March 10 2008 ~ Songs in the night

Today was quite an unproductive day. The middle boy came down with a bad case of nausea last night and I slept with him in his bed, to make sure he gets the throw-up bowl positioned correctly every time. He didn’t even bother with the bowl the first time and it wasn’t fun cleaning up afterwards.

I had to move the bunk bed away from the wall to clean and didn’t want the youngest to fall off, so I sent him to our room to sleep with his daddy. This morning as I ran downstairs (I usually run up and down the stairs, I  hardly ever walk 🙂 ) I caught a glimpse of his little blonde head sticking out under the covers and for a split second I thought it was Jenna. I did a couple of re-runs past the bedroom door just so I could try to pretend it really was Jenna sleeping there next to her daddy.

I keep her spot in our bed clear. (And right now, I am glad I never bowed to the pressure to get her into her own bed quicker. I would have missed out on many precious cuddles if I had.) I want her spot to retain her smell as long as possible. Sometimes I just take a deep whiff and cry a few tears. I miss my little girl.

She was at an age where our relationship was very physical. She was on my lap or on my hip a lot of the time, she slept next to me in our bed, we shared lots of hugs and kisses. I  miss the sense of her being physically near acutely, and though a psychologist friend said I will eventually learn to let go of her physically and embrace her in my heart, it is still difficult. Hubby reminded me of this this morning and I said: “But I don’t wanna”, which made me sound just like my little petulant 3 year old.

I must say that I have really had a sense of what heaven must be like in my times of worship since Jenna died. When the presence of God surrounds me, really surrounds me, there is absolutely NO pain, no anguish, not even a sense of loss… just indescribable peace. I feel closest to Jenna in those times but not in that physical sense that I am so foolishly trying to recapture. There is a connection in the spirit, because she lives with Jesus in heaven.

It is not quite possible for me to stay in that tangible presence of God all the time but it is those times that see me through. Thank God for a church where there is such a sense of his presence and glory during our times of worship!

I have heard that at least one person who attended Jenna’s memorial had difficulty wrapping her mind around the fact that I could worship God so freely in the light of recent happenings.  She came to me afterwards and tried to talk about the ‘guilt factor’, trying to encourage me not to take any guilt upon myself. I honestly (and by the grace of God) have not had a moment’s struggle in that area. I just don’t believe that is a yoke God is putting on me (or anyone else that was there on the day)…his yoke is easy and his burden is light.

God is God and he is sovereign. We still believe that somehow he allowed something in His wisdom that he could have prevented in his power and I don’t think I could have changed that.

I am grateful for the foundational teaching I have received in the word of God that has enabled me to see His hand in something so horrible and tragic. There are so many little things I cannot possible share with you all, but when woven together they just form one unending tapestry of grace.

Here’s one:

At the very time that Jenna must have fallen into the pool, my sister and mom and I were outside on the patio  near her kitchen. Either my mom or my sister pointed out the robin that was sitting on the rooftop, in full view in the late afternoon light. I remembered afterwards that a dear old family friend mentioned to me a long time ago that God often sends her a robin when she needs a special assurance of his presence. Surely we cannot make a doctrine out of this but God has ways of getting our attention, and seeing that robin when I did was one of His ways of whispering to me that he was in control.

I heard that robin sing throughout the rest of my stay in SA, y’all. Whenever the sadness pressed in too closely, I’d hear his clear sweet song. He was the first bird to start singing in the wee hours of the morning…at 4 am. while it was still pitch black outside his song would rise up. Job says: “He giveth songs in the night”, and David said in Psalms  42:8: “the LORD will command his lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me.”

It is still true. In the midst of this terrible sadness I can still have a song on my lips to my precious Jesus. And the cool thing is that there is a robin in my yard here in the States too. I have never seen him and I was oblivious to his singing before, but now his sweet song is a constant reminder of the goodness of my God.


37 responses to “March 10 2008 ~ Songs in the night

  1. I hope your son starts feeling better.

    I have a little story. You might remember this one. Harley, thought she was doing something nice for me and washed JT’s blanket. She thought she was doing something nice for me. It was the last thing I thought that I had that smelled like him. I was so mad at her. I just couldn’t fathom why she did that. She just didn’t understand. I was so mad at her. I finally apologized, and explained to her why I was so angry over it.

    2 months later going through stuff I found a bag of his things that hadn’t been touched. It was on top of the fridgerator of all places. I opened it to look through it and it still smelled like him. It was awesome. I tell ya I sniffed the sniff out of that stuff. It felt like he was there beside me telling me I am still in your heart. I am ok.

