Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Expectations of Widowhood

Widowhood is the hardest thing
most men and women will ever do!!!
And I think the length of the marriage
really  doesn't matter.
There are so many "firsts" and secondary losses
it is impossible to list them all and, frankly,
I am still discovering them after nearly 10 years!
If you have been married a short time,
there is so much shock because death is out of order;
there is so much dreamed of future lost;
there may be young children to raise alone
and help through grief while navigating your own.
If you have been married for many years,
there is so much shared past and knowledge;
there are the habits and comfort of decades of oneness
that are changed in an instant;
there are the grandchildren who may not remember
or ever know their grandpa or grandpa;
there are the retirement dreams left dangling, unfulfilled.
In any length of marriage,
the widowed may have to go back to work 
or get a second job to replace the lost income.
(Very often long before they are ready,
while still in the midst of deep, 
mind numbing, 
widow/er fog causing, 
incapacitating grief!)
He or she will have to find help to do or take on
the tasks their spouse always did.
They will discover they are not the same person any longer
because when two become one and one half dies,
it is akin to having your literal body sliced in half
and being asked to function normally.
He or she will likely discover that many of the things
"they" enjoyed, he or she no longer does,
either because it isn't enjoyable without their spouse
or because they discover they really only enjoyed it because he or she did.
They will find that couple friends fall rather quickly away
because they are no longer part of a couple and it is painful to them
and awkward for everyone to be together.
They may find that friends find their grief 
overwhelming and frightening
and stop coming by or...
...and we finally come to the point of this post...
they begin to apply pressure to...
...whatever encompasses that friend's idea of what grief looks like
and how it should be handled.

Widowhood is confusing!
Widowhood is hard!!!
And widowhood is permanent -
even if the widowed remarries because 
they will always be the widowed of their late spouse -
and, oh my, the opinions and pressures
that are spoken around that subject!!!
I have two dear friends, fellow widows,
one who is a published author, Rachel A. Moore,
recently and joyously remarried,
and one who should be published but isn't and wishes to remain anonymous,
and, at the moment, is single and pleased to remain that way
unless God specifically directs otherwise.
Recently they each wrote similar but different perspectives
on the pressures they encounter/ed regarding remarriage.
I thought they were both too good not to share!
So with their permission, here they are:

Greg and I have been married for almost 5 months now and I would like to share something that has hit me profoundly. 
After ten years of being alone, Greg and I both shared with each other that we would be so grateful for one another during our marriage, and this has proven to be true. Yet over the weekend I discovered a deeper truth.
I was lying in his arms and I felt a depth of love, honor, and respect for him that I never felt for my late husband. Tears streamed down my cheeks as I began to realize something profound and amazing. 
When Gary died my world was shattered. There were far too many pieces to ever be put together. Too much suffering for the pain to ever fully heal. I was completely broken and ripped apart.
Eventually, I knew that I would love deeply despite the pain. I knew that my heart was large enough to love again. I had hope that the broken pieces would be put back together and my life would be a do over and I would love with the same capacity as I did the first time.
But now I see that I love more deeply because of the pain and....along side of the pain.
The pain of loss hasn't disappeared. The pieces of my heart are only taped back together but the rips and tears are still very visible and real. 
I now realize that the depth of the hole of death did not heal but instead was created to be filled.
There's so much more to who I am than who I was. For so long I thought the change in me was because of the books I read and knowledge of marriage that I had studied.
But now I see that the suffering itself has enlarged my heart. The pain has given me overwhelming respect for Greg. The agony has given me the delight of honor for Greg. The searing loss has given me the capacity to love Greg beyond any measure that I ever experienced with Gary. 
And this isn't because Gary was insufficient for me but because my heart has more capacity to feel love, to feel honor, and to give, than it had before the depth of loss.
I now see the pain as a gift. the pain has given me something that I never could have had without it. And...the loss has given Greg something that he could have never received from me without the pain that I have gone through.
Beautifully broken, not only to walk in humility but to walk in the depths of love, honor and respect that I never imagined possible.

