(Almost six months after Chad passed away)
It is hard to believe that six months ago Chad and I were asleep in a hotel in Chicago. What must he think? Is there any way that he could have imagined that his Earthly life would end two short days later?
Tonight I am in a resort in Marathon, Florida. Whoever could have imagined? I wish, SO, that I could share all this with Chad. I miss him, my heart just breaks! Still . . .
I do my first concert in six months tomorrow. Oh, God, please sing and speak for me! I lay my entire ministry down before You! It is not mine. Please give me Your message! Please show me what You will have for me to say. Oh, Father, I never want this to be about me . . . but always about You! I lay down all my pride. I love and worship You. May You get all the glory!
Chad – I still just cannot believe you are gone! I miss you!
(Almost six months after Chad passed away)
Well, we have been in Florida for three days now – it is wonderful. Please bless Dave and Carol for their generosity. I must say, the grief is easier here – away from the day in and day out of the heart ache. It is a little break from the ache that follows me everywhere. Please prepare us for going home.
I had another interview with the Midland Daily News today. Please bless Angela as she writes this story. Guide what she says – may You be glorified, Lord!
Chad Michael! I love and miss you! Today, I went to Starbucks (imagine that!) and ordered a large mocha. The girl accidentally charged me for a medium and since she had already wrung it up she just left it that way. I handed her a $5 bill and boom – my change popped up right before my eyes . . . $1.11! Thank you, babe, for saying ‘hi.’ (Rob and Kathy’s rental car license plate was 111 too, btw.)
When will my heart stop breaking for you? For your smell, smile, and touch? I miss you. Please keep giving me signs.
Hi Friends! So . . . . A week ago now I told you that the journal entries would be coming fast a furious. Then I spent hours typing out a weeks worth of journals AND pre-programming them to publish. That means that I can set the day and time for them to publish before the day and time arrive. A very handy feature, I think. Until late last night!
Late last night I went to check on all those posts and realized that NONE of them had posted! Ug! So . . . I'll just have to post them the good, old-fashioned way until I can get my tech crew to figure this out. Now . . . on to the first of the fast and furious journals . . .
March 29th, 2008
(Almost six months after Chad passed away)
Well, we are on the plane on the way to Florida. It hurts to be doing all of this without my honey . . . Oh God, please show me Chad. Maybe, right now, that meant to ‘show us your glory.’ It has been a while since I last journaled. The past few weeks have been very painful – yet, I begin to see a bud of life within me from time to time. Father, please bless our time in Florida. Please protect us. May we truly rest and have fun. The next couple months are full with ministry – O God, I am desperate for Your vision and message – I feel the weight of having to speak and sing . . . please speak to and show me what YOUR message is right now.
The kids are really beginning to mourn – please give me the wisdom to shepherd them through this.
Now, Father, I must talk with You about the bud of new life . . . I said to Hillary – “How can I weep for one man while thinking and hoping about another?” Lord, Last Sunday a man came to me and hugged me at church. I can still feel his hand on my waist. I looked and felt so pretty that day. We had a short conversation and something just seemed ‘different’ between us. It felt really nice. Oh Lord, could he possibly be interested in me? His arms feel so nice. Please let us become friends.
Later . . .
Well, we are all settled in our condo now. It is late and the kids have gone to bed. I sit alone on the balcony, listening to the ocean. I can’t help but think of Chad – remembering last year when we were in Florida. As the kids romped in the ocean earlier I wondered where Chad is? Can he see us? Is he watching? I still can’t believe he is gone. I do feel like reality has begun to set in, and that I am beginning to adjust to the loneliness. It really does help, I must admit, to think a bit about another man. I am almost . . . no, I AM, embarrassed to admit. The slight hope that I could have happiness again feels so good. My heart aches for my babies . . . there is truth in the fact that I can and probably will find new love . . . but they never get another daddy. Oh, God, please watch over and protect their tender hearts. Please heal all of our breaking hearts. And, Lord, please bring me a man who will love them like their daddy did . . . someone who can and will love and serve not only me – but them, as well.
