Friday, September 26, 2008

Surprised by Design

Greeting to all! Man this week has flown by its hard to believe we are up against the weekend again, but I am very grateful for it at the same time. There was nice breeze put back into our sails this week due to an overnight excursion that Ali and I got to take last weekend! Yes, we got to get out of our house and away from our crazy children for a night! It was spectacular, we knew we had a limited amount of time so we chose New Orleans as our destination because it was close. Because we were staying one night I decided to pick a nice hotel for us to stay in. When we arrived at the hotel Saturday around one in the afternoon and I ask the manager what the next room upgrade would cost me. He said, “Sir, it is already taken care of, I have put you in the nicest suite our hotel has, I have gone up and inspected the room myself, I also put a bottle of wine for you and your wife to enjoy.” I literally had to pick my chin up off the counter, I looked at him and said buddy, you don’t know how much that means to my wife and I. We got up to the room and to say the least it was phenomenal next to the bottle of wine there was a handwritten note from the manager welcoming us to the hotel and letting us know that if there was anything less than exceptional to let him know and he would take care of it. WOW! How does God take care of His children uh?

Ali and I partook of New Orleans to the fullest! It was the first time in what feels like a very long time that we just fun together. There was no schedule we had nothing to do so we laughed, we sang along with the bands, I even embarrassed myself by attempting a little Karaoke, with the emphasis being on the word attempt and an even a bigger emphasis on the word embarrassed. We woke up the next morning had breakfast at one of New Orleans local hang outs and then headed home to pick up our kids. After we pick them up, the noise of life returned quickly, but there was a difference in the air. There was a breath-ability about life again, I don’t know how long it will last but I will take it as it comes!

Well, this week made three months since our precious Cate departed this earthly life. The pain, the hurt, the tears, the snot, the anger, and the loneliness all seem so overwhelming at times that we are not sure how you will make it through the day. We all have plans of what our life will look like and we all work very hard to design our lives, our futures, our marriages, our children, our friendships in order to move us in the direction of that plans. When our designs get tossed out the window by this thing we call “life,” it truly puts us into a world wind of confusion, desperation, and even hopelessness. There are plans that we have, though we may never say them out loud, the “in case of emergency” plans, the how we will react plan, what we will do plan, the who will be there plan, the who will do what plan, can often get thrown out of the window because life is not always as we design it, though we think it should be and we try to buffer ourselves as much as possible in order that we may live safely within the lines of our design.

Over this past week I have been reflecting on the people who have pushed through the awkwardness of grief to be close to us, to reach out to us, to take their place in a design that was not mine and probably was not theirs, but God has surprised all of us by HIS design. I have reflected on people who we have never met who have sent cards, gifts, sweet comments, and prayers our way. On people who have left dinner on our doorstep in a Styrofoam ice chest with a pretty red bow rapped around it. People who have called to go run errands, grocery shop, take the kids for the afternoon and I stand in awe of the design that God has been orchestrating through this catastrophe we find ourselves in. To be real honest with you, I think I got so focused on my design and my emergency plan and saying, where is so and so, why aren’t they doing whatever, that I have truly failed to recognize that God has been trying His best to provide for our every need. The other night as I reflected on what “I” thought should be happening and “who” should be doing it, I truly found myself being surprised by God’s design. All the phone calls, emails, comments on the blog, cards came flooding into my mind and God just said I have been trying to provide for you all along.

So, I have decided that my design for my emergency plan may not have been the way that it was supposed to work and that once again I need to sit back and allow God to be God. I need to ask Him to make me more aware of His designs and how they are playing out in our daily life on this road we find ourselves trying to navigate. A good brother of mine has a ministry that is centered the paragraph from the Catechism of the Catholic Church number 2097. The last sentence of this paragraph says “The worship of the one God sets man free from turning in on himself from the slavery of sin and the idolatry of the World.” When we fix our eyes solely on ourselves and our designs and life doesn’t go “our” way our hearts can quickly be filled with jealousy, angry and resentment, but if we can keep our eyes on God and His designs our hearts can remain grateful, joyful, and hopeful. We ask that you pray that we may be aware of and submissive to God’s design as we continue this journey of grief and we thank all of you from the bottom of our hearts for accepting your role in God’s design for our life. May we all continue to be Surprised by Design. Much Love, The Cantrells

And by the way I met with a counselor last week and have another appointment next week thanks for the prayers and keep praying!

20 comments:

The Vaughn Family said...

I checked on your site earlier and commented on your last post, but for some reason I was drawn to look at it again and you have a new post! It's hard to believe that a whole 3 months have passed...but I'm sure you've felt every second of those. You're so honest and refreshing in each of your posts, it's humbling to see your amazing outlook and faith. I'm glad you & Ali got to retreat & reconnect....and that it was time spent really enjoying eachother's company. Thanks for keeping us posted, and know you'll continue to be in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

I check your bolg daily sometimes a few times a day. When you haven't posted in a while my heart sinks. I imagine these are the times your family is going through some extra rough patches.
I pray for you and you family frequently. When I say a rosary I now have a picture of your most precious Kate. Please remember to surrender ALL your worries to our Heavenly Father. His burdens are easy and his yoke is light.
Glory to God he saw fit to give you and Ali a weekend to yourselves.
I thought about you when I read in The Acadiana Catholic that relics of St.Padre Pio are coming to Lafayette Diocese. I pray that God's richest blessing are upon you and your family!!

