Thursday, November 26, 2015

Lanny & Gina: A Love Story, Part 2

His hand hovered over the keyboard.
All he had to do was hit "enter".
He'd answered all the questions.
Downloaded plenty of pictures.
Set his perimeters.
It was ready.
He was ready.
All he had to do was hit enter.
And he did.

She had ventured online before.  
She'd had a few dates.
Had made some friends.
Had made some mistakes.
Had closed her dating site profiles.
Said "No more! Never again!"
She'd told God she would wait on Him.
And she waited.
Then God said "Move! It's time!"
But she'd said "No more dating sites! Never again!"
And God said "Move! Now!"
And so she did.

We were "slightly outside" each others perimeters.
But eHarmony thought we'd be compatible.
I looked at his profile and liked what I read.
And what I saw.
(He's so cute!!!)
But I never made the first contact.
I wanted to be pursued.
So I waited.
And then it happened.
He sent me the first in the eHarmony series of "get to know you" questions. 
I checked out his profile - again.
Still liked it.
I responded to his questions and sent my set to him.

Back and forth we went with the pre-set questions.
Then his "I'd like to skip to email" request came.
There was only one more set of questions
before eHarmony agreed we were ready to move to email
but I decided to accept his request to skip to email.
And for several weeks,
we shared our hearts and lives with one another in writing.

I was very careful.
He was very respectful of my need to protect myself.
When, after a couple weeks of daily correspondence,
I revealed that I had not used my "real" first name -
no last name, ever -
he understood and learned the new name quickly.
Then he asked.
"When you're ready, I'd like to meet."
I was ready.

He allowed me to name the date, place, and time.
My safety, first-date place.
Able to make a quick getaway without being followed.

Finally, the big day arrived.
I was excited - and a little nervous.
I arrived just a couple minutes early.
He was already there.
We were seated and began talking.
Three hours later,
we realized the restaurant had closed.
And I did not want a quick getaway!

He walked me to my car.
Told me he'd enjoyed our evening.
Opened my door.
Helped me in.
Shut the door.
And stood there while I drove off.
Keeping me safe.

I was hooked.

But he hadn't asked for my phone number.
Or my last name.

When I arrived home,
There in my eHarmony mail box
was his request.
"When you're ready, I'd like your full name
and phone number."

I was ready!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Lanny & Gina: a love story, Part 1

Two weeks from today.
I will marry my Lanny Love.
And I cannot wait!

Three and a half years ago,
my life fell apart
when my sweet husband, Al,
was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Eight months later,
he was gone.
And I was sure I would never again be happy.

Many of you have followed my journey,
either here, or on my Caring Bridge site.
You know the struggles,
the mistakes,
the determination,
the decision to choose joy,
the acceptance of what "is"
rather than what I wish for.
You have cried with me,
laughed with me,
shook your head and clicked your tongue,
prayed for me.
You have been my sounding board,
my therapist,
my safe place,
my support.
And now,
you are rejoicing with me
in what I never thought would be -
And I thank you!

As my wedding day approaches,
as my anticipation and excitement mount,
I am going to put our love story in words.
So come along with me,
read the love story,
share in the happiness!

"Look, the winter is past;
The rains are over and gone.
Blossoms appear through all the land.
The time has come to sing;
The cooing of doves is heard in our land.
There are young figs on the fig trees,
And the blossoms on the vines smell sweet."
                                     Song of Songs 2:11-13 NCV

Saturday, November 14, 2015


It's been a while.
This fall has been a busy one.
My hours at work have been long.
My personal life has been very full.
Football season and my grandson.
Church activities.
My Lanny Love's daughter's wedding in October
and all the showers and flowers and other
wedding plans and festivities.
Then, on October 26th,
we made it official.
My Lanny Love and I became engaged.
We will be married in just under three weeks.

