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.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Handling the Holidays

Christmas 2009
I googled this one, too. "First Christmas without your daughter!" This time google wasn't so hopeless.  My query actually produced an inspiring  thought. While surfing, I read a poem, Christmas in Heaven, that speculated on what Christmas on earth would look like, to those in Heaven. The poem suggested that the lit tree in each family home, would represent a star in the night sky, to those residing in Heaven.  Well, I couldn't let Sam look down and not find her family star in the night sky.  So, there was the first nudge, whether to do Christmas or not.  The second nudge came when I just directly asked my other daughter what she thought, "Should we do Christmas? How should we do it? Does it hurt too much?" She directly answered me, "I love Christmas, Mom. We have always loved Christmas.!"   At this point, I remember saying to myself, " I am so grateful, that I can actually address Brooke's emotions. I recognize that some healing has begun." So, Christmas began.

Christmas Morning 2010
David is the shopper.  He buys the wreaths, garland, poinsettias and the tree.  They are dropped at the garage door and there they wait.  It is my job to decorate.  So, I did.  No problem, I gently placed it about our home.  It began to look festive, then I noticed myself slowing down, anticipating the boxes of stockings and ornaments.  That meant seering pain! That was personal.  I slept on it, to see if I felt the same the next day.  Yep, seering pain! Finally, I admitted my weakness and asked Brooke, "Do you mind if we just don't hang the stockings this year?" Her precious reply, "Mom, I don't mind but, can I still have the "pile"?" A new tradition will begin. Santa will find another way to leave his gifts.  

Another family tradition, is a tall tree.  I knew, even before Dave stood it up, that I didn't have the heart to decorate it.  It's just too much of a job.  I stared at it for 3 days.  Then I bit the bullet, climbed the stairs, to the attic, got the lights and began to string them on the tree.  I ran out of "working" lights half way up.  Boy, I did not want to do this.  Guess what, the puppy chewed through the light cord and got shocked.  The tall tree is now our outside lawn decoration and I didn't have to decorate it!  Our answer this year, a perfect tree placed upon our kitchen counter, to keep the puppy out of trouble.  Everyone is pleased, I am grateful for that. (I have heard the saying, "God works in mysterious ways?")

Gingerbread Houses 2008
The changes are many and gut-wrenching.  At times, not doable. The traditions come at me fast and furious and I can't figure out how to adjust them, so many at one time. I am the homemaker, for the most part, in charge of our family life.  I am desperately grieving the loss of Sam and at the same time being charged with the task of recreating our family life. A life etched with love,compassion, happiness,  hope and laughter. I need to get this right! My salvation for all of this is a song by Dave Barnes, I Pray on Christmas.  Brooke knows I love it and am living by it!  She plays it for me often, when she does, I throw my head back and raise my hands in the air, palms open to the sky.  It's an intentionally exaggerated gesture. She chuckles, I smile.  If nearby, her friends giggle.  But, truly it's my strength. So, I pray the Lord sees me through, I pray He will show me what to do, I pray He will help me understand, I pray he will take my by the hand.  I sing it out loud!!!  I sing it from my heart!!

During this process, a dear friend checked on me via text message.  Here is our text messaging exchange:

Her jolting response is just what I needed to hear! Yes, I do know that!

St Timothy's nativity

There are two things in particular that I look forward to doing on Christmas Eve, the first will involve a beautiful box given to me, by a dear friend.  The box is beautiful, the promise however, life giving!  I opened this gift, I looked at the box and these sweet words of hope and love were said to me,  "Elizabeth, what I wish that you would do, is sit down and write what you would like your life to look like a year from now and put it in this box. I promise, God will fulfill those desires of your heart and then exceedingly more."  I think of Matthew 7:7, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:."  The second involves, my church.  It, no doubt, will be a teary Christmas Eve service, but my heart looks forward to the dimming of the lights and the reading of  a particular poem,.  I've listened to it for many years on this special evening.  The beginning recounts Jesus' birth and beautiful, simple lifestyle.   However, the end of the poem is what I crave to hear, it will convey all that He is to me, Wonderful Counselor, Great Healer, the Prince of Peace, Emmanuel, Savior of the World ....... 


1 comment:

Angela Durham said...

Oh how I wish we could be with you now.