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Author Archives: Healing Eyes

Letting go to serve

Read this today from the ‘ Jesus calling’ book.

March 24

This is a time in your life when you must learn to let go: of loved ones, of possessions, of control. In order to let go of something that is precious to you, you need to rest in My Presence, where you are complete. Take time to bask in the Light of My Love. As you relax more and more, your grasping hand gradually opens up, releasing your prized possession into My care.

You can feel secure, even in the midst of cataclysmic changes, through awareness of My continual Presence. The One who never leaves you is the same One who never changes: I am the same yesterday, today, and forever. As you release more and more things into My care, remember that I never let go of your hand. Herein lies your security, which no one and no circumstance can take from you.

Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O Lord.
—Psalm 89:15

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
—Hebrews 13:8

“For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”
—Isaiah 41:13

Hmm it’s so cool how it coincides with my life so much haha.
This weekend I gave my two puppies to my sister in law …my hardest loss since Andy died from cancer.

But it’s amazing how at peace I feel…to let go for God…it shows how powerful his presence is and can be when we need it most. He asked for more from me and I said yes reluctantly. My reward is peace amidst pain. But I know my pups are loved and getting the attention they need when I am unable to.

A small gift was a ride in a fire truck that weekend. Ha. God knows me too well. Although I think Andy had a part in it too hehe.

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Healing Eyes

Andy in the woods

When you have no experience of pain it is rather hard to experience joy.
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The night before I say goodbye to my puppies… another loss to be felt in my story of pain. I wait on the edge of fear of what’s to come. Another step forward in this endeavor of faith and love for the Spirit that has awakened inside me. Relentlessly pursuing me with a passion I do not question. Today I took the puppies for a hike in the woods. The snow was pure and the air was oddly quiet. As if the woods was waiting for me to come. It has become my place with Andy.

He was waiting for me in the trees, the stream, the breath on my cheek. With each step I took I drew nearer to his love. His voice whispered sweetly in my heart. After I went past the bend in the river, where some of his ashes lay, I opened my mind to the woods and felt a peace enter my heart.

Over and over it repeated, “I am okay… I am well… I am not in pain… cry no more for me Sarah… shed no more tears and grieve no more for I love you. I will always be with you and shall never leave your side”.
The voice was mixed with Gods voice. As if in this blessed spot my two loves were brought together to comfort and walk with me. The tears flowed and I wished to see Andy in the trees so badly. Oddly the puppies walked so calmly next to me… Not once did I have to call them back. It was as if Andy was walking with me and telling the puppies to stay close.

Towards the end I heard a bird whistle our tune. Through this Little bird my love was reaching out to me from heaven. As I whistled back the bird replied so sweetly–until at last the bird was gone. My love had come to say hello and quickly was gone again. For an hour of my day I was with my soulmate again. We were a family again us three.

Refined by fire my heart is seared. The flames engulfed me, the heat burns me, the air is sucked away from my lungs. Nevermore will I love as deeply as I did. That chapter of my life is gone. Although I burn in the pain of yesterday… I look towards tomorrow… for hope sings true in my heart. Each moment of my days brings reminders of hope and pain … Which makes the happy moments all that richer.
Tomorrow or the next A cool wind will return to blow the flames out. Through great pain comes great love!
My God waits for me and he has my Andy close by.

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Healing Eyes

Are we all ‘Ok’ ?

Is it ok to share with the world doubts?

Is it ok to expose ones fears to the world about trusting in God?

What good can come from being that transparent with people about one’s thoughts and feelings? Doesn’t that leave us vulnerable to being seen as weak to ones peers? Putting everything on the line and letting others judge you however they see fit. Every day we get dressed and prepare ourselves for a day of barrage of negatives mixed with positives. More often than not I find myself waking up and sighing anxiety thinking what will today be like and am I ready for more dissapointment. Not a very healthy way to start a day when I already assume its going to be bad before it begins. It seems we can’t every be entirely genuine out of fear of what others might think of our actions or even physical appearance for the day. Is that what God wants? To have us be less genuine and put on an ‘ok’ face in order to make others more comfortable? Sounds silly when said out loud.

