David Jeremiah wrote, "journalizing, memorializes the blessings of God" in his book, "When Your World Falls Apart, Seeing Past the Pain of the Present." My dear family and myself have recently experienced a terrible tragedy, resulting in the death of my precious daughter, Samantha. This is an unwanted journey, one of the most difficult walks that any parent can experience. It is riddled with extreme grief, profound disorientation, and beautiful graces from God. He holds me close. He has not forsaken me. Even though, my heart is shredded with sadness, I shed buckets of tears, I question my purpose now and I wander astray at times, I know I love God. He is real and present. I know what I know!!! And, I feel privileged to have the opportunity to share with you. I have learned that I am at my best when I walk with God, not against Him.

Monday, November 28, 2011

I Cried Today

Samantha with The Kreigers' 
Actually, I cry everyday.  But today I cried all day, midday I stopped and asked myself, "Why today, why are you crying today?" Today, I cried because I "did it".  A major holiday, Thanksgiving has come and gone. Without you!!!  I cried because on a family "girls" weekend get-a-way, you weren't there. I cried because I didn't have to buy the outfit that I spotted in the window and thought to myself, " How cute, Samantha would have loved that for Christmas."  I cried because I didn't have to go to "Delia's" clothing store, because while in the mall, nobody asked me for an Aunt Annie's cinnamon pretzel and because I didn't have to buy a gold headband. I cried because I miss my life with you, I miss seeing your things, I miss washing your clothes and telling you to pick up your room.  I miss the pile of clothes in the corner of your room.  I miss your green backpack and hand warmers.  I miss fixing you hot chocolate and bringing you to the bookstore. I miss studying with you. I miss watching you play the WII.  I miss Georgia, Anna Kate, Shelby, Jay, Ms Kadee and Mr. Scott.  I miss seeing you walk down the street after school. I miss your OLL friends and their families, I miss watching you dance at NAD, I really miss seeing the joy in your heart after a St. Timorthy's youth group activity. I miss hanging out with you ! I miss hugging you!  I miss your laughter and your love!!!!!  I still don't have the ability to see you or hear you in my mind. My mind shuts off, slaps the door shut when I try to think of you. But, inside of me there is an overwhelming sense of change and sadness. 

So, Christmas is next.  The decorations are rapidly adorning stores, yards, and churches. It will be our turn next. I wonder how I will do this? Am I strong enough to unpack your stocking, take out your favorite nutcrackers, you just adored the funny one with the tall hat given to you by Morgan.  Do I really have to  unpack and hang all of your ornaments? It won't be our family Christmas if I don't.  Do I buy you an angel ornament for each year, now? Or, maybe a star?  I want you to still be here. 

With Thanksgiving a memory and Christmas on the horizon, I have had a very teary day.  Which, made for a somewhat sappy lunch date with my husband, David.  I cried there, too.  Yep, in the restaurant while chewing.  I even remember saying, "Give me a minute, it will just go away."  Then, I said it! I told David, I didn't want this to be a part of my life. I told him I was doing it kicking and screaming!!!   He questioned my faith.  It is confusing to him that at times, I want to give into the pain, to let it consume me and claim me.  He doesn't understand how I can talk of  God, witness to His very presence in my life, love Him and still cry, kick and scream.  I explained to him, that without the help of my God, I would stay in the miry clay.  I live on God's promises.  I need my daily, on a day like today, hourly " bread." (I feel like I waited to long to eat and had a hunger attack!!)

