Hard Day…Great Day

Woke this morning to the sound of my wife sobbing with her computer in front of her.  I didn’t even have to ask.  I knew what she was doing.  The same thing that I have been doing…looking at pictures of our beautiful little girl.  I went over to her and saw the picture that she was looking at and just started crying also.  My heart felt punctured as I heard my wife say, “This is all I have…just pictures.  I can’t hold her.  I can’t kiss her.  I can’t touch her.  All I can do is look at her pictures.  This is all I have.”  Oh how that crushed my heart to hear those words come from my wife who has been broken through this trial.  And I wept with her.  We didn’t say anything.  We didn’t need to.  We just held hands and wept.

Then I had to bring myself to realize that this is NOT all we have.  Yes, it is all we have for something tangible to keep us close to Susana, but the greatest thing that we have is HOPE.  Truthfully, we know this.  We really do.  You all know that we know this.  But it is a fight for us to lay hold of it each minute.  Our hearts ache so bad sometimes that we just let hope slip through our fingers for but a moment…and that’s the moment where we hurt the most.

I was there the other night.  I was crying like crazy in our room here at the Mission House in Haiti while the team that we have here was downstairs hanging out and sharing about all the good things that the Lord has been doing this week.  And He truly has been doing some great things.  But, I was crying.  And I told my wife, who just sat with me comforting me without having to say anything, “I know that she is in heaven.  I know that God is unfolding His perfect plan.  I know that God is good.  I know that we will see her again when we get to heaven, but…I DON’T CARE!  Right now, I just want my baby girl next to me.  I want to hold her.  I want to kiss her.”  And my wife just held me as I cried.  And once again, God’s grace was enough for me to grieve well and continue to trust in His plan and move forward with joining the team downstairs to talk about the amazing things that we have seen God do this week.

And that’s what happened to Maria this morning.  She had that same feeling.  Yes, it’s all true.  Susana is dancing with Jesus.  She is whole.  She is happy.  But all that was left for Maria to hold onto for a moment were just pictures.  And that hurts more than anything in this world.  But again, God’s grace comes and reminds us that we are indeed able to hold onto something much greater than pictures.  We hold onto hope in Christ that is immovable and unshakable.  His plan will indeed come to pass and nothing will hinder Him.  And once His grace brings us back to that bedrock truth, then we are able to grieve well and then move forward with what He still has us here for – to share that message of hope with the world around us.

And that’s what He used me to do today.  This morning, a group of us went just across the way from our house and started engaging a group of haitian teenagers in general conversation.  That conversation then led me to share with them about Jesus.  Then one of the team members ran back to the mission house to get these John Piper Gospel booklets in Creole to give to these kids.  We handed them out and I shared about how knowing Jesus and treasuring Him is the most important thing to do in life.  The kids were listening as well as reading the booklets.  It was wonderful.  Later that afternoon, another team member continued these discussions and shared the gospel of salvation with them.

In the afternoon, we headed up to a school in Marigot that we are partnering with.  I led the group of about 150 kids in a craft activity of making the salvation bracelets, so I had the opportunity to share the message of salvation with those kids as well.  It was really cool.

Then later afternoon we had the orphaned kids from our program come to the mission house again for discipleship.  There were about 15 kids that came.  It was so incredible to once again see our mission house filled with kids listening to the word of God and gaining more understanding of what it means to walk with Jesus.  We played with them.  We prayed with them.  We showed them a tangible expression of the love of Christ.  Some of the kids were actually crying when we said good-bye because this was the last day for those kids.  The Biltmore Team has done an awesome job ministering to these kids.

Tomorrow, we will get up at 4AM and drive 4 hours to Titanyen to the orphanage that we are partnering with.  The construction team built bunk beds for the kids at the orphanage and we will go there to assemble the beds and also just love on the children.  They are going to be so excited to finally have their own beds.  I’m certain that most have never owned a real bed.  It will be a super long and super hard day.  Some of us will be riding in the back of a dump truck for the four hour journey, which includes many twists and turns through the mountains.  But our sacrifice will bring great glory and honor to God and therefore we will ride with joy in our hearts.

