Sunday, December 6, 2009

Fighting for Joy

After writing Christian's birthday post, I had an entire week that was full of just plain joy. It was like breathing the air of summer after months of winter.

Thanksgiving came and I was still full.

Later that afternoon, Austin was hovering around me and constantly giving me hugs and telling me he loved me. While much of this is normal for my affectionate 10 year old, there was a quietness about him that told me something was bothering him. When I asked him what was wrong, tears immediately filled his eyes. He squeezed me tighter.

I just miss Christian! He was such a good brother! No matter what we're doing, I think about him all the time!


Me too, baby.

I have a whole list of things I miss about Christian...

  • -How he'd say "Awww... dang it!"

  • -His constant shooting sounds.

  • -Always playing with the water hose.

  • -The door slamming in the hallway and him shuffling up to us with his thumb in his mouth and blankie in his hand. Then he'd say "Can't sweep. Boys make too much noise!" No matter that his brothers were already fast asleep!

  • -He would always correct me if I accidentally said "Here you go, baby." His reply was always "I big boy. You fowgot, mommy!"

  • -Whenever David was home, Christian would be sure to ask me "Are these my work clothes, mommy? I need my work clothes!" He was always daddy's little helper and buddy, especially while the big boys and I were having school.

I think my list could go on forever.

I have many friends that are mourning the loss of sons, husbands, and parents right now. This will be their first Christmas with their precious family member missing. I am sure they too could write an endless list!

No words of mine can take their hurt away. Only Jesus can give them peace in their hearts and joy in their sorrow. Sometimes God uses other resources to comfort, like this poem from Streams in the Desert today.

E'en for the dead I will not bind my soul to grief,
Death cannot long divide.
For is it not as though the rose that climbed my garden wall
Has blossomed on the other side?
Death doth hide,
But not divide;
Thou art but on Christ's other side!
Thou art with Christ, and Christ with me;
In Christ united still are we.

I can't hold Christian's hand right now or feel the weight of him in my arms. No more tickles, water balloons or jumping on the trampoline. No more sneaking into our bed in the middle of the night or exclaiming how his thumb is wrinkly like a raisin.

Still, I am thankful for the memory of those tickles and giggles, the wet of the balloons and the funny spazziness of his bounces and games on the trampoline.

There is one thing that we do have, that we can do together-- and that is to worship and praise God! If we know Christ personally, death does not divide! This is but a temporary separation.

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:15,16)

By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. (Hebrews 13:15)

And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you. (John 16:22)

When your heart is bursting with grief, offering up praise is a sacrifice. It is a sacrifice in that we must look past our hurting heart, past the here and now. Yes, we have sorrow now but one day our faith will be sight! Our hearts shall rejoice! And that joy no man can take from us.

Let us praise Him and thank Him in all things. This is how we FIGHT FOR JOY!!!


Annemarie said...

Amen! This was something that a friend and I were talking about the other day. "We bring a sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord"...when it is so much more a sacrifice to praise through intense pain and suffering, how much more joy it must bring Him!

Ali said...

You are so right Marsha. Once again, you have written another beautiful post.

The Lord Bless you!


Sneaker Teacher said...

NIcely written Marsha.


Anonymous said...

I need to remind myself to be thankful for those moments that would otherwise seem meaningless.

Thanks so much for sharing your memories with us, I will be praying for you and for everyone who has a family member celebrating Christmas in heaven this year.

Susan said...

You are a blessing Marsha. To hear your words always makes me thankful. I will always treasure the hugs I was able to give you in person!

kdh said...

Marsha, I have cried so many tears because of your posts. But, I have found so much comfort and love and hope as well. You are an inspiration to me. I love you.

Gottjoy! said...

Oh, Marsha...I find myself fighting for joy everyday, but God is so faithful. He pours His unfailing grace to cushion my heart and then joy is spawned from that. So it seems like such a cycle to me now...but I choose to have joy and I pray that is pleasing to my Lord:)

Your memories and stories of Christian warmed my heart and made me smile. What a beautiful thought that through Jesus we will one day be in Heaven with our little ones. That makes me happy and gives me a lot to be thankful for....

Your post was precious and so are you:)....

Melissa Stover said...

it makes me so happy to hear you were full of joy! your sweet boys. i'll pray for them.

beckypdj said...

It is a fight. A fight we will not lose!!!! We are united in Christ. The closer I get to Him, the more real Heaven is to me. I am excited about our reunions in Heaven!!!

Christine said...

