In the Shop

Posted on: January 23, 2012

I have been journaling to a few friends and family members over the past few weeks, and am just beginning to feel like I can share some of those entries with a wider circle now. I’m placing them here so all the people who are praying for us can go to one place and know how their prayers are helping us. I thought about putting here only the good lessons I have been learning in this very dark valley, but think I am supposed to keep in the painful parts I’ve been experiencing, too.

If you signed up for this blog before December because you thought it would be fun to keep up with our adventures and my lessons, you’ll probably want to unsubscribe. My writings this year will most likely be a processing of my grief, and I know that can be very heavy for those not going through it. My feelings won’t be hurt in the least when folks unsub – I don’t even think I get a notice, so I wouldn’t even know.

The weekend of January 13th, Bill got to spend four days sailing with his brother, Joel spent four days with a family that ministered to him, and I got to spend four days completely and deliciously alone. It was the exact therapy that each of us needed, and I notice that my writings become more insightful from that weekend on. For now I am just posting my before-January 13th writings which are more raw. I will share some of my after Jan 13th writings soon.

If you have posted a comment or sent me a note, I have read it and cherish it. I just cannot reply to them all. Thank you with all my heart for continuing to pray for us. It is very clear to us that we are being sustained by your prayers.


The LORD (really is) close to the brokenhearted and (really does) save those who are crushed in spirit. Ps 34:18

To a few dear friends that come to mind this morning who I know are grieving deeply with us and praying for us. There are so many others that should be in the header, but I am not thinking clearly yet – you are just the ones who come to mind at this moment.

Yesterday was very difficult for me, extremely painful, as we had to deal with some official things. I can’t even rank it as the second most difficult day or the fifth – I just fell sobbing onto the couch again into the arms of my precious, tender-hearted tower of strength husband, while Kate, Daniel and Joel also comforted me.

Kate then whisked me off to a full spa treatment. She had earlier told me we were only getting a pedicure, but when she saw how difficult it was for me, she changed it to a full spa day. There was a large coffee table book in the dressing room, and while we stood in our robes waiting for our room to open, I opened it and it “happened to” fall to the page on God’s great and gentle comfort in grieving and loss. I cried my way through each sentence and each verse, though the words were very hard to focus on.

I couldn’t keep tears from flowing during my facial, and it is very awkward to try to hide tears running into your ears while someone is massaging your face on a table. The therapist wiped away my tears over and over, and leaned close and whispered Scriptures of comfort to me. She was very black, just like the little black servers and hotel clerks in the Bahamas I fell in love with on the cruise and wanted to bring home with me (I kept telling each one she was soooo beautiful – because they were so strikingly beautiful – and that each was worthy to wait for a man of honor, and I think I drove my kids nuts (in a fun way) accosting each girl in this way). Yesterday, it was like one of those little black girls was there with me, speaking back to me words of strength, love and comfort. She had the thickest false eyelashes I have ever seen in real life, and tons of silver jewelry, things I wouldn’t be brave enough to even wear to a costume party, but she was to me the most beautiful girl in the world, besides my Kate.

I feel like my storehouse of emotional reserves has been depleted and is so low, even for touching, hugging, listening, talking. It is such a drastically different place to be in, and so not controllable. It’s like I can just look down into my soul and notice my resources are almost gone. I didn’t know that shock and grief and weeks of crying would use them up like this, but even thinking about cooking a meal is still way too much work. For three people! And I love to cook. It’s like the ‘love to cook’ was used up in the grief and would have to be replaced in the refilling of my emotional tanks for me to ever want to do that again. That makes me wonder, when one is spending tons of emotional reserves in any crises, like a divorce or death or huge financial loss, if loves of things can get spent up to survive and sometimes don’t get replaced?

I am wordy and weird today. This is what I do in my quiet alone time that I relish. I write and write and write and take bubble baths and read and sip tea and then I write. Or fold towels or weed the garden or load the dishwasher or try to work on office stuff, which we are way behind on but I won’t allow myself to panic over. I have no emotional reserves left for panic. And then when Joel and Bill are around, I love on them and try to serve them which is a huge therapy for me, but I’ve noticed uses up more energy stores than before. Offering to make Joel’s lunch for school yesterday my mind said, “OK, walk over to the fridge and find the mayo. Found. OK, now go to the pantry and find the bread. White and wheat and those flat things. He doesn’t like wheat. I don’t remember if he likes the flat things. He’s in the shower, I can’t ask him. Wait, I could walk all the way to shower and ask him through the door, but that seems like such a long walk. I can guess. Big decision. I should make a decision. I’ll go with the white. Does he like mustard or barbecue sauce. Oh, mustard – Patrick liked barbecue sauce (cry, cry, cry, wash hands, start over). What drawer to I keep the sandwich bags in again? Oh, yes, always been that one, what is wrong with me??”

Comparing now to the past ten years, while making a lunch I would have written three emails in my head, planned out my errands for the day, and made a mental note to call a friend who seemed discouraged. I wouldn’t even have remembered making the sandwich. When the children were all little, I (vaguely) remember using up all my stores, but that seems like 100 years and another life ago now. I am now only used to limitless emotional stores. I dip into them, then dip in again, then again. Wheee, isn’t this fun? Shift into 5th gear, round that corner on two wheels, screech to halt, pick up a few passengers and off again. I love life! Vrooom, vrooom. Next project, Lord? Oh, meet with that mom? Plan a surprise party for one of the kids? Sneak Bill on a date? Yippee! All while loading the dishwasher.

