in times of loss

I’m happy to see September draw to a close this year. I always look to September to be a month of transition, when the seasons start to change and we get a glimpse of what life and schedules will be like for this next school year. It’s always been the deep breath before the holidays hit, something I’ve come to appreciate even more now that Tom is pastoring two churches.

This September hasn’t been that way.

At the beginning of the month, one of my younger cousin’s passed away, unexpectedly and tragically.

A baby that I visited with my mom and grandmother. A little boy who was the ring bearer in my wedding. A teenager who loved to fish and was so proud of the first truck he bought. A young adult who was my brother’s best friend and still working to find his feet in this world.

I’ve been blessed to grow up in a close family, and my cousins were my very first and often best friends. This is the second time we’ve lost one, and it’s like a piece of my heart has been torn out each time. I’m so thankful for the hope that I have in Jesus Christ for a reunion with them one day. There is still pain, but there is peace also.

The day after we returned from his memorial service, my grandfather fell and suffered a broken hip, among other issues. He’s 88, and he and my grandmother have been married for 62 years. It’s been so difficult to watch him struggle in the hospital, and to know her pain in watching his.

I’ve seen more of both sides of my family this month than since the last wedding, and under circumstances I pray we never have to repeat. I’ve often said that God has been beyond gracious to me and that the family I was born into is proof of that.

We’ve had other difficulties this month, realizing that sometimes a child’s quirks are maybe more than quirks and it’s time to get some assessments done. We’re trying to find our path through homeschooling with virtual school. We have a high schooler now, who is busier but is blowing me away every single day with how hard she’s working and a new sense of maturity and independence.

A friend sent me this poem a few weeks ago. It’s one that was new to me, but that I’ve turned to over and over this long, difficult month.

God, make me brave for life: oh, braver than this.
Let me straighten after pain, as a tree straightens after the rain,
Shining and lovely again.

God, make me brave for life; much braver than this.
As the blown grass lifts, let me rise
From sorrow with quiet eyes,
Knowing Thy way is wise.

God, make me brave, life brings
Such blinding things.
Help me to keep my sight;
Help me to see aright
That out of dark comes light.

I pray that October is an easier month, but I also know that His grace is sufficient for all things.

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