Monthly Archives: September 2013

Broken

What do you do when you feel broken?
Where do you go to fix yourself?
To get yourself get put back together again?
I know the answer.
It’s clear.
Obviously I should go to The Lord.
I know that.
After all, he’s in control.
I know that The Lord will be the one
to allow healing to take place in our hearts…
But right now, well, it just really hurts.
I miss Robert.
I knew at some point in our journey that we were not
getting the healing that we had hoped for,
but I never imagined that I would miss him this much…
I never thought that my feelings of loss would be so intense and raw.

I know where he is…
I know that he’s with the Lord and that he’s no longer in pain
and that’s a good thing.
But my heart;
my heart that loved him for so very long,
aches in a way that I never anticipated.
I miss his arms wrapped around me at night
and feeling the closeness of his body next to mine in the morning.
I miss him asking me about my day,
seeing him walk through the door and saying in a high voice, “Daddy’s home!”
I miss snuggling with him on the couch
and him thanking me for a dinner I’ve made.
I miss hearing him snore.
I know, it’s strange, but I do.

The silence of his absence is very loud.
Its so painful that I wonder how I will ever stop hurting.
I see him in the sunrise and in the ocean,
in the moments when I’m talking with friends, or playing with the kids…
I think of his reaction to things that I say or things that the kids are doing…
As one friend put it;
I have a Robert shaped hole in my heart that no one can fill.
I don’t think I’ve ever felt such emptiness in my entire life.

But here’s the thing….
I know that God is still here.
I know he’s not forsaken me.
He said he would be there for me and he is…
God never said that we wouldn’t hurt.
He said he’d walk beside us in our pain.
Jesus is my husband now.
I still trust him.
He’s allowed this pain in my life for a reason.
I know he’ll use it.
I know that he will use it to help other people who are experiencing loss.
I know it won’t always hurt this much.
In the meantime the Lord has surrounded me with people who loved us both
and who are loving my children and I through our pain.

I’ve always known that I loved my husband.
I knew we had something special.
But I don’t think I truly realized just how much a part of me Robert really was….
There are moments when I feel like I can’t breathe without him.
In those moments when I feel as if I’m gasping for air,
I reach up to God and I can breathe again.

God has made some promises…
That he would take care of us, that he would love us,
that he would be there… And he is.
He is so there.
I can feel him shining through my pain.
We have a long road to travel…
I know it won’t be easy,
but I’m assured that The Lord will be there with us to see us through.
I can hear Robert in my head saying,
“I’m sorry I can’t be there baby, but God’s got it… Trust him woman.”
So I will.
I’ll trust Him..

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Is suffering necessary?

I was reading the Bible today, and came across some interesting things in Romans…  I figured I’d share.  I’m not a theologian mind you, but I do have a brain that works most of the time… Anyway, so here’s the scripture…

“The spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God, and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may be glorified together.  For I consider the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.  For the earnest expectations of the creation eagerly awaits for the revealing of the sons of God.  Romans 8:16-19

Okay, so basically we know that we are heirs with Christ… Which is pretty amazing in itself if you ask me…  I mean, he’s royalty… Major royalty; we’re not talking Lord of the Rings Return of the King royalty, but real true, Son of God royalty… That is crazy cool. Okay, so here comes the interesting part.  It says that if we suffer with him we are joint heirs and that as a result we will be glorified together.  I’ve heard people say that God doesn’t want us to suffer; that God doesn’t want anyone to suffer, and that if you do suffer it’s because our sin has somehow caused our suffering.  I know that we do have to answer for our sins.  There are repercussions when we sin against God.  However, sometimes, I believe that people suffer because God is at work doing something.  God is going to be glorified.  He deserves to be glorified.  He desires to have communion with us, and he will accomplish what he set out to do through us.  But I digress…

So according to to the word of God, while we suffer here on earth, it’s not comparable to the glory that God will reveal in us.  That. Is. Amazing.  I’m sorry… I’m a nerd at heart, so hearing that our suffering is nothing compared to what God is going to show us, is well, for lack of a better term, really cool.  And yes, I have a degree in English, and yes, cool is the best word I can think of right now.

It really means a lot in light of my husband’s cancer and recent passing.  I already knew that Robert didn’t suffer for nothing.  I know that God had a plan for his life and has a plan for all of us…  I know this.  But… I watched my husband… My sweet, never complaining husband suffer. That was probably the hardest part of the last almost two years… I thought a cancer diagnosis was hard…. Two surgeries was rough… Chemo and the side effects were brutal… Watching him come home from work totally depleted of energy was difficult… But his suffering in recent months… Well, that was just gut wrenching.  I cried more in the last two months than I have throughout the entire illness…  Seeing someone you love more than life suffer does something to you… It breaks you, and I was broken.  I couldn’t take away his pain which we learned was from the tumors growing at an alarming rate on his spine.  Can you imagine that pain?  I can’t… And yet, my sweet hubby never complained.  He just praised God all the way through.  All the way through, while I cried, I might add.  I admit to being a wimp; but in my defense, I really loved the guy… I still do.  I’m still a bit amazed by him.

