My son and one of my daughters discovered what no child should have to find. On the phone with them while driving on the interstate, I heard the crying, the confusion. Surely this was a dream, a nightmare, not reality.
These are the thoughts that come as I remember:
Sleeping all together on the floor of the living room that first night, not willing to be separated from one another for a minute.
A slide show that tells the story of my family, the births of my children, the school activities, birthdays, Christmases, beach vacations, high school graduations–a treasure of precious memories. A casket at the front of the church, my family sitting behind a black curtain to give privacy.
A dear friend leading me through purchasing a headstone–researching prices, driving me to the monument company. Sitting with God to choose the inscription, “I tell you the truth; today you will be with me in paradise.”
My son visiting the grave site for the first time since the funeral and then coming home and cutting a tendon in his hand by opening a jar that shattered. Being with him through surgery and rehab.
A few weeks later one daughter escorted down the aisle by her brother at her wedding. My stepping in to give her away. Happiness and grief merged into one.
Another daughter showing up at my house with her child and a backpack, fleeing an abusive marriage. Strongly taking charge like a mother bear to pursue legal action to protect her and my granddaughter. Another dear friend shielding my family in her home, as we did not know what the repercussions would be.
Selling the home where we had been a family. Moving out and going back for a clean-up. One last look at the backyard, still seeing where the garden would always be, hearing the voices of my children playing somewhere in a memory.
Three years later, three marriages in one year, my son, my daughter, and me!
Finally being able to exhale. But with the next year came my daughter-in-law’s horrific miscarriage at eleven-and-a-half weeks. A few months later, my daughter’s devastating miscarriage at exactly the same stage.
But God restores. Four beautiful, healthy babies have been born since then!
Taking care of my mother in the last year of her life as she was ravaged by Alzheimer’s. The privilege of sitting with her through her last night. The holy moment of witnessing her last breath, knowing she is now at peace in the presence of the Lord.
It will soon be seven years since the beginning of this story. Seven is God’s number for completion. With joy and thankfulness, I see my children established in happy marriages with beautiful children. I am married to the man of my dreams, the one whom the Lord brought to me when I asked him to choose. God is writing a new script for us, our own story. It is no coincidence that at this seven-year mark, he is sending us to take possession of our land.
I am brought to my knees in tears when I think of the grace that has carried me through these years, awed and humbled by the presence and power of Christ in my life. A friend recently asked me what I have learned from this journey. I had only these three words: “God is faithful.” We were never alone.
Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth. Do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19