Thursday, January 14, 2016


When Jeff breathed his last breath I was holding his hand and my head was resting on his chest.  His mom was sitting close by.  The boys were playing legos upstairs.  My mom was taking Zoe outside to chew on something other than legos.  And in those minutes of breathing stilled and his heart beating slowing to a stop it all came into focus.  Jeff was free.  He had suffered greatly.  But he had suffered with a dignity and grace few have experienced.  It was all real, all worth it, there were no regrets on how poured out his life was for God and others.  There was such a peace in knowing his race was finished.  He was created for Heaven and he was home.  And then the understanding slowly unfolded that I was still here.  My feet were still planted on the broken world he just left.  While he was standing unhindered before the God who made him I climbed the stairs to face the boys with a heavy heart.  I was left.  In those first minutes I experienced the full depth of peace and hope that all was well and all will be made right.  I also experienced a soul wrenching separation.  And ending of what I knew to be good.  I was overjoyed for Jeff and heartsick for us.

This is the very thing that is the hardest to hold and to explain to others.  The boys and I experience such amazing moments of clarity each day.  Where we talk about Jeff and who he was.  What he gave us.  How he is where he was created to be and there is still so much more for us.  But these very moments of pure joy and hope are nestled beside such tremendous heartache.  And grief feels a lot like a deep, deep homesickness that will not leave us.  We are homesick for a home that no longer is here on Earth.  We left everything to go to Scotland, we left Scotland to come back here.  And the truth is, home was where Jeff was with us.  Home changed a lot in the last few years, but it never left us.  So we are here now, traveling light.  That sounds so much nicer than saying we are empty handed.  I tell the boys that the only good thing about having empty hands, traveling light, is that God can choose what to place in them next.  Full hands cannot be filled.

So much has been taken it is hard not to notice that what is left standing.  My boys, family, friendships that survive an ocean apart, and friendships that are still here.  God can rebuild and provide the rest.  He has already started to.  I drive the van we sold to go to Scotland.  It was given back for me to drive again.  Given.  The games, puzzles, legos, and toys that were left in Scotland were replaced in one week.  The week of Christmas.  Margaret and I were excited and then became concerned as the pile of brown packages grew into a mountain.  More gifts were delivered from a school I taught at in Culpeper.  I had talked to the boys of how we were rich in the things money could not buy.  And they smiled broadly and said now we are rich in both.  The presents did not give the boys their father back, or me a husband.  The presents did however, remind us that we were not alone.  That the fear of not being provided for was unfounded.  We live in a beautiful house on beautiful land with a very gracious grandma.  A grandma who has gone from one quiet grey cat to three loud boys, their mama, and a cheeky puppy.  We will stay here for the next few months as we grieve, receive, and prepare for what is next.

And this place we find ourselves is terrifying and wonderful all mixed together.  The grieving is not just crying, and missing, and wondering why.  The grieving is a deep homesickness for Jeff and a learning to live in the next chapters being written.  We have heartbreaking moments of wanting Jeff here.  I still grab my cell phone to call him.  I still roll over reaching out to scratch his back.  I still pour out my heart every single morning to a God I trust but don't understand.   But we are not walking in and out of rooms and days sad. We are honoring Jeff by living.  And not taking our breath, strong legs, and changed eyesight for granted.  We are adventuring, laughing, and making lasting memories every single day.  Grieving right now is all encompassing.  It is as if we get to climb glorious mountains and trudge through perilous valleys all in one day.  Every day.  It is exhausting, but it lets us see God's fingerprints on so many things, including our hearts.

We do not know what is next for Team Stables.  We have picked a family verse for the year.  All three boys agreed on it.  That alone made it worthy of repeating all year.  It is Romans 5:3-5.  Our favorite version of it is The Message.  "There is more to come:  We continue to shout our praise even when we are hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next.  In alert expectancy such as this, we are never left feeling shortchanged.  Quite the contrary-we can't round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!"

I will continued to be paid as a part time Young Life International staff.  We will also continue to be covered by our medical insurance.  This will continue into the following months as we figure out what is next.  I am so grateful for the support of amazing staff in Young Life that are standing with us in the transition.  We will continue to pray about the possibility of returning to Scotland in the future.  I know for now God has placed us here and we are starting to plug into a church and community around us.  Please continue to pray for us.  The hardest moments seems to be at night, as the sun sinks and the stars come out.  We miss him most then.  Pray that we will not feel shortchanged, but see the ridiculous amount of blessing surrounding us.  The boys had more in Jeff as a father than most men will have in a lifetime.  I will not write as often but hope to continue to update you all as we take steps into what is next.  Much love, Becca and the boys