Seasons

During my time off from work, I started taking Annie to a park near our place. It’s this huge, open chunk of the forest by a gorgeous reservoir in the middle of suburbia. I love it there. It’s become one of my happy places.

One of my favorite parts of going there is letting Annie off leash. Our backyard is great but it’s not like she can just run and run there. At the park, she weaves through the trees and travels deep into the woods but I can always hear the jingle of her collar. She gets to gallivant through the twists and turns of the woods, chasing squirrels and exploring the terrain. I love that for her. It’s like what dogs were made to do. Run free! There’s just something about watching her through the camouflaging of the greenery with the sun peeking through the shade of leaves that makes me glad. I think it’s because I feel like she is doing what she was made to do (in addition to love on us, of course, which she also does so well).

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For us humans, I feel like worshipping God is what we were made for. Countless times in the Bible, God exhorts His people to praise Him, to bring Him glory. Sometimes, when walking through the woods, these church bells start to play. It’s the craziest thing. I don’t know where they come from, but the hymns travel over the water and resound through the trees. It’s happened twice now and each time, I stop and just lift my hands. It’s me and the Lord in His awesome creation and He plays me a song. He’s so big, so loving.

But, I don’t mean only worshipping God through song but also through our everyday living. I remember at the end of Charlotte’s memorial, I was talking to someone very dear to me and to Charlotte. She told me she grew up in the Presbyterian Church, as did I. She reminded me of the Westminister Shorter Catechism; this states that the chief end of man is to glory God and enjoy Him forever. Now, that’s worship. Then, she continued in saying that Charlotte did this! She brought and keeps bringing God glory. That comforts me.

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
    let the sea resound, and all that is in it.
Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;
    let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.
Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes,
    he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
    and the peoples in his faithfulness. Psalm 96:11-13

 When I walk the trails with Annie, sometimes I think, sometimes I don’t. Other times, I’ll pray, and sometimes, I won’t. Sometimes my mind wonders, other times, it doesn’t. This one morning, it did. I was thinking about what it’s like to grieve my daughter, really grieve her. The journey feels daunting. Life feels long. I started thinking about how when I first started walking these unknown trails with Annie, the trek seemed quite long. Not knowing the path ahead made the time feel longer, almost drag. I was a bit nervous even of getting lost. But, as I kept coming to the park and I kept walking the trails, getting more familiar with them, the time went by much faster. I identified landmarks along the way that helped me feel more comfortable. Occasionally, when I would venture into new offshoots of the trail, I’d get uneasy. But then, I’d keep going and what was unknown eventually became known.
I think grief is a little bit like this. Analogies help me make some sense of this whole process. Grief is such a journey and has its own seasons. Seasons are inevitable. You know each of the four seasons is going to eventually come, right? However, you don’t know the intensity or necessarily the duration of each season. Similarly, grief is predictably unpredictable. I know I’m going to have times of being sad, other times of being angry, sometimes confused, fearful, and sometimes, fine -and all in one day. But I also know that as I keep bringing every season into the strong and reassuring arms of Jesus, the grief doesn’t go away but it becomes redeemed. Jesus speaks His life to me and reminds me that Charlotte is safe, and more alive and well than I’ll ever be before encountering my Savior.
I was thinking about all of this while crunching over the leaves in the park another afternoon with Annie. As the leaves were starting to change and I was watching them fall to the ground, I thought, too, how seasons are not only inevitable, they are also sensory and visual. Those yellow and brown leaves weren’t there a few days before. I now was having to bundle up a bit more for the walk. When winter comes along, I’ll see the snow and feel the tip of my nose get all chilly and red. When the anniversary of her death comes, and it will, Peter and I will feel a whole new set of emotions, I’m sure. When other kids come, and I trust they will, we’ll miss Charlotte in a different way. Holidays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and the list in my head goes on and on…
Not to get ahead of myself too much here, but I am realizing how change is not an option on this side of heaven. But, I pray that by walking through the trails and trials of the loss of our little girl, we will be changed to look more like Jesus. Walking is intentional, one foot in front of the other, literally one step and one day at a time. Those sayings seemed more cliche to me until now. Oddly enough, I was watching TV one morning before I went back to work and this car commercial came on and said something like, “What good is change if it doesn’t make you better.” I was like, wow, that’s so true. Jesus, keep changing and making me and Peter more like You.
Not only in grief, but through every season of life, I’m continuing to see how much we need buddies to walk the paths with. As silly as it may seem, I like that my sweet pup walks with me. I also like when my husband joins me for a walk or run through the park. I’m seeing too that there are times I have to walk through grieving alone, wrestling it out with just me and God, leaning on Him, trusting Him. And that’s the thing, He’s always there with me. Jesus always walks beside His kids. Thank you, Jesus, for never leaving my side. You are always good, always faithful, always there.

 

5 thoughts on “Seasons

  1. I have loved reading your blog! You are so real and vulnerable – yours eyes always on Christ

    So awesome and encouraging! Keep posting;)

    Like

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