Monday, March 28, 2011

my bleeding heart....

Well it has been an interesting past 4 days.  Not quite sure what to think about it all, but I thought maybe sharing might make it a little easier.  My first part of last week was pretty good. Then as the week progressed, i began to see some signs that maybe we were not as far along as we thought. 

When I started seeing a counselor after Curtis' death, he warned that it was normal in the grieving process to be mad and angry at times.  I thought, well ok. I am not normally an angry person so I thought that maybe I would skip over that part of grief. Have done pretty good, up till last week.  I had been irritated several times but not really angry.  Thursday evening, I got upset at the kids because of a chore issue, then Friday evening, 2 of my kids got really angry with each other and said things and did things that are not like them at all.  Then I got upset and angry with them!  Now this may sound like just normal anger and not grief related, but I believe that the grief has exaggerated the anger. Later that evening, I found myself very angry with Curtis of all people!  He had nothing to do with the argument over the chores.  Well, not directly.  I became angry because Curtis was the motivator at our house.  In the past year, he had really tapped in on how to motivate the right way, with not using anger, but just by talking to the kids and being firm in a good way.  So he kept the house running with chores and stuff even when he could not physically do anything in the house - just by reminding the kids of things they needed to do, and by just being here for them when they come home from school. 

So I was angry at Curtis for dying, for leaving me here - the non-motivator- to deal with the kids and with chores.  I was angry because now I have to make decisions on my own. I was mad that he died!! Please hear my heart my friends.  I know this sounds so not like me for those of you who know me well. But once I began to put my finger on why I was mad and upset, I was able to work through it.  I am not a yeller or a screamer, but on Friday evening, I had turned into a raging lunatic!!!  But thank God, that once again, He carried me through this little tantrum period and I was able to think rationally and move forward.  

For those of you who are dealing with the loss of a loved one, either by death, divorce, or dealing with something else that has brought you grief.  It is ok to be angry, to feel the raw emotions of a bleeding heart, to hurt and to long for relief.  Please don't become a slave to the anger though. Don't even become a slave to grief.  Grief in itself is healthy but when we become chained to grief it is not a good thing.  Reach out to someone.  Most of all reach out to the Father. 

Eventually the bleeding will stop in my heart and I will be healed. I know that.  I have full confidence in my Saviour.  Till the bleeding stops, I will press on and I will continue to work through these things, and it is my prayer that you will find the courage to do so as well. 


Friday, March 25, 2011

Lively stones....diamond in the rough

1 Peter 2:5
"You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ"

A friend shared this scripture with me this week after she read my last blog, My Hero.  When she shared this with me, immediately I remembered a dream that I had concerning Curtis in 2004.  We had moved to Florida in obedience to the Father, but we were struggling in our marriage. It seemed as though everything was an argument and my walls were thick as the wall of China.  I felt that Curtis and I were never going to be free of the vicious cycle that we were in.  I thought seriously about leaving and coming back to NC and leaving him there.  Just being honest with you.  I felt like I was a walking zombie.  One night I had a dream. God showed me a piece of coal. But then he cracked open the coal and showed me a diamond inside.  He said, "this is Curtis.  He has many rough edges on him, but I want to smooth the rough edges and put him on display as a precious diamond for the world to see." WOW!  When I woke up, I asked God to help me to be patient and to help me as he began the smoothing of the rough edges. I knew that this would not be a very pleasant time, as pruning and sanding down edges can be a painful process.  And yes, it did get worse before it got better, but I can honestly say at that time, God began to change me on the inside. He began to show me a different way, and although it took me several years before I really could say that things were changing in me, I know that the changes that took place prepared me for the changes that took place in Curtis over the past 2 years.

Please hear my heart. I would never recommend to anyone to stay in a verbally abusive situation.  But in MY case, this is what the Father had me to do.  I am certainly glad that I obeyed even if it took years for me to see results on both my side and his.   Seeing this, I can truly say that Curtis was made like a living stone, that he was built into a spiritual house, a place where my children and I could find refuge and safety that we longed for.  It was because of his spiritual sacrifices, the sacrificing of his anger and bitterness, that he was raised up to be a priest of our home.

