Five Years

They say that pain is a prison. It (pain) can trap and suffocate you and it doesn’t matter which direction you look, each wall in that prison cell look the same and each wall has the words “NO HOPE” written on the four corners inside your world.

Today marks FIVE years of my wonderful, amazing husband Brent Yim’s passing from this life to ETERNAL LIFE. I remember most of that day. Some who were there may remember it differently than I do but I remember laying right next to him on that awful hospital bed in our very own bedroom and his breathing got more and more intense but less and less until finally that last bit of air from his lungs came out. It was surreal. As if I was living someone else's nightmare. I yelled to my mom to give him CPR and began to hit my father-in-law for turning off the breathing machine then made him turn it back on. I don’t know why I did any of those things I guess maybe there was a little bit of “hope” left in me that it would bring him back to me……… bring him back to our boys and to his family.

But it didn’t.

Death had crept in and taken…..and it stung. It stung more than words could ever try to explain and so began that last five years without him. Truly my BEST FRIEND, father to our babies, my provider, my protector, my pastor, my entire life……… was just taken.

I often wonder what life would look like today if Brent were still here. I dream about having that family I once had and maybe even have had a fuller house. With more children and laughter and wonder if the boys would be who they are now without a Dad or would they be different? I picture Brent coaching our boy’s soccer team and wishing it wasn't just always me at the games or school functions or karate practice or the only one correcting my kids. I wish I had Brent to bounce my ideas off with or just have someone ask me, “how was your day today.” I miss feeling secure in that I have back up if I need. Micah, my youngest, told me yesterday, “Mom, when I see other kids and their dads it makes me sad. I wish I could have my dad.” Not to make it all depressing because life has come back to us to a certain degree, but I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you it’s been really hard.

Some may wonder if I’ve “moved forward” whatever the heck that means, I want to ask, “Sooooooooo, what is it that you think I’ve been doing for 5 years?” What is moving forward in YOUR eyes? Is it me getting married again? Is it not ever talking about Brent again? How does moving forward look to YOU because to me it’s learning to to re-live all over again and sometimes that takes a while to learn and adjust to. I’m living. Grief is a process for sure and I may be a little bit slower at accepting it all (I’m a little slow at a lot of things haha) but I don’t just burst into tears anymore when I say his name, even with the sad unforgettable memories I have with him.

I’m not a super human. I have made really stupid decisions in my grief especially when the dark clouds of depression surrounded me like a flipping thunderstorm that wouldn’t go away, I have had feelings of bitterness and anger….. the thoughts of losing my husband, my church, friendships and even material possessions are at times too overwhelming for me to just walk around as if I’m completely ok and normal, I’m actually a little crazier than before, which is scary LOL but I also have made some really courageous steps in life.

I have learned to FIGHT against the feelings I’ve never experienced before and I haven’t become a slave to them but rather walked myself through them and I STILL have to. I have learned to be more gracious towards others and my eyes and heart see in a different light than ever before.

I have first and foremost been a mommy. Not sure how I actually could have survived without my little lambs. I have sucked it up and am working full time (yeah yeah I understand that’s what people do, but give me a break…. it’s not what I PERSONALLY am used to. Plus no one likes waking up at the butt crack of dawn ;-) I’ve been a stay at home mom and wife for years!!!) I am going back to school full time because I have finally realized and accepted the fact that it’s just me and just my provision for myself, Jaiden and Micah.

We run around like any other “normal” family and my kids have soccer games and do homework and get grounded just like most kids :-) BUT this single parenting thing, although I’ve got most of it under control, isn’t what any of us wanted or wants. We are living a semi-normal life and GOD HAS BEEN THERE WITH US EVERY SINGLE STEP OF THE WAY. AND HE TRULY HAS BEEN GOOD IN WAYS I WOULD NEVER IMAGINE. I am so incredibly thankful for the people in our lives who allow us the opportunity to laugh with and live with so that we can feel a little bit of wholeness.

At some point I have escaped that prison cell and the room has gotten a bit brighter and the walls have the words “hope” written on them. NOT because anything this world gives me, as a matter of fact I think those prison walls try to trap me more now than the first years of his death but because I know GOD IS MY HOPE and eternal life is my ultimate place of destination, I daily remind myself of HIS promises that say heaven will be greater than pain we can experience on this earth.

I could never imagine living without knowing that when I die I have something to look forward to. I read about the birds, the sparrow and how God looks down and sees that sparrow and somehow he always has food and shelter and safety. If God cares about the birds of the air, how much more does He care for us. How much more does he look down and see every tear and every smile and every need. Life isn't a walk in the park. Nor was it intended to be. But life can be joyful when you begin to bury the things that you can’t help, let go of the things that bring you down and distract you and embrace what is in front of you. To have FULLNESS to live.

Eventually the clouds lifted and I can see the sun peeking through. I don’t know what lies ahead and sometimes fear creeps in on the what-if possibilities but they don’t scare me like they used to. Seasons change. God has given a supernatural strength that can’t be shaken and that giant hole in my heart is becoming more full again with new memories of my life with just me and my two crazy wonderful boys.

Jaiden and Micah are both doing well. I mean, you know, when they are not spitting on each other, arguing with me or being little sassy pants …they are great. I’m pretty sure they are both as sarcastic as their daddy and both have a love and passion inside them like their dad. BUUUUTTTT you can pray for my sanity raising two boys hahaha it’s like trying to read a recipe for a food you’ve never tasted before upside down!!! Like how the heck do you do it. The other day they asked the good ole question no parent wants to ever answer. And I just laughed it was so uncomfortable, but I did it and they probably think I’m so weird and I’m pretty sure I traumatized them to ever want to get married.

Today, 5 years later, this is where we are. The 3 little sparrows Brent left behind. We miss him and hold him so close to our hearts. My life is so full because I was married to him and for those 10 years I am eternally blessed and grateful. I pray for those of you reading this you would be appreciative of those around you and hold them a little closer today. That you would ask yourself if you were to die today where is it that you would be. Do you have peace or joy? I know too well how easy it is to let life circumstances bring you low, but when you get up and keep fighting you come out GREAT. And to be GREAT isn’t so bad :-) Thank You for following this journey with us.

When God is greater than our hearts…

It’s been months since my last blog. I’ll be honest, I haven’t been writing because I haven’t been in the greatest place to write. I don’t really know what to write.

I haven’t known how to express my current feelings and emotions and realities. My life is different, and at times I’m not really sure how to handle the reality of what seems like forever here on earth of just getting by and living a life that is not my heart's desires. I have gone to God's Word where it says that God will give us the desires of our hearts, and many moments where my faith has failed me because I don’t believe. I don’t believe we get what we want when we want it. I don’t believe we live a life that is suitable to our every desires. Sure, I know God blesses us because He wants us to enjoy life, but I would be lying if I said it’s been all swell and that it’s “supposed” to be swell. (Swell is such a fun word to say. I said it in an English accent)

I am human. I am not perfect. BUT I love Jesus with my whole heart and I have continued on. I have pressed forward in weariness, in struggles, in battles, in blessings and in self afflicted dumbness. :-) (if that’s even a word hahaha) I’m learning a lot and growing a lot, but also in that learning and growing are mistakes to recognize. The questions and the whys. The bitterness and the pain. The stubbornness and pride. So on.

A few nights ago I read 1 John 3:20, “If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts.” God is greater than it all. HE is the giver of life even when life seems to have no breath. He is eternal love and gives peace because He Himself is peace. When there is chaos HE IS WHO WE HAVE TO RUN TO. The moment I read this I was reminded that nothing at all can ever separate us from the LOVE of God, HE is above it all and we can rest a

ssured that HE will always be there to guide us and sometimes carry us when our knees are feeble. Can I be real for a moment? For a while I regretted grieving openly on media because there are so many haters, hahaha lovers too :-) But being a widow is super frustrating, especially being Brent Yim’s wife, and in the light, it’s like every move you make is being watched, whether good or bad. I’ve literally just been winging it, you know... LIFE I’m winging it at life. BUT I'm actually ok with all people's opinions now because I’m learning to do what I FEEL/know IS BEST EVEN IF IT ISN’T!!! Don’t we all do this? Wing it at life? lol except for all you OCD perfectionist. Roll my eyes behind my head. <3 Seasons change and my season is to keep going and to RAISE MY PERFECT BEAUTIFUL BOYS THAT ARE MY ENTIRE WORLD. My job is to keep my eyes above and be faithful at what’s in front of me. And I’m beyond happy to do that truly. The hard times have forced me to be stronger. To work harder and to set goals that I never did before.

Jaiden and Micah...

My boys are truly amazing and doing really well. Jaiden holds a lot in about Brent BUT is the sweetest, kindest, smartest soul on earth and Micah talks way too much and is super witty but is so cuddly and cute still and asks when God will give him a new daddy :-( so sad uh? It’s sad when they have to explain to kids at school that their daddy died or that they have to watch other kids with their families. BUT it’s their story and journey and God will teach them to be strong men one day because of all they have had to learn. They are the best and I can’t thank God enough for my babies.

Where am I... I have come to a place where I am genuinely happy for Brent. I miss him all the time! I do cry still but not as much and some days are harder than others. The holidays this year were very very difficult without him. Lonely in a way, but now because I know Brent doesn’t give a rip because he's in heaven lol. I want God to bless our family again! I Pray that I can get remarried. (never would I have ever thought I would say those words) Someone I can share life with on earth who can accept all of Brent too and my boys. But if God doesn’t have that for us then I guess I’ll just keep shopping at Target with no one to tell me not to spend money! hahahahaha I loved being a wife and a stay home mom!!!! I hope all you ladies appreciate that and don’t take that for granted! It’s truly the greatest gift in my opinion! God created us to be relational beings and we all long for that deep inside. I am truly thankful for the years I had, but the reality is that my amazing wonderful husband is no longer here and I have to keep living and have to keep marching forward and I intend to do just that. It may be sloppy, but whatever, I’m cool with sloppy. Maybe it will be really perfect and I’m cool with that too :-)

Life is TOOOOOO short. There are so many people out there hurting. Maybe your own family members, or neighbors or co workers. Life isn’t about sitting around feeling sorry yourself, although I do believe there is a season where you can’t help it. I desire to get up and do whatever depends on me to be joyful and helpful to others. To give when I can, to laugh with those who laugh and to cry with those who cry. Love the people around you. Cut the drama. And build on the relationships you have. It’s worth it :-) Just a little late night thoughts. Thankful for God and His love.

