Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Discovering Hidden Treasures


Mom writing memories of her childhood for me.


     For several weeks now, we have had the arduous and emotionally exhausting task of going thru Momma's house.  It has been such a blessing that my brothers wanted so much of Momma's furniture and the ceramic items she created. But now I'm down to going thru her more personal things such as her clothes, her Bibles, and her books.  

     As I was cleaning out her desk and going thru some of her papers, I came across a little poem that someone had given to her.  It doesn't have a date, but the other papers it was with indicated to me it was probably after our brother, Bill, went to Heaven in 2002.  I had never seen it before, but it is full of meaning and even though it made me cry, it spoke to my heart.  I share it here with the prayer it will help someone else, too.

A Prayer For The One Who Is Left

     Lord, the trouble about life just now is that I seem to have all things which don't matter, and to have lost all the things which do matter.

     I have life;
     I have enough money to live on; 
     I have plenty to occupy me;
     but I am alone, and sometimes I feel that nothing can make up for that.

     Lord, compel me to see the meaning of my faith.  

     Make me to realize that I have a hope as well as a memory, and the unseen cloud of witnesses is around me; 
     that You meant it when You said that You would always be with me; 
     and make me to realize that as long as You leave me here there is something that I am meant to do; and in doing it, help me to find the comfort and the courage that I need to go on.

     In Jesus' name, 
                             Amen.

Source Unknown


     This prayer hit home to me in so many ways when I read it.  I do feel alone, even with the love and support of my wonderful husband, family, and friends.  I do feel the loss of purpose and direction, even as I work thru the task of handling Momma's estate.  And I do need to realize I not only have the memories of Momma, but I have that blessed hope that we will be together again.  

     I can't say that I know what the Lord has left me here to do.  Most days, I'm just functioning, crying, and praying for comfort for myself.  I don't feel I have enough emotional strength to encourage or help anyone else.  Anything good that happens thru me will have to be the Lord's doing!  My flesh is too weak, my heart is still too shattered.  Without Jesus, I am nothing but a mess.  Praise the Lord that He understands and is merciful!  

Shared in love,

Chris  















Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Homesickness

Our family's photo.

  
   Last week, August 8th , would have been my brother Bill's 70th birthday.  I was weepy all day, as I remembered him and my parents.  That evening the Holy Spirit reminded me how Momma said to me just weeks before her home-going that she missed Bill so much.  She had buried her husband, both of her parents, her sister, and then her first-born child. Several times, Momma told me that she missed them all, but she missed her son the worse.  I've never had to bury a child, but it must be the hardest thing a parent would have to do.

     That evening as I was missing Momma and was crying, the Holy Spirit impressed upon me that this horrible, homesick way I am missing her and Daddy is how Momma was missing Bill, her husband, her parents and her sister.  I realized that the way I am hurting into the very core of my being had to have been so much worse for her and I know in my heart of hearts I don't want her to feel that way.  And as I began to thank the Lord for taking that hurt from her, my hurt began to ease.  

     My family and friends keep reminding me of the good life and the time I had with Momma, and that I have so much to be grateful for.  I truly am grateful for all of it and I am honestly trying to focus on being grateful and thankful for the blessing of her life and my being allowed to care for Momma. But most of the time, that gets lost in my grief and hurt.

     And it's not really hurt so much now, but such a deep longing, a painful homesickness for her and Daddy.  I know there is no cure for homesickness other than going home.  But this homesickness is not for a place but for the people I love -- so this is a sickness that nothing can cure, because I can't call them to hear their voice or go visit them to be with them.

     I remind myself daily that Momma walked the walk before us to show us the way, and now she walks with Jesus.  I am still being blessed by her life and her love.  I need to keep reminding myself of that because it helps me thru the darkest times.
 
Shared in love,

Chris  






Friday, June 23, 2017

The Journey Didn't End at the Grave Side.


Photo taken about 1952 at Grandpa and Grandma Grubb's house in Glen Fork, WV.  L to R: Chris, Mary Baily, Mom, Grandma Grubb and in the back Lois Schlager (Frazer)

I thought that my journey walking with Mom ended at her graveside. I realize now that what a good friend told me is true: grief is not an event, it's a journey.  So apparently my journey walking with Mom isn't over; it has just turned down a very rough and often dark and painful path.  And since I am going to have to go thru this, I pray that the Lord will teach me of Himself along the way.  

So before I bring this blog to an end, I will try to share some of the things I'm experiencing.  It is with the prayer that something here will help someone else.  I realize that grief can be experienced not just in the death of a loved one but in the loss of a career, loss of a home, loss of finances.  While my grief is for the passing of my Mother, I do believe the principles apply to all types of grief.  

For me, this is what I'm understanding:  

You always think there will be plenty of time with them; then after the passing of the loved one, you realize there was never enough time.