So here we go…  He suffered.  Bad.  Really bad, but the word says that his suffering, the immense pain that Rob felt is nothing compared to what glory God will reveal to him, that “the earnest expectations of the creation eagerly awaits for the revealing of the sons of God.”  Can you think of a better word than cool to describe that?  I’m sure you can… How about amazing, wonderful, glorious, awesome… I’m a bit speechless to find more words honestly.  Here’s the thing… The final point if you will… We will go through things in this life as Christians…  Hard stuff, tough stuff, rough stuff…  STUFF…  Being a christian does not give you a pass from heartache or hardship.  I know it is an unpopular stance.  Would you like to know the really “cool” thing about that?  You don’t walk alone… Your suffering is not for nothing…  God is not punishing you, nor is he some cosmic bully out to get you…

If we truly allow ourselves to be used by God, we will see in due time, that he does have a purpose for our suffering.  Robert, my husband, and my very best friend suffered immensely… I walked along side him and suffered as well.  I suffer each day, not able to reach out and touch his hand or hear his voice… It hurts… I won’t lie to you.  But I know that God has a plan, and that our suffering is nothing compared to what God has in store for us.  Whether here, or on the other side of heaven; he has a plan to use our suffering; and well, I think that’s pretty cool.

Me and Rob…

Me and Rob...

One of our last date nights… We had just gotten home… It was a good night. Miss my honey…

What My husband would want you to know (What I said at his funeral)

I said in a Facebook post soon after Robert died that I had lost the love of my life….That my husband and best friend was gone… I need to correct that statement, because I haven’t lost Robert…  We’ve simply said goodbye for now.  While Rob was in the hospital the last time in the ICU, just a week before he passed away, he told me that soon he would close his eyes and open them and be in the presence of the Lord.  He continued to say, “What could be more beautiful?”  He always said that he was in a win-win situation.  He said if the Lord healed him, he’d have more time with us, and if he didn’t, he’d get a new body and be with the Lord.

Matt Chandler, in To Live is Christ, To Die is Gain, writes, “Jesus says, even if you die, you will live.  For those united to Christ by faith, death has no sting and no victory. In fact, to be present with the Lord is better than life!  The great preacher Dwight L. Moody, once quipped, ‘some day you will read in the paper that D. L. Moody, of East Northfield, is dead.  Don’t you believe a word of it! At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now.  Death is a homecoming for a Christian.

What Chandler wrote, rings true for Robert.  His departure from this earth is not some great tragedy or mystery as some would suppose.  It was his reward.  Robert was not afraid to die, because he knew that God was in control of his life.  He knew that cancer didn’t catch God by surprise, because NOTHING catches God by surprise; EVER…  While he hoped for a healing, as we all did, he knew that God could call him home; and he was okay with that.  Now you might be saying how could anyone be okay facing imminent death?  How could one have peace, while so many others around him despaired?  It’s simple.  He trusted God.  He didn’t trust him in the simple ways that we often say, trust the Lord; he’s got it… and then go home and worry about whatever problem it is we’re having… No, he trusted him with everything.  His life, his family, all of those he loved… He trusted that God, who just happened to the creator of the universe, knew what he was doing.

Robert had an insight that I’ve seen few people possess in my 42 years of living.  He was the real thing y’all.  He knew that God was his father and that Jesus died on the cross for him, and he didn’t take that lightly.  He lived for the Lord.  He taught his children about God.  He sat up late discussing the word of God with his kids, and with me… He sought to know and to follow God’s heart.  He made unpopular decisions.  We were considered weird, even in the Christian community because my husband followed the leading of the Lord to homeschool our children.  He worked hard, sometimes taking on two or three jobs so that I could stay at home and educate our children, because he believed that God wanted it that way.  He challenged me to seek the Lord and to forgive those who hurt me… He put our family first.  Every. Single. Time.  He put me first before anyone else.  He loved us well.  He loved me well.  He was my biggest cheerleader, and encouraged me to follow my dreams.  He inspired me and allowed my faith to grow exponentially watching him battle cancer while praising God the entire time.  That was no small feat.  He had tumors growing on his spine.  Imagine the worse backache you’ve ever had and multiply it by one million.  He sang praise songs, he thanked God, and he worshipped his Father, all while he was in excruciating pain, and I looked on astonished at his tenacity.  I told him that he was awesome and that I should definitely marry him.  He said he would.

