Immortality is a frequent topic in movies, books, and conversations. What would you do if you were immortal, if you were able to live on this earth forever? Would you … Continue reading Immortality? Pass.
The Brevity of Life
I’ve been thinking about death more than usual over the past year. And it’s not what you may be thinking. It all started with Tori. Before her diagnosis I don’t … Continue reading The Brevity of Life
Life and Death
Last week I joked with some friends about how odd it was that my “assigned” Bible readings for several days in a row dealt with the brevity of life, the … Continue reading Life and Death
Unexpected Loss – Kailee Seal
Ever since Tori went to Heaven I have held the belief that, if you are going to lose a child, we had it the “better” way because we had time … Continue reading Unexpected Loss – Kailee Seal
Three Years: Tori’s Resurrection Day
It’s amazing that it has already been three years since our precious Tori entered the arms of Jesus.
Today could be a devastating, sad day. We could choose to dwell on what we “lost” that day, how our world changed, and that would be an acceptable way to spend the day given the circumstances. I mean, we did lose a child. The world would understand. But, as always, we choose to place our focus on where she is and how she is doing, as well as the fact that we will see her again someday and will never have to say goodbye.
Instead of the worldly form of grief, we choose peace.
Instead of blaming God, we choose faith.
Instead of tears, we choose joy.
We decided two years ago that we would always spend Tori’s Resurrection Day (also called Tori’s Day of Triumph) doing something fun as a family. The activities may vary from year to year, depending on the age of her siblings and their interests, but we want to always celebrate her life and her current/forever place of residence.
So, today we had breakfast at Cracker Barrel and had some fried apples (something she LOVED) together:
We went to see Tori’s tree at the Hershey Gardens for our second annual family photo in front of the tree:
We read “I Can Only Imagine: A Friendship with Jesus Now and Forever” to the boys – something we will do each year as we teach them about Tori, Heaven, and faith in Jesus.
But most importantly, we enjoyed our time as a family:
I promise we aren’t perfect Christians, nor are we perfect people. We sought out the biblical examples of living after a loved one’s death, and we believe that this is how we are to live. The New Testament, especially, is FILLED with verses about death of fellow believers and how Christians should respond, and it’s always referenced with joy. With peace.
We trust that the God who created the universe can be trusted with every detail of our lives, even when we don’t understand the reasons.
(If you’d like to hear me go more into depth about this and more, here’s a link to a speaking engagement I had in January. You can also read more in my book, Even So, Joy.)
One of the questions I ask in Even So, Joy is this: If we (as followers of Jesus) truly believe God and His promises, if we truly believe that Heaven is where we belong and where we will spend eternity, then why do we follow the world’s example and allow sorrow and grief to overcome us? It doesn’t have to be this way.
Would anyone CHOOSE to lose a child? Absolutely not. And yet, we CAN choose our reaction and how we live our lives afterward. We see the example of David losing a child (albeit to very different circumstances) in 2 Samuel 12 and his response:
19 When David saw them whispering, he realized what had happened. “Is the child dead?” he asked.
“Yes,” they replied, “he is dead.”
20 Then David got up from the ground, washed himself, put on lotions,[b]and changed his clothes. He went to the Tabernacle and worshiped the Lord. After that, he returned to the palace and was served food and ate.
21 His advisers were amazed. “We don’t understand you,” they told him. “While the child was still living, you wept and refused to eat. But now that the child is dead, you have stopped your mourning and are eating again.”
22 David replied, “I fasted and wept while the child was alive, for I said, ‘Perhaps the Lord will be gracious to me and let the child live.’ 23 But why should I fast when he is dead? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him one day, but he cannot return to me.”
David got up. He worshiped the sovereign God he knew and trusted. He knew he would see his son again someday and chose to live life.
I think about it this way: If it were me that had died, I would NOT want my parents to stop living life. I would not want them to visit my grave (or, as we call it, Resurrection Site). I would want them to remember that the separation is not forever, that I am where we all, as Believers, are supposed to be. That I am finally HOME.
Brennan and I chose then – and we choose now – to focus on Tori and how amazingly she is doing now. Tori can SMILE. Walk. Talk. Breathe. Play. Be with Jesus. How incredible is that?! Our precious baby girl was so broken here on earth; now she is healed and WHOLE. That is more than enough reason to rejoice!
Brennan and I know and believe that Heaven is real, that she is having an amazing time, and that we will join her someday. Every day is one day closer to that reunion!
You may not be in a situation like ours, but we all have our own challenges and life struggles. No matter what our circumstances, we each have a daily decision to make, a choice for how we view our journey; we have the opportunity to choose for it to be well with our souls and to focus on things above, not on earthly things (Colossians 3:2).
Every day, we each have a decision to make: where is your focus?
Kindness in Unexpected Places
Brennan and I have used TurboTax for many many years and have been satisfied with their tax filing software. It’s easy, thorough, and efficient. However, they gained us as customers … Continue reading Kindness in Unexpected Places
Will They Wonder?
As we walked through the Hershey Gardens today after locating the tree placed there in Tori’s memory, I noticed all of the bricks and sculptures that had been placed in … Continue reading Will They Wonder?
Hospice Butterfly Release
Today, Hospice of Central Pennsylvania held a butterfly release to honor our loved ones who have passed away. Though Brennan had to work, I went to represent our family and … Continue reading Hospice Butterfly Release
Removing the Sting of Death, Part Three
Disclaimer: As with anything I write, I write with the understanding that we all process death and grieving differently – even as believers – and this is not a judgment … Continue reading Removing the Sting of Death, Part Three
Removing the Sting of Death, Part Two
Disclaimer: As with anything I write, I write with the understanding that we all process death and grieving differently – even as believers – and this is not a judgment … Continue reading Removing the Sting of Death, Part Two