Sunday, February 4, 2018

Functioning Griever

     In my life, knowing who God is has not changed. God has been constant in my life since I was a child. He is the only one who has never let me down. He has always spoken to me very clearly. I pray and He has some sort of response for me. It comes out through another person and their words and sometimes through reading. The Lord has stayed consistent through good times and the bad. Through tragedy, I have perceived the Lord as having changed. It becomes a struggle of doubting and questioning His goodness and presence in my life. Through it all though, I am continually learning more about Him because I ask tough questions while I wrestle with my feelings and doubts. God`s character hasn't changed due to my circumstances, no, what has changed is my perspective due to my circumstances. My perspective of people, this world, my Heavenly Father, love, relationships, time, and my perspective of myself have all developed over time. I was recently told, "The same spirit that brought joy in your life is the same spirit today."
     Through this perspective shift, God has been working to create a softer and willing heart, open hands, and a perseverance to walk with strength down every road set out before me. I don't know where you are at in life when you are reading this, but I tell you that it is worth having a relationship with Jesus Christ. Now, it won't always be easy like some people portray. It won't make you a better person. It is an opportunity to realize that you are nothing without Jesus. That He has saved your life through His death on the cross many years ago. This death that Jesus suffered though brought us life. An everlasting life that my beloved, Kyle, believed that him and I would one day experience together again after this life. I have no doubt in my mind that Kyle loved the Lord with everything in him. I am forever joyful that people poured into him and preached the gospel to him. I love how we had a deep connection through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. However that doesn't remove the grief that I feel. The deep longing to be with my Heavenly Father and the desire to be united again with Kyle one day. I quickly forget how Kyle would point me back to the Lord and I am feeling that lacking in my life. The problem being is that the relationship with Christ is not contingent on Kyle being here. It is dependent upon how I communicate with God on a personal level. No human being can be that buffer between God and me. Friends can come along side me to help encourage, to keep my eyes set upon the Lord, but my PERSONAL relationship with the Lord is all on me. The same goes for you. If you are relying on people to be what you need rather than the Lord, then you have it all wrong too. The key word is RELYING. Relying on the Lord on not others throughout this journey of life. 
     If you have experienced the death of a loved one then you know the grief I am talking about. "Grief is a process." It comes in stages, waves, or whatever words you like to use to describe what grief feels like. Though grief may feel suppressing and heavy. Grief, or the feeling of loss will never go away. It won't be as in your face or showing up in every situation or circumstance. So as I continue to move through life I am able to make more conscious decisions in my life, hence functioning griever. It has been said that you shouldn't make any rash decisions in your first year of grieving. Well that is exactly what I did. I came back to Port Alsworth for another year. I finished my masters, coached for the season, and taught full time. It was hard but it was exactly what I needed and for the hard I am thankful. Lately, I feel the lacking presence of Kyle in my life. For several years Kyle has been a leading voice in my life when making life choices. Now, I don't need a man to make a decision in my life but with having Kyle be the "go to guy" making decisions feel kind of hollow or lonely. Honestly, I miss hearing his thoughts and opinions. I miss him challenging me to think deeper. I miss the person who has been cheering me on for years. I miss my sounding board. I miss Kyle.
     So, here I am, thinking about where my life is headed.After coming home from our first away basketball games this weekend, I felt the absence of him even stronger than before. It has been a consistent feeling every weekend when I come home. To come home and realize that I would have been coming to my husband of 6 months hits me hard every time. It knocks me to the ground. Each time I pick myself up, dust myself off, and continue working as a teacher. See last year I was so numb that I really didn't notice a difference. It was more of going through the motions. I am trying to realize that I keep facing the hard reality that I am still grieving and that's okay. I still need to process it whenever it hits. So I continue to pray and seek Godly counsel. I am thankful for friends and family both here in Port Alsworth as well as all over the world who have supported and loved me through this tough time in my life.
     Port Alsworth will always be one of my homes as will Pennsylvania. Home is where I can love and be loved. I love all my people here and I love all my people back on the east coast. It is hard to know what this next chapter of my life holds, but I do know the one who holds my future. I am thankful for the experiences, life lived here, and friendships made. There is much I feel I am grieving as I move forward. I'm not sure I can put it all into words but maybe one day I will. I plan to do the hard and jump.I plan to walk forward knowing that the Lord will provide when I need Him to. Already, I have been told about a job in North Carolina, Texas, and Pennsylvania. I am praying and trusting God that He will show me where He wants me exactly when. I pray for open doors, a willing heart, and open hands.
     As I look back over the years, it has been amazing to see what I have been able to do.What an exciting Alaskan adventure it has been already! It was supposed to only be for 6 weeks in the very beginning. I have traveled all over the state of Alaska with friends and the Lady Lynx basketball team. I have had experiences that have shaped and made me who I am today. I have healed in more ways than one out here. Living in Port Alsworth brought about many friendships, prospects of marriage, a hope for a future, love, and laughter. This place became my home. As I was discussing what it looks like for me to continue forward one of my friends brought up the point that one of the reasons it is so hard for me is because ever since I moved here it has been Kyle and me. We have always done everything together. Flying, hiking, running, exploring, movie watching, dinner making, story telling, crying (on my part), experiencing loss together, stranded, and became best friends. Kyle, as my friend, told me has been a constant for the last 5 years, even if he hasn't been here for the last year of it all. He has still been a major part of my life during all of this grieving. Deciding to move has brought out more grief and unknowns. I want to be ever present while I live the last few months out here.
      So, anyone who knows me knows that I will continue to seek what the Lord has in store for me no matter where the road takes me. So as of right now there are many options out there for me. I do not really have anything set in stone other than I plan to travel the lower 48 in the next 6 months or so. I look forward to the conversations that will be had, the new experiences to be made, and the doors the Lord will open. This is a new season in my life and I am just trying to figure out what it all looks like from now until a new chapter begins to be written.

