This past weekend as Adrin and I winged away to Tennessee, carried on many prayers and gifts, we did indeed have a respite. Our hearts were comforted as we cried and shared and prayed and worshiped our Strong God. We laughed too and wondered at God’s timing in bringing these twelve couples together to share each others burdens and to receive encouragement from His heart even as we grieved each others losses that brought us to this place.
There were many things I took away from our time away, much learned from the Guthrie’s, our hosts, who themselves lost two children as infants. One of most significant things, at least initially, was a deeper reconnection between Adrin and I in our grief process. The daily demands of life easily keep us from sharing our hearts with each other as there is SOO much going on in our lives…communication in marriage is always a challenge. We’re finding even more so with the added work of communicating regarding our grieving process. So we’re hoping to schedule more regular, though closer to home, get aways so that we can continue connecting.
The other significant insight for me is two-fold, but connected. The first part is that I must continue to seek my identity in Christ, not in my grief, or in my lost role as Naomi’s mom, nor in my current role as mom or wife or employee…no, I am Christ’s. He is my significance. And as I lean into Him, His sufficient grace will carry me through. More than ever before Jesus’ words to Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9 ring clear and true and deeply for me:
“My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness”
I’ve had several people say to me “I could never do what you’ve done.” or “I don’t know how you are able to do this.” It is because God has poured out His grace on me. Honestly, while I knew in my head His grace would be enough, in those first weeks after Naomi died I wasn’t sure in my heart that He would truly be enough. But I am finding that He is. He is faithful to His word and God is making His grace abundant for me in these days just as He did for those long eight weeks in the hospital.
One thing I am so grateful for is that I did love Naomi with all my heart. I know that sounds a little funny, but what I mean is from the beginning with her, even before we knew about her heart, God filled me with such love for my daughter. And I knew I needed to love her for every day I had with her on this earth. I have no regrets about not loving her enough. That is God’s grace.
Another things I am thankful for is the beautiful friendships that we’ve made along the way and the opportunities we’ve had to testify to God’s love, peace, and healing. Also, the ways in which so many people have poured out tangible expressions of love to us over the past five months…these are God’s grace in our lives.
And tonight, as my three year old little man sleeps soundly in a brand new “big boy bed” and I face the disassembling of the crib/toddler bed that has been in use for nearly six years, that crib that I’d thought would hold my baby girl yet is painfully empty now, I look for His grace…
Grace — it is strong enough to carry even the things never done, the things heaviest of all.
All, truly is, grace…