I attended woman's retreat this weekend with my church in Cannon Beach (on the Oregon coast), I went for the day with some other girls and can I tell you how amazing it was!?!?!? I'm still on a high from it, although the morning started at 6am and i thought I was going to have to be dragged to the coast I quickly got excited for all that was to come. Thanks to my wonderful mommy for watching the boys and surviving the day!
Last year was too difficult to go to retreat because the coast was such an insanely special place for Preston and I. We went there for each anniversary, random spontaneous weekends and many day trips. The memories were just too raw, but this year I felt it ok to go....
Stephanie Fast was the speaker, she has a horrific story, but when you hear her talk it's not the story you remember it is how she radiates Jesus through every word she says. Powerful.
This past while leading up to retreat I'd been feeling alot of guilt for wanting to move on in life..not physically moving on, but mentally. Guilt for wanting to be happy when so many others are suffering, guilt that I could forget Preston (won't happen but it's weird to explain) the list really goes on... so I was journalling my heart and trying to figure out what the heck this wall was that is keeping me from moving on. Then I read "Believe" by Jennifer Silvera, best book on grief ever! She talked about the exact thing I was feeling and she labeled it: F E A R. Crap! There it is again, it's creeping back in a different form this time. I had brought my raw feelings before the Lord and he led me to read instead of playing on my phone (while nursing) and I'm so so glad I did.
I have come such a long way, I've crossed (some of) the muddy murky waters of grief and I did not want to stop on the other side just to stare (and stare some more) at where I've been! I've walked through this grief because I know there is more on the other side than just a shoreline and I wasn't about to let fear stop me from having a future, I was entirely willing to come before the Lord, naked and transparent and let him break these walls down....he's done it before why not now?
I have hope, not only eternal hope but also hope that there is life after death on earth. I do. And I want to commit to building a new life without Preston. It's scary to step into the unknown. With Preston in my life I felt secure, and comfortable. Our circumstances changed, but he was my constant, life changed, but our love didn't. Now I am without that comfort... but I have the Lord and I've always had the Lord, that will never change no matter what.
The ocean reminded me of that, as I watched the crashing waves I remembered walking that beach with Preston, I grieved the fact that we will never do that again, but I saw the same ocean I saw with him, still beautiful, and still powerful. Like God, it never changes. That is comfortable.
God just really gave it to me this weekend, gently, but so effectively. In the past year and a half He has been molding my character, he has been creating someone in me that will be able to walk into tomorrow and the next day and the next....if I fear moving on maybe I'm doubting the God of yesterday and forgetting all the monuments he has established in my life, all that he has done. Why would he stop walking with me into the unknown? The character God has been molding in me refuses not to move on.
With a God who works like that I am confident I can walk into an unknown future without Preston (that is something I once never imagined saying). I don't know what's ahead, I'll have to deal with that as it comes, but for now I will try my best to embrace each moment he gives me. Letting the Lord teach me through those moments and trusting that the life God has for me is full of possibilities and adventure.
As Jacob tells me, "you can do it mommy, just keep trying!" I did not choose this pain, but I will choose new life.
wow... that was freeing.
"Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him.
He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out it's roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes, It's leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought.
And never fails to bear fruit" ~ Jeremiah 17:7-8