Last night I looked at old photos of Andy. Our last vacation together in June for our 13th Wedding anniversary we went to Jamaica. We figured let’s go all out since we had wanted to go Ireland but that was right before cancer was diagnosed. Our dream vacation was to go to Ireland together and that was quickly snatched away. As I was looking at photos of Jamaica I saw a pattern develop in how Andy looked in each photo, something I had subconsciously been ignoring while he was sick. However, I knew it was happening since I saw it every day. That slow death in the eyes, the hollow pain filled look in his eyes. For months on end he was in pain and his eyes showed it every day. At times I could look past it and see the Andy inside but soon that pain was just overwhelming him as hard as he wanted to pretend he was ‘ok’. In each photo he did his half smile he always did but this time his eyes showed the other side…the side of internal pain and struggle with cancer. June was the mid point for his remission (I dislike that word) and our high point of being able to do activities together without him being completely wiped out. Most of the vacation I would walk the beach while he slept, or I would swim while he chilled in a lounge chair. He tried so hard to swim with the dolphins but as I knew he was having fun seeing me smile it was killing him to continue putting that happy face on. Maybe I tried to smile too much for the both of us. Maybe that’s where we shined…I could put the happy face on for the both of us and pick up the slack. Oh what a great vacation though! I got to see sooo much of past Andy on that island before the coming months back at home would prove too much for Andy’s strength and mine. Inside I was a mess and putting on that face to the world that I was ‘ok’. Some days we both were good at it but other days it was obvious. Cancer was ruining everything..the disease was stealing everything away.

Is there life after Cancer? Depends on the stage in my opinion. First round of chemo, yes. After major surgery and removal of a stomach, yes’ish. After 2nd round of chemo, barely. That last round of chemo was what annihilated Andy’s body and spirit. That last round of chemo took the last of my pre-cancer Andy away and we were left to muddle thru the aftermath. We did find happy moments that made it worth it..such as Jamaica!

Oh that Andy is finally free is what keeps me going each day. Fly Andy, Soar Andy, and guide my days on this earth as an Angel by my side. Nudge me to move..Nudge me to try.. Nudge me to just Wake up in the morning like you did those weeks following your death. Where you whispered ever so quietly in my ear, “Please Get Up”.

 

Dolphin Andy Resting EEk

 

Fundraising for my Real Mission Trip

 

Healing Eyes

Proof of what?

I need your pain…it’s not love any other way

I already know who you are and all the things that kept us apart… It’s enough, it’s not enough to just say I’m ok..I need your hurt.. I need your pain.

“You are Mine for all Time … utterly secure you are…your future is absolutely assured!”

Those were the words I read this morning when I got into work for March 10th out of the ‘Jesus Calling’ book on a friends desk. Every morning I walk over, regardless of how busy I am, and read the daily inspiration for the day. There is no hiding it, God is screaming at me and proving with each step I take that it is ever SO right! How did I live for so long outside of this amazing embrace of faith?! Maybe it was the fear of believing and fear of losing control. 

I worried that this blog might turn into a ‘Religious’ ‘Christian’ blog more than a journey of ‘LIVING’. Why do we put so much attention on the word ‘Religion’ and what denomination we are, what the differences are between each of us, and being a ‘good’ christian? Because then we concentrate on all those things instead of just BELIEVING in something more and LIVING truly in faith of a LOVE we all can touch. Sometimes I just feel like my words are not my own and my story could have purpose to touch others… Maybe that’s my calling?!

Each day is a surprise on how it unfolds before me. The day started slowly by hitting the snooze button. It got better as I went thru the day listening to what God wanted me to hear and see. Then as the night closes in and I realize my bed is alone I look to the memories of times lost. For those who have lost a husband to cancer they can understand the pain. The relief felt after death finally releases there husband from the grips of pain. I went to the cancer center the other day where Andy had his surgery and I visited the garden on the top floor. It had both good and bad memories obviously, but I wanted to face something by going there. It wasn’t really closure but a closeness with the battle we fought that 2 weeks in the hospital. I even reconnected with his doctor while there. She was a doctor that always cared about Andy and took such care in answering our questions and concerns (I have to be careful since I know she may be reading this haha:). But really, you can’t find many doctors who give so much time and care for a patient, one of many patients who drain there emotions day after day. Knowing that those who come in may eventually die from the disease while watching them suffer from the pain and reality of the truth. She told me, “Sarah, you did everything you could…the disease was too much for Andy…it wasn’t your fault. It may take a long time to truly believe that, Sarah, but you loved Andy so much, it was obvious to everyone you loved him even thru the hard times. It wasn’t your fault”.

