So much to say and so little blog

I have been too busy to write much but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t written whole blog posts in my head! Of course, now that I am sitting here at the computer they are all gone and so I will just let my fingers follow this random flow of thoughts over the keyboard. Hopefully this post will make some kind of sense by the time I am done. 🙂

Our camping trip was fun, but WET! It was nice to play in the water with our friends but when you get out you want to be able to dry off! Being back in my nice, dry, fragrant, un-sandy, tempur-pedic bed was bliss!

On our last day at the spring we saw a little girl who resembled Jenna uncannily. She wore the same color bathing suit, had the same chubby cheeks and curly hair, she even flicked her hair out of her face like Jenna used to. The only difference was her eyes, they were brown and not as striking as Jenna’s were. I could not help staring. I paddled out just far enough for the differences between her features and Jenna’s to fade, and tried to pretend it was really my muffin sitting there on the steps next to the water. Hubby stared too and we shared a few moments of sheer aching to have the muffinny with us again. It would have been so wonderful to see her and her bestest buddy Joseph running around at the campground together.

An acute sense of missing her has remained with me since. Oh she was such a precious little joy-and-laughter-maker in our house. I miss telling her how delicious she is and asking her if I could have just a little taste of her. She’d laugh and tell me: “I am not food!” I would beg her to have just a little taste anyway, and she would offer me her arm, giggling. I would nibble on it and proclaim that it was just as I thought: she was yummily delicious! Sometimes she would ‘taste’ me back and tell me I was yummy too. 🙂

Oh, I just miss all those cute toddler games and cuddles and snuggles today.

I do not know how I would have coped without the certainty that Jenna is still alive and well and living with Jesus. I look at her pictures sometimes and it does not feel like I am looking at someone who is no more.  Her life continues, in another place that I cannot see right now but that is just as real as the world I am so familiar with. That gives me such hope! When I kissed her little cheeks and hands goodbye there in the hospital room it was not the end. I will see my muffinny again.

Which reminds me…I received a very valid question via email from a reader and instead of answering her privately, I thought I would blog about it. She wrote:

In the many blogs I’ve read of children that are born and then die, I find that there is often such a focus on the child in heaven, their healing, their joy etc. It seems that the fact the God is in heaven doesn’t really matter anymore.  It seems as though they see God as just another care giver to their children, their children’s healer.  Why is it that God is no longer the appealing part of heaven but their children?  How is it that what is taught in scripture about heaven – where we will no longer know husband and wife, children or any earthly type of relationship -is forgotten?  Why is it that the worship of God is no longer as important as being reunited with their child?

I think this is a good and honest question. I don’t believe it was meant judgmentally, and I think it was asked in an effort to understand something. I am assuming that if one reader asks this question, there are probably many more out there with the same thoughts, who are afraid to voice them.

I thought of a few points regarding this. Firstly, I want to remind my reader that many of the blogs about losing a child are attempts to work through that loss and the blogger will naturally write from that perspective. A blog post is usually just a mere snapshot of what the blogger is feeling at that precise point in time. There are so many thoughts, emotions, and words that do not make it onto the blog page. Just because the blogger writes about their longing to see their child again does not mean that they do not look forward to worshipping God in heaven.

I also think that this is an area where God has tender understanding towards these dear mommies. He knows our frames and that we are dust. He knows how bound we tend to be to the things that we can see, feel, and touch, and how hard it is for us to relate to a world that is unseen, often unfelt, and untouchable. We had our babies here with us, to kiss and smell and hug and now they are so profoundly gone. It is so natural for us to want back what we have lost. It makes us look forward to the restoration that will surely come in heaven.

Of course Jesus will be the focal point in heaven. He is so full of light and glory and majesty, we will find ourselves drawn to him like a moth to a flame. We will be unable to resist him! We will see our loved ones and it will be a huge joy but seeing Jesus face to face will overshadow that joy a million times. But as a mommy with a precious little one in heaven I have two things to look forward to – seeing Jenna, and looking into the glorious eyes of my heavenly bridegroom with an unveiled face for the rest of eternity.

