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Update on My Family

Photo by Corinne Kutz on Unsplash

I feel like we are all starting to get our bearings a little bit after taking a break to grieve the last few weeks. Greg’s mom’s sudden death really knocked the wind out of our family, especially coming so soon after his dad’s unexpected and sudden death (August) and my grandma’s death (June).

Things are beginning to normalize a bit. A new normal, of course, because Greg’s parents were such a huge part of our daily lives.

I have been allowing myself to feel my grief and to sit with it. Tears come easily these days. Sometimes over simple things like:

  • When I go to Walmart to get my groceries, I don’t need to text Mom C anymore to see what I can pick up for her.
  • Friday nights feel strange with the kids not sleeping over at Greg’s parents house like they had almost every Friday for 11 years.
  • When we drive by the Cassidys’ house, or go to work on cleaning things up in their house, it feels emotionally empty and weird.
  • Christmas and our kids’ birthdays over the past two weeks have been very different.
  • Greg has had to fix things with the house or one of the cars and his dad hasn’t been there with him whistling, joking, laughing, and talking.
  • When Greg has been on the phone in recent weeks, he’s not chatting with his parents, like he used to do almost every day. He’s usually talking to someone about cancelling his mom’s accounts and notifying them of her death or talking to the lawyer. I miss hearing him talking with his mom and dad.
  • I miss our visits with Greg’s parents, and being able to email and text his mom.
  • When I work, our son picks our daughter up from school instead of her grandparents. Super thankful he just got his license. But it is different from the way things have been since our children started school.
  • My Grandma wasn’t there with us at Christmas with my family. We don’t have any of our long talks anymore. She isn’t standing at the sink doing dishes. No homemade pecan pie.

There are just so many reminders everywhere of their absence.

Sometimes, without much warning, I suddenly break out crying for a few minutes. I accept that. We are all grieving in our own different ways. Our hearts are still very raw.

What peace knowing that Greg’s parents and my Grandma all knew the Lord! That is such a comfort.

Our son is doing a lot better, I think. He is having fewer flashbacks. But he is still a bit on edge, understandably. Especially if he can’t get in touch with us or a friend and he’s not sure if everyone is safe.

Our daughter tends to hold everything in during the day or for a few days, then she lets everything out with me at night and tells me what she has been thinking. Our son often comes in and the kids and I share together. Or all four of us share together on our bed. We have had some of the most important conversations ever in recent weeks about eternal things.

Greg has been leading well. He has a lot of weight on him with having to figure out all of the financial, legal, and estate things. And yet, he has made sure to take time to be with each of us and to try to help us have fun and enjoy life, too. He doesn’t want us to stop living or become paralyzed. I really admire that about him.

Greg and I have been there for each other. I can see how God has been preparing us to be able to go through this painful time. I am so thankful! It has been excruciating, but I can’t imagine if this had happened many years ago. We are both in a much better place spiritually now.

I have been spending as much time as possible with God. Being still. Praying. Seeking Him more than ever. Trusting Him. Praising Him. Singing to Him. Crying out to Him. Thanking Him.

Our family is closer, more loving, and more united than ever right now. We have been praying together a lot more than before. We seem to appreciate each other more. Very thankful for these blessings.

I see God working in all of us, strengthening our faith. Giving us a greater sense of urgency with the Gospel message. Creating in us an even deeper love for other people and a desire to see everyone come to know Jesus as Lord and to experience His salvation and eternal life. He is giving us much greater boldness to love and share with others as we see just how short life can be and how quickly everything can change.

The Bible is right about that there is wisdom in the house of mourning. It sure does put a lot of things in life in proper perspective.

We actually had another death in our extended family just last Friday! And I can’t even begin to count how many of our friends, extended family have lost parents/siblings in the past year or who have experienced extremely difficult trials.

As the text messages/phone calls just keep coming in over the past few months about one terrible crisis or another in and around our family, we stop and pray together for our friends and family. We feel just how dependent we are on God and know how little we can do to fix anything in our own power.

2018 was a rough year for so many people. It’s not just our family.