It may seem obvious to think that dying from Cancer is not the caregivers fault. But there is a part of me that believes I didn’t do enough and that I did kill Andy. How ridiculous that sounds when saying it aloud! But I watched him suffer, I watched him die, I felt his last breathe. I helped him find relief from the pain with the morphine drip. I made him comfortable in his final hours. The disease killed Andy but the disease also killed me. It killed an innocence in me, a belief that we are all in control of our lives. I will never forget the ravishing effects that chemo took on Andy’s frail body, the broken heart of a man who lost everything and when faced with dying finally gave in. Made the choice to stop fighting and leave this earth. When I was in St. Croix I read a book, Proof of Heaven, and at the end of it was a poem. I know this will lengthen this blog entry but I know thru it’s words it gave me peace and it was as if Andy was saying to me, he didn’t want to go but…

“When tomorrow starts without me, and I’m not there to see, If the sun should rise and find your eyes are filled with tears for me; I wish so much you wouldn’t cry the way you did today, while thinking of the many things, we didn’t get to say.
I know how much you love me, as much as I love you, and each time you think of me, I know you’ll miss me too. But when tomorrow starts without me, please try to understand, that an angel came and called my name,
and took me by the hand, and said my place was ready, In heaven far above and that I’d have to leave behind all those I dearly love. But as I turned to walk away, a tear fell from my eye For all my life, I’d always thought,
I didn’t want to die. I had so much to live for, so much left yet to do. It seemed almost impossible, that I was leaving you. I thought of all the yesterdays, the good ones and the bad, The thought of all the love we shared, and all the fun we had. I’d say goodbye and kiss you and maybe see you smile. But then I fully realized that this could never be.
For emptiness and memories would take the place of me. And when I thought of worldly things I might miss come tomorrow. I thought of you, and when I did my heart was filled with sorrow. But when I walked through heaven’s gates I felt so much at home
When God looked down and smiled at me, from his great golden throne, He said, “This is eternity, and all i’ve promised you. Today your life on earth is past but here it starts a new. I promise no tomorrow, but today will always last and since each day’s the same say. There is no longing for the past. You have been so faithful, so trusting and so true. Though there were times you did some things you knew you shouldnt do. But you have been forgiven and now at last you’re free. So won’t you come and take my head and share my life with me?”
So when tomorrow starts without me, don’t think we’re for apart, for every time you think of me I’m right here, in your heart.

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Healing Eyes

Quotes from: Experiencing God by Henry and Richard Blackaby

“When you trust that God always gives his best, you will devote your heart to whatever assignment God gives because you know in that role you can experience everything God has in his heart for you.”

“When God gives you a directive you can be sure he has already considered every factor. ”

“When your life is centered in Gods’ activity, he will rearrange your thinking. God’s ways and thoughts are so different from yours that they will often appear wrong, unloving, or impossible. You will often realize that the task he assigns is far beyond your power or resources to accomplish. as soon as you recognize that the job appears humanly unattainable, you need to be ready to believe and to trust him completely.”

—————————–

One night I asked for more.
One night I asked for it all to end.
One night I asked to save me from the pain.
One night I screamed out, “I give up, take my life!”

and

One day God said, ‘Ok’.

One day at a time is my motto ever since Cancer. Now more than ever it is becoming clearer as to how important that saying is. Today I purchased heavy duty tupperware bins to pack just enough clothing and necessities for the new direction in my life. From a house packed full of things and 4 cars in a driveway I am reduced to 2 tupperware bins. When I made the decision to follow the unthinkable .. become childlike in my trust of God’s plan for my new chapter in life I never thought it would mean this. Each day I am faced with imposing doubt of what used to be precious to me. To surrender it all, risk it all to find a bigger purpose in life…oh what madness..but what if by chance faith can win. To have fear is to doubt..how can I doubt the one who wants the best for me, he wouldn’t send me away if it wasn’t a path that would eventually lead to the best for me. Yes there will be pain, ups and downs, trials, but oh what sweet victory to truly live! Find the beauty in the rain, the sun, the simple act of breathing, appreciating each blessing every day as if it were my last. To not live in limbo of the future…without worrying about each imposing day ahead of me..can we all not live like that? Trapped by our own worry and doubt of a future we can’t control.