    I can only imagine what it is like in Heaven for Jenna and JT but, I know they are both gloriously happy and are safe. That is what I have held on to through out these last months.

    Listen for your Robin, I truely believe that it is God’s and Jenna’s way of telling you I am still in your heart and I am ok.

    love ya!!!

  2. Praying for you and your family.

    This and your previous posts were a needed reminder for me and comforting to know you have Jesus as you go through this time. I know it is NOT easy, but made more peaceful, because you are God’s child and He loves you.

  3. I remember that story, Bobbie. 🙂 Isn’t God good to give you that basket? That is just like Him!

    I have had a disappointment this week – a friend had taken video footage of Jenna late last year because at the time she said: “It’s a shame not to have your kids on video when they are little. They grow up so fast.” I believe that God had laid it on her heart to do it because he knew what was coming.

    We tried playing the video this week and it won’t play. My friend had erased the original. She says she has played the video on her system after Jenna’s death and it worked. We are going to borrow hers and see if we can see it sometime. My thought is that maybe we were not ready to see it yet and God knows.

    But pray with me that I’ll be able to see it when we are ready!

  4. Sumi, my heart still breaks when I think of your loss (and of Bobbie’s). Your robin story is so beautiful. I hear the birds everyday but I don’t “listen”, if you know what I mean. I am going to start paying more attention and when I hear them, I will think of you and of Jenna.

    I’m continuing to pray for you and your family daily. I didn’t even know Jenna but I still get overwhelmed with grief when I think about what you’re going through.

    Love ya,

  5. Sumi,

    My heart goes out to you and your family. I have been where you are. My husband and I lost our sweet newborn daughter, Abigail Grace, in August 1999. We knew at 4 months into the pregnancy that unless God performed a miracle we would not be able to raise our sweet precious baby. That was this most difficult time in my life, but also the most precious time in my life.

    I can tell you, as I know you know, that God’s strength and presence is more real for you now than probably at any time in your life. He is in your tears, and in the joy of your daughter’s memory. It is amazing how God gives you an extra measure of Grace to get you thru the loss of a child.

    We serve an awesome and loving God!

    Lean on God during this time. Learn from Him. He has something so precious to teach you right now. He will continue to give you His Strength, and He will continue to bless you through Jenna’s memory.

    Jenna’s life and your testimony is her legacy!

    Sending prayers to our Father to continue to substain you and give you strength!

    (I found you through Lysa’s blog)

  6. Found you via Lysa as well. Please know you are being held up by the prayers of all of us who have read your story and wept at your loss. May Jesus carry you today, dear sister.

    On His Adventure~

  7. Hi Sumi,
    I am visiting from Lysa’s blog and when your blog came up I instantly recognized the picture of your little girl with the cat. I’ve been here before & loved that picture.
    I had no idea that your Jenna is in heaven, I must’ve visited before her homecoming.
    As I sit at my computer with tears streaming down my face you have reminded me that my kids are on really God’s. Bottom line, we feed them, teach them, love them, but we are simply their earthly caretakers. I can’t even begin to imagine the pain your feeling being apart from your little one, and at the same time the closeness you must be feeling to God.
    I love what your husband said that Lysa had on her blog. How is this to be understood though? My sweet sister in Christ, please know that you are being lifted up to God in Lincoln, Nebraska. My heart goes out for you. I’m sure your walk with Jesus is nothing like it was before. Keep seeking His face Sumi and let His glory shine into the empty spaces not having Jenna in your arms or your bed has left.

  8. Hi Sumi,

    I read about your story on Lysa’s website….my heart was just broken as I read through your posts. I am so sorry for your loss of your sweet little girl. She is so precious, I melted as I looked at her pictures and read your sweet words of her.

    May God continue to use you in such a powerful, mighty way, I know His words through you spoke so much to me……. Surrendering these sweet babies to God isn’t always the easiest thing. I am praying for you today and will be in the coming days.

  9. Lysa sent me here as well. My heart broke as I read your posts, yet what a testimony to God’s grace and comfort. I pray you and your family will continue to know His sweet sustaining presence as you walk this difficult road.


  10. Here is a blog where another mom is going through some of the same stuff as you. Her daughter Hannah drowned in July.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  11. Sumi,
    You have written such a beautiful post. I am so moved by your faith. Our God is good and everyday I pray to him to carry you through. The verse that always pops into my mind is “He will raise you on eagle’s wings.” I don’t know where that comes from, my bible knowledge isn’t the best, but I think of it all the time. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself, Sumi. We love you and miss you.

