Let us be going

Our pastor said something yesterday about Lot’s wife who turned into a salt pillar. It was a passing comment but it stuck with me.  

I find myself time and time again trying to re-create the past with Jenna and to forget, just for a moment, that she is gone. I long to feel that same joy in having my little girl on this side of heaven just one more time.  I smile at toddlers in the grocery store, trying to pretend I am sharing a smile with Jenna, I hold her best friend’s hands, hoping they’d feel like hers. When a little girl at church graces me with a hug I try to imagine it is Jenna’s.

No smile is quite like my muffins’ though, no hand feels like hers, and no other hug can feel as trusting and familiar as Jenna’s was. Try as I might, I can never return to that blissful pre-17th-of-February state where my enjoyment of Jenna was as simple and natural as my next breath.

If I had known she would be leaving us so soon I would have positively drunk her in, I would have taken lots of videos and pictures, I would have written down all her comments about the pictures she drew, I would have taken note of all her cute expressions.  But I had not, and so I find myself sometimes frantically rifling through the pages of my memory to grab a hold of them before my brain too, lets me down.

A friend recently said there’s a difference between treasuring memories and holding on to the past. I think the difference for me is going to be found in how much I let Jesus into my grief picture. I can sink into my own world and wrap a coccoon around me, preferring to alternately lull myself into numbness with all the many distractions around me, or sit alone with my feeble attempts to try to bring Jenna back, if just for a fleeting moment in my head. Or I can move forward.

Part of me loathes the expression ‘to move forward.’ It seems to imply that I am leaving Jenna behind and that every step I move forward, widens the gap. I could absolutely not bear to do that. It is slowly dawning on me though, that there is no danger there. How could there be? My muffin is always going to be with me. She is in my heart.

I can invite Jesus into my grief and move forward with him, going where he leads, and I can carry Jenna with me at the same time. I do not need to choose.

So…I want to make Jenna’s memory as vibrant and as precious as she was. I remember that at her memorial, I asked the people to always feel free to talk to me about Jenna. I told them that they wouldn’t scratch open some wound or anything like that. I hurt anyway, whether people mention Jenna to me or not. It is beyond precious to me when people talk about her, and tell me how they saw her, or when they add their memories to my own. 

A friend then suggested that I circulate a journal amongst the people who knew Jenna, so that they could write down some of their favorite memories of her.  Several people at our church have already had a turn, and when the journal is done there, I want to pass it on to my homeschool friends and family. (and those of you who felt they knew Jenna in cyber-land are free to email (or mail) me comments too, I could print it for her journal). It is already a great source of joy and a blessing to me to read and to know that many loved Jenna and were touched by her life.

Back on topic though… Please pray for me. I don’t want to become a salt pillar. 🙂 I don’t want to become bogged down and stagnate. I want to hear Jesus’s voice as he says: “Arise, let us be going”, and I want to follow him to the end of the world if he asks me to. 


20 responses to “Let us be going

  1. Hi Sumi… praying for you still.

    I just shared this with Bobbie and wanted to share it with you also…

    My mom just dropped off a bookmark that was made- it has my uncle’s obit. on one side and this poem on the other… here’s the poem (you may have this already- if so- sorry)

    The Broken Chain

    We little knew that morning that God was going to call your name, In life we loved you dearly, In death we do the same. It broke our hearts to lose you, you did not go alone, for part of us went with you, the day God called you home. You left us peaceful memories, your love is still our guide, and though we cannot see you, you are always at our side. Our family chain is broken, and nothing seems the same, but as God calls us one by one, THE CHAIN will link again.

    I thought it was worth sharing with you both right now. (HUG)

    You know… as I read your post… I got this mental picture of you typing away… and Jenna standing just to the side watching. I don’t know why it crossed my mind that she was right there with you as you posted this… but I “felt” it as I read it.

    I imagine that you have a very special, ever-present angel at your side… dressed in pink… naturally.

    I think sharing the journal was a great idea. It will be beautiful to have everyone else’s memories included there.

    Love you… praying for you… still wishing I could “help” more… and so sorry that I can’t. (HUG HUG HUG)

  2. Dankie dat my ons deel maak van jou gedages. dit is kosbaar om die proses te sien en te weet dat jy in Sy hande is en dat alles hier ook aan die tapeserie gaan meemaak om ‘n wonderlike, kleurvolle kunswerk te voltooi. Die enkele stekie in die tapeserie sien nie hoe sy deel uitmaak van die groter geheel nie. eendag sal jy dit sien en weet dat die misterie van liefde, smart en genesing nie ver verwyder is van kuns en prag nie.

  3. Dear Sumi,

    Your writings are incredibly beautiful. I am so moved by them. Your vulnerability, authenticity, and deep heart for God shine through your words in remarkable ways. I learned of Jenna’s passing through Lysa Terkeurst’s blog many weeks ago. You and your family have continually been on my heart since then. I pray for you often as Jesus brings you to mind in the sweetest, most unique ways. Recently, I was routinely making a salad for dinner when the name of the recipe caught my eye…”Jenna’s salad”. I smiled and prayed for you. I often check back with your blog to see how you’re doing and every time I read one of your posts, I am blessed. I am amazed at your courage and strength in the midst of such suffering. God is clearly bringing beauty from ashes through your story. May you feel his smile upon you today, his favor, and mercy. And may strength upon strength be yours.

    Praying for you,

  4. Hugs and prayers, Sumi. Hugs and prayers.

  5. Sumi,
    I think that is amazing revelation that God has given you. I want you to know that by reading your posts you have encouraged me to take closer notice of my children. I enjoy them more, I play more, I take in their smells a little more. I am really trying to make more precious moments with them. So you and your precious Jenna have inspired me to be a better mommy. And for that I want to say thank you! My love and prayers are with you!

  6. Hi Sumi,

    I couldn’t help but picture our lives as a race while reading your words. We are all running this race of life and some of us, like your Jenna, are reaching the finish line (Heaven) way before most of us. So we must perservere and move forward towards the finish line where we will once again reunite with those who have finished before us. In this sense, you are not leaving Jenna behind, but with each passing day – as slow and agonizing as they may be – you are moving that much closer to seeing her again.

    Your faith and strength inspire me to no end.

    Praying for you and your family,

  7. Amazing.

    You are doing it, Sumi. You are following Jesus to the ends of the earth: one breath a time, one step at a time, one hour at a time. You’re getting there. You’re seeking Him now, in the darkest days you have likely ever known. He is the only light you need.

    As I read your words, I felt myself wanting to interrupt, just to say, “Oh! I did that! I worried and worried that I would forget Miller Grace and I drove myself (more) insane trying to trace every feature in the pictures on my computer screen. But guess what?! You’ll NEVER forget her! She is forever, eternally written on your heart. You could no more forget her than you could forget what the back of your hand looks like. She is and shall always be the most beautiful and sacred part of you, your daughter. Don’t let satan convince you that you could ever forget her. Those are lies. And, in the name of Jesus, you do not have to accept them as truths. Rest, sweet Sumi!”

    So, there’s my interruption. I pray, I hope, I beg you to hear me because I tortured myself trying to remember and trying to cling to every last memory. They’ll not leave you. Not ever. And when you hold Jenna in your arms again, and you will, they will all pale in comparison to the perfection in you will be holding anyway.

    I am lifting you up and thanking God for the hope I hear in your words today. He will carry you. Every step. He will. Let Him. Find rest there. Be the child for a change. 😉

  8. I was just reading and this made me think of you . . .

    “They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble . . .” Jeremiah 31v9

    He’ll do it for you, Sumi. Just do what you’re already doing – go to Him with your weeping. love you!

  9. oh my word, i just realized that i have read your blog about jenna. i can not fathom your hurt; it is so much more than what we are dealing with. and now it even makes me sadder for your mom because she obviously KNEW jenna and enjoyed her little life. i am SO sorry – i really don’t know what else to say. she is a beautiful little girl – i am praying for your heart . much love, jan

  10. may i direct readers to your blog? also, there is a sentence (actually there are PARAGRAPHS) that are SO acutely wise – the one about inviting jesus into your grief – may i use that to direct to your blog? you have such depth of understanding – i want to take your words and carry them with me. jan

    Yes, Jan, feel free to quote me or to direct people here. 🙂

  11. You are exactly right about grieving with Jesus. He has invited us to taste and see that He is good. When I focus on the truth of who He is and how much He loves us, my perspective on missing Nicholas and Olivia changes from despair to hope.

