Sunday, December 29, 2013

He Has Come For Us

Christmas this year could have been better.  For many reasons.

One.  This was our first Christmas without Gramma Sally.  This was my husband's first Christmas without his mom.  But not just without his mom.  Without his parents.  Last year at this time we had no idea that the Lord would be taking Sally to be with Him in just a matter of weeks.  No idea.  It shouldn't have happened, but I find peace in knowing that God defines should/shouldn't, not us.

It's been almost a year and I miss her so much.  And she wasn't my mom.  But she was the mother-in-law that I had always hoped for.  And I only had her for 7 years.  The anticipation of this first Christmas without her was painful.

I'm not gonna lie, I've never wanted Christmas to be over so quickly in my life.  And I feel guilty admitting that, but that's the reality of where my heart has been for over a month.  Wanting the celebration of Jesus' birthday to be over?  The Christmas cards received in the mail from friends near and far?  The Christmas carols sung for such a short time each year?  The twinkling lights on the tree?  Yes, all of it.  Wanted it all to be over...or rather, never to come at all.  I think my heart thought that if it didn't come, it wouldn't hurt.  But it did come.  And it did hurt.  A lot.  And it still hurts.  My heart doesn't believe she's gone.

Beautiful lady.
As I was curling Charlee's hair in preparation for our Christmas Eve service, I pulled out a can of hair spray that I brought home from my last trip to Ogallala spent cleaning Sally's home.

I did not expect these words from Charlee as I sprayed her hair for the first time.

"That smells like Gramma Sally.  It smells like her skin."

Curls courtesy of Gramma Sally's expensive hairspray.
She hasn't smelled the scent of this hair spray for well over a year and yet she remembers.  Memories triggered by our sense of smell are incredible.

I loved that she remembers.  But I hate that it's a memory.

I miss my mother-in-law and my father-in-law.  But what saddens me most is to see my husband hurt.  To see his pain.  To hear him ask, "Does this ever get easier?" and not have a response for the question.  I can't say that I understand because I don't.  I can't tell him it will get easier because I don't know if it will.  I can't change anything.  All I can do is trust his heart with the God who knows his pain better than I could ever hope to know it.

He has come for us
This Jesus
He's the hope for all
Mankind
He has come for us
The Messiah
Born to give us life


I expected emotions as I anticipated facing the first Christmas without Sally.  It was the second set of emotions I experienced that were unexpected.

Two.  Our kids, the ones who we are still waiting to bring home, were supposed to be here to spend their first Christmas with family.  But they were not here.

Because of some changes that occurred in their orphanage, they were not allowed to come for Christmas hosting.  We were informed of this news on October 1st, my birthday.  We were saddened that day and for many days following, but what I didn't expect was the barrage of emotions that would strike as Christmas neared.

First of all, can someone please explain to me how it's possible to miss a child you know only through a total of two hours worth of video Skype?  I have no explanation for this phenomenon.  I understand how it's possible to miss Kate, who spent a month with us in our home.  But Max did not.  We really do not know him aside from our Skype calls, but my heart misses him just as much.  I wonder sometimes if it's the idea of him that I miss, but I can confidently say it is not.  It is him.  I miss him.

Christmas was lonely.  It felt empty.  There were people missing.  People who are now with the Lord and people who Lord-willing will be part of our family soon.

He has come for us
This Jesus
He's the hope for all
Mankind
He has come for us
The Messiah
Born to give us life

The above verse is from one of my newest favorite Christmas songs.  It's Meredith Andrews' rendition of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.  My heart skipped a beat when we stood to sing this song at church on Christmas Eve.  I think God personally chose it for me.

This chorus conjures up many thoughts and emotions, but for whatever reason it is when we are in church singing that I think most of Max and Kate.  This song reminds me to be thankful that I know the hope of Jesus.  I know that this isn't all there is.  I very much look forward to the day that the Lord will make all things new.  The day when He will wipe away every tear...and there shall be no more death, no pain, no sadness.

Revelation 21:4-6

When we Skype with Max and Kate I think often of how we are their hope.  We, Adam and I, are what they are in many ways living for.  Not because we truly are their hope, but because they perceive us to be their hope.  We are the ones in whom they are anticipating to "rescue" them.  In the same way that Jesus has come for me, for Adam, they wait in that orphanage for us to come for them.  They hope in us when they tell us they miss us, when they sing songs for us that cause us to wonder if they feel they have to "perform" for us else we may not come for them.  They hope in us when when they draw pictures for us in the hopes of pleasing us.  What they don't know is that they could do none of this and we will still come.  Kinda reminds me of a certain thing called grace...unmerited favor.  They don't realize that there's nothing they can do to earn our love, our acceptance.  There's nothing that will cause us to love them any more or any less.  They could never sing another song or recite another poem or say another English word and we'll still be on that plane over there just as soon as we possibly can.  You see, that's the amazing thing that I can't wait to share with them one day...that Jesus has come for them.  He's the rescuer, the redeemer.  Not us.  We will come for them, but we are not their hope.  Jesus alone is enough.  He is their hope.  And by the grace of God, I pray that all my children will know that hope one day.

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