Thursday, September 22, 2016

Her Journal Will Never Be Read

After experiencing several deaths in my life and watching friends lose loved ones, I noticed a common theme among mourners—the regret that there wasn’t more time to say or do one last thing with the deceased. As I grew older, I became more purposeful in my living, stopping to hug my kids good-bye or telling them I loved them, even when they were in a hurry or thought I was being melodramatic.

In fact, that was the case the last time I saw my daughter Lindsay alive—the morning I left for Nashville. She rushed through the house to leave so she wouldn’t be late for work. I yelled after her, “No, you don’t. Come here.” She laughed as I gave her a hug, told her I loved her, and to be safe. She would be off to Kentucky before I returned from Nashville. She gave me the assurance I wanted and sprinted away, the kitchen door slamming behind her moments later.

About six years ago I decided to start two journals—one for Lindsay and one for my son Josh. My intention was to write in them periodically, recording personal thoughts, Bible verses, poetry, quotes, basically whatever struck my fancy that was meaningful to me and hopefully, would be to them. One day I’d be gone, and they’d want one last thing from me—a tangible reminder of my love, and I knew I could do that through my words.

Sadly, I didn’t write in the journals as much as I’d planned. Often, months would go by before I’d “find the time” to sit down and write. While in Florida last month to help my mom through cancer treatments, I made the time to reflect back over Josh and Lindsay’s childhoods and write in both journals.

Now Lindsay’s journal sits here, untouched, except by me, and she’ll never read the words I wrote to her. Her death changed the whole scheme of things. Our pastor used the phrase “death out of time” at her funeral. I wholeheartedly agree. There’s something really wrong about it.

The cliché that parents aren’t supposed to bury their children rings true. It’s certainly not something I ever imagined myself doing. Now I’m acutely aware of the club I belong to as I look at my friends and count the number who’ve also lost children. It is unnatural, but at the same time, God has a purpose for our suffering, even when we don’t know what it is or we rail against it.

Oh, how I long to know what that purpose is.

Meanwhile, as I trudge through this valley, becoming more worn and tattered by this earthly life, I can only put my hope and trust in God that one day all things will be made new and there will be no more suffering, no more tears (Revelation 21:4-5). I look forward to the reunion in heaven with my loved ones!

I echo the words of the Apostle John when he said in Revelation 22:20, “Come, Lord Jesus.”

Please come.

How many I pray for you today? Leave a comment or email me confidential requests. I’d love to join you in prayer. And while you’re at it, if you have a verse of encouragement, I could use it right about now.

Looking above,

 ©Laura Hodges Poole

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Four Words I Never Thought I’d Say

Every parent’s worst nightmare came true for my husband and me almost three weekends ago. As my tears flowed and sobs wracked my body, the agony spread to my mind as I tried to process the news…

…my daughter is dead.

It’s hard to see that in print—almost as hard as replaying it in my head constantly. Somehow typing that sentence and seeing it makes it more real. I wish it were as easy as backspacing for it not to be true.

One day, maybe I’ll be able to discuss the specifics of that weekend, but for now, I’m just trying to get through the day.

The word has not been invented for what my husband, my son, and I are feeling. Somebody smarter than I am will have to figure out what it is. For now, devastated and heartbroken come close.

An assortment of roses, lilies, wildflowers,
thistles, eucalyptus, vines, and other
plants that reflected Lindsay's
love of nature.
The blur of having Lindsay transported back to South Carolina, planning, and then having her funeral hasn’t quite figured out where to settle in my mind. Friends and family arrived, along with hugs, tears, and food. Beautiful memories were shared, and questions were asked that don’t have answers…for now. Maybe one day.

And right now, as difficult as it is to handle Lindsay’s passing, four equally powerful words prop me up each day.

My God is faithful.

He has wiped my tears. He has wrapped his arms around me. He holds my grieving heart in his hand.

My big “why” question hasn’t been answered, and maybe it won’t be this side of heaven.

Am I angry? Oh, that’s an easy one to answer. Yes!

But faith means trusting God, even when He allows tragedy in my life. It was a lesson learned when my sister committed suicide eleven years ago and still rings true today. If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you know my motto has always been “trust Him to get it right” when walking through trials. This means in all circumstances—even the ones I don’t like or disagree with. I don’t begin to claim to understand Him (Romans 11:33-34), but I do feel His love and comfort as I walk through each mind-numbing moment.

My family and I cling to the promise of Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Though Lindsay’s death doesn’t make sense now, we’re praying that one day some good will come from this tragedy. Meanwhile, we cling to the wonderful memories we have of her. She was a beautiful, bright child from day one, and her laughter still rings in my mind. 
Happier Days - Wedding Rehearsal Dinner 2011
Please continue to pray for James, Josh, and me as we walk through this dark valley. If you need prayer today, please share in the comments or email me confidential requests. I’d love to join you in prayer.

Standing on the Solid Rock,

©Laura Hodges Poole