This weary soul……

I heard a story about a wife who wanted a baby so bad, but for years was unable to get pregnant. Her husband would ask if he was enough for her, and of course a child, a family was her greatest desire. Of course she loved her husband, but she desperately wanted a baby. She wanted a baby so bad that she ended up in depression. Her depression was so chronic that a priest asked her one day if she was drunk. Her response was that not of a drunk person, but of a depressed, weary soul who desired so badly to have a family. Her name was Hannah.

Another story I read about was a man named Elijah. A wicked queen was after his life. She hated him so much that she sent her military to search for him and kill him. He fled to the wilderness where he begged God to take his life, laid down in the hot desert sun to die. He was weary, depressed and just wanted it all to end. What I love about this story is that an angel provided water for him and said, "listen buddy, you better eat and drink because what you’re about to face is a VERY LONG JOURNEY and you’ll need your strength." That simple act of just getting up and facing the long journey seems impossible BUT is the answer to keep fighting for your very weary soul.

Life can be weary. Our souls can enter a state of deep void EVEN with the hope of heaven. AND NO ONE CAN DIG YOU OUT. The desert ahead seems too treacherous that staying put in hot sun to die seems better than to try to make it out alive. No one wants to be thirsty, tired and hot. But that is exactly what may need to happen in order to have a chance of survival.

take this fainted heart

take these ocean tears

wash me in your love

even when my strength is gone
even when i have no song
even when it’s hard to find the words
even when it hurts like hell
even when the morning comes
even when the fight seems lost
even when my time on earth is done
even when it makes no sense to sing

I will still LOOK UP WHERE I DRAW MY STRENGTH.

I went grocery shopping the other day where I ran into a woman who works at Starbucks. She is middle-aged, No husband, no kids. She looked tired. and sad. BUT I started to get a little panicky and started thinking, “Oh my gosh! That is going to be me. My boys will leave, I’ll be all alone!!!! I’m going to have cats, I hate cats, I’m going to start getting hair on my chin, and I won’t even pluck them because I’m all alone anyway! I got this anxious feeling of loneliness and started praying that God would please not let me be alone the rest of my life OR that the world would just end! hahaha

The fear of of quiet loneliness left me in a state of sadness and feeling sorry for myself. WHY ME? WHY DID MY HUSBAND HAVE TO DIE! Why why why why why?!!!!! THEN, I chose not to think about the what ifs. I chose not think about what I didn't have but what I do have and what I did have. I had a beautiful wonderful amazing husband who adored and love the boys and I. I have my monkeys and I have my faith. I have my health and I have my family. And one day that void that depressed anxious feeling will be vanished in a second! And I won’t even care about anything not even if I get chin hair! lol

Listen people. One day at a time. Laugh and live and ENJOY THE LIFE YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN!!!!! Not everyone has the same life and path. Some may never experience pain and that’s ok some may experience great pain and that's ok too. We all have this long desert to cross so gear up and make the very best of it.

Still I will praise you God.

Taste a little of my tear soup……. and stop staring.

A few days ago we were standing in a line at Wal-Mart, just the boys and I. I saw Micah, without blinking starring at a man that stood behind us while quietly stretching his head to my ear and whispered, “mommy what’s wrong with that man?”

As I turned back I could see the rest of the people in line starring at this man. He clearly had a disease, still not sure what he has, but his body couldn’t stay still. His arms were constantly moving, his feet couldn’t stay put, even in line, his face kept looking back and he was completely unable to NOT move, I mean literally he was everywhere and had no control of himself.

For the few moments that I did stare, I noticed how very, very hard he DID try to stay put. I noticed he put his hands in his pockets of his jeans, and when his arms would jitter out, he would grab his wallet and pretend to be grabbing a credit card. When his body got tired of that he would hold on to the side of the candy bar shelf and so on. He struggled. He KNEW everyone around him could see his disease and no matter how hard he tried to seem normal, or make his body stop moving, he couldn’t hide what his body couldn’t control. At one point, he actually dropped his credit card that he grabbed from his wallet. Not ONE person around us bend down to help this man, they all just stared! By the time I reached over to help him he had already picked it up and put it back in his pocket. My heart was just so sad BUT I couldn’t help but think of one thing…..

GRIEF.

I saw myself in this man. I felt the stares, I felt the whispers of people asking, “When is she going to be ok.” “Why is it taking so long for her to heal?” “Where is her joy?” I felt the stares of people looking to see what my next move is and if it’s what they think is good or not. I felt how people were uncomfortable. I felt myself trying so hard to be normal, yet unable to control the fact that I feel lost, I haven’t figured out where I fit in, I feel VERY, VERY TIRED and everyone is just whispering. Now, I could be just letting the lies of satan brainwash me but then…..

I started to think of how I used to think before Brent died. Of people grieving. My heart is ugly. And there are whispers and you know what? IT’S OK. Because you’re truly just trying to understand. Just like Micah really wanted to know what was wrong with that man. It really is hard to understand a grieving person. Sometimes we just don’t want to be around them because they all of a sudden have a ton of problems, seem lost, cry all the time, and plain and simple we don’t want to feel joy ripped from us. We don’t like the feeling.

I read a book a few nights ago called, “Tear Soup.” It’s about this woman who is dealing with a loved one that died. She decides to make soup and realizes that soup (grief) takes a loooonnnnngggg time to make and different ingredients need to go into the soup. At one point in the book, some of her friends and family would pass by her house , BUT they wouldn’t go in because the soup would be cooking and the smell of the tears were too strong so they would just pass by and leave. But she did have one friend that would come over often and she would have soup WITH her. The smell of her grief soup wasn’t too strong for her, she would sit and help her figure out the next ingredient for her soup and deal with all that she was going through. This grieving woman had now made a new friend, where the old ones didn’t seem to come around anymore, the new ones were always knocking on her door.

That might seem ridiculous to you but I was crying reading it. You know, what’s done is done. It was in God's perfect will and plan to allow Brent the privilege of going to heaven. But the reality of trying to live as a single mamma, doing EVERYTHING, including carrying the burdens of finances and discipline etc. and missing your very best friend and father of your children, is very, very tiring and sometimes just doing the next thing seems too difficult.

Making dinner seems like a huge chore. I condemn myself at times, seeing moms doing this Pinterest thing, or whatever and I’m over here just trying to drink my coffee. LOL

I need my faith to be refreshed. I feel as though I’m looking so much at my circumstances that I’m forgetting about the big wonderful amazing and loving God I serve. WHY ARE MY EYES OFF HIM??? Maybe because I don’t want His will if it means doing something I don’t like?

Maybe because faith requires a lot of letting go and letting Him. BUT deep down inside, the desire to feel joy again is so strong. The desire to live by faith even when EVERYONE around me may think something different. I desire to have more of Jesus, more faith, more joy, more of Him……….and that only comes by choosing to just give-up and let go.

Let go of the whispers, let go of what everyone else is doing and do what is in your heart, let go of all those things and just live according to the joy and promises set before us. There will be hard days, but to not let those hard days bring your spirit down, instead just go with it. Don’t fight against it, all things are out of our control anyway. Do your part in spending time with Jesus and letting go.

“I know you can do all things. No plan of yours can be thwarted. You ask, 'Who is this that obscures My counsel without knowledge? ' Surly I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. You said, 'listen now, and I will speak, I will question you, and you shall answer me.' My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.” -Job 42:2-5

Am I Doing Something Wrong?

I didn’t want Brent to die.

I didn’t want my kids to grow up not ever knowing their daddy with the exceptions of stories told to them by myself or others that knew him. I didn’t ask for the ENDLESS nights months that have turned into years of suffering, beating on my wall, screaming in my car, alone, lying on my carpet, after the boys went to bed to just cry and cry until I went numb. I didn’t want to know and experience that panic attacks are real, many many many many many sleepless nights, that turned into years of sleepless nights, break downs in grocery stores, or passing by the church he pastored only to get severe stomach aches just to look at the driveway of the church.

I never wanted to raise 2 boys alone, on top of trying to keep it all together and normal so that I can raise them, so that they can have a semi- normal life. I never wanted to carry the financial burden of supporting the 3 of us. And I never wanted to feel this hole so deep in my heart that I have to battle depression in a way that is a constant fight with what I know to be true, to what I feel. I never wanted to deal with the pressure of people. Good OR bad. I just want things to be normal.

BUT THEY ARE NOT.
THEY NEVER WILL BE NORMAL.
AND THIS IS MY REALITY:
SO WHY DO I FEEL LIKE I DID SOMETHING WRONG?
WHY DO I FEEL THAT WIDOWS GET JUDGED FOR ANY DECISIONS THEY MAKE?
WHY DO I FEEL THAT ASKING GOD, IF IT’S HIS WILL, FOR ME TO GET MARRIED AGAIN IS WRONG?
WHY DO I FEEL THAT AT AGE 32 I CAN’T AND SHOULDN’T EVER GET MARRIED AGAIN?
WHY DO I FEEL LIKE MY KIDS ARE GOING TO GROW UP MESSED UP BECAUSE THEY DON’T HAVE THEIR DAD.
WHY DO I FEEL LIKE I CAN'T BE SAD ANYMORE?

UGGGGGG IT’S SO CRAZY TO FEEL LIKE YOU’RE GOING CRAZY!

I DON’T KNOW WHY I FEEL THESE BURDENS!

Yes there are many people that can’t comprehend, or wonder.
Yes, there are many people that are SOOO supportive and loving and kind and get it and want only the best! (please don’t ever say you know what you would or wouldn’t do if you were a widow because chances are you would surprise yourself.)

But I just can’t seem to get past the feeling that I’m doing it all wrong. That I can’t cry in front of my children. That I can’t pray for God's perfect and beautiful will to happen whatever that may look like. (Thinking about getting married again gives me anxiety BUT being alone the rest of my life gives me anxiety too! hahahaha I may have an anxiety problem lol. Thinking about paying bills gives me anxiety, but working again full time gives me anxiety too!! hahahahaha)

Over the past 4 years I have had a great privilege and opportunity to meet and speak to many widows. Some younger than I, some the same age, others much older. We all go through the same things, and questions, and pain……… but one thing I’m trying to remember is that every person is different and every journey is different.

Although, I have NOT done these past four years perfectly. I can say that at the end of the day I have genuinely cried out to Jesus Christ for all the perfect answers AND FOR HIS STRENGTH.
I have kept fighting for my faith when I didn’t know if I even had any left in me.
I kept praying when I didn’t know how to pray or had no faith to pray anymore.
I clung when I turned away from His provisions and depended on my own.

I LOVE JESUS and although I’m frustrated, hurt, TIRED and beaten down I TRUST HIM to take my life, HOWEVER that may look, apart from my own “knowing what’s best for me” and just want Him to bring blessings but also learning to accept the “non blessings”. I desire to see how He will provide for the three of us, how He will turn my mourning into dancing, I’m waiting patiently to see the end of the story for Jaiden and Micah and to see how they will grow up to be, Lord willing, men who stand in the gap just like their dad did and I’m willing to let Him, even if it hurts, is weird, or not what I ever imagined BECAUSE like He told Job, He is the one to decide all things. Period.

Part of me died when Brent died. I have been told, “I just want to see you happy.” Truth is happy makes me angry. BUT I know that God fills our hearts with laughter and so I want it because it’s His desire. Burdens can weigh down so heavily. Pray for them to be lifted.

Unable to move...

Fear it's time to go...

When I was a little girl, I remember standing by a window sill during a thunderstorm. Every summer we would always have them, crazy lighting and thunder that would light up the skies and bring loud thunder noises through the air. Now, as an adult, I love them! I think they are beautiful and even sometimes stand outside just to watch it all and am in awe of God’s creations. As a little girl I didn’t think they were so great though. As a matter of fact, I was so scared that fear would overtake me completely, DEBILITATING me to move, or talk or even hear reason. I would stand there, for literally ever, frozen starring outside frightened and begging God to take it away. The relief I had when it was over and that nothing bad happened (don’t ask me what I thought would happen hahaha because I really don’t even know) would make me feel like I could live again. Go play, and whatever else it was that I did as a little girl.

I have always been an anxious fearful person. ALL of my fears, looking back have been completely and utterly unreasonable and ridiculous to the point where I can now look back at MOST AND ALMOST ALL my fears and laugh because I worried for literally no reason. Time wasted. I wasted so much time worrying about something that would never even happen. The chances of a lightning hitting me was zero percent.

I held Brent, my husband, in my arms…. I laid down next to him…. as his breathing got slower and slower and slower. His lifeless body against mine, as I spoke into his ears, “ it’s going to be ok. I love you so much.” A few moments later, he took his last breath… I waited a second for him to breath again. I waited for that miracle, but that wasn’t in Gods plans. He was taken from me, my family, his family. He was now forever in eternity. One of life's greatest fears, DEATH, was looking at me in the eye, and there was NOTHING I could do about it. The months of nutrition and vitamins and chemotherapy and radiation. The sleepless nights of prayer and worry and GOD STILL CHOSE TO TAKE BRENT TO HEAVEN. There was nothing anyone could have done to prevent the brain tumor or to take it away.

For a while, because of my hurt, I feared nothing. As a matter of fact it was morbid. I almost wanted something bad to happen. ( I know super weird uh?) I wasn’t’ afraid to sleep by myself, when I could NEVER sleep without Brent until he got home, I wasn’t afraid to go out anywhere at anytime. Then…..all of a sudden it hit me again, with revenge and in the worse way that it could possibly hit me.

Fear. Fear has taken my eyes off of the ONE who is in control of EVERYTHING no matter how much I worry no matter how much I “take control” of my life or the lives around me, I AM NOT IN CONTROL. I have forgotten what it is to trust God. I have forgotten that HE has the victory. I have forgotten that HE holds the stars in their place and HE raises the sun every single morning. He doesn’t forget and HE does it all so perfectly and so well. And you know what? More people know what I am talking about than not.

I know a girl, who every time she talks, her statements are so confident. She’s “not” afraid of her kids getting hurt, yet, worries about them more than most people I know and doesn’t allow them to do much. It’s almost like she's either in denial or she really doesn’t see how fearful she really is and covers it up with “confidence.” To a certain degree we all have a little fear. Some a lot. Some to the point where you’re stuck. You can’t do anything. You can’t go to the movie theater because you’re afraid someone will come in and shoot it up. You don’t drive on the freeway because of the possibilities of an accident. You don’t let your kids have an ounce of sugar for God only knows why hahahahaha (jk I’m not making fun of you, I watch my kids sugar intake too  ) SO MANY fears. The fear of what will people think of me? The fear of getting on a plane? Or falling in love again. All the things going on in the world are definitely unsettling and can cause an unwanted fear.

I had a conversation with my amazing and wise sister-in-law. She shared with me a picture of a vine with tons of leaves and more vines and leaves. Looking at it seems so very overwhelming because of all the vines. But it all stems from ONE root. And if we can just find the root and pluck it out then the vines and leaves will die. As of lately, I have been so crippled. In every area of my life, that I have gotten to the point where I’m exhausted and don’t want to carry such burdens that God hasn’t called me to carry anyway. People may get frustrated with you, but it’s a real thing that you deal with everyday.

BAD THINGS HAPPEN EVEN WHEN YOU TRUST GOD. Trusting God and handing him your fear, isn’t going to make your life easier. Doesn’t mean someone you know won’t get cancer, or that there might be a bad accident. It means that you are too tired of living in a control bottle of fear and that you are ready to be freed from the victory that is ALREADY there. The Bible says that “ The battle is in the mind” yet the Bible also says, “ The battle belongs to the Lord.” To be free doesn’t mean you don’t use wisdom, It means that you will release your family, your kids, your future to the ONE who holds it all together anyway.

Then, you will begin to enjoy those lighting storms. You will enjoy watching your kids eat a cupcake at a birthday party because they are having a blast with chocolate frosting on their face. The freedom and VICORY bring joy. “We shout for joy over your victory and lift up our banners in the name of our God.” “Perfect love cast out all fear.” His love towards us is so perfect. Jeremiah 29:11 says that He has good plans for us. Not to harm us. If we believe that God is good, then we need to trust that He has only good things for us.

For a while, because of my insecurities I was afraid of people's comments about me homeschooling my boys. I can’t tell you the freedom I live in today in walking confidently in what God has called me to in homeschooling my kids and now, as challenging as it is, I love it and am actually enjoying it! Why am I enjoying it now? Because I’m not afraid anymore of what people may think or not think. Most people don’t even know anything anyways because they don’t bother to ask.

I have a long way to go. Some of you may have a long way to go BUT I know that there can and will be Victory. I read a girl say it this way, “ Faith over fear.” Love it.

“So, do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

The Silent Killer of not letting go...

Every morning, I make it my aim to wake up before my boys do so that I can spend some time with Jesus or just drink my coffee and pray in the quiet before the chaos of the day. In one morning devotion I read "Vineyard In A Desert". “ I AM NOW GOING TO ALLURE HER; I WILL LEAD HER INTO THE DESERT….THERE I WILL GIVE HER BACK HER VINEYARDS.” –HOSEA 2:14

“The desert is certainly a strange place to find vineyards……..A place that symbolizes loneliness and through which we can seldom find our way out? God knows our need for a desert experience. He knows exactly where and how to produce enduring qualities in us.”

A person, like Hosea, who goes after her lovers, whatever they may be….it sounds strange but for me it has been my emotions of grief and bitterness etc. and holding on to dear life for Brent. It’s sin. Whatever your sin may be. God says, once we feel totally hopeless and abandoned, “ I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her.”

WE NEVER KNOW WHERE THE STREAMS ARE HIDDEN. We see a large stone and have no idea that it covers the source of a spring. God leads us into hard and difficult places and it is there we realize where eternal streams abide. (streams in the desert)

I have been extremely stubborn of LETTING GO of MY plans so that God can show me his beautiful vineyards for the boys and I. We always pray, “ God open this one door and close another.” Yet, if it’s not according to what we want, what I want, then we keep pursing what we think is best for us or where we feel most comfortable when there, right in front of us is this beautiful vineyard, garden waiting to be lived in and enjoyed.

We all have a hard time of letting go of something. We run after our “lovers” or shall I say sin.

For me I want to prove to the world my loyalty to Brent. That I loved him and still do. I want to prove to people I can go to school, get my degree and take care of myself and provide for my kids. It’s living in the fear of man instead of living in the vineyards HE is alluring me into. LETTING GO AND GIVING GOD ALL OF MY PLANS AND DESIRES ISN’T ROCKET SCIENCE, yet seems to be the HARDEST thing to do. Why?

Because sometimes I don’t like God's plans. Sometimes I sit and tell Him, “I don’t like what you’re doing and how you’re doing it.” But I guess that’s when FAITH IS REQUIRED… That's when you let go, let God and trust that HE does love us and desires to truly bless us even when we don’t understand HIS ways.

2 Chronicles 20:12 says, “ We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” Removing our eyes off of Jesus and placing them on our situation truly does KILL US! It is a silent killer…. A consumer. Where your thoughts and life is surrounded by fear, circumstances, sin, etc…… we lose sight.

The other day I had to get a new prescription for seeing. I wear my glasses at night normally BUT the doctor told me I needed to wear them during the day also, for watching tv driving sitting in church etc. Honestly I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW I NEEDED THEM UNTIL I STARTED WEARING THEM!! It’s like a miracle hahaha.

That’s our life, we don’t know we need something until God gives it to us and then we realize, whether it hurts or is a blessing, we need it. THIS IS ALL SAID IF YOU TRUST GOD. If not there is no point in reading this blog.

He is always changing things up, making us uncomfortable, but always alluring us back to Him. It’s life…….

Today I challenge you to LET GO. Don’t silently die because you keep running away from God.

You may not even realize it. It’s kinda like when you have something in your teeth hahahaha, don’t you want someone to tell you or better yet take it out for you (horrible analogy I know!!) But God wants to do the same for us before we silently die.