 by Anonymous
So what if the phrase “moving on with your life” doesn’t mean what we think it means? What if it’s just living life? I think we widows have preconceived ideas of what moving on is supposed to mean. I think for many of us it means we’re supposed to remarry and find out “happily ever after” (which by the way, that phrase is completely false). But what if it’s not supposed to mean that? Those who have been divorced and widowed are often told by “well-meaning” people that we need to “just get on with our lives’. They never tell you what that’s supposed to look like!!! What if it’s just supposed to mean that we go on and live life. Can’t that be enough? Can’t we just be content with the status quo? Where is this written rule that we have to “have a partner” and find someone else? Do you realize how difficult that is?? Nobody will ever compare to the loves we once had, nor should they. A new mate brings with them their own baggage and experiences in life, some of which may not mesh with our new life. We all have our own things at this age so why do we have to settle just because the world thinks we have to be married? It’s simply not worth settling. I think we just need to learn to be content. Notice I didn’t say happy because nobody is happy all the time. There’s a peace in contentment. Our surroundings may not be peaceful, but that’s just the surface junk. The deeper stuff in our heart is what counts. So, I guess here’s my takeaway from this revelation as I was crafting this morning – just be content. We don’t have to be a couple in order for us to be whole. We don’t have to have a mate in order to count in this world. Don’t force a relationship just because you think people expect it from you or you’re guilted into it. Don’t settle or compromise your beliefs or standards just to “be with someone”. Again, it’s just not worth it. Just be content being you and if you're supposed to be a couple with someone, God can make that happen. It's all up to Him anyway. Again, just my thoughts.


I identify deeply with both these women's posts!!!
I am in the same position, a few years down the road, as Rachel.
I was in the same position as anonymous.
You cannot imagine the pressures that surround remarriage in widowhood!
And they continue regardless of how God chooses to move you down the road!
"Thank goodness you're finally over the grief!"
"You have to move on! He'd want you to remarry!"
"You must not have loved him if you want to/have chosen to remarry!"
"Well, now that you're widowed and don't have anyone stopping you, you can..."
And many, many more!
We are faced with anger, disrespect, disbelief, disagreement either way we go.
Even from fellow widows who have chosen a different way.
Widowhood is hard!!!
The expectations of others can make it harder!
So, what's the take away here?
For the widowed
listen to God, let Him guide!
    Remember, they mean well.
    ("After Job had prayed for his friends, 
    the LORD restored his fortunes 
    and gave him twice as much as he had before." 
                                                                        Job 42:10)
        And, please, please, please,
        we depend upon each other,
        we understand things those who haven't been here can't,
        we need one another's grace, love, ear!
            Please, don't harshly judge another widow for her actions and choices!
            Even if they are poor ones!
For everyone
listen, don't advise unless asked!
    Pray for them, 
        love them, 
            support them, 
                listen to them, 
                    sit with them, 
                        hold them, 
                            befriend them, 
                                don't abandon and avoid them! 
                                     ("Do to others as you would have them do to you." Luke 6:31)


Tuesday, July 12, 2022

What will they say about me?

Because of our ministry,
my Lanny Love and I attend quite a few funerals.
I am always fascinated by how well
a person is reflected in the funeral service.
Now, I realize the pedestal upon which the dead are placed
can make them more saintly than they are,
but I have been to the funerals of people who had touched others
not for their betterment.
Pedestals are really not all that elevating
when it comes right down to it and
eulogies are pretty accurate in the end.
I often walk away from a funeral thinking,
"When my time comes,
I hope they say that about me!"
Recently, we attended the funeral of
someone my Lanny Love knew
but whom I had never met.
And more than ever before,
this funeral made me wonder
"What will they say about me?"
You see, when they were finished,
I felt her loss!
This woman I did not know,
        had never met,
                and I felt her loss!
Not just on behalf of the family,
        not just on behalf of her friends,
                not just on behalf of a world
                now less loving because she is not in it,
I felt a personal sense of loss!
I felt that my life would have been better
had she been a part of it,
and my life has been touched by her in her death.
It made me wonder.
Is my life is such that
a stranger might one day feel my loss?
Am I so godly a woman,
    so lovingly kind,
        so compassionate,
            so thoughtful,
                so good,
                    so joyful,
                        so patient,
                            so forgiving,
                                so gentle,
                                    so self-controlled
that one day a stranger might think about me,
"My life would have been better with her in it
and my life is changed because words of her
have touched it!"

So, what will people say about me
when I'm gone?
I think our eternity is pretty dependent 
upon the answer to that question
because our lives are generally
an accurate reflection of the Holy Spirit in us.

