Always 3 blinks away…

from tears.  Its just the way it is.  I feel like I am always just three blinks away from crying.  But truly, the Lord is sustaining me. God’s grace certainly fills blinks one and two, but is just as certainly found in blink three when the floodgates are opened.

We just returned from the cruise that Joy-Hope Foundation sent us on to help us heal.  We had a great time together as a family.  It was awesome to be out in the middle of the ocean and just see the vastness of God’s glory all around.  We definitely enjoyed our time together.  We talked about Susana at times, as we always do, and our hearts were heavy at times, as they always are.  But, for the most part, we are able to move forward in the grace and goodness of God.

So, last night, being alone in my hotel room, it was the first time in over a week in which I was alone and had some down time.  And the silence was overwhelming.  The silence reminded me too much of the voice that I so longed to hear.  And I got down on my knees to pray, and immediately I just started heaving sobs, crying out to the Lord telling Him how much I miss my little girl.  It was a good cry.  But oh how my heart still hurts.

I’m reading the book “Heaven” by Randy Alcorn.  It is the most amazing book about Heaven that I have ever read.  it is the only book about Heaven that I have ever read.  Anyway, it gives such a great, accurate, biblical portrait of Heaven, and when I read it, I get excited about the things that my little girl is currently experiencing.  And I myself just yearn for the day that I too will be there.  So, I find that when my heart hurts from missing my little girl, and I start to get really sad, I pick up the book and read another chapter.  I learn about yet another fascinating and glorious truth about what my little girl is experiencing in Heaven, and my heart gets excited and I no longer feel so sad.  Yes, I still am sad because I miss her like crazy, but I am not so sad that I cannot move forward with the things in life that the Lord has called me to.  And I know that the reality is that she is not gone forever, but rather we are just temporarily separated.  And I hold fast to the promises of God that one day we will be reunited in the presence of Jesus.  And so, holding to that glorious and blessed truth, I press on.

My wife has shared with me some perspective that she has, and it really blows me away.  I am so thankful for the faith in Jesus that she has been given.  I’m thankful that God has given us each other to lean upon for strength and increased understanding.  She truly is a gem.  I love this perspective that she shared with me.

When she used to work in the corporate world, if she was having a hard day and it was still early in the day, rather than look at the clock and be discouraged that she still had seven hours before quitting time, she would instead break the time up into increments of 15 minutes so that it seemed closer to quitting time than it really was.  So, with regards to our longing to see Susana again, whenever either one of us seems to be heavy of heart, we just look at each other and say, “fifteen minutes.”  And it really is the right perspective to have.  I mean, this is really just a matter of time, nothing else.  We are absolutely certain that we will see our daughter again.  It’s just a matter of time.  Yes, fifteen minutes on this earth does still feel like an eternity, but it still is just a matter of time, nothing else.  And in light of eternity that we will spend together in the presence of Jesus, this time apart will really seem to have only been fifteen minutes.

Another perspective that she shared is one about security.  For the bible believing Christ follower, we know that not everybody is automatically bound for Heaven (sorry Rob Bell), but rather those who have trusted fully in the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ and have surrendered their lives to Him.  And it is the struggle, and often great fear, of a Christian parent that has a child or children that are not walking with the Lord, knowing that their life could be taken at any minute, and without Christ in that person’s life, their eternal fate is indeed tragic.  And so,  we are greatly comforted knowing that, though our little girl was taken from us at the tender age of four, her eternal security with Jesus is certain.  She’s in…and nothing can ever change that.

She loved Jesus with all her heart, even at the young age of four.  She knew the Lord.  She was so excited ever since we first told her about Jesus and the love that He had for her.  She was broken over her sins, as little as they might have appeared to be.  She would do wrong, and when she did, she would cry and say sorry to Jesus.  I’m telling you, this little girl knew her Savior.  And so, the fact that she is forever secured with Him gives our hearts great comfort.  We had two children.  Our role was to disciple them and teach them the ways of Jesus so that they could know Him as Savior and Lord.  We did our job and one of them is now in Heaven forever.  She’s in.  And now, we have the role to continue to raise up our other children in hopes that they too will trust in Jesus and follow Him all their lives.  But it truly is a great comfort for us as parents to know with absolute certainty that one of our daughters is forever with Jesus and will be forever with us.  Yes, that is a great perspective.

So, like it says in Thessolonians, we do not grieve like those without hope.  Yes, we still grieve, but we have a hope above all hopes.  We have a perspective that enables us to see death for the Christ follower for what it really is, a temporary separation.  Our hope in Christ is enough to get us through.  His great and glorious promises are real!

I really am always just three blinks away from tears, but between those three blinks, I am reminded and comforted by the glorious truths of God’s word.  The tears are just a natural way for my natural heart to release my natural sadness.  But the hope that I have in Christ shows me that one day, my tears will forever be wiped away, my heart will be filled with joy unspeakable, and I will forever rejoice in the presence of my Savior.  But for now, it’s just fifteen more minutes.

8 thoughts on “Always 3 blinks away…

  1. 15 minute increments is the way to go…Such wisdom there…it keeps us from looking past the moment…past what the Lord has for us now…

    Randy Alcorn’s Heaven is one of his best. It is hugely comforting to read. I was also very much blessed by a book about loss from a Christian perspective called A Grace Disguised by Jerry Sittser. It is about a man who lost his wife, mother and daughter in a single tragic car accident. Grace changes us in the midst of sorrow and loss and makes us see this life for what it is and see him so much more clearly.

    Here is a quote from a letter Randy Alcorn received from Sono Harris three years before she passed away. When I read it, I thought of your family.

    “Oh, Randy, it seems that His servants who are used in special ways often experience commensurate trials. These trials are simultaneously burdens God gives to keep them utterly dependent; and thorns which pin back the veil that hides His face. In a fallen world, they are gifts.”

    Prayerfully, Sono

    So beautiful…you can read the entire email here on Randy’s blog:

    We are praying for you and your family…for Haiti and the works that He has prepared beforehand for you. So glad the God of all Comfort is with you.

  2. Jean, Thank you so very much for your prayers and encouragement. What an amazing quote from Sono Harris! That spoke to my heart in a very profound way. Thanks so much for sharing that with me. God bless you.

  3. Cody and Maria, I checked the site often to see when you share of your trip and looking forward to hearing of some healing that occured. Praise God that it is happening, because Susana I think would want you to be happy she is safe in His hands and look to when you will be united! I am so happy you had a chance to meet and get to know your 4-yr old spiritual giant and to raise her as she raised you up even more. She has challenged those who not family who may have become complacent or maybe thought they have no strength.

    Cody, the first day we spoke I shared with you about Dollena, and what she said just before she slipped into a coma, and we agreed that some day God forbid it may have been appropriate to remind you. Dollena had served in Mexico, and was diabetic. On arriving home, she began to show symptoms of jungle fever. Her brother who was keeping a bedside vigil had begun to cry, and Dollena said “Don’t cry for time we wont have together, but praise Him for the time we did have! Tell my friends and family that for me.” She closed her eyes, slipped into a coma, and her journey ended within 24 hours. I believe Susana would want the same. Though I never met her, it just seemed like her!

    Our family loves you, prays for you, and pray that your missing your angel princess become easier as each day passes.

  4. I love that “just 15 more minutes.” My reminder that heaven is near is just purposefully stopping to look up into the sky throughout the day to keep me focused on God’s perspective not mine: that this life is short and we’re almost there.

    I’m glad I stumbled onto you blog. It’s been very encouraging to my life. Praying for you!

  5. Cody,

    You and your family are in my prayers as you grieve. I pray that peace and comfort will overwhelm you each day and that you will see “breadcrumbs” of Susana’s joy each day as well.

    Our church just finished a sermon series on Heaven and the pastors did accompanying devotionals on the subject to go with the sermon series. The reason I’m telling you this is because they used the book Heaven by Randy Alcorn as well as Surprised by Hope by Norman Wright as their references.

    I’m sure concentration is hard to come by right now, but if you’re interested, here is the link to the devotionals they have done. They actually just finished the series this week. (They are available via podcast also.) (link to the beginning of the devotionals) (link to sermons to listen to on-line)

    I pray that God’s blessing would truly be upon your family.