And finally . . . I got ‘hit on’ today . . . by a very good looking man. I am SO not accustomed to this. He has a
Wedding ring on, and gave me his business card – truly what a creep! Please be with his poor wife – and please lead him to You, Lord. Father, please protect me in this ‘hook up’ world. I am hoping that You have a wonderful, spirit-filled, Christ-like man for me.
I pray that this week will be blessed. Please tell Chad I love and miss him!
Father’s Day 2013
There will NEVER be a day, this side of Heaven, that I will think Chad passing away was a good idea. It doesn’t matter how many lives I touch, how many hearts are encouraged through our story, or how much God is glorified. Yes, those are all the ways that God brings Romans 8:28 to fruition in our lives, and I am grateful for those, but the reality of today is just too painful. Perhaps I should be more selfless . . . perhaps the glory of God should simply override a mama’s heart. Forgive me, Lord, if the honesty of my humanity is just too real.
But, the reality of today is that this mama’s heart weeps . . . on Father’s Day . . . for her three babies who never got to say good-bye, who never again get to say hello, and who on days like this just try to ignore the emotions that rise from deep within.
Forever our years are indelibly marked by three days. Three days each year that are wound up in the man Chad Schieber was to us. His birthday, the day he died, and this day . . . the one where we honor our fathers . . . and yet ours is in Heaven.
Someone suggested to me, recently, that it might be time to make Father’s Day a happy day. No.
362 days of the year we strive to make happy. We put our pain down deep and make the most of our new normal. 362 days of the year we smile, we laugh, we dream, we live.
But for 72 hours in each year we are brought face to face with the reality that we ARE living a new normal. One which we never asked for and one which we never could have imagined. 72 hours each year we cannot ignore the pain which lives deep within. 72 hours each year we come face to face with a pain we have learned to manage and overcome the other 8,688 hours of the year.
So please forgive me, if for a measly 72 hours each year I honestly say . . . this is a day I hate!
Well, the school year here in Midland, MI is FINALLY almost over. I must admit that with an abnormally rainy and cool spring combined with the latest ‘final day of school’ I can remember in a long time . . . it truly has felt like summer would never get here. Alas! Two more days of school and let the fun begin!
All three kids will be swimming this summer. Abbi, of course, is my Olympic bound swimmer. Well, not yet! She is working her tail off to get her times down a few seconds so that she can try out for the swim team at the college she is considering. Noah has decided he would like to try swimming again and possibly go out for swim at Midland High next year. And Micah? Well, he and I have been in negotiations. Micah has really bad back and neck issues – apparently his bones have grown faster than his muscles can keep up with and he is in constant pain. So, his therapist and I have negotiated that he will swim 3 days/week. That way I get my money’s worth and he gets good exercise that will help with his back issues.
My older two are going to Atlanta on a mission trip in July, Micah is attending several camps, Abbi is going to see her beloved One Direction and in August I am taking all three kids to see Phillip Phillips (American Idol winner) and John Mayer! Praise God for lawn seating (ie . . . cheap!!!!) Oh! And . . . Abbi has her first ‘real’ job as a lifeguard and helping teach little ones how to swim! She is very excited and is considering a career as a swim coach. Not sure what degree you get for that . . . but it is great to see her passion come to life!
I am really looking forward to this time with my kids. I do believe that when you have faced the things in life that we have faced, that you really treasure and value time. Time is such a gift. Time TOGETHER is such a gift. I truly thank God for the time I have with my babies.
I am going to be coming fast and furious with my journal entries. I would love to get all caught up, date-wise. I have hesitated because . . . well, I guess sometimes I just wonder if anyone cares. And, I also struggle with the depth of the despair I feel in the writings.
One of the things I need you all to know before I get too far in is that there was an additional evil lurking in my life in the months I am about to post from my journal – one that none of us knew about. It was an evil that made my ‘coping’ so much harder and one that took me completely by surprise. It was my health. What we did not know was that the stress of Chad’s death had begun to take its toll on my health but we could not see it.