May I so closely follow Christ
that my eulogy
is a description of Him!

Whoever says that he lives in God must live as Jesus lived.
                                            ~~ I John 2:6 NCV ~~
So all of us who have had that veil removed 
can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. 
And the Lord - who is the Spirit - 
makes us more and more like him 
as we are changed into his glorious image.
                                                    ~~ 2 Corinthians 3:18 NLT ~~
But the fruit of the Spirit is 
love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, 
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control... 
                                                ~~ Galations 5:22-23 ESV ~~ 


Tuesday, July 5, 2022

July 3

I thought of him.
But I didn't think of the day.
Not until the following day.
In 51 years,
this is the first time.
In this tenth year of widowhood,
this is the first time.
It makes me sad.
And glad.

We always celebrated our "going steady" anniversary.
Almost more than our wedding anniversary.
Because from that moment on,
we were committed to one another.
We became "promised" just six months later at Christmas.
I was 14, he was 16. 
My mother was not happy.
We never looked back.

In this tenth year, things are different.
Some days are really hard again.
Like my birthday - a significant one -
that he wasn't here to tease me about.
Or the day our first great grandchild was born. 

The nightmares are gone now.
I no longer think I'm having a heart attack
from the rawness and pain of the grief.
I laugh easily and often.
When I think of him, I smile rather than cry.
The softening of sorrow continues.
I feel deeply God's rich blessings in my life,
that blessing of having been married to an amazing man,
that blessing of being married to an amazing man. 

God gave me my Al
who brought such love and healing to my life.
Then he was gone and grief and agony reigned supreme.
For a long, long while it was extremely dark and scary.
God gave me my Lanny Love.
The healing He began through Al
has continued through him,
and has included a healing 
from a different kind of brokenness as well.
And the love...
    the love.......
I am happy -
dare I say it? -
happier than I have ever been.
Not because I am happier with one than the other,
because I am different now.
God has refined and healed in ways
I would not have believed if I had been told!
Habakkuk 1:5 
I am more whole than I was
but not as whole as I will be.

I have discovered that the more joy and happiness I allow in,
the more grief and sorrow recedes.
Sometimes that feels like losing more of my Al.
Sometimes it feels like getting more of him back.

I think It would be simultaneously joyous
and difficult
for him to see me, my life now,
to see how happy and content I am.
It is for me.

On July 3rd,
I thought of him as our family celebrated Independence Day,
as our great grandchild was enraptured by his first fireworks.
I thought of the many 4th of July celebrations we had shared.
But I did not think of our 51st "going steady" anniversary.

It makes me sad.
And glad.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022


It seems like yesterday.
It seems like forever ago.
Sometimes it seems like it was not really my life,
but someone else's that I read about.
But it was real.
And it was ten years ago today.
A whole decade since we heard those words,
"Mr. Garrett, you do have cancer."

He was so matter-of-fact, emotionless.
He was simply doing his job as the ER physician on duty.
He explained what would happen in the next few hours,
then went on to his next patient.
I feel rather certain he never thought of us again,
at least not more than in passing.

But our lives, my life, was profoundly changed in that instant.

I look back over the last decade
and think of how different it has been 
than it would have been without those words.
An instant.
Just an instant.
Six little words delivered in a second or less.
That instant ten years ago still affects my today,
my children's today,
the today of people who
did not even know me in that instant,
never knew him.

We live in hope,
hope in Christ,
a "promise" hope
not a "wish" hope,
but an assurance of His future, prepared for us.
On that day ten years ago,
we didn't know the extent of his cancer
and for a few days,
we lived in that wish kind of hope. 
We quickly moved into the Promise Hope;
today, I still live there.
I have been privileged to see a glimpse of that Promise in this past decade.
I have seen a glimpse of it in watching dear, precious loved ones
cross that divide.
I have seen a glimpse of it in His restoration of my desire to live.
He is real!
Heaven is real!
Redemption is real!
Life does go on!
There is healing over there,
and there is healing here!
But while we are yet here,
in our humaness,
we grieve our earthly loss.
Ten years ago today, I felt it.
Eight months, three days later, I felt it.
Today, ten years later, I feel it.
Today, I think of a decade from now.
What will the upcoming decade hold?
How many more times will the sorrow of grief touch me? 
How many more joys will I experience?
How many more glimpses of the Promise of Hope will I see?
Today, as my heart remembers,
today as the pain of that moment is felt deep within my soul,
today as I think of the amazing man
who moved to his final home eight months, three days later,
today as I think of the life I live now
and wonder about the life I might have lived if..., I think of the pain in Uvalde, Texas.
I think of the husbands,
the sons and daughters,
the mommies and daddies,
the brothers and sisters,
the grandparents, cousins, friends,...
my heart breaks for them
and for us as a nation.
Today, for all those mourn,
there is overwhelming grief.
Crushing anguish.
It is fresh, acute.

Today, they look to a future that is empty of someone precious.
There will not be one "anniversary",
there will be thousands.
The rest of their lives will be filled with events where there is an empty chair.
Moving forward will be slow and painful.
Taking the next breath will be painful...
For our nation, we will move forward much more quickly,
we already have begun to move from shocked outrage 
into political opportunity.
But we will remember.
Every year our Facebook memories
will bring up the "Pray for Uvalde" profile picture change
and our heads will shake at the senseless violence,
the putrid loss of life,
our hearts will squeeze as we remember the shock and outrage,
we will lift those left behind once again in prayer.
Let us all, as I do on this tenth anniversary of "D-day",
let us all remember,
our Hope is not in legislation,
it is not in a utopian society,
it is not in filling an empty chair on a dark day of remembrance -
for it cannot be filled this side of eternity -
let us remember,
our Hope is in Jesus Christ.
And it is a sure Hope,
a Promise!

Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. 
 But take heart, because I have overcome the world.
                                        ~~ John 16:33 ~~
He will wipe every tear from their eyes, 
and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. 
All these things are gone forever.
                                                ~~ Revelation 21:4 NLT~~

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Because I said so!

Did you ever say that to your kids?
I did!
But not as often as my mom said it to me!

Back in the day:

Me: Why???

My mom: Because I said so.

Me: But WHY!?!?!

My Mom: Because I said so and don't use that tone of voice with me!!!
Me with my kids:

My Kids: Why???
Me: Because...explanation given.
My Kids: But that's not fair!!!
Me: Tries to explain in a different way.
My Kids: That's stupid! Everyone else gets to...whatever...why can't I???
Me: Because I'm not everyone else's mother and I said no!
My Kids: WHY!?!?!
Me: Because I said so and this conversation is over!

My mom was right.
And honestly, sometimes she gave an explanation up front,
but if she didn't and I asked...
And even if she did,
I usually disagreed!
And if I disagreed,
it usually was at the expense of other things I wanted to do and lost the privilege 
for using my mouth in a way it shouldn't have been used!
Both methods, hers and mine,
resulted in the same conclusion -
the kids didn't understand and went away unhappy!
Even with an explanation,
the kids did NOT understand
or accept it as reasonable!
Sometimes I'm still the kid!!!
I still want to know why!
My Lanny Love and I are currently facilitating another GriefShare 
and this past week we discussed "why?"
Never more than when bad things happen -
and the loss of someone we love feels really, really bad -
we want to know why.
Particularly, I think, when the loss is a spouse, child, or unexpected.

In GriefShare, we are reminded that 

God's ways are far above our ways. (Isaiah 55:8-9)
and asked, 
Where were you when I created the universe?
Tell me if you know so much! (Job 38:4).
We are further reminded that
even if God told us why,
we wouldn't understand or accept the explanation
well, because we want our way and our way would be
for our loved one(s) to still be physically present in our lives.
GriefShare is right.
No explanation would have been sufficient
to explain my Al's illness and death.
I still would have wanted him here with me!
I still would have wanted to share my meals and my bed,
    my thoughts and feelings,
        my sorrows and joys,
            with him! 

This morning, in Sunday School, 
we were discussing Elijah the Prophet.
In I Kings 18, we read the story of the Baal worshippers
versus the God worshippers.
The prophets of Baal prayed and prayed
to the point of cutting themselves
trying to bring fire down from their gods
onto the altar build for them. 
When Elijah's turn came,
he had everything wet down!
They wet down the sacrifice,
they wet down the altar,
they dug a moat around it and filled it with water.
Everything was drenched!
Then he prayed,
and fire fell from heaven onto the altar
consuming the sacrifice,
the water,
even the rocks from which the altar was built!

