There are times we try to ‘hide’ the reality of life and it seems when we read each other’s blogs that everything is just perfect. There are homes where things always seem to be absolute perfection, blog friends who seem to have everything in life all neatly put together, menus and meals that surpass my wildest imagination. Yet I know from sharing your lives on a daily basis that it isn’t always so! At times you have shared your messy homes, your failures in the kitchen, your mistakes and wrong words spoken and your heartaches and struggles. I know life doesn’t always go the way we plan and I love the way you, dear friends, have chosen to let me walk through some of the rough spots with you. And I truly cherish the way you have walked through times of pain and sorrow in my life. The notes and messages and comments and emails of support and prayer and encouragement at times are a lifeline to each of us as we walk through ‘deep waters’.
Over the past year you have been aware of our sorrow at the sudden death of our thirty-four-year-old son-in-law. Many of you continue to send me notes and messages that you are still praying for us and for our daughter and the children. But what I haven’t shared – and wasn’t sure I could ever bring myself to share with you is the heartache we have walked through recently. For awhile I didn’t think I could ever share the pain in my heart and the struggle of watching our daughter make choices we would never choose for her. It’s time to share her situation and to share the joy we anticipate as we look to the future.
A few months ago our daughter met a nice young man who was the single father of a school friend of our youngest granddaughter. In the scheme of things, they met as parents whose daughters wanted to spend out-of-school time together. They were responsible parents, making sure everything was the way it should be. And in the course of time they talked a lot about raising children, about her grief and loss and about life in general. They began to see each other often and it wasn’t long before things went a direction they hadn’t planned. We knew something in her life had changed because our dear daughter, with whom we’ve been very close, stopped seeing us, stopped calling us or returning our calls and emails. After what seemed like forever she contacted us to say she was expecting a baby! Her struggle was enormous – what to do, how to face the family she loved dearly and wondering if her family would be too disgusted with her to be there for her and her children! God has worked in all of our hearts, healing the hurt and helping us come to grips with this news. The communication between us has been restored and we see them often. We would not have chosen this path for her but once the shock settled and the tears dried we began to focus on the future – a future that includes another precious granddaughter. Now we are excited as we wait for the arrival of this precious little girl early in May. Her daddy and our daughter have moved into a house together – he is a nice young man and he cares deeply for her. They are raising their children together. Her three and his two. He is kind and very good to her and the children. He has been an incredible part of the healing in our daughter and grandchildren’s lives. And we like him!
Many years ago, before we had children – during a very difficult time when it seemed we could have no family - God directed my heart and thoughts to two verses in Psalms and I was reassured that the God who puts families together cared deeply for my pain and that He would give us a family. I thought I understood these words then but I’m beginning to realize that I still do not fully comprehend their meaning.
God sets the lonely in families. . .
Psalm 68: 6
He rescues the poor from trouble
and increases their families like flocks of sheep.
So, my friends, God gave us our family and we have begun to realize that our family is growing again. Just as God 'set' us in a family, He has blessed us with our children - and now their children. Not only will little Hannah Grace join our lives – and our hearts – in a few months, we are getting to know two more precious children whose lives are intertwined with ours now and who want us to be their grandparents. We have a way of ‘collecting’ family. While this wasn’t the way we planned it, we are learning to let our hearts continue to grow and to embrace the family God brings our way. We thought we had that lesson learned. Apparently not. We’re still learning!
Edited to add: I drafted this post a few weeks ago and waited for just the right time to share it. There were a couple of friends I wanted to share this ‘news’ with before they read it here. A few days ago I felt it was time to share this with you but I waited until today. I’m glad I did! Something has changed – the next chapter of the story has begun. Something good!
A few days ago Mr. K., the young man in our daughter’s life, called to invite us to be his guests for dinner with them at a very nice restaurant nearby. The invitation was accepted and the time was set. We met them for dinner last evening. They were waiting when we arrived and soon we were seated at a table and our orders were given. Conversation was good and we were all happy to be together. It wasn’t long after our dinner arrived when the real point of the evening became clear. Mr. K. told us of his love for our daughter and her children and he asked for our permission marry to her! We didn’t hesitate to say yes. We gave our permission – and our blessing! Smiles were abundant and tears ready to fall. Then he produced the most gorgeous ring a girl could hope to wear, showed it to us and placed it on our daughter’s finger. He followed that with a kiss on the ring and her hand. The conversation flowed from that point on to talk of plans and questions to get better acquainted and lots of love shared around that table. No wedding date has been set and plans are still being discussed. We weren’t the first ones he asked for permission to marry our dear daughter - a day or two ago he asked our oldest granddaughter, our daughter’s eleven-year-old girl, for her permission to marry her mother. Her answer: ‘No way!’ Followed by ‘Of course!’ The children love him very much and they are thrilled.
The evening was nice, the food was good but certainly not the focus. The focus was our relationship with two very special people – two people who are obviously very happy to have our love and our blessing as they walk through life together. Smiles were the order of the evening and hugs were abundant when we finally stood up to leave the table. My heart was deeply touched to see the smiles on our daughter's face and hear her laughter again. It was an evening we will never forget! Not the end of the story by any means – just the beginning of the rest of their lives. And ours. To be continued. . . . . .