    I wish you and your family blessings and hugs.

  12. i have a question. it may be too personal. feel free to email me (jan431@tx.rr.com) or you can comment here if you think it would be helpful to others. your writing is incredible – i know that for many, blogging is a way to get on paper deeply personal feelings and often hurts. in many of the blogs i read about women who have lost newborn babies (my own included) there is such a desperation, such a need to have that baby in their arms. there are so many what ifs. there is such anguish and longing and need. i KNOW that you feel the same way and i KNOW you must cry every day. but when i read your blog, there is such a calm in the midst of your pain. others claim jesus and anxiously await His return and Heaven on earth and look to Him for comfort and strength. a few are bitter and angry – absolutely natural and part of the process – and i know you must have had the same feelings. but there is something about your spirit that is unfamiliar to ME – something that i would love to experience. you aren’t that far down the road of grief for me to say “well, maybe i’d better go back and re-read your story from the beginning” because i did that and when i read about you and your family sitting around the very pool…..even the words you wrote about that experience expressed a sense of peace and acceptance. to lose a child you’ve loved for three years must be so much more difficult than losing a newborn – that is my speculation only. but maybe it isn’t. as i write this i wonder why am i even asking these questions but my truthful purpose in commenting is to tell you that i am so serious about wanting to have YOUR spirit and YOUR gentle, tender way of grieving. i am rambling i know but my heart is so full of longing to be different. bless you as you continue your journey and thank you. j

  13. Hey Sumi! Thanks for the lovely comments on my blog! It always brightens my day to see your smiling face on there. I would love to get together and share our hearts or just be. I am honestly pretty free this weekend and this coming week. PLEASE let me know if you have any free time. I think you are busier than I am. As always, I love you and am believing in you and for you.

  14. When I read your blog, I feel your grief, your love for Jenna and Christ’s heart. Nothing I can say would encourage you more than Him, but you are in my heart, Sumi. I think, in a way, when you are walking with God, you are walking towards Jenna, too. Not to put her on a pedestal, but because she is already there. She has left us behind and we still have to continue our walk, or as Paul puts it, our race.

  15. You don’t know me, but I want you to know that I have been coming here for weeks and praying for you and your family . I read Rachel’s blog (Hannah and Lilly’s mom) and when she mentioned you there, I had to come and read about your precious Jenna. I pray for you frequently througout my day as I thank God more deeply for my two precious little ones. During the frustrating moments, “knowing” you and Rachel gives me a deeper appreciation for the two special gifts that our Father has given me and reminds me to drink in the joy that they are, for life is too fleeting and our lives are but a mist that too soon disappears. I will keep praying for you and all those who love Jenna.

    Hugs from a sister in Christ praying for you in MD.

  16. Pingback: Monday morning meanderings. Vol.41 « the view from the juniper tree

  17. Sumi, just thought I’d leave you another (HuG). Your words are laden with the fruit of the Spirit. We’ve been doing the Beth Moore “Living Beyond Yourself” and was reminded of our daily need to:
    -pour out our confessions and concerns
    -pour in the Holy Spirit
    -pour forth His fruit.
    My last post has it in more detail. You must realize by now from the comments that your grief process still so raw is being used to draw others to Him. I do so love the heart of obedience in you and your husband. Keep taking time to curl up in His palm with Jenna.
    Love, thoughts and prayers,

  18. (((Sumi)))
    You are on my heart today so I wanted to drop by and let you know I have been praying for you. I love the picture in your header. Such a sweet muffin!

  19. Dear Sumi,
    I just started catching up on your blog a couple of weeks ago and I am so heartbroken for you and your family at the lost of your little girl.

    I have no words, I haven’t been down that road……. but I keep you all in my prayers everyday and every moment.

    Pam Wilhelm

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