Beautiful post! I love you Marshy!

Kathryn said...

You are amazing Marsha...this post ministered to me, and how grateful I am that God has given you so much joy. We will see them again! I'll be praying for your boys...I know it's hard for the little ones...

Anonymous said...

Dear Marsha,

I'm praying for that joy to continue. I can't imagine how hard it must be, to be joyful when you're hurting but I think it's amazing that you are. This post was very heartfelt and got me all teary eyed. What a wonderful relationship you have with your boys, that they come to you and pour out their little hearts knowing you can comfort them. I am so sorry that your sweet family had to go through such a painful loss but you're right, God knows your sorrowing heart and He will comfort. Your joy will be a blessing to yourself, your family and others. Including those who read your blog (: Thank you for posting, it is a wonderful reminder to keep our focus on the One who loves us more than anyone. Take care Marsha!

Molly (:

RaD said...

I just can't help being drawn back here. You are so full of life even when there seems (on the outside anyway) you may not have much to celebrate. You are truly a testimony to anyone who has lost someone close to them. While I have not walked in your shoes I pray that when times are rough (what am I saying times are kinda tough?) I could find that same strength.

Leanne said...

Marsha, this post deeply ministered to me.

I fight for joy along with you and you are not alone!

"Thou art with Christ, and Christ with me,
In Christ united still are we."

I love that. That is what comforted my heart so much, because I still feel very one with my Janie and so, this really spoke to me.

I am praying for you and I too will always treasure the hugs I was able to give you!!!!


Sisterlisa said...

I have experienced different kinds of deep sorrow in my life, and I know the amount of strength it's needed to write a blog post in the middle of that sorrow. People read my articles and say how faith-full I am, but what they don't know is how many hours I cried before, and after I wrote it; or how many tears I shed while writing them. Those posts I wrote were for me more than for anyone else. I go back and read them now and they serve a purpose of encouraging me. My heart aches for you. I understand what you mean about feeling his weight in your arms. My son still crawls into bed with me sometimes and he's 7 years old.

Do the waves of emotions come over you suddenly? Without warning? Or perhaps you can sense it's coming and you head for a secret place to cry alone? I've been there. Many times. You're not alone. The next time it happens, know that we support you and love you. When our brethren/sisters go through pain, we go through it together. Lay your head in the lap of our Savior. He'll catch your tears in a bottle and stroke your hair as you cry out to him. Sometimes I feel like those moments are the sweetest moments of worship. He loves you.

jenny said...

Amen, may the Lord's presence be with you?

Becca~CapturingSimpleJoys said...

Just beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!

Cecilia said...

How well said.

Melissa said...

"When your heart is bursting with grief, offering up praise is a sacrifice. It is a sacrifice in that we must look past our hurting heart, past the here and now. Yes, we have sorrow now but one day our faith will be sight! Our hearts shall rejoice! And that joy no man can take from us.

Let us praise Him and thank Him in all things. This is how we FIGHT FOR JOY!!!"

Thanks for the reminder, Marsha.

Kim said...

I just found your blog yesterday - thank you! I appreciate your humor, openness and randomness. You have ministered to my heart in ways I didn't even know I needed. <3 you!

lori said...

oh honey...this just touched my heart. I have a dear friend who moves this season...her first without her baby girl. Rachel committed suicide a few weeks ago. I will share this piece with her. She is teaching unaware, as have you, of powerful faith...praising and praying with you.


Dawn Camp said...

I am so glad you had such a joyous week. Isn't God good? :-)

hopejoy said...


I am Andrea's mom, Hope Wright.

I just wanted to let you know that I read your post on Christian's marker and several more and was very blessed. I appreciate how you add scripture into the post. I have prayed for you, and whenever you come to my mind I will pray for you and your family.

Heaven looks so much dearer to us when we have loved ones to see. My prayer of late is that I fall in love with Jesus to such a degree that I desire to live pleasing to Him in ALL things and my desire to go to heaven is to see Him.

In ourselves, that is hard. I find that if I daily stay in communion with Him, He adds more love in my heart for Him. It is beautiful and I know that you have that beauty in you. I feel it and I have been so blessed today, I know it is true.

I also know that someone with this much love of God in their heart has a fierce enemy. You touch lives Marsha, don't forget that. You have a huge job to do for Christ which I see the product of it here.

My prayers will continue for you, that the Lord will strenghthen you through each trial, large or small, and that your light will continue to burn brighter, day by day.

God Bless and Keep You.

Love and Prayers, Hope Joy Wright