What I realized after lunch is that David sees me at my weakest and my strongest! He has seen the power of God lift me, bringing my heart and soul to a place of peace, healing and strength.  When I wrap myself in God's armor, His power, His love, His promises, I can do "this" thing. Also, my faith empowers me to share God's message of Hope with others. This is definitely the better "place" to be. David questioned my faith because he has seen the healing power it has and doesn't understand why I can't "hang on to it", all the time.  David, so desperately wants me to stay in this state. It hurts him to see me cry so, he wants to fix it. (The new BMW - my little slice of heaven - is nice, but I'm wise enough to know that this tangible object does not have the power to heal.) I will always know God is real, but sometimes I get lost.. It hurts and I forget. I try so hard but, embarrassingly, David witnessed me today in weakness.  I was trying to do this walk alone. A few days of busyness and  I forgot what I read in one of my devotionals,  "Hope" by Nancy Guthrie about "Manna from Heaven."  In speaking with a friend experiencing grief, she asked, " How do you do this?'  The reply was "Manna." She explained, "Just as the Israelites had to depend on God to provide manna to sustain them every day in the wilderness, she had to depend on God to give her the manna to sustain her as she grieved her loss.  The friend realized that daily nourishment came from the hand of God. His words of truth are the only thing that soothes and satisfies our souls.  The thing about the manna that God provided was that it could not be stored up.  A fresh supply was needed every day."  I know how this feels.  I need a fresh supply every day, to nourish and sustain me.  My "meltdown", "moment of weakness" , whatever you want to call it was because I got "busy", went out of town,  and didn't feed my soul enough. I take responsibility, we are call in Matthew 7:7 "to seek and we shall find."

I broke another rule as well, I looked into the future without God's presence. I worried about Christmas and decorating without considering that He will walk with me through that. We are clearly instructed in Matthew 6:34, ""So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today." This scripture tells me to live just one day at a time - when that day of decorating comes Jesus will be with me, in whatever way I need.  I believe that.

I need to go back to the basics and treat myself better, each day, I will relish my alone time with God, I will rest in His healing powers, and allow His Peace to seep into every crack of my broken heart. I will be still and know that He is God and I will live one day at a time. I cannot do this alone.


Angela Durham said...

Oh, Liz, how I love and admire you. Sam is greatly loved and desperately missed. But I know she's loving Heaven and watching over us all...and probably being the a ham, as usual! What an amazing daughter you have in Sam!

Janelle Knudsen said...

Oh Elizabeth, this is so beautiful. Thank you for putting into words the thoughts of your heart. Not a day goes by that I don't think of you and David, Brooke, and Samantha. Keep writing please. This entry in particular reminds me to never take my family for granted, to live each day and love like there is no tomorrow. Love to you all, always.

Carrie said...

Elizabeth-this is amazing! Thank you for allowing us to walk along side of you in this journey, through your blog. BTW, love the title ;) Praying for you always-Carrie

Paige Gunter said...

Your family has been on my heart these last few days. Now I know why; God knows you need to be covered in prayer. There is no wrong way to grieve. Thank you for transparency.

Unknown said...

Though you don't know me personally, you and the Battle family have been in my prayers. My daughter, Jordan knew Samantha. In fact, they were cabin mates at Camp Istrouma this summer. Also, Kelly Battle was the 1st grade teacher of my son, Jared. So, I wanted to let you know that you all are getting prayers for support all around. We are also members of St. Timothy's and often sit a few pews behid you in church. Many times, I have wanted to walk up to you after church and give you a hug and let you know I have been thinking about you - but - I have never had the courage. So, I just wanted to tell you that I admire your courage to share your story and to let us see how this painful and devasting journey has brought you closer to God. You are an amazing person. Please know that I will continue to lift you up in prayers during this season. Blessings, Missy Hymel

Diane Wehrman said...

Elizabeth this is so beautiful! You are an amazing woman, wife, sister, mother. If there is ever a day that you just can't bring yourself to the grocery, please let me do it for you. So many people want to help. I know that others would join in with me. No matter how small the task, this would be a great way for friends to do something for you. Or if you don't want to go alone, I'll go with you. We can cry our way thru the store! Oh my broken hearted friend, I hurt and cry for you!

Leslie Castleberry said...

I also sit behind you in church and my daughters went to Camp Istrouma and were in Church plays with Sammi, although you and I probably never met personally. I just want to let you know that I cry with you and Brooke in church, especially when Chad plays a certain song that must mean a lot to Brooke. I want you to know that we all grieve with you because we are a church family and that is what family does.