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About Funerals

About funerals…

kevin-and-rachel

I dreamt about Rachel and Kevin all night last night. It was a whirlwind nightmare, the kind where you wake up gasping for air. It was the kind of dream where you normally wake up relieved that it was only a dream. The person doesn’t really have cancer. They didn’t really die. My friend isn’t really alone. It was only a nightmare.

Except it wasn’t.

I’ve only had that kind of night terror twice in my life—the kind where you wake up and the terror is true. Once was about six months ago—I’m not ready to write about that one yet, but one day I probably will. The other was last night, in what felt like a life-or-death saga that went on all night and was supposed to be resolved when I woke; but instead, when reality hit, the worst thing possible had already happened, and Kevin’s funeral and burial were over.

True, it wasn’t a nightmare about my own life. Rachel, who used the W-word so beautifully in her last post, has to wake up to that nightmare every single day for the rest of her life: widowhood. Maybe that’s what scares me so much. She is living it. It could have just as easily been me. Would I handle it as well as she? Or would I implode? Hide? Give up?

Today I’ve been walking around in a daze.

Rachel whispered the sweetest thing as I hugged her goodbye last night after Kevin’s funeral service. She said many beautiful things, but among them she said, “I don’t know if he can see me or not.”

And those words have made me burst into tears a few times today.

I guess that’s what grief is. Grief is new to me, so I apologize to those of you who know this all too well. It is new to me to burst into tears in the middle of doing dishes or while I’m making my bed.

Please pray with me that Rachel will have the strength from Jesus to be able to use her experiences to understand how to care for widows and orphans—a calling she believes she has received from the Lord.

There’s something about funerals. Funerals make one thing clear: life is short.

kevin-hill-photo

Kevin Hill lived to be 37 years old.

November 15, 1976 – December 24, 2013

I planned to write a different post about the New Year, and I probably still will. But the day after a funeral you just don’t see life the same way you normally do.

The day after a funeral is a new time:  time to live like you’ve always wanted to live, achieve the goals God has put on your heart, and love, love, love, even when it hurts.

xo,

Chelsea

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Why I Always Make My Bed

my-white-bedMy bed.

It is not anything special at first glance. But I take pride in it. Not only is it a vulnerable place, but it is also a spiritual place. It is a sanctuary in many ways. Let me explain.

First of all, to be honest and blunt, my bed is where my babies were made. That alone makes it so very personal, private, and special for Andy and me. It is where I naturally began laboring all four of my babies and where I nursed all four of them for the first year of their lives. Each of these natural human interactions is so very humbling, intimate, and beautiful—and often difficult, full of tears, emotions, and self-sacrifice. It is pretty amazing that all of these life experiences would happen in the same place—my bed.

It is also where my husband and I catch up and brainstorm together. Often, it is where we sit and talk about how our children are growing up, how we need to connect better with our extended family, and where we want to be in the next ten years. Should I start a blog? Should we co-write a book? What it will it be about? What kind of time will it require? How are things going at church? Where is the youth group headed? How can we help the students at church experience God in real and meaningful ways? Our conversations often lead back to Jesus and his guidance and control in our lives, and we have to pray, offering him our goals, dreams, and plans.

It is also where we sleep and dream. Andy is better at getting his rest than I am. I like to stay up and get things done after the kids are asleep. But every single night we spend time in the same place, escaping for a few much-needed hours of physical rest.

It is a big deal to us to keep our bed to ourselves. Before we had kids, we made the decision that our kids would never be allowed to sleep in our bed, and we’ve stuck to it (although we see nothing wrong with co-sleeping with kids if it works for you). Luckily, our kids have never wanted to climb in bed with us, except for a handful of times when they had bad dreams, so our commitment to keep them in their own beds was easy to keep. It’s not that we don’t want our kids with us—I have them with me all day long—but it’s more because our bed is the only place we have in our house that is just ours. Everything else can be covered in toys, crumbs, paint, or pee, but at the end of the day, our bed will look exactly the same as it did in the morning when I neatly tucked the white linens under the white pillows. It is a sanctuary because I make sure to keep it clean and untouched until Andy and I are ready to fall into it at night.

I love my all-white bed. Better yet—Andy loves our all-white bed. First of all, who doesn’t want to sleep on a cloud? Second, have you ever noticed how relaxing it is to walk into a hotel room and see an all-white bed? That was where I first got my idea for using all white. I walked into a hotel room and the bed looked like a breath of fresh, heavenly air. I became obsessed with all-white beds. So Andy and I went to IKEA and I let him pick out the all-white duvet cover, because I knew that he was pickier than me, and he chose this one. We absolutely love it. It has been one of the best decisions. Almost once a week Andy says how much he loves our bed.

The other great thing about all white is that you can get very fun sheets—patterns, seasonal, or any solid color that you love—anything works, including my favorite: all white. Plus, you can get very creative with wall decor and pillows, changing it up as often as you like. I am not a very smart decorator, but I hope to get better, and I am starting with the white bed—it makes me happy every time I walk by the door to my room.

 Our bed is a sanctuary in so many ways; I almost want to call it a holy place. It might be the holiest place in our lives.

 The thing is—even if, God forbid, our house caught on fire, was burglarized, or one of the kids threw up all over our bed—it would be easy to replace. Any other bed would be just as holy. The sanctuary is not in the physical bed itself, but in the “marriage bed” itself, which is anywhere Andy and I come together at night.

 I guess this brings me to the conclusion that Andy’s and my marriage bed is holy no matter where that bed is, no matter what it looks like on the outside. Andy and I have chosen to obey God’s design for marriage, bearing children, and now raising children and growing older together. My sincere prayer is that God will not only protect our marriage bed, but also the marriage beds of all our friends and family.

 When I was a missionary in Vancouver, BC with Urban Promise Ministries, one of my directors told me some of the best advice: always make your bed. It is the only place you have that is totally yours. Sometimes it is the only thing you can control in your day. The bed that is neatly folded, fluffed, and tucked will greet you with peace every night if you take the time to make it in the morning. Thank you for that awesome advice. It has stayed with me and blessed my family and me.

So I exhort you to always make your bed because it can be a holy place. It will be as special as you keep it.

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