Thursday, March 20, 2014

She's Singing For Her King Jesus

As I sit here listening to the birds signing outside the window, I'm reminded of every detail of that horrible day.  That morning the birds were singing too.  I spent the day in a nearby town with my bible study group shopping in antique stores looking for the perfect blue Mason jar and trying to decide if I really wanted to buy another Vera Bradley purse.  I had chicken and rice for lunch in a cute little restaurant, and because it was so warm we stopped for 1/2 price slushes at Sonic on the way home.  I commented on how beautiful the Red Bud trees were that lined the highway, and talked about how vibrant that Spring was going to be.  I even said, "This has been a really good day."

Little did I know within the hour I would get a phone call that would change my life forever, and what had been a good day would quickly become the worst day of my life.

I can still hear my dad's voice on the other end of the line.  It was tone I had never heard.  All the way to my parent's house I kept praying, "Lord, please don't let it be true.  Please don't let it be true."

It will be 2 years tomorrow, and it still seems like it just happened yesterday.  Whoever said time heals all wounds lied.  I told a friend earlier this week it actually gets harder.  In the beginning I was in shock and disbelief.  It was as if I was living out a nightmare.  The more time passes the more the reality becomes clear I'll never see her again this side of Heaven.

I still cry at least once every day.  Although I don't visit her grave every day like I did the first year, I still go every Sunday after church, and some weeks more often than that.  I still pick up the phone to call her.  Just last week I had the thought, "I need to call Mama and tell her ...".  It wasn't until my dad answered the phone it hit me she isn't here anymore.

I miss her terribly.

We talk about her all the time.  We laugh about some of the crazy stuff she would do.  Sara tells me almost on a daily basis, "You are turning into Mama Gaile.".

It's so hard to live life without her.

As I think back over the past two years I see so clearly how faithful, loving and gracious the Lord has been.  Every moment I thought I couldn't get through, He carried me through it.  Sometimes it still hurts so much it feels like I can't breathe.  I can hardly stand to be in the room where she sat.  It's hard for me to see anyone sit in her seat ... unless it's one of her grandchildren.  Somehow that seems okay to me.  Probably because I know that would make her smile.

I've been reflecting back over things that have been said to me over the past two years.  People can say some hurtful things.  I've had people be very critical about the way I have grieved her.  I have had some deeply hurtful things said to me.  I don't think most people mean to be hurtful.  I think they just don't know what to say, so they say whatever comes to mind without really thinking it through.

The one thing that irrates me the most is for someone to tell me, "Heaven gained another angel."

I can still remember the first person that said this to me after my Mama died.  I was standing in front of her casket, and it took every bit of restraint I had not to tell them what she would have to say about that.

I remember having a conversation with my mom one day about this very statement.  She said to me, "Do people not realize that statement isn't even biblical?  The bible says we are above the angels.  If we are Christians, we are co-heirs with Christ.  Why would I want to be an angel when I die?  I'm a child of the King"

Most everyone has had some very encouraging words to say to me.  Only a few people have been hurtful, but those few tend to standout more than those who have encouraged me.  I'm trying to do better about being intentional about focusing on the encouraging comments.  This morning I read an email my friend Keeba sent me a few days after my mom died.  She said, "This is what it's going to be like."  I have found that email to be so comforting the past two years.  It helps to know someone else cries in the card aisle on Mother's Day.  That seemingly out of nowhere sometimes tears will start to fall for her also.  It helps to know it's not just me.  I'm not going crazy.  What a gift that email has been to my heart!

The night my mom died my friend Barbara and her husband Ralph showed up at my mom's house.  Barbara and I had spent the day together.  Her husband Ralph is a PCA minister, and a highly respected Old Testament scholar.  Just google Dale Ralph Davis to get the full picture of who is.  I say that to help you understand why when I saw them walk in the door I almost ran to them.  I just knew Ralph would have some sort of biblical answer as to why she had died so suddenly.

He hugged me and then looked me in the eye and said, "This is a hard providence isn't it?"

My thoughts were, "That's all you got.  You are Ralph Davis, and the only thing you have to say to me is this is a hard providence?"

Two years later I can say those word are very comforting.  It is a hard providence.  My Mama's days on this earth were numbered, and when it was her time God took her home.  In that moment I wanted a reason.  I wanted to know why.  I didn't realize he was giving me the "why".  God knew the exact moment He would take her home.  Her death was providential.  It was all a part of God's plan.

A couple of days ago my friend Robyn wrote in a text to me, "I know this is a hard week for you, but remember God will never put more on you than you can handle.  He is with you and holding you when you're too weak to stand."  She also wrote, "But rejoice that you know you will see her again.  That's the promise that brings so much comfort."

Yes, yes it is.

I know she is with Jesus, and I know one day I will see her again.  But today I miss her.  My heart still hurts, and my arms still ache from wanting so badly to hug her.  I still regret not telling her I loved her before we hung up the phone the day before she died.  I regret not insisting she go to the doctor that day.  It is still so hard to know she died alone, and not knowing what really happened that day can drive me batty.

But God is sovereign.  God is good.  He is loving.  He is full of mercy and grace.  He will never leave me.  My heart will probably always hurt, but moment by moment God will give me the grace I need.  And like Robyn sweetly reminded me, He will hold me up when I'm too weak to stand. 

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9 

And just like the birds that have been singing outside my window all morning, I believe my Mama is in Heaven singing.  She's probably teaching everyone her favorite McKammey's song.

She's singing for her King Jesus.

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