Thursday, January 11, 2018


"Blessed are they that mourn and I accepted it. I've got nothing that I hadn't bargained for. Of course it is different when the thing happens to oneself, not to others, and in reality, not in imagination." I think this is where I get hung up with what C. S. Lewis processes through in his writing A Grief Observed.

I knew everything to be one way, yet I knew that life would bring about changes. I never had a problem with knowing there would be heartbreak, fear, worry, doubt, or change. They had all become part of my vocabulary even at a young age. So why does everything seem bigger now? I question. A LOT. I doubt myself, others, and truth that I have known for years. Why? Because my face smacked on the cement? Does that give me the right to question everything I once believed to be true about my Lord and Savior? I didn't get my way and therefore I selfishly throw a fit? Is that what grief is? Is that what I am doing? I'd like to believe that I am not just throwing a fit. I am learning since I have never done this before.

To me it is a reminder of knowing someone for years and thinking they are the exactly same way when you see them years later. You spend time with them thinking they will be the same old person you once knew. However, their lives continued just as much as mine has, yet I nievely believe that change is unattainable for that person because I remember them one way. It is hard to accept the change, even though it can be a good one. Yes, change can reverse and people can digress as well. I am so quickly reminded that I am not even close to understanding all the happenings in this world. I so desperately want to know, but I get tired of trying to undersrand it all. I can't rationalize how I feel as though God has somehow changed now that something tragic has happened in my life.

It is a similar way of being told truth that cuts you to your core. Or having that one person ask you a question you were unprepared to answer. The question of how long is too long? What is healthy for you? What is your plan? Well as I recall the last time I made any large plans, they all seemed to have fallen apart. I trusted wholeheartedly and walked out the path before me. It was the correct path but it didn't end how I wanted. So the reality I so desperately wanted to come about was abruptly ended. It is the accepting it all that is difficult for me. It is accepting that hard truth. The truth I circle around and around. Kyle is not returning.

I hold on. I say just give me time.  I have those things I am not ready to move forward from. It is my ring. I feel a sense of closeness. Not to the ring itself but to what it represents. Not only was it an amazing gift but it reminds me of what was going to come about. I HAVE to acknowledge what has happened like the change in people for better or worse, acknowledge that I feel as though God is not who He says He is, or acknowledging that I feel so lost making decisions without Kyle. I continue to acknowledge the questions, feelings, and thoughts and keep moving forward. I find the turth that people can change for the better, that God is truly who He says He is, and that I am capable of making positive and beneficial choices for my life without having Kyle's input.

It's funny becuase I do not know about you, but I can feel the stagnant in me. I just don't know how to fix it or sometimes I don't even want to do something about it. I am sure you would say come on Abbey. Just take care of it. Make it better. Fix it. Yeah, that is all great but I become stuck and am not sure which way to go. I become frustrated at God through all my questioning and confusion. I know life is better with God than without Him. Is it because I just don't want to go to hell? I don't think that is the sole reason. I truly want God to be the center of my life. I have tasted that. I tasted it's sweetness the moment I found out Kyle, Scott, Kaitlyn, and Zach were dead. There was nothing left to hold onto but my Savior. The world seemed to slow itself for me. I felt I could process very little and the Lord`s protection was clearly over me. It seemed much simpler when Kyle was alive. I had someone calling me out, I had someone challenging me, I trusted Kyle to point me back to the Lord. I am not saying I had a "good" relationship with God because of Kyle. I am simply saying, I had an amazing counterpart who loved the Lord his God with everything he had in him. For that I am thankful.