Step out with me to see a world full of hope and a touch less sorrow. The pain of our past and present will always remain but to seek ways to be happy amidst the storms of life, now that’s worth doing. Finally a challenge worth accepting.. 34 years in the making (with a 13 year intermission of love and life lessons)!

So what am I up to? Well I have eluded to it in my previous posts..something about God’s calling and a remote island. Putting the pieces together? In April I will be leaving my home, friends, and family to follow a small voice inside that says, ‘Go’.  Leave behind what is familiar and have faith in the impossible…
Walk with others strong in their faith, learn to live a simpler life and stop trying to DO everything and control each day. God doesn’t always give specific details of his plan but nudges you in the right direction. I have been given a nudge to help out at Lighthouse Ministries, BE around others in need, BE around God’s love, and BE with children. Along the way if my skills in technology, design, and leadership can be used than by all means God will make it happen. If I am hungry or need shelter than God will provide it. If I am sad or in pain than God will be there to hold me. All of this is foreign to me, and yet it feels so right to trust .. to give up controlling since I have learned thru much suffering and loss that its futile to fight God’s will.

I have started a fundraising website again but this time instead of going to just heal from Andy’s loss… I am going to follow a dream, an awakening of my heart and soul to God.. what madness it is:)  God brought me out of my comfort zone to show me love he can only give to a broken heart.

I will be staying at a wonderful lady’s house again, in a quaint room with showers from the rain that falls from the heavens. My belongings will be simple and my diet will be limited (I never was a good cook…kinda lazy on that front). My income will be cut in half while I attempt to still work online. My puppies will be staying with a family member and thanks to prayer I will not have to separate Yoshi and Miko from each other. The rest of the details will work themselves out each day as I lead up to my flight.

Andy can you believe it!? Out of great pain will come great hope! It’s going to be ok…

Donate here: Fundraising Page

Healing Eyes

What does one do with Great Pain?

 

They either let it swallow them up and poison there heart or they set it free hoping the words once spoken will free them from it. Maybe that’s why I lay my life open like an open book to complete strangers behind this mask of story telling.

Just over 2 months ago I lost everything. Cancer had taken hold of my marriage to my soulmate of 13 years. In August of 2012 my husband was diagnosed with Gastric cancer in the midst of our hopes and dreams to adopt a child and free ourselves from the pain of child death and childlessness.

We searched for so long to find that missing piece in our hearts. Little did we know that was God at work in our hearts. Patiently waiting and laying out events and choices before us. While both of us were undecided on God in our lives, cancer the C-word took hold like a thief. Andy lost first his stomach and then the freedom to live without physical pain 24 hours a day with little sleep.

I watched as my husband slowly died month after month in my arms. In the end his mind went and I felt I had lost him completely. But then hope came to us in a series of events _ both good and bad. I was in Germany when I had him ambulanced to the hospital from an overdose. When I returned home we hugged, cried, and found love again. His health quickly declined and the cancer slithered back in with a vengeance. In less than 3 weeks my love died forever in my arms. Thru incredible pain he finally found peace _ his heart slowed and he fell asleep in Jesus’s arms. Within 2 days I kissed him goodbye forever as his body turned back to dust and his battered body was free from its chains.

The day he died he gave up and threw his arms in the air and said, “I love God”! He would join our baby in heaven and he was ready to die. With that closure of death my life became Gods, I just didn’t know it yet.

The connections started prior to my husbands death with a missionary named April living in St. Croix took hold in my heart and soon I was on a plane to an island not knowing why God said go and what I was to learn so soon after death.

My first leap of faith as a newly reborn child of God full of questions and fear. I met pain head on and I heard people’s stories of heartache and endurance thru misery. I was challenged to see a strong faith in something I couldn’t see and an openness to building relationships that I in the past would have shrunk from. My walls were falling and I did not like it. It was overwhelming to say the least when I started to hear a still voice in me that wanted so badly to expose my raw pain.