And even amidst such a great day of reaching out and sharing the love of Jesus, my heart hurts as I miss my little girl so much.  I have much more to say, but now I am tired and need to go to sleep since we have to be up tomorrow morning so early.

Remember to visit www.stilliwillpraiseyou.com to view Susana’s Homecoming Celebration memorial service on-line.  Let others also know about this website.  Please keep Maria, Isabela, and I in your prayers.  Thanks so much.  God bless you all.

13 thoughts on “Hard Day…Great Day

  1. Across the miles…our hands are reaching out and comforting you and Maria and Isabella…across the universe into our Daddy’s throneroom we are whispering prayers for Him to continue to strengthen and encourage and comfort you.
    Thank you for your faithfulness to serve Him and the children and people of Haiti, bringing them His light in spite of your darkest hour.

    We love you…
    Mike and Sharon

  2. I have linked Susana’s Celebration on my page too. It is so wonderful to see the video of her. I know your hearts are broken but she is up there helping Jesus prepare the party for your homecoming someday. She is singing such sweet music and she has those beautiful dark curls again. And she was greeted by my Mom and Dad and so many others who are there. The heartache is healthy although painful because you are letting yourselves grieve and be vulnerable by sharing with all of us who will continue to hold you before the Father. And by letting others know that right now you all are not always OK- that there are sad time and painful times; and by knowing that, we can better know how to pray. But let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess that He who promised is faithful. And you three are so loved!

  3. Praying for you, Maria and Isabela!! Though believers do not grieve as though who have no hope, they still grieve – and grieve deeply. God will not waste your tears, your pain or your suffering. All of this will one day be redeemed for His glory. The book you will write chronicling this journey will touch the lives of many.

    I have read many times that one of the things that tears couples/marriages apart after the loss of a child is that they grieve differently and at different times. You and Maria will walk through some of that in the coming months but I believe God has shown me that you will come through victorious – and it will be a part of the story you will write…a part that will minister truth and comfort to others.

    Be blessed today, faithful servant, in the name of the Father who loves you dearly, the Son who sustains you by His grace and the Spirit who empowers you to live for Him.

  4. We hope slips though your fingers and you cry like you never think you could or would ever stop. He is right there, just beneath the darkness waiting to catch you. Prop you back up and repair your broken heart. Expressing the anguish and pain is part of the road to healing. Healing is not regaining what you lost or being stuck in the past. It’s being able to move through this world clinging the Him and the plans He has for you.

    Keep on keeping on. I hate that all there are are pictures too.

  5. Oh so sorry Maria…..what pain and grief this is! Cody, I am heartbroken for you all! Know I am praying for you all!! Oh Dear Jesus, please surround Maria, Cody, and Isabela with Your all sufficient comforting arms. Speak strength and peace to them. Fill them with the peace that surpasses all understanding. Thank you Lord for Your love and the promises You have spoken to us through Your Holy Word. It is in Christ’s Name I pray, AMEN

    “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” Psalm 27:14

    “The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.”
    Psalm 9:9

  6. Cody and Maria,and Isabela too, I must say you all amaze me. I am in awe of how your faith continues to carry you. I appreciate how open and honest you are about your feelings. That will definitely shine through in your book when you write it. Your honesty touches us all! We continue to pray for you daily and can only rely on Him to comfort you during this time. Please know we will continue to uplift you all as you struggle through each day.

    love, the Wood family

  7. How is your sweet Isabela doing? God has put her on my heart so many times…

    Praying continually for you all, and praising God for your time in Haiti. I know that it must be bittersweet.