Please continue to pray for us, the pain is great at times. There are days when I am at a loss with the kids, and I am sure they feel that way about me as well. Pray for Curtis' family too. I know that they are grieving the loss of a brother and son.  Pray for my children that they will find their own way to grieve and that they won't be afraid to grieve.  In your praying though, pray that we will not become a slave to grief.  I need strength and wisdom.  Thank you all so very much.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

my hero...

I want to share a little about my hero. Of course you know it is Curtis, but I want to share with you why.  Please know first of all, that I am sharing bits of pieces of Curtis' life so you will get a glimpse of where he was and how far he came.  I am NOT sharing these things with you to color your view of my husband, but I know that he had began writing his testimony and wanted others to know just how far that he had came. 

Hero is defined as one with distinguished courage or ability.  To me, Curtis fits that role. Let me explain.  For many years, Curtis battled insecurities about who he was, or in his eyes- who he was not. He fought things such as anger and rage, and lost many battles with that. He was locked into a cycle of resentment, bitterness, and bondage that resulted in him loosing his temper and being very verbally abusive at home. He was definitely a called man of God, and because of his revelation knowledge of the Word of God was able to articulate his knowledge very well to others.  In the public view, he was really headed somewhere in ministry work. But people had no idea of what he battled in private. At home, we were always walking on egg shells, and wondering when he the vicious cycle would ever end. It went like this: Curtis would become upset about something, yell and scream and be verbally abusive, then condemnation would set in, then isolation. The isolation could last anywhere from a couple of hours to up to a week.  Then finally he would gain victory through much prayer and things would be good for a while. This cycle continued to batter him for most of his Christian walk. But Curtis never lost sight that he desired freedom. He would pray his prayer sheets over and over, and declare God's word over his life.  He did not like being the way he was and wanted to change, but really did not know how to. 

When his health started failing in 2006, beginning with a mild heart attack while we lived in Florida, then after moving back to NC a few months later, and being diagnosed with melanoma - from a mole on his shoulder. The surgery following that, along with the declaration that he was free from cancer;  then the discovery of diabetes and painful neuropathy, and severe sleep apnea. These things began to collapse upon him and he was forced to be at home by himself because he could not work. With this time on his hands, he begin to seek help on a deeper level.  He began seeing a Christian therapist, and began to bare his heart to his spiritual mentor.  Over the period of the last two years, Curtis began to see the change that he had longed for - for so many years. He became much gentler, he had a much kinder view on life, and even when diagnosed last June with malignant melanoma, he continued to allow God to change him from the inside out. These past two years have been filled with the miracle of an inner healing that was amazing to behold. 

My children and I begin to change as well. We went from being uptight and ready to leave - to falling madly and deeply in love with this man who had changed so much.  What a miraculous thing that happened!!  Even with the diagnosis and the quick spreading of the cancer, it did not move Curtis off of this path of inner healing. Up to the very end, he constantly loved on us and reminded us every day how important we were in his life. He told me things that he had never shared with me before, and told me what a vital part I had played in his healing.  Oh my heart just overflows even now, thinking of this great miracle he experienced. 

You may say, but wait, he wasn't healed of cancer, so how could this have been such a miraculous thing?  Oh my dear friends, had you walked in our shoes, you would have known and realized that when a person is changed on the inside that really and truly the outside is just not as important.  Now don't get me wrong. I am not saying that I didn't want to see him healed on the outside. I so desperately wanted him to be here for us, so indescribably wanted to grow old with him and to be by his side till we were old and wrinkled. My heart aches for his hugs and sometimes the pain of him not being with us here in person is worse than having a searing hot knife stabbed in my heart. So YES!!! a million YES's! I would have loved to have him healed and still with us in person.  But had it meant that he would have stayed the way he was, in bondage to anger and rage, and a host of other chains that kept him in his own personal prison, he is far better off now, walking with the Father, and experiencing a pain free life and being totally and completely free. I believe that Curtis caught a taste of heaven when discovering his freedom and that little glimpse of heaven carried him into His Saviour's arms in the wee hours of the morning on January 29, 2011.  

So yes, according to the definition of a hero. Curtis James Forbes is my hero. It took extraordinary courage to take a stand against the chains that held him bound and to break free and be the man he always longed to be.  Don't  remember him with disdain for who he was, but rather remember the hero that he became. 

