Becoming Holy

Why I Share…

on October 23, 2013

Image (44)

This precious picture was taken on Gabbie’s Baptism Day, August 25, 1995.  Jennifer had fallen asleep in her wheelchair and Gabbie was asleep as well so we tucked them in together for this picture.  It takes my breath away…Literally.  It makes the tears run down my face. I really miss that Gabbie, Madison, Nicole and Max did not know Jennifer.  I really miss Jordan.  I play “make believe” sometimes in my mind. Jordan is home.  Jennifer is healthy and soon to be 21.  Gabbie is healed and has a sister close in age to hang out with.  There are even a couple more kids between Gabbie and Madison because I wouldn’t have been so afraid to trust. Each of our miscarried children: Harrison, Jackson, Hallie and Maria/Will are thrown into the mix. Minimum of ten children.  Maybe a dozen. Of course the house is a disaster and it’s crazy homeschooling so many kids.  But what a FUN story!  What a happy, crazy, full life!  Right?  Wrong!

I’m living the Plan.  God’s Plan. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28   From the time of Jennifer’s diagnosis to the present, I have felt God’s mighty presence.  That doesn’t mean I haven’t been angry at Him, sad at our situation or frustrated beyond belief.  But, I KNEW He was there with me.  We moved to Twin Falls shortly after Jennifer died and joined a RENEW group at Church.  One day, a member of the group came up to me and thrust a rolled up paper into my hands saying, “Thought this might help you with your dead kid.” Taken only slightly aback at his choice of words, I slowly opened the scroll.  On it was a beautiful pencil drawn image of Jesus embracing a woman.  The woman is obviously mourning.  Her head is tilted back and the look on her face was one I could easily identify with as a newly grieving mother. Devastating, heart-wrenching loss was written all over her features and posture. The truly fabulous part about the drawing was Jesus.  He wasn’t smiling.  He held the same sorrowful pose.  The same grief lingered on His face. He wasn’t smiling. He was experiencing anguish with this woman. This image contradicted almost EVERYTHING people had said at Jennifer’s funeral. This Jesus contradicted phrases like, “God must have needed another angel,” “She’s in a better place,” or “God wanted her with Him.” It is an amazingly comforting image.  I connected INSTANTLY. I was so excited to see and to know this new Jesus.  A Jesus that wasn’t out to take Jennifer from me.  This was the same Jesus who wept at the death of his friend Lazarus.  Why hadn’t I seen Jesus this way before?  I’d read that Gospel story many many times.  For some reason, in my heart, Jesus’ grief over death had only applied to His friends.  Suddenly I realize, “I’M HIS FRIEND! He is weeping with me as well! He doesn’t want to “take” our loved ones. He doesn’t “need another angel.”

He did promise in John 14:1-3: 

“Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?  And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”

Jesus wants to BE with us.  He is with us in our grief. He is NOT a God of separation. He is a God of unity. The more time has passed, the more I am aware of the very thin veil that separates us from those we love in Heaven. God is also not limited by time. He is the Eternal Now. His love from the beginning is as fresh and new today as it was when He sent His only begotten Son. Death and grief carry some of this timelessness. I believe that is why one can experience tremendous loss, go through seasons of mourning, continue on in faith and Joy and then return to grief. Grieving, after all, is acknowledging the loss of something or someone wonderful. It is accepting a new reality while acknowledging the pain of living without those we love. We also grieve because we have HOPE! If there were no hope for reunion, one might emotionally disconnect and move onward in robotic fashion. St. Augustine boldly stated, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee o God.” I think that phrase applies most directly to God, but also to those who have gone before. We will have restless hearts until we are all together again as one Body of Christ.  One people of faith. No veil to separate.  St. Paul says in Romans 8:38-39, “

      For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

I thank God for my friend who thrust that scroll into my hands that day.  I thank God for using him to show me a more accurate image of His Son. I share my story for anyone who has gone through loss or knows someone who has gone through loss. I am thankful for all those who have opened their hearts and trusted their pain to me. Last night, a friend invited me to speak at a Bereavement group she facilitates. I told her I would be delighted. Her parents, too, had lost a child. They were the first people I thought of when Jennifer died. I remember thinking of them and speaking with Joe. We spoke of this special couple in amazement. They gave us hope. They are joyful people. They laugh and joke. They have fun. They love life. They are faith-filled. We looked at them and knew we would be okay. Their joy and faith spoke more loudly than words. Grief will belong to most of us, eventually. How blessed are we to have confidence in our Risen Lord. To know that He has gone to prepare a place for us. To know that He will come and take us to Himself. And to know that ultimately, nothing can separate us.



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2 responses to “Why I Share…

  1. Fr Bruce says:

    Wow, Charlene… Beautiful. For me, the most beautiful chapter in all of the four Gospels is Johm 11… I pray for you and all the family daily, and hope to see you soon.

    • charstar87 says:

      Thanks, Fr. Bruce! Don’t know if you know it, but it was Cindy who invited me to speak and it’s your mom and dad I’m talking about~for surviving the loss of Michael~for moving on, living in faith, laughing, loving, being joyful, being faithful! Good read because of your amazing parents! Thanks!

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