LauraS said...

I think of your family during the litany of the saints we say after praying our daily rosary... Bl. Francis Xavier Seelos... pray for us... Just thought you should continue to know that you are not alone on earth and certainly not in heaven.

Blessings,
LauraS

maureen said...

2097 is pretty awesome :) at least i think so....
praying for you all every. single. day.

Melinda T./Opelousas said...

Hello Cantrell Family...You brought tears of joy to my eyes. I am so happy for you Charlie & Ali, for enjoying your New Orleans trip.... Yes, God will take care of us, if we just stay out of the way.:) Ella & Dude probably needed a little vacation of their own also. I will continue to pray for you beautiful people, and know that you are always in my heart. Have a blessed weekend & Keep Looking Up....Love Ya! Melinda T.

Lila Lambert said...

"stepping outside and gazing heavenward on a star-studded evening always helps to soothe my soul after a trouble-filled day. When I peer into the night sky, I forget, at least for a moment, the cares of life on earth."

Anonymous said...

"How great is Our God!" Your reflection today is beautiful and so fitting for your situation, as well as each and every one of us who follows in your quest. You know that His love conquers all ~ His love never fails, after all it is the greatest gift! Have a blessed weekend :o) "Sing with me, How great is Our God! . . ."

kati said...

thank you, your positive words help us, too, as we all try to navigate our lives... it's a two way street. thinking of your family often...

Anonymous said...

I can't tell you how much I look forward to your blogs. I can relate to every feeling you guys go through. Cate has been gone for 3 months and my little angel has been gone for 4 years and yet there is not a day that doesn't go by that we don't think about her. Your family reminds me of those days and months following Morgan's stillbirth. We went through so many of those feelings of isolation and questioning. You are so right in talking about God's design and plan. It may not be what we had plan but God may have so many more blessings in store. If my husband and I had not suffered the loss of our first born and endured the grief from that(which only strengthened our relationship), we may not be where we are today(4 years later) with 2more beautiful girls and a 2 week old beautiful little boy! The gifts we have been given are a blessing but we may not have gotten them without going through the grief, anger, hurt, and resentment we felt towards God. I am now closer with him and feel a peace now that I had not before. Besides, we have our own little angel up there playing on his team!
I am so glad that you and Ali had a chance to connect with one another. Keep those lines of communication open and continue to enjoy each other's company, even when you are not alone! Still in my prayers!
Maddy McAnally

Anonymous said...

Charlie & Ali, Am so glad to hear that my home town of New Orleans provided a breath of fresh air for you ... that's wonderful. Please tell me you didn't run across any wild animals - smile!!! Keeping very close to you in prayer, remembering, caring ... treasuring. Take care, pal ...

Mary B.

Anonymous said...

Charlie and Ali,

So glad that you had a chance to get away to be together without any of the responsibilities of home and children even if it was just for one night. Sometimes we parents forget to nurture our spouse....getting so bogged down in the guilt of leaving the children...failing to realize that by loving, nurturing and laughing with each other will, in the end, be a positive thing for your kids. I continue to pray and lift your entire family up in my daily prayers and I know that God will nudge us all when it is time to get together. Until then, know that you are loved very much. Drop us a line or call if you can find time to get away again....we would love to come watch Ella and Dude for you! Jane W.

ali said...

Loving that God is loving you and showing you where His love resides. Thank you Lord for refreshed eyes, hearts, minds, and spirits. Amen. Still praying.

Laurie Reed said...

You have continued Baby Cate's journey to reach people on earth. Baby Cate brought an unimaginable number of people to God and even though you may not realize it, you have continued to touch many hearts. I believe that you have a gift with words, and one day you will write a book in Cate's honor. Your words of love, grief, humor, anger, loneliness are a gift from God and we appreciate you sharing with all of us. Baby Cate has led your family to all of us and it has been such a blessing. Give Ali a great big hug every night from Cate and know that we are all still here for your family and praying.

Jamie said...

Still praying for you guys.

Anonymous said...

I was so thrilled to hear you and Ali got to get away for a night and have fun in New Orleans. God knows you both needed this!I check your blog every day several times a day and pray for you all many times during the day. Charlie, I am so glad you are going for counseling. You can't be strong all the time and try to hold everyone else up. You need your time to unload and talk. We love you so so much. Please give Ali and the kiddos a big hug for us.

Much love and God Bless,
Cathy & Bill

Pat Broussard said...

Still here and still praying for you gusy. Sounds like you and Ali had a wonderful, well deserved trip to New Orleans. I do regret not being able to hear you sing. We miss you guys.

Love

Ted and Pat Broussard

Crystal said...

I'm so glad that people are being so generious and loving to you and your family. I am so blessed to have gotten a chance to talk to Ali on Saturday. She is such a wonderful person. God Bless all of you!!!!!!! Hope to hear from ya'll soon.

God BLess,
Crystal Judice

Hudson said...

I wanted to let you know that we have not forgotten y'all. We still think about your family often and pray for continued healing. Much love - Bryan, Stephanie & Hudson Carnes

Anonymous said...

what a wonderful blog...to witness a breath of fresh air and a gentle breeze given by the holy spirit..i am so happy to hear about your beautiful getaway! thank you Jesus for giving us what we need when we need it! we love you guys! we think of you daily and pray for you daily as well!!

love you
ben, maria, and girls

Anonymous said...

We love you guys!