  12. Sumi,
    There have been at least two times in my life when I felt I had no anchor. Lost in a deep abyss of grief, God’s grace suddenly and amazingly surrounded me for as long as He thought I needed to be carried. That precious time has carried me through many other minor crises. I had known God’s Presence and it left an indelible mark in my soul that was all mine. Sumi, when I attended a memorial service a while ago, God gave me a vision of Jesus walking up to meet this godly man with twinkling eyes, saying, “Ah, finally, Abe…” I pray that God will give you a beautiful vision of your precious Jenna dancing for Jesus. I pray that when those cavernous moments of emptiness comes when you miss that physical “Jenna”, that the Spirit would rush in and fill you with the sweetness of Hid Presence. My heart is with you, dear sister.

  13. Sumi,
    I too found you thru Lysa’s blog.
    What a beautiful response in the midst of your pain, “he allowed something in His wisdom that he could have prevented in his power”. You have given all of us a blessing to treasure forever in those words. My prayers are with you and your family.

  14. Hope your son feels better soon. My heart aches for you. Thank you for letting us know how you are letting Jesus carry you through this time. I was blessed to hear the robin’s song brought you a measure of comfort.

  15. Hi Sweet Sumi,
    I hope you are blessed by the extra prayers and thoughts today. Sorry I didn’t have your e-mail to ask you first.

    I just had to tell you that while I was running this morning with Holly, we were praying. Right when Holly was praying for you and a few others that have lost loved ones lately, a bright blue bird swooped right in front of us. It just took my breath away because of what you had written in your post about the blue bird.

    I just thought you should know.

  16. Lysa, I went to Walmart for the first time today and it was so hard pushing the empty cart past all the aisles I had visited with Jenna and remembering all our conversations and games in the store.
    As I left, I thought to myself: “I should be falling apart right now” but I realised that I wasn’t, because of all the prayers going up for us. Truly, the prayers of others have been carrying us, and your post today enabled so many more to pray – I can feel it! So, thank you.

    I think that is awesome about the blue bird too. 🙂

  17. Sumi, you visited my blog the other day, and I tried to connect to yours and realized I couldn’t. So when I saw your name on Lysa’s today, it clicked right away.
    My heart grieves for you at your loss, and yet, I am so blessed by your great love for the Lord. I really have no words I can say other than I will be praying for you and your precious family.
    In His Grip,

  18. Sumi,
    I found you through Lysa’s blog today and I have been reading your post. I am so sorry for your loss and I will be praying for your family through this time. Thank you for the example that you and your husband have been through this tragedy.

    God Bless~

  19. Just foud your blog. I weep and rejoice with you as i sit here. I love you and i don’t even know you!

  20. I don’t know you or Lysa, but this morning I got a google news alert linking to Lysa’s last post, which I read and came over here.

    I am filled with emotion reading about your precious daughter. A family that my family was close to growing up lost their 3-year old son in their own pool, they were getting ready for church on Sunday and they’d seen him running around less than 10 minutes before they found him under water.

    They had an older surviving daughter and I used to babysit for her after that. They hired me because I was a swimmer and a lifeguard.

    I love that family like my own, and it’s been 20 years now, depth of that loss still knocks me down.

    We lost my niece, my husband’s sister’s oldest child, in 1996. She was diagnosed with an inoperable malignant brain tumor 1 month after she turned 3 and after 19 months and many hills and valleys, she earned her angel wings and we bid her farewell, at home in the same bed she was born in.

    Before the cancer treatments she looked so very much like your Jenna, all big eyes and long blond hair.

    I am terribly sorry for your loss and I mean that from the bottom of my heart.

    Your outlook and your faith are inspirational to me. After my niece died I didn’t set foot in church for 5 years and most of my conversations with God were tearful angry ones.

    But one day I picked myself up and took my kids to church and got them baptized and tried to make up for lost time and my bad attitude. 18 months later my 9-year old son was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

    Things have gone better with him. After some really rough times, he is now 4 years out now and doing well.

    Through these experiences I have come in contact with dozens of families with sad stories to tell.

    I don’t have any explanations for why such horrors are visited upon families and innocent children and I have to say that as I sit with these families and speak soothing words, somewhere in the back of my mind I’m asking that question all the time.

    I am inspired by your faith and your trust in the greater plan.

