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What the Sting of Death Brings to My Soul

A good friend of mine lost her daddy this week. Through seeing her pain, the sting of death has penetrated my own heart once again.

I know what it is like to get that phone call. The one that changes everything. Regrets wash in like a tidal wave, and the desire for more time, one more hug, one more conversation.

This pain reminds that I am not promised tomorrow. Each moment that comes could be the last with the ones I love.

The Brevity of Life

This death-sting brings a paranoia. One in which I dread answering the phone. Where I hold my breath when family members call, waiting to catch the tone of their voice — bracing myself for more bad news.

But the reminder of death’s pain also brings a neediness. The reality that I can’t control things drives me to trust God more. Death can’t be avoided nor reversed. I am utterly dependent on our Maker for every breath I take and He alone controls the beating hearts of the ones I love.

The sting of death brings hope. The promise of heaven, where one day there will be no more pain and my soul will be perfected in the love of Christ. Perfectly in peace.

No more sorrow.

For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. - 1 Corinthians 15:56-57

Praise God for the hope of this victory!

I Still Weep

I’m somewhat back into the swing of life. Sorta by force. My sister and I have chatted about how it’s really hard to grieve when you have kids. All their needs are the same, regardless of our state of mind.

Yet, even if motherhood stood still, the demands of life would still call. I still need to eat, shower, and stay healthy. Work needs to be done; responsibilities can only be held off for so long.

So I’ve jumped back into the rhythm of life. In some ways it feels really good to work again, to do the things I love and give me energy. Moments, even hours go by now when I don’t think of James.

Then it hits me. All over again.

Reality attempts to sink in, but it still seems like a really bad dream; like I’m going to wake up in the morning and it will all be just a darkness that melts away with the rise of the sun. Yet the sun comes day after day and the darkness does not go away, and sometimes that painful darkness overcomes and I have to just let it come.

Sometimes it comes in the kitchen as I prep my water bottle for the day. Oftentimes, it’s at night as I settle into bed, or triggered by a picture found, a memory recalled, or a message from a friend of his with their own sweet memory of James to share.

And when the darkness does come, I weep. I mourn the loss of James, as well as everything that is to come that I will miss out on now that he is gone. 

My heart aches when I allow myself to grab a hold of reality. I envision the last time I saw him and wish I had hugged him just a little bit tighter, and it’s not that I want to forget him, but sometimes the pain in remembering is just too much.

So, I still weep. I have a feeling I always will.

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Thankful for His Presence

The most comforting news Scripture has for the sufferer is that where pain, grief, and hurt are, there is God. Instead of a panacea, our Lord offers His presence. One of the greatest promises in the Bible, which speaks to all our fears, is bound up in the very name of our Lord—Immanuel: “God with us.”   - Walter C Kaiser, Jr., Grief and Pain in the Plan of God: Christian Assurance and the Message of Lamentations

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I am so thankful for God’s faithful presence amidst every circumstance. Aren’t you?

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To Intervene

It hurts.

This part of me that has been, until recently, un-touched with true grief. This new-found part of me aches with a horrible, empty pounding in my chest.

It is so hard to grasp — the reality that James is no longer on this earth.

He was just here to visit not long ago. I can picture him like it was yesterday; he sat at my dining room table while we played Settlers, played with the kids in the driveway, and rested on my couch as we watched movies. Memories of him seem so close that is doesn’t seem to be possible that he is gone.

It hurts.

The thought of life-as-usual is hard to fathom. I want so badly to turn back the hands of time. I imagine myself in the moments before his death, wishing I could somehow reach out and change things.

Intervene.  Oh, how I wish I could intervene.

But I wasn’t there. And I can’t intervene. And it all just hurts so badly.

So I weep. I weep in secret and I weep in public. I weep in the bedroom and I weep in the car, and I cling to the fact that James was not forgotten in the moment of his death. That even though I could not intervene, I know the One who chose not to . . .

. . . because it must be best.

I don’t pretend to know why — or to like it — but I do know that my God is good, and that He loves me and He loves James, and He chose not to intervene in the way I would have.

Instead, God intervened with death.

From this sin-stained, fallen world, it is through Christ’s own death that rescue has come. Christ intervened. Through death comes healing, restoration, and redemption.

But death, on this side of eternity, hurts.

So if you see me weeping, you know why. If you see me not, it is because God has granted a momentary reprieve from my grief.

This ache that I will forever carry with me for my brother James.

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