It’s just the way that I am feeling these days.  I’m stuck between 2 places.  Here’s how I described it to my wife:  It’s like living with your two children and then being told that you can only choose to live with one of them.  The other one will be taken to the opposite side of the country and you will never be able to visit him/her again.  You only have the promise that the child that you choose not to live with will be fully taken care of.  He/she will be raised with everything that will lead them to maturity and wholeness.  You don’t ever have to worry about this child’s well being.  It is fully secured.  But you can’t ever see this child again.  Whereas the child that you choose to remain with does not have the guarantee for the perfect life.  He or she will need your guidance, love, and support more than ever.  How does a parent ever make such a decision?

That’s the way I feel.  My heart is torn.  My head is in two different places.  Though I did not have to make that choice, the decision was made by God for reasons greater than my tiny brain can understand as He called my little Susana to her perfect home in Heaven.  She is well cared for there, but I will never see her again on this side of Heaven.   I don’t ever have to worry about her  lacking anything, but I will never be able to see her again on this side of Heaven.  She is now and will forever be completely whole, but I will never be able to……  And yet my other daughter is right by my side.  I get to see her beautiful face every single day.  I get to hug her and squeeze her all I want.  I get to hear her voice telling me how much she loves me all the time, and I get to whisper in her ear every day my love for her.  There is no guarantee for her wholeness.  There is no guarantee of her safety.  There is no guarantee of her health.  Yet she is with me.

I absolutely LOVE Isabela.  She is my firstborn child.  And she is Daddy’s little girl.  My heart overflows with joy of being her Daddy.  And now God has graced me with another gift – my newborn son.  O my heart melts when I look at him and he gets this huge smile on his face.  He already knows how loved he is.  My heart overflows joy when I hold him in my arms and tell him how much I love him.

Yet my little Susana is on the other side of the country…the Heavenly country, and I don’t get to see her again until I am there myself.  I am so torn.  I think about my little princess every single day.  Lately, there have been lots of tears, especially during the Christmas season where families are all gathered together.  We are missing her terribly.  If I allow myself to think about her and dwell on my sadness, then I can easily be overtaken by grief.  And I can’t let that happen.  The truth is that I will never get over missing Susana…and I don’t want to get over it.  But I also know that she is secure and well cared for.  I don’t need to worry about her.  And so I have to balance my grief so that I am also given over to raising up Isabela and Jake in a healthy and godly manner.  They need me.  I still have a job to do.

But I am torn.

It reminds me of the game “Sorry”, you know that game with the little pop up dice in the middle of the board and the object is to get all of your pieces safely home?  Yeah, we used to play that with Susana when we were in Haiti.  Anyway, the object is to get all of your pieces safely home without being set back or sent back to start.  So, once a piece is safely home, it no longer requires your attention.  Your primary focus is on the pieces that are still on the board, the ones that still have to get around the board without getting sent back to start.  Its not until all your pieces are safely home when you finally might dwell on those as you realize that you have won the game.  So, it’s like that with Susana.  That little girl is safely home.  She’s set for eternity.  She’s being loved on by Jesus Himself as well as all the other saints who have gone on ahead of us, let alone all the children that I’m sure she plays with all the time.  I’m telling you, that girl is not lacking anything.  She is in the safety zone.  But I am still traveling around the board along with my wife and 2 children.  We are not safely home yet.  I need to focus much of my attention on them and protect them as much as possible from any setbacks.  I must love them, nurture them, and encourage them to continue to move forward towards “home”.  I must remind them daily of the rewards and promises that will be ours when we finally reach home.  I must be there for them when they do encounter setbacks and remind them that they are still homeward bound.  Yes, it is the “pieces” on the board still in the game that need much of my attention.

But I am torn.

I so desperately want to go to Heaven and see my little Susana.  I long to hold her and kiss her and tell her how much I love her.  I can’t wait for the day when I shall see her again.  But I do not want to leave my family behind.  If I were to go to Heaven, then that would mean simply traveling to the other side of the country to be with one child and now leaving the other child behind.  So, I do not wish to go to Heaven alone at this point in time.  Instead, I must wait patiently until God’s appointed time for me and my family.  I must simply find rest in the fact that at some point, we ALL will be there rejoicing together around the throne of God.  But apparently just not today.