    I will be back to see how things are going.

    Godspeed to your sweet Jenna, dancing before the throne.

    Your family is in my prayers.

  21. Sumi,

    I to like so many others are here visiting from Lysa’s blog. My heart aches you and your family. My children are so precious to me just as yours are to you. What an inspiration you are so many women. You are truly on an awesome journey. As I sat here and read your blog, I could feel God pouring out of the words. I know he is providing peace and comfort for you. Heaven has given you an angel to watch her loved ones. I will keep you in my prayers as you and your family continue to travel down this rough road.

    In His Name

    p.s. When my grandmother passed away, I saved a shawl she always wore. I placed it in a sealed bag and when I am missing her, I open the bag and her smell consumes me to give me the little boost I need. Just a thought..this might be something to do to bring just a little in comfort in the moment you need it.

  22. Dear Sumi, I too found you through Lysa’s blog and wanted to tell you how much my heart goes out to you and your family. As a mother, I can’t help but be heartbroken for anyone who has to go through this. What a wonderful and inspiring testimony you have to God’s grace and faithfulness as He is carrying you through this trial of losing precious Jenna. You will be in my thoughts and prayers, and may God comfort and strengthen you in the days to come. All praise to our Living, Loving Heavenly Father that we do not “sorrow as others who have no hope.” (1 Thess. 4:13)

  23. Dear Sumi,

    Like so many other women who read Lysa’s blog, I too have been deeply moved by your story. I’ve experienced great loss in my life but I can’t even fathom the pain and loss associated with losing a child. I have wept for you and your family and prayed for you so often throughout my day. I am in awe of your strength and God’s provision for you and your family. He used your story to speak some precious words to my heart and I wrote about that on my blog today if you’d like to read it. My address is It’s beautiful to me how God always brings good from tragedy, revealing himself in the midst of the darkness. He’s incredibly faithful and generously merciful. I’m confident his favor and love will continue to rest upon your family. He will turn your mourning into dancing as the scripture says. I would imagine your beautiful princess is already dancing at his feet.

    With blessings and prayer,

  24. Sumi,
    To the many visitors that will no doubt come to your blog, whether it be through Lysa’s site, friends, or other, your words whisper sweet hope and truth. Your story will be used to bring comfort to many a grieving soul, to encourage those who find themselves between their own rock and a hard place, and they will be led to the One who is your Rock of salvation and hope. Thank you for sharing your life’s story, God has surely used it today to comfort my own heart and to remind me of God’s faithfulness even in times of sorrow and difficulty. You and yours are in my prayers.

  25. Sumi, here is a link to an old hymn for you and your husband to listen to. I pray that it ministers deep down as you let it sink into your pain…
    All day I have been thinking and praying for you and here is the song I was singing for you…
    Pass me not, O gentle Saviour,
    Hear my humble cry,
    While on others Thou art calling,
    Do not pass me by.
    Saviour, Saviour, Hear my humble cry,
    While on others Thou are calling,
    Do not pass me by…

    With Love, Tears, Thoughts, Prayers,
    I am your sister-in-Christ,
    Sita (((((((((HUGS))))))))))

  26. I just read a bit of your story and my heart goes out to you. I am hugging you right now as hard as I can through a blog. O, how I long for Him to come. Just when we think earth is good enough we realize just why we need a Savior and why we are told to store our treasure up in heaven. You sweet tresure is with the Father. I am sure your heart is closer to heaven than it has ever been.

    Today a pastor at my church as me to make a video for the service about suffering. He wanted me to share my testimony as to how God can use it for good. It was a tough assignment. Much tougher than I anticipated. What do you think? Is there anything that leaps from your heart? Would you mind sharing?

  27. Oh sweet Sumi, my heart is broken. I’ve been here before. It was after the contest on Lysa’s blog. I remember thinking you were such a neat person. I even read some of your posts to my husband. I marveled at your pictures of big animals outside the windows of your family home in SA. Lysa’s blog has once again brought me back. You are amazing. I find such encouragement in your strength. Your precious Jenna was a doll and I’m sure is winning the hearts of all in heaven. I am praying for you and your family today. May the Lord continue to bless you in a mighty way.

  28. I remember reading your story for the Proverbs31 article submission contest on Lysa’s blog. I am so glad she’s going to publish it.