Thank you for reading, i know this was long. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Highs and Lows and in between...

I wanted to share some of my highs and lows this past week up through today. I know that highs and lows are expected, but the days where things level off are such a blessing. During the past week, I have experienced joy and sorrow, tears and laughter.  

First of all, here is a post that I put yesterday on f/b. I am finding that it is perfectly ok to cry one minute and laugh hilariously the next. To run away and come back in the same hour... finding out that however you experience grief, it is normal. For grief is as individual as each person is.

So in the past week, I have had the challenge of painting my bedroom. The high in that was that I did it! It really made me feel so good that I started a project and finished it.  I picked the color I wanted, and tackled the job.   The low of that project was that I couldn't ask Curtis' advice on some painting issues;  I had to go through his tools to find what I needed to paint the room and not being able to have him tell me that I did good. 

Some more highs of this past week, I have managed so far to get through work and only had to take 2 hours of time off to deal with my emotions.  Having a friend to check on me several times at work and make sure I was getting through my day.  Re-connecting with an old friend.  Another high of my week was taking Faith out and spending time with her. Seeing my kids laugh and cut up at the bowling alley, knowing Mekayla had a great time at Winterfest. These are all my high points. and oh, I can't forget this! Riding in Caleb's jeep tonight with Alex with the top off - while the sun was out it was nice, when we came home tonight it was chilly! but had never ridden in a jeep as a convertible, seeing Alex looking up at the stars was a blast! also looking forward to our ladies retreat in Gatlinburg this weekend.

My lows of the week, getting a prank phone call from a couple of kids who kept asking for Curtis then said something vulgar.  Seriously??  being overwhelmed by lack of sleep and lack of energy.  The worst low of the week was on Tuesday. I began to feel extremely irritated and there was nothing to be irritated at. The feeling progressed into anger and by the 10:00 that evening, I felt about 50 different emotions all at the same time. Felt like I was going to blow big time.  So I drove to a safe place where I knew I could park and be ok, and sobbed and screamed for a while.  Finally called a friend who prayed for me and helped me get calmed down and the peace returned.  But in the midst of the meltdown, I seriously felt as if I was going crazy. 

I am so thankful that God's grace and peace is always there when I hit my highs and lows.  When I am feeling like I can't make it through another day, I call His name and He is always there. No matter if I feel like a failure, He is telling me I can make it. There have been times this week when I felt His presence just bring a stability that carried me through the day. I know that one day the highs and lows will even out and the roller coaster will give way to a smooth ride with a few hills and small bumps, but till then, I will embrace the highs and the lows and allow my Jesus to bring me through each one. 

Thank you all so much for reading and for encouraging me in this journey. You are truly one of my highest highs.


Monday, March 14, 2011

my struggle with "gentle doe"

You probably think I have really lost it with the title of my blog, but let me explain! No gentle doe is not a new pet of mine.  Rather, it is the name of the color of paint that I picked out for my bedroom.  No idea why someone would call this color gentle doe, as I can't remember seeing any deer with this color!  

Anyway, last week, I decided to paint my room. I decided that I wanted to change my room around, buy some new things for it and downsize from a King size bed to a queen.   It wasn't too hard for me to decide to do this. Curtis had not slept in my bed for about a year, he had severe sleep apnea, and because he did not want to keep me awake, he slept in the recliner in his office.  So making the decision to change my room wasn't hindered by the emotional pain of having to give up the bed and stuff that I shared with Curtis.

So Saturday, I began the task. I stirred up the paint that I had bought and found one of Curtis' old brushes and rollers.  Painted one strip of paint and remembered that I forgot to sand the walls because there was gloss on the walls and it has to be roughed up so it will stick. (hmmmmm) I began to get frustrated because I could not find his sanding screen and pole. Had to go through all his paint tools and stuff in his work room. Now that is where I begin to be distraught inside.  Going through his work tools, how he used to make money for our family.  I begin to think about all the times I had helped him paint and the things that he had taught me. I begin to feel the pain of him not being with me and actually was mad that I couldn't talk to him and ask how do I do this????