3 years… The Dusty Shelf and the Silver Lining Through the Clouds

For those of you reading this blog, you may be saying to yourself, “It’s already been 3 years that Brent has gone to heaven…that has gone by fast..”

That's because your lives have carried on, although you think about Brent, you have all gone back to your so called “normal” life. BUT for myself and for the boys, it has been a minute by minute walk, through months and now years. It has NOT gone by fast, as a matter of fact I cringe inside knowing it’s ONLY been 3 years….I literally have to NOT think about the time because it gives me anxiety and an anxious heart.

Having been married at the age of 19 (together since18) married 9 years, I had this entire life! And it only seemed to be getting better and better.

Shattered, TRULY and completely shattered, desires and dreams have been put on a shelf, where it seems unreachable at times, dusty and even broken. I don’t even look up at the shelf because I don’t like what I see. I hate everything that is on that shelf because I know I will never touch it or use it, uncertain if the dust can be wiped off or even the broken glass put back together. And even if I could put it back together the broken pieces are visible. It has been a crazy, rough storm. Not only dealing with the loss, having to deal with people and their opinions, has been very difficult for me, being a single mom, worried about protection and finances and wondering where I/we fit in, our new normal has been a challenge. Many, many tears have been shed and wiped. Trying to help my oldest son through his delayed grief has been a unthinkable heartache as a mother. On top of your daily life chores and responsibilities.

YET……………….

I would be doing you all a disservice if I wasn’t truthful about all the good that God has done for our family. The eye of the storm HAS passed and as the clouds have begun to disappear, I can see a glimpse of sun shining through. I’m not going to lie, sometimes I want to put my sunglasses on and not look at that sunshine peeking through because I’m comfortable in my misery, or I’m afraid if I allow people to see me happy, people will think I’ve forgotten about Brent.

But I force myself and as I choose to MOVE FORWARD NOT MOVE ON, God, not happiness not man, but God is showing me that HE has, good things in store for my boys and I. He wants to bring beauty from our ashes BUT I have to let Him. I remember sitting in my grief class and two thoughts came to mind, the first was, wow, some people have it worse, It made me THAKFUL to have had Brent as my husband and almost a sense of relief came to me knowing I WILL see him again.

The second thought was seeing some people who were never able to get past the eye of the storm and everyday is that day, I prayed, “GOD PLEASE DON’T LET ME BE THAT PERSON THAT STAYS IN THE SAME PLACE OF SADNESS AND DEPRESSION.” It sounds like a no brainer right? But when you’re grieving so hard it’s not as easy to just get up and move forward, as a matter of fact it’s EXTREMLY difficult. You almost can’t help but just automatically be sad the moment you wake up.

It's not like I want to be sad constantly, truly I don’t, but it’s also hard when you can’t help the deep down void. And I now have a compassion on those instead of a judgmental heart and mind. I get it ! Truly I understand the person that just can’t move forward because every day I struggle with that, A LOT! Really wanting to BUT finding that the pain is sooo deep.

How do you ever move forward? Well, it’s by Gods grace, and HE has lavished it on me. And it’s by allowing yourself to be reminded that you will always love that person and for me, Brent will always be a part of MY life and of course the lives of my babies. So I humbly open my arms to the beauty that my heavenly Father has for us. Whatever that is. To get married again or not, to go to school and get a degree OR NOT, to move, etc. I can say with a pure heart, I want a life full of God's blessings. I always have such a hard time wondering what people will think about me BUT in the words of my wonderful father-in-law, “who cares what people think, and those that love you will want God's will for you and those that have something negative to say, well you don’t need them anyway!! Hahaha”

The truth is………… Brent is never coming home, he is in glory and the boys and I are still here. We will naturally never forget our lives with him, but we have to keep pressing on. The people around us NEED to be patient…and for the most part everyone has.

I never even thought I could be where I am NOW emotionally and mentally because I’ve been a hot messy mess. We could not have done this without either side of our families. There have been so many sacrifices for us and I’m sure I don’t even know all of them. My AMAZING mother-in-law, in her deep sadness, has always been there for me. No matter my emotions, or confusion she has been consistent in loving on me and her grandbabies. And for the record Brent's family IS my family and they are all truly amazing, wonderful people and I couldn’t thank God enough to have a family away from my own. My mom who has left work time and time again to take multiple flights just to be here and cook clean and give me a break has been unquestionably made me so forever grateful. Dad, father in law, brothers sisters etc…….

Some days I take 15 steps back and one step forward. The next I can take 15 steps forward and one step back. We, our family, have been FOREVER changed. I don’t like to speak on behalf of Brent’s family but I will say this, they have grieved hard, but grace is all over them and our love and bond, through rocky emotions at times (mainly on my part) have grown. The way I view people or life is most definitely not the way I used to that’s for sure. I think I blog mostly because I want people to understand certain things, for the uncompassionate to be passionate, for the hurting, to allow the pain to be put to rest in it’s perfect season and time.

“For I consider that the present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed in us.” –Romans 8:18

Heaven is waiting for us!! That is my hope and it should be yours too.

Jaiden and Micah are just too wonderful to talk about. They have so much joy, but they also have their emotions too. Jaiden especially. God has great plans for them.

I can truly say that I want to honor Brent's life BY LIVING. I know he would want that, and he actually told me that very concept.

The other day, for the first time, I became envious, envious of the family unit. Watching FAMILIES go home together, dads coach their sons soccer teams, families having more kids, or going on family vacations etc. Up unitl this point I have NOT been envious, and it started to rise up in my heart. I hated the feeling = but I also couldn’t help wish Brent was here so that my little family could have that also. To have the same opportunities that the “normal” American family has. I am committing those thoughts to the Lord and when they arise in my heart and mind I am reminded of the very words Brent spoke to me, “IF this is how God chooses to use my life, then to HIM BE THE GLORY.” So the boys and I are a little family and I can only pray God uses us to bring Him glory and that JOY surrounding us would be a fragrance of what Jesus can do with 3 broken hearts. Turn suffering into laughter and Joy and Peace. Paul, in the Bible, talks about LEARNING to be content, and so as the days go by I am training myself to be thankful and learning to be content with things I have.

I struggle a lot with the visions of the way Brent died and how our bodies are a shell and how the soul leaves this earth onto another. I get nightmares, panic attacks, I am overcome with fear in every area of life. SIMPLE TASKS ARE SO SO OVERWHELMING AND DIFFICULT TO ACCOMPLISH only because my brain is so consumed with all that has happened these past few years. BUT I am getting better and I know will continue to. God has good things in store for us, to give us a future and a hope, plans of good and not of evil (Jeremiah. 29:11) so I cling to that hope and press forward. Words cannot express life without Brent. But I am thankful I got to be his wife. I now look forward, even through the hard days, to what God has for us in the next 3 years.

These Dry Bones...

Have you ever had this crazy desperate longing for the Lord to just speak to your heart? Where you can hear HIM so clearly that you can walk through this life with no doubts, confidently bringing him glory, and feeling a satisfaction that nothing else can compete with? This has been my desire these past few weeks. Longing to hear his voice and know what HE has called me to daily brings HIM glory and satisfies my heart and my soul. But I find myself dry, and exactly that… desperate… unsatisfied and longing to sit at HIS feet and hear HIS voice speak.

I was lead this morning to read the story of Ezekiel in the valley of the dry bones. There they were laying dead, just bones in a valley of dust… and Ezekiel walked back and forth looking at them and the Lord said, “can these bones live?” The story goes that the Lord continued to tell Ezekiel what to say to the dry bones and piece by piece the bones began to come together. Now they were all put together, and they stood there like an army, but were still dead. Then God told Ezekiel to breathe the breath of God to the bones so that they could LIVE! And with the very breath of God the dead dry bones became a live army.

Since Brent has gone home with the Lord it has been a true struggle of mine to STAY in a satisfied place with Jesus. There have been moments when I’m so unsatisfied, dry and desperate. I turn to things, or go somewhere in hopes that the longing inside my soul would be replaced by some “thing”. I don’t do it on purpose. Actually I don’t even realize I’m doing it until the Lord shows me. Although it has been almost three years I still have a hard time letting go of my future with Brent. It’s easy for people to say what they want, but when you daily live without that loved one it’s not as easy to do. Driving becomes lonely without holding his hand. Going to bed without saying goodnight. Going places alone and watching the boys grow up alone isn’t “easy”. There are high highs and low lows. Trying not to remember the WAY that Brent died isn’t like turning off the TV. It’s a dreadful constant reminder that I have to lay at the foot of the cross daily.

But just yesterday I received a grief letter encouraging those that are grieving. This is what it said: “January has turned another year and gives us a new opportunity to look ahead to the future with HOPE! The future can often look dark, dismal and discouraging. YET we have the OPPORTUNITY to make it hopeful, bright, and encouraging by LEANING into the grief process. What I mean by this is that we have to go through our grief so God can reveal to us what He has in store for our future. God is light and He can and will light our path so we can see the hope of our future. Sometimes our tears cloud our view, but we must press forward and “lean”. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “for I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a future and a hope.”

Sometimes, “just living” isn’t enough. Getting up, going to work and then going to bed just to get through the day isn’t enough FOR ME! I want and long for God’s breath every single day and I KNOW that it is the only thing that will encourage and satisfy me personally EVEN though at times it doesn’t show. I desire a future and a hope to walk confidently in. And I yearn for the body of Christ to come alongside and encourage, not give opinions.

If you feel dry and alone, let God’s breath be breathed into your very soul today and recognize HIS desire to bless you. His arms are opened wide, so “lean” into Him. I continue to learn this lesson. To get back up, out of the valley, and let Him give me an opportunity to see HIS blessings and to see the sun shining through them.

Remarriage and Single Parenting

My thoughts on Widows remarrying, Single parenting AND the 2 critics.

For the past few months there has been SO much going on in my brain that I have literally been wanting to write it all down, BUT was so unsure how to address these thoughts without sounding bitter or annoyed... or even relaxed and carefree.

So I just decided to write anyway and pray that whoever reads this will be more blessed as you enter the mind and heart of this widow and I pray this would bring an understanding of where I stand, my struggles and my victories.

