Wednesday, July 20, 2016

God's Whispers

"When He Who was, Who is, and Who is to come sees each one of us, He sees who we were, who we are, and who we will become."  from Mercy Triumphs, a study of James by Beth Moore

Today is my 58th birthday.
I have been thinking a lot the past weeks on being a parent and losing a child and being a child and losing a parent and just parenting in general.

I have heard it said that when you lose a child you lose your future and when you lose a parent you lose your past. There have been many times I have wanted to ask Daddy something about his past and then I realize that the opportunity to learn anything else about his life is gone. I have my memories but I have no way to access his anymore. He didn't write much down once he married and started a family. That is why I treasure my copy of his journal from his time in Poland when he was 16 and my copies of the letters that he wrote home to his parents from the war in Korea when he was in his early 20's.  I have very few letters I kept from him over the years, because I'm not a keeper of "things".  I guess I never thought I would miss his words because I thought I would always have him.
When I "lost" Amy I didn't feel like I lost my future. Amy would never have gone to college, left home, married, or given me grandchildren. Amy was my present. I lost my present way of life when I lost Amy. And for quite a long time after she died I was lost also.

C.S. Lewis said, "God whispers in our pleasures but shouts in our pain." If it wasn't for God shouting at me, I think I would have stayed lost. Recently I have felt His whispers.

We were given Amy's burial plot by Bill's cousins when she died. We were so thankful for it as it is right beside Bill's parent's grave. Daddy had all his funeral and burial plans done ahead of time. He even had the tombstone in the ground. Ever since Daddy died I have wanted to make sure we can get plots in the same cemetery and if possible the empty spot beside Amy. I know it doesn't matter where ones body is put in the ground. But, oh, how it seems important to me to rest beside my daughter until we are raised for all eternity!  A few weeks ago we got a letter in the mail from Bill's cousin telling us that the lot that was given to us to bury Amy contained 4 burial plots! I felt God's whisper, "I care about the little things that are important to you."

I have been watching Marissa Amy for a year now. Anywhere from 2 to 4 days a week (about 8 hours a day) depending on her Mommy's busy schedule. She has grown from a smiley 3 month old to a very energetic, babbling, laughing 15 month old! Around the first of the year I was determined to get Mari to sleep on her own in the crib. I was rocking her to sleep and then holding her while she slept as she would always wake up when I put her down. After a week of failed attempts and many tears (mine and hers), I heard God whisper, "Just hold her, lay down with her, take a nap yourself." So I did and have continued to do so. Just the last few weeks, I have started to lay her on the bed beside me instead of holding her. The first time I did this I couldn't keep the tears in as I realized this is what I would do with Amy and in the very same room that Daddy had built for her 15 years ago. (It is now our bedroom.) I would cuddle up beside Amy in her bed and talk to her, read, just watch her sleep and  sometimes fall asleep myself. Another of God's whispers, "I'm restoring some of what you miss most."

I always rock Mari to sleep and sing to her. We start off with "Jesus Loves Me" but I change the words to "Jesus loves Mari for the Bible tells Grandma so". Then I usually sing "Trust and Obey" always a good song for little ones to learn. If she's not asleep yet I move on to other old hymns. I grew up singing hymns and the church we have attended since we have been married didn't start singing worship songs until abou  t 12-15 years ago. So my mind turns to hymns as I rock her because that is what I sang my babies to sleep with. Lately I have been singing  "In The Garden." Last Sunday Tessa played it for offertory, not even knowing that I have been singing it to her daughter almost every day! Another whisper from God, "There are no coincidences. You are my own child."

That same Sunday, Mari wore a dress I made for Amy.

I made this for Amy when she was three on her first day of preschool.
Tessa likes to wear Mari's dresses longer than I did for Amy.

God has given me such a gift in caring for Mari. Even though I get tired at times, He gives me strength and He knew I would need this little one to take care of.

Being a grandma is so much different than being a mom.
My youngest, James, gave me my first grandchild almost 2 years ago. He and his wife are still in their 20's.
My oldest daughter, Tessa, had Mari when she was 35 years old. 
I had all my babies in the 1980's so when I was 35 years old Contessa was 13, Amy was 11, Emily was 7 and James was 4.
There are many different ways to parent and raise a child and I have been realizing that my ways might have been right for me at that time but they are not the only way!

Again God whispers, "Enjoy this time, love on those sweet babies, they will not be babies forever!"

Here are the words to "In the Garden." As I reflect on them it has a new meaning for me more than it did in the past. My 'garden' is the time I spend in studying God's Word. I am presently in the middle of a study on the book of James. God is whispering new things to me each passing day.

In The Garden

I come to the garden alone,
While the dew is still on the roses,
And the voice I hear, falling on my ear,
The Son of God discloses.

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own,
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

Verse 2
He speaks, and the sound of His voice,
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He gave to me,

Within my heart is ringing.
And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own,
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known

Verse 3
I'd stay in the garden with Him,
Tho' the night around me be falling,
But He bids me go, thro' the voice of woe,
His voice to me is calling.

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own,
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known

Here are some recent pictures of my family.