Tuesday, April 30, 2013

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...

The young adult small group considered this question, "What are the mountains in your life right now?"  I sat and listened, trying to remember what it was like to be 21 and in the middle of school papers and tests.  It all seemed so far back, almost as if I was another person back then.  But what about today?  What are the mountains that Mark and I face in this season of our lives?  The first thing that came to my mind was the care of our parents.  Although living on her own, my step mother has limitations and needs help maintaining her home.  Mark's mom had been diagnosed with cancer and his father requires around the clock care.  We aren't just their kids anymore.  We've had to take on the role of over-seer in varying degrees.  Life has taken an inevitable transition.

Another inevitable transition we face is the marriage of our children.  We've been planning Steph's wedding since before Christmas.  With the wedding in Portland, we've had to leave a lot of the planning in the hands of the busy bride.  But it's been fun to dream and create for this very special day.

We closed the small group with prayer, committing those mountains to His care.  Little did I know that these mountains would require crossing sooner than I ever thought possible.

Just two days before I was to leave for Portland, I got a call from Mark.  They had taken his mom to the emergency room.  Hours went by and I didn't hear from him, so I called him back.  It was bad.  I rushed to the hospital.  Mark's mom had suffered a severe stroke.  She was conscious but barely responsive, communicating only by squeezing our hand.  This was the worst scenario we could imagine.  So the journey up a very steep trail began.  We called the family and everyone who could began to arrive.  By the Lord's mercy, she didn't suffer and in 36 hours, surrounded by her children and grandchildren, she made her transition to Heaven.  It was heart-wrenching, beautiful.

But now, I had 12 hours before I had to get on the plane to Portland.  I also had to get the house ready for guests.  The house had just been re-roofed and there was dust all over from the open-beam ceilings.  On top of that, Andrew had been throwing up for the past 24 hours!  It all felt like some weird dream.  I had to put my emotions on hold and just keep moving.  I would have never gotten things done without our dear community coming to my rescue.  They helped whip the house into shape while I packed.  Andrew was just strong enough to fly, so by faith we got on board.

God is faithful and He led us beside still waters to restore our souls.  Mark was able to join us after five days and the family was together before the wedding.  Those two weeks in Oregon were an amazing gift.  My sisters and niece flew out and were a tremendous help.  All the details came together and it was a beautiful wedding.  Wonderful family memories were made.

With renewed strength, we returned to Hawaii to plan the memorial service for Jean.  All the family, except for the newlyweds, where there.  We celebrated Jean's life in grand style.  Her service was filled with music, dance, and wonderful remembrances.

What a comfort it is to know that nothing catches our heavenly Father off guard.  He knew the mountains that we would face, and even prepared us for it by giving us time to ponder the hills ahead.  Oh, how He loves us!

Jean's bright smile is dearly missed!


On the way up to Mt. Hood to see some snow!

Decorations go up for the reception.


Our newlyweds!

The family celebrates the life of Grandma Jean.

P.S.  Remember that flu bug that Andrew was getting over when we left?  Kyle and Steph caught it on their honeymoon... Sorry, kids!