Two long years is marked today. What a day to have to “mark” in some way. But here it is. Another year of missing their smiles, and their laughs. Another year of not being able to see them, hug them, have a conversation with them, or spending time together. No new memories where made. Another trip to the cemetery to put fresh flowers on their gravesite, placing little mementos, and starring at their picture on the headstone.
As I sit there on the ground and ponder, I think about what Tylee and Blake would look like another year older. I wonder if Tylee would still be in dance. I think about how much more graceful she would be as she danced and I can picture her long, red, curly hair flying out behind her as she twirled around. I wonder if she would still be playing T-Ball. What new interests would she be excited about? I think about Blake and wonder if he would still like chasing bubbles around the backyard and reading books with me. I think about the giggles I’d get when I’d change my voice for the different characters of the story I was reading!
It has also been another year of God’s continued mercy, grace, strength, peace and blessings. I have been given more opportunities to travel and speak about God’s goodness and faithfulness. We continue to persevere and “fight the good fight of faith.”
One thing I struggled to understand was this “joy” Scripture talks about. “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” Nehemiah 8:10. (ESV) Nothing to be joyful about in this situation. In Habakkuk 3:17-19, I read how Habakkuk said that even though disasters come and he may lose everything, he has learned that he can trust God, and learning to trust God, no matter what, brings him great joy. His joy doesn’t rest in what he has or doesn’t have.
I have a dear friend who lost her son to suicide 3 months before we lost our family. She told me one day that the joy of the Lord was her strength. It was this joy that encouraged her and gave her hope. At the time, I didn’t understand. All I knew was that I would never “feel joyful” again. It was so contradictory to me as I thought about feeling joyful again.
So, I took it to the Lord and prayed asking God about this “joy” thing. I read in James 1:2-4, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (NKJV)
What truly matters to God is our spiritual maturity and salvation. This is not a worldly joy that depends on what we own, or the perfect job, or the best house money can buy, etc. All that is fleeting and cannot bring true happiness and joy. Understanding that God is sovereign over all things, even our trials, brings joy when you understand it from His perspective and His purpose. That is what is important. I have faith knowing I will see my loved ones again and as much as my heart still breaks at times, I can trust God even in this tragedy and continue to live this life He has given me and do the works He has for me to do. He has given me purpose, even in the midst of great sadness and this is why I can experience this joy during such tragedy.
God is truly a good God. As I think about another year that has passed by, I am thankful that I can be a beacon of hope to others. It is a beacon in the midst of tragedy that declares Truth! God’s Truth about how He binds the brokenhearted. And it is a Truth that says God is faithful and I can comfort others with the comfort God has given me.