    I wept reading your update – oh, how my heart breaks for you! Lifting you up, and presenting your beautiful family at the foot of the Lord…

  8. I heard about the loss of your precious little girl at my church (Cordova Baptist Church in Cordova, Maryland. Our minister’s wife has a sister that attends Ogletown Baptist Church and she has shared your story.
    We have your family on our prayer list.
    Please know I know your heart and your family’s hearts are heavy . I feel so sad for you all. We know that above all God will give you the strength to endure. There is a time for everything and now is your time to mourn. Let the tears flow for relief. Our Heavenly Father hears your cries and will give you comfort.
    We will remember you, your wife and family in our prayers.
    In Christ’s love,
    Joyce

  9. As a mom with a child in heaven, my heart breaks with you. When my son died there was a song from Mercy Me called “Homesick” that so captured this challenge we have in rejoicing that our loved one is in heaven, but struggling with the pain of missing them so much.
    Your faith is a beacon to our Lord and I continue to pray for you all as you continue to praise God and honestly share your grief. May God bless you and the precious baby you are expecting, as you grapple with your grief. It is a tough road, but you are not alone.
    Peace be with you.

  10. I am so sorry the pain of loosing a child is like no other pain you will feel. I am praying for you all. I to know the pain of loosing a child, my daughter Hannah passed away 8 years ago. Grief is an ugly thing and you will never get over it you will however learn to live with it and become a new kind of normal. I am so sorry I wish you Gods Peace and I will share a quote that was shared with me I dont know who wrote it but it did help some… “If God is with us, and precious Susana is with the Lord then she is only a breath away” May God Bless you all on your journey I am so sorry you have to travel this road.

  11. Susana is truly a princess angel. She is probably teaching heaven the song “Still I will praise Him!” I fully expect us to get to heaven and see angels pointing to the throne and singing that with your angel standing in the front saying “Now listen – here’s how it goes!” One of my friends who knew of her journey being over said “I bet she is walking around Heavn saying “It’s so pretty!” Your new soul coming is NOT replacing Susana (earlier post) but is to grow in the knowledge of Susana’s legacy! She was so amazing for a Christian, even more for such a young child, and it was a privelage to be able to keep up with her growth and final victory over the cancer. Your family has led to many back from the senticism of life’s burdens. Thank you for pointing the way back to Christ for the many who shared with me THEIR journey from darkness back to the light. I am excited too that she met our children that we never got to meet because they left my womb before we knew them, but Heaven has had its own Blatchley basketball team just of our little angels, and she is probably playing right there with them. I asked God to allow them to walk her into the kingdom, so she probably knows them by now for sure! You have pictures, but it is not all you have even before eternity, because you had time to develop special memories – write them down for Isabella and for your new soul – it will draw her closer back to you in ways you can’t imagine.

    Maria, in my last email to you I made a huge error and need to clear it up. I did not want to email and make things difficult for you, but I cannot find your FB page to send a message through. Could you check my link or send me another friend request? I want to write you too!

    Love to all of you and to the children in Haiti. Since I came on board late, could you link me to the post about your ministry, how much you are in the US and how much you are there? Are tote bags a premium item since the earthquake?

  12. Praying for you during those times when it is so hard!! There are No words that one can say to make you feel better…So I won’t.
    But do allow me this one thing to say to you….I am so grateful to God that you have the pictures that you have!!!! I Lost ALL MY PICS of my dear Son in our house Fire 10 1/2 yrs. ago. I would give ALMOST ANYTHING to have just 1 photo of him to be able to look at. So I hold on to HOPE …the Hope that I KNOW I WILL ONE DAY SEE HIM AGAIN…That HOPE THAT I KNOW THAT HE HAS BEEN MADE WHOLE, AND DANCES BEFORE THE FEET OF JESUS.
    Again, I am so grateful that you have your Photos…But I know that Nothing can take the place of being able to hold our children, and hug them, kiss them, Hold them tight and tell them how much we love them!!!
    Take advantage of the little girl that you have there with you, and Never let her forget each Day, and Each Night as you tuck her into bed…Just how truly Special and Precious, and wonderful she is to you and to Jesus….and How much you Love and Appreciate her for being who she is!!
    Sometimes the son I have here with me tells me that he thinks I love his Brother more than I do him…and that is simply not true!! So I make sure to remember each day to Thank God for the Son I still have here with me…and to tell him that he is indeed as Important to me as his older brother.
    I Hope this helps…You are loved and we pray for you daily!!
    BJ Miller

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