Dancing in the Light

I John 1:7 "If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin."

Name:
Location: North Platte, Nebraska, United States

I am a christian wife, mother and grandmother. I am a licensed Social worker and a licensed Christian counselor. I am most proud of the relationships I have with God, my family and friends all over the world. I have been blessed beyond my dreams.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

I'd Planned On Being Dead By Now !

I remember our first Christmas after Eddy died! We had decided we could not be in our house and so with my parents financial assistance, we flew to Seattle to spend the holidays with my brother and his family. I remember packing our suitcases and wondering how many holidays would hurt this much. We drove to Colorado Springs and stayed with my friend, Kelli. She took us to Denver where we caught the plane to Seattle, Washington. We settled into our seats, already crowded and a little bit anxious. As soon as we were at cruising altitude, both boys put on their headsets and listened to the music they'd brought for the trip. I sat in the middle, with my eyes closed willing the tears to postpone their appearance.
The flight was uneventful, a short layover in Salt Lake City, back in the air and a smooth landing. My dad met us at the airport and took us straight to my brother's house. It was the first time I'd seen their home and it was beautiful, decorated like a winter wonderland, gigantic tree, sparkling lights, brightly wrapped packages and the smell of pine everywhere, just like Christmas should be. My entire family tried very hard to make the holidays happy for the boys and I, complete with a visit from the big red Claus, himself. The boys went sledding, played video games and waited for Christmas morning. We adults planned the menu, went shopping, wrapped gifts and visited. My brother and his wife, their two children, both my parents and my maternal grandmother were there so there was quite a houseful. Christmas morning, gifts were opened, hugs and thank yous flowed freely and preparations for a day of eating and football began. I know it sounds like the perfect holiday and it was . . . almost.
The emotional discomfort and emptiness was almost tangible. Everyone was very careful to not bring up Eddy, his death or even his life. Where once we would have sat around and talked and laughed over all the "remember whens", we now sat in a torturous silence, none of us sure what we should talk about, what would be the least painful. It was the Christmas Day that never ended. I had no idea the holidays would bring with them so much pain.
I knew that there would be no quick end to the pain. Our plans were to land in Denver and then spend New Years with Eddy's family--all of them would be there. While I thought it was very important for the boys to be with their dad's family, I knew my heart would break once again. I would see pain in his mother's eyes, I would see the brother who looked just like him, I would watch as they all tried not to think about him and I knew it would hurt. I was right!
After the festivities were all over and the discarded ribbons and gift wrap all in the appropriate trash bins, the food sent home with various family members, cars packed, children bundled up, we all made our way to our respective homes.
As the boys slept, I drove blinded by tears, praying and begging God to help me arrive home safely. During the long drive, I asked Him what possible purpose He could have for a 34 year old widow, single mother of two. After all, by the time His own Son was my age, He had finished His job and HE got to go to Heaven. As I looked in my mirror at my sleeping sons, it occurred to me that someone would need to raise them. And so, (as if I really had the power to negotiate with the Heavenly Father), I agreed to stay until the boys were raised, until they were both out of high school, doing my best to raise them up in the Lord with the morals and values of Christian men. I promised to surround them with godly Christian men who would be their examples and who would help them grow into the kind of young men God would be proud of. And while I was doing this, I promised I would lead my family by example. I would try to teach them about mercy and benevolence. I would try to teach them about love and patience. I would try to teach them about focusing on the eternal. I promised God I would do these things IF only He would take me to heaven when I was finished. I figured I should stay until my youngest completed his first year of college. By then, both of them would be young adults, they would have developed their own support network, they would have formed their own lives and would be busy living them. I would be forty years old and very happily would I die in my sleep, to begin my new life in Heaven with Him, in heaven where there is no pain, no tears and no loneliness.
I laugh now as I look back on those plans, wondering if God just listened to me ramble on, smiling and shaking His head. He must have marveled at how I had let my pain cloud not only my vision but my common sense. How could I even begin to believe I was in control? I wonder if He smiled as He thought about the things He had planned for me? I wonder if He laughed out loud at my reasoning and my feeble dreams. I wonder if He thought about all the opportunities my future would hold, all the blessings He would give me, all the people He would put into my life? I wonder if He wished I would or could believe I was still a child of His, a child with a purpose? I wonder . . .
Now seven years past my deadline, I am amazed at how wonderful my life is! What a gift I have been given! I am awed by the blessings He showers on me daily. I thrill when I think of the Bible studies and new spiritual births He has allowed me to be a part of. I smile when I think of this man, this minister, who shares his life with me, how he loves me and leads me and desires my salvation more than anything. My heart is full when I think about my family, the six beautiful grandchildren and my friends, both those I know and those I only know through the internet. I am blessed so much more than I ever deserved--more than I'd ever hoped or even imagined. I am so grateful to have a Father who plans great things for me, because I had really planned on being dead by now!

