The Second Year – More loss, more challenge, more growth

On Monday, I attended the memorial service for our dear friend, Josh. It was held in the auditorium in the high school where he taught for the past ten years. It was packed. It was a wonderful time for faculty, students, friends, and family of Josh’s to honor him and to recognize Josh’s faithful personal relationship with God publicly. Usually there are custodians to pay, doors to unlock, security to deal with, and other hoops to jump through when trying to access public school spaces during break. Not so yesterday. Bravo to Josh’s Waterford High School for giving us all the opportunity to come together, in a space that was big enough, to laugh and weep and thank God for the privilege of knowing Josh.

To be honest, it was a challenge for me to attend Josh’s memorial service. There were aspects of his courageous battle with cancer that were so very similar to Mike’s. His selflessness, kindness, care for others in the midst of his own trials, and incredible courage. As I walked into the auditorium I was overcome with sadness, my knees were shaking, and I had to concentrate on taking one step at a time. Memories flooded my mind and heart. It was a very intense “I still can’t believe this is my life” moment. And then I saw Josh’s beautiful young wife and quickly my thoughts became, “I can’t believe this is now her life as well.” My heart broke. Again. For Josh’s wife. For his family, his friends, students, co-workers, his community.

And then we sang.

Nothing can separate
Even if I ran away
Your love never fails

I know I still make mistakes
But You have new mercies for me everyday
Your love never fails

You stay the same through the ages
Your love never changes
There maybe pain in the night but joy comes in the morning.

And when the oceans rage
I don’t have to be afraid
Because I know that You love me

Your love never fails

The wind is strong and the water’s deep
But I’m not alone in these open seas
Cause Your love never fails

The chasm is far too wide
I never thought I’d reach the other side
But Your love never fails.

And my heart was comforted. The tears came. The God who Mike and Josh loved while they were with us is the same God whose love never fails. When the waves of emotion hit. Or the winds of change blow. Or the deep sense of loss tempts me to pull the covers over my head. When I get stuck wondering what the future holds, I am reminded that I do not have to be afraid. Because the God of the universe loves me. And His love never fails.  Sometimes I wonder how I will get through the next day, week, month, year. And then I remember, His love never fails.

And here we are. The first day of the New Year. As I reflect on 2013 – my first full year without my dear Mike – I stand in awe of how fast the year passed. I guess this is what happens when you focus on living one day at a time.  I am so thankful for the family and friends who have walked with me through this past year. And continue to do so. Even the other day, more than a couple of people after the service reminded me that they pray for me every night. I cried. It is so easy to feel as though others have forgotten. Clearly, this is not true.

And so I look forward in hope, knowing that God’s love surrounds me – through the beauty of His creation, people, and his Son. I am well loved. I pray expectantly for this  year ahead knowing that I will reach the other side.

Your Love Never Fails

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4 thoughts on “The Second Year – More loss, more challenge, more growth

  1. Peggy says:

    We’ll never forget,patty, & I’ll keep on walking with you, as many of us will. I was thinking of you so much as you went through what seemed to be such similar times with Josh’s illness. Wow your strength STLL amazes me, even in times like these.

  2. Debbie Collins says:

    Even those far away friends keep you close to their hearts. May the new year bring you a peaceful heart.

  3. jbmizzell says:

    I too pray for you often. Your words have helped guide my mom and I through our grief. You are not alone. Thank you for sharing your pain and your faith.

  4. Ring, Christine says:

    Sorry I have not replied sooner. Holidays and family… did you get to see Caleb? I would imagine that you got together with Peg and the other members of your family. This is a time when you make new memories, not to replace the old but rather to add to the other years.
    Sorry to hear about Josh’s passing. I continue to pray for you and your family.

    Chris, Peggy’s friend from Lauralton.

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