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So Much Joy

October 28, 2010

Yesterday I spoke about loss.  The loss of Ross, the loss of relationships with my close family members, the loss and damage to friendships. Ugh.

Today, my focus is the joy that has come from this loss.  Because yes, even in the loss of the last two years, there is joy that has been found and encouraged me daily.

My marriage with Joel.  It has been strengthened.  Renewed.  Tested and tried. Joel has been extremely patient and kind to me as I grieve.  He is never pushy.  He doesn’t try to fix me.  He doesn’t offer solutions.  Instead, he offers his strength.  He shows me that his heart towards me is good.  He lets me gingerly find my way out of grief when it washes over me.  He has shown me incredible love and dedication.  I’m sure his tongue is full of holes from biting it when I’ve lashed out in my hurt.  I’m sure that in my pain, I have caused him pain.  Yet he has chosen to love and forgive me and his support has been beyond what I deserve.  My marriage is worth fighting for – Ross’ death has made that abundantly clear to me.

My sister-in-law, Leah. She has reminded me that having/being a sister can actually be fun.  She is open with me and laughs with me and tells me how it is.  I’ve always loved Leahnardo, but as loss has surrounded me, she has been a blessed friend that also laughs at inappropriate times and is transparent with me. I appreciate her dearly.

My ex-brother-in-law, Jay.  When my sister stopped talking to me, that also cut off all contact with my two dear nephews.  As her marriage began to crumble, our contact with my EBIL increased and I have grown to love him like a brother.  He and I have been through some dark days together.  He has shown me his good, bad and ugly and I have grown to love and respect that honesty.  I am so thankful for the friend he has been to me and for not cutting me and my family out when the divorce went through. I love him (and his sweet mom too!).

My Ma.  I’ve always loved my Ma.  She and I don’t have personalities that easily mesh yet we fight to make it work.  I think I probably carry most of my Dad’s personality traits that used to drive her nutty and yet, in Ross’ death, she has graciously allowed me to love on her.  She is an amazing Ma.  I’m blessed to have her and thankful for the reminder of how precious she really is.

My love of missions.  Didn’t see that one coming, eh?  Ross was scheduled to go on his first missions trip but died just a few weeks before it happened.  He had come out to visit us a month before his heart attack and he was so excited to be using his skills to help impoverished schools systems in West Virginia.  It was a big step for him.  For anyone.  I hadn’t been on a missions trip since 1998.  Last year, I went on two.  With my young family getting away for a missions trip seemed impossible but Ross death reminded me to make it possible.

My kids.  My kids are such a joy for me.  Even today, as I drove off to grab a minute by myself once Joel had come home, my daughter was dancing in the wind waving goodbye  and I couldn’t help but let my heavy heart smile.  My tender boy’s heart with his amazing intuition has reminded me that people are watching and my reaction, good, bad or painfully ugly, matters.  They have refreshed me in the midst of grief and shown me joy in the seemingly mundane. They are the best Bug and Bee ever.

I have some of the most kind and fun friends ever!  Some of them I’ve been sharing life with for years but in these past few years, there are a few that have come in at the most divine time and blessed my life beyond what I’d imagine.  I wouldn’t have guessed that a temporary neighbor would become a life long friend or that our babysitter would become a heart’s friend, or that one of my mommy group friends, who I still see only rarely, would be a constant source of joy when we do get together.

Yesterday, I looked at loss and today, the joy that I’ve searched out in all that was lost.  Notice that in many of the relationships that were lost, restoration has occurred.  No, not with the person who I’ve been separated from (although I still hope for that) but in those losses, my sweet Heavenly Father has provided someone to fill and overflow that void for me.  And my heart is stuffed and joy is restored and hope isn’t just on the horizon anymore, I’m living in it daily.

Restoration doesn’t always look as I’ve planned and prayed for it to look.  But I must say, that in His infinite wisdom, I have seen that the restoration I hope for pales in comparison to what God has planned for my heart.  And I no longer sit and wait, hoping for restoration that may or may not come.  I’m moving forward, blessed by those who lovingly surround me and help me find joy daily and hope in the darkest hours.

So.Much.Joy.

–Ingrid

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