It was a rousing success for God and for Elijah!!!
But the Queen, Jezebel, the main Baal worshipper,
she was ticked off!!!
And she swore to Elijah that he would pay with his life!
So he ran!
And when he finally dropped from exhaustion, hunger, and thirst,
he cried out to God, 
I did all you asked! 
And here I am, 
fleeing for my life!!! 
Just kill me now and be done with it!!!"
(I Kings 19:4b, Gina paraphrase)

Right here, our Sunday School teacher said a profound thing.
"And God said 'Because I said so!'"

And there it is!
The ultimate Parent,
The Father of fathers and mothers and children,
did not offer an explanation.
Because Elijah would still not have understood.
He would not have accepted it.
But through this, he learned something really important.
Sometimes we understand God's movements,
and sometimes we don't,
but always we can trust that He knows what He is doing,
that He has our best interest at heart!
And he lay down and slept under a broom tree.
And behold, an angel touched him and said to him,
"Arise and eat."
And he looked, and behold,
there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones
and a jar of water.
And he ate and drank and lay down again.
And the angel of the Lord came again a second time
and touched him and said,
"Arise and eat,
for the journey is too great for you."
And he arose and ate and drank,
and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights...
~~ I Kings 19:5-8 ESV
Because He said so... 

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

I am broken...

It's true.
I am broken.
So are you.
We are all broken.
I know most of my brokenness,
though there are those things others see that I don't.
You know most of your brokenness,
though there are those things others see that you don't.
God sees them all.
And He loves us anyway!!!
I love that!
But that isn't the subject of this blog.
Have you ever thought about what it would be like
not to be broken?
What would you be like?
My Lanny Love and I were talking about that the other day. 
That day is coming for Christ followers!
Think of it!
All those sensitive, easily hurt feelings -
All those things we do or say that hurt others -
Regrets -
Guilt -
The PTSD from abuse, grief, war -
The selfishness, greed, covetousness, envy, resentment -
The mouth that engages ahead of the brain -
The quick, volatile, hard to control temper - 
Mental illness, depression, anxiety -
All the brokenness -
We will still be us!
Our personalities won't change,
they will simply be fixed!
Those things that sin broke,
completely restored!
I think I see a glimpse of this miracle as I age.
As my body (which will also be perfected)
becomes more broken with time,
my spirit becomes less so with God,
as He refines me through His Spirit,
as I seek to more closely reflect Christ.
But still, there are those broken bits, those things
that only eternal perfection can fix!
Imagine what the earth was like before sin!
No death, no aging, no husband and wife spats.
Mosquitos didn't bite!
Wind did not destroy!
The earth did not shake!
Think of that with our brokenness!
 How amazing is heaven!!! 
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing 
with the glory that will be revealed in us.
~~ Romans 8:18 ~~  

Monday, April 11, 2022


Today, I am Medicare years old.
I have entered the autumn of my life.

I love the seasons God has given us!
Springtime when everything is new,
there is growth and beauty all around us
as the springs begin to flow once again,
the trees put on buds, then fresh, green leaves,
flowers bloom and spread their fragrance,
the grass becomes once again soft and plush,
birds begin to sing, baby creatures appear.
I love spring!
Then summer,
long days filled with warmth and sun,
a lazy rhythm that strums along on its own,
vacations and family and fun,
beaches and pools, roller skates and bicycles,
balmy evenings under starlit skies.
I love summer!
Autumn with its crisp coolness,
vibrant colors and pungent scents,
bonfires and homecoming and football,
fireplaces and candles, 
warm stews and soups and breads,
cozy blankets and soft sweaters.
I love Autumn!
Finally, winter,
its contrasts of stark blacks against pure white,
revealed shapes and twists of interest in the trees,
snowball fights and sledding and ice skating,
hot chocolate and spiced cider,
holidays and home and family.
I love winter!
Each of the seasons with an assigned time,
but each encroaches upon the others.
Sudden blasts of winter in the autumn and spring.
Days that feel unbearably hot in the moderate temperatures
of spring and autumn.
Unusually cool respites in the early and late days of summer.
By the end of each season,
we are seeing less of the beauty and more of the contentious:
spring winds and rain;
     summer's blistering heat;
        autumn's decay and slow death of summer's beauty;
            winters bitter cold and icy winds.
Our focus has shifted.