I looked up what the bible had to say about us no longer having any earthly type of relationship. The bible does mention that we will no longer marry or be given into marriage in heaven, but is silent on the matter of children and other relationships. I believe that we will not marry in heaven because earthly marriage is a picture of something heavenly – the marriage between Jesus and his bride. Marriage is an exclusive thing, a contract made between two parties, and there is no room for another person in the mix.  When we are married to Jesus in heaven there will no longer be room for the kind of exclusive intimacy that we shared with our earthly spouses. Jesus will be our all in all.

This does not mean however, that all kinds of earthly relationships will be abolished automatically. I believe we will still know our spouses, our friends, our children, and enjoy sweet fellowship with them with Jesus at the center of it all.

As I pondered my reader’s question, it occurred to me that God himself is the most relational being I know. Everything he does is through relationships. He exists in relationship. The three persons of the God-head are in perfect relationship with one another. All of God’s dealings towards man is done with one goal in mind and that is for God to have a relationship with man.

God, the big, and mighty, awesome God, walked with puny Adam in the garden. He called Abraham his friend. He talked to Moses face to face. He uses words like child, sister, spouse, to talk of his chosen people and he calls himself their husband. He calls David a man after his own heart. Why? Despite all his frailties and failures David understood one thing. He knew how to be real with God. David had a single-minded, unwavering desire to be in relationship with God, and God loved that about him.

In Isaiah God says he would make his home with those who have a humble and a contrite heart. In the new testament he calls himself Emmanuel, God with us. In the book of Revelation he is knocking at the door of our hearts, longing for us to admit him into the inner sanctum of our lives so that we could sup together.

The bible does not only tell us how much God wants us to be in relationship with him, it also tells us what a blessing it is to be in right relationship with one another. (Psalm 133) God talks about his church as a body, who needs to work together as a team to get the job done. 1 Cor 13 talks about love being the greatest thing, and love needs relationships to express itself in. The work of the ministry is carried out in relationship. I could go on and on but this blog is getting long!!

All of this points me to one thing: my precious, relational God who values relationships so highly and made me in his image to value them too, will surely honor the relationship I have with my little girly girl. It might not be the same as it was here on earth, in fact I have no idea how old Jenna will be in heaven or what our relationship will look like.  But I know that she will always be my little girl and I am certain that we will still know one another and have precious times together in the ages to come. You can bank on it!

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27 responses to “So much to say and so little blog

  1. Sumi,

    You are terrific!!! What a great post. I have missed reading your blog since I went back to work. What a great day to check in.

    Have a blessed day,
    Kirsten

  2. cornishevangelist

    Hebrews 6:1 :: King James Version (KJV)
    Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
    The Word of God tells us that we are not to stand still in our faith. Some of us keep going over and over, time after time, the first principles of the oracles of God.
    You know, being saved, repenting of sins, baptism in water and in the Holy Ghost, laying on of hands, the resurrection from the dead and eternal judgement.
    Which are all very necessary things, but now it is time to move on, for our foundation has been laid.
    The Bible teaches that we do not need to be taught again and again but it is time to teach others, so that we, who are mature in faith, may come into a much closer walk with Christ. This we will do if God permits, as the word of God says.

  3. You are incredible. I would have neither the grace nor the understanding that you offered in your response to your reader’s question. I pray you feel Jenna’s sweetness close by your side today…God bless you for your thoughtful heart!

  4. Ahhh Sumi! Very well said. It was a gracious and well thought out reply. I agree wholeheartedly.

    I only have one thing to add… Another of the relationships that God speaks of having with us is that of our Abba. There have been numerous occasions when I have understood God’s “Daddy” love for me even more through my relationships with my children – particularly when Ellie was suffering the most with her cancer and treatments. I believe that our love for our children, and longing for them once they are in Heaven is such a mirror for God’s longing for closeness with us. I have felt such stirrings of closeness towards the heart of God in and through my relationships with my children. I think that being a parent is the one of our human relationships where we can (in the best and very humblest sense of the term) put ourselves just a bit into God’s shoes to see how he feels about us…

    On another note: I’m sorry that the feelings of loss have been sharper these days. I have also been feeling that pang of emptiness in the “Ellie” moments. Some days it just takes my breath away to realize that she’s gone. It’s permanent. I just want to touch her… I’m so sorry that you have to go through this. I’m sorry that I do too.

