Sunday, August 31, 2014

When Love Comes Again

The question comes continuously—How are you doing with all of this? 

The subject, of course, is Doug Nevill finding new love.  He has proposed to a most wonderful woman named Susan.  Or Susie.  Or New Mommy Susie.

From my heart, the most direct answer is, “I am absolutely thrilled.  Susan is far beyond all I could ask or imagine for Doug and Isaiah.”

I knew that this could be a hard situation to step into.  It would be easy for a woman to feel intimidated by Christina or her story.  It would not be out of the ordinary for a new wife to struggle with any mention of Christina.  It might be difficult to adjust to life with Doug and Isaiah and a well-known story.

I often prayed that the woman that would enter Doug’s life would know Christina and love her.  I prayed for a woman who could believe that we loved her wholeheartedly.  I longed for a woman who could talk freely about Isaiah’s first mommy.

I now shed thankful tears for the beautiful way God has answered my prayer.  Our family has known Susan’s family for many years.  Susan and Christina knew each other throughout  childhood. When Christina was diagnosed with cancer seven years ago, Susan made a beautiful, soft quilt for Christina.  (And if you knew Christina, soft blankets to cuddle with were one of her greatest pleasures.)

Susan was very present in Christina’s last 77 days.  She came by and held Isaiah and helped in countless ways.  She and Christina had some great conversations (in person and by text) concerning the difficulties each of them were experiencing.  It was a time of mutual encouragement. 
Susan, Isaiah, and Christina
Susan held Isaiah during Christina’s memorial service and became part of the regular crew of “Isaiah care.”

Isaiah excited about the adventure!
And Isaiah loves Susie and her two boys.  He burst into tears one day that I had planned to drop him off at her house.  She wasn’t quite home yet and it broke his little heart when she didn’t answer the door.  She arrived shortly after that and they walked up the street to get the boys.  Isaiah looked up at her and said, “Happy!”

I have never worried about Christina being “replaced.”  Christina was a one-of-a-kind woman.  She and Doug had quite the journey in the very short time they had together.  From first date to her transfer to heaven was only 2 years and 3 months.  In that short time, they dated, married, had a baby, and Christina had a brain surgery, chemo, and a wild recurrence which led to their last 77 days.  That is a lot of life to cram into 27 months.  And they did it.  Beautifully.  And Christina went to be with Jesus.  The wedding rings in a box together are a reminder of a completed pledge—“till death parts us.”  

And now, Doug needs to look to his future and see what God has for him.  It seems God has a wonderful woman, a mommy for Isaiah, and a couple of amazing boys to welcome into his life.  

Go, Doug, Go!!

And how does Christina feel about all of this?  I have asked Doug’s permission to share a portion of the letter she left for Doug at the end of her life.  He read this portion out loud to a gathering of friends and family on June 13th—Christina’s first heavenly birthday.  We shared things we had learned from Christina and we shared some of the stories we have come to love.  At the end, Doug brought out the letter and said he wanted to read part of it.  It is from the section (it was a very long letter) entitled, 
“Releasing to New Love” 

"All right, so here we are.  We’ve talked about this before, but I really need you to hear this from me again.  With the list above and many other things I didn’t have space to write down, YOU Douglas are one heck of a catch, a catch that shouldn’t go to waste!!  Seriously!:)

I give you full permission, if not a gentle shove in asking you to be open to love and marriage again.  Not to rush and get Isaiah a mother, or “fix” the pain of losing a wife, but just be open to what Jesus may offer to bring into your life and family.  This, of course, has to be led by the Spirit.  It may be very scary, but let Him lead you.  No need to rush or avoid forever.  Take counsel from those you trust, and be honest always.  Nothing will be a quick fix or a way to avoid hard times.

So, the first time someone catches your eye, don’t feel guilty about it!  Who knows what God could be doing, even when you would love to know the end result before it happens. When does that ever happen?  Right??:)  Pray, pray, pray for His wisdom and He will direct your path.

Isaiah will be fine also.  I am leaving him in the best hands possible.  Yours and those of our Jesus, who will lead you (and her) every step of the way.  Please don’t worry about replacing me—in your heart or Isaiah’s.  I will always be me, and he will always be half of me, and half of you.  You both will always know me in a unique way—from experiences, memories, stories.  I love it!  Just make sure to tell some good ones, ok?  (Funny, embarrassing, heartfelt, you be the judge).  It actually thrills me to picture both you and Isaiah experiencing the love of a fun, exciting, sweet passionate Godly woman, totally wrapped in Jesus.  Wouldn’t hurt if she were a good cook too, eh?  Sorry about that one:) Hehe.  Know though, if God brings someone along, He will equip her to be EXACTLY what He intends for both you and Isaiah.  I fully trust that, as easy as it can feel right now to get sad about “missing out on this journey for you both”—the truth is, I won’t be, I can’t be!  We all live the exact amount of days God designed us to live.  I will NOT be cut short, no one ever is!  Isn’t that a cool thought?  Life on earth isn’t ever robbed from us.  We just miss those that depart for this short time.  And if we didn’t miss them, I suppose there’s something wrong there too."

And then Doug announced that he had asked and been granted permission to court Susan.  Before too long, he was asking permission to marry Susan and that brings us to the present.

What freedom and clarity Christina’s words have brought to this situation.   It is such a treasure to me that she left such wise counsel and loving words.  In an earlier post, I describe her agony in writing this letter.  She thought it didn’t make sense—that it was confusing and hard to understand.  In reality, the confusion wasn’t about what she was writing.  The confusion entered in when she tried to proof read it and her mind was no longer capable of making sense of the words. 

I am thankful she labored to put this in words.  I am more thankful that Doug heeded and opened his heart to love.  And I am most thankful for the beautiful, generous, fun, loving, and joyful woman he has found to share his life.

And I will forever thank our loving Father who has abundantly blessed this family with goodness.


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  2. Suz is an amazing and loving person mommy and friend we are all pretty lucky to have her as a part of our hearts. Congrats Suz and Doug :)

    1. I agree with you, Jennifer. I love Susan and I love what she brings to our lives.

  3. Wow, Jo Dee. I just finally read this blog. This is so beautiful. I cried reading it. Amazing. I am so happy for all of you, especially Doug & Isaiah. <3

    1. It is a complete blessing to our lives, Jen. We are in awe of our great God.