So, while I have been silent here for a while,
my life has been anything but quiet,
changing yet again.
The love I have for my Lanny Love
has deepened,
and continues to grow.
The closer the big day gets,
the calmer and more peaceful I become.
Radiant is a word that has been used about me
more than once recently.
It feels so good to be happy again!

Our little wedding is coming together nicely and will be just what we wanted.
And our marriage promises to be all we ever hoped and dreamed.
Maturity, experience, and knowledge are wonderful things!

Something I didn't expect during this time
of celebration and preparation
has been renewed grief over Al.
I have thought about him more,
dreamed about him -
something I have rarely done since his death.
It seems odd that in just a few days,
I will be another man's wife.
And yet, I am excited and counting the minutes.
It's a strange feeling.

I often say, "Change is difficult, even when it's positive!"
and that is true.
Some changes are horrible -
the death of a spouse comes to mind -
some are positive -
a second chance at love and happiness.
They keep life interesting!

So, look for posts to pick back up.
But they will be different.
Because my life is different.
And that's okay!

Friday, September 4, 2015

I love you, Part III

I will never be loved like that again.
It's true.
And, as that realization has come to me
over the last several months,
it made me sad.
I have come to realize that my grief
is not only over the loss of the one I love,
it is because of the loss of the one who loved me.

I had just turned 14,
Al was nearly 16,
when we became "us".
And we loved each other with that
passionate abandon that is only available in youth.
Before life interferes.
Before you become a grown up.

And our love grew as we did.
We were children,
growing up together,
learning about life together,
learning about love together.
We truly became one
because we had not yet become individuals.
That can never happen again.
And so, I will never again be loved like that.

Lanny will never be loved like Judy loved him again!
And he will never again love like he loved her.
They, like Al and I, dated for five years.
They spent 32 years as husband and wife.
They had children together.
They grew together physically, emotionally, spiritually.
They each formed who the other was.
They became one person.

I had already started this post in my love series
when one of my online widows' groups opened this very discussion.
Funny how that happens.
This particular group is women
who have begun thinking about dating,
are dating,
are engaged,
or have remarried.
We have moved past that initial grief where the mere thought
of another man is offensive,
and realized that we do not want to be alone for the rest of our lives.

Following are some thoughts from some of these women
(used with permission, all names (except mine) and some situational details deleted for privacy):