  5. Sumi, I find it interesting that the person who asked you the question assumed that the parent’s longing for the beloved has surpassed their longing for the Lord. There actually is a judgment in that. I have never read where you or another bereaved parent has said that they long to see their child more than they long to see the One who saved them.

    I suspect that the questioner has unresolved grief of his or her own, frankly. And that’s the psychologist in me speaking.

    I love my child; I miss her every day. The anniversary of her entrance to the presence of God approaches (August 9, actually); but I can tell you what makes my heart pound and thrill with joy: it’s the very thought of myself being in the presence of God. Yes, I am pretty sure that one of the first people I see when I get there will be my daughter, in her glorified body as the person she was created to be. But the one who thrills me beyond words is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. I am pretty sure that you will say the same thing, Sumi.

    On an unrelated note, something I’m thinking of doing for our family is putting together a book about our daughter on Shutterbug. Nowadays we can do photo scrapbooks and I was thinking how lovely it would be to have a book for Olivia that I could have out all the time, full of our favorite photos and memories with her. I thought I’d pass that on. I don’t know that I could have done this while my grief was fresh, but I’m thinking about doing it now. Since everyone is on his or her own timeline of grief, I thought I’d pass along the idea. I can see it being healing to put together a tribute. Or even more than one.

  6. It’s so good to hear from you!! I agree with what you wrote. You can hear God’s grace and love through your writing. It’s very refreshing!

    I’m continuing to pray for you and your family!

    Love you!

    Cynthia Y.

  7. Sumi, you said it so well.

    I think when we get to heaven, the reality of being in the Lord’s presence will completely erase all the concerns and questions that seem so important in this earthly life.

    A grieving friend once told me that she likes to think God has set aside a special place in heaven filled with rocking chairs for all the mothers who had to say goodbye to their little ones before we could say hello. While it comforts me and makes me smile to think about such a place, I know that in heaven there won’t be any more feelings of loss and need. We will know our son and he will know us, and we will all be perfectly fulfilled and completed in the presence of our Savior.

    The eternal home He has prepared for us is going to be unimaginably awesome! (and if it includes a rocking chair for John and me, I’ll take it!)

  8. You rock. Again. 🙂

  9. Your blog is such a blessing! Please know I am praying for you and love you so much!

    Kristy

  10. Sumi,
    I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE reading your blog. You inspire and encourage me in so many ways. You are always in my thoughts and prayers! Alicia

  11. I love your heart here Sumi and your response to the question asked. I am a grandmother now, but I know the bond between mother and child is about as close as we can get to the bond God has with us, His children. He uses children to teach us, to realize that unless we become as a child we will not see the kingdom of heaven. We will know them, the ones who left too soon because our hearts are connected in His love. I leave the details up to Him because I trust Him to keep His promise to us as believers. I have prayed for you for some time now and the memories you share about Jenna are precious, just as she is. May the pain in your heart become less as your joy becomes more. You inspire and encourage me.

    Love, Laurie in Ca.

  12. You answered those questions so beautifully and with such grace. I always feel at such a loss to even leave you a comment. The beauty and grace that always shines in all that you write leaves me speechless.

    I have so often wanted to ask you if you would mind me putting a link to your blog on mine. I just know that I am tremendously blessed every time I come by here, and I know anyone coming by here would be. Please let me know if this would be okay with you. I don’t want to do anything that would make you uncomfortable…so no offense to a no thank you. 🙂

    Blessings, sweet Sumi.

  13. Sumi,
    Well put. I have struggled to find a way to express my feelings on the subject and you did such a great job. It is not that now all of the suddend I look forward to heaven, it is that seeing Joshua again will be part of the sweetness of being there, that there we will be able to worship our Saviour together even though I know we can each worship him now.

  14. Amen! If God grieves and experiences loss due to our rejection of Him, I think He can understand our grief and our hope of reconciliation with those we love. There is nothing more amazing than His grace.

    I pray that God’s deep comfort soothes those aching places of your heart.

