I was reading another mom’s blog earlier today. Not just any mom’s. A mom who is walking the same path that I am walking. A grieving mom. She is a couple of years behind me and, at the same time, it sometimes feels like we are side-by-side. Reading her blog over the last few months was the final push for me to start mine.
I started journalling pretty soon after Arlynne died. It was a way to record all the stories. The glimpses of Grace that were pouring into my life at that time. Believe me, there were a lot of them. Things that happened that could not be explained except that God was there. He was showing Himself. That He really did see me and cared about me.
Some of the stories seemed almost silly. We were incredibly blessed by a large number of people wanting to provide meals for us. It is a wonderful gesture and I would never, ever discourage anyone from blessing someone in this way. We did have a lot of the same kind of meal, though, and none of us had much of an appetite. One evening Pete and I were talking and I told him that I really wanted some meat. I wanted ribs. Ribs and baked potatoes, corn-on-the-cob, salad. A really different meal from the ones that we had been blessed with lately. It seemed selfish. It isn’t even the kind of meal Pete likes. It would be totally for me. I left it. A couple of days later, though this wonderful woman called me to tell me that she was going to be bringing us dinner. I was shocked when she went on to describe what she was going to bring–ribs and baked potatoes, corn-on-the-cob and salad. It was as though she had been in the room and heard my lament just a few days earlier. An example of Grace. It had to be a prompting of the Holy Spirit. But it is just like God. He meets even our silly little wants just to show us that He hears us. He knows. And He doesn’t only know, He CARES.
We heard story after story of how our daughter touched the people around her. How her life made a difference. How she was the first one up during her last week of camp because there was just too much to do, sleep could wait. How she wouldn’t stop until she spoke to that last child who needed to hear about God’s love. Those stories are precious jewels. Those are the stories I don’t want to ever forget. The ones that almost make up for losing her. Almost.
I am reminded of the stories we can read of all the unexplainable things that happened to Mary and Joseph after Jesus arrived. Shepherds and kings. Old saints giving their blessings to this tiny baby in the temple. Jesus explaining to his parents that they should have looked for him “in His Father’s house” when they lose Him on their trip back home from Jerusalem. Luke 2:51 says that “His mother treasured all these things in her heart”. I have no idea what she thought of her Son while all this was happening and even in all the years to follow but, if she is like me, she would want to remember when He was no longer here. Stories. Truth.
For a while I believed that too much time had passed. That I had missed my opportunity to share what happened to us. But I believe that God showed me something through this other mom, as the heartbreak she poured into words so closely echoed mine. These stories have a whole other purpose. It says in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God”. I will probably never meet that mom. Not long after Arlynne died I met another mom who had had to bury her son and the only thing that I can hope to do is to do what she did for me. She had hurt. She had wept. She had questioned. We have wept together. But at the end of the day she turned her eyes to our Source of comfort. And then, she offered it to me. The God of Comfort.
Each of our lives look different. No two stories are the same. But our God is. He never changes. He is steadfast. He is faithful. He sees our hurt and He will comfort us, if we let Him.
My prayer is that, through my story, you may meet my God of Comfort.