So, friends, where have I been these last 21 months? Well in some ways we had to just keep going. Being at my job for only 5.5 months meant there was not room for official leave and bereavement leave was only 3 days. So we had a funeral and then I clocked in to work the next day. People ask how I did it and I didn’t really know what to say.
Elisabeth Elliot said it best, “you do the next thing”.
“Do it immediately;
Do it with prayer;
Do it reliantly,
casting all care;
Do it with reverance,
TRACING HIS HAND,
Who placed it before thee with
Stayed on Omnipotence,
Safe ‘neath His wing,
Leave all resultings,
DO THE NEXT THING”
Those were her exact words, actually. Many of her words have been a deep comfort to me.
“Tracing His Hand”.
You trace and you trust.
You trace the lines of His hands and you can’t help but run across the wounds right there from the nails that held Him up.
My friend reminded me recently that “His will be the only wounds in glory, when we appear for Him”.
When you trace hands that are scarred with the wounds that set you free, it beckons trust.
You trace and you trust.
When you know His hands could have kept your boy breathing but they didn’t, yet you know those very hands are the evidence that there is nothing to fear in his dying, you trust Him.
So we have been tracing His hands and trusting His ways.
What has that looked like?
Well it looked like escaping to the mountains that summer of 2016 and it looked like leaning on our community a whole lot. When your family moves to a new city and then your son dies 10 months later, you go pretty deep pretty fast with the people around you. We were blown away with how people loved us. Our neighbors mowed our lawn, gave us gift cards and care packages. My best buddies sent me gifts to grieve and laugh and be pampered with. Our community loved us and fed us and invited us in. We felt loved and we felt held.
When you feel held by your people, and you know He writes that we are His hands and feet to this aching world, you realize that as they held us, He held us.
We traced and we trusted and He held us.
And we grew a little life too. You see, when Adam was dying, a little baby Silas was 10 weeks old inside me. We welcomed a sweet baby boy into our family about 7 months after Adam passed away. We gave him the middle name “Paxton” which means peace. We have watched him grow and then we went to India this past January to celebrate his 1st birthday! Well, we went for a multitude of reasons, but it was pretty fun to celebrate his 1st birthday in India!
So these 21 months have been hard but they have also been full. And once you lose a son, you realize that each wrinkle, each gray hair, each new milestone your baby reaches, each new year that passes is not something to be dreaded but something to be celebrated. Because my oldest son will not have any more birthdays, this side of Heaven. I mean, his days are much richer and truer and fuller and healthier and magnificent where He is. Yet I still miss him.
But while I am here with my people, I will celebrate them and I will receive each new birthday and milestone and creeping gray hair. Because it is a gift and it means that we are here, flesh and blood, with one another. So we keep doing the next thing because we know one day it will lead to the final thing and ultimately to the eternity thing. And as long as I have tomorrows, here, I will let God in and I will do the next thing, all the while tracing His hands.
Moving, powerful: “You trace and you trust”. May God continue to bless your family.