The theme God gave me this summer was “Counting Trials As Joy.” And we have gotten to experience it more than ever. There really can be much joy in the Lord even in the midst of our darkest trials.

I don’t know that 2019 will be any easier. I have a suspicion that there will be a lot more “shaking” going on in many ways this year around the world.

Time is getting short. It is time to be alert spiritually and to make sure things are right between us and the Lord and in our relationships with others. It is time to seek the Lord more than ever and to make the most of the time we do have to be fruitful in God’s Kingdom.

God is very good. Even in our trials. Even when the shakeable things in this world crumble, He is unshakeable. He, alone, is the Solid Rock. His Word always stands and we can always depend on Him to be our Fortress, our Shield, and our Ever Present Help in Trouble.

Lord, You have been our refuge in every generation.

Before the mountains were born,

before You gave birth to the earth and the world,

from eternity to eternity, You are God.

Psalm 90:1-2

I joyfully yield all of my family, my life, and myself to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. I want to experience every single thing He wants to do in and through me this year. I want to follow Him up onto much higher ground with greater faith than ever. I want to see His kingdom come and His will be done in our family and in all of your lives, as well.

May we each build our 2019 and our entire lives on Him!

I hope to be able to share more soon.

We all appreciate your love, support, and prayers for our family more than we could possibly say!

Much love! I am praying for you all.

<3

You are welcome to share in the comments if you would like to.

 

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19 thoughts to “Update on My Family”

  1. I do not cry easily, but this post, and the one I just read from Nov 29th, have me in tears.
    Your words are simply beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing them with us.
    Your heart for God shines through brilliantly.
    Your attitude, and maturity in Christ are overflowing with hope – what joy and delight they are to my heart.
    Thank you for your patient endurance which enables you to minister so impactfully in the midst of your pain.
    Love,
    Heather

    1. Heather Hooker,

      I’m thankful for the opportunity to share. I am okay with being broken if it means Jesus can shine more brightly in and through my life.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and for the encouragement.

      It is a huge blessing to me.

      Much love!

  2. When life gets hard we pray harder, when life is sad we cry harder. When we feel exhausted from praying and crying, God refreshes us. Jesus knew sadness, he cried. Isn’t it wonderful to have a God that felt sorrow. His compassion, grace, mercy, is enough. We can face tomorrow because HE is enough. What an awesome God we serve!!

  3. I just registered for the conference, thank you for the reminder.

    I’ve been thinking about you and praying for you and your family. I’m so grateful you are in a place spiritually where you’re able to recognize God working in each area, and you’re able to give Him glory and allow Him to use you to reach others. You are a blessing, and I pray abundant blessings for you and your family.

    1. Melissa,

      I hope you enjoy the conference!

      Thank you for the prayers. Yes, God graciously prepared and equipped us in advance. I am most thankful for the groundwork He has been laying. Thank you for the blessing and encouragement. May God richly bless you and your family this year!

  4. April & Greg and family: Despite your deep pain I wish you a blessed and happy New Year. I send my condolences & prayers for your losses. You will remain in my prayers. God bless you.

  5. April, thank you for sharing your situation.

    Our family also experienced a sudden and quite tragic death this New Year’s Eve. Of all my in-laws, she was one of two that knew and loved the Lord, and the comfort from that is very real.

    While I was reading your post all I could think of was how lucky you were to have had in-laws that loved you and wanted to be part of your life. I am saddened to think they are now (temporarily) gone from your life but also quite envious of the relationship you had. You are luckier than you know.

    1. Happily Gave Up,
      I am so very sorry to hear about your family’s loss. It sounds so sad and painful. 🙁 Knowing our loved ones are with the Lord is the greatest blessing. How I long for everyone to know Him!

      We were extremely blessed. I had a bit of a rocky start with them earlier in our marriage. But I am so very thankful that for the past 7 years things have been extremely good and we truly did make the most of our time together. As God healed and changed me, He also healed our relationship. I am beyond glad!

      They loved us all so much and loved having us and our children around. We were very blessed.

      Much love!

  6. Dear April, it’s heartbreaking to read all these things, but thankfully Greg’s parents and your grandma know the Lord. I can relate to your pain as well.