As of recent, I have had a few conversations with people about widows getting married again. The thought itself is just a weird one and super weird even talking about it YET though sad, it is a subject almost EVERYONE wants to know. I remember the thoughts I had when I would hear or see of a widow getting married again. I just couldn’t understand it. I never thought "bad or good" just "weird".

Some would say, “it hasn’t been long enough.” Some would say , “it’s been TOO long.” (you can NEVER put a time frame on God when you're a believer) Some don’t really care what others are doing (which I wish we were all like this) Some, who haven’t been in our situation could THINK they know what they would do or what they wouldn’t do, BUT reality is , that EVERY SINGLE PERSONS JOURNEY OF GRIEF AND OF LIFE IS COMPLETELY DIFFERENT THAN ANOTHER. AND YOU REALLY DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU WOULD DO IN A SITUATION UNTIL YOU ARE ACTUALLY IN IT.

Trust me, I used to say a lot of things and have learned (and continue to learn) to keep my mouth quiet because I seem to always eat my words! Haha No one's life looks exactly the same and if you are a believer you walk in God's will not your own. I have heard some widows say, “ I will NEVER get remarried and others who so graciously say, “Yes, of course I want to be married again, I know what it’s like to be married and I want that again.”

Neither one is wrong IF it’s from the Lord, it’s a matter of what God wants in each individual's life that should be looked at. Look at Ruth or Anna in the Bible, both widows, their future lives completely different yet both from the Lord. I have this funny little thing I think, some people have said, “I hope Andrea gets married again.” And I laugh because I know if I did those same people would also say, “gosh I CAN’T believe she got married again!” hahaha Maybe not, but isn’t that our human nature? Really!

Maybe I’m the only one that thinks like that, maybe I’m a weirdo. Honestly, I’ll wear my heart on my sleeve. Truth is, I desperately miss Brent. With everything in me, I love him. It has been almost 3 years and I feel the same as the day he left us, although there have been many blessings and victories. I know what Brent would tell me, I know where Brent's family and my family stand and how they all want God's will for my boys and I. But I have to admit when you look at a widow or widower I can say it takes bravery and forcing oneself to take one step in front of the other and allowing God to do what HE wants to do in one's life.

I think of Joshua, before every battle God had to remind him that God was with him and to be brave and courageous. Either way, whether that person gets married again or not, both takes bravery and courage and lots and lots of FAITH.

You wanna know the truth? There are days I can’t even literally imagine the thought of being married again. How do you love again? How do you let someone else love your children? It trips me out to even think about having another life because it’s so overwhelming. BUT as a child of God I can honestly say, although difficult sometimes, that YES, I want whatever God has for me whatever that means, to get married again or not to. It’s not like it is easy, but it’s a choice to let God break down certain walls in my heart and my prayer has been that I would not put my hand out at God's will and blessings for our life Because it seems easier to just raise my boys and then die! (lol I am being super dramatic)

But really, I was 28 years old when my Brent went home, it’s not my fault nor is it any other widows. AND let me say this just to clarify IT IS NEVER EVER, EVER REPLACING!!!!!!!!!! How can people think you’re replacing that person?? It’s just ridiculous and I’m not even gonna talk about that because it makes me SO mad. You don’t tell a Mother who lost her son to replace that son. It’s the same thing, it’s just a DIFFERENT relationship.

I spoke to one girl whose friend was a widow and got remarried. That widow had posted a picture of herself at her husband's gravesite and said something on the lines that she will always love and miss him WHILE being married to her new husband. My friend just thought that was not ok and weird……………………………………. NOT at all!

How can you ever forget that love and that person and that life you’ve had and just move on to never acknowledge?? You don’t, but society CAN be, not always and not everyone, but some can be so hard and put lots of pressure on widows. It seems easier at times to just keep living in a widows position. I have become comfortable in my new identity, looking forward to heaven. BUT God is also softening my heart to accept His will for my life. You know, I used to think how can you love the same, but God showed me by looking at Jaiden and Micah that I love them the exactly the same just in different ways.

God has made our hearts so big to love more and has created us to be relational beings and so it’s a good thing when a widow gets married again. And though it is different I have seen love in widow's lives just the same but in different relationship. Look at the story of Ruth, so much redemption, but that doesn’t mean it’s for EVERYONE.

So I say all that to answer so many people's simple question, “will Andrea get married again?” hahaha The answer is simple, “IF THAT’S WHAT GOD HAS IN STORE I CAN’T STOP HIM, JUST LIKE I COULDN’T STOP HIM FROM TAKING BRENT.” My life is not my own. I am completely content where God has me and like my widow friend said, if I am called to be like the prophetess Anna who prayed in the temple day and night then I embrace it because it is God's very best for my boys and for me. (although I probably would never pray as much as Anna did though the thought is nice )

True satisfaction comes from Him. BUT if God brings a man to love on this earth and continue what Brent started in raising the boys then I embrace that because that is God's best. And it’s all in HIS timing and on His terms. A friend reminded me of a conversation Brent and I had at In and Out one day before he even got sick. He said, “if anything happened to you I would HAVE to get married again, and I would hope you would too.” I told him I didn’t care if he got married again, she just couldn’t be prettier or nicer than me!! Bahahahahaha

I hope that gives some people an inside perspective of not just where I am, but for all widows. It’s hard to face the public and friends and family BUT it is what it is and unless you walk in one's shoes it’s better just to sit back and pray. I have so many verses I want to share, so I will write them below.

SINGLE PARENTING

Ok, for the record, JUST because your husband works all the time and you do everything does NOT mean it's the same as being a single parent! I can’t tell you how many times I have heard that, well I do everything it’s LIKE I’m a single parent. Well here's the thing, your husband still comes home so you’re actually not! Lol I used to do everything. Brent was gone all the time so I had to do everything. And let me just say it’s not the same. It is 100 percent harder.

There is no emotional support, or physical help or just a ,”hey babe how was your day.” Nope, nothing. I’m not at all saying this for anyone to feel sorry for single parents. I just want to explain certain positions.

This past Sunday Micah threw the biggest fit EVER spitting at me, hitting my face etc. at church. SO I started walking away from him very fast because I thought I could literally put him up for adoption that very moment. We went into church and sat down BOTH of us crying! Everyone was raising their hands worshipping and there we were, crying, frustrated and angry. There were 3 ushers just literally looking at me. No idea what just happened, no idea at that moment I missed Brent and just wanted him to take Micah from me etc. It was at that moment I had to pray extra hard for extra grace, extra love and extra patience.

Sometimes it’s all overwhelming. This new life, being a single parent alone and desiring so much to please God in it all. “His grace is sufficient. When we are weak that is when we are strong.” He has been my constant rock and a father to the fatherless and I am thankful. Not much else to say regarding that other than pray for my boys and for my patience. We have been extremely blessed with TWO amazing families, mine and Brent's. Then we’ve been blessed with our CHURCH family.

I feel extra fortunate and in my situation I don’t have it half as bad as a lot of other single parents, so I say this, when you see a single mother or single father, that there would be words of encouragement, understanding and MUCH MUCH prayer.

“THOSE WHO SOW IN TEARS SHALL REAP IN JOY. HE WHO CONTNUALLY GOES FORTH WEEPING, BEARING SEED FOR SOWING, SHALL DOUBTLESS COME AGAIN WITH REJOICING, BRINGING HIS SHEAVES WITH HIM.” –PSALM 126:5-6

Accepting

I read this blog today from another widow. "Sometimes I'm not sure how to word what I feel and as time passes by I have a hard time saying I'm doing ok, even though I am, because I fear people will think I have moved on and forgotten when in reality it's just different now. Not harder, not easier, just different. With different challenges and waves of sadness, everyday, I have learned to lay Brent at the altar, and everyday I CHOOSE to give my boys a good childhood and I choose to persevere. But that doesn't always mean it's easy." I wish I had written these words BUT they relay my heart so much:

I remember so vividly the morning after my husband died. I could not understand how the sun could come up after he left this world. How could life go on so carelessly for everyone else while mine was shattered. The pain being so deep, my life feeling so empty, my world being so cold. The sun did rise that morning and it has every morning since.

It takes time to accept that reality. It takes a lot of hard work grieving, and a lot of empty, lifeless moments. From the start of my loss I knew it was not my ending but rather the ending to a time-period in my life. I knew in time there would be new beginnings but little did I know the twists and turns that lie ahead.

My post-sunrise beginnings have been breathtaking. Yes, they still have pain, but they now have the perspective of loss, and that vantage point has blessed me with a deeper love of life and a more appreciative soul. My new normal, while very different than my old life, is ripe with more beauty than I ever dreamed possible.

Today, look at the sunrise and start seeing your new beginning in the distance. You don't have to run and embrace it today if you are not ready, but accept it's existence and be open to the beauty it just might hold for you.

The ONE Leper

(A blog of gratitude)

11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy[a] met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” 14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. 15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. 17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” – Luke 17:11-19

These last few months I have been reflecting A LOT on life but more consumed by death. I am grateful for my kids, yet completely ungrateful that my husband is no longer here. I am thankful for the family I have near me, yet ungrateful that I can not be nearer to my own family. I am so thankful for all that I have, yet ungrateful at what I don’t have. I can’t understand why my brain and heart contradict each other, but they do. And in both aspects… I am truly ungrateful and TRULY thankful all at the same time.

The week that Brent got sick, the above passage in Luke was given to me. Brent was standing in his parents backyard and I’ll never forget telling him that I personally never wanted to be like those nine lepers, that came and got what they wanted from Jesus YET never returned to praise HIM and give him thanks!

Yet, that is where I find myself in life right now as I struggle.

It’s hard when day in and day out I am consumed with the constant thought of death. When I seem so distracted with my thoughts of Brent or death to even enjoy anything in life. I struggle having a desire to work or go to school to get a degree so I can financially support my family, because I have NO desire to do that and no emotional energy.

Of course I get that I still live here on earth, and understand that we have to keep living and so I do pursue these things and I hate to sound so depressing, but I am just saying it like I’m truly feeling. I seem to have little energy to do anything, cook, get ready, hang out with people (although I do make an effort to do all of these because I KNOW it’s good and of course for my boys) BUT I find myself restless and wanting to be home because I literally can’t even think.

