Here we are at week three and it’s my turn (Kim) to answer the question: how has God changed your perspective about someone else? If you missed Tracy and Jen’s answers, be sure to click on their name and check them out.
I dreamed about her last night. I don’t often dream of her. I can count on one hand the number of times she’s entered my dreams since she’s been gone.
Yet there she was . . .
My heart grasped to understand. I felt the warmth of her little body next to me yet somewhere in the deep recesses of my brain, reality slowly dissolved my dream. I had buried that precious body more than eleven years ago.
When Emma died.
Some people say time heals all wounds but honestly? If I left the healing of my tender heart to the impersonal care of time, my wounds would still be gaping wide in the open air, festering and gross. Others say the time we have here on earth is all we’ve got. When we breath our last, we simply disappear and cease to exist.
So does Emma no longer exist? Has any other child, or parent, or spouse, or loved one who died simply . . . disappeared?
Or is there something more? Something that comes after death? If you had asked me that question twelve years ago, I would’ve shared how death scared me. How the darkness of the unknown reality after a final breath terrified me to the core of my soul. And if someone had even hinted that one of my children might die, I might’ve laughed, and then cried, and then lived in fear every minute of the day.
Emma was our gift, as every child is to a family. But her? She was the one who belonged to each of us, a completion to our blended family. She drew us in, bound us together, and spread love everywhere she went.
Especially to me.
I’m her mom, after all. Her momma bear. The one who watches over her, protects her, and cares for her. I carried her in my womb for nine months as those innate, primal instincts grew alongside her, just as they had with her older sister.
Isn’t it natural, then, to think our children belong to us; that she belonged to me?
So when death ripped my sweet Emma way at the tender age of five, it felt anything but natural. Fire destroyed our home and I stared death down . . . and lost. I lost her. I lost my identity as her mom. And I almost lost my way.
The weeks that followed the fire were a blur of hospitals & doctors, police & fire investigators, sorrow & failure. My heart vacillated between the destruction my family endured, the longing to hold my precious girl once more, and listening to a quiet, gentle voice that began whispering to my tattered heart.
I failed her.
There is no condemnation with me (Romans 8:1)
I don’t know what to do now.
I know the plans I have for you (Jeremiah 29:11)
I’ll never see her again.
In my house are many rooms (John 14:1-4)
Her life was cut way too short.
I set her number of days, and yours (Psalm 139:16)
I can’t live without her.
You can do everything with me (Philippians 4:13)
But I was supposed to die first.
My ways are higher (Isaiah 55:9)
That’s the thing about sorrow, it distorts everything around us. Our circumstances. Our perspectives. Our truth.
Even about my sweet girl.
A battle raged deep in my soul between the seen devastation and His unseen kingdom. Stories about the great cloud of witnesses, Scripture verses, and those whispers drew together to become a tender battle cry, spurring me on as the drama of death and loss unfolded.
When all I could see was the empty chair at the table, He reminded me of His presence (Psalm 91:14-16) . When my eyes stayed stuck on what I lacked, He reminded me of His provision (Matthew 6:33). When shame and sorrow wrapped around my soul threatening to squeeze out the last ounce of breath, He reminded me that He is my sustainer and giver of life (Ezekiel 37:5-6).
I begged God to show me what was true in spite of what I saw. To help me to fix my eyes on Him as the Author and Perfect of my faith. He heard my cry and slowly, ever so slowly, He shifted my perspective and answered my prayer.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.” Hebrews 12:2a
I knew this to be true: Emma died. Her body no longer moves and breathes and grows. This side of heaven, I will never again hold her in a sweet embrace. I won’t get to watch her learn how to drive, graduate from high school, fall in love, or embrace her life’s passions.
As I pressed into my sorrow and pain, as God blessed me with the strength to keep my eyes fixed on Him, a larger truth took shape.
Heaven is real (1 Peter 3:22).
Jesus is preparing a place for each one of those who love and follow Him there (Ephesians 1:19-20).
Heaven is our home. (Revelation 21:1-4)
She is still my sweet girl and I am still her mom.
No, I will never again see Emma this side of heaven. But that’s the key, isn’t it? This side of heaven. That means there’s another side, a side where Emma lives and breaths and moves, more alive than any moment she had here on earth. A place where a precious piece of my heart now resides. And one day, one glorious day I will join her. One day my Savior will call me home and I’ll walk through heaven with my sweet girl’s hand placed firmly in mine. And this time, mother and daughter will never again be apart.
He reached down from heaven and rescued me; he drew me out of deep waters.” Psalm 18:16, NLT
How is God shifting your perceptive about someone in your life?