Tuesday, December 23, 2008
the quietness of the season...
December 20, 2008
It seems I have been quiet for a bit, it's hard right now... it is ,a quiet that hurts deeply... We miss her so... It seems that every day closer to Christmas is a bit harder than the day before... I was reading MaryBeth Chapmans's newsletter and it says so much better than I can put into words at the moment that I wanted to share. However, I have made it more personal and in a way that relates to our season...
We are still grieving and coming to terms with the reality that Rachel and my dad are gone from us, but present with Christ. We honestly don’t like that very much. As we enter this Christmas season and all of the festivities that it brings, it also makes the point even louder that one of us is missing. A stocking that won’t be filled and less presents under the tree. Rachel had a contagious smile & laugh that would fill the room. The reality that the precious smile & laughter of Rachel won’t be heard for awhile has been a quiet loudness that screams for Jesus to come quickly…not as a baby in a humble manger, but as the King of all Kings that will wipe all of the confusion and tears from this sad momma’s eyes! I am eagerly anticipating His arrival.
October 24th Rachel turned 15. April 28th Rachel left for heaven. We don’t like it at all, and wish with all the wish in us that God would’ve spared us this cross, but for some reason beyond understanding, our family was chosen to walk this journey of suffering out in front of the world. Our only hope is that Christ Himself has been seen. Your prayers have been felt. Thanks from the deepest part of our hearts!
How would I have lived differently if I knew that my time with Rachel was going to be this short? Regretfully, I would have lived much differently. I would have purposely hugged and kissed more. I would have tried to memorize and lock away in my heart certain smells and smiles. I would have colored more and worked less. I would have laughed more and fussed less. I would have listened more and offer whatever words were needed. I mean really listened...
I wonder what it was like for Mary after her son’s death. I know she saw him resurrected and was certain of the fact that she would she him again, but she was still his mom. Mary found favor with God; therefore she was chosen to be Jesus’ mom. But because God favored Mary, she was also chosen to suffer. Not just at the crucifixion, but her whole life. She was chosen to carry a baby in her womb, be persecuted and give birth in a dirty stable. Most of the time at Christmas we end the story there…. in the stable, with Mary, Joseph and Jesus receiving their company. Wise men, shepherds, and angels - you get the picture in your head right? The star, the animals, the Nativity! What about the rest of it? Mary, mothering the Son of God! She was human, she had a baby, and she raised that baby with the heaviness that she was to see him suffer and thus she too would suffer. I think when Mary was hiding things in her heart; it was a lot more than the reality of whom she carried in her womb. I am certain that she was hiding away the memories of first smiles and steps, as well as the first tears and tumbles. Knowing what was to come, did Mary have the opportunity to live differently as a mom to her little boy? I believe she did. I am sure that she watched him differently, taught him differently, and prayed differently. I can only imagine the discussions that she and Joseph would have when their son wasn’t listening, how they probably begged God to let the cup pass from them, but in the end yielding up the prayer we all hesitate to pray when it comes to our children…. Your will be done. UGGHH!!!! I don’t want to. I didn’t want to on April 28th, and honestly I still don’t want to now. Yet somehow we did, and somehow we will continue to. I am reminded more than ever this Christmas, that it doesn’t end at the Nativity in Bethlehem in a cozy manger… it is a journey all the way to the cross on the hill in Golgotha on Good Friday.
Christmas for Chris, Andrew & I this year represents suffering. For that matter, from here on may we always remember that it represents the ultimate suffering that came. But isn’t it amazing that it is called GOOD Friday? Why is it good if it is full of suffering? Because Easter came on Sunday and what Satan intended for evil, God intended for GOOD! Christmas ultimately ends at Easter and the reality that we will see Rachel again! If we are to live as Christ, then we will suffer like Christ. I am thankful this Christmas more than ever for Easter. When all the questions I have will be answered and all the tears I have will be wiped away. Until then, Merry Christmas with the reality that Easter came and all of this suffering will some day be gone in a moment, and all things will become new and right and awesome! (courtesy of MB Chapman with my own thougths mingled in)
Thank for your prayers during this journey. It isn’t an easy one and your love and support is continually needed. May you be richly blessed for gracing us with your love.
Longing to see her sweet smile and hear her laugh in Heaven,
"Thank you for sharing Mary Beth's words with us. She has no idea how the Lord is using her thoughts to minister to you and probably countless others this "would-be" joyous time of year. Our thoughts are with you as well. It hit me pretty hard to receive your Christmas card signed from "Chris, Georgia, and Andrew". I know it was more difficult for you to write it. We love you and still pray for you.
The Selfs" (12/21/08)
Wanda Galloway says...
"Still praying dear sister. Your suffering is not in vain. I am touched and changed by your grief. Something I know you would have wished skipped over you.
I can't say anything magical that would take away your sorrow.....but I can pray and I can trust God to heal your heart.
Thank you for living outloud and sharing what God is doing in spite of your heartache. You inspire and encourage....and it's because of Rachel. God is using her every single day! May God blanket you with His love." (12/21/08)
YOu did live your life the way you should've...you chose a path that lead you to travel and take Rachel with you...look at the places you shared ....you were her Mom, just the way she needed you to be. Only you could love her the way she needed." (12/23/08)