So how does one go about getting out of the line of entrapment? First I believe that is why we are called the body of Christ. We are not to do it all alone. When I try, it always turns out badly. We are called to love one another, to speak truth in love, we are called to do our part in the body whatever that is. I am thankful for friends who don't just leave me how they find me. I know it must seem hard to tell me, Abbey, what to do. It isn't that I know everything, I am just a determined person who lives life hard and confidently. When there is something I need to do it, then you better believe I will. So it makes it even harder for my friends to speak truth into my life and call me out on my crap. I promise I am not purposefully trying to be a pain about it. I deeply want people to speak into my life so I can sift through everything said in order to process and see from another's perspective. I know it can be done becuase I allowed Kyle to do it. Along with several other friends that I have developed that kind of relationship with.

Over the past year I have changed.  I have pushed hard.  I haven't stopped.  There was no doubt in my mind that I was to teach, coach, and continue with my masters even when I had people question me as to what I was doing. I was asked it if was healthy for me. I felt overwhelmed but boy did I learn from it all. I struggled but where I lacked the Lord filled in for me. Why? Honestly, if I those weren't in my life, I am afraid that I might have sunk into depression pretty deep, possibly to a point that would take drastic measure to pull me out. That is just pure speculation on my part not actually knowing why I felt compelled to do such a crazy thing. Or perhaps I wasn't ready to process everything going on in my life and I needed distractions. Either way, I have slipped in and out of the feeling of being depressed but I have taken measures to balance my body and mind.

My ways of working through this whole process have been keeping busy and maintaining a purpose such as my career, school, and coaching. It was finding a grievance counselor and talking to her on a monthly basis. It was finding people I could trust to be vulnerable with again without fear of making a fool out of myself. Thank you to those of you who have juat listened to my ramblings. You know who you are. I will be the first to admit I am an emotional female that lacks understanding of why I respond the way I do. I am trying to understand myself better though, and I can say that has happened. I have found specific triggers. I have learned who I can and cannot go deep with. Prayer, prayer, prayer. Oh and asking others to pray for me. It is humbling for sure. Also, I NEED to be in the word, yet that is where I am still trying to improve on. So if you want to pray for me, there is a perfect place to start.

Now here is the thing, if you are reading this and you are grieving, I can promise you that it will not look the same as how I am grieving. I just hope that if you are reading this, you can learn more about my processes of grieving, my Savior that I love with everything I have in me, and how God has worked in and through my life over the past year. I am not defined by my grief and loss of my best friend - fiance - Kyle. I am simply trying to figure out how to  go about grieving, not lose myself to grief, and build a stronger relationship with those around me, and most importantly with my Heavenly Father.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Not Just a Season

Tradition has been a huge part of my family over the several years since I have moved out here in Port Alsworth. We of course do our tradition of watching Home Alone 2 together each year at midnight my time. This has been to include me in family time with everyone back on the east coast. It’s always been full of laughter and such joyous memories. For the past 2 years Kyle has been apart of this tradition.  I know tradition can change. Going through the first seems to be the hardest but I know this will get easier. The gaping hole will begin to be filled in. A new normal tradition will be kept and we will watch Home Alone 2 again this year. We will get our candy canes, eggnog, Christmas tree, and every other Christmas movie we can find to watch. I look forward to it yet I dread it. Mom is here with me and for that I am beyond thankful for her. It will be strange to not have Kyle here but I know that it is becoming more of a norm now and I want to embrace all the feelings and new normal in my life.
This year for Thanksgiving I will go play football like I always have. I will hang out with friends. I will enjoy the moments with my mom. I will still watch Home Alone with my family. I will put up the Christmas lights Kyle bought last year he surprised me with. I will remember the time we spent last year together. I will be Thankful for all the many blessings the Lord has lavished upon my life.
However, it’s hard to not acknowledge the empty holes I feel. There won’t be a man to tackle during 2-hand touch football ;) There won’t be my favorite man to throw me a touchdown like last year. There won’t be bickering with Scott and trash talking each other (in the most friendly way possible.) There won’t be Zach to be silly and joke around with. There won’t be a Kaitlin to laugh and play games with. I look back at last year and I distinctly remember spending quality time with Kaitlin, Josh, Kyle, and myself playing a drawing game for over an hour. Zach came to join in and we all laughed so hard that day. I held Kyle’s hand as we all stood in the Blom’s house going around sharing one thing we were thankful for before we prayed. We prayed and sat down to eat. It just felt so right and absolutely amazing to have each other. It was family. Kyle and I were family even if there wasn’t a piece of paper to prove it. We truly loved each other and we were excited to share it with those around us. I am thankful for the Bloms and how they opened their home to the teachers each year. It was a beautiful Thanksgiving. It was one for the books. It just means this year is going to look different.
None of us had any idea of what was going to happen 2 weeks from then. I know that I would not have changed a thing though. There is just a big hole and I am feeling it. This season has many ups and downs not only for me but also for so many other people. I know that I am not alone. I know these next two weeks are going to be some of the hardest for me. I am trying to brace for it, take it head on, yet here I am trying to avoid it all at the same time. I don’t want it to be. I don’t want my friends that became family to not be here. I don’t like the fact that I am not married and this would have been our first Thanksgiving and Christmas together. These holidays have always been joyous, happy, and relaxing for me. I just know that this year will be different and that is not bad, it just means it is different.
As I sit here in my classroom with everyone gone to be with family and friends for the holidays, I avoid going home. I honestly do not want to go anywhere for that matter because frankly Kyle isn’t anywhere I am or will be going. It has been an emotional last 2 weeks for my students, my friends, and I just have had grief loom over my head. Am I to grieve my own grief? How can I do that when I care so deeply about the people around me who are hurting too? I don’t try to carry all of their burdens but it sure hurts when others hurt. I have found myself encouraging others who have lost loved ones. I hug them in the similar way I have been comforted and encouraged last year. They carry around memories, pain, grief, and loss with them now too. It has become more real in their world than it ever has been before.
I look back and I see all the people, memories, and events that have transpired. I am filled with thankfulness. I see how the Lord has sustained me even when I have no words to say and have little energy to expend. He has been faithful countless times. He has loved me unconditionally. He has fought my battles when I have been weak. He has forgiven me in my anger. He has never failed me. I just can’t make sense of what is going on around me or in front of me. I continue to put one foot in front of the other trusting that He will direct my step each time. I recently wrote to my friend that I couldn’t even imagine the pain God felt when He watched His Son die on a cross. God watched as Jesus was beaten, abused, mocked, and treated like dirt when He was sinless. ALL FOR ME AND ALL FOR YOU! For everyone that has walked, is walking, and will ever walk this Earth. Seems pretty insane to me, yet I am beyond thankful because I will know only then will I truly experience the purest of love. I will be able to see Kyle, Scott, Kaitlin, and Zach again. I will see my Savior face to face where I can truly thank Him. Oh man, will that be the day or what? All is not lost. There is hope and my future is secured through Christ my Lord and Savior.
I was reading one of my devotionals this afternoon and it mentioned that thankfulness is not just a seasonal type thing. It is a way to live life with thanksgiving in your heart and sincerity in our heart while expressing such thanks. May the Lord work in me that I will one day live my life this way. For all of this, even the pain, grief, and loss, I am thankful. I bid you all a Happy Thanksgiving as you embrace those around you.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Doing the Hard

"My scars are a testament to the love and the relationship that I had for and with that person. If the scar is so deep, so was the love." -beautythings

How do you go about daily life without constantly falling apart? People say that time heals the wounds. Well this wound may heal but I NEVER want to NOT feel the PAIN or cry the TEARS when it hits. I want to remember who I loved so deeply and never forget how our beautiful mess helped shape me to be the woman I am today.

I ask questions suchs as: Are the waves getting farther and farther apart? Am I healing and moving on? Am I just doing the daily life to try to make sense of what is left? Am I just being selfish becuase he is constantly on my mind? Am I just having a hard time letting go?

On the opposite side of it all I tell myself phrases suchs as: Other people have it WAY harder than you. You aren't healing. You should be happier than you are. You are just having a bad attitude. People don't want to keep hearing the same story over and over again.

Well lies come and they go and guess what? Lies come back again and again. So what you going to do about them? How do you take care of the lies that you are faced with? You find the TRUTH. You seek the Lord whole heartedly. You run into His loving arms.