The original post that started the conversation:
Sitting in [a local restaurant], sipping on a half coffee half french vanilla, and reading your posts and thinking about losing someone we loved. About how that flips our worlds upside down, and to some extent that event and the ensuing changes create a level of insecurity even years later, even if we have remarried. We often say its because we lost someone we loved. But as I think about it, that's not really it at all. It's because we lost someone that loved us. Our pain, our scars, are proportional to the depth of love the other person gave us (along with our ability/willingness to receive). It makes me think about agape love. And how well do I love? It's a sobering thought, and has impact in every aspect of my relational world.
The ensuing conversation:
  • Wow. I've never heard it phrased like that.
  • very good. It is true. I miss how much I was loved. Does this make me selfish?
  • [Original Poster] No no no. It is something to treasure. And to ponder. So easily I slip into evaluating (mostly subconsciously) my relationships by how well the other person loves. And when I thought about this today, I realized that our spiritual lives and our relational lives are really all about agape love, God's love for us, and our (my) love for others. (I wonder if what we treasure most about the love we've lost is the agape part of it . . . just thinking.)
  • The question,"How well do I love?"....makes me think about being a stepmom. This is a very good thought and post, thanks for the insight. Enjoy your coffee!
  • Wow! That is insightful! So true! And I would add that that someone who loved us was the 'only' person to believe in 'me'!!! ...and so our identity, self-worth and security all were devastated.
    That has been a real challenge to really believe and trus
    t God to be and do that in my life! But God also brings others into our lives that can believe in us. :-)
  • I keep going over this. .... your post resonates within me deeply.
  • Great Point...We lost our other/better half, "and the 2 shall become one". I believe his agape type love toward me helped some parts of myself to finish growing up into the woman God intended, as I met him @ 23 yrs & married at 25. To openly receive new love, with a combining of 2 pre-existing foundations of life/love/people does take courage. I remember realizing this with the 1st new man. I said once " my 20 yr marriage was like being on a leer jet on auto pilot", now I feel like I'm on the ground learning how to ride a bike with you". He commented back "ya, and we need training wheels", lol. Agape love is essential for us to give to others & to ourselves, so that we don't allow the enemy to attack us with those insecurities. We lost so much love, history & our partner for life but Jesus agape love can sustain/empower us daily. Colossians 3:19 Men are called to show Agape love to their wives"....So don't settle for less ladies. He certainly wont do it perfectly 24/7 but I think the key is that he knows what it is & has that love for you. My new husband and I are able to share/understand the pain/grief we both feel and that is unique to us, my first spouse & I didn't experience that together...I did that alone. I've found that creates a unique bond for me & my current husband.
  • I can't even tell you how perfectly timed these thoughts are that you shared. I just woke up with this on my mind again this morning: There are ways that [Late Husband] loved me that I miss so much and that are tied up with my identity and security as a person even now. I often feel guilty for missing that and wishing I had that type of love from [New Husband]. It makes me feel selfish and insecure and alone at times. Does that make sense?
  • [Name Deleted], I am not remarried but that makes complete sense. I think that is one huge fear I have about remarriage. My husband adored me (I don't know why) which made me feel special. I don't know if I could be happily married to someone who didn't feel that same way about me.
  • [Name Deleted], I think what's really hard is the tension I feel as a remarried widow. I was a widow for 6 years and always said I couldn't imagine marrying anyone else. All I can say is [Second Husband's] love for me is different (and probably in some ways better...[Late Husband] wasn't perfect either!). I think there are just times that I really feel that. I want to be reaffirmed by the person that is my closest relationship in the world. My first husband was crazy about me too (not sure why either! Ha) and I [Second Husband] is crazy about me in his own way. [Late Husband's] way spoke to those insecure places deep in my heart and I miss that. A lot. At times. But there are times I think, wow [Second Husband] loves me more than I've ever been loved. It's a very very strange tension as a widow. And I'm trying to let us push my thoughts toward how well I love others but to be honest sometimes I just get stuck on missing what I had.
  • Gina Garrett Wow! I've been thinking about this very thing! I'm doing an "I love you" series on my blog and this is the topic of the 3rd installment which should go up today or tomorrow [oops, it's a couple weeks later, more pondering was needed]. If anyone objects to my using some of these excellent thoughts and points, let me know. Thank you for sharing this and all these thoughts!