  15. Thanks so much, Sumi! You are now officially stuck with being on my page! 🙂

  16. I just noticed your comment on Jim Houser’s page. It’s such a small world! 🙂

  17. Sumi, What a truly grace-filled, honest, and truthful explanation of that question. I think for those who haven’t been through the loss of a child, it must be very difficult to make sense of the grief process of a parent. It is foreign b/c it is surely not as things should be.
    Grace and peace,
    Ashley

  18. Hi Sumi,
    It’s been a long time since I’ve written.
    I just saw today where I had written down Jenna’s birthday on July 27 and feel so bad because I was going to send you a note that day.
    I have your name on my list of favorite blogs and most every day I go down that list and lift up the needs and pray about things going on in each life and each family.
    My heart still breaks for you and I have such a hard time even imagining how I would even be able to go on if I were to lose a child.
    I don’t know all the Scriptures about it, but I do think Jesus will be our main focus when we get to heaven, but I just know….we’ll know our loved ones.
    I can’t wait for you to see Jenna again.
    I also think Jesus will take you by the hand personally and show you His plan and you’ll say…..”Oh….that’s what you were doing.”
    You and awesome and your faithfulness and strength have blessed countless people and no doubt will continue.
    Love & continued prayers,
    Valerie

  19. Hi Sumi,
    I am thankful the gift was a blessing and I hope it reminds you of your treasure in heaven awaiting you! I got one for Joel on his 3rd BD, it is a little boy holding a balloon with the word ‘hope” on it, and that is what I am cleaving to, hope, faith, the things that are unseen. Like you said awhile back, they have been gone so long, and now I am ready for Joel to come back, to go on with our lives! I know like you, we just miss them in a way that words can not hold. we must lift our eyes to the Lord, we must look upward as we travel onward to that city where they now dwell….
    Cindy
    http://www.weloveyoujoel.blogspot.com

  20. you are just precious and I love reading your heart. It is so pure.
    Thinking of you and continuing to pray with love,
    Kim

  21. Pingback: Monday morning meanderings. Vol.54 « the view from the juniper tree

  22. Hi Sumi.
    I have been thinking so much about you & your beautiful Jenna. I even had set my alarm on my cell phone and whispered Happy Birthday Jenna when it went off. I hope you were able to celebrate on her day. I can’t imagine what kind of birthday party the Creator throws!
    Keep seeking Him Sumi! You and your daughter are such a blessing!
    In His love,
    Lelia

  23. Just checking in. Glad to hear about the camping trip. I can only imagine what it felt like to see a little girl that looked so much like Jenna. Praying for you as I know this is painful and yet you are right…she is dancing with Jesus right now. I could not imagine going through this pain of loss without the promises that God gives to us. Though you walk throught the valley…for He is with you. Thinking of you often.

  24. Sumi, as always you have written such a wonderful post. So thoughtful and touching. I do believe that we will be reunited with our loved ones and that we will know them, maybe not in the sense we do now, such as husband and wife, but we will know them. I look forward to meeting you and Jenna there someday.

  25. Awesome post. Thank you so much. I pray for you and your family every time I think of you.

  26. Brava Sumi!!!

    As I read your answer, I conclude that I am less tender and understand for those that seek to judge or even to question our grief.

    Those who have not experienced a deep loss like we have, tend to minimalize our experience in comparison to what they THINK it would feel like. As if to say “Well, if that ever happened to ME, I would handle it differently. I wouldn’t focus so much on MY pain but how great God remains”

    Indeed, that is the truth. God is so good! But God also grieves with us. I know this, because Jesus WEPT in the gardem of gethsemane, not just because He was facing the worst death ever known, but because He was grieving for those that still would not accept all that He was going to do, and has done. He WEPT. He GRIEVED. And when we grieve, He remembers what it was like, and grieves with us.

    He knows what we suffer from, and that the loss is very real. Do I want to see my husband in Heaven? YES I DO. And I am so comforted by the fact that Jon and I will be completely, emotionally fullfilled. We will worship the Lord together, completely and with Joy, and it will be eternal.

    God has always been a part of it. The blessing is that Jon and I will be a part of it two, as will your precious Jenna, and all of our family. I praise Him right NOW for that!

  27. God never amazes me that He gives you the words He wants you to write. I know you’ll be going to school to teach and try to finish Bible School but I do hope you will continue to blog, because you are teaching so many of us.

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