I feel as though I was designed to be a 5-speed sporty little Martha-coupe, created to tool about in 5th gear, happily doing God’s will, and who checks in for Mary-maintenance and restoration when needed. But, I have suffered a tragic accident, and now sit immobile in the shop. The Great Physician, it seems, has called on specialists from every corner of my world who I did not know were such experts in love and care and knowledge to come to the shop for me. Each one brings a special concoction, their own precious balm mixed with His Spirit and their love for us. Each promotes a little healing, a little soothing in my soul at His prompting. We can see that my engine runs still, but I have many repairs deep inside yet to undergo, and my forward gears still will not go. I did find in the past 2 days that I can run a vacuum, fold laundry, tool about in the garden, clean a toilet and mop a floor while crying, so first gear of my soul seems to be working. And I can sputter slowly to our children’s home, but I cannot dream of even going to the store yet, not even to pick up milk (which thankfully we have plenty of and plenty of people offering to do).

I imagine when I am thrust back into driving Joel back and forth to college next week that I will find that second gear will work again. But, it does not seem possible that 5th gear will ever work again in this life for me. I just don’t feel like I’ll ever be fixed enough to return to that much fun. But, I do feel like I’m in a microwave of healing and grace. I can just tell, that even though I have almost no emotional reserves, that I’m in a bubble of healing, being guarded, possibly by angels, though I’ve never seen any, of course. I just like to imagine there might be angels around because I feel like there is a wall of protection around me so thick in this ICU unit where fiery darts are quenched before they can even get near my mind or soul. I think there might be a battle going on just outside my room, but as long as I stay snugged in my room I am safe from harm, and can keep healing. So, here I stay, feeling a tiny bit more restored than yesterday, and like I may be a tiny, tiny bit more healed today. But, still those healing tears going on and on and on….

8 Responses to "In the Shop"

Love you Much Mardy, and i am praying for everyone in your heart, in your inner circle. May the Lord continue to pour healing, comfort, strength, insight, over you like the thickest, most finest oil. He is near… oh so near… how this whole thing has been affecting me… someday i will share, it is good; i weep and pray for you all in one thought. May the Resurrection and the Life fill you…. all, in every way. Love, T

Dear Mardy,
God had given you many gifts, including the gift of writing. I am so blessed by Him via your keyboard. You are a living example of Coram Deo —
Living all of life
in the presence of God
under the authority of God
and to the glory of God.

Thank you, Mardy! We will continue to pray for you all!

I am positive those angels are all around just as you believe. I am praying for all of you.

Oh Mardy….your transparency allows the Light of the World shine through you in the colors of your grief, reflecting the rainbow in your tears and once again, the LORD reminds you and me and all those who read your words, that HE is the God who keeps His promises. He is your God, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He is your Hope, your strength, a very Present Help in times of trouble. The LORD is collecting all your tears. Standing outside the door of the shop helping wage war on your behalf.

Mardy, Your writing is beautiful. Our hearts go out to you. I remember the day the morning I found out that Chuck was in ICU-everything went gray, so I could relate to your post in that way. It took me a long time to cook again, too. Where there is great grief, there is great grace to live differently for a season. May God’s loving presence guide you along the path of grieving. Hugs.

Good Morning My Dearest Mardy,

Your analogies are just precious my love. You are already in fifth gear, but because you have such a classy chassis, you don’t realize it. All the emotions you have processed and expressed in your journaling tell me this. You have so many of God’s angels all around you, tending to your broken heart, filling it with all the reasons you must move forward in your life. To reminisce about the wonderful memories of your past is a very healing process and will help drive your Martha-coupe to a better place in life. I continue to pray for you all and love you very much. More important is that God loves you and will, as in the Footprints in the Sand, carry you through your grief and troubled times.

Love and Hugs,
Aunt Doreen

Your sharing is very powerful. It helps me know that even though I’m far and can’t be there ministering to you in person, I can help keep the battle won outside the ICU or help send supplies to the “auto shop” through prayers. Your car analogy got me thinking. I can’t truly know what you are experiencing so I hope this doesn’t sound trite but I got an image of the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car. It was a race car that crashed and then went through a rough time. However, through the love of the children and the transformation of the master craftsman, it could fly, or sail as well as drive. It didn’t necessarily run at race speed again but it was “healed & transformed” to bring much joy to others. Praying that through this outlet, you experience even more of the Savior’s grace and healing. Love you all. Glenn

I love how God uses you in your way of writing your thoughts. I am not a writer at all. You express yourself so well. I went through a grieving process years ago over the birth of my daughter and finding out about her many diagnosis’. He has a hope, a plan and future for her but at that time I only saw sadness for the rest of my days and that I did something wrong for this to happen. Our grief is not the same but still yet it is grief. I have learned allot along the way these 26 years. She is a beautiful woman used by the Lord in His special way for her. Because of your experience I am able to share with a friend whose son just had a bike/car accident with a concussion. This should help to know what to watch for and hopefully intervene if any signs begin to show. Thank you for making this public. I look forward to continue reading and reconnecting with you. I really feel like it was just yesterday that we were sipping Albas together at the pool side. My prayers continue for you and your family.

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