Saturday, December 13, 2014


On May 16th of this year, Larry's dad became very ill.  For ten days, we watched him slowly ease toward the grave.  It was nearly unbearable watching Larry and Samuel grieve.  The girls and I were of course sad, too, but my favorite two guys in the world took it very hard.  In the days following Jim's death, Samuel had a tough time, but eventually his grief quit looking so heart-wrenching and began to fit him like an old comfortable pair of boots.  That is not a metaphor.  He took a pair of Jim's old boots from his closet and has worn them literally EVERY SINGLE DAY since.  It is his own private way to remember his grandfather.

I see the work of Your Hands
Galaxies spin in a Heavenly dance oh God
All that You are is so overwhelming

I hear the sound of Your Voice
All at once it’s a gentle and thundering noise oh God
All that You are is so overwhelming

For nearly seven months now I have walked through life daily holding Larry's hand, wiping his tears, trying to support and hold him up when I was worried that he'd collapse under the weight of the grief.  Some days it's hard to put up with him, extending him grace and closing my mouth when I want to scream.  Other days it's still hard, but for different reasons -- watching the person you love the most in the world suffer is so very painful.  Having to defend their actions to others when they aren't acting quite like themselves is difficult.  The days have been long but these months have slipped by so quickly.  In so many ways it feels like just yesterday that we got the phone call from the nurse at the hospital letting us know that Jim was gone.

We began cleaning, packing, sorting things just days after Jim died.  Dishes and furniture, clothes and old suitcases.  Books and bags and old photo albums.  Trucks and old boats, piles of bricks and old metal.  Appliances and pocketknives, record albums and trinkets.  Every closet, every drawer revealing a new hidden treasure, a new item that brings tears or memories or laughter.

I delight myself in You
Captivated by Your beauty
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You

God, I run into Your arms
Unashamed because of mercy
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You

This summer, Larry's health took a hit.  I'm pretty much convinced it was due to stress.  Bearing the weight of all the responsibility for his dad's estate has been quite difficult.  He's dealt with each thing the best he could, asked for help when he needed it, and has tried to rest when he could.  His mental, physical and emotional stress have been mind-boggling.  Fortunately his employer has been extraordinarily gracious in allowing him time off any time he needed it.

In October, a giant tree fell on his dad's house -- the one where we'd been diligently working 2-3 days a week since June, destroying the entire roof, all the carpet, all the linoleum.  Last week the heater at the house gave out.  Today while we worked there, we discovered a water leak.  None of these things are devastating by themselves, but when you pile them all up on a guy who is stressed to the max already, they feel like huge, heavy weights.  Again and again, one more blow.

I know the power of Your Cross
Forgiven and free forever You’ll be my God

All that You’ve done is so overwhelming
I delight myself in You
In the Glory of Your Presence
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You

God, I run into Your arms
Unashamed because of mercy
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You

You are Beautiful, You are Beautiful
Oh God, there is no one more Beautiful
You are Beautiful, God you are the most Beautiful

Today as I walked through the now almost-empty house, tented off with plastic as the paint and carpet team readies the house for more work, I found myself choked up. I didn't fight the lump in my throat as I sang to the bare walls the chorus of Selah's song "I Will Carry You".  It was written by Todd and Angie Smith, meant for their infant daughter who they lost at birth, but in my mind today, it was about the weight of carrying my husband through this most difficult year of his life...and of God carrying us through all of it.  I whisper-sang it as I looked in each room, taking in the 40 year old wallpaper left on his bedroom wall that will soon be covered in paint, the stacks of trinkets in the only room that was undamaged by the tree.  As I recounted the past seven months in my mind, I was overwhelmed by the range of emotions we've felt as we worked in my father in law's house.  Those early days when painfully sorting through silverware was about as much as Larry could muster the strength for.... the laughter of finding yet another jar of old keys, or uncovering the 500th pair of reading glasses.  The exhaustion on the 100th trip to the salvage yard with yet another trailer full of old metal stuff.  Somehow, watching him trudge this road has been both tiring and beautiful, heart-warming and excruciating.  And as I sang I was overwhelmed by how honored I am to be the one God chose from the beginning of time to be Larry's helpmate, the one who would carry him through all this.  I am overwhelmed in knowing that when God created me in my mother's womb, He knew that 40 years down the road I would be walking through this house, today, thanking Him for making me Larry's wife, for letting me be his cheerleader, his coworker in all this.

How powerful a reminder of our great big God and all He walks through with us.  The toughest, hardest, ugliest, messiest stuff of life that we deal with.  When we scream and wail, when we laugh and cheer, when we stare into space at the mundane routines of life, He is walking alongside us.

Looking at this empty house where my husband grew up, considering all the memories he made there before he even knew me, I got sappy and found myself praying.  

Thank you, Jesus, for letting me be here, in this season, in these hardest of days.  As hard as all of it is, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else but walking this road, right by Larry's side.

You are Wonderful, You are Wonderful
Oh God, there is no one more Wonderful
You are Wonderful, God You are the most Wonderful

You are Glorious, You are Glorious
Oh God, there is no one more Glorious
You are Glorious, God you are the most Glorious 

(Words in italics are the lyrics to Big Daddy Weave's song "Overwhelmed".)

1 comment:

Amber said...

Can I just say that I love your heart, my Texas friend. I wish you were here in NC so I could hug your neck. What a gift you are - to Larry and to many others who you encourage, myself included.