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"So we grieve & we rejoice, like breathing out & breathing in."

It's been a difficult week.

When a tragedy happens, time stands still for a while. All things seem to come to a stop, and what seemed important in the moments just before you got the news is suddenly forgotten. All you can see, all you can feel, is the loss and the pain. It is all consuming and seeps into every part of your life.

And so it was.

Last Thursday, September 1st, my great niece Emma Jo was born into heaven. Just a month and a half from her expected arrival date, weighing more than 5 lbs. A little sweet life, much too brief. I can hardly begin to articulate the loss without tears filling my eyes.

It is not fair. It is not the way it was suppose to be. I grieve for my loved ones who feel this loss the deepest, and I ache in this world where horrible things that don't make sense, happen.

And as time continues (because though the world seems to stop, it in fact, doesn't), the stuff of life resurfaces, and somehow you must enter back into that flow.

The last week has been filled with much activity-- some mere routine and some, frankly, wonderful. We started homeschooling. We prepared for the official launch of our church. We spent time with friends. We booked our tickets for our first trip to Ethiopia! We saw new pictures of little Abby--beautiful, little Abby.

But my sadness has been just around each corner, just underneath each layer of experience--welling up in tears at just the thought of my loved ones. And though it is painful and sobering, it somehow connects me to them, and to Emma. And even if only for that reason, it is ok that it still hurts.

Maybe it's no coincidence I'm writing this on 9/11. A sovereign God allows tragedy, and creation groans in response. For a brief moment, we see with great clarity: our life is but a vapor. There are no guarantees. This world is broken and in need of rescue.

The majority of us orchestrate our lives so that we mostly avoid discomfort, pain, and suffering. And yet, pain has such beautiful, redeeming value in a life. It reminds us to feel in deep places. It chisels away at our values in a refining way. We love with more intensity. We dimly begin to understand "the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings". The veil is pulled back, and we are reminded that there is more to life than what we can see. Pain is a chance to hope and cling to the promise of something better.

And it helps us to remember. I think sometimes what we fear most, as time passes, as life goes that we will forget.

But I will not forget you, Emma Jo. This auntie loves you. I miss you so much already. But I know I will see you one day, full of love and life everlasting. I can hardly wait.

title quote from Andrew Peterson (read his whole awesome article here)


Shelly Roberts said...

Soooo deeply sorry for your sweet family's loss. Rejoicing with you also in new pics of your sweetie. :) Blessings!, Shelly

Erica said...

Love you friend.

Susan said...

My beautiful niece Makayla was born into heaven in May, she was due this month. We are praying for you and your family.

Connie said...

Just got home from camping and read your sad sorry Rachel...and yet, we grieve as those with hope because our God is a Redeemer. Praying for you and your family as you feel deeply the sorrow mixed with hope.

Christy said...

OH Rachel, I am so sorry. Thank you for being so real and sharing your pain and joy. God has given you a true gift with words. I want to write those last few sentences down and never forget them. Thank you. Will pray for your family.

Freedom Hollow Farmgirl said...

So very sorry for your loss. Just prayed for your family, especially little Emma's parents.

Holding you close.