what ifs to even ifs

I'm not sure why I'm here tonight, really.

I don't blog much anymore these days. Sure, I think about it often - wanting to record memories of my children and family for later reference, wanting to get off my chest some of my grief that still chokes me from time to time, or wanting to share what's on my heart about life and what I am continually learning from it. But I can't ever seem to find the free time to write it all down. I've also find myself in this strange place of figuring out how to honor my life with Jeremy or talk about my grief, while still feeling like I can celebrate the beautiful life I am living now and give honor to Steve and what we've built together. I can't always go back. Sometimes I need to, but other times it's painful and is not a true representation of where I am now. But then not talking about it must mean it's not there, right? At least that's what some assume. No matter how incorrect that is, the balance is difficult and I haven't had the time or energy to figure how how to delicately walk that line.

And yet, here I am. Sitting up because I was supposed to be doing on online course for CPR which isn't working properly, so I'm sitting here listening to my sweet husband snore beside me, and I came here. Staring at the blinking line wondering what my fingers would type out and where my words would take me.

I'm preparing to speak again in April for a women's retreat in Ohio and have been thinking and praying about what direction to go and how let God use my story in powerful ways. And all I have been thinking about lately is how humbled I am by my own story. Sometimes, I don't know how I got here. Other times, like driving down the road this morning in random memory of Jeremy and my chest tightens and tears spill from nowhere as I remember the pain of knowing I can't ever see, touch, talk to, or make memories with Jeremy again.

I read encouraging words from another former widow who writes about life after loss and loving again.

I replay the synchronizing, miraculous events that unfolded to get me to Honduras in November. I think about how blessed I am to have lived out that part of a beautiful story.

I look at my beautiful children, aching to be more for them while thankful that I can be present more than I could in those early 'after' days.

I think about when my 'what ifs' changed to 'even ifs' and how scary that can actually be.

And I realize, I'm still here because life is still worth it. Love is worth so much more. I feel inadequate to describe how bittersweet it is that I'm here and I'm so glad. I never thought I'd be able to say that again.

So, perhaps my purpose was to leave you with this piece from an amazing book I've been reading for the second time (we read it while in Honduras as well). It's become a focal point for me as I prepare for my speaking next month, and it gives words to where I am now.

"And what makes all this hard stuff worth it? Only, always Him. God knows, we won't always be living the soothing words of the Psalms. we'll be living the agonized words of Nehemiah, Jeremiah and Lamentations that are miraculously still able to say with a loud voice, 'I want God.'

And praise be to Him that just about the time we feel helpless, drowning, incapable of making such a proclamation of wanting Him, He blows in with a hopeful, resuscitating wind and - mouth on mouth - revives us. This is the glory of traveling with the Life - how He breathes vitality in dead spaces and offers His marvelous, illuminating light in places that are dark. And when we're in those dark places, we want God in big heaps and not small portions, because pain doesn't ever truly get better without Him. The more we have of Him, the more we survive and even thrive; the more beauty we extract from life."

- I Want God by Lisa Whittle


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