    I miss how much Al loved me! We were children, barely 14 and 15 when we started "dating" and never dated anyone else. We grew up together, with that passion of youth that has no reserve or hesitation. Adulthood hadn't yet gotten in the way when we fell in love. I will never have that again. And I do find myself grieving that. Lanny adores me and I him, but we are not likely to live long enough to ever spend the amount of time together that we did with Judy and Al so that depth that comes from time will never be equaled for either of us. The flip side of that? The passion and excitement of those first few years of marriage is likely to be our existence. So while we have lost something precious, we have also gained something precious!
  • I wound up ending [a] relationship, after I realized he hadnt ever loved like that...because he didn't really understand that love, and didn't get grief at all...I realized within the 1st month [he] had issues & wasn't over his wife, he was divorced for 7 yrs. I remember when I first saw her in person, and how he looked at her....I felt totally invisible & like I didn't matter. Sure his words/actions never treated me that way but in that profound moment it was obvious that's where his heart was...with her. It was then that I told my counselor, I was everything to my first husband so there's no way I can be second. Second wife yes but never treated or loved less than agape love. My new widowed husband is crazy about me & he can show me photos, talk/cry about her without my feeling insecure at all, I too feel his pain & it makes me love/bond with him more because we both shared Agape/sacrificial love the first time & now.
  • Thanks for this, I thought it was just me. No one loved me or understood me like [Late Husband] except for God. I think part of the problem is learning to live in a different role, with adult children, [and the issues they can bring to the table]. It is so totally different from when we were young & ignoratnt. We love each other with ever fiber of our being... I am so very gratful God brought me [Second Husband]...
  • Gina Garrett Yes, [Name Deleted]! That's it exactly! In fact, Lanny's love for Judy actually makes me feel more secure because he DOES know how to love! He loves/d her completely just as I do/did Al; and just as I can do no less with Lanny, he can do no less with me! He is not instead of Al, he is in addition to him, as I am to Judy! And we both understand that!
  • Amen, it's a beautiful thing...we even had [Late Spouses] mentioned in our vows, as they will always be part of our family :-)
  • I wanted to add to my comments about the love and security that I am receiving from my new hubby... But I was afraid of making some of you ladies feel bad. But since several of you have expounded on your love relationship with your new hubby- I wanted to affirm that as well! It is possible to have that deep, adoring, agape love with another husband! I am in awe of how God has made [Second Husband] for me. I have been so battered and torn down...i havent felt like anyone could ever love me...But God and my [Second Husband] are beginning to build me up again. I still can hardly believe that I have a man who loves me so completely! Is it different than my first hubby? Absolutely! But I choose to dwell on the good differences. Am I different from his first wife? Absolutely! I feel like we owe our first spouses something- as we learned how to do this marriage thing with our 1st! And we are determined to love and respect and cherish every moment and day and month together! We talk alot about our firsts- but dont compare levels of happiness.
  • Absolutely [Name Deleted], we say all the time how there is no way we could have done this, it is a total God thing. We even joke that [Late Spouses] may have been helping the Lord along the way. Not biblically supported but it warms our hearts to think it :-). I had days of hope & days of doubt in the dating phase, I think/hope our stories are seen as helpful & encouraging to our sisters.. to trust God has a unique plan & purpose for each of us. And that we can be strong when single, dating or remarried. Each has its own unique areas in which we can show agape love, but we must fully accept it from Christ daily or we won't have a healthy supply to give to those around us.
  • Thought about this today. That truth is one thing I recently came to terms with. I realized this spring that how much strength I gleaned from My Dear [Late Husband]. He wasn't full of flattery or a big cheerleader but his quiet constancy and his unfaltering love for me gave me so much strength. And boy do I miss that underlying confidence and strength that being loved gave me. I miss that as much as anything.
  • [From original poster] ...[Name Deleted], I've been thinking about your posts. I can truly relate. I was deeply loved. I am deeply loved now. But it is different. (And add to that the fact that memory is a mysterious, living, somewhat evolving, thing. So something good from the past can hardly be held side by side with anything in the present.)I think it is partly that difference that made me think about how well I love, what I want my life here to count for. It changes the focus (and, in return, my present relationship is blessed).
  • Ladies. I'm up in the wee hours of the morning. Just reading all of your posts. Just starting on the road of possibly dating and many times I wonder can I love and be loved again the way it was with [Late Husband] again. After reading I see that yes it is possible to be loved and to live again but seems like it is differently but yet the same. Thank you all for sharing your thoughts and feelings so openly on this topic.
  • It is all worth loving again. Us being together is a total God thing. Our [late] spouses are part of who we are & helped shape us & taught us what true love was. We both still love them just as much, but the heart has no boundaries there is always room to more. The pastor that did our wedding mentioned our love for [Late Spouses] & we talk about them all the time.
    As [Second Husband] says we are still learning our rolls as it is different...
 Those on the outside of grief don't get it.
They don't understand that we have not stopped loving!
We have not forgotten!
Two years, seven months, six days later,
it is always still there.
Always at the edge.
Always coloring every part of my life.
He is gone.