The death of someone so close to you changes your life in ways that you can't fathom.

                   I realize completely the truth of what I read before the funeral:  "Of all the hardships a person must face, none is more punishing than the act of saying goodbye."  Unknown

After the graveside service, everyone else goes back to their normal life except for the 24/7 caregiver, who goes home to a big, empty place where the loved one was.  The caregiver is the one that has to create a new "normal" without the loved one in it.  This is not to fault anyone; it's just the truth of the situation.

Dr. Charles Stanley is right: everyone grieves differently.  I know, too, that not everyone understands that you aren't grieving like they are and often they don't understand why you're grieving like you are.  As my brother, Chuck, said to me when I was crying while talking to him on the phone, "I just want you to be happy."  Right now, there is no "happy"; my heart is shattered into little pieces and I am hurting, and even with my husband's love and support, I have never felt so alone.  "Happy" may happen again, just not today, just not right now.

As hard as I try to keep my grief from being someone else's burden, I seem to be failing miserably at it.  I cry and it's almost uncontrollable at times.  I hate that I am causing those that care about me pain, but I just can't seem to help it.

I remind myself every day the words of Evangelist Ravi Zacharias: "Time doesn't heal.  But time does reveal how Jesus heals."

And I pray every day the verse shared with me by Momma's pastor's wife, Dessie Myers, the day Momma went to heaven:
"When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock                that is higher than I."  Psalm 61:2.


Still sharing in love,
Chris


Mom and me; about 1968.

Me and Mom on my wedding day, November, 1970.

Tina Evans, Mom, and Me.  Christmas 2016



   


 









Friday, May 26, 2017

Dignity and Grace



Grandma Grubb and Mom

Mom at her home last Christmas



Austin, Will, Mom, Chuck, Jennifer, and David last Christmas
Chuck, Chris, Drake, Doug, with Mom at Drake and Amanda's Wedding


















































Long before Mom became ill with  Pulmonary Fibrosis, she was a woman of great character and strength.  She helped care for her sister, our Aunt Francis, until she passed; she took care of her Mother until she passed; she cared for our father until he passed; and she was always, always there for us kids and our families. 

I heard her talk often of her concern for us, but I rarely if ever heard her complain.  Even during the last 7 years of her life when breathing became a labor and drained her of strength, she never complained.  Mom always apologized that I had to do for her and even though I told her often that she was not a burden and that I loved doing for her, she never seemed to grasp that nor what a tremendous blessing it was for me to be her caregiver.  

Through everything, our precious Mother lived it all with Grace and Dignity.  And I am most blessed to have had the privilege of being her daughter.

Shared in love,

Chris


   


 










Saturday, May 13, 2017

Remembering Momma on this First Mother's Day Without Her









     This coming Monday, it will be only 8 weeks since Mom went to be with the Lord.  The emptiness she left behind is still overwhelming and now it's Mother's Day.  To honor her on this first Mother's Day without her here with me, I am sharing a devotion that I was allowed to do for her church's Mother-Daughter Banquet a few years ago.  These thoughts were shared then and again now to give a glimpse into the tremendous character and strength Momma had - and the most humbling part is that she never thought of herself this way, she just lived it!

     My Momma "Walked the Walk" ... her life was real.  She never understood that she was in so many ways larger than life to us kids, nor could she imagine the enormity of the loss I feel now. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



"Mother from her Daughter's Perspective."

     My heritage goes back to my Great-Grandmother Beatrice Dorton.  Those of us in her family had the privilege of knowing her gentle ways and her devotion to the Lord.  She not only talked the talk, she walked the walk!  

     And "Walking the Walk" is really what is most important - because we can say many things and put on a good front, but our day to day living - our walking and living daily in our homes and workplaces - says more about who and what we really are.

     My mother - Audella Evans - is the most God-ly person I know.  Now, I don't say that because she is my Mom!  I say that because I have never known anyone to be as loving, giving, and nurturing as she is.  

     I grew up in the "dark ages" before computers and computer games!  So Mom taught me how to play jack-rocks and hop-scotch, to color the flowers on table napkins, and to make paper chains for party decoration.  She taught me how to cook, to sew, to clean house, how to do ceramics, how to arrange flowers.  But there are a lot of other things she taught me, not by her words but by her actions:

     1. Mom did not tell me to be faithful to my husband, she showed me by living faithfully with my father thru good times and bad, for over 30 years, right up to the day he died.

     2. She did not tell me to honor my father and mother, she showed me by putting her life on hold, going to West Virginia and caring for the day-to-day needs of my Grandmother, until my Grandmother died.

     3. She did not tell me to be put other first, she showed me by always taking the back piece of the fried chicken so us kids could have the good pieces.

     4. She did not tell me to be honest, she showed me by giving the cashier back money when she was given more than she was due.

