Remember.

She would just be 22 years of age.

Probably graduating from college and starting a new job.

Possibly dating a young man she might marry.

Maybe talking with us about where she’s going to be for the holidays.

But that’s a different timeline that never happened.

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We have a reminder/memorial that sits on a chest of drawers that has her footprints and the words that the Lord put on our hearts shortly after we lost her.

We still think of her. Probably not as much as we did in the first few years, but there’s always that series of questions. The “What if…” questions.  The “What would she be doing now…” questions.

After we lost her, it was a crushing of our plan for life.  Graduate college, work for five years, have a baby, get a bigger house, have baby # 2, etc…

All of it came to a stop. And life was suddenly different.

It was hard to know what to do for a while.

There are other emotions that come with that; other questions, other struggles that arose out of our very short time with a baby we held for only a short time…

…but after yesterday’s time with Tracy Sanchez’ story and Leon’s message, I was reminded about how the Lord was with us through all of it.

He was with us in the number of people who loved us and surrounded us with space to breathe, food, cards, calls, time to ask questions, time off from the office, time at people’s condominium out of town so we could get away, patience with us when our emotions shifted and surprised even us.

He was with us with long runs down by the river with a good friend who is a doctor who allowed me to vent, shared medical insights, talked about where our baby was, the mystery of why it happened, etc.

He was with us in the words of authors who wrote good books on loss, grief, death.  He was with us in time spent with mentors and people who loved us and wanted to see how we were doing, months after and years after.

Never once did we ever imagine that God had left us.

Sure, we had the normal questions, concerns and frustrations with God about it all, but all those were also evidence that he was there, listening and loving and taking care of us…through his people, through strangers, through books, through ways we still don’t understand.

So yesterday was a reminder to me that in the middle of pain, God is still there.

It was a reminder for me that I may not know what you are struggling with, but I want to go ahead and give you a lot of grace, just to make sure I’m not making an already tough situation worse for you.

It reminds me of how important it is to remember when others have a loss, that they need your presence when it happens and they need to know that you remember and that you still care months and years later.

It reminds me that I need to grieve and be okay with that and that I need to let others grieve and lament and throw their frustration, anger, cares and more at the Lord. He’s a big God and can more than handle it.

It reminds me that a day will come when he will make all things new and he will wipe away all tears and explain things in a way that will make sense.

I can imagine a day in the future when me and my wife and our three kids sit down around the Lord’s table together with Bethany Sage and she shares with us what it was like to be with the Lord all this time and the joy we’ll share together for eternity with the Lord.

I am grateful for days like yesterday. For Tracy’s story.  For Leon’s words that shepherded us toward healthy grief, wholeness and reality before the Lord and each other.

I am grateful to know the Lord is with us all and will never leave us, nor forsake us.

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