"Whatever 2013 has in store for me and my family, He will remain my CONSTANT"
...so far, SO true. Though I never could have anticipated what was in store. And there's still a whole lot of year left!
I am proud to announce that TEAM ECKHARDT is no longer just the two of us...
you guessed it...
We have DUCKS!!!
*This is around the time we first got them...taking a bath in the bathtub!! Aww! I miss this.
*Now look at how much they've grown!! Crazy! This picture was actually taken a month ago or so and they are bigger now... I need to take more pics to keep up! They have started flying in the last few weeks. Here you can tell the difference in size, Charlie is the goofy looking one in the background & Pretty Girl has the pretty white in the front. This is their 'adolescent stage.'
Pretty adventurous having ducks! The Hubster even made them a duck coop! I'll have to show pics sometime. Charlie is a big goofball who loves to eat and follows Pretty Girl everywhere. Pretty Girl is smart and quick, though she slows down so Charlie can keep up. They love sticking close to each other & I love watching them wag their tail feathers when they find each other after not knowing where the other one was. I guess living on a farm wears off on ya! Someday soon, hopefully in the next year, we hope to add a guard/farm dog for the ducks :) The Hubster plans on naming him Charlie, too... Ridiculous. ;)
This year has also been keeping the Hubster busy as he has been working on a building project for HIGH ROCK CHURCH. It's been a long process, but AWESOME to see God working and putting the pieces together! It's hard to believe that after 5 years the church plant will have a building! I love what our Lead pastor, Scott, says about Jesus' church being about the people and not the building. Just because we are getting a building does not mean we've "made it" as a church... we've been a church the whole time. But what an awesome tool this will be to further God's Kingdom!!
Lots of exciting things this year! I am grateful for what God is doing and has done... However, not all of this year has been exciting. In fact, part of the reason I have been away from the blogging community has been because of my dear grandmother going to be with Jesus on February 13, 2013. It was (is) very difficult for me. I am not even sure what to say to honor her here... I kept feeling like I couldn't possibly post again without mentioning her and giving her the honor she deserves as being my beloved grandmother. And yet, the grieving process was so overwhelming. Perhaps you can relate?
Let me tell you a little about Carolyn Brandon... She told me about Jesus when I was really young. She wrote me letters and postcards talking about her Dear Lord and taking interest in my life. Her and grandpa would have me and my cousin, Michelle, stay with them weeks at a time in the summers. I remember camping and taking trips with them. We went to amusement parks and Niagara Falls. While at their house I would wake up early and sneak into grandma's room just to snuggle with her. I remember her always thanking the Lord for everything or asking Him for help... even if it was a parking spot close to the store. It was always evident to me that she LOVED her Savior... & I always felt absolutely loved by her. Her and grandpa moved back to be near my family when things were difficult for us. And my freshmen year of high school I moved in with them. Though the generational gap between us was hard to overcome as an adolescent, I am so grateful for those years!! Through college and early adulthood she was my prayer warrior- I felt her intercessory prayers for me. She prayed for the man I would marry someday... And she was so sure that I would make an amazing pastor's wife-- just like her-- even when I doubted.
Grandma had a stroke the summer of 2012 and lost feeling on her entire left side. Months following she worked hard with a physical therapist to regain strength enough to hopefully return home, with grandpa. And she was regaining strength, too. Being able to swallow and sit up on her own. And even then she was teaching me about our dear Lord. When I'd visit with her in the nursing home she disclosed to me with a big smile on her face, "I think Jesus is teaching me patience. I'm not very patient..." Oh grandma :*)
...And then she became sick and had multiple complications that left her weak and frail. The doctor said she had lost all that she had gained. Grandma felt like it was time for her to be with her Lord. I received word from my aunt Cathy the decision grandma had made. I called the Hubster crying and went to his office to be close to him.
I remember sitting in his office, sobbing, as he just held me. I kept praying "I'm not ready... I'm not ready to lose her." That's when I felt like Jesus gave me a picture...
I was sitting on a log and Jesus was sitting next to me. I was crying and He was comforting me. He began to share with me about His heart for my grandmother... How much He loved her, how much she has pleased Him with her life, and how she has suffered WELL these last few months-- always giving Him praise. I felt His heart for her and His love was overwhelming. I had snapshots of her life--memories that He cherished, too... Then He looks at me, tears in His eyes, and asks me if He can take her to be with Him...
I cried even harder, feeling torn for my love for my grandmother & my love for my Savior... Not only that, I was undone by His love for me that He would ask... He didn't have to. So precious.. I told Jesus, "All I have is yours... Yes, You may take her to be with You."
I shared this picture with my aunt, who was with grandma... she shared it with her and with family. That evening, she went to be with her King Jesus.
That night I worshiped to THIS SONG over & over... I cried & felt close to my Jesus-- the One my dear grandmother first told me about when I was very young. He spoke to my heart that night and said, "I wanted to be with MY SWEETHEART on Valentine's Day." ...which was the very next day.
I know Him. I know the Jesus that she knew. And I can't help but PRAISE HIM... for He knew just how much I needed Carolyn Brandon to be my grandmother. She lived her life and her relationship with Jesus in a way that invited others to come closer and long for what she had with her Savior-- & she freely shared with all when the Spirit prompted (even the cashier!)...even a granddaughter. And oh how she prayed!! Even now, she's gone before me into glory and she teaches me about eternity, about faith, and about courage... Courage to TRUST my DEAR LORD & to finish the race set before me. This place is not my home. Death is NOT the end...
Since then, grief has come like waves... Overwhelming at times and receding at others. Jesus has been CONSTANT through it all. It hasn't been easy. I miss her... terribly. I remember a few months ago having a dream of grandma riding a bicycle in tall grass with the sun shining behind her...and she was laughing. I woke up smiling; I don't recall my grandmother ever riding a bicycle this side of heaven...
2 Corinthians 5:1
New Living Translation (NLT)
5 For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands.