When people ask me how I’m doing, the only word I can seem to find is: “Okay.” It’s not that what happened to our daughter is okay. It is wrong. It’s not like our life will ever be the same. And how could it be? I don’t ever want to be the same after losing a part of myself. But, Peter and I really are doing okay. The Lord has never left our side.
A week after Charlotte died, I remember this specific conversation Peter and I had. Peter had taken that week off. Like I said in a previous blog, it was a sacred week for the two of us. We slept in, cried, ran errands, did house projects, prayed. While talking, he said, “This past week has been the hardest week of my life.” I thought that was the end of his sentence but he proceeded with the smile of a father, concluding, “But it’s also been the proudest week of my life.”
Dichotomy has been a word I keep thinking about. Peter was pained yet proud. There are moments of extreme grief mixed with confident hope. One minute I am crying and the next, singing. It’s funny like that. My mom and I were talking about this sentiment and I said, “Grief is weird.” It really is. I don’t mean that insensitively. I simply mean grief is unpredictable and raw. It is one day at a time, a lifelong journey I am sure. Like Megan said to my mother-in-law at Charlotte’s memorial, “This will be a journey for them.” It is and that’s comforting and heart-wrenching all at once.
Because of the living power of Jesus, I am far from hopeless! I am a broken, wrecked woman. But He is my great reward. As Paul explains, God brings beauty from ashes:
“We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.
We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed” ( 2 Corinthians 4:7-9 NLT ).
Peter and I have such assurance in Jesus. We know now more then ever that we don’t know what tomorrow holds. But we know Jesus holds it all.
As my Poppa Knabe said to me and Peter on the phone the morning of Charlotte’s memorial, “The sun will come up again. You know where she is and she is safe. We have hope, faith, & trust. But it’s just hard to do.”