he would turn sharply and zip back across the yard. I found myself crying while mowing and thinking, "How am I ever going to get through this grief?"
And then, almost as quickly as the sadness came, it was lifted from me.
Why did I have such extreme emotions back to back?
I believe it was so that God could show me once again just how amazing His love is and what it means to have the Holy Spirit as my Comforter 24/7...even when I am doing something as simple as mowing.
The one billion pennies was just one more way that God demonstrated His ability to do immeasurably more than I could ask or imagine!
Wishing I didn't have photographs from a cemetery that meant so much to me and yet thankful for a God who PROMISES that even when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death HE IS WITH US (Psalm 23) and that.....
Surely goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our lives,
and we will dwell in the house of the LORD
With that knowledge how can we not have a wonderful weekend!?!?!