When Al died,
when he was laid in the ground,
the Gina that was died,
was buried along with him.
When Judy died,
when she was laid in the ground,
the Lanny that was died,
was buried along with her.
It is the way it is with deep love!

We will never be loved like that again.
We will never love another like that again.
But we are not the same people now!
Every aspect of life,
our very essence,
has changed.
Because that's the way it is when you die and are reborn.
Much as when we die to sin and are reborn in Christ.
Forever altered.

And, just like Christ's love for us,
love is limitless!
It does not end when more comes in!
The heart just expands and grows,
embracing, relishing the new addition!
Not instead of!
In addition to!
Agape love!
Eros Love!
Being loved - and loving.

It is a wonderful, blessed gift from God!

Friday, August 14, 2015

I love you, Part II

My Lanny Love and I are in love.
With each other.
And each of us with someone else.
And we're both okay with that.

I suppose to many of you, my dear readers,
that sounds very strange.
Let me assure you, it's not!

We talk with each other about our loves -
both ours for each other,
and ours for those others that we love.
Just this past weekend, he talked about his Judy.
Because I asked.
And he wept.
And I wept with him!
And I talked about my Al.

You see, I'm glad that he is still in love with her!
Because that means he does not give his heart casually!
He didn't to her -
and he hasn't to me!
His love for her is deep and abiding.
It will last a lifetime.
As it should!
And his love for me is deep and abiding.
It will last a lifetime.
As it should!
Once a person has truly loved, it is always there!
Falling in love with another is in addition to,
not in place of!
His deep love for Judy,
his grief over the loss of her,
gives me security.
It is the same in reverse.

I know someone who thinks it's disrespectful
of the new love to talk about the other love.
Believe me, it's not!
Judy is part of who my Lanny Love is!
I want to know everything about him!
That includes her!
My Al is part of who I am.
My Lanny Love wants to know everything about me.
That includes Al!

I haven't always understood this!
"Before", I knew a widower who had remarried.
He loves his beautiful, gentle, second wife so much!
And he loves his first wife still, many years later.
He would sometimes talk about her.
There were pictures and memorabilia of her around.
I used to feel so sorry for his second wife!
I used to say, "Not me, baby!"
Now I understand.
His second wife does not live in the shadow of the first,
she lives in the shade!

Now lest you think we spend all our time talking about our pasts,
we don't.
Shade is only enjoyed when the sun is shining.
Without the sunshine,
it is not shade, it is shadow, darkness.
The sunshine of our new lives
is warm and healing and wonderful
and where we spend the majority of our time.
But there will always be moments of shade.
Needed shade.

So why am I talking about this?
During our conversation this past weekend,
it occurred to me that there is a great parallel here.
True love does not die!
It is eternal!
No matter what!
When they were difficult,
we loved them.
When they were easy,
we loved them.
When they were dull,
we loved them.
When they were exciting,
we loved them.
Now they are gone from us,
and we love them.
No, love never dies.
Except it did!
While we were unlovable,
Love died for us on a cross!
Jesus' undying love,
was so deep,
that He chose to offer Himself
a physical sacrifice for our sin!

Of the many lessons of grief,
The lessons in love are my very favorites!

There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
                                                                                                    ~~ John 15:13 NLT ~~ 

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: 
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 
                                                                                                  ~~ Romans 5:8 NIV ~~ 

Friday, August 7, 2015

I love you!

I learned of a new widow today.

I also had the opportunity to minister
to a man whose wife of many years
received a terminal diagnosis today.

My Lanny Love has been out of the country
for 15 days.
He is on the way home and is,
this moment,
on layover in Paris.
Why that bothers me is irrelevant
outside of the fact that
it brings up great loss for me
which has made me even more anxious
to have him home,
more eager to look into his face to say
"I love you!"

These three things,
and a comment someone made to me a while ago,
have made me decide to talk about saying
"I love you!"

