Friday, February 25, 2011

Losing my grandma...

Lillie Catherine "Cassie" Raber

All my life I have believed that everyone goes through both highs and lows in life...I've always encouraged others to praise God during whatever storm they might be facing. I have believed in myself as a "good Christian" because I never had any reason to doubt in my God, never been low enough to doubt my ability to get back up.

Next week I will turn 30, and I can honestly say that I've had an exceptional life. There have been very few disappointments, not many times when I've been truly alone, never moments when I've felt significantly disconnected to God. I almost felt immune to true sickness, immortality, heartbreak. Things were sailing along pretty darn good for 29 straight years.

The last few months have torn me apart. Most people will doubt the severity of the sickness I've dealt with during this pregnancy. I won't ever be able to put into words how enduring this time in my life has changed me. I believe I not only had severe all-day, round the clock "morning sickness," but also dealt with a deep depression that came along with the pregnancy hormones. Never again do I want to be that low. But I don't know if any of this compares to the news I received on Sunday evening.

I had just sat down to begin a brand-new journal for this little bean in my belly, the first time I felt well enough to sit down and write down my thoughts for this new baby. I kept a journal the whole time I was pregnant with Max, and wanted to do the same for this baby. I had just penned the first line in my new journal when the phone rang. Gabe answered, but I could hear my mom sobbing on the other end - my heart stopped. I dropped my pen and tried to make out her words.

"Hurry..........grandma........CPR........doesn't look good."

Gabe hung up and told me to get my coat, we needed to go to the hospital because something was wrong with my grandma (My dad's mom). I grabbed Max and my purse, we jumped in the car and Gabe sped to Washington. All the way there I sobbed, crying out to God to save her, let me see her one more time, praying like I've never prayed before. But as I prayed I knew. I knew she was gone. I could feel in my heart that my sweet grandma wasn't here on Earth with us anymore.

When we got to the emergency room they immediately led our whole family (all the sons, daughters, and grandchildren were there) to the chapel and we all knew. I can't explain the next hour or so, but I will tell you that the devastation and despair was beyond anything we had ever felt before.

I guess I should tell you that our family is closer than most.

I guess I should tell you that we met every single Saturday at my grandma's house for family dinner, where she always prepared a feast as if each Saturday was Christmas day.

I guess I should also let you know that Max was "Grandma GG's" only great grandchild, and her pride and joy.

I should tell you I spent countless days with my grandma, her teaching me to cook, showing me how to sew blankets, getting off the bus at her house, and just sitting and talking to her.
And finally, I guess I should tell you that my grandma was the glue that held our family together.

And in one instant - with no warning or indication - God called her home. We had no time to say goodbye. I never knew that when I left her house on Saturday I would never feel her kiss my forehead again...I would never watch her brush her long white hair before pinning it back and replacing her covering...I would never taste her church cookies again or watch her bake my favorite pie. I will never again hear her tell me she loves me. And my heart is shattered.

This week was a blur with the two days for the viewing, the funeral and burial yesterday. We (the 6 grandchildren) shared our favorite memories of Grandma at the funeral - so hard to do but I'm so glad we did. It felt like our last gift to her.
Grandpa is now alone at the home he shared with my grandma, who he was married to for 64 years. It doesn't feel real - that she is not at home making cookies or picking up the phone to call me and ask what Max is doing.

But one thing does feel very real - and that is the embrace of Jesus. My family has cried so many tears, we have fallen down and picked each other up, and we have trusted in our Savior. We have prayed over grandma and sang to her...and Jesus has NEVER left our sides. The important lesson I've learned is that while on this earth we will all face trials. We might go years having smooth sailing in life...but at some point we have to come to the realization that we are not in control but Jesus is.

John 16:33
"In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world."

John 14:27
"I'm leaving you with a gift, peace of mind and heart. And the peace that I give isn't fragile like the peace the world gives. So don't be troubled, don't be afraid."

These two verses have given me so much comfort over the last few days. The first one reminds me that he has already won the battle - we don't have to fight.
The second one gives me hope that God can give me peace of mind NO MATTER WHAT. Even when I'm missing my grandma so much it physically hurts, he will calm my heart and let me not be afraid of tomorrow.

These are the words I am leaning on...and making it thru because of prayers from family and friends. God never said life would be easy, He just promised it would be worth it.

Love you so much, Grandma!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


This morning after I dropped Max off in Loogootee, I stopped at McDonald's for a strawberry and banana smoothie before work. When I got up to the window to pay, the cashier told me that the man in the truck in front of me paid for my smoothie. I didn't know what to say. When kindness smacks you right between the eyes out of leaves you speechless.
And as I was processing this, very quietly in the background I heard "Jesus loves you....Jesus loves you..." coming from the radio. I had turned it to a Christian station (which I don't usually have my radio set on). I knew God was sending me a message.
Even through my foul moods, my morning sickness, my whining and my exhaustion - God reached through all of that and touched my heart. He reminded me that kindness can be very small and random, or it can be huge and overwhelming. He reminded me that people who care can make all the difference. He nudged me to overcome my attitude and feel his presence again.

All this from a thoughtful guy in the McDonald's drive-thru this morning...
Thank you would not be near enough...

Monday, February 7, 2011

Rough, rough, rough...still feeling rough.
Most of you know I had to make a trip to the hospital last week for fluids due to dehydration.
Gosh, I'm tired.

But happy to read this in my daily devotional email today:

I'm leaving you with a gift, peace of mind and heart.
And the peace that I give isn't fragile like the peace the world gives.
So don't be troubled, don't be afraid.
John 14:27 LB

I have to work on a daily basis to rid my heart of this fear. Fear for my little peanut in my belly. Fear about neglecting Max while I've been so sick. Fear that my husband is going to get tired of taking care of me and just decide to walk out. Fear that my house will never be clean again. Fear that I will have to go back to the hospital because I am so very sick. Fear has taken over. But God's words are pushing out that fear...comforting me when there is nothing I need more. I WILL get through this. People have done it before me and they will continue to do it after my sweet little baby bean has entered this world and all this is a distant memory.