I am torn

Maria and I were talking about it yesterday, as we talk about Susana just about every day.  We were talking about how we now fully understand what the Apostle Paul was feeling when he said how he desperately wanted to go to Heaven to be with the Lord Jesus, but he knew that it was better for his people that he remained with them longer.  Paul was torn.  And so am I.  I despeartely want to be with the Lord Jesus and be reunited with my baby girl, but I know that it is best for my family right now that I remain here to love them and lead them into the ways and truths of God.  And I am so thankful for the joy that God has given me in my family.  But O how I miss my little girl.  My heart just aches.

I am torn

My emotions can run a full spectrum within mere minutes.  I can look at my newborn son Jake and simply melt with love and affection and be filled with this overwhelming sense of joy.  Then I can dance with my daughter Isabela (I won’t ever miss the chance to dance with my daughter) and twirl her around in my arms and then kiss her face all over and be filled with such love, delight, and joy.  And then I can walk into the other room and within seconds have a thought about Susana and feel the unquenchable ache in my heart and be flooded with tears.  And then minutes later walk out and be met with a huge hug from Isabela and be flooded with joy again.  I’m not kidding you at all…that’s exactly how it is.

I am torn

This is our first Christmas with our bolito de amor (bundle of love) Jake, and we are so thrilled to have him in our life.  He is such a gift from God.  And yet this is our first Christmas without our precious Susana.  It is just hard.  There is no way around it.  And so we just are learning to live with these two extreme emotions that reside in our hearts side by side – joy and pain.  And we rejoice in the promise of Immanuel – A God who loved us so much that He entered into our suffering to bring us joy in the midst of pain, with the promise that one day the suffering would cease and it would just be complete joy forever and ever!  For my precious princess Susana, it’s complete joy as she is living in the fulness of Christ’s presence where there are eternal pleasures forevermore.  But for me still, there is pain that resides alongside of the joy, making life both bitter and sweet at the same time.

I am torn.

6 thoughts on “Torn

  1. Praying that ISAIAH 61 will be your call to ministry, as it was CHRIST’S work. May HE continue to turn your ashes of sorrow into beauty. May you continue to find joy in the wonder and blessing of your sweet family. May the joy of the LORD be your strength. May HIS healing hand continue to do a mighty work in your hearts and lives as you recover from all that you have suffered in this short life. Our lives are but a vapor. One day you will rejoice in the reunion that awaits us on the other side. Where there will be no more tears, no more sorrow, no more death, but only praise and worship to the MOST HIGH KING. Where we will be with those who have gone on before us. On days where this life grows weary for my husband and myself, he gently reminds me that this is NOT OUR HOME. There awaits an eternal home where JOY will be everlasting, and the GLORY and HONOR that is due CHRIST will be foremost on our minds. Nothing to weigh us down. Where we will no longer be torn between the two sides of life. LIFTING you all up before HIS throne of grace. Thank you for sharing your heart and for bringing glory to God while you reside on earth. REJOICE, OUR KING IS EMMANUEL, HE CAME TO SAVE US FROM DEATH. HE IS WITH US!

  2. Heart is breaking for you . . .praying that this new year and new direction will be a time of healing for all of you. I know that you will always, always miss Susana but I hope that the thoughts of her beautiful little face will someday bring you more joy than pain . . .because you have the knowledge that you will be with her again. There isn’t any easy answer . . .so we just pray.

  3. Love you guys so much! I’m constantly thinking about you guys, and led to pray for you…especially on this Christmas day. How I wish that your precious little princess Susana was there by your side today and everyday, and how I long for us all to be reunited with her and the King someday very soon.

    Merry Christmas, Whittaker’s… you are loved!

  4. Cody, you write SO well…you really must write a book someday. Your description of your grief (both at the time of Susana’s transition to Heaven and now a bit later) is incredibly moving and helpful…in the same way as CS Lewis’s “A Grief Observed” and Sheldon Vanuaken’s “A Severe Mercy” (have you read them?)
    I know of you via my friends the Blatchleys and thus there was a small contingent of Australians praying for you and Susana last year. *Wonderful* to see that baby Jake has arrived safe and sound, and that God has kept you safe for new adventures through this latest ordeal (phew!) Will keep praying as He reminds me…may our extravagant Abba continue to keep you all safely in His arms as you grow and serve Him!

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