We sang a great song at church today called "Everlasting God." The chorus says,
You are the everlasting God, the everlasting God
You do not faint, you won't grow weary.
You're the defender of the weak
You comfort those in need
You lift us up on wings like eagles.
We sing this song often, but today God showed me something. As I sang "You're the defender of the weak," I thought about Melissa. I thought about how sick and how weak she was just before she died. And I thought that during that time, God was her defender. As the nurses tried to do everything medically possible for her, God was defending her. When I was in the recovery room and couldn't be with her yet, she wasn't alone. God was defending her. When there was absolutely nothing that Chris and I could do, God was defending her. It gives me so much comfort to know that he was holding her in his arms during that time. He truly is the defender of the weak.
You comfort those in need, you lift us up on wings like eagles.
Then I thought of how God held us after her death. In the days after she died, I hurt beyond imagination. I remember laying in bed and wondering how I would ever get out of that bed and face the world again. And in those days, his strength (and his alone) literally helped me put one foot in front of the other. Some of those days are a blur, but I know that he was there. He comforted us in our need. Some days I hurt so bad that I questioned if he was there, but looking back now, I know that he was. And not only was he comforting us, but he was comforting - and defending - Ann Catherine as she lay in that NICU fighting to live.
I teach kindergartners at church and today's lesson was about Heaven. It was so sweet hearing those 5 and 6-year-olds tell you what they imagined Heaven was all about. On the way home, Ann Catherine asked me what I taught them today. I told her we talked about Heaven and I told the children that it was a wonderful place, that God was there and we would also see our loved ones who had died but who believed in God.
She said, "I'll get to see Melissa." And in her sweet little voice, Lily said, "I see Misa, too!"
"Yes, you will," I told them. I am so glad my girls have that promise of seeing her again one day. During moments that are heavy such as this, Ann Catherine always has a way of lightening things up. "What's Melissa's last name?" she asked me. "George, just like yours," I answered. "Oh yeah!" she said excitedly. "Melissa George! Just like on my Huntsville Havoc hockey jersey!"
Another neat thing happened to me at church today. I was talking to a friend of mine whose husband died unexpectedly a few years ago. They had two small children at the time. She said something I had never thought of. She said that although she would never wish that type of pain on someone else, she did wish that people could experience the blessings she had received from her husband's death.
I know that may sound so strange to some of you, especially those of you who haven't lost someone. I, too, would never ever wish the pain of losing a child on someone else. It is a terrible gut-wreching loss that stays with you forever. But, I do wish you could see some of the blessings Chris and I have received out of Melissa's life and death. God has immensely blessed us through things that have happened as a result of her death and people we have met who have been in similar certain circumstances.
It's a reminder that God is always at work, even when we can't see it. After Melissa's death, the pain was so terrible and the loss so profound that I questioned anything good ever coming from it. But, it has. It doesn't change the fact that you would rather have them here on Earth with you. There is a piece of my heart that won't truly heal until I see my daughter in Heaven - plain and simple. But until then, he continues to bless us through her life and her death.
What a loving God we have, who brings hope from so much tragedy.
Along those lines, please continue to pray for Caleb Gill and his mom, Debbie. In her latest Caring Bridge post (click here to read), she said that he is starting to experience a great deal of memory loss (which is associated with this brain tumor). As a single mom, Debbie works so hard in our NICU and is struggling with not just the fear of losing of her child, but the guilt of having to be away from him as she works to provide for her family. Please, please continue to lift them up in prayer!