And so, you have now been party to my life's story. Some have called me strong, I think not. I consider myself to be more of a survivor than anything else. I used to teach my ladies at Phoenix Revival Center as well as my children that EVERYONE has a story. Before you judge someone harshly for being distant, seemingly unfriendly, grouchy or aloof, take into account that you have no idea what they faced last week, yesterday or this morning. You have no clue as to the battles and demons they fight every single minute of their lives. EVERYONE has a story.
You may wonder if I am bitter at God, my husband, the church, the organization? Not at all. I have never felt any bitterness towards anyone and especially not towards God. As I mentioned in a previous blog, at times I have felt anger towards Tim for leaving our children to grieve his death for the rest of their lives, but that anger comes and goes and is only fleeting. I mostly feel pity and sadness for Tim. I do however admonish our organization to be more perceptive to those among us in ministry who are hurting. Not every problem that ministers and their families face stems from whether they are labeled "liberal" or "conservative." Stress and mental health issues are rampant among the ministry and it is quietly swept under the proverbial "rug." That is not to say however that individuals are absolved of their responsibility to maintain their own sanity in seeking help, Tim did not seek help and thus, the most horrible of outcomes transpired. I believe that it is a fear of rejection and criticism from their peers that prevents ministers and their families from reaching out. I pray this is a lesson learned for some among us.
I now live a very pleasant and quiet life. Paul is an amazing husband and treats me like a queen. I really mean that! I know a lot of women use that term, but I really mean it! He is extremely tender and caring, tentative to my needs and always striving to make me happy. Paul loves my children and my grand daughter and goes out of his way to make them feel comfortable. He truly is a blessing from God. He is like a healing balm to my wounded and damaged heart. I thank God daily for his love.
Do I think of Tim? Every single day of my life I think of the father of my children, the man that I stood by through the good times and the bad times. The man that I fought the devils of hell for, as well as some devils on two legs who live and dwell among us. The man that I vowed to love and cherish until death parted us, and that is exactly what I did. The intense, searing grief has passed, but way, way, way down deep is a lingering sadness, a void in my heart that I assume will remain until I look into the sweet face of our Lord. I told Haley the other day that regardless of how happy I am, I will always be just a little bit sad. I don't think anyone could go through what we have completely unscathed, it goes with the territory. I ended my discussion with Haley by saying that if Tim had finally found the peace and rest that his soul had been craving by taking his own life, then it was worth it. I would go through it a hundred times more if I knew that he was at peace.
Paul and I cleaned out our garage a couple of weeks ago and I must admit, my day was a little tarnished as I stumbled across some mementos of mine and Tim's life that I had not seen in years. One of those articles was a C.D. of a Sunday morning service at Phoenix Revival Center approximately six weeks before Tim died. It starts out with a solo by our daughter Kendra. My breath caught in my throat and tears filled my eyes as, at the tail end of her song, I hear Tim's voice mingle with hers, singing along. I was transfixed and continued to listen as Tim took the service and began his sermon. As Tim read his text and gave his sermon title "Go Ahead God, Make My Day" memories came rushing at me as I distinctly recalled that service. It was as though I were taken back in time and could see the faces of our saints as they stood to their feet in worship as Kendra sang. I could see Tim's face, reading glasses low on his nose as he read the text, and then, in my minds eye I could see his mannerisms as he began to preach. We had so many good years at PRC, years and memories that will forever burn in my heart.
But now, it is time for new memories and experiences. I will be busy from here on out making memories with Paul and our children, with Charlotte, Zack's daughter and our little Harlow Grace, due to arrive in February of 2012. We cannot look back, we must look forward for there is so much life yet to be lived! God has granted us breath, and with every breath we will praise Him and live for Him. And then, one fine day we will stand before His throne in worship. I fully expect to find Tim there, minus the reading glasses, busy at work, chalkboard and chalk in hand, teaching the angels a little Hebrew.......