Friday, February 28, 2020

In My Mind I'm Gone to Carolina


John 11:35
Jesus wept.

As I reveal in my last post, when I announce that I simply have to take a break from blogging, the support of your kind words and the promised prayers have buoyed me in ways you cannot possibly imagine.  I am grateful to all of you beyond measure.

And I feel I owe each and every one of you an explanation for my prolonged absence here.

I receive an email from my daughter, Sarah, mid-January, with the last news I ever expect to hear.  Her husband, John, has been offered a much better job opportunity in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  She's excited about the move, but scared at the same time.  Sarah has never lived anywhere but Georgia, has always been in relatively close proximity to my husband, Danny, and me, and we've always been available when our help is needed.

Eldest granddaughter, Virginia Rose, and I are joined at the hip.  She is unabashedly my heart.  You who have consistently and faithfully followed my blog already know that.  So, my first reaction to Sarah's missive?  Retreat to the deck and dissolve into a tirade of tears.

Grief overtakes me, overwhelms me, and in the ensuing weeks, I find myself miserably dancing between all five stages of grief:  Denial; Anger; Depression; Bargaining; Acceptance.  Yes, it's an all-out pity party, with depression taking center stage.  

Whatever will I do without my girls???

As if this turn of events isn't enough of a travesty, other sad and troubling news seeps into our lives during this time.  The deaths of a mother and her still-born baby.  A dear friend diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer.  A car accident which takes the lives of a beloved blogger's brother and sister-in-law.  A marriage disintegrating into divorce.

The evil one, it seems, knows exactly how and when to pull out all the stops.

Yet, I cling hard and fast to the love of God as shown through His Son, Christ Jesus.  He became one of us that our relationship with the Father could be restored.  He felt every emotion we feel, and He understands our grief and our hurts.

When we weep, Jesus weeps with us.

And that has been my comforting reminder during this excruciating chapter in my life.  I so want God to turn this painful page, but I know He will when the time is right.

Are any of you grieving a loss?  It would be my honor to pray for you.  And I would so appreciate your prayers for John, Sarah, Virginia, Savannah, and Alexandra as they begin this new adventure.

Prayers for Danny and me are welcomed, too, as our hearts are breaking.

Amen.

48 comments:

  1. Yes indeed I offer my prayers even more, as I have been doing since you last wrote that 2020 started badly for you. It would take too long to offer words of sympathy and comfort here, Martha. But please know that you and yours are in our prayers. Jesus, not only weeps with you, but He is at your side to offer comfor at this difficult time in your life.

    God bless you and your family always.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your prayers, Victor, they are much appreciated! I've been praying for you, too, my friend. Yes, I know Jesus is my source of comfort at this time, and believe me, I'm running to His arms.
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  2. You are already know my thoughts and prayers are with you Martha.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As are mine with you, Bill. Thank you!
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  3. Prayers
    I taught near Myrtle for five years. Also when raising kids went yearly. They are moving to paradise. Visit often.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Brenda, for the vote of confidence regarding Myrtle Beach. Yes, my husband and I plan to visit as often as we can. Already looking forward to the girls' spring break in April!
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  4. Oh Martha, God has kept you on my heart during these weeks and now I understand why. You will remain in my heart as you continue through this tough transition with all the emotions and thoughts that churn.

    Trusting God with you, trusting Him for you and all those you love.
    xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, sweet Linda, for your kind words here and for your prayers. Seriously, I can feel the support I have from so many, and it's helped. I will continue to trust in the Lord!
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  5. Martha, My prayers are with your daughter, her husband, your grand-daughters... and definitely for you and Danny.

    I have to say that I have some experience in moving..

    In early 2000, I found myself without a job, two babies and wife at home and a baby on the way. Working in healthcare IT, the jobs were all around... just not within a reasonable drive of our home.

    We tried for nearly 5 months to find something that would allow us to stay, but all opportunities seemed to vanish. I even resorted to contacting temporary placement to see if ANY job would be available...God had other plans.

    As I realized the job market in my local area was not going to open up, I considered consulting full time, on the road. This would take me away from my wife and my precious kids, something I did not want. An opportunity presented itself in NYC and I prayerfully asked God to provide ANY other option. That option came in the form of a job in Arkansas, nearly 9 hours drive away from all that we had known. When we had finally packed up and began our move... The drive for the first couple hours was consumed with tears. Leaving friends and family is never easy.


