It’s been a weird and exhausting several weeks.
Almost as if I’ve been watching things from a detached perspective. I attribute this sense which I used to struggle to describe to the presemce of God leading me and carrying me through otherwise difficult things. My brain and body want to quit, but miraculously, I am carried on through each day in spite of being tired and weary, in spite of emotional circumstances.
My husband finishing the last few weeks of seminary has been challenging as he has had cumulatively six 8-12 page papers in 2 weeks- which is a LOT of time spent reading and typing. And he does so much for us that when he’s stressed, we all feel it.
We also just had our first baby goat on the farm! Luna went to 157 days gestation and delivered a single polled buckling this morning. With AI, you don’t really have misjudged dates, it’s all about precision and accuracy. So while we knew Luna was pregnant, she just wasn’t ready for delivery yet. So, we waited. And as with any waiting for a first time experience, there’s a degree of uneasiness and maybe even anxiety over the unknown/possibilities. But, praise God for all of my “goat people” who were able to ease my mind and help me think through preparation should intervention be necessary. And Luna’s breeder was much help and encouragement in reminding me to just be patient, and let Luna work it out as she’s ready, and she talked me through some of my concerns as well. I’m thankful for that. Check them out at Higher Ground Herbs and Homestead.
So that’s what we did and she delivered just fine with no interventions required. More on our new little guy later.
Anyway, the extra things on my husband’s plate has affected the general stress level in the family dynamic, so I’ve been doing my best to keep us focused on the Lord and the task at hand- which is easier said than done sometimes- so that we aren’t all jarred emotionally by that and so that we can be uplifting and encouraging to him, rather than distracting or burdensome. We’ve had lots of candles, diffused lots of essential oils, and played a lot of classical music just to keep the general tenor of the home calm and soothing. It’s had a surprisingly powerful effect, that is of course, not even mentioning the time spent in prayer for it all.
And on Saturday, when I heard that my grandma had passed away, I was prepared to hear that news. We traveled a couple weeks ago for my brother’s wedding, of course, but also because I felt the Lord leading me to go and see both sets of my grandparents. Neither set made it to the wedding, but me and the kiddos were able to spend quality time with them all. The whole trip just had an odd sense of finality to it. I can’t describe it, but it really did feel like I was saying my goodbyes. And who knows- I’m not promised tomorrow! But I was given the opportunity to make the trip, and I’m so thankful for that, it was a beautiful gift to me.
Which brings me to my main point: Grief with Gospel Hope.
We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, concerning those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. Since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, in the same way God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep through Jesus. For we say this to you by a revelation from the Lord: We who are still alive at the Lord’s coming will certainly have no advantage over those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are still alive will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, HCSB
Grief is hard. But Grief for the Christian is bitter-sweet. On the one hand, we miss the ones we love who aren’t with us anymore. However, unlike non-Christians, we have a real and present hope of being with our saved friends and family in eternity, because of Christ. We have the opportunity to carry on the legacy they left behind.
My grandmother taught me many valuable skills. How to sew, needle work, how to use a Bible concordance/dictionary, how to make the best biscuits and gravy in Southern Illinois. She gave me a love for simplicity and country life, and she passed on her love for family, and the necessity to remember our past and honor our ancestral legacy. She taught me how to pray without ceasing, and she taught me a love of better words and writing, and of thinking beyond the cultural threshholds and pursuing things in view of eternity. She instilled in me a love of music and piano. She taught me that the “B” word (boredom) was among the foulest in the English lexicon and that it was never to pass my lips in her presence- God had given us far too many things to enjoy and occupy our time for boredom to ever factor into my mind. That’s probably why with each pregnancy, when I was sidelined from active physical work, I pursued learning new skills like plumbing, knitting, quilting, baking, etc.
I wasn’t fully cognisant of those lessons and skills which she imparted to me until I started to ponder the time we’d spent together over the course of my childhood and early adult years. And I could hear her voice replay in my mind as we discussed various things over the years and I thought, hey, she was the first one to ever show/teach/talk to me about that! She kept her sense of humor to the very end. And even though throughout our final visit, she had to repeatedly ask my children’s names, she would giggle in spite of her self, in spite of her frustration, and likened herself to the “Absent-minded professor.”
I’m sure my grandmother wasn’t a perfect person. But I know that even if there were times she disagreed with me, she prayed for me daily. And I think that’s what I will miss the most- knowing that no matter what I face, I have a woman of fervent prayer lifting me up to the Lord, daily. I know she was ready. And I’ll miss her. I want to leave a legacy of faith for my children in the same way she did.
And even though we just got to welcome new life to the farm, there’s an odd sense of emptiness. Maybe I’m just empathetically receiving some of Luna’s postpartum. Or just experiencing the natural settling back into neutral from some really emotional highs and lows.
No matter what, I know God is good. And he has been carrying me through. And I’ve been blessed beyond measure by His mercy and grace to me.
…the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.Job 1:21 KJV