“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.”
We are approaching several ‘firsts’ in the next few weeks. Tomorrow we have Dara’s first birthday without her Mom. She is actively participating in planning her party and is beside herself with anticipation, but she knows it is her first birthday without Becky. We have Thanksgiving in a couple of weeks, Becky’s birthday just two weeks after that, and then Christmas next month. And then what I think will be the hardest first; the first anniversary of the day Becky died.
I’m in an okay place right now and so is Steve. Neither of us can say exactly ‘why’, but I think there are several ingredients to this place of relative peace. We’ve been recently challenged to find in our lives those things for which we are thankful. There is so much blessing in our lives and some of that blessing relates to the events both before and after Becky’s death. We are more and more aware of God’s supportive and even preparatory presence in the midst of this season of pain. It is evident to us that God has not left us or forsaken us, but rather loves us and cradles us even in the midst. Pain comes to every life. How incredibly bereft we would be if our lives were full of this pain and empty of the presence and comfort of God. How incredibly blessed we are to know, love and serve Him.
In the months since Becky died I’ve seen more obvious and rich answers to prayer than ever before in my life. I’ve seen a community of believing women who have come around me as my prayer warriors and blessed me beyond measure. During the months that I was traveling back and forth to Rosalia to be with Jacob and the girls these women pursued me to pray for me. They are all busy, but each month before I left on a trip they made time to spend time praying over me and seeking God’s plans and purpose for each trip. I felt set apart for God’s purposes and armored up to be a servant to Jacob, Amity and Dara’s grief instead of a slave to my own.
I could go on and on about the blessings woven into the woe. There is one more thing that I’ve thought on a lot lately. I keep remembering how Becky felt about death. She was in a lifelong battle with the specter of death. She feared her own death not wanting to leave those she loves bereft and on their own. She feared the death of Jacob, Amity and Dara and that losing one of them would mean the loss of her sanity. She feared the death of her Dad and me, even though she believed that our deaths would come at some point in her life and she would have to face her fear. She feared the deaths of friends she cared about who didn’t yet follow Jesus and she compulsively shared Jesus with them. She sought God’s peace related to all of these fears. I believe that God allowed Becky the grace of never facing profound loss to death. Friends at the scene of Becky’s accident found her unconscious when they got to her van. She never regained consciousness, so whatever fear she may have felt during the accident was brief. She never experienced losing Jacob, Amity
or Dara. She never experienced losing Steve, me, or her sisters. In a grace that blessed Becky and left us bereft Becky was spared coping with death.
I’m not foolish enough to believe that we will make it through the end of this year with no more tears. But I am thankful for the obvious blessings of God in the valley of the shadow of death. He is the giver of all good gifts and our ever present help in time of trouble.