The journals I am about to post are from March, April, and beginning into May and at some point in May I found out that I was severely anemic and had almost NO iron in my blood. The roll of iron in your blood is to carry oxygen to all the organs and systems of your body. I was functioning, or trying to, on almost half the blood supply I should have been AND on very little oxygen. Think about that! Oxygen is vital to our bodies functioning well . . . our organs, our brain, our heart, our lungs . . . our emotions!
I was bleeding internally and would fight this fight for several years until I finally had surgery to correct it. It has taken my physical body YEARS to heal from the toll that the emotional strain of losing Chad took on it. And one thing that will be evidenced for the rest of my life is the GRAY hair on my head! It will cost me a LOT of money to cover that for the rest of my life! Ug! Thanks Chad!
So, as we deal with the strains of grief head-on over the next few weeks . . . please know that lying beneath the emotional pain of what you read was an evil much larger than that which was seen and one that made coping almost impossible.
Blessings to you all!
Well, My Love!
It sure has been a while since I wrote you.
Today was Memorial Day. It is the day we honor those who died while serving. It also seems that it is the day we all go to the cemetery and fix up the graves and ‘remember.’
You did not die serving, my love. But you served, and, you died.
Noah had to march in the parade this morning. It occurs to me that each time a parade rolls around I have the best intentions of going but never do. The kids don’t want to go either. Parades were always intimately woven with you . . . because you were always somewhere guarding an intersection or sitting in a car or even driving the patrol car in the parade. We went to the parades to be with you.
Now I figure why put ourselves through something that just points out your absence?
Then we spent the day at a party. You knew most of the people there, my love. They were our friends. It was so much fun, Chad Michael. We ate great food and played whiffle ball and sat for hours and chatted. You would have loved it.
Sara Damude cried during the prayer. She misses you so much . . . still. She wonders if she will ever stop missing you and I told her I don’t think so.
I found myself, at one point, just sitting in the large circle listening . . . and watching . . . and missing. There they all were . . . couple after couple . . . laughing and smiling and chatting.
And there I sit . . . alone.
It’s funny . . . the ‘alone’ part doesn’t bother me anymore. It used to.
Today what bothers me is that we don’t get to share any of this with you. I wish I could shake the people who dread the sharing . . . because they just don’t get how precious it is. They have gotten lost in pain, unforgiveness, and bitterness and have forgotten how beautiful it is to share.
I will never take for granted the sharing!
I wish you could watch Abbi sit and chat with her boyfriend. I wish you could see the excitement in her eyes as she talks about swimming. I wish you could watch Noah ‘chat’ his way through the crowd I wish YOU could play games with him not all these other dads who, bless their hearts, step in to fill your enormous gap. I wish you could play ladder ball with Micah and that he could watch YOU to know how to stand tall and look a man in the eyes and shake his hand firmly . . . NOT learn it from his mama.
I know, I know . . . I can hear the world hollering at me that you DO see all that. Well, it sure isn’t the same!
There is just such an enormous hole. It has been five and a half years and I guess what I am figuring out is that the hole will always be there. Oh! It doesn’t cause the hopelessness or the instant eruption of tears that it did five years ago. But, babe? As I sat there today I just couldn’t help but marvel at the fact that you are gone.
And at how much I miss you.
I miss sharing . . . with you!
So, in the words of my beloved ~
Now, always, and forever . . .
I love you
(My journal from five months after Chad passed away)
It is Sunday morning. I skipped church to come sit at the cemetery. Oh God – I want to give up! How can I bear this pain? It feels as though it will suffocate me. Why, oh God, why must I visit my husband at a grave?
I do not feel that I can go to church in such a wreck. Joel is watching me – and perhaps I would get ‘called in.’ What a shame. It truly breaks my heart that I must feel that way. Shouldn’t the church be the place I should be when I hurt so badly?
I’m tired. Just deep inside, tired. Alone. I’d like to cancel everything. How God? How can I run my ministry – I can barely feed my children. God – this one is Yours. I can’t do it! You are going to have to send someone to help.
I keep expecting the pain to lessen – but sometimes I wonder if it is worse – as the reality of doing new things without him sets in. Oh God, what shall I do? I know my help comes from You . . . so, please . . . where is it? My house and life feel as if they are falling down around me. Why am I sitting in a graveyard? Oh, my aching soul!!!!
Perhaps I just need to ‘buck it up.’ If so, I repent.
(My journal from five months after Chad passed away)
Dear Lord, I would like my life to end. I see no end to the pain. There is no escaping the heartache. It follows me and taunts my mind every second of every day. How long, oh God, must I endure? Where is my hope? Hope in a new life? In what is to come? In joy being restored? That all means the acceptance of Chad’s death. How, Oh God, can I ever accept that?
One day I believe there may be light at the end of the tunnel, then the next day plummets me deeper into the hole.
The whole mess of my life . . . other’s expectations on us! Oh God, please help me be a good mama and daughter and sister and friend in the midst of all of this.
I feel so down, but after what Pastor Joel told me a few weeks ago – that they were ready to ‘talk’ to me about getting better . . . I feel that I must put on a happy face to go to church. Perhaps I just won’t go.
Oh God! Please protect me. Please lift me out of this wretched hole!
Today went to the maple syrup festival, Kohl’s, and more. Everywhere I go there is this ‘incomplete’ sense. Everywhere I look are families and couples, and we . . . are without our completion. Oh God, you promise to complete us . . . please let me feel that. I miss my husband so . . . how, Lord, how could you think this is o.k.? Please protect my babies from this heartache! Please!
So, my little Micah is the ‘storm watcher’ in our house. He is SO into storms that most of the time we all tune him out. He happened to be home, sick, yesterday. Marni and I spent our afternoon doing one mile stints around our neighborhood trying desperately to get in a walk while busy having to run children and dodging storms here in Midland. I remember walking into the house and Micah being glued to the house . . . “Mom! Look at this tornado! It’s happening right now!” I glanced at the TV and didn’t think much of it . . . it was small and looked like it was out in the country.
Well, that boy didn’t budge. Unfortunately, the tornado did. Each time we would pass back through my living room the tornado had grown until all Marni and I could do was sit speechless . . . and pray.
If you are anything like us . . . you are heartbroken. There are just some times in life that words have no place and cannot express. This is one of them.
I actually have a friend there who I was texting all evening. His home was spared, but his neighborhood destroyed. Their home was leveled in the 1999 tornado. He spent the evening helping firefighters check through homes and putting down injured cattle and horses. I suspect it was a long, horrible night where he was. About the time I went to bed I texted and told him how sorry we all are and the children . . . oh, the loss of children. He, of course, had no power and knew nothing.
Throughout the evening Micah would continue to update me. Each time the news from the elementary school grew more dim. At this point, as a mama, I have a responsibility. “Baby boy . . . please remember . . . this is not just news. This is not a movie or a video game. These are people’s babies and people’s lives. Micah, pray! Pray as you watch.”
Unfortunately, this baby boy was only six years old when ‘people’s lives’ became real to him. I fear he understands better than most adults what his means to so many. And yet, as his mama I must remind him that this is much more than a news story.
As I cautioned him he looked at me and with concern in his eyes asked, “Mama . . . why does God allow something like this? Why would God allow this terrible tornado to hit, and to hit all those children?”
Oh! Baby boy! THAT is the million dollar question, isn’t it? Why? Why does God allow such devastation and tragedy? It just makes no sense. None!
That is a question we all wrestle with and actually, it was having a 6, 9, and 11 year old that forced me to deal with that question so square-in-the-face after devastation hit our lives. They wanted to know, “why?” “Why did daddy die, Mama?” “Why did God allow this?”
My friends! Maybe you are wrestling with that same question because of what you see on TV this morning or perhaps because of what you are walking through in your own life.
As I wrestled with why devastation was allowed to hit my home, my life, and especially my precious babies . . . why would they have to face lives with no daddy to be there on her first prom, to watch him play ball, to teach him how to mow, to guard her from boys, or to give her away . . . I could land on only one thing.
