Your outpouring of love via childrens’ clothing has been overwhelming to say the least. Based on how many individuals contacted us, the number of gift cards we received yesterday, and the emails, I would say that our children might have a different outfit every single day of the spring and summer.
I was also able to order a dress for myself and some new shirts for my newly-skinny husband. I am pretty confident that while Lily grew two inches over my two weeks in the hospital, Jordan may have lost another 20 pounds. For those who don’t know, Jordan had an interesting winter and developed a virus that triggered type 1 diabetes in his body, so I ask that you pray with us for his healing as well.
My grief over the trauma of my experience during my medical crisis hit last night. Honestly, the tears felt strangely comforting. I knew that they were coming, so I welcomed the lament with open arms in the presence of Christ.
Lily had a difficult day yesterday. I believe that the grief hit her head-on yesterday as well. She and I are so much alike. She was angsty throughout the morning, which manifested in random bursts of tears. Her teacher assigned the kids in her class to watch a how-to youtube step-by-step tutorial on how to draw a unicorn, so she and I watched and each drew a unicorn. As we put our finishing touches on our unicorns, she wandered over to the window in the kitchen where she and Elijah were growing cups of grass seed in soil with Ms. Pam across the street. I watched as she excitedly examined the growing grass, petting it and celebrating it’s growth. As an eager six-year-old, she grew a little too excited and pulled some of the grass a little too hard. She scrambled, panicky, as she tried to stick it back in the soil to no avail.
At that point, the tears started to flow fiercely down her cheeks. Over and over, she wailed, “My grass is dead, my grass is dead.” I assured her that she still had plenty of grass growing in the cup, but she was not to be consoled.
It was not about the grass. I knew that. Her mommy almost died. She knew for a solid week that I was teetering on the edge of eternity and that she may never see me again here in the natural realm. For a six year old, I imagine the agony of that would be crushing. At 37, that reality is crushing: Your loved one (your mom) might leave you for the rest of your natural life. It was the reality of nearly burying your mother. I saw it in her eyes in the pictures, videos, and facetime sessions while I was in ICU. I saw guarded fear, as though she had pulled a curtain down and wouldn’t let anyone in. As I lay in that ICU bed, my primary prayer for survival revolved around my desire to care for my family and be present with them.
I am so thankful that God brought me home, but, Lord, it was so close. It was just so close. We all felt the thinness of the situation and held that awareness for days. As I spoke to a friend yesterday, she shared that she was already manifesting her grief over losing me. Her body was already preparing her for the loss. That statement hit me hard. I long to stay with those I love. I would never willingly leave them, but sometimes those things are out of our control. This is heartbreaking, sobering, and can feel devastating.
Back to Lily: After trying to reason with Lily about the grass, I called her to the couch, and I held her sweet little body as she shook and wept in my arms. There were no words. I just let her cry. A bit later, Jordan came up, and took her outside to plant the grass in the yard. I did not know at the time, but he told me later that he held her and was able to help her acknowledge that her tears were not about the grass. He said to her, “You were so scared mommy was going to die, weren’t you?” She nodded furiously, and they processed together for a bit too.
With all the miracles acknowledged and God’s goodness ever before us, we can also recognize that these two weeks have been another season of deep trauma, and we all must embrace the reality of the frailty of life. It is time for celebration, yes. And it is time for grief as well.
Please pray for wisdom as we navigate this path of healing for all of us, especially these little empathic children of ours: That we can move forward, not in fear, but in truth and in grace. There is something called post-traumatic growth. Often, when surrendered into the hands of the caring Papa God, our trauma can yield the fruit of great growth. I desire that this season be a season of post-traumatic growth: That we can feel the pain of loss and allow the Redeemer to transform us more into His image as we express our emotions in His presence: The presence of the great Counselor.
Spanning out globally, this is a season of trauma for the whole world. I desire, as we emerge from this, whenever that happens, that we emerge bearing the fruit of post-traumatic growth: That we step out of this catastrophe sanctified, strengthened, grounded, and rooted. We have that opportunity, and in Christ, we have all that we need. This PTG cannot happen if we distract, deny, and hide, but if we allow ourselves to enter into the pain in safe spaces in the presence of safe people and a good God.
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-7
There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven– A time to give birth and time to die; A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.
A time to kill and a time to heal; A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance. A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones; A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing. A time to search and a time to give up as lost; A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear apart and a time to sew together; A time to be silent and a time to speak.
(Picture is old–Obviously there’s no snow now)