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I am Sandra - faithful steward. listener. shepherd. dream believer. hard worker. collects brass bells, boots. Jesus follower. contented. star gazer. homemaker. farmer. prayer warrior. country woman. reader. traveler. writer. homebody. living life large.

Monday, January 28, 2013

A Hiding Place

~ my daily view ~
Vicki's Grow Your Blog Party here; there are giveaways!

Moses had his desert. Abraham had the pagan city of Ur. Joseph had his prison. Esther had her harem. Mary had her pregnancy. Dietrich Bonhoeffer had 
his prison.
Dave and I had Thistle Cove Farm.
Where is your hiding place? 
Does God have you standing behind a sink of dirty dishes or pails of dirty diapers? Does God have you in a dead end job, working for a boss who is conniving, manipulative or coarse? Are you sitting at the sickbed of your beloved? Where is God hiding you? Are we, daily, ready to do His will, the job He has for you that only you can accomplish? How is He preparing you? 

These are questions I ask myself every day. I've a good idea of what God wants me to be doing now but haven't a clue about the future. I know my past has brought me to this place, this time, this farm and God uses it all to prepare me for doing the job He has set before me. 
~ Sandra and Dave, Azores Island ~
Some of you know, Dave, my husband, died, very suddenly and unexpectedly, in November 2011. He had cancer and we knew his time was short, p'raps six months but were hoping for another year. Our plans were to sit down on a Monday and he'd tell me everything I needed to know to live life without him. We didn't get a week, God called Dave Home on Saturday. 

Thistle Cove Farm was, for both of us, A Hiding Place and for me, over the last year plus, also about the grief. Throughout the years, Dave has been woven in my blog posts to the point it's difficult to tell which is the man and which is the myth. smile We'd found each other in Richmond, lived next to each other and, after six years, decided to marry each other. His first wife, Cathy, had died of cancer and Dave was a basket case. He was smoking too much and drinking too much but only enough to make him miserable yet not kill himself. 
~ Dave, headed to London ~
I know God sent Dave and I to each other and then, to this farm. Thistle Cove Farm was our hiding place, where we learned to trust and love, where we grew in our marriage and in our walk with God. Dave didn't accept Christ until the last few days of his life but he was always searching, seeking and finding Him on this farm. In the morning, Dave's favorite thing to say was, "This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it." It was always a beautiful start to our day and, whatever happened,we knew God was already there.

Dave and I brought baggage into this marriage and, those first years, it weighed us both down. We struggled to make "us" stronger than "me" even while we had other people living with us. Those first 18 months, two contractors lived with us and, every day, I cleaned for and fed four people. It was exhausting and exhilarating. Even with all our baggage, I knew Dave was a man worth the wait. A man who would grieve so heavily and so long for his first wife, was worthy of his namesake, David. Very soon after meeting him, I knew I'd have gone to hell to fetch him; as it was, I only had to go to the gates and wait. I feel his presence and his absence each and every day. Never am I unaware he's gone. Never does the black hole readjust to allow his space to be overtaken. Never is a long time.

It is within your power to change your marriage because it is within your power to change yourself. Only you are able to decide if you want God to change you and thus change your marriage and your life. Once, someone complimented me on something I'd written and asked if it'd been hard to write so honestly. My response, "No, not really. All I had to do was cut open my heart."

And, so it is with marriage. It took Dave and I a long while to trust each other, fully and completely. While I was the first to say, "If you want to leave, then leave now but if not, never bring it up again." Almost always, Dave was the first to say, "I'm sorry, let's not argue, life is too short." It took time for my fear to subside and for me to trust with my heart. Too much with too many had paved my heart path with shattered glass.
I had to learn trust before I could accept cherish.
In order for me to stand in the light of Dave's love, the shadows had to be dispersed. In my case, there didn't need be shadows to prove the light. I had to, willing and freely, cut  open my heart to allow trust and love to grow. That's what I did with Dave; that's what I'm doing with God. It was within my power to change my marriage because it was within my power to change myself; to allow God to change me I, freely and willingly, cut open my heart again.
I want "us" more than I want "me".

Linking with Jen at Finding Heaven Today and the Soli Deo Gloria Party.

"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is a miracle." ~ Albert Einstein ~

Today's Miracles - memories, good and bad ~ free will ~ Dave ~ hiding places ~ God's love, grace, mercy and kindness ~ Jen ~ change ~ Thistle Cove Farm ~ 


  1. Hello dearest Sandra:
    You, and your faith, are an inspiration to all who have had the privilege to know you, and in this respect we count ourselves most blessed.

    If at the end we are to be judged, then we truly believe that it will be on love, and possibly love alone. In this you will not be found wanting.

  2. You are an amazing person, Sandra. This is an excellent post! I may even hop back and re-read it soon.

  3. I really enjoyed reading this post. As a fellow widow that is back on the dating scene I appreciate that you respected and understood Dave grieving for his wife. I know now that you are a widow you understand, but to understand it then is an amazing thing.

  4. Beautiful post.
    I'm walking in that changing me/changing my marriage hell/heaven at this very moment.
    Trust is the hardest part of it!
    Thanks for sharing your cut-up heart . . .

  5. What a lovely picture of you and Dave -

  6. This was a beautiful post. Straight from your heart. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Hello Sandra, Popping in to visit you is always a pleasure. Beautiful post as usual. Hugs Sue

  8. I'm in awe of the beautiful way you express yourself here. God is so abundantly good to us when we let go and fully trust. I am just learning this lesson after too many years slipped by. God bless you!

  9. Sandra that is a very awesome post. Thank you.

  10. This makes my heart heavy and light all at the same time. Heavy for the grief, for the hard battles in marriage, and light because God is in control of it all. I am SO grateful for you, Sandra. You have impacted my life and shown me love in the short time that I've known you. Thank you for cutting open your heart.

  11. Look at lovely, lovely you. You challenge me so much. It's all good. You're so good. God bless you right up this week x

  12. Sandra,
    You have a beautiful, beautiful heart.
    Your posts are wonderful blessings, and I always enjoy my visit here.

  13. What a wonderful post, dear Sandra. YOU are such a cutie pie.
    You are such a clear writer, honest and true, too.

  14. Sandra- your beautiful words leave me longing for more-- and more. You write from the soul and put into words feelings that we all have had. Yours was a marriage of the truest kind of love- a love that was tested and survived. I think of you often --- I admire you for the person that you are--

  15. Ps- your view-- is magnificent. To look at that everyday is such a rich blessing--

  16. This is an amazing, honest, open post and my life is better for having read it. I have walked few of those hills and valleys I understand- xo Diana

  17. A very touching post. Remember to talk to Dave as you go about your day. Just because you can not see him does not mean he is not there. Sometimes it might be hard to hear what he says, but then again you do not have to follow his advice anyway. The talking works.

  18. Such a beautiful, heartfelt, and thought-provoking post Sandra...your writing touches me...

  19. WHat a nice post Sandra. You are so right about opening ourselves completely to the Lord. We can hold back nothing, only empty ourselves to make room for Him to fill us up to the top and overflow. You have lessons that you could teach us all. Thanks for your reminders and sharing your soul with us.

  20. So much heart here....even if it is cut up. Thank you for sharing it.

  21. Oh Sandra, this is beautiful. A raw and honest post about the marriage of two hurt & broken people who fell in love with each other and then learned over time to love each other better.This is wisdom from experience. I learned from this post, thank-you sister.

  22. Sandra,
    I know where you ARE
    and FEEL for you. Great photo
    of you both.
    It's a hole in your soul that
    can never go away. Just try to
    think of happy thoughts.
    My Husband was full of cancer
    God took him with a heart attack.
    Just like my Mama, the Doctor said
    that phenomena is the OLD MANS

  23. What a heart breaking yet inspiring story you have.

  24. Sandra, I know that God will and is using your words to change lives. Thank you for being willing to speak them, for releasing your sorrow to a higher purpose.

  25. Oh you made me so happy leaving the link to this blog that you keep up more regularly... I admire your strength and fortitude in coping with such a sudden loss.. Your writing about marriage strikes a true cord, and you both were lucky to find each other in that truth.. I too have married twice and in my second marriage I had to wait 12 years before he admitted at last that he loved me... so patience is such a virtue!! thank you again for the words that you share.. I hope that in some way, our writing back to you helps in the loneliness of your life at the moment,because we are all sending you the best hugs and best wishes forever.. hugs from across the pond..Janzi

  26. Oh Sandra this is beautiful. I think you said it all very well. HUGS. B

  27. What a beautiful and moving story, Sandra. I think you're one of the strongest people I know. I can't imagine moving forward in a life without Handsome, yet you demonstrate strength, faith and confidence to face your future. I'm so blessed to call you friend. Thank you.

  28. Hello Jane and Lance; I don't think of myself as an inspiration but do appreciate your kindness. I struggle with my faith, I believe, please Lord help me believe.

    Patrice, I don't feel all that amazing, just living the day to day struggle that consumes us all.

    Sandy, I wish you well with the dating; I wonder if I'll ever be ready for dating again.

    Karen, that's one of my favorite photos of us.

    Amber, you're welcome but it hurt.

    Sue, you're always welcome here.

    Gail, it's a constant, daily, leaving of our wills for His; so difficult sometimes, don't you find it so?

    the woven spoke, you're welcome although it's one of the more difficult to write.

    Jen, you're welcome and I already grow weary of being transparent but it's a long road and my feet are firmly planted upon it.

    Mags, we challenge each other; it's what we do as Christians.

    Carol, you're always welcome here and thank you.

    Pom, thank you for your kindness.

    Vicki, those last weeks with Dave were gold, thank you for the part you played. I miss him more than life itself.

    Nana, I'm so sorry you understand.

    Louise, thank you but I talk to God as He's more able to actually help me -wry smile-. I don't talk to Dave or other loved ones gone before; that just doesn't work for me.

    Linda, thank you but, truthfully, I'd rather someone else be going thru all "this"; it's wearisome and I grow tired.

    Vickie, hard lessons all even though worthwhile.

    Dear Lil, (I've always wanted to say that -grin-); my cut up heart is weary.

    Kathy, the lessons never end but life goes on.

    Yvonne, I've heard that all my life...pneumonia is the old person's friend.

    Retired knitter, I'm shallow enough to wish it were someone else's story...but it's mine.

    Dewena, thank you; right now all I feel is empty.

    Janzi, nice to see you here; welcome and thank you for your kind comments; it helps to know others have walked the path.

    Buttons, thank you.

    Donna, you wouldn't say that if you saw me on the floor, sobbing. It's all God; I have nothing to offer.

  29. Sandra,
    This is a beautiful and inspirational post. Keep trusting in God. Thank you for sharing.


  30. Charlotte, is there another option? I think not -wry smile- and God bless you for your comment.


Thank you for visiting Thistle Cove Farm; may God bless you, yours and the work of your hands and heart. My goal is to respond, here, to your comments although it may take a while.

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