So it is with the seasons of life.
In each of the seasons, some of the others encroach.
Our spring time is filled with wonder and laughter,
but as we grow, responsibility begins to creep in.
Summer finds its rhythm and flows along,
until an icy blast of winter or the flaming heat of summer
knocks us off our feet.
Autumn beauty and peaceful reverie loses its charm
as we begin to notice the decay in aching joints and sagging skin.
And winter contrasts and reverie give way
to the shortness of the days and creeping night.

I am new to autumn.
I am still seeing only the vibrant colors,
smelling only the bonfires and warm bread,
relishing the mild days and cool evenings.
I do see it.
I know it's there,
the decay.
But I choose not to look at it as a loss.
Instead, I am choosing to focus on
the opportunity to rake crisp, crunchy leaves
and jump into the pile I created!
Today I am 65.
I have reached autumn.
Some never have that privilege.
Today, as I reached autumn,
my great grandson entered spring,
born on his great grandma's birthday.
I get to watch him grow,
watch his mommy and daddy as they approach summer,
watch his grandma and grandpa enjoying the lazy days of mid-summer.
I love autumn!

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

I am beauty from ashes!

 I am beauty from ashes!!!
Beauty from ashes!
How amazing is that!?!

This blog has been a while in the writing.
Sometimes my posts just flow.
Sometimes I can't get my thoughts,
the feeling I am trying to convey, on paper,
yet, I feel the need to do so.
After much prayer and re-writing,
here it is.
Most of the time,
we make things difficult all by ourselves.
Have you ever noticed that?
Oh, we like to say so-and-so or such-and-such made it hard
but if we shine light within,
invite the Holy Spirit to reveal what He sees to us,
we mostly find that we bear the majority responsibility
for the difficulty of our circumstances,
the tender soreness of our emotions. 
I have always struggled with feeling 
This struggle colors most of my relationships,
outlining them in a muddy gray.
There are many, many joys and benefits
in remarriage after widowhood.
I highly recommend it once the Lord has told you you are ready
and brings you to "the one" He has prepared for you!
But there are some things in widowed remarriage,
especially to another widowed individual,
that can be challenging.
Since this blog has mostly evolved into the joys and challenges of
remarriage from widowhood,
and, based on comments, 
some of you are learning the realities of remarriage as you consider it
or realizing you are not alone in your experiences if you have taken the plunge,
I feel compelled to share this deeply personal,
and, for me, one of the more meddlesome aspects. 

Sometimes a song will play,
or we are watching an emotional movie scene -
especially one about deep love, loss, sorrow -
or a picture of some special place comes up,
        my Lanny Love's face goes soft,
                his eyes get that far away look,
                        sometimes fill with tears...
I know he is remembering, loving, longing.
And I know it's not me he's thinking of.
I know this because I do it too.
And I completely understand it!
Most of the time, we cry together,
hold and comfort one another in our mutual grief.
But for a woman who struggles with feeling,
not second, but second best,
(I do this all on my own!
My Lanny Love never, ever 
indicates that I am "less than"!)
sometimes seeing that play out is difficult.
A while back I was lamenting to our Lord in prayer about this.
I told Him He had given me 
such a great and marvelous gift in my Lanny Love
and I felt like I diminished it by my feelings of inferiority, insecurity.
He led me to this Scripture.

"...He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted...
to comfort all who mourn;
to grant to those who mourn in Zion --
to give them a headdress instead of ashes,
[beauty from ashes]
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord,
that He may be glorified."
                            ~~ Isaiah 61:2-3 ESV ~~

My immediate response was,
"Thank You, Daddy God, for my Lanny Love!
In him, You have given me beauty from the ashes of my brokenheartedness,
comfort from the greatest sorrow I have ever known!
Thank You!"

And He replied!
And I was shocked!
Yes, my child, my precious, broken child,
yes, I have given you Lanny.
the beauty grown in the midst of the ashes of your destroying fire.
And I have given the same to him in you!
You are my gift to him!
are the beauty springing up in the midst of the ashes of his destroying fire!
This is the note I wrote in the margin of my Bible that morning:

"I am "beauty from ashes"!
Thank You, Lord!
I am "comfort"!
Thank You, Lord!
I am the "oil of gladness"!
Thank You, Lord!
I am the "garment of praise"!
Thank You, Lord!
I am the "planting of the Lord"! 
Thank You, Lord!
I am second to be sure,
but I am not second best!"
 How amazing is that!!!