I guess it’s all part of the process of grief. And although I know grief can’t be an excuse forever it seriously does take its toll and it has on me for sure. I’m concluding that it will forever but praying it subsides.

I am STILL always thinking about Brent and sometimes just shake my head of all that has happened. I continue to miss him and have just come to a point where I don’t feel pressured by the world to “move on” and I can just miss him if I want to.

And I can cry when I want, I don’t have to get rid of any of his things if I don’t want to and I’m learning to not care about opinions and learning to HEAR FROM GOD and HIS opinion!

His opinion in where to go what to do because ultimately HE is the ONLY ONE that knows what's best but also HE KNOWS MY HEART AND MY DESIRES and that gives me a truly grateful heart. Gratitude in knowing that God has GOOD THINGS in store for me and they are personalized. That I don’t have to follow the crowd just for a clap or pat on the back.

God has been SO GOOD TO myself, Jaiden and Micah. And as I have been reflecting and choosing to remember ALL of God's goodness it has brought me to a place of true rest and a THANKFUL PRAISING HEART.

I can recount how God has literally paid for my mortgage for the past 2 years straight, how groceries have just sat on my front porch when I needed it most, how opportunities of sharing our story to encourage the body just pop up!! How random guys will be at a pond to fish with Jaiden and Micah and the boys just literally LOVE it!!!!!! (because would you rather fish with your mom or a bunch of guys who fish with hot dogs lol)

How God has brought godly men in my boys life who loved Brent and now love on Jaiden and Micah. I have seen God's hand carry out many of Brent's visions and desires and they continue to. The Lord's hands have been the light when the darkness seems as though it’s winning.

You know, this Leper stood in line just like the other 9 waiting and longing to be healed of this horrific out casting disease. There stood Jesus …..HOPE when there was none. I think about how desperate those men must have been. I would have been begging for healing! So Jesus, moved with compassion speaks healing upon them and lovingly heals. Truly these men were beyond excited!

They had new life and hope….but they never once stopped to simply say, “Thank you.” ONE MAN, recognized what Jesus had done for him and he did. He turned around to thank God and PRAISE Him.

So, in an attitude of gratefulness, I have to say that I am truly so blessed and tonight…….. I am thankful. I carry a total burden of sadness, I’m not going to lie, BUT I am truly grateful and pray that God continues to give me the desires of my heart according to HIS will. Not only is this what the Lord wants, but knowing my husband the way I know him, he would want me to thank Jesus and be grateful and happy while I still live here on this earth.

Fighting for Love

(11 years ago today)

Now I’m not a love expert, but I sit here tonight, thinking about 11 years ago, Love, marriage, family, children, the Cross and all sorts of different love that we experience here on this earth. I can’t help but think about the Love that Brent and I shared and the love that I still have for him.

The love/hurt pain that hits me at 11 0’clock at night, almost every single night, kids asleep, house clean, homeschool lessons done, alone missing that Love that I once knew.

You know, I hear it often, some people will tell me they have never seen a love the way Brent and I had, or that at such a young age we experienced more than some do in a lifetime, but I must confess if we would have been graded on marriage we would have gotten a big F or maybe a D-... : )

In our first years of marriage I couldn’t understand why people even got married! Hahaha I think at one point I even told Brent, “I love you, but I hate being married!” Now, give me a break I was only 19 years old, who knows anything at that age. BUT inside, deep inside my soul and heart I was so absolutely crazy in love with him. Pushing all arguments and petty things aside I could be anywhere at anytime doing anything AS LONG AS I WAS WITH BRENT I didn’t care.

I couldn’t explain how my heart could leap out of my chest when I heard him talk or saw his smile or just smelled his cheek. As a matter of fact I did go with him everywhere!!! I stopped going to school, worked 3 jobs at one point while we were engaged just to save so we could be together.

We got married, had NO home, lived with his parents, while he had a broken arm living downstairs, moved to the Bible college and lived in a tiny dorm room for 2 years with no kitchen, one car etc. you get the point.

I left my family, friends, life and everything I knew just so I could be with him and go wherever he went. We sold everything we had, moved to Hawaii, came back and finally settled in Murrieta at the Bible college. Then found out we were going to be parents.

At that point love changed. Now a precious little baby invaded that love between two people and made the love GRANDER into a family-of-three kind of love. The love was divided in a good way, but also in a way that had to be fought for. Soon more love joined our family when another life was given to us to love even MORE.

Then again the love between two people got even more divided and more fighting for our love and marriage was involved. That’s when love became a fight. In life's busyness Brent and I experienced a lot in our marriage, from struggles to fights, to happy quiet times and lots of MINISTRY, MINISTRY, MINISTRY (which to this day I count as the biggest blessing and privilege I ever had was to be the wife of a pastor, not a pastor's wife, but his wife) we experienced warfare, blessings etc…. There were so many different seasons in our marriage all very good but all had its challenges.

In all of life's chaos, and in all the hurdles we had to jump in marriage, I can honestly say, though it wasn’t perfect, BRENT AND I FOUGHT FOR WHAT WE HAD EVEN WHEN SATATN AND THIS WORLD CAME IN TO DESTROY. And you know what? It ONLY MADE OUR LOVE FOR EACH OTHER GROW. We matured with one another, we jumped those hurdles and made it through some of the most challenging situations. Those times made us honestly stronger, more mature and we were even able to counsel others through some of the same things.

When Brent became ill, our love changed again. It was a deeper, different kind of love. Suddenly NOTHING seemed to matter. Ministry, our home, fashion, what we had, fights, etc. you get the point. ALL that seemed to matter was making sure we had each other (and our boys). One day, as Brent got more and more sick, I was helping him in the shower, he was weak, unable to talk much, stand up or do a lot at this point and I remember he looked at me and said, “ Babe, you never thought you’d be doing this uh? Helping your husband in the shower this young.” Then he just smiled, and I smiled back and said, “nope, I never did.”

My hearts hurts remembering back to that time, but I can’t help but share it for this very reason:

When you stand at the alter, what do you think your vows even mean when you are saying them and making that covenant????????????? When you say, “for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health…..until DEATH do you part.”

Why, why are marriages giving up so easily these days? No duh there are going to be tough times. You take two people and try to make it one? Obviously there are going to be issues, and hard times BUT what's the point of vows if you just throw in the towel so easily!? I understand some people are harder to live with than others, but how willing are you to FIGHT for what is there?

You know, every time I get to share at a church I always remind the women how blessed they are to be able to make dinner for their husbands and do their laundry, I can NOT tell you enough how desperately I miss that. I get irritated inside when I hear things like, “oh my husband is gone for a few days, I get the bed to myself or I don’t have to do any of those chores.”

You know what? Knowing what I do now, if I got the chance over again (with Brent) I would hold my spouse EVERY SINGLE NIGHT AND tell him how deeply, madly in love I am with him. YES every…single………night……..and thank him for working so hard and helping with the kids….etc.

11 years ago today I had the honor and privilege of becoming Brent Yim's wife. He was my best friend, the love of my life, he irritated me more than any other person ever could, he made me laugh hard, he made me mad, he led me spiritually, he worked hard, except when he had to take out the trash haha (he got better as the years passed) he was an incredible father, pastor, leader, husband and not a day goes by that I don’t miss him.

BUT tonight, I’m praying for those who are weary in their relationships, not to give up! To persevere even when those “feelings” are not there anymore. When life seems “greener” on the other side to remember what you said at the altar, to ask God for strength and peace, the God who gives to all who ask and seek. There is ALWAYS HOPE when things look hopeless.

I am praying that we would all be examples to the next generation of what a healthy home should look like. I’m truly praying for you tonight. That "self" would NOT be in the marriage covenant but it would be about how you can be a blessing/servant to that person that God has given to you. That humility would fill your hearts and minds, that you would be gracious and loving. That you would FIGHT for what is, and not what is not.

Happy 11th anniversary to you Brent.

It has been 2 years

It has been 2 years on May 8th since the last time I looked at Brent and kissed him goodbye…..for now. I have so much that I want to share that I don’t know where to begin or if I can really relay the message that is in my heart.

I have had moments of strength and moments of weakness. In those weak moments of feeling as though I have failed in grieving well and have failed in my spiritual walk, I have had the Saviors hand lift me back up again only to restore me. I have had my family and Brent's parents uphold me, speak truth into my heart and mind and have cared for my boys and me.

In those moments when I’m feeling as though I can live and feel strong, I remind myself it’s only by God's grace, HIS strength AND HIS HOPE that HE has provided by His Son Jesus Christ that gets me through another day. Because I am most weak and I’m not afraid to admit it.

My boys have filled my heart with more joy and laughter than I could have asked for, but there are days when in the midst of learning to parent alone, I think I might just put myself in the mental hospital! (haha) Those parenting moments when Brent was here, never would we watch so much TV or play video games, but now where I’m just trying to get the dishes done, make dinner, pay bills, read my Bible, have a simple conversation, do laundry etc… and the boys watch an extra show, or play an extra 20 minutes of a video game just so I can personally survive, as I hear other moms say, “I don’t let my kids play video games.”

Even though I do hate it for them, it is what it is. Taking on new responsibilities, more fears and less energy is my new normal. To say the least it has been EXTREMELY difficult and emotional to deal with Brent's absence and to relearn how to live this new normal, new life and learning to accept it.

It has been 2 years of pain and grief and weariness. I have lost friends and I have made new ones, I have had to put relationships aside because of the overbearing expectations and I have had to be ok with being alone most of the time. Sometimes it is good, and other times it just stinks! At times I catch myself still thinking Brent is going to walk in the door at any given moment. But as time goes on that memory of him coming home is now only a memory and I hold on to it for dear life.

