This month hasn’t gone at all like I thought It would. I didn’t foresee February any other way than Giving and Grieving. But Chris got sick and was out of commission for a week. The next week he flew to Columbia and got snowed in. I had anticipated lots of writing and reporting, but I was lucky just to get through each day with all three children and myself intact.
In so many ways this month has been bright. We have given and have been richly blessed in the process. Intentionally focusing on others has been an excellent tool in helping me not to fall too hard, too fast, into grief. It has also enriched my life to extend the love of Jesus to others.
And yet, there is a darkness to February that no amount of shifting focus can forbid.
Early in the month, in a sad and aching moment, I asked God to serenade me with His saving truth. My grace is sufficient for you, He whispered to my wound. Over the past few weeks, I have submerged myself in this truth, letting the power contained in these words soothe and sustain me again and again.
A couple of days ago I woke up and knew that the awful grief I’d been anticipating had finally arrived. I hoped that if I could just keep it together until Elijah’s nap, I could then quietly slip away to “lose it.” I went to my room and closed the door and reached under my bed for the album, the one revealing my sacred day with my precious girl. I had been resisting these images all month for fear of what it would cost me. Just then, Ben opened the door, coming to retrieve something he had left on my nightstand. I felt irritated. I so desperately wanted to be alone and to finally surrender to my grief. I asked if he could shut the door on his way out. He turned the doorknob, looked back over his shoulder with the sweetest smile and said, “I would do anything for a mother like you.”
He closed the door and my tears erupted. I am so blessed, I thought. I felt so ashamed of my feelings toward my boy…and yet so grateful for the interruption, to be reminded of the life I get to enjoy in the midst of aching for the life I have lost.
I tearfully proceeded to flip through and study every picture, every finger, every toe, every inch of my beautiful Anna. I stared at the faces of pain and even joy staring back at me from nearly a decade ago. I ached and yet clung to moments I had forgotten. When I closed the book, I laid down to let it all out- to let the weeping wash me limp into an agonizing, unquenchable moment…but the tears and the pain were gone. I couldn’t even will it. My breathing was deep and slow. There was a calmness, a peace that had invaded and consumed me. It was as if I was being held tightly in the arms of another- I was being invisibly comforted. It was inexplicable, except to say once again…His grace had been supernaturally sufficient for me.
After five minutes of basking in this deep and very real comfort of Jesus, I heard myself whisper joyfully, a response to being so wonderfully loved, “I would do anything for a Father like you.”
Nine years ago today I received the horrid news that my completely developed, full-term baby girl had died for no apparent reason. For three days I hugged her still body in my womb, both dreading and anticipating the moment we would behold her…the moment the count down to letting go would begin. This morning I awoke, reeling and restless. A night of haunting dreams left my heart and mind throbbing with fear and grief. A couple of miserable minutes passed and then I received the following text from my sweet sister-in-law Melissa…
“He will cover you with His feathers and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” Psalm 91:4- “I am praying this verse for you all day today Kate. Tuck into His wing and get through this day.”
And so I closed my eyes, pulled God’s wing over me and found refuge. I took a deep breathe, inhaling the grace I needed to make it through the day and I got up. As I write this evening, my eyes ache from all the tears that have been shed…but my heart is so full from all the ways God has met me with His comfort and love.
There is a thorn in my side that will not be removed until I enter the kingdom of heaven. It is a thorn of grief and longing. It is permanently affixed to my heart, and yet with it comes what I now know to be the greatest, most cherished gift of my life- the sufficient grace of Jesus. I take great comfort in knowing that my present pain and all the pain I will suffer in the years to come settles peacefully under the covering of His glorious grace. His death and resurrection will always be enough to save me. Nothing else is needed but to lie down, weeping and helpless under the cross, and to let the power that originates and exists there, lift me from the grave of despair and resurrect me to new life and hope, yet once again.
For the ninth year in a row, February is knocking me down, while grace is lifting me higher…
Just a few days more and a lifetime to go…
Yes, His beautiful, wonderful, undeserved grace, is sufficient for me.
I miss you and I love you my sweet Anna…