We have been overwhelmed with grief, more than our hearts have ever known. Tears just come in wave upon wave. Everything we look at reminds us of Susana. Her clothes are still all over the house. Her little shoes are still in my closet and I see them every morning when I get dressed. Maria fumbles her words often when talking about plans and says things like, “I’ll stay back with the girls” (plural) or “When Isabela and Susana go there…” You see…she’s still in our every thought, yet their is the most painstaking reality that hits us all throughout the day that she’s gone, and an even greater painstaking reality that she’s not coming back. Just typing that sentence just brought me to tears. And that reality will hit us all the more as the days progress.
I vacillate between two different emotions throughout my day. On one hand, I greatly rejoice knowing that my little girl is in the presence of Jesus. She is whole. Her faith is now her sight. She has reached the prize. She is where we absolutely long to be. And I am so happy as I think about the things that she is experiencing. And then just minutes later, I find myself uncontrollably weeping because I miss my little girl more than anything. There is just a hole in my heart that will remain forever. I know that the Lord will sustain us through this. I know He will heal us after He has crushed us. I know that weeping will endure for the night and then joy will come in the morning. I know these things with more certainty than ever. But right now, we just hurt. This is our night season. And I’m sure it will take a long time.
I shared yesterday at her homecoming celebration from 2 passages of scripture. One was in 1 Corinthians where Paul states that our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. This is a promise for the believer who has put his hope in Christ alone. This is a promise for me. God is using our loss and great suffering to achieve for us an eternal glory that will far outweigh our “light and momentary” pain. And that is why we did not want people to wear black. In Christ, our world is not black. We have hope. We have light even amidst our blackest night. But I did hand out a tiny swatch of black cloth to the hundreds of people who were there. And I had them look at the cloth sitting in the palm of their hand, and I told them that this is indeed a reminder that, yes, there is grief and we will not deny or ignore that, but, in the perspective of eternal glory that awaits those who trust in Him, our grief is little. There is much greater joy than suffering in the grand scheme of eternity. And so, I did not want to look out and see a sea of black. For our world is not one that is totally black. We grieve. But even in our grief there is great hope. And the other scripture that I shared was from 1 Thessalonians where Paul talks about us grieving different than the world does because we grieve with hope.
And that’s why I can vacillate between the two. I am still here in this natural body. And so my heart aches beyond words. Friends, I miss my little girl so much. The thought of going through the rest of my years here on this earth without her absolutely crushes me. But, because of the hope that I have in Jesus, by His grace, I am able to look forward with complete certainty of the eternity that I will spend with her and Jesus! I can’t wait for that day to come!
Her homecoming celebration was beautiful. It was recorded on video so I will soon put it up for all to see. From what I heard, a few people prayed to receive Christ at the end. O how I give glory to God upon hearing that! We just want to bring Him glory with our lives…and even with our deaths. A scripture that has been brought to my attention often through many comments and emails is in Psalm 116, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” O how I wish I could see it as so, but right now it just hurts. And so I can only trust God according to His word that Susana’s death was something precious to Him.
In addition to being overwhelmed with grief, we have also been overwhelmed with so much love from our family and friends. Our church, Biltmore Baptist, has been absolutely amazing in reaching out to us in every way imaginable. We have been given so much food that we could feed a small village. We have been so loved and embraced. We have been lifted up in prayer by thousands of people all over the world. We have been supported so much from other churches and friends as well. It was a blessing to have our family with us for several days as well. So, amidst such overwhelming grief, we have been bombarded with such overwhelming love. Truly the body of Christ has helped carry some of our burden, and for that we are so grateful. But we also know that there is much of this burden that God will call us to bear alone and we must trust that His grace will enable us to carry it well for His glory.