    I can look back now and see that God used that as a way to draw us closer to him and away from what would have been a heartbreaking stay had we not moved. He allowed my wife and I to grow stronger together.

    As we spent the next 6-7 years moving to various parts of the country, we continued to grow, continued to experience until one morning when God called us back to Indiana... and at the right time. We are now within a couple hours of both my family and my wife's family.


    My prayer for you is that God would show you ways to make great new memories. My prayer for you is that you would be shown opportunities on how to stay connected. My prayer for you is when you do get the opportunity to visit physically... That it would be full of joy and love.

    My heart goes out to you, Martha and Danny...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, Ryan, thank you so much for sharing your personal experience here. John is in the health field, too, and this offer was just too good to pass up - I so understand that, but we will surely miss them all, as I know your families missed you when you had to move out of state. I'm sure that God will show us ingenious ways to stay connected in spite of the distance. Danny and I are already planning a visit over the girls' spring break in April. Again, thanks for your comforting story, my friend, and for your prayers!
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  6. I feel for you sweet lady. Why is it when heartache happens, it seems to happen all at once? I will pray earnestly for you and the families you mentioned. Martha, I know you seek His heart and through this it may be an extra special time for you to earnestly seek Him regarding the assignment and season you now will face. Of course you know that this did not take God by surprise and in that there may be also a different emphasis He desires for you to embark on. I love Jeremiah 33:3 “call to me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things you do not know.” Change is hard and loss really stings! If the Lord in time desires you to relocate you will feel an unsettleness where you are. Things will begin to feel off and this may propel you elsewhere. Otherwise, in absence of the grandkids like before He will fill your heart will purpose that may be entirely new to you. I know you will wisely follow God’s directive regardless. I hope your day is filled with peace and you feel the Lord’s embraceπŸ˜˜πŸ˜˜πŸŒΉπŸ’❤️πŸ™πŸ™πŸ™ŒπŸ™Œ

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Valerie, your heartfelt words here have given me much comfort! Yes, I'm trusting that God will "show (me) great and mighty things (I) do not know" through this dark night of the soul. He is with me in all of this, and I'm leaning on Him with everything I have. Thank you, my friend, for your continued prayers and support!
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  7. Oh my dear Martha, my heart goes out to you and I understand your grief so well. In our case, we were the ones always moving away from our parents and loved ones, taking their precious grandbabies far away. It was very hard on us as well as on them, but I can tell you that God will work in this situation to being glory and joy and blessing for all concerned. He hasn't forsaken you, as I know you know. It will just be a big change. But looking at the bright side...it will give you a new place to explore and visit with your precious family...and S.C. isn't too far from GA. I know it seems like it now, and I know your heart is breaking, but God will see you through this challenge. I am also so very sorry about the other families who have been going through such horrible tragedies. May the Lord be with them and comfort where needed. Praying for your peace and comfort now. Remember what the title of my blog is: Closed Doors, Open Windows? Well, that's because when God closes one door He always opens a window...and He will be there with you in this new window of His opportunities for you, to help you through it and give you joy in the journey. We will be praying for you as you take these steps.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Pamela, for your kind, loving and encouraging words here. Yes, it's hard now, but I'm praying that this is all a part of God's bigger plan that we cannot possibly see or understand. Thanks, too, for reminding me that when doors shut, windows open. I'll keep an eye out for that silver lining!
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  8. Sweet Martha, I'm sorry to hear this news. That would be so hard. I could always gather from your writings how you and Virginia Rose are so close and connected. Our daughter and her husband moved away after only a few years of marriage. No kids yet, thank goodness. But although the drive was doable to visit in the same day, it was hard on her moving away from us and not having friends and family close by. She struggled so much. I can't imagine them moving now with the grandkids. I'm sure it's heartbreaking. Hope you all can visit each other a lot. Praying for you, friend.

    And, you know from some of my current blog posts, I've been walking through a really dark valley, a family crisis, where I'm grieving the loss of something I thought was secure and sacred. I keep clinging to the only sure hope in the darkness. Jesus.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, Karen, I will be praying especially hard for you as you walk through this dark valley. Yes, we both know Jesus is with us, yet sometimes it's too easy to lose sight of Him in the wake of our own blindness. I'm so glad you have your grands near you. I will always treasure the times that mine have been close by, and I'm already looking forward to visiting the whole family in April when the girls are out of school for spring break.
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  9. Aw, Martha … what an emotional blow. (Blows, actually, from all sides.) There's little I can add to what's already been lifted; but please, know you and Danny are on my mind and in my prayers.