    In Christ,

  6. What a beautiful post…God’s promises are ever true! He will complete that what He has promised!! As your heart breaks in grief and words are few during those times of blinking back tears in utter sadness, just continue to rest in Him; it is such blessed assurance that Susana is “Home” and you will see her again. I can’t imagine what you have gone through, but I pray for strength and restoration for your family. Our hope and assurance is in the One Who has overcome the grave, the world! So thankful that you and Maria have deep abiding Faith in our Savior. How could anyone deal with such grief without having a personal relationship with our Heavenly Father? Our Ladies Bible Study just completed a study on 1 Thessalonians. Our Hope endures and our God is so Faithful. Psalm 71:5 “For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth.”
    Psalm 71:14 “But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more.”
    Psalm 71:19-24 “Your righteousness, O God, reaches the high heavens.
    You who have done great things, O God, who is like you? You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth
    you will bring me up again. You will increase my greatness and comfort me again.
    I will also praise you with the harp for your faithfulness, O my God; I will sing praises to you with the lyre, O Holy One of Israel. My lips will shout for joy, when I sing praises to you; my soul also, which you have redeemed. And my tongue will talk of your righteous help all the day long…”

    May His sustaining Grace be with you all. Praying and Trusting………………..

    Glory lyrics

    One day eyes that are blind will see you clearly
    And one day all who deny will finally believe
    One day hearts made of stone will break in pieces
    And one day chains once unbroken will fall down at your feet
    So we wait for that one day come quickly

    We want to see your Glory
    Every knee falls down before thee
    Every tongue offers you praise
    With every hand raised
    Singing Glory
    To you and unto you only
    We’ll sing Glory to Your name

    One day voices that lie will all be silent
    One day all that’s divided will be whole again
    One day death will retreat and wave it’s white flag
    One day love will defeat the strongest enemy
    So we wait for that one day come quickly


    We know not the day or the hour
    Or the moments in between
    But we know the end of the story
    When we’ll see

    “Enough” lyrics (Chris Tomlin, Passion..)

    All of You is more than enough for all of me
    For every thirst and every need
    You satisfy me with Your love
    And all I have in You is more than enough

    You are my supply
    My breath of life
    And still more awesome than I know
    You are my reward
    worth living for
    And still more awesome than I know

    All of You is more than enough for all of me
    For every thirst and every need
    You satisfy me with Your love
    And all I have in You is more than enough

    You’re my sacrifice
    Of greatest price
    And still more awesome than I know
    You’re the coming King
    You are everything
    And still more awesome than I know

    More than all I want
    More than all I need
    You are more than enough for me
    More than all I know
    More than all I can say
    You are more than enough for me

    All Praise and Honor to our coming Faithful, Merciful, Holy, and Mighty Father!!

    1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it.”

  7. This is actually James’ wife, Jayna. My husband has posted comments before but today I really wanted to. We also lost our daughter, our only child, on Nov. 27th, 2010. She was 16 years old. One of my best friends handed me the book Heaven after she died, and, like you I have been very blessed by reading it. It has brought such great comfort to us and opened our eyes to the place Jesus is preparing for us like nothing else ever has. My husband continues to amaze me with his Godly wisdom and ability to comfort me when tears and pain overwhelm me. A few weeks ago the Lord must have spurred him to send me a text and this is what it said:
    Nahum 1:7 The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble. He knows those who take refuge in HIM. II Corinthians 4:16-18. I am praying that peace of our God is falling on you this morning. Our suffering is so little when held against the surpassing beauty and permanence of our Heavenly hope!!!
    Our hope is a living hope. We have great grief, but a God who is greater!!
    I’m praying that your family and we can some day meet. Until that time comes, either here or in Heaven, may your hope be strong!!!

  8. That was beautiful and your words are always so heartfelt and real. I think that we miss forever those who have gone on before us and a child, most of all. There’s no timetable for grieving but hopefully there will be more smiles mixed in with the tears and the remembering. I will always keep your family and the Haitian children you care for at the orphanage and in the foster homes in my prayers.

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