Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Back into a Routine?

I've really been wanting to post for a while, but have had a hard time knowing what to write about. It was so significant to me to read my mom's journals, so that post seemed so huge that I couldn't really think of anything worth writing about since then. I decided it's better to write about not much than not write at all.

Josh and I have been back in Kentucky for a couple weeks now, back to work and school. It's amazing how different our lives feel. I struggled at first going to work and acting "normal" around everyone -- since I felt anything but normal. I confess, I half expected most people to treat me differently -- that is, treat me really kindly -- because here I am, a pregnant girl whose mom just died. I was nearly in tears when I took a snapshot of my mom to CVS to make a double of it and the photo-department woman was rather curt and unhelpful, going to charge me $10 to make a copy. I feel like saying "please me nice to me! I'm sad right now because my mom is gone!" The Lord has been good to guard my heart from falling into true self-pity. It's hard to totally know my own self, but I think I am mostly just grieving, and half wishing everyone else was grieving along with me.

So at first I struggled getting into a routine, but now I see how having a scheduled life, really is, as Jodi Ware says, "a gift from the Lord." It helps you to go forward and "do the next thing". I have never before lived through grief, and I certainly have never lost anyone close to me, so it is all a journey of learning a new normal: getting up in the morning and remembering that I lost my mom, having my family on my mind through out the day, praying for their souls, and my own, to be guarded from depressed or guilty thoughts, having waves of sadness wash over me when I see grandmothers with new babies (actually pretty common around here), or a really specific memory occurs to me. I feel like I have grown and changed so much in the past month, that I hardly feel the same, so making a new normal feels pretty abnormal.

But the truth is this: there is a sort of sweetness in knowing Christ NOW, in the midst of my pain, that I had never known before. It comes to me when I weep, or fall into deep contemplation -- the sweetness of sharing in "the fellowship of His suffering". Elisabeth Elliot says that it's not that Christ died so that we might suffer, but that because of his death, our sufferings have a purpose -- that we can share an intimate knowledge of Him in the fellowship of His suffering. I can honestly say that from my own experience, I do sense that Christ has drawn me into a closer relationship, making Him more dear to me than ever.

These days the song "Great is Thy Faithfulness" has become my favorite: "Morning by morning new mercies I see. All I have needed Thy hand hath provided." I trust you, Lord, to provide new mercy and grace for each day.


Anonymous said...

You put into words the way I felt when Mom died. I was the one to go buy her shoes for her burial. I wanted people to know the pain I felt as I put them on the counter and paid for them. How could people go on the same when I was hurting so much. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and heart. Love you & all, Aunt Diane

megan said...

Gretchen - thanks so much for posting. I am still praying for your whole family. I do think of you often and you being pregnant and not having your mom to call. I am praying for you. I still see the sadness in the rest of your families eyes as well. If there is anyway I can help or be an encouragement I would love to help out. - Thanks for sharing.

Brenna D. said...

What a beautifully written post, Gretchen. It touched my heart.

Brittany said...

Thanks for sharing this. It's good to read your honesty. Everything Megan said is exactly what I'm thinking, noticing, praying.
After my 4th miscarraige (when God brought me to the end of myself and changed my life), I can't sing Great is Thy Faithfulness most days without crying tears of joy and thankfulness because of those very words you posted.
God is good. He'll continue to carry you, through the pain and grief. HE is faithful every morning, for every minute of the day.
I continue to pray for you and for the rest of your family.

Jana said...

I loved the quote from Elisabeth Elliot. Thank you for sharing!!!

Rebecca said...

Gretchen, you are loved!!

Sarah said...

Gret, thank you for your honesty. I love how God uses EVERY SINGLE occurence in our lives to teach us.....we just have to be willing to listen.
You are a sweet, sweet testimony of Christ's love. I am praying for you often, as you experience this "first" in your life without your mom. Love ya, friend.

Anonymous said...

Gret, I remember feeling the same way, wishing everyone was grieving with me when my brother passed away. I remember the day after we just buried him, and someone was very rude to me...I too, wanted to say the same thought you had. Since then, I have constantly reminded myself that even when I am having a hard day, I remember that , you NEVER know what someone may be going through...so to always be a shining star for Christ. Always be helpful, nice, and kind. I truly have tried to be that way, even more since my brother's passing. -sioby p.s. beautiful post!

Chrissy said...

Miss Gretchen,
Thank you so much for being honest and letting us into your own thoughts and feelings. You have been a beautiful model of Christ-likeness, especially in this last month or so through your suffering. You mean so much to me.

Fran R. said...

Oh, dear Gretchen, how I understand where you are. I was 23 when my dad was taken suddenly from us. My mother was just 50 years old and a widow. Mother and I had our own griefs to deal with. Her brothers helped her and my cousins and friends helped me. Today was my first Worship AM service in the nursery (I'll be in there the first Sunday morning of each month) I see Miss Sue in every book, toy, sippy cup, swing, and even the light switches. It is a beautiful place for memories of her. I wished I knew I loved her as much as I do and that I had told her. But, somehow I think she does know; we were friends, what a wonderful word, FRIEND. And, she is with our Friend and Savior, Jesus. Thank you Lord, for that comfort. To back up just a minute....I understand how you feel that maybe you shouldn't ever laugh or smile or be happy about something again and that others should act the same. I went thru that also. My dad has been gone since 1968, and time (God's time) has healed me of those feelings. I know you will, but when your little one comes, tell her EVERYTHING about Miss Sue. Jamie and Sandy, and the twins know about their grandparents and memories that I have shared with them. I had a tape made and the twins love to look at the "Family". Love you and continue to pray for you and Josh. F.