I wish the audience that reads this could truly know exactly how I feel so that I wouldn’t have to write it, but I guess that would mean you would have had to experience it and I don’t pray that for anyone. I MISS HIM. I MISS HIM SO MUCH I COULD NEVER BE ABLE TO EXPLAIN IT. And so I won’t. Gosh the breath gets taken away still often and the shock of it all never really ever goes away. I am plagued with the thought of death almost every second of everyday, no exaggeration. Death and Heaven is where most of my thoughts are throughout the day and I long for heaven, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t afraid to go through the process to get there. In a way I think how awesome that Brent does NOT have to do it again. He’s done. He did it. But we are still here, YIKES we still have to go through the process of death unless our Lord Jesus comes back for us!

A few days ago, I was driving home from my in laws and this huge wave came over me, I couldn’t breathe and the tears wouldn’t stop. I’d remember what it was like to simply hold his hand in the car as we drove…..and I couldn’t do that anymore. To lean in for a kiss, to make him a plate at dinner, to go out to a movie on a date, to hear the laughter of the kids and their daddy playing, to stay up late with your best friend and laugh and talk, to feel the safety of having someone to protect you and your kids, and to have someone that will back you up no matter what. Now I have the responsibility to fight alone, protect my children, provide for our family, lead us spiritually, no one to hold, no one to talk to, complain to, run to, cry to, laugh with….on and on. It is a battle, daily.

People (who have never lost someone) say things like, “well you gotta move on” or “you can’t stay stuck forever.”- Which is fine, I totally get what they are saying, and I’m TRULY not bitter (anymore) at those comments, yet I would say, living another day is moving on, one step in front of the other.

I recently joined a Grieving counseling class at Calvary Chapel Chino Hills. The past 4 months or so I was REALLY struggling and it came to a point where I NEEDED something to give me practical/ spiritual help in this process. (Psalm 88:2-3 “May my prayer come before you God; turn your ear to my cry. For my soul is full of trouble and my life draws near the grave.”)

At first I was hesitant thinking, “how is this going to help me, I already have everything I need (God's word) and it’s not like they can bring Brent back and that’s what I really want. BUT, I was wrong. I have enjoyed every single Tuesday night with people who long for heaven. Who have a true grasp of death and heaven and grief.

I have learned that not one person is the same nor any situation. That grief will last a lifetime BUT happiness can slowly seep its way back in IF I choose to let it. I have met people who have lost more than one child, or tragic accidents and have learned that everyone suffers and the world doesn’t revolve around me, my kids or one person to say the least. And if you have not suffered trials, I hate to break it to you, but one day you will, each day one person loses someone, or a job is lost, or storms hit in ways they never have before. BUT we can NOT live our lives in fear!!!!

I had a conversation with a friend and she said, “everything is going so well for me I’m afraid to enjoy it because I’m scared something bad is going to happened.” I just looked at her and said, “something bad WILL HAPPEN so enjoy the breath of calmness!!!” Now I didn’t mean that in weird mean way, but it’s true isn’t it?? At some point in our lives, whether you’re 30 or 90 we will have to face death, loss of a job, storms etc…..

I have been able to share our story and Brent's life with others and Jesus in him. It is Jesus that our eyes need to be set upon and NOT this earth or the happiness in it. I have learned that anger and isolation is not how I want to live my life nor do I want my kids exposed to that THEREFORE everyday is a choice to wake up and thank God for what I did have and what I have NOW. I could NEVER thank God enough for CHOOSING me to be Brent's wife and for giving me the privilege to raise his/our kids (even though it is hard).

A turning point

One night after my grief class, I turned on a song in my car, and the words say, “EVERYTHING is on the alter now, no holding back. In view of YOU take every treasure take this life. …… God you are greater than life, all that I am for ALL that You are. IT’S ONLY IN SURRENDER THAT I’M TRULY FREE.” As I was listening and crying, I knew God was speaking to me.

I knew HE was telling my heart to leave Brent at the alter. To give him to the Lord and let Him have him. To leave him there, NOT FORGET HIM, NOT LEAVE HIM AND NEVER REMEMBER MY LIFE WITH HIM BUT to TRUST THE LORD AND KEEP LIVING MY LIFE ON THIS EARTH TO BRING HIM GLORY. For the time I was able to be with Brent I have to thank God and be grateful.

I knew/know that I cannot live in this state of depression or grief whatever you want to to call it. I know that there is a time to be born and a time to die. I know that God is not done with me and my kids and I have to have faith and trust. That word Faith has been put to good use these last 2 years, but to be honest most of the time I literally have to force myself and talk to myself (that’s what happens when you’re alone, you go crazy :) that God knows exactly what He was doing that day when Brent found out he had a brain tumor. The day the doctor walked in and told me, “your husband has 12 months.”

Everything really is, if you think about it, a choice. I choose to go to a grief class and trust that God would somehow use it in my life and He most certainly has. I choose a lot of things and right now where I am, although I need lots of prayer, I choose to leave Brent at the alter. I love him still. I miss him so much. I can still see him walking around our house with a box of either wheat thins or cheese itz leaving crumbs everywhere. I can still vividly remember every line on his hands and fingers, the way he walked and his really bad habits too.

I long to hear him preach (I still haven’t heard a preacher like him :) My stomach hurts so bad when I see married couples that we were friends with, still married and having more kids, it makes me sad that we were the ones chosen to endure this lot. I will never forget our life together because it’s a part of me it’s a part of our boys. I love my boys so much and so did Brent. We loved them together and for that I am truly grateful to have had the most wonderful dad to my/our boys.

I want to honor the Lord and honor Brent as best as I can and I continue to ask for constant prayers. As the storm settles, people have moved on I stand in this eerie quiet feeling of loneliness. I really don’t say that so people can feel sorry for me, it’s just the truth! I am learning now that really JESUS is what I’ve always needed and to make HIM priority in my life….BUT though I know this it is easier said than done.

One of my biggest struggles now, is the sadness I feel for Jaiden and Micah. I know WITHOUT A DOUBT they are going to be just fine.  They are amazing and smart and at this young age love Jesus. BUT my mommy heart can’t help but cry for the absence of their dad. Not just any dad, lol, BRENT!! He loved them so much and couldn’t wait to be a dad! He was so patient and kind and always took the time to just be with them, rock them play with them……and I cry often knowing they are missing out on all of that.

To not have a Dad as young boy, especially as Jaiden gets older, is just hard. (I can’t think of another word) I wish Brent could coach his soccer team and watch him at Karate!!! Micah is so crazy I know Brent would try to discipline him but then end up hugging and kissing him!! Hahahaha OH THE WHAT IFS……..

When you look at something up close, you can’t see the whole picture, so that’s when there is a necessity to step back, way back and try to imagine the bigger picture. God warns us that His ways are past finding out. They are bigger than our brains can even wrap themselves around and that’s when our faith gets put to use. I often find myself praying for faith for my kids. There are fears that if Brent was here maybe they would be like this or that. Having our life in ministry being pastor's kids……..To living with a single mom trying to survive!!

I have definitely questioned God's love and His will and way. One seems much better than the other BUT again He is God and His ways are PERFECT, then my faith says to trust. Jeremiah 29:11 says that God has good things in store for Jaiden and Micah. Plans to prosper them not destroy them. To GIVE them a FUTURE and a hope. And so I rest as best as I can trusting , doing my part as their Mom here on earth and leaving the rest to the Father. He loves them more than I do and I remind both of them of that all the time.

I really have SO much fun with them and I don’t want to skip a beat!! I don’t want them to grow up to have a horrible childhood although I know theirs will not be a “normal” one that maybe some of their friends have. And I haven’t been the most patient with them BUT I can truly say, with a pure conviction the Lord has protected them and given me the ability to be the mom that I can. Do I cry in front of them?? YUMMMM DUHHH! I HATE when people tell me not to cry in front of my kids. It’s ridiculous. Do I weep, no, do I freak out, no, but of course I cry and of course they don’t like it but goodness give me a break. I’m so sure I’m going to just smile all the time! If I can be real on media and in front of all of you, my kids are going to get the real me. Jaiden doesn’t like it when I cry , but who would. It makes him sad, but then it gives me the opportunity to share the story of Jesus and Lazarus.

Jesus WEPT! He was sad, His friend had died and everyone saw him. So it’s just a normal part of life and he is young but understanding.

He doesn’t talk much about Brent. He is A LOT like Brent. A thinker and not a talker (although Brent could talk :) the pain for him is much deeper than most would think a 7 year old could have. He knows exactly what happened, he knows exactly what’s going on around him and he knows that daddy is not coming back. BUT he also knows we are going to daddy one day. And until then we just walk with the Father until we are also called home.

Micah talks about Brent EVERYDAY. He wants to dress like him, eat like him, he wants to look like him and he gets SO excited when we look at pictures and videos. He longs to know what his daddy is like and I love it. I talk to them about him all the time!! Pictures up in our house, right next to the boys….he will always be the 4th person in our family who has just gone away for a short time.

The Lord has brought some amazing godly men in their lives at church and just some of mine and Brent's guy friends. When they are around they love on the boys and it’s SO beautiful to see the body of Christ doing what His Word tells us to do. I have no doubt these certain men in their lives will leave an imprint on their little lives, and they already have.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” –Romans 15:13

Besides the obvious daily sadness and ups and downs, we have been extremely blessed. We have been beyond blessed with new friendships that have been there for our family, and a few old friendships, the financial help, spiritual uplifting etc……… Churches that have literally come alongside in doing exactly what the Word says about helping the widow! (I have such a perspective now on widows and single parenting that I never knew before) I have had the HUGE blessed opportunity to be home with my boys and homeschool them. (which will change soon due to financial responsibilities) We have had the freedom to visit lots with family and JUST BE TOGETHER IN THIS MOST DIFFICULT TIME.

Many of Brent's wise words stick with us today and quite frankly get me through some of my days!! I CANNOT change the fact that Brent got brain cancer, and went to be with Jesus. BUT I can choose whether to be an angry bitter person (I do have bad days) or I can realize that it is not my day yet to go and there is a purpose for my life, Jaiden's life and Micah's life and let God do HIS thing and have His way with us.

I choose happiness because God is full of LIFE. God's Word says that death has no sting! And to be honest, I know my husband would want that…not earthly happiness, I’m talking about fullness of Joy that only God gives. Happiness and Joy are two different things. The Bible says that our Joy comes from salvation and I am able to have that Joy because we will be reunited one day.