I finally found a small sander and some sand paper, and got to work on the room.  I still was sorta out of sorts on the inside, from going through the tools.  I was hit with all kinds of discouragement, things like "what makes you think you can paint this room by yourself?  Curtis was the painter, not you!  You will never get this done just give up now."  Yep the enemy was certainly telling on himself.  Finally I thought to myself I can do this, I will do this!  So I kept up and that night finished the first coat of paint and cutting in.  Sunday afternoon, I thought I really want to rest, but instead, I got busy and painted the second coat of paint.  And you know what? I finished it! by myself, and it looks pretty good except for the few places (ok, quite a few lol) where I got paint on the baseboard.

So what is the key today?  the key was that I was faced with a challenge. The challenge of 'gentle doe'. I could have given up. I could have said forget about it. But instead, I faced the challenge, begin to think about all that Curtis had taught me and went for it.  It is not perfect but looks pretty decent if I do say so. You may be faced with a challenge today. Maybe you have recently lost someone and just getting out of bed is a challenge.  I have had days like that. Days where I just wanted to melt into the bed, ignore everything around me and just cry and sleep all day.   Maybe you are faced with a diagnosis that you were not expecting.  Maybe you have had to step back and allow God to deal with your children.  Whatever the challenge that you are facing, if you will stand firm and find the courage from within to face it head on, you will succeed.  It is hard, I will not lie to you.  But the Word reminds us to fight the good fight of faith.  If there was not a fight, there could not be a victory.

The gentle doe tamer

Friday, March 11, 2011

the Valley of Weeping...

" When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs, where pools of blessing collect after the rains! They will continue to grow stronger, and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem." Psalm 84:6-7 NLT

This scripture really has ministered to me over the past few days.  The first time that I read this scripture about 8 years ago, I wondered, "how can a valley of weeping become a place of refreshing?  how can this be a place of blessing?  and how in the world do you become stronger while in a valley of weeping?"  

Since then as I have gone through different periods in my life where I would find myself in the valley of weeping, I began to understand a little more about it. I discovered that when I would wallow in pity, the valley would become a pit.  But when I would begin to shift my focus on the Father during these difficult times, I found that a valley can become a place of shade, a place where things grow. 

As I have been sorting through the barrage of emotions and ups/downs with Curt's death, I have once again found myself in the Valley of Weeping. Only this time, the weeping has been at such a depth that I have never experienced before.  The anguish that one feels when a loved one dies is such that if you have never went through it, you really don't understand.  The pain that suddenly grips your heart when you have a thought of your loved one hugging you; the gaping hole that suddenly appears and threatens to swallow you whole. The agony of facing a day without your spouse.  Seeing your children missing their father...  I am discovering that this pain can sweep you under in a hurry....IF you allow it to.  

I understand about experiencing the different stages of grief. That is most necessary and there is no "set schedule", grief is as individual as the person experiencing it.  But when I find that I am not reaching out to the Father,  when I am pushing friends away, being silent - the pain intensifies. It is as though it becomes bigger and grows in strength.  But the very second that I begin to call out on Jesus, the very breath that I gasp His name - HE IS THERE! The pain begins to shrink in size and becomes something that is much more manageable and easier to walk through.  Again, I can't imagine anyone loosing a loved one without God's help to walk you through the ups and downs and extremes of grief.  I want to encourage those of you right now who are facing grief, or facing things that seem to swallow you whole, to turn to the Father. Call on Him and He will answer. He is waiting.   

So the Valley of Weeping can be a hell if I allow it to, or it can be a place like the scripture  says. a place of refreshing in the midst of pain. A place where rain pools up to nourish my parched spirit, and a place where I will be made stronger. I choose. I don't choose whether I am faced with the Valley of Weeping, but I do choose how I will walk THROUGH it.  You can do the same, praying that you will have the strength and courage to face the pain and allow His love to surround you and give you peace. 


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

my kids..

I wanted to take the time to share a little about my kids in this blog.  They are my life outside of God.  I am so blessed! During this entire process with Curt, from the diagnosis to his death, they have stood by me, they have chosen to face this difficult time head on with me. I have seen my kids changed in ways that only God could have orchestrated.  Because of things in the past with Curtis, the changes that they saw in him over the last few years, made an impact on them that they will never ever forget. Going from their dad being moody and yelling, struggling with anger and rage- to being someone they could talk to at any time, who would text them to tell them he loved them, even though he knew they were in school. He became their confidant and their friend, but yet became the gentle but firm father that they needed.

