Thursday, August 30, 2012

A year ago...

" Is it raining, little flower?
Be glad of rain; 
To much sun would wither one;
It will shine again.
The clouds are very dark, it's true;
But just behind them shines the blue.
Are you weary, tender heart?
Be glad of pain:
In sorrow, sweetest virtues grow,
As flowers in rain.
God watches, and you will have sun,
When clouds their perfect work have done."

- Lucy Larcom, "Streams In The Desert"

One year.  It's been one year.  One awful, incredible, interesting, wonderful, sad, fast, year.....  August 30 is a day that will never again be just another day for our family.  That is Owen's birthday.  The day that we were forever changed.  I have had countless moments of "we should have" 's leading up to this day.... We "should" have a baby with us for this or that, we "should have"a 6 month old right now, we
"should have" a one-year old on August 30th.  We should be having a birthday party, not a memorial service at the cemetary.    Worse than all the "should haves" have been the moments of "last year this time."  I was hugely pregnant all last summer...the WHOLE summer....  Owen wasn't due until August, but people were asking me clear back in May when I was due, assuming I would say "oh any day now" and couldn't believe I had to make it to August.  And, it was the end of August at that!  Owen's due date was August 23rd....  so anything that I have done this summer I find myself thinking, well "last year this time".  "Last year this time...." I was pregnant with Owen.  He was with us...he was moving and kicking and wonderfully alive.  And.... now we're just left with "we should have".....

But, it's more than that... Owen's loss has been unbearably awful and at the same time I have been able to see glimpses of God's hand in it over the past year.  And for that I am thankful.  I am thankful that I know where Owen is.  He is safe with our Heavenly Father.  There is no fear for his soul and I know that even in the midst of the aching and longing we have for him to be here with us, he is exactly where he is supposed to be.  God's hand is in it all.  The truth of that doesn't make me miss him any less or keep me from crying when I think over this past year, but it does make me thankful.  THANKFUL for the hope we have in Christ.  Thankful that His promises are true.  Thankful for God's people and the comfort they continue to provide.  Thankful for God's providence in circumstances and conversations and timing.
Shortly after we lost Owen a dear friend asked me if I could find myself being thankful for what had happened.  I didn't think it was possible.   I didn't even know what something like that would look like. How could I be thankful for the worst thing that has ever happened to us?  I wasn't angry with God or despairing....but thankful?  That seemed completely nuts.  But now...looking back over the past year I am starting to see a glimpse of what she was getting at.  I have had so many things to be thankful for over this past year.  Certainly, it doesn't make me miss Owen any less.  At the same time I see how God has worked these things out because of Owen.  And that is amazing.

What follows are a couple of quotes that helped me at various times over this past year.   I'll close this post with the words of the hymn "What E're My God Ordains" which was sung last year at Owen's funeral service.

Thank you to each of you for your prayers, cards, messages and posts letting us know that you are thinking of us.  We are so thankful! What a joy to be able to look back over this past year and see God's word in practice...

 Romans 12:15  Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.


 “May this be your experience; may you feel that the Hand which inflicts the wound supplies the balm, and that He who has emptied your heart has filled the void with Himself.”   
~J. Hudson Taylor


There is a Christian art of enduring pain, which we should seek to learn.  The real goal is not just to endure the suffering which falls into our life; to bear it bravely, without wincing; to pass through it patiently, even rejoicingly.  Pain has a higher mission to us than to teach us heroism.  We should endure it in such a way as to get something of spiritual blessing out of it.

Pain brings to us some message from God which we should not fail to hear.  It lifts for us the veil which hides God's face, and we should get some new glimpses of His beauty every time we are called to suffer.  Pain is furnace-fire, and we should always come out of this furnace with the gold of our graces gleaming a little more brightly.  Every experience of suffering ought in some way to lift us nearer God, to make us more gentle and loving, and to leave the image of Christ shining a little clearer in our lives.
                                                                                         ~(J. R. Miller, "In Green Pastures")


What a blessing to be a Christian--to have a hiding place and a resting place always at hand! To be assured that all things work for our good, and that our compassionate Shepherd has His eye always upon us--to support and to relieve us.  - John Newton


What E're My God Ordains 

Whate'er my God ordains is right
His holy will abideth
I will be still whate'er He does
And follow where He guideth
He is my God though dark my road
He holds me that I shall not fall
And so to Him I leave it all

Whate'er my God ordains is right
He is my Friend and Father
He never seeks to do me harm
Though many storms may gather
Though now I know both joy and woe
Someday I shall see clearly
That He has loved me dearly

Whate'er my God ordains is right
Though now this cup, in drinking
May bitter seem to my faint heart
I take it all unshrinking
My God is true; each morning new
Sweet comfort yet will fill my heart
And pain and sorrow shall depart

Whate'er my God ordains is right
Here shall my stand be taken
Though sorrow, need, or death be mind
Yet I am not forsaken
My father's care is round me there
He holds me that I shall not fall
And so to Him I leave it all

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