I’ve been writing this post in my head for weeks now. It’s kept me from writing some of the more mundane happenings of our household. Sometimes I’m just afraid that my words won’t adequately portray my feelings. Or they’ll just make something profound sound plain silly. But I have to write.
So write I will.
A few months ago, Peter and I received an invitation from the Hospital where Annie died. It was for a Memorial Service they hold each year for parents of babies and children. It was not the first service they’ve held since she’s died, but for whatever reason, we’d turned down the rest. This time, though, we decided we should give it a go. So we sent in the RSVP and tried not to think about it any more.
I didn’t realize until the night before the service that there was a bit of significance to the date. I changed Eliza’s diaper and sang to her as I got ready to put her in her bed. And I counted the days. I clutched her a little tighter when I realized we’d be taking our new baby to the hospital for a Memorial on the day we had taken her Sister to the hospital where she would eventually die. (I know, it’s a little confusing. Stick with me.) We found out Annie had a brain tumor when she was six months and nine days old. We took Eliza to Annie’s Memorial service when she was six months and nine days old. For some reason, the knowledge of those similar ages heightened my sensitivity to my surroundings.
Friends, the past twenty-one months have held a lifetime of pain for me. But they have also held a lifetime of joy. And I discovered the most beautiful, meaningful truth as I sat in that service.
I sat there, surrounded by hurting, grieving people. I sat there and listened to meaningless words and meaningless songs. Not once did I hear the name Jesus uttered. In that service, as I watched and listened and prayed, I saw how the world grieves. I didn’t like it.
We will not heal without Jesus. He alone can work in us and through us to bring Joy into our mourning. Without Him, we are still broken.
I still hesitate to share this because I’m not sure my written words portray how deeply this penetrated my heart.
When I listen to a song about rainbows, it is nice. It’s sad. But it doesn’t heal.
When I read a poem about death, I resonate with it. But it doesn’t restore me.
But when I read my Bible? When I sit and pour my heart out to Christ?
I am healed.
I am restored.
There are no words like Christ’s words. The truth of His Words bring me comfort and power and perspective. I am not left with a wistful, sentimental feeling. I am changed and renewed.
On that day, as I held my sweet Eliza, longing for the touch of my Annie-girl, I felt like Jesus lifted the fog of my life a bit. He showed me my pain. And He showed me His grace on this journey I’ve been on. I saw His presence in my life and the way He has gently held me in His arms.
He heals us.
He is healing me.
He will heal you.
I’m the first to admit that I haven’t “arrived”. I struggle with the weight of my grief daily. I feel clumsy with my words and feelings a lot of the time. But I pray my life will be one that shows joy and grace because of the restoration Jesus has brought to me.
From head to toe, I’ll bless his holy name!