Thursday, October 25, 2018

Left Behind. (From Nancy Crider Singer in memory of Paul Douglas Crider).

If there's anything I've come to appreciate through all the loss of life in our family, it's the art of learning to celebrate those who remain behind. It can be easy to focus on who we've lost and stay stuck in that grief. But there is so much living to do with those who remain.

As I wrap up this series of blog posts surrounding some the stories of our family's loss, I'm delighted to share one last post from another one of our family members.  Nancy Singer Crider shares what it's been like to be a single mother, after losing her husband (and my brother) Doug. As Doug's family continues to grow, it's a blessing to watch the impact of a life lived well during the brief 26 years he lived.

From Nancy Singer Crider:
In memory of Paul Douglas Crider
"It is bitter sweet to look back 49 years to October 11, 1969 as Doug and I joined together in marriage expecting to share a lifetime together.  I could not have anticipated that 3 years and 9 months later, we would be left behind and he would be present with the Lord. My daughters and I experienced a huge loss to our family.  
There were times when I felt so alone trying to be a single mother, feeling the heavy weight of raising two daughters with two very different personalities.  I felt so inadequate being responsible for guiding these two little lives through life.  
Even though I made lots of mistakes, it was good to know that Christ surrounded us with His love and grace.  I trusted Him to be the strength for us through the good and bad times. Through the love and grace of God, I am learning to rely on Him for strength in life's situations.  
After Doug passed, I built my life around my children.  I sometimes felt they were all I had.  I watched them grow and learn as we tried to learn together to seek God (not always successful - but progressing).  During these growing pains, I sometimes wondered what life would have been like if Doug had lived.  

He had begun to give sermons at Jemison Valley where we attended church.  It was suggested he apply for a lay minister’s license which he received shortly before his death.  He preached his first sermon as a licensed minister and was scheduled to preached again at another church close to where we lived.  However, the accident that took his life was the week after his first sermon.   For a young man at the age of 26 to die spoke volumes to the community. 
As Crystal and Kelly married and started their homes and families, I was blessed with 8 grandchildren around whom I began to build my life also.  They were such a blessing and they loved to spend time at “Mimi’s” house. They would spend time in my basement playing guitars, singing and making videos.  It was such a wonderful time together.  However, they continued to mature.  Then, Derek, one of the grandsons got married.  I was blessed with two great grandsons. 
In more recent years, I had an opportunity to go to Guatemala on a mission trip.  During the first trip, I did some soul searching and discovered a new life in Christ as I surrendered to the filling of the Holy Spirit.  What a change occurred on my life.  I received new guidance on how to seek God in all situations.  
I decided to spend a week at my timeshare (alone) seeking release from concerns related to my family. I seemed to be in bondage. As I laid my concerns before the Lord, he very clearly spoke to my heart as he said, “Give them to me. I will take care of them."  
Wow!  I wrote the names of my children, their spouses, and all my grandchildren and lifted them toward heaven and laid them before the Lord.  I must confess, there are times I take them back and then give them back to Him.  I sometimes wondered if their Daddy/Grandpa was before the throne asking for mercy, grace and wholeness for his family.  I have seen changes in some of their lives since I gave my family to the One who can do all things.
Even through the years without Doug’s presence, I have a feeling he was praying for all his family as we sometimes struggled through life, seeking to follow God - knowing what the final result will be.  To be able to join with Doug and other family members who have gone before us, but to ultimately meet our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and worship Him forever."