    Sorry, but I have to ask: Is it out of the question for you and Danny to make a move to S.C. yourselves?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Myra, for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers! As our mortgage is paid off, and there isn't any guarantee that the kids won't have to move again at some point, we are just going to stay put. We are already planning a trip to Myrtle Beach in April. In the meantime, we will use Face Time to stay in touch. Not the same as hugs, but it will have to do for the time being.
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  10. Ah, dear Martha. My heart goes out to you. Grieving with you, my friend. I’m lifting you up in my regular prayers as I know the Father understands like no other. May His comfort and love give you strength.
    Much love to you πŸ’•

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, sweet Beckie. We both know about those feelings of grief, so raw and painful, but we also trust in God's love and care for us. He will get us through!
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  11. Martha Jane, I am so very sorry for all you have on your plate right now. Each one hard enough, without having so many emotional trails happening at once in your life. Keeping all of your intentions in my prayers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for your prayers, Terri, as they mean the world to me. And yes, the many people praying have given me so much comfort in these difficult days.
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  12. I remember being in a place when I didn't want to answer the phone or talk to anyone because it might be bad news. For forty years, one trauma after another until I became conditioned to expecting the worst. But I never gave up hope, maintained laughter as a priority, tried my best to keep a good attitude and now I can look back on those dark years and realize I never would trade them -- the lessons learned, the strength received and the testimony to others will continue past my days on earth. Keep your focus on God and what He promises to give you during these times. That is how you can remain grateful and a light to those around you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Carol, your words here have done so much to bolster my spirit, my hope and my faith in the Lord. Yes, as my husband has said, we learn much more from losing than from success. The bad times will come, and I so appreciate you sharing how you came to expect the worst, but learned to use them for the good of others, as you, yourself, healed. God always has a purpose. I hurt, I don't understand, but I am trusting in His plan for my life and for the lives of those I love.
      And I will remain grateful!
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  13. Oh Martha, I'm so very sorry. That's hard to take. How are your granddaughters taking it? Have they already moved? Love and blessings of strength and peace to all of you! Also your friends with their struggles!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Trudy, they have already moved, but will be returning this weekend so that Sarah and John can finish cleaning the former house they were renting. I'll know more about how the girls are taking the move tomorrow, though I'm sure Virginia is taking the brunt of it. Thank you, dear friend, for your thoughts and prayers for all!
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  14. I just want to add my "Amen!" to all of the prayers here for you and your family. In my book "Shadows in my Valley" I share about a very dark time in my life. Though the cause was totally unrelated to that which is causing your dark place, I learned, like Carol, that we can learn so much during these times that is indispensable to our lives in the present. They were hard, hard lessons to learn, but though the tears may accompany us through the night, joy does come in the morning. I pray that your morning will come much more quickly than mine did. But since that time, I have never faced anything quite as dark or discouraging. God if faithful and He is very good. With His love and companionship we can go through anything and come out on the other side into the sunshine better people than we were before. God bless you Martha and all of your family.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Diane, for your kind and uplifting words here today. We all go through times of darkness and sorrow, this I know, but I do take comfort in the fact that the Lord is right there with us, arms open wide, counting each and every tear with love. Not at all fun going through these times, but yes, we do learn from them much more than ever we could have imagined. Thanks so much for your prayers!
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  15. I’m sooo sorry that you are hurting, Martha. Cheer up, there are always summer and Spring and Fall breaks and Christmas too. Those times will give you time to visit, or time for them to visit. Take it from someone who knows, it won’t be as bad as you think. Rely on the One , who gives you the strength to endure. You are strong in your faith, so you will see, it will work out exactly the way it is intended too. Much love and good wishes to you....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Nells, for your sweet, encouraging words here. Yes, there are those breaks, and since we are retired, it won't be difficult to visit with the family when the opportunity arises. For that, I am thankful! Yes, I will rely on God in all things.
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  16. Martha, suffering and glory cannot be separated. I am sorry to hear about your losses, the thief is at work for sure. But Jesus is greater and He gives live and He has the last word! I have been to Myrtle Beach a long long time ago. I just finished reading a book that spoke about Myrtle Beach as well, I am sure it will be a lovely place that you will visit often!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Marja, I love that you note here that suffering and glory cannot be separated. What a comforting insight that is! We've never been to Myrtle Beach, but now that there is a reason to visit, I'm sure we will love it, too. In the meantime, thanks to you for your prayers!
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  17. I am so sorry, Martha. That is good/sad news all mixed together. Sounds like the job opportunity is good, but I know it is hard on all concerned, especially on you and Virginia.

    At first, I was thinking about how I would feel if my grandchildren moved away, but mostly I was thinking about how it was I, as a young adult, who moved away from my family of origin. My mother handled it all right, but I don't think my sister has ever forgiven me, even after all these years. It comes out indirectly in things she says now and then.

    We all do what we need to do for ourselves and our families, but change, even good change, comes with a price. God must have a plan for you in this new stage of your life. And that, I'm sure, will in time bring comfort.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Change always comes with a price, Galen, you're absolutely right. It is a mixed bag, as I want the best for them, but I will so miss everyone. Planning to head up there over spring break in April, so that's definitely something to look forward to. Plus, we will face time once a week - not the same as a hug, but God will get us all through this.
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  18. Life changes are so hard! Praying for everyone involved Martha. This verse you have chosen, the shortest verse in the Bible but the richest and most revealing of our Lord Jesus. He weeps along with us in our sorrow even though he knows the richness of the result. B Blessed

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I love this verse, too, Mike, because it does reveal how completely human Jesus was even in His divinity. Clinging to Him, knowing that He will get all of us through these changing circumstances.
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  19. Prayers for you and for your daughter and her family....for peace and for trust in His Plan. Moving is tough .... for everyone. We were the ones going far away from family in our early years of marriage when our boys were being born and when they were little. However, blessings grew for us all. God redeems our challenges in the most unexpected and wonderful ways. I know that will be true for you as well, and provide opportunities with your granddaughters in new and creative ways. Hugs Friend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your wonderful words of encouragement and hope here, PS. God does redeem our challenges and walks beside us through the changes and hardships. I am trusting in Him completely to see me and the entire family through this time.
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  20. Thank you for sharing. It makes me realize that everyone experiences pain. Praying.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No one is exempt from pain in this life, R. Of that, we can be certain. But we can rest in the love and comfort of the Lord to see us through.
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  21. I was so happy to see this post from you this morning, Martha. I have been so concerned for you since seeing your last post, and though we don't need to know the details because our Lord sees it all, it helps us to know how to better pray for you and your pain. I am SO sorry you are having to experience this distance. You are right, it is a form of grief and the stages have to be walked through. I can surely tell how close you are to them, especially dear Virginia. We have been to Myrtle Beach multiple times, and, yes, it is surely a wonderful, amazing place, but knowing that surely doesn't fill the pain in your heart of missing your dear loved ones. I am so thankful you still have them in your lives, even though they will be so far away, and at least you have the hope of being together again. May the Lord comfort you in every moment of pain and heartache and somehow fill your heart and life with people and things that will help to ease the pain.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Cheryl, for your kind and comforting words here. Yes, it does help to pray for someone when you are aware of what they are going through. It's a tough time for now, and I've cried my fair share of tears, but the Lord counts every one of them and weeps with me. Trusting in Him to get us all through this as He has in times past.
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  22. so many prayers and I certainly do understand and send you my love, It is a sign of healthy grieving that you can so clearly state your emotions and identify what is going on in your heart. Love ya, dear friend

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your kind words, Jean, and for your love. Your friendship is so appreciated!
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  23. Martha, this is a beautiful and heart-felt post. Changes like this are so challenging to navigate. Life can and does change so quickly that it's disorienting. In this hard, growth opportunities abound, if we're open.

    Praying for you and your family.

    Love and blessings!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely, Kim! If we are open to the possibilities of growth in the hard times, God will be quick to answer and to heal. Yes, I'm still hurting, but the Lord is faithful and He will never fail any of us when we obey and trust Him. Thank you for your continued prayers!
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  24. Oh, Martha. God is with you in all of your hard times. I am so sorry about the pain you have been suffering but glad that you feel you can once again share with us here on your blog. Praying for you, dear friend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for your prayers, Laurie! These have been tough times, but I'm trusting in God to see me through.
      Love and blessings!

      Delete

God's Wisdom, a Gracious Gift

  If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. ~James 1:5...