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, January 9, 2012
One Day at a Time
She said to me, " Elizabeth, just one day at a time, just today, not tomorrow, not Thanksgiving, not Christmas, just today." I remember those words like it was yesterday, they were spoken to me sometime in late July, as my friend came for a visit. She stayed for a while, she ministered to me and spent dear time with Brooke. This was a time for me that I needed help caring for Brooke, caring for her soul. To verbalize to my "other" daughter, what I know I am responsible for teaching her in a tragedy, made the situation real. I needed to guide her about Sam's death and I couldn't. I knew she, we, all of us needed to grab hold the armor of Jesus Christ, to deal with the situation. With my deepest, innermost being, I needed Brooke to embrace the teachings of Jesus Christ as a lifeline. It is what I have prepared her for, all those years in Sunday School. It's what I believe to be true. I knew what I wanted to do, however, I was rendered incapable. Being a mom was was out of reach in the early months. Gratefully and humbly I know that I was wrapped in the loving, caring arms of Jesus Christ, then, now and always. I had just incredible, constant, unwavering support. So many times, in the early months, I was counseled to live, just one day at a time. When I could, I did it. Don't think for a second, that I didn't mess these instructions on occasion.
On a particular day, I was blessed with a visit from another friend. Anxiety, plagued/gripped me. It felt like a physical wrapping on my body. It was paralytic, creating a sleepless night and uncontrollable tears. Prior to this, I was on a good streak, having several descent days. However, I went downhill fast. Monday morning, David left for work. I thank God for his newfound sensitivity, because he turned around and came back home. Sitting in our den, David asked, " What has gotten a hold of you? Something has gotten a hold of you! We need to figure it out!" I sorta knew what it was, fear!!! We were being faced with the next stage of this tragedy, the legal process. I felt like I was being hurled into another unknown world, a black abyss, with no knowledge, no experience, no control. My mind was overloaded with thoughts of lawyers, arguments, police reports, and any and all negative scenarios that I could possibly imagine. I mentioned before, that on several occasions, my devotional "Jesus Calling" by Sarah Young had been profound reading for me at times. Well, this was one of those times. On this particular day, I read the entry and it was like living water coursing through my body.
That is just one example of how I fail on a daily basis. I was not living "one day at a time." I was looking ahead, at a process that hadn't even begun yet. I was not even being required to do anything! In my fragile, human mind I was imagining the future, actually making it up - sooo, not following the best advice given, "One day at a time." In addition, I was not envisioning God's presence in a future situation. It is not intentional that I fall out of sync with God, I think it is just human weakness.
On many occasions, in the past, "One day at a time" was a way for me to stay out of the dark. Instructions for not getting ahead of myself, not letting the future overwhelm me. So many "firsts" to experience. With the start of a new year, I am thankful that I can recount a conversation I had with myself. This "self talk" occurred during my morning shower, as I replayed the events of the prior day. The last day of Brooke's Christmas break, we spent doing "girly" things, had lunch together which included an incredible, open, honest conversation. This was followed by dinner and a movie with David and other neighbors. It was a great day, a wonderful day, full of love, laughter, joy and tears,(my heart goes out to David, he was seated between Brooke and I, both in tears during the movie, "We Bought a Zoo"!) It was a family outing! There were 3 of us, not 4, (We all felt the pierce of Sam's absence) but, it was still good. In the shower, I heard myself say to myself, "If I could not include what happened to me about 6 months ago and not be concerned with the future but, just look at today, it was good, it was a good day!" Blessings overflowed! I realized that "One day at a time" previously was for survival but, that I could use it to recognize and be grateful for sweet blessings of family, love and life, each day. This is cause for me to pray this prayer texted to me at the start of this new year: