January 3, 2007

I went for a walk again today at Sunny Lake with my sister-in-law, Jenn. I have promised myself that I will get in better shape this year, taking full advantage of my health. She just had a Emily two and a half weeks ago, so getting in shape is our common goal. Whenever we walk, we seem to talk about everything under the sun. Talking about Jeff can be very emotional for me, and walking at Sunny Lake always makes me think of him and the times we went there. As we were walking today, I referenced the last few years like I always do, as a storm... a downpour... a flood. The whole summer, I would watch for a rainbow in the sky... I wanted a sign that God would not let this flood overtake us. I would take my camera around when I would drive anywhere, determined to catch the first rainbow I saw as a sign that this would not end the way I feared it would. It seemed like every time we got together as a family, it started to literally rain outside... lightening, thunder, the whole bit. I can remember at the end of June, my mom came over to my house and said she thought we should all think about going over to see Jeff because she did not have a good feeling about how his condition was worsening. She didn't want to throw us into a panic, but at the same time, she did not want something to happen during the night and have us regret not getting to talk to him again. I remember driving over, and Brian and Tommy were already there. My dad had taken the kids to church. Jeff could not make it downstairs and so we all sat in his bedroom. I will never forget that night. When I had seen Jeff on Father's Day, just a couple of weeks prior, I could tell he had gotten worse. He was having trouble walking and I could tell the numbness in his side had returned. Now he was in bed. I don't even know if I had been in his room prior to that night. Jeff had requested a baked potato from Wendy's and a Buster Bar from Dairy Queen. My mom was out getting these things when I arrived that night. Shortly after she returned, Brian was in his car getting ready to pull away and my dad pulled in the driveway with the kids. For that brief second that we were all in the same place, I remember looking out the window to see lightening and you could hear the thunder rolling in. It started to storm, blowing the curtains in the room. While Jeff was at Hospice, we talked about how neat it would be to see a storm come in over Lake Erie. The night that Jeff passed away, we were all in the room together. We were gathered around his bed, holding onto him and to each other.  Right after we knew Jeff took his last breath, I could see out the window over the water. That was the first time I saw the lightening come in over the water. Up until this point, I had still not seen the rainbow I was looking for. I prayed for God's sign that He had not forgotten us. I was not testing him, I did not need proof. But my heart needed a reminder. I told Jenn as we walked today that I believe God sent us our rainbow on December 15, 2006 in the form of a new life to celebrate. Emily is, in my mind, the reminder from God that He still has us in His hands. I believe the storm is over. It did not wipe us out, He is still taking care of us.

I sat down this evening to read my devotion. As I have said before, sometimes I just pick up my Bible and start to read. I have been reading in Job the last few days. Tonight, however, I decided to look in my Bible to see where the daily devotion for January 3 would be. It led me to Genesis 9-12. I want to share a part of what I read.

Genesis 9:11-17 " I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth." And God said, " This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth."


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