I picture a child needing a hug from their earthly father. The child is crying in search of her daddy. She so desperately needs to be held. She sees him and runs into his big strong arms. She is safe for that moment. The world seems like less of a "bad" place. The same goes for our Heavenly Father. He so deeply wants us to know how loved we are. He wants us to run into His loving arms fully trusting in who He says He is. Yet, time and time again we try to face this whole world ALL on our OWN. Why? Is it worth it?

I do not feel like I am who I used to be when Kyle was here. He brought the best out in me, you couldn't wipe the smile off my face nor his. Now it feels challenging to smile and find the joy each day. All the grief, all the pain, all the hurt, all the tears, everything involved in this healing process is always right there on the front door step waiting to come in.
Image result for life is worth living photo versesIf you have read any of my other blogs, then you know that I have been working on being transparent. Some people may think it is ridiculous that I put my life out here for others to read. Do not worry, I don't share EVERYTHING. I share what I feel the Lord has laid upon my heart.

So this week, I know that there was definitely a spiritual battle going on around me. I didn't see it until I was talking to a friend this weekend. I had no idea why I felt the way I did. I just thought life had caught up with me and I didn't know how to process it all. SERIOUSLY people there is a spiritual war waging around us. We are not exempt just because we are doing the hard. Just because I am grieving and have lost so much in the past 11 months, there is still an enemy just waiting to take me down. Honestly, sometimes I go down without a fight, other times, I use everything I have to stand up against him in order to not get beaten down. I NEED friends to come along side me and help pick up the pieces. I NEED to let others in. I am thankful I have friends who will do the HARD with me. The friends who are willing to GET IN my boat and not leave me stranded.

Image result for life is worth living photo verses
Now looking back at how I felt, as if I was being attacked by lie after lie, I realize there was more of a distraction. I was so distracted that I was NOT able to pour into others, let alone be around people. I struggle with being NOT KNOWN. Kyle was amazing at knowing exactly what I needed when I needed it. Whether it be a hug, food, a listening ear, constructive criticism, he just knew. That is COMPLETELY gone. I have friends who "get" me and that is so helpful but none of them are Kyle. If you have ever loved someone so incredibly much, had a great relationship with them, and continually sought after Christ, and then all of a sudden it was completely striped away then you can understand how I feel. If you have not I pray you never feel the pain and lost hope I face every single day. Within the first 30 minutes of my day, I have 1 of 3 thoughts. 1. Kyle should be next to me. 2. My best friend is dead. 3. Kyle is never coming back. Any or all 3 thoughts run through my head every single morning. 

Now here's the thing, though I recognize the war, I know where my thoughts are originating from, I am doing the hard. I just need to share, maybe for myself or for someone out there needs to read this. I don't really know but for those of you who read this, there is HOPE.

John Piper said, "Occasionally, weep deeply over the life that you hoped would be. Grieve the losses. Feel the pain. Then wash your face, trust God, and embrace the life that he has given you." "The Bible gives us permission to weep deeply over the life we hoped we would have, and to not feel ashamed of that hope or disappointment. It is okay to grieve those losses and feel that pain." -The Hidden Grief of Singleness Sometimes people sum up how I feel way better than I ever could. 


Saturday, October 14, 2017


The infamous question, "How are you doing?" Don't we all love that question? Especially when we can sense that the person is asking out of obligation, duty, or just because that is the "normal' way to interact with other people? Don't worry, I am not going to be a negative person about social interactions and how people should be. It's just a question I am asked over and over again and I have to navigate how to answer the question with honesty and truth. I do NOT like to brush it off and just say that I am fine. I feel as though that would be an absolute lie. Majority of the time, I am processing. I am processing my ability as a teacher, my interactions with others, what I need to do next, I am processing how last December's tragedy intertwines with my daily life. So it kind of is a loaded question when someone asks me how I am doing. I do appreciate the thought though.

So how do you be transparent yet keep mentally sane and not come completely undone every time someone genuinely wants to know how you are doing? Well it probably looks different for everyone. Isn't that just nice? It's like grieving. There is no book that can tell you exactly what it looks like. People can tell you how they have done it or faced it but each situation and person is completely different. It is kind of nice that no one can hold you to a specific standard. But in response to the infamous question, it's worth letting people into your boat and sharing with them. We are all facing some sort of giant in our lives. Why not let safe people in? Why not find someone to help you face yours?

