Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Grief & Gratitude in Death & Resurrection

Tomorrow is going to be a rough day in our family.  And by the grace of God there will be comfort there too...

It was Easter last year that our sister-in-law Heather last felt their first child kick inside her.  On Easter, Maelee died and two days later, April 6, she was born.    She was full-term and we were all waiting eager for the joyous news of her birth.

The first time we connected with Greg and Heather on skype after Maelee’s death... seeing Heather’s agony just to breathe, and being with Greg, who never wastes words, but this time, the moments of silence weighing painful heavy.   Staggeringly heavy and hard.  The memories steal the breathe out of me.  
If this loss and pain were the only reality, we would certainly be swallowed up alive, be left with nothing but bitterness and sorrow and gloom to live in.  
thanks be to God.
He has not left us without His promise.  His victory has been secured for us.  Maelee’s death, couldn’t have come with a greater promise- reminder attached to it.  Born on the day that Christ beat death for us:  that which we could never do for ourselves and never deserved anyone else (let alone our High King) doing for us.   Brought by his nail-scarred hands straight into his light... Her first breath being pure grace, the air of God’s presence.   And knowing that, because of Christ, Greg and Heather will spend eternity worshipping, joyfully, their Creator, Sovereign, Redeemer King... with her.  Praise be for grace such as this.
So our “hearts are filled with praise”... and yet that doesn’t mean that the pain isn’t almost shattering still...   But we, Maelee’s extended family, and Greg and Heather- We.grieve.with.hope.  
We grieve, trusting in God’s promises, upheld by his love.  We look ahead with longing and joy.  We hold fast, pleading for courage to trust this, that he will make all things right when he comes.   And we call Him good.  
He never had to do any good thing for us... but instead look what he has done: 
Thanks be to God that...
~ He created Maelee.  He purposed her from eternity past...  knowing and loving her sweet beauty, the twinkle in her smile and eyes, and that perfect red hair... I’m so grateful she was conceived and now lives for all eternity.
~ Maelee is already a big sister.  Maelee’s little brother is due at the end of this month.  We are so eager to see this month be marked for joy now!  And we are praying... and will you pray peace and protection for them with us?
~ Her parents have been upheld.  I know I was not alone in praying one year ago: “Sustain!”  “Uphold!” “Give grace!”  And you have done that, Lord.  We marvel at the sheer grace of God in their lives, for the way Greg and Heather have grieved for their girl, held tight to each other, and kept their hearts anchored in the goodness and sovereignty of God... even in death.   Maelee’s death and God’s own Son’s death.  You are good and Sovereign. 
~It does shed a happy light on our souls to affirm:  YES.  You are good, God, and you are sovereign.  We do affirm.
~ No work of yours is for evil, no plan of yours will be thwarted.  Even in death (in Maelee’s and in Christ’s) your plans are for our good.
~ Maelee and Greg and Heather’s lives have been a help for others to look to and consider the promises of God.
~ missing Maelee is another good reason to long for Heaven... her reminding us of this is a gift:  we’re always better off remembering where our true home is.
~ for cupcakes and tulips and kernels of wheat and songs and necklaces 
~ for friends and family to lift up weary hands and lay hands on as well... for blessing and prayer and kindness and help 

from Ann Voskamp, April 4, 2011 
“And even in the ache, God whispers: Give thanks anyways — do this in re-membrance of Me.

Why in the world give thanks? Why in the name of heaven?

Because when we remember how He blesses, loves us, when we recollect His goodnesses to us — our broken places re-collect. We re-member. We heal.

In the remembering to give thanks, our broken places are re-membered — made whole.

And in giving thanks to Him in the assembly, it’s our very souls that re-assemble, giving thanks to Him who let Himself be broken to make us whole.”

1 comment:

  1. A sweet post, Jill. Thank you for sharing. God is so very gracious and good. We have prayed much over the last year and will continue to.