For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble.
You surround me with songs of victory.
The Lord says, "I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.
I will advise you and watch over you."
Psalm 32: 7-8 (NLT)
A dear friend sent me verse 8 of that scripture today on my Facebook page. I so needed to read that. It's been a tough two weeks, with Ben in the midst of his start of true grieving over losing his daddy. I realize that it is necessary, and I am thankful that he is beginning to take the lid off of the emotions he's fought so hard to keep inside over the past 8 months. The hard part is that he's taking Andrew and me back to the place we thought we'd overcome, and we're all in a whirlwind of sadness and heartbreak again.
He's feeling anger, disappointment, sadness, and is questioning God's motives. I tell him that God can handle it. During this most holy week, as Good Friday approaches, and we celebrate Easter soon thereafter, I discuss with both the parallels between the two of them and Jesus, as He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane.
My boys miss their daddy, and pray to God for comfort and strength, all the while talking to Mark, too. They don't like the cards we've been dealt. They wish for any other outcome but the one we got.
Jesus was also without his Father during the most difficult time of His life. He missed God terribly. He prayed for any other solution except the one he knew he was destined to fulfill.
In the end, both my boys and my saviour had to continue on the best pathway that God has for their lives.
My heart breaks a little every time I see how they suffer. Witnessing their anguish, their loneliness, it tears me up inside. It leaves me angry at times. Why, God, why? But I'm not expecting any answers, there's absolutely no way any of this makes sense. I just have to continue to trust that God will guide us along on the best pathway, even though the pathway we were on prior to Mark's death was pretty spectacular.
Baseball season has begun. My Andrew is a natural born baseball player. He's got the physical attributes for it, the brains, the ability, and most of all, an abiding love for the game. As I drove us to his first game Monday night, I still got a twinge down deep in the pit of my stomach as we pulled into the Little League parking lot. We've been part of it since 2007, and without Mark, it's certainly not the same.
I'd posted on Facebook the particulars about his game, and he'd hoped folks would come out to watch. He was in rare form! Pitching, hitting, fielding....he did it all. During a break in one inning, he came to the fence, asking, "Where's everybody at? No one's here for me"....and my heart broke a little bit more. "Sweetie," I told him, "folks are busy. I'm sure there will be friends here at some of your games...besides, Ben and I are here!"
We are so lucky. We have a tremendous support system here in Wichita Falls. I know, without hesitation, that I could pick up my phone, any time of the day or night, and call one of a dozen or more friends, and they would move heaven and earth to be here for us. But everyone has their own life to live, everyone is involved in their own commitments.
I say that because I've walked that walk. I've been so completely immersed in my husband and my kids' lives that I didn't have time to devote to much of anything else. I am in no way griping or complaining because we were there alone Monday. It's life. It is what it is.
As we went to the Jeep and got ready to head home, I cried. I hugged that 10 year old close, and I told him that I had never been more proud of him as I was that night. He had the game of his life. He told me that his daddy was with him on the mound. I told him that no matter what happened, the people inside that Jeep would be there for him, no matter what....his brother and me. I grabbed both of their hands, and we prayed, right there in the parking lot. A prayer of thanksgiving for AJ's abilities and the way he played that game, along with a plea for wisdom in finding a consistent male influence in both of their lives.
I can do a heck of a lot of things for my family. I'm even surprising myself. But I CANNOT be a man to my boys. And, until God sees fit to bring the perfect person into our lives, one that can be both a helpmate to me and a positive role model for them, I need to find some way to get them that influence in the meantime.
The Tuesday paper had my answer. An article about Big Brothers/Big Sisters was featured, and I called the number. Someone will come to our home next week, and interview all three of us in depth. From what we tell them, they will try to find a male volunteer that will be in my boys' lives on a consistent basis.
Pray for us, folks. Pray that this organization can help me by finding the appropriate male to step in. No one can fill Mark Howell's shoes, that goes without saying. But I want my kids to have someone they can rely on besides just me.