I say "I love you!" a lot!
I say it to my Lanny Love often throughout each day.
I say it to my kids every single time
I see or talk to them.
I say it to my grandchildren every single time
I see or talk to them.
I say it to my siblings.
I say it to my best friend.

And I like to hear it!
A lot!

I have someone in my life
who thinks I say it too much.
I'm not sure why they think that,
there was no explanation offered
and I didn't ask.
I tried to cut back saying it to that person though.
It hasn't worked out very well.
Because I really love them.
And I have to make a conscious effort
to not say it so often.
Perhaps they think I say it casually.
Or out of habit.
Or just as something to say.
I don't.

When I say it,
I mean it.
When I say it,
I am feeling it.


So, I've been thinking about it.
And today, as my heart hurts for these two individuals
who are grieving the loss of their spouse;
as I wait for my Lanny Love to return to me;
as I think about the loss of my precious Al,
my mother-in-law,
my grandma,
and others over the last two years,
I have decided that I won't cut back or stop saying
"I love you!"
to those I love.

Here's the thing.
Never once have I thought to myself,
"Gee, I really wish I hadn't told Al
that I loved him so often!"
"Golly, he said that a lot!
I sure got tired of hearing it!"
But a million times in the last 2 1/2 years
I've wished he could hear me say it one more time,
that I could hear him say it one more time.
Just once more.
But once more wouldn't be enough!
I'd want one more after that!
And one more after that!
So say it I will!!!

And I hope you will say it too!
Because one day, you'll wish you could say it ~
just one more time!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

58 and still learning

I am in my 59th year.
It is less than two years until my 60th birthday.
I used to think that was old.
Really, really old!
I no longer do.

Oh yes, I feel a few more aches and pains than I did in my younger years.
I have developed a few lines I didn't used to have.
My hair has grown some, ahem, natural highlights.
But I am not old.
I aged a lot in the last just over three years.
Grief does that.
Still, I look decent for a 58 year old woman.
I feel wonderful most of the time.
And my mind and heart are still 25!
So even though I am 58, I am not old!

I have discovered the fountain of youth!
The anti-aging treatment to beat them all!
No, it's not a cream!
Or a pill!
Or a diet!
Or an exercise program!
It's something that happens inside of you.
It's probably a little different for everyone -
though the foundation is the same.

You may remember that in January,
I decided to begin choosing joy.
That's not always easy!
And I did a LOT of self-talking at first -
still do from time-to-time.
But God and I have returned me to my joy.

It is not the same joy I once had.
Innocence has been lost.
We lose innocence often throughout our lives.
But with the loss comes gain:




Personal growth

Spiritual growth

I am a different person today than I was three years ago.
A much different person!
And that is neither good nor bad.
It's just different.
Everything is in a constant state of flux,
including us!
Some changes I have embraced and welcomed.
Others, I have fought, pushed away, run from, ignored.
But nonetheless, I have changed.

I often hear people wishing they could go back in time.
I don't wish that.
Would I change some things if I could?
In my humanness, certainly!
I wouldn't have any losses or the resulting anguish!
But that would have put me in a different place than I am today.
And that would mean not having the growth that has resulted!
While I can't say that I've always enjoyed the journey,
my location is good,
and I am certainly looking forward to where God is taking me!
I miss the people that I've lost and
I still don't understand!
But I love the people that I've gained!

I guess I am truly learning, as Paul admonishes,
to be content in all circumstances,
to accept God's will for my life even when it feels unpleasant to me,
to accept His wisdom in what He allows -
and disallows -
who and what He brings into my life -
and takes out.
It is not an easy path.
But then lack of acceptance wouldn't make it any easier after all -
believe me!

I know.
You say it's easy for me to be content right now.
I am in love.
But my Lanny Love is far, far away at this moment in time.
And, I still have life problems -
just like everyone else -
even though I'm in love.
And even in love,
I don't know what tomorrow holds
for loved ones are not here forever.