My friends! This is NOT our home! It isn’t! If you are living for THIS life . . . my heart breaks for you on judgment day. We are running a race down here . . . a race to gain a prize of much greater importance. We run this race to gain eternity.
1 Corinthians 9 says it so clearly:
24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
My friends! This is not our home. The events of this world either harden us, or they draw us closer to the precious Lord who made a way. Oh friends! If you don’t think God understands this suffering . . . just imagine having to send your own child to die so that the existence of the morons you created could be rectified back to you because they are such morons! If you don’t think God understands your weeping or the weeping of the people of Moore, Oklahoma today . . . think again! I believe He understands it more intimately than we could ever know or comprehend.
THIS WAS NOT GOD’S PLAN!!!!!! It wasn’t! The Garden of Eden . . . a perfect existence WITH God was His perfect plan. But our sinful ways and the deceit of satan ruined it all. Don’t get mad at God . . . get mad at the devil! This is all because of Him that we face suffering and tragedy. NOT because of God! God made a way, though, my friends!
He sent His beloved, perfect son to make a way that we would, in essence, have a bridge. Jesus died so that we could once again have the hope of an eternal future with God. Jesus died so that God’s perfect will . . . our eternal life WITH Him . . . could be fulfilled despite the sin and lack in our lives.
Then, He left us His Holy Spirit and the Word of God to be our light through this horrible, dark, full-of-suffering world.
My friends! Today, please do not let the suffering that is playing out before us harden you. Please do not let it cause you to turn away from or get mad at God. We are the idiots! This suffering is here because so long ago our ‘free will’ brought sin and suffering into our world. But our sweet and loving Heavenly Father made a way. He sent His son. His only son. So that we could have a bridge BACK to His perfect will. So that if we believe in Him and submit to Him and serve Him down here we can have hope.
My friends! We do have hope! Please do not cling to this world. Cling to Him! Seek after Him and His heart and the things of God. Be in the Word and chat with Him throughout your day. When trouble comes . . . ha . . . and when it doesn’t . . . hold on tight and don’t let go of Jesus!
This is not my home, friends! Each and every day . . . and especially on days like today . . . I just CAN’T WAIT for Heaven to be my home. What about you?
Don’t stop running the race! Keep running it with the prize in mind, my friends! Never lose sight of the eternal prize.
Oh God! PLEASE! We cannot ask it with enough fervency today . . . PLEASE be with all those mama’s and daddy’s. Please be with all those who have lost loved ones. Please be with those who have lost everything. Please, Father, send laborers to be the hands and feet and arms and eyes and love of Christ to a broken city today. Please, God, pour out Your Mercy, wisdom, grace, and healing on all those affected. Please God! Please!
Well! It’s another Friday everyone! I am sorry that I have been so silent this week . . . do let me explain why . . .
So . . . remember last Friday’s blog how I shared that I have decided this is the year to take back control of the weeds in my yard? Yeah! I am finding out that the learning curve is a big one! Ug!
We started out the week just dandy . . . We enjoyed our Mother’s Day weekend. Micah played a lot of lacrosse, Abbi got hired for her first real job AND became certified as a lifeguard . . . thus . . . the job!
I dropped Noah at school Monday morning and was well into my morning activities when my phone rang. It was Noah calling from the school office. Now, had this been either Abbi or Micah I would have thought nothing of it. But Noah? Noah NEVER calls home! “Mama, can you come get me?” Turns out that ‘everything’ was wrong . . . out of nowhere during first hour his throat started to kill, he felt like he was going to throw up, he was chilled and his head even hurt. This is my kid who never gets a headache. I knew right away what was wrong. So, after picking him up at school I made an appointment at our doctor’s office and we were soon on our way. Oh, yeah, after he puked his guts out!
Sure enough . . . the doc looked him over and said, “I’m not even gonna culture him . . . with how bad he’s throwing up it would just make him puke some more. He even has the rash. It’s strep!”
Poor kid . . . by Tuesday night his throat was bleeding. He was REALLY sick!
