I have been walking down a beautiful path. The scent of autumn leaves is heavy upon the air again. Crisp, frosty morings greet me each morning. The sun paints gold and blushing rose hues across the early morning sky. The path is familiar, but new. Shrewn with dying lavender flowers and mint leaves gone wild. The river rocks shift and clatter like the steady cadence of a distant heart beat, and I am overwhelmed by the flood. Memories of my beloved one, who shared this path with me last autumn.
In the summer of my beloved ones battle with cancer, we sat outside and were quietly enveloped in rapt awe. This very scene, the lavender and mint, hadn’t been touched by autumn’s cool fingers. Inspite of cancer, God poured out goodness. So, as I walk down this path, I remember every word and hug and unsaid word. I am traveling towards that day, the day my beloved one, ceased to share the little garden path and whispers in the moonlight. The day we celebrate his heaven day.
I cannot hold his hand but I can hold his memories and his legacy. Four lovely daughters, the treasures of his quiver. When I miss his words I hear Jesus whisper in his place. When I wonder where to go next, Jesus stands nearer. When I feel I am failing at parenting, He reminds me that He will be a Father to them. When I cannot holdbhis hand, God hold my heart.
This blog may get saturated with all my favorite treasure but… that is a risk I am willing to embark on, as he was half of my heart.
What you read next was written in his honor a little over a week after he went to heaven.
The True Man in the Mirror
When thinking over this past ten days since Chris’ home going, I think about the man in the mirror, his reflections, those places that I see his love for Jesus shining like a beacon of strength and hope. Of course I see him in my girls, the way they approach life, fight battles or the things that they do because of their Papa’s influence. I see Chris’ face as I walk through this process of missing him, his strength and presence of mind in all the things he did to prepare our home and me for his not being here. I want for nothing and have a safe, secure place to raise the girls. But even more than the material things, he left behind reflections of his love of the Lord. I see a well read Bible on his nightstand still, reminding me how important God’s word was to him, as well as reminding me to seek God’s loving words in my saddest times. I hear stories nearly everyday of how he touched lives and left an imprint on hearts by his strong example and love for the Lord, his home going has caused ripples in our journey that reach far and wide. Those ripples visit my heart when I need them most. In some ways the journey to today was a long one, but in reality it was very short. I am thankful for each day we had, for each reflection of the memory of Chris and each ripple on the river of this journey.
I am reminded daily of the valiant battle I had the privilege of fighting together with Chris, and the army of warriors that marched at our side each step of the way. Though we are all exhausted, covered in the dust and grime of long hard roads, we stand in the victorious knowledge that the enemy, cancer, was beaten. Though our minds are raw and our hearts are bruised, I rejoice in the hope of heaven and would not trade one day of hard battle, because I had the privilege of standing beside the strongest man I have ever known. We battled together, on our knees, through the storms and in the valleys and were given the strength and equipped for one day, one battle at a time by a loving and powerful God. With God, Chris has the assurance and beauty of heaven as his reward. I am sure, as he knelt in awe of his Savior, God took his weary hands and blessed him with the breath of Heaven. Every battle wound and everything he lost in this mighty war he waged against cancer, God has promised to restore. This is the greatest of reflections God has given to me. Knowing where Chris has gone and that he takes no more blows from the enemies weapons, gives me the strength I need to keep taking steps forward until we meet again.
To each of you who marched in Chris’ army, I thank you. God has blessed me through your prayers, kind words and loving hearts. Please do not think we’ve lost this war, Chris sees victory and has won. Yes, I mourn with all my heart the love of my life. It is painful and there is an ache in my soul, but I know and have complete assurance that someday I will hold his hand in mine and stand beside him again. Until that time, may I be found a faithful reflection of Christ, the same Christ that Chris reflected. The true man in the mirror.