I knew I really needed to do this. But it’s hard. Any change? Not all change is hard. Just when it involves money and memories. It has been 10 years since his death and now I find myself noticing what I still own 10 years later. In my mind it goes something like this: “I had this, wore this, used this, when James was alive.” or “I bought this after James died.” Why is it that the timeline of my life is governed by before and after James’ death? I guess we all have that. “Before you were born”, I would say to Avery. “After the flood, the hurricane…” I guess we all have those timeline markers.
But this “marker” still seems to define the time structure of my life. Noticing for some time now…we need new living room furniture. I wish I could get exactly what I have but new and clean. Easier to make that change, subtle. The search begins. I have a budget, I have the money. It’s realistic but I struggle. Since he died, I struggle to make “big purchase” decisions. You’d think as a women with cash I would be ready to blow it but something causes caution or is it apprehension. Regardless it is difficult. I think honestly it’s the memories. Even though I didn’t have all this furniture when he was alive, It brings me back to the memory of when we bought our first couch. How broke we were and had to finance it for 3 years just to afford it. How different things are today. You would think affording it now would make it easier, but it doesn’t. I wonder if I continue to get rid of everything we had together would I forget him. As life moves on, stuff gets replaced would I forget him? Are memories dependent on the things we see and touch? I grapple with all of these thoughts and emotions all the while knowing I need to put on my big girl panties and just make a decision. Back to the same furniture chain store we have purchased from previously. A well dressed, young, pregnant sales women approaches us. We decided on the sectional on sale. Just needed to make sure it fits. She helped us measure it then handed me her card… Elizabeth. “Don’t forget me” she said as we walked out. That night, I measured the living room and determined it would fit perfectly. Found it! The pieces were similar enough but better. I went online to order it. But I heard her voice, “Don’t forget me”. I could just order it this way but she wouldn’t get a commission. “What’s the big deal”, I thought. But I just couldn’t press the purchase button. “God, do I need to go back to the store and order it from _______, what was her name? I couldn’t remember her name. A couple of days later, Avery and I went back to the store. We asked for Elizabeth (Avery remembered her name) and we made the purchase . As she was printing the receipt, I whispered to Avery “What’s her name?” She rolled her eyes and said “Elizabeth”. At the end of the transaction. I said” Elizabeth, are you a Christian?” She smiled and said “Yes”. I asked if I may pray for her and her baby. She agreed as I laid one hand on her shoulder and the other on the top of her baby bump. As I prayed, I felt the baby moving. I struggled to hold back the tears but I sensed the presence of the Spirit in that moment as I prayed out loud for God’s provision and blessing on her, her husband, her 20 mo. old and this new life still forming inside her. As I opened my eyes and met hers, there was a different countenance on her face, a softness. She said “Thank you, and may God bless you and continue to enable you to be a blessing to others as well”. We hugged and departed.After I got home, my mind went to the encounter with Elizabeth. “Don’t forget me”. I didn’t. God didn’t. The blessing I received today to pray for her and her family and the blessing she gave me back. I thought of how the baby moved as I prayed. Just like ELIZABETH! Suddenly I remembered.
“When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.” Luke 1:41
It says in Luke Chapter 1 that Elizabeth was 6 months pregnant when Mary visited her. Just like this Elizabeth I was visiting in the furniture store. I can’t be sure my Elizabeth was filled with the Spirit after I prayed for her, but there was a definite difference in her countenance and evidenced by the blessing she spoke to me.
Tomorrow is Father’s Day. Always a difficult reminder that Avery doesn’t have her earthly father. And although God has abundantly provided for us both as a greater Father there is still that reminder, that memory of what it “should be”. At the end of Elizabeth’s dialog she says: “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” Luke 1:45.
This is the verse I taped to the front of my computer monitor at work for the years James and I were separated. I knew God would bless me if I just believed His promises. There would be times when I didn’t know exactly what those promises were but I could always come back to the truth that no matter what, God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5. He also promises: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39 His love and care for me is certain no matter what!
Today was a beautiful and timely reminder of that truth. Thank you God, that you are all powerful and loving. That you know the struggles of our hearts even before we can identify them ourselves. Thank you that You are Avery’s Father. May she know the depth and riches of your love even greater this Fathers Day. Bless Elizabeth, fill her with your Spirit. May she and her husband experience the greatness of your love through the birth and life of this child. In Jesus Name-Amen.