We are not required to do this life alone. We have people around us who care and love. It might not always look like what YOU WANT but it might just be what YOU NEED. I know there are days where I can't face them alone. There aren't specific memories or reminders that "hit" me, it just depends on everything going on. For instance this weekend there were so many "triggers" that just kept building up. It can range from a familiar smell that reminds me of him or a song that I hear. It could be a friendly conversation between friends that reminds me of what is "missing" in my life. It might even look like me missing the support and encouragement that he provided on a daily basis. Or the biggest one, that I just miss his hugs and daily presence. So as I keep on "doing" each day, I am reminded that I am NOT alone. I tell myself that it is okay to NOT be okay.

So the moments I stand in my kitchen and it just hits me, he won't be coming over today. I see pictures of him and the tears can't be held back. They begin to roll down my face and all I want to do is hide my emotions. As my roommate, Asha, works on jewelry in the kitchen, she looks at me and sees how much I am hurting. Normally, I would go hide in my room and just cry alone but today I knew I had to be transparent. I needed to be honest with where I am at in life. I can't hide it anymore. I NEED to let her in. It's the constant reminder that I never got to marry him and NEVER will. NEVER is an absolute. Sometimes I don't know what to do with that. I'll NEVER see him again. I'll NEVER hold his hand again. I'll NEVER pray with him again. I understand there is plenty going for me. I know how much the Lord has provided in and for my life. I am truly blessed and fully loved. I get that, but it does not negate my feelings I have for Kyle. She listens, hugs, and reminds me that it is okay to not be okay.

I have flashbacks to fond memories and stories of him and I together. I share them over and over again because that is when I am truly smiling. Every time I talk about him, it brings a smile to my face and I light up. For instance, August  5th, 2016-Kyle called me from the sat phone at 1 am. It had only been a day but it hit me for how much I miss him. Not like when I was dating before, as in I needed or was obsessed, with Kyle. I just want to be around him and love him. I want this same desire for Kyle but for the Lord. I cried that night because I was SO happy and surprised. He couldn't get out to fly because the weather was so crappy so he called me. I was beyond happy. When I was praying that day, I asked the Lord to just allow him to call so I could hear from him. The later it got the more I realized that it wasn't going to happen but of course he surprised me. Kyle could bring a smile to my face just by being present in my life. It was only a call and it brought so much comfort, joy, and happiness. I love that man so incredibly much and I am not ashamed to tell ya'll!

I continually see how the Lord is working at just the right moment in my life. I see how my heart is being softened and more willing to share  where I am at in life. It comes down to learning how to trust again. Trust others with my very tender heart that has not even come to close to be fully healed. It is a daily process. Some lyrics come to mind that sum up where I want to be in life, "This is my story, this is my song. Praising my Savior all the day long." Though I may not feel like this every day, I am reminded that my grandmother used to love this song and make these words evident in her life. I am thankful Kyle is able to meet her in heaven. Both of them faced hardships understanding what it looked like to hold on to their Savior. They loved so well. My grandmother was tough and a no nonsense type of woman and I can't help but think that I am so similar to her. I remember words of wisdom she shared with me over the years, the example she had in my life. I miss her as well but am thankful for the memories I have with her. Though people pass from this earth, memories remain. The pain slowly disappears into pieces of thoughts and fond memories. You remember the good and block out the negative. You speak of them because you never want to forget.

In one of my books today's reading referenced
James 1:1-2
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, becuase you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 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. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable. Believers in humble circumstances out to take pride in their position. But the rich should take pride in their humiliation since they will pass away like a wild flower. For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business. Blessed is the one who persevers under trial becuase, having stood the test, that person will recieve the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. Don't be deceived, my hear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does NOT change life shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be kind of first-fruits of all He created."

Thursday, October 12, 2017

But Why?

The question word why is a one I hear on a regular basis. Being a teacher and asking/telling my students to do something, they ask me why? Sometimes I stop to explain the reason as to why but other times I use the famous line, "because I said so." It makes me think of my relationship with the Lord. He does not always tell me why even when I ask Him a million times. I ask my friends and family the same thing, but as frustrating as it is, they have no idea either.

This hits home today as I begin writing a new chapter in this "book" I am writing in this life. Hopefully, there will actually be a book one day that I actually sit down and write, but for now I continue blogging. As I sit in prayer and spend time with the Lord, the question "Why?" has been used countless times. It hit me again as I read through my Bible that was so graciously presented to me by my friends this December. For those of you who don't know what I am talking about, Kyle and I decided that we wanted to have a Bible that people could write in as a our guest book at our wedding. So my friends bought me one and set it up at his celebration of life here in Port Alsworth. People could highlight a verse or share a word of wisdom encouragment. I look forward to filling it up more and more as time goes on and the Lord continues to reveal His truth, mercy, and grace in my life through others.