All of that to say that Noah had mowed the front lawn on Sunday but ran out of time and was supposed to mow the back on Monday. Now the kid is puking his guts out and there is clearly no way he will be mowing the lawn. Add to that that Micah is SO busy with lacrosse, drums, piano, tutoring, a lawn job of his own and school that I was not about to ask him to mow. So, Tuesday morning I decided that this mama used to love to mow and I guess it is time to put those ‘lawn’ shoes back on. As I am mowing the lawn I am analyzing my next move and decided that before I spray the weeds again I had better get the fertilizer down and I knew there was a chance it might rain that night SO . . . with the lawn nicely cut and rain on the way THIS was the day to fertilize.
Now, please remember that ALL of this is done in the midst of running the kids here and there and everywhere. Well, only Micah that day but seriously, he is a full time job right now!
I knew that Chad had been SO excited not long before he died because he bought a really nice spreader at a garage sale and he had always wanted a spreader. It has hung in the garage untouched for over 5 years now. I got that thing down and loaded that 50 pound bag right into that it. I had had my soil tested and found out that the ph of my soil is off so I needed a special fertilizer with sulfur in it. Are you impressed?
Well, about this time I notice that there is a little turny knob on the handle that was set on 4. Hmmm. I called Mark Juengel. He didn’t know what it should be set on. I called the man who helped me down at the grain elevator and told me all this stuff to do. He didn’t answer. So, I marched over to my neighbor’s house and he was very happy to ‘think’ this through with me. He’s the guy who mows five times a week! I am quite certain that he is THRILLED that I care this year so that my weeds will seriously stop creeping into his perfect lawn!
Turns out it was a crap shoot (Is that how you spell that? I don’t know much about gambling and I’m terrible with sayings . . . .) I wound up going over the front yard about four times. That was WAY too much work for me but my neighbor informed me that he prefers to fertilize in two directions anyways (He did kinda yell at me for going diagonal instead of straight though . . . I didn’t know two directions meant up and down . . . I thought across and diagonal would be just fine but I guess not! I’m a musician and he was a chemist . . . need I say more?) About this point I decided that I would try 8 turny knob thingy on the back yard. Yeah . . . that was too much. I kept having to turn that puppy down to make sure I had enough to make it all the way around the yard just once.
There! I did it! All done and rain on the way! I laid in bed thanking Jesus for the rain and so pleased with myself for figuring it all out AND for being SO on top of things that I even did it based on the weather.
Yeah . . . that bubble was about to be burst! Ha!
So, the sweet man named Dan who had helped me at the elevator who hadn’t answered his phone Tuesday evening, called me Wednesday morning. He offered to run over and take another look at my yard to make sure all was going ok. Well, Dan may not ever realize this but truly . . . that was a God thing. He steps into my garage and looks down . . . He points to another (full) 50 pound bag and asks what I put on my lawn? “That special fertilizer stuff with the sulfur in it,” I happily replied. “No, Sarah,” he says, “That was just sulfur. That doesn’t need any rain. THIS bag right here is the fertilizer with bug killer in it . . . that’s what you need to get on your lawn . . . that’s what has to be watered in.”
Are! You! Serious!!!!!!????????
Then he added that I should probably spread some pot ash, as well. So, back to the elevator I go! One thing I have learned . . . it looks easy to push that spreader thing around the yard. Not! I have now pushed over 200 pounds of ‘stuff’ across my yard back and forth a zillion times and my back feels more like 70 than 38! Bring on the Advil!
The good news in all of this is that I am quite determined and the more road blocks you put in my way the more determined I become. Some have been known to call me stubborn but I think that is mean and much prefer the word determined. I personally think God made me this way because He knew all that I would face in my life and that I would need a bit of DETERMINATION to overcome!
Anyhow . . . at this point all those pesky weeds are as good as dead and I . . . I am more determined than ever to be the very best ‘husband’ I can be! I will win! I am going to beat this grass and these weeds and the stupid ground cover that seems to think it should invade my grass!
And to all you moles out there mulling around on Crescent Drive . . . DON’T EVEN! I WILL WIN!