Peace
Neva

37 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! What a great post! I loved the message although your title really creeped me out. :)


Pat

9:50 AM  
Anonymous Kelli said...

Hey Neva,,,,or Nene as my twins call her! I remember that Christmas just as if it were yesterday. I knew you could make it, and Thank God you are not dead by now!!!!!I might not have known just how hard it was for you until my Dad died this spring. YOU, as always, are a strong strong woman of God,,,,that's why I love you so much. You are doing a great job for the Lord.

10:17 AM  
Anonymous Carol said...

So glad your plans didn't work out--God is still using you~



Love ya
Carol

10:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Neva, that almost made me cry! I cannot imagine how difficult it must have been for you. You are such a blessing in mylife as you are in the lives of many others. I am sure I can speak for them all when I say I am so glad you are still with us.

Rachel

10:29 AM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Neva,
I am gald you are hear with us.
You have made such a difference in my life. I thank God everyday for you and pray that he will bless you. Your blog has made such a difference to countless people who have read it and have not posted but have left changed. Neva, God is using you. You are a tool for the grace and love of God. You are making a difference in the kingdom. You are special. You are gifted. You are talented beyond your imagination. The way write goes beyond the heart into the soul of a person that others can never do. Neva, you challenge peoples faith and make a difference at least my relationship with God Almighty and for that I thank you. Today I will praise God for your life. I will ask God to bless your life abundantly in the name of the Holy Spirit and our Lord Jesus Christ. God bless you sister.

10:32 AM  
Anonymous Georgian Peach said...

I am new to the "Dancing In The Light Fan Club" but I echo the words of the others, You are indeed a blessing and I would miss you if you were not here, daily ministering to me and your other readers. You inspire us, my dear.

Georgia

10:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post! We never know what all God has planned for us--He lets us know when we are finished. Glad He wasn't finished with you yet.

Carlos

10:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What can I say except that you have come so far, moved out of your grief into your calling. I am very proud of you.

Love ya
Kel

10:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh yeah--my plans were a lot different that His too. His plans are always better!


Karli

12:02 PM  
Blogger Traci said...

You couldn't have died at forty, silly....you had to become Morgan's grandma that year!!!! We waited two whole years since you said we had to! :)

12:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would have missed you so, dear Neva


Corinne

12:24 PM  
Blogger massivetruth said...

Thank you for the kind words. Chances are they weren't related to us. There are a few Leggetts in East Texas, but most of them are in Louisiana.

12:36 PM  
Blogger JD said...

Neva, what a powerful testimony. It is so important that people who have endured pain share their story so that those who are going through an ordeal of their own can have hope. Beautifully done, sister.

1:09 PM  
Blogger Helen said...

Thanks so much for sharing that so deep from your heart!!!

1:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow talk about a powerful testimony of how God gets us through our pain to make us useful and successful. Thank you for sharing this.

Dan

1:46 PM  
Anonymous Donna said...

Sometimes the deals we make with God help us to make the next step. Only He knows that his plans for us are so much more than we can fathom....especially when we are wrapped in loss. Bless you for sharing this journey in your life.

2:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neva, Tears came to my eyes as I read your blog. The pain is so deep within me I fear I may never be the same. I have prayed for a year and a week for help,and I'm still waiting for the Lord. I'm trying to understand and see the good, but most days are days of tears. pj

2:57 PM  
Blogger Neva said...

My dear pj,
The kind of pain you are talking about is not unknown to me. I know the despair and hurt that sits in the bottom of one's heart like a heavy weight--almost suffocating the feeble beating of your heart. Oh how easy it would be if God would tell us just how long we have to hurt for we could hold on as we marked off each day, each hour, each second. He does not give us that but rather the assurance that we can totally rely on Him. He promises to comfort us, promises to hold us, sustain us and love us. He promises to draw near to us if we just draw near to Him.
Lean on Him my friend, ask a brother or sister to share your burden and pray for you. He will get you through this dark time, no matter how long it takes. Please know that I am praying for you, too. And should you need me, I am just an email away.
Praying,
Neva
nevaecooper@yahoo.com

3:47 PM  
Blogger byhisgracealone said...

Bless you for sharing.

donna

4:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this. Most people don't share the dark times with others. I am glad you shared this, it helps me.

Lyndsay

4:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Healing is done on God's time. I am thankful you use your healing to help minister to others. Bless you Neva, today and everyday.