    When I was a kid, I used to go to my grandma’s country house every summer. She lived in a different country and it was a real adventure to me, growing up their, spending time with siblings, relatives and grandma. She passed away a few years ago and this past summer I visited my aunt and also went to see grandma’s country house. It was a shock. Instead of a beautifully kept garden I saw lots of rubbish and ruins. The house where I used to play stood empty and forgotten. Even the neighbour put a high fence, so nothing could be seen or heard though before it was a see through and he used to chat with grandma a lot. Standing there, i understood that things won’t be as they used to be, no more cosy evenings, laughter and joy at this country house, it all became just my memory. The only thing I’m thankful for is that my grandma knows the Lord.

    1. Anna,

      Thank you for sharing about your wonderful Grandma and her house. I love your beautiful memories!

      But what a sad thing to see the house in terrible shape now. We visited my Mom mom’s old houses in PA this summer with our kids. My mom grew up in a huge stone house that was very beautiful. But that house has been so neglected and abused that it has now been condemned. It was very sad to see it like that. Would have broken my Mom mom’s heart. Her other house, the one she lived in when we would visit when I was a child, is in better shape. But it doesn’t have her beautiful bird feeders and landscaping and flowers anymore.

      I’m very thankful with you that your Grandma knows the Lord. Such a comfort!

      Much love!

  7. Very sweet post written by a tender heart you have for the Lord and others. I’m sure Greg’s parents loved and adored you!!

    I teared up as I read of your relationship with the Lord and turning your pain over to him. Whenever I am facing a hardship I just think of you April, and I picture your godly strength and wisdom counseling me and saying, “Keep going and facing your fears because Jesus will be there to help you overcome!” That is right, Jesus will never forsake us in our sufferings! But He will use them to refine us and press into Him in deeper ways. As I mature as a Christian I am able to embrace that Jesus died for this specific reason, so we would have the access and ability to lean into Him when life circumstances seem unbearable, which is so inevitable. May the Holy Spirit be there to comfort you through each and every tear, April!

    I was going to share with you Psalm 90 but as I read further I see that the Lord had already given you that Scripture! It has encouraged me greatly this week as well as I’ve had to push through some difficult days.

    I will be keeping you in mind as your family adjusts and grows together through this painful time. <3, Jaimie

    1. Jaimie Mills,
      You are such a blessing and encouragement to me! Thank you for sharing this. I am so excited about what the Lord is doing in your life and how He is growing your faith. It is beautiful!

      How neat that God put Psalm 90 on both of our hearts this week. Love that!

      Thank you for the prayers and insights.

      Much love!

  8. Dear sister in Christ Jesus,

    I have not been on WP for a long time, much of that has to do with the fact that I have been living with the loss of my father.

    While thieve times are never easy, we are given strength and grace by our Lord Jesus.

    I have found also that the hard moments are in the little things. My father went to be with the Lord a month exactly before Christmas in 2017, his brother, my uncle dying exactly two months before him. These were heavy blows but as I looked into my father’s eyes there was: a golden glow/light that joined/surrounded us.

    I like to talk a lot in general but during those three Weeks when I had the opportunity and I will say privilege to be at my father’s bedside as much as possible, we talked little but we understood each other much.

    We smiled more than I can remember, a smiling of content understanding. In the months since his passing my mom found a card in my grandmother’s best friend’s Bible that came to him in which my father wrote that he was going to give it to me. It now sits in pride of place on my desk.

    His love of Our Lord was understated but deep. Dear sister, my heart shares compassion and understanding with you.

    Jesuscentreoflife

    1. jesuscentreoflife,

      I am so very sorry for the pain and grief you and your family have also experienced. Death is so awful! It is obvious it wasn’t God’s original design. And it is sobering to see what sin does to us. But how beautiful that you got to experience that special time with your dad and that radiance from the Lord! A precious blessing in the midst of the valley.

      How wonderful that you got to receive that card from your father later. Such a treasure!

      May the Lord richly bless you and comfort and heal you and your family in this time.

      In Christ,
      April

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