I volunteered my time at Lighthouse Missions, I really felt quite out of my element and being stretched outside my comfort zone every minute of the day. I was passed between April (the CEF missionary) and Debbie (the director of the lighthouse mission). For 2 weeks my life really wasn’t mine, I was to watch and listen. A feather in the wind going where God wanted me, meeting the right person at the right time to just hear their story and perhaps tell my sappy sad one. It was becoming clear to me that God was calling me to something. He wanted me to remember what faith was like that I knew when i was a kid. He wanted me to fall in love with something bigger than myself so that when I returned home I could tell a story of a broken heart that might just have a chance to mend, but only with the help of someone much bigger than me. I did not want to listen and I did not want to believe I could be used for something if I just gave up control.

I am going to take a leap of faith and continue my crazy journey outside my comfort zone. Sometimes after loss and during grief a person can decide to run from pain or avoid it. My calling is different…my calling is to use my pain in order to heal from my pain. Sounds messed up? That’s probably a good thing because that means it’s not my idea. Selling my house, both my cars, and donating most of my assets to Goodwill are not logical things to do. What I gain is peace each time i give up more of me.

When I married my Andy in June of 2000 on a beautiful sunny day, God had begun his plan, to let me go for awhile so that I could slowly take his blessing of Pain in edible bite sized pieces. If I had known on that day what was to lay ahead of me I would have not survived the weight of that pain. In time the memories, experiences, trials, illness, and finally utter loss would open a door for me to return to God a different person. A broken person that will seize the chance to take action and trust in something unthinkable.

So over the next few weeks I will continue to shrink my belongings and surrender to a life not my own so that I can be free to go where I must.

Healing Eyes

God answers fast

Just sold my table and the people leave…then I found this note and more cash stuck in my door !!
I just mentioned I sold my house and my husband died.

Really?! God is amazing!

Wow!! Just open your heart and life to strangers and be ready for miracles:)

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Healing Eyes

It’s sold

I am searching no more…

by your side

My house is sold…my belongings are shrinking…god my life is yours!!! All of it!!! Take me and rebuild this broken heart into more. Finally I am listening..I’ll fall sometimes and I will miss Andy often…but the future can be bright knowing Andy isn’t in pain anymore!!!

My life is not my own. Andy’s life was not his own. Cancer sucks!! But facing pain can lead to hope…

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Healing Eyes

Moving on but not budging in my heart

With each piece of furniture, clothing, fork, spoon, video game, lamp, and computer I say goodbye to what me and Andy built. We built a home full of love, sharing, sadness, pain, illness, but above all it was Me and Andy. I packed each item into little boxes that would move with me, the items that ranked high enough to move to a 2 bedroom apartment. The other items went to the far right, stacked high with each pile that would eventually make its final destination to Goodwill. Some day another ‘Andy’ type thrift shopper will happen upon each item and smile, purchase, and then run out to his or her significant other and share the joy of finding a piece of treasure at a low low price.

The house is quiet now..no more voices..no more snuggles under the covers..but most important..no more cancer lurking in the shadows. Cancer will follow me wherever I go, the memories hang heavy on my heart. Andy lived a great life..I must hold on to that and pray the good memories will outweigh the final year of sickness and pain.

In my apartment I have a room of stuff ready for the second round of downsizing. My goal is to get down to clothing and bare necessities of living. In truth one person doesn’t need a lot but for some reason we crave stuff. It can’t fill the void left after losing a soulmate. I must remember that as I give up more of myself.

Today starts a new day.. a day where I now sign away my house, complete with death certificate in hand. I am sure tears will be shed and my final goodbye to a house filled with memories. In my mind and heart I have packed those memories up already and they go wherever I go.

What to do when one door closes? Step out into the unknown and follow something greater than me, breathe in each day with a purpose, remember the loss and use it to my advantage. God gave me Pain as a gift and I will never forget that..thru suffering we appreciate life and the blessings just waiting to be opened.

Bring it on God! I am empty, broken, and moldable!

 

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Healing Eyes

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Andy’s retirement fund he left on his dresser … I nicely sorted it into quarters, nickels, pennies, and dimes as a therapy distraction from selling my house ha.
Thank you Andy! It was funny when u said it was our retirement fund and even more hilarious as I counted it:)

hit bottom?

Healing Eyes