Jeneane

5:42 PM  
Anonymous Jarrod said...

Giving up control sometimes means we have to change our plans.


Jarrod

5:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

God had too much invested in you to let you go, and too much work left for you to do. I am thankful for that.

Mary

8:02 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

Thank you for sharing this with us, Neva. Not only has God blessed you in abundance, He is pouring out blessings through you...and we are the benefactors. Thank you for staying in the flow of God's will and for drawing us in. -bill

9:15 PM  
Blogger Larissa said...

That was great, of course I'm crying now, but it was great. And man, how I can relate. But it gives me hope...because I too have said all that and wonder how this is all going to turn out. I am really anxious to look back and be able to think I was thinking silly things or just trying to plan things too much.

9:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't really add anything except wow! That must have been such a hard time. You are an amazingly strong Christian woman. I admire you so much.

Shari

9:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neva,
You have had such a difficult life. I am amazed at your abiltiy to endure so much and still be such an encourager. Bless you my sister.

Jean

11:06 PM  
Blogger Stacie said...

I am very glad you are still here my friend.
Love Ya, Stacie

12:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think all of us when we lose a loved one especially a life partner go through a year of firsts alone and it takes the blessing of time to reconcile each one of them.

When I lost my husband each holiday became a milestone to get through and endure with out my loving partner. I was fortunate to have my husband for 42 years but that wasn't near long enough and now 7 years have come and gone and I am resigned to being without his presence and even though I still don't like it. I have so many wonderful memories to sustain me and so that gift from him lives on every holiday. The man I spent so many years with never liked it if I was not happy and so to honor his memory I am happy because I know that is what would please him. I also know that if it had been me that left this life first my hope would be that he enjoys life and savors the many other people in our lives.

God blessed us so much while Andy was still alive that even with the devistating health problems he was plagued with his personality stayed upbeat and positive. As a stroke victim he still kept his chearful personality and I know so many stroke victims go through radical frustrating personality changes and he was spared that. The man I married as a young woman left this world with all the charm and humor he had the day we married. What a blessing for us both!

Thanks for this subject maybe someone on this board will be helped by reading how others coped with loss. Neva you are a jewel and I miss your sweet smiling face. Take care of each other during this holiday season and God bless you guys. So hug each other and rejoice because "This is the day that the Lord has made"
love madalyn

1:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

me 2 glad, that U R still around!

6:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, I am glad you are still here also.


Yvonne

6:33 AM  
Blogger Kathy said...

You brought me along on your journey of pain and recovery; I too have traveled the journey of pain and suffocating, heart-stopping grief. So I cry with you, all the while thanking our loving, gracious God for not honoring your plan, rather insisting on His own, bringing us together in His love, thanks to the internet. You have given 2 Corinthians 3-11 a living spirit in the sharing of your grief. We never, ever completely forget; we just ache a little less and learn to breathe again.

I thank You, LORD for our sweet Neva - Your child and gifted teacher. Thank You for gifting her with the talent of sharing Your thoughts through her writings. Thank You for Neva! Amen.

Love you, dear friend. Sending you prayers and hugs!

Kathy

9:36 AM  
Anonymous RaeAnn said...

Dear Neva,
Thank you so much for sharing your grief journey with us. Having traveled a similar road, I too am amazed at the way God heals us and gives us comfort, all the while opening doors and providing opportunities to serve. Bless you, dear sister as you journey on.

In His Love
RaeAnn

9:57 AM  
Blogger Kathy said...

Ooops!

That should be:

2 Corinthians 1:3-11.

Sorry!

10:37 AM  
Blogger Monalea said...

My heart hurt while I read your post. My dad died about 3 weeks before Christmas when I was 9. I look back and the pain is still there, but it has dulled some. I guess all wounds heal, but they leave a scar that hurts when bumped or hit.

Love you much,

Monalea

3:12 PM  
Blogger Dee O'Neil Andrews said...

Thank you SO much for sharing your life with us like you have in this post, Neva. No telling how many of us you have helped in one way or another.

Much love,

Dee
of Finding Direction: The Wind Vane Chronicles

9:55 PM  
Blogger One Observationist said...

Great post Neva. We don't know each other, but your story touched me in a number of ways. One is the idea of giving up when the Lord has plans for us. I've felt like giving up recently and though I did not lose a spouse I still wanted to do it. Just throw in the towel. Not on life, but in a certain situation I have found myself in.

Anyway, just wanted to say that I took a lot of personal meaning from your story.

Have a great Christmas/New Year.
Jeremy Divis

1:49 PM  

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