     5. She did not tell me to be a good neighbor, she showed me by caring for an elderly neighbor, without pay, for almost 2 years until the lady died.

     6. She did not tell me to be concerned about others, she showed me by taking hot soup and home-made bread to a hurting wife whose husband was dying of cancer.

     7. She did not tell me that listening was more important than talking, she shows me by always letting me "dump" on her when I needed to vent about a my situations and problems.

     8. She did not tell me prayer is important, she shows me by interceding to God for me every day and for every thing.

     9. She does not just tell me that she loves me, she shows me by always being there - 
listening to me when I'm angry, 
comforting me when I'm hurt, 
and loving me unconditionally even when
                                     I'm unlovable.


     You see, our Walk talks louder than our Talk talks.  To put it in scriptural terms, 

     Deut. 6:7 says  "And thou shalt teach them  [them being the precepts of God]  diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up."  

     This means that in our day-to-day lives, we are to show forth the truths of God's word and the love shown to us in Jesus.  I have seen this lived out and I am truly blessed with a rich heritage.

     Shared in love,

                          Chris 





   


 











Friday, April 7, 2017

Mom's Earthly Journey Is Over


Mom and Me

Mother's Day Dinner at her Church

Mom at her Grandson's Wedding



     My precious Mother, Audella Grubb Evans, ended her earthly walk on Monday, March 20, 2017 - the first day of Spring.  She took her last earthly breath with all of us around her, loving her, and sharing every precious moment we had. We thank the Lord that she was not in pain but, as the nurse told me, with her lungs being completely scared over and the severe difficult breathing, she was very, very tired.  

     For almost 8 years, Mom's lungs were gradually being scared over by the pulmonary fibrosis that ended Mom's life. The scaring made breathing a labor and talking became very tiring for her.  So this lady who loved the Lord, loved her family, loved her church, loved to travel, enjoyed the company of friends, who taught children, taught ladies' classes, and continually counseled her family found herself withdrawing from society, hiding in the solitude of our home, talking on the phone when she could and ventured outside less and less.

     To those of you who knew her, please know that Mom was always touched by your cards and calls, even if she did not talk with you directly or for very long at a time.  She knew that you cared and it brought sunshine into her life.  

     We ask for your understanding and remember Mom from the days when she was involved with you.  Cherish her memory as we do and think often of the ways she influenced your life.

     For those of you who knew Mom only thru me, I so regret that you never met her personally and felt the sunshine of her easy smile.  You would have loved her, too.

                        Shared in love, 

                                          Her Children




   


 












Monday, February 27, 2017

Touching Lives in Little Ways




     For years now, I have been giving the children at our church Hershey's Kisses.  It started way back when my friend's son was a teenager and came out of a joking conversation between us.  Since that time, sharing the candy after church has allowed me to be involved in a small way with the children and teens, even giving me the opportunity have a relationship with some of the girls that I enjoy greatly now that they are young adults.  As I have said often: they get candy, but I get to know them and I truly get the better part!

     I must admit, I didn't grasp how much these small candies mean to the children.  But I found out on the Sunday before Valentine's Day.  After the morning Church service when I expected to be giving candy Kisses to the little ones, I was surrounded by this large group of children, teens, and several mothers.  They sang "Happy Valentines' Day to You," (to the tune of "Happy Birthday to You") and then presented me with an "XOXO" tote bag filled with gifts -- personal little things they had chosen for me, many of which were hand-made.  I was so overwhelmed!  And, yes, I began to cry!

     When I got home and read the hand-written cards, I cried even more! 
           "Thank you for ... showing me how to experience the
          joy of sharing", "Thank you for ... your generosity", 
          "Thank you for ... showing me your love", "Thank you 
          for being the Godly role model that you are...", "You 
          have always been there...", "We treasure your
          friendship..."

      I do understand that the Moms were the motivators of this, but the kind, loving things that were written by the kids - and some of the Moms! - touched my heart tremendously.  I never, never knew any of these young people felt this way about me!  I had absolutely no idea the Lord was teaching them something spiritual in my simple act of giving them candy.  

     I am so much more comfortable being the giver of the gift, rather than the recipient.  And this totally unexpected show of affection made me feel blessed, and humbled, and very overwhelmed!  

     Each of us travel some very rough stretches of road from time to time, whether it's a financial situation, health issues, children problems, or in my case caring for my aging mother.  But as one of the young ladies wrote on her card to me, "Life is a Journey, not a Destination."  These gifts remind me that the Lord gives smiles and hugs along the way and they help sweeten the rough places..  

     Caregiver, we need to try to remember to look at the flowers strewn along the path.  And may you and I always be surprised by the little things and thankful to the Lord for those lives that He lets us be involved in.

     Stay on your knees and keep looking up.  And remember that you are loved with an everlasting love.

      Shared in love,                               
                                   Chris