Beyond Thankful

Heaven will reward those. My Mom and Dad are so gracious in understanding this is where God has the boys and I (in California while they are in New Mexico) although they desperately want to help in every way possible and have as much as our states away permit them! They have been my prayer warriors and have taken a lot from their sassy, grieving daughter!! (I love you mom and dad)

My sisters and sister-in-laws are just some of my greatest encouragers and I love them and wish so much we could live closer. Brent's Mom and Dad are not just in-laws to me. They are my second set of adopted parents, Janis (Brent's mom) has given me wisdom and prayed for me and has never said no when I needed her. They love Jaiden and Micah beyond words and Brent's sisters are my sisters. And in the midst of their own pain they have sacrificed so much for the boys and I and for EVERYONE above I am so thankful. Friends and churches etc…..I know Brent will hug each and every one of you for your love and blessings to us.

This life is nothing compared to what we will have in heaven. Until then “we will fight the good fight, we will finish our race, we will keep our faith.”
-Andrea Yim

The GREEN LEAF

A few months before Brent (my husband) entered the presence of Jesus I began to notice random bright green leaves in places that you would least expect them.

For one, a wind chime I found at world market….I’ve never even bought a wind chime, but Brent liked them and the green leaf one caught my eye…..thinking it represented life, so I bought it. As I stared at it I couldn’t help but think about the verse of the Tree planted by the river….rooted and grounded, therefore producing leaves. There are many, many stories, of someone writing verses on leaves…?? Like, who thinks of that hahahaha.

Then Brent and I had a lemon tree that we planted 2 weeks after he got diagnosed . The moment it was planted it flourished with beautiful bright green leaves and LEMONS!!! Tons of lemons.

Two weeks after Jesus took Brent into His hands the tree died. To this day not one green leaf has produced, not one lemon. NO matter how well I take care of it. The tree did it’s job. Brent was the only one to eat any of those lemons during his cancer and when the last one was taken, it bore no more. My lemon tree to this day is dead. No matter what I do, when it flourished SOOOO many lemons the day it was planted.

Today in Science class (we've been studying plants) we were specifically studying leaves. About how the leaves actually feed the plant in order for it to produce fruit. In an apple tree you need 30 leaves to produce just one round apple!!! Amazing right? Leaves have the exact right amount of nourishment it needs for the proper time it needs it for.

(There is a point I promise)

Tonight, I decided to go visit my husbands grave. I desperately miss him and sometimes try to figure out a way to bring him back. ( no I’m not losing my mind now…..don’t worry…. I lost it already the day my husband found out he had one year to live )

Anyways, I get to his gravestone, sit down, and just began to weep. I was wiping off his gravestone so it looked shiny, ( if you knew Brent and his perfectionist side you would understand he would want it nice and clean hahaha) Interesting enough there were no trees around just grass…..grass all around BUT there is was one Green Leaf. Sitting right on top of his gravestone.

I’m not superstitious or trying to be over-spiritual BUT I do feel and know that seeing that green leaf somehow brought to my mind and heart the word LIFE!!! A leaf , without chlorophyll looses it’s color, so I know that leaf was specifically there for the time I was there… maybe just for me? Who knows. BUT LIFE!!! Every time I’m there I truly trip out and get sick to my stomach to think that his body is under that ground. Hmmmmmmmmmm This is where the leaf comes in.. As I stared at it… the only leaf around (truly it really honestly was) The Spirit of the Lord reminded me of the word LIFE…………..LIVING…………FRUITFUL.

In a sense I was comforted to know that BRENT is the one living. We, here on this earth begin to lose our color. There are seasons, and in the different seasons leaves turn different colors then eventually die. In Heaven, Brents eternal home, our one day eternal home, we will NEVER EVER LOSE OUR COLOR.

This is not life guys. Our heavenly perspective should be life here on this earth… feeding the fruit by our leaves (think spiritually with me for a moment lol I’m still in 2nd grade-science-thinking from today). Our walks with the father should be and need to be like that in the Psalm. It says when we are planted by the living water we will be rooted planted and bearing much!!!!!! Brent’s leaf was green on this earth until it was time for his leaf to end. As leaves fall on the ground, and rain comes the leaf (not seed) actually begins the whole process over. Producing more trees, leaves and fruit. It benefits everything and everyone around us. I feel like that should be us, continuing in this life being vibrant and doing what God has called our Job to do.

All this might not make ANY sense to you and that’ fine because it totally makes sense to me and was like this awesome light bulb that went off.

As much as I miss the love of my life, I know that it was his time to fall to the ground….but not to be unfruitful but to continue to bear fruit so that others (us) can benefit and learn and grow. We can’t stop when it's our time to leave this earth, BUT we can be a fruitful bunch everywhere we go.

Some people may feel as though I a taking too long and need to move forward in regards to grieving Brent. BUT I tell you now for the rest of my life I will always grieve and love Brent. And I am moving forward in taking steps everyday to get up, and raise my babies in Jesus name. And, sometimes I wash my hair ;-) jk

I pray this blog makes sense. I’m like a second grader so excited to see how intricate and perfect God is.

“I could NEVER go through what you have gone through.”

I’ll never forget one day when Brent was sick, we were back and forth in the hospital, doing chemo, radiation, learning to eat green, etc… life was just crazy and I hated every second of what we were going through… and I thought to myself and prayed to God, “Lord IF you take Brent I will NEVER be able to walk with you again how will I ever trust you!!”

Before you go experience something you CAN NOT say how you will feel or what you will be like or what you will do. Before you have kids you think you “know” exactly how you will parent because for sure your kids will NOT be like those naughty children you see in the grocery store. Then lo and behold you have children and eat your words! Hahaha I always tell my son Jaiden, “how do you know you don’t like it? You haven’t even tried it yet!”

I have heard these words over and over again in these past 20 months and honestly, I know I was that person that thought I knew what I would do in any given situation, and yet…..somehow by Gods grace I have walked deeper, I have clung tighter, I have trusted more and I have longed to see Jesus and be where we have been created to be.

Don’t misinterpret my words. I have had an extremely difficult time grieving. Sometimes, I feel like I can’t even move forward because It still, yes still hurts SO bad. I think people want to make me feel better so they say things like,” oh you’re young you can get remarried.” OR you’re still having a tough time?” Etc. Which is fine. I’m not angry (anymore) at those comments because I fully understand where people are coming from. I don’t use Brent’s death as a crutch to say woe is me, or try to explain things away BUT honestly that’s exactly what it is. Sometimes it just naturally comes out without me even recognizing. My husband had brain cancer, died and left me with 2 children…yes sometimes I just can’t handle this overwhelming sense of what’s called LIFE.

GRIEF IS A LIFETIME JOURNEY!! I will NEVER be the same, think the same, feel the same, NEVER. And those who are in the comfort of this life will never be able to understand this concept. Behind closed doors I struggle DAILY to keep my head above water… I hesitate to say this because I don’t want people to feel sorry for me… instead I really want people to understand that HARD TIMES ARE PREPARING US FOR HEAVEN!! I heard a message about how back in the old days parents would prepare their children for war, tough times, how to plant seeds and make their own food, and now a days we think God hates us if we can’t get reception in the mall!!!!!! (ps that’s totally me! Anytime something goes wrong, well God must hate me!)

The Bible says, “If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?” –Jer. 12:5

Basically, our life was not meant to be easy or to be delivered from hardships and no it doesn’t mean God is against us!!! It may FEEL like that, but we have stand on what is truth!! Quite the opposite. God loved us so much that HE sent His only son so that when we do leave this earth (which one day we all will) we can have real true life everlasting!!! Honestly, I know this sounds weird, and I used to hear people say things like what I’m about to say, and used to not grasp what they were saying because it felt so wrong, but there are moments where I almost feel special/blessed that God would give me such a tremendous trial/burden to carry. Why? Because HE has great things prepared for those who love HIM and keep their faith!! My faith is small (ask my family) I’m always doubting, especially when it comes to the future, but the Bible says even if I have a tiny bit of Faith HE can move mountains.

2 Corinthians 13:5 says to examine yourself if you are in the faith truly you don’t know what you would do unless you are given the situation. Stand strong friends. Keep the Faith finish your course.

My mother in law always tells me, “moving forward is not forgetting.” And life, grieving, etc. looks different for every single person on this earth. Some daily grieve, some comes in waves. Some remarry others never do. Some turn from Jesus, others turn TO Jesus. Some choose to stay angry others accept their lot….either way deep, deep down in there we know God loves us and we just have to keep walking.

Grief doesn’t look a certain way.
There are days where I have taken 6 steps forward, then the next 2 steps back, then 1 step forward and 8 steps back, Every step I know and feel Jesus carrying me through. People, family, friends may have their ideas with how I am dealing with losing Brent, being alone and raising 2 boys alone, BUT I GENUINLY TELL YOU RIGHT NOW THAT I WILL KEEP MY FAITH IN JESUS CHRSIT BECAUSE HE IS WHAT SATISFIES THE LONGING VOID IN MY HEART/SOUL. AND HE WILL SUSTAIN ME THANK GOD FOR HIS GRACE. AND HE WILL KEEP JAIDEN AND MICAH.

I do however want to say this. I am in AWE of the body of Christ. Seriously, the blessings that people bring forth, the love the sharing in our grief, the financial help, the desire to be there for the boys and I and Brent’s family. The response is truly a treasure and I AM GRATEFUL AND THANKFUL truly, truly am.

In the car one day Brent said, “besides God healing me what would you ask God to do?” I replied, “bless in return ALL those that have been there for us, whether here on earth or in heaven, that God would reward all those who have sacrificed time, money and energy towards our family.”

For all of you I am eternally grateful. Even for you reading, I would probably get annoyed by someone always venting their whole life on media! Hahahahahaha

We will be in glory one day, but for now we stay steadfast and immovable.

Andrea Yim

Upcoming Events

Andrea will be speaking:

  • February 3rd-5th: Calvary Chapel South Bay Women's Retreat
  • March 31st -April 1st: Calvary Chapel High Country Women's Retreat

From Facebook

When Brent first went to be with Jesus, I didn't think I could even survive my next breath. His mom would often tell me,...

Posted by Andrea Yim on Friday, April 1, 2016