Here is what I know.
God has a plan.
I am living His plan.
And that is exactly where I want to live!

Fifty-eight years old.
It certainly took long enough for me to arrive at the obvious!

I have learned to be satisfied with the things I have
and with everything that happens.
I know how to live when I am poor,
and I know how to live when I have plenty.
I have learned the secret of being happy at any time
in everything that happens,
when I have enough to eat
and when I go hungry,
when I have more than I need
and when I do not have enough.
I can do all things through Christ,
because He gives me strength.
                                    ~~ Philippians 4:11-13 NCV ~~ 

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in Him,
and He helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise Him.

                                                                 ~~ Psalm28:7 NIV ~~

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A storm is blowing in

The wind has picked up.
The temperature has dropped significantly.
Gray clouds, heavy with rain, cover the sky.
Lightning is flashing in the distance.
I am sitting on my Lanny Love's patio
watching it coming.
And I am not afraid.

Now, I have never been afraid of storms.
Not the kind that produce wind and rain,
thunder and lightning.
But I have grown to fear the other kind of storms.
The life storms.
Even when there is no evidence of one coming on.

I used to tell my Al that I didn't need to worry,
that he worried enough for both of us.
And I always figured worrying wasn't going to change the outcome anyway.
So I didn't.
And I didn't fear much.
But I loved him.
And I feared losing him.
And, I did.
And then I began to worry.
About everything.

After a bit, I fell in love again.
And I feared losing Harlan.
And I did.
And worry was fertilized.

Now, despite my determination not to,
I have fallen in love again.
And I fear losing him.
And I worry.

But worry and fear are not pleasing to God.
So I work at not worrying.
I pray about not worrying.
And I worry.

My Lanny Love is in Kenya,
serving God on a mission trip.
He has been gone five days.
He will be gone another ten.
He will be going through French Customs,
on the way home.
When I learned that,
fear gave way to terror.
It doesn't matter why.
It just did.

As his departure approached,
I became more emotional,
I cried a lot.
I had nightmares.
I dreamed of Al.
And Harlan.
And losing Lanny.

The morning of his departure,
during my devotions,
I begged, pleaded, cajoled, promised, bargained.
I told God I just wanted him to come home,
safe and well.
That's all.
Just bring him home to me.

God, never One to ignore His children,
seemed silent to me that morning.
And my fear increased throughout the day.
My head screamed in pain.
My stomach rolled with nausea.
And I felt very, very alone.

As we said goodbye at the airport,
I had to work not to cry,
not to beg him not to go.
I stayed through security.
I watched as he walked down the hall and out of sight.
And still, I did not leave.

I sat for nearly three hours
waiting for his plane -
delayed because of mechanical issues -
to depart.
I was seated where I could see his gate.
I watched as he walked down the glass gateway.
Watched as he crossed over into the plane.
I watched as the plane pulled away from the gate.
I watched as it taxied,
picked up speed,
lifted off the runway.

Then it happened.
I could almost see it.
God's Hand's lifting the plane into the air.
God, lifting my Lanny Love.
God, in control.
More in love with him that I could ever be.
And at that same moment,
He lifted the fear from my heart.

What a relief the last five days have been!
My Lanny Love will still go through Paris,
French Customs,
on the way home.
There are still mosquitoes carrying malaria in Kenya.
There is still...well, there is still something else.
But the fear is gone.

Praise God!!!

Lord, I will thank You with all my heart;
I will sing to You before the gods.
I will bow down facing your holy Temple,
and I will thank You for Your love and loyalty.
 You have made Your Name and Your Word
greater than anything.
On the day I called You,
You answered me.
You made me strong and brave.
                                ~~ Psalm 138:1-3 NCV ~~ 

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in Him,
and He helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise Him.

                                                                 ~~ Psalm28:7 NIV ~~