Peace (with no explanation but a few ramblings)

After my daughter’s death, I wanted to preserve every thought and mention of her name.  I wanted nothing to taint my memory of her. 

I wanted to live in this house forever because trees had been given to us and planted in our yard in her memory.

I wanted the garden that was created with the funds donated in her memory to be peaceful and effortless to create and maintain.

I wanted perfection in the book I wrote that included her and my journey of faith.

Yet, my wants didn’t materialize. One of the trees in our yard died. Debate ensued over the placement of the garden.  And, the publication process left a lot to be desired and the current owner of the company is now in jail.  How’s that for keeping all things related to her pure?

So what does all this mean?

I have no idea really.  But I wish I did. I have analyzed, pondered, discussed, and speculated without really solving a thing.  Yet, I am at peace with it all. I have peace that God has a purpose and is using each of these events in my life for something positive.

None of the issues were really consequential in the grand scheme of things.  Well, maybe the book publishing stuff, but I certainly learned a heap of meaningful life lessons from my experience. That counts for something.  So maybe the other issues were about me needing to loosen my grip on my expectations.  The reality is that none of the concerns I had impacted how I think or feel about Ashlynn.  Those peripheral happening were irrelevant when it comes to my love for her. 

While I’m sure I’ll continue to try to make sense of it in some fashion, I know that God will use it for good in my life regardless of my understanding or lack thereof.  I trust Him with my circumstances.  I trust Him with my heart. And I’m thankful that He can make beauty from ashes.

May you find peace in your circumstances today as you trust in Him!

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

The Magical (and Holy) World of Disney – yes, those God moments can happen anywhere!

As I sat by the pool listening to the sound of splashing and kids’ laughter, I could hear jazz music from a nearby restaurant drifting my way.  The two sounds were competing for my attention.  My thoughts danced with the various sounds, swaying from one to the other. 

We’d had a full day at the Magic Kingdom and now my mind slowed to reflect on my day and current surroundings.  I noticed more incongruence as I watched my kids swim in the moonlight in the middle of February. 

Suddenly, tears formed.  I was keenly aware of the joy and sorrow that tugged at my heart.  Joy at the excitement of my kids; sorrow because my daughter Ashlynn was not part of it. Separated by death, but still in my heart, reminders of her can trigger an array of emotional responses.

The emotion began to churn earlier in the day.

In a place that transports us beyond our reality, the magic of Disney World stops for a moment and seems to skip a beat.  I look at my kids and sigh.  Sheer joy exudes from their little bodies and I celebrate with them.

Yet, one is missing. And her absence shouts to me, drowning the magical aura of parades, dancers, laughter, characters and continuous background music that is cheerful and chipper.

I stand in the middle of Main Street USA amidst a flurry of activity, yet in that moment life stops for me.  And in the silence and stillness, my heart embraces joy and sorrow.  Somehow they co-exist, co-mingle like thread woven together.

Joy at all that God has given me.  Joy at God’s love and graciousness.  Joy because of Christ’s sacrifice for me.  Yet, sorrow for the pain and loss and sorrow at loving one that I cannot reach out and hold.

I try to define the moment, grasp it and wrestle it to the ground of understanding.  Yet, I’m unsuccessful.  I can’t contain it with words. 

But, I know this:  it’s a holy place. It’s place where I affirm my trust in Him. It’s a place where I allow Him access to my heart. In those moments, He stills my restlessness and I breathe Him in.  I experience His peace, comfort and strength and am reminded of the vastness of His love.  He is with us everywhere (yes, even at Disney World) and deserving of our praise and worship.

I pray that you embrace those moments of joy and sorrow in your own life, allowing them to dance in your spirit while you experience the warmth of God’s tender care.