I vividly remember grieving the many future milestones that I would miss out on seeing after Cora died. Not only did I miss her like crazy as an eleven month old but it just about killed me to think about not getting to see her grow up and the woman she would become. Three months after she died I attended my sister-in-law’s high school graduation and remember the tears just streaming down my face as I sat there. They wouldn’t stop. The reality that I would never get to see my baby girl grow up and graduate from high school was devastating. Those milestones seemed so far off at the time but I remember wondering how I would ever survive when the day came for her first day of kindergarten or her high school graduation or when her friends started getting married and having babies.
Today a day that once seemed so far off is here. This morning I am sitting in my unusually quiet house as my boys are miraculously sleeping in late (it never happens!!). And I can’t help but wonder how this day would have been different if, instead of just being a typical Monday at home, I would be driving my little girl to school all decked out with new school clothes and new school supplies. I can imagine that we both would have had butterflies in our stomachs, me wondering how she was going to do at school without me and how I was going to do at home without her.
Today would have been Cora’s first day of kindergarten.
You guys, the Lord has done a mighty healing work in my life. As I look back to that day when I let go of my Cora for the first time I am just in awe of God’s sustaining and sufficient grace in my life over the past four years. He truly has brought me out of a pit, set my feet on a rock, and given me a firm place to stand. He’s put a new song in my mouth and I praise Him for His redeeming work in my life (Psalm 40:1-3). But grief is a funny thing. It is a constant letting go and handing the “what ifs” back over to God. I’m not sure how it has been for other grieving mamas, but as Cora’s birthday approaches each year it seems like I have to struggle through letting go again. I let go of a longing to know Cora as a three year old or four year old or now five year old. And today just seems like another step of letting go. Letting go of knowing what it would have been like to send my baby off to school for the first time. Letting go of wondering if she would be running into the classroom or hiding behind my legs, if she would be a leader or a follower, who her little friends would be, and seeing her precious name written around the classroom instead of on a gravestone.
It is hard for me to let go. I just want to cry and kick and scream and hang on…and I can’t.
Letting go is not easy. But it has been such a good reminder for me to cling to the One who never lets go of me. The One who is always with me no matter what is happening in my life. It is so easy to find comfort and security in the things of this world, even in our families. I find myself trying to cling to those unstable and changing securities instead of clinging to Jesus at all times. Our plans and dreams don’t always turn out quite like we had planned. And often we have to let go of our plans and dreams all together and trust God with His good and perfect plan for our lives.
I find great comfort in the One secure thing in my life, Jesus.
Knowing Jesus as my Refuge, my Shelter, my Rock, and my Anchor has given me the freedom to slowly let go of gripping grief, hand my heartache and fears over to Him, allow Him to meet me in the midst of my sorrow and sing the new song He has given to me.
As I finish writing this post my boys are outside cruising around the yard in their jeep. I was watching them out the window and saw Levi jump out and tell Griffin that he’d be right back. He came running in through the door with a big smile proudly holding out a yellow dandelion. I told him thank you and that I loved him and then he went running outside saying, “I love you too, Mom! And make sure you put it in some water!” That little moment was a gift today.
The gifts of today are not the ones I planned or imagined but they are the ones that God knows are best for me. While my heart is aching for that little kindergarten girl to be running through my door after school, I am going to choose to be thankful for the gifts God has given me today. They are abounding.
The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O Lord, have never abandoned anyone who searches for you. Psalm 9:9-10
I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him. Psalm 40:1-3