So as I flipped through it today, I came across what my big brother wrote to me. "I don't know why" are within the first several words. Ben had written by the story of Job and this particular chapter resonates very deeply with me. Chapter 42- "Then Job replied, "I know you can do anything, and no one can stop you. You asked, "Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?" It is I and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me. You said, "Listen and I will speak! I have some questions for you, and you must answer them." I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes. I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance." Job recognized that undeniable sovereignty that the Lord has. 

In the devotional next to chapter 42, it discusses that questioning is not necessarily a bad thing, rather asking the Lord what is going on to say that curiosity should not cause doubt in the Lord. "Walking by faith means walking wherever the Lord leads you." Sometimes that means it might feel uncomfortable, hard, discouraging, challenging, frustrating, amazing, joyous, peaceful, rewarding, or even encouraging. It goes back to a phrase I love to use, "We don't need to know what the future holds, as long as we know the One who holds the future."

So as the 7th this month approached, I lived life as full as I could. I didn't give up when it felt hard. I didn't just hide away from the world this time. I embraced it head on and month 9 was unbearably hard. That will be for another blog. I felt as if I was grasping at something just hold onto. If we go back to the sea analogy, I was in the middle of the storm and I felt less than calm. Or we could pick the working out analogy where you are trying to do push ups and your arms are shaking to get just ONE more. You feel as though you want to give up and you realize you are digging deep. You do it, you have been doing it, you are going to continue doing it. That is totally me. A friend and I were talking and as I looked at them, I said, "I can't do this!" They said, "Abbey, you are doing this." Oh yeah, don't we all kind of need to be reminded that we are doing the "hard" and "tough" on a daily basis?

Over these past 10 months, I have been saying how much I want to sleep at the cabin but I just don't know if that would be a good thing to do or not. Finally, Asha asked me if I was going to go through with it. At 11pm we packed up everything we needed and drove over.
With much laughter and preperation, we made ourselves cozy in the cabin. I started and tended the fire, we did a foot soak, discussed fond memories of Kyle, and prayed together. I recently have been told that it is just a cabin, yes, I know. It isn't so much about the cabin as it is me processing through lost hope of being able to live there as Kyle`s wife. I understand that the cabin will not always be a part of my life and thats okay, just as long as I have been able to process through the emotions and feelings I have had. I am just processing through letting go, yet cherish it all. I understand that my life will have new beginnings. I see myself finding a lovely and cute home. It will not be the same as how I pictured it before. I will keep on learning, loving, and growing. Kyle, is NOT my life, becuase in Colossians 3:4-"Christ is your life" so anytime I say that something is MY life, then I am mistaken. My job, traveling, being liked, sports, whatever fills the blank is NOT my life.

I keep coming back to the phrase OPEN HANDS AND A WILLING HEART. That is a challenging prayer to pray as I am not sure what that will bring about in my life. The last 10 months has been extremely quick, hard, slow, and yet unbelievable real. I have been working through the aspects of grieving, being present, yet continually moving forward. So when you feel like giving up and keep saying, "I can`t" just remember that you are. 

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Loved First

"God loved us first so we can love others." 1 John 4:19

God set the perfect example of how to love and be loved. So how to we emulate that to others around us? I believe it looks different for each person we are loving and caring for. There's always more to each person than meets the eye. There's pain, joy, sorrow, struggles, lies, among a variety of other obstacles that one person goes through on a daily basis. We don't always know where someone is at in life, so how do we go about loving that person? How did Christ love others?

I am faced with this question as I tend to get wrapped up in grief, lost in my thoughts, and consumed by all the obligations and requirements in my life. It can get exhausting and at moments, time consuming. So, it must be said that I am thankful for everyone who has loved me through the different seasons in my life over the these past 9 almost 10 months and of course over the past 26 years. I am very quick to admit I am an imperfect person but I am willing to allow the Lord to work in my heart to make me more like him. As I have said before and I will say it again "Love others and love them well. 

The words "part of the process" are very common in my vocabulary lately. I will forever love Kyle, who he was, and who we were. I am just learning how to make that a part of my daily life, yet continue to move forward and be present with those around me. Trust me I know he wasn't perfect nor am I, but what I saw in him was the attitude of wanting to grow and learn. He wanted to take every opportunity to love others the best he could. He didn't do it perfectly and neither have I. Maybe I have written this before but it encourages me again today. Our prayer for our relationship was this:

 "We pray that you show us a unity we could never Imagine. We thank you for this amazing relationship and we pray it never strays from you. We pray we can mirror your imagine in our relationship." 