    I am so incredibly sorry for your loss. My own 3-year-old almost drowned last summer. While almost a dozen kids were playing in the pool surrounded by a crowd of moms, she slipped on the stairs and went silently underwater without anyone noticing. Miraculously, her 6-year-old sister soon saw her lying on the bottom and immediately dove down and pulled her out. My heart stopped as I grabbed her unresponsive body, laid her on the deck, and pushed on her diaphragm to pump the water out. Her screams as she regained consciousness were the sweetest sounds I have ever heard.

    I loved the quote Lysa took from your site about God’s wisdom and power. We cannot know the whys of His actions, but we can trust His wisdom and the knowledge that He is always working for our good and His glory. You are definitely glorifying Him through your response to Jenna’s early homecoming and you are blessing so many of us. Thank you.

  29. My sweet sister in Jesus. I’m linking to you thru Lysa as well and let me say that I’ve been reading your blog thru the day getting caught up on your family and I’m just sitting here with tears streaming down my face. Yes they are tears of sadness but also such joy! Our Abba Father is so good to us. ESPECIALLY in the devastating times and you, sweet girl, are a shining example of “abiding in Him”!

    Your precious Jenna IS dancing with Jesus on streets of gold and is living all the amazing stories of Him you’ve shared with her – I’m sure!

    Thank you for your courage to share all this with us and if we never meet here, know that I’ll be in line to squeeze your precious neck when we meet your Jenna in heaven!! In the meantime, I will keep you and your family in my prayers – know that!! To God be all glory!

    In Him –

  30. Michelle Bingham

    Hello Sumi,
    I read about you on Lysa’s blog and I have sat here and just cried and cried for you and your family. Your strength and courage are so amazing!
    I just want you to know that I am so sorry that you have had to go through this pain. My heart truly aches for you. Know that I will never forget your little Jenna and you will always be in my thoughts and prayers.

    Love In Christ,

  31. Sumi, Your faith in the midst of this trial is truly inspiring. Prayers go out for you and your family and you continue to walk this path of grief. God has blessed you so richly with grace to stand through each day.

  32. Sweet Sumi,

    I came across your blog through Lysa’s. I left a comment last night but you have continued to be upon my heart. When I was lying in bed I remembered something. In one post you made mention that your husband saw the angel that was sent to Jenna and that the angel looked like you. Well, I saw an angel once and she looked just like my mother but cleaner, much cleaner and she had blue, blue eyes. My mother has dark features so the blue eyes really stuck out. It is a story I thought you may want to hear. You have my email address and I can send it to you if you like.

    Much, much love,

  33. WOW! Your friend Lysa knows a LOT of people!! What a testimony though – through your tragedy, Jesus is opening a door to hundreds of people. I’m excited about what the future holds . . .

    and just wanted to mention how blessed I was one night when keeping the kids and Jenna fell asleep on my chest as I was playing on the internet . . . I felt like a very bad substitue for her mother, but it made my heart happy to have such a precious little jewel resting on me. 😉

    – and I don’t recall reading as much since then either. (haha)

  34. Sumi–my heart goes out to you and your family. I cannot imagine the pain you’re experiencing. I do know, however, the joy you experience when you look forward to the day of being with Jenna again.

    Your faith and trust is an inspiration!

    In His Love,

    “I know you’re real
    and somehow still
    you’re watching over me.
    And you will always be
    until Heaven brings me
    home to you.
    I’ll remember
    You will always be here
    in my heart.”
    from In My Heart by Sandi Patty

  35. Dear Sumi,
    Thank you for taking time to write the sweet words on my blog. You and your family are a blessing. I am going to add you to my favorites and keep in touch.
    By the way, yesterday on my way to work right by the side of the road was a robin sitting on the ground by itself. I don’t think I’ll ever look at a robin the same way. I will always be reminded of your story. That was so precious of the Lord to send you that special gift.
    Although I don’t know you, I love your family and delight in the love you have for the Father.
    Love & continued prayers and intercession,

  36. Oh Wow! I just read Valeries comment above & the same thing happened to me. I was taking my kids to school & there was a robin next to the curb. Jenna’s sweet face instantly came to my mind. Yep, I too will never look at a robin the same way.

  37. tessofthebellgrades

    Sumi, there is an Aboriginal Dreaming about the Robin that says he foretells death, but that he is not a harbinger of greif but of joy, that he somehow communicates to us what our love ones would wish us to hear. It is only fitting that Robins visit you, and that God sends them so faithfully. Both he and Jenna are blessing you with their presence, their love and their joyful song, why else would you have so many beautiful recordings of your little girls voice singing?

    I am humbled by your strength and your faith.
    ~Bekki B.

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