Dealing with his death has been one of the hardest things they have ever done, as it has been with me too. But they are coping, they are finding ways to express the grief in mostly healthy ways.  They write on his facebook, we talk about the fun times - our trip to Disney. The dinner times, the food fights lol!  And we talk about some of the hard times too.  So yes, they are coping.  But I ask that you continue to pray for them. It is a journey for all of us. Pray that we will walk on the path in a healthy safe way and that we will always run to God and not from Him.

For those of you who haven't read this on my wall yet, here is a dream that Faith had the other night.

 "Dad came to me in a dream last night He was just talking in the kitchen but I was talking-to him and could see him as but you thought I was talking to air but he was there He said To rest easy that after seeing the glory he didn't want to come back here. He said pursue it because it's astonishing he had nothing other to do then to give God glory. He was in his black and red shirt with no glasses And was very serious. He said he loved us and then said rest easy he was fine He kept saying faith I don't feel pain. you can worship unconditionally I wouldn't ever want to come back here"

This was such a blessing for Faith and for me.  Faith really needed to have this dream. She asked God to let her dad visit her and God answered her prayers.  I pray that each of my children have some kind of experience that will give them peace like this has for Faith. I haven't had anything like this happen to me yet, but at least it seems like the bad dreams have slowed down thankfully.  But you know what, no matter if I never have something like this happen- no matter if I never have a vision of Curt in heaven, I will trust the Father. Every day, trusting as a daily decision.

Thank you God for my children and for what you are doing in our lives!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

dear Curtis

Having a hard time writing the past few days, so I thought I would just write Curtis a letter. Yeah, still dealing with the first month anniversary, but I know that my Abba Father is carrying me and I will get through this phase. 

"dear Curt,
To my dear husband. It has been over a month now since you transferred to your new home.  There are still times when I expect you to be home when I get home from work, or when I come to your office to tell you good night.  There are still times when nothing comforts me like wearing one of your t-shirts sprayed with your Tommy cologne.  I enjoy reading your bible. You had so much revelation, and you had so many things highlighted in your bible. It is such a blessing to have it with me. I like sitting at your desk too. So peaceful yet so nostalgic at the same time. I haven't moved much around on your desk. Your gum is still in the drawer, your glasses on the shelf above your desk. All your pens still organized the way you had them.  I have your prayer sheets out tonight. I am still so amazed at how you planted the Word so deeply in your heart and how you allowed the Word to grow and produce fruit.  The seeds were planted so deeply where nothing could destroy them.  You created quite a legacy.  

It is harder being a single parent than what i thought it would be. trying to watch for red flags for all the kids, when a red flag for one may be normal for the other.  Trying to make sure they are venting and have the support that they need in this journey.  Several times I have needed your advice so badly. Needed to have you talk to the kids, give them advice. they listened to you. especially when it came to them doing their chores ;)   I know that you prayed many many hours for the kids and I am praying that they will allow those seeds to grow in them as well. 

baby, I can't think you enough for allowing the Father to dig deep the past few years and allow the changes to be made in you from the inside out.  You were a different man.  You developed a softer gentler side that was so beautiful to watch in the transformation. Truly you walked the verse about being transformed and not conformed.  you made changes that in turn changed our lives.  I want to share just a small part of the testimony that you had began writing out but did not get to complete on paper. 

"Inner healing is so vitally important in every Christian’s life. We all have damaged souls (mind, will and emotions). After I was born again, I had a heart to please the Father, and continuously ran back to Him when I made mistakes. I had such a love for God and wanted to change so much that I know it was this hunger and passion that kept me. I had to keep asking God to help me to hunger and thirst more for him, and He has been so gracious in doing that"

I love you Curt. I can only hope that Jesus will share with you the tremendous impact that you have made, perhaps more in the past 2 years than your entire life, on me, and on our children.  I know you are enjoying heaven. I would never ask you to come back to this world of suffering and pain.  

Forever in my heart
Your Wife Renae"