Now I pray:

"I pray you show me what unity in and from the body of Christ looks like in a way I could never imagine. I thank you for an amazing relationship with a God fearing kindhearted man. I pray I can mirror your image in my relationships." 

I of course struggle each and every day to love others and sometimes even myself. During this fall season and well any new season in my life, I always like to look back at what others seasons looked like. Who was apart of the the seasons, who the Lord brought into my life as well as took out. I look at what I wrote about who loved, supported, cared for, and spent time with me in each season. I am thankful for you all. One of the biggest supporters through all of this is my wonderful momma. 

So often we get caught up in ourselves and forget to love those around us. We are concerned with out schedules, deadlines, needs, wants, school, work, or events. So when do we make time for those who don't fit into those categories? Do we slow down to listen? Do we put our phones down to focus on the face in front of us? Can we step away from social media to spend a lot time with a friend who is in town for a couple hours? I ask myself these questions as well, so: What stops us from just being present?

My mom, has always been good at making time for me. She is always there for me, no matter what,. I never want her to go unnoticed for who she is and how she loves. If you ever get a chance to meet my mom, you should ask her to share her story with you. She has such an amazing testimony of what it looks like to come from a life without God, tragedy, loss, pain, confusion, doubt, yet she is filled with joy, love, compassion, care, truth, a tender heart, and unconditional love for those around her. She has a servants heart and is truly a woman after the Lord's heart. She does not have all the answers, but she knows how to trust God no matter what comes her way. 

She wrote about 30 notebook pages to me 4 years ago right before I moved out here. She sent it with me in hopes that the words written would maybe encourage, challenge, or remind me of who the Lord is. I haven't opened this book in at least a couple years but here is part of the first page.

"You are following the Lord's leading and only blessings will come from that. Everything you have experienced up until now has been the Lord guiding, directing, giving, taking away, pushing, pulling, and preparing you for this very journey you are about to embark on." Oddly fitting for the season I am in right?! Thought so, too Just wait...... 9-18-13- "As a mom I want the very best for my children. I pray you wait upon the Lord for His (timing). Particularly (with His choosing) your spouse. Marriage is a long road and you certainly don't want it to be an uphill climb. I will try to be more diligent in prayer for this." -MOM

This hit me hard as Kyle and I talked about how the timing was just perfect for EVERYTHING that came our way. Everything from our first date, down to picking to the venue, and everything in between. I didn't even know Kyle when she wrote this. I hadn't even flown to Port Alsworth yet. Yet, the words 4 years later remind me that the Lord has His perfect timing even when life is HARD and frustrating at times. 

My mom continued to share with me what she learned in one of her women's retreat. So now I share with you as it fits exactly where I am at in life.

9-23-13 "We are to have a resting heart----Psalm 37

We have inhibitors:
  • Fret-Idea of becoming irritated-angry
  • Envy-Grudging desire (jealousy)
  • Time perspective
  • Comparing to others 
Our security
  • To trust in the Lord-Do good in Him
  • God gives always for our good (He never withholds), Always in His timing
Our security measures
  • Trust-have confidence/don't let your emotions lead you
  • Do good
  • Dwell-stay in the Lord feed on His faithfulness. If God tells you to move THEN move
  • Delight yourself-understand where REAL satisfaction comes from
  • Commit-Take all concerns FIRST to God and LET God carry them
  • Rest-BE STILL Who is this that even the winds and waves obey Him
  • Wait-Refrain wait-expectantly
  • Refrain from anger-refrain=letting go-walk away
  • Be meek-HUMBLE-humility ALL else above me
The rewards
  • God will-when He says He will-be assured it WILL be done.
Practical ways to rest and enjoy the ride called LIFE
  • Learn more of God and who He says He is
  • Allow God to be God
  • Release MY grip on all of life
  • Know and be sure God will follow through"
Mom had no idea what I was going to go through these past months. She (and my dad) trusted God with me and my life here. She trusted that God was going to do what He said He would. Thank you mom for leading me back to the Lord each and every day. Thank you for following the Lord and demonstrating a Godly woman for me to look up to. You, mother, are one my best friends and a person I thank the Lord for. We are learning together and I never want to stop. I love mom. Never stop loving! 💕💕

"God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in Him."