He never lost his sense of humor.  Hours before he passed away and his ability to talk long gone, I told him that I loved him and he moved his eyebrows up and down…  He used to do that to make me laugh when I teased him about his thick eyebrows… He was truly one of a kind.  If there is any good in me, if I am any kind of a good friend, or mother, or sister, or daughter, it is because my husband encouraged me to be those things.  As corny as it sounds, he made me want to be a better person.  If he were here right now, he would tell you that he could be the man that he was only through the saving grace of Jesus Christ.  He was by no means perfect; though he’d jokingly say, he was darn close.

If you knew us well, you’d know we had a very special relationship.  We had a great marriage.  We were still best friends after sixteen years of marriage, and he was still the one.  Still the one I rushed home to, still the one I couldn’t wait to talk to, and still the one who held my heart gently in his hands… For those of you who may not know, we never dated before we were married.  He was my best friend, and I was his…  Sure, I admit to having a crush on him.  So I prayed.  I asked God to either change my heart or to make it happen.  He was in the army and stationed in Washington State.  Two weeks after I prayed, I received a bouquet of flowers and a five page letter expressing his love to me and asking me to marry him.  I hadn’t seen him in two years.  Two months later and after one practice kiss on our wedding day, (so we wouldn’t look stupid) we were married.  We never looked back.

There is no big secret to our marriage.  We simply founded it in Christ.  He was the focus.  Putting Christ first makes it really hard to be selfish in a marriage.  Robert told me early in our marriage that love was doing the things that you didn’t feel like doing; because you had to love the other person more than you loved yourself.   He lived that statement out throughout our marriage.  He had a servant’s heart and truly loved me as Christ loved the church.  I treated him with respect and submitted (most of the time) to his Godly authority and we both submitted ourselves to Christ.  Don’t get me wrong; we didn’t do it all right… In fact, we made a lot of mistakes.  But we were quick to forgive each other and move on.   We didn’t want to waste time with un-forgiveness.  I’m so glad that we didn’t waste the time that God gave us… We had no regrets about our marriage or our life together.

I told Robert that if he died that I would be speaking at his funeral.  I felt that I needed you to know some things about Robert.  He said it sounded like a good plan.  So here I am.  I need you to know that Robert it okay.  He’s not in pain anymore.  He’s not suffering. He’s with Christ.  He wanted to live, to continue raising our kids together; but he trusted that God knew best.  This was not a mistake or some horrible thing that happened to him.  God has been ever present and glorified throughout this entire ordeal.  Robert would want you to know that.  He would want you to understand that life is indeed a gift from God.  He would tell you not to waste it.  He would tell me, “Stop crying woman, God’s got it, trust him.” He would tell our children, “It’s going to be okay bucket heads, it looks bad, but God will see you through this…”  So I’m telling you; trust the Lord in all of this; in every part of your life.  In everything that you’re confused about or don’t understand.  Trust Him.  If you don’t know the Lord as your savior, trust him with your life right now.  We’ve all heard the saying, tomorrow’s not promised; well, it’s really not.  We only have right now. This moment.  Right here.

My heart aches at the loss of my husband.  For my children, who miss their dad terribly.  For my sons, who will grow up without their father to teach them how to become men.  For my daughters, who will miss their daddy’s hugs and kisses and hearing him sweetly say as only a daddy can, “You’re my beautiful princesses.” I miss my best friend.  I miss seeing his gorgeous smile that lit up his whole face and his laughter that made my heart glad.  I miss hearing his deep voice saying “I love you woman,” and his warm embrace that always made me feel so safe.  There are so many things that I miss about him; but I have the assurance that I will see him again one day, because I’ve put my trust and life in Christ’s hands.

God is not something I’ve simply invented to comfort myself.  Christ truly died on the cross to save us from our sins.  He sacrificed himself for us.  How deep a love must be to sacrifice one’s own life.  Cry if you will, and mourn for my beloved husband, but don’t weep too long.  Robert wouldn’t want you to.  He wouldn’t want you to make a fuss about him.  He’d be bothered that you took off from work to be here today. Really… He wouldn’t want you to focus on him, he would prefer that you focus on Jesus.  That’s who Robert was.  He was a servant, with a servant’s heart, and it was a blessing and a true honor to be his wife.

I pray that you will consider him, the way that he lived, and understand that he was the great man that he was because of Christ.  To God be the honor and the glory in all things; yes, even this.  I thank God for my husband and for blessing us with five amazing children.  No matter the outcome, I’m glad to have known and loved and to have been loved by Robert Lee Deveaux.

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