I’ve Lost My Sweet Spot of Safety

Annarose climbed to the top of this very high tower in Togo - my heart
Annarose on a very high tower in Togo

I wasn’t planning to write anything today – it’s not on the schedule. In fact, we’re intentionally trying not to overload you with posts that make you say, “Enough already – I don’t have time to read twenty posts a week!”

But this morning Annarose got in a car with two other college students and began the long drive to San Diego where she’ll spend the next ten weeks.

Fear grips my heart as I think of them careening down interstates, blithely thinking they are safe from all harm – fearless.

Last fall, grief grabbed hold of me and hasn’t let go. My days have been gray and slow and heavy.

I’ve Lost My Sweet Spot of Safety

Annarose climbed to the top of this very high tower in Togo - my heart
Annarose on a very high tower in Togo

I wasn’t planning to write anything today – it’s not on the schedule. In fact, we’re intentionally trying not to overload you with posts that make you say, “Enough already – I don’t have time to read twenty posts a week!”

But this morning Annarose got in a car with two other college students and began the long drive to San Diego where she’ll spend the next ten weeks.

Fear grips my heart as I think of them careening down interstates, blithely thinking they are safe from all harm – fearless.

Last fall, grief grabbed hold of me and hasn’t let go. My days have been gray and slow and heavy.

Motherhood: Opening Our Hearts to Love and Sorrow

qualls family June 2015

Last night I dreamed of Kalkidan.

Our family was gathered around a table. I was sitting at one end and the table was long with so many of us together. We were talking and laughing when Kalkidan ran into the room. 

Shouts went up, “She’s here! She’s here! Kalkidan’s here!”

She ran to me, crawled into my lap, and rested her head against my chest. I kissed her forehead, my cheek brushing against her curls.

For a moment I felt warmth and joy, then I felt myself begin to surface from sleep, and I realized it was a dream. I tried to hold onto to it, to sink more deeply into the dream and let it flow on, but it was gone.

I wanted to reach for Russ, rest my head on his chest, borrow some of his courage, but I also didn’t want to wake him when his alarm would do it soon enough.

I drifted back to sleep.

I woke again in the morning with a deep sense of sadness.

It’s nearly Mother’s Day, friends. This is a sweet and happy day for so many, but not all.

In 2015 I faced Mother’s Day having lost Kalkidan – not lost really, but not here with us, not able to hug her, hear her voice, and tell her to make her bed one more time. A month later, my son Nick died very unexpectedly.

This year the loss is deeper and more profound. Two children gone from this world. 

I don’t understand – I truly don’t, but I trust Jesus. It’s all I can do.

While Mother’s Day is a lovely day to celebrate motherhood and honor our own mothers, let’s remember that there are women who grieve.

The more we open our hearts to love, the more we also open our hearts to the possibility of sorrow. As C.S. Lewis wrote, “Courage, dear heart.”

As I wrote years ago in Mother’s Day for the Brokenhearted,

This Sunday we will see women who are suffering because they have not been able to become mothers and there is deep sorrow in their hearts.

What we may not readily see are the women who have children in prison, those who are walking the long journey of mental illness or addiction by their children’s sides, and mothers in the midst of painful struggles with children who have rejected the family, or forsaken the faith they once held dear.

I don’t have profound wisdom, only this, if your heart is hurting as Mother’s Day approaches, you are not alone. There is no shame in acknowledging that being a mother can be very hard.

God knows this, and somehow he counts us worthy of this beautiful, broken, messy calling.

Friends, I hope your Mother’s Day is filled with joy. For those of you approaching it with sorrow, know that I will wake in the morning praying for you and I will hold you close in my heart throughout the day.

with hope and gratitude,

Lisa

Signature Lisa Claire

46 More of God’s Days

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Why couldn’t God wait until Kalkidan was 96 to take her away? It says in the Bible that a year is like a day to the Lord, so I wish he would have waited at least 46 more of his days. [Wogauyu – age 9]

There’s just no answer to the question Wogauyu asks. God doesn’t tell us why.

He tells us his ways are higher than ours, his thoughts are wiser than ours, and he loves us.

He doesn’t say we have to like it – but that we have to trust him.

We’re surrounded by loss in this broken world.

Yesterday morning Karyn Purvis passed away. She was only 66 and in the midst of amazing work on behalf of children from “hard places.” She was a champion for the wounded and an incredible gift to the world, why would God take her now?

Russ’ father died Easter Sunday after a few months of illness. He was 84, and still, we weren’t ready. We lost Kalkidan, and then my son, Nick.

There have been a lot of tears at our house.

The Word tells us that the Lord cares about the people we love even in their dying, maybe especially in their dying. He is with them every moment. The Word says,

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants. Ps. 116:15

I think about these words too,

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7

These people we love who have gone to heaven before us, they fought the good fight, they finished their race, and they kept the faith. They did all that God asked them to do.

I wonder if when we get to heaven, we’ll feel such immense relief and joy that, like a runner at the end of a painful marathon, we’ll wipe our brow and say, “Whew! That was tough, I’m glad it’s over.”

Because heaven is going to be far better than we imagine, we’ll know only love – no pain, no sorrow. When I feel doubt, I focus on what is true, and right, and good. I read scripture, like this one propped on my kitchen windowsill, written on a sheet of water splashed paper.

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

Nothing can separate us from the love of God – I cling to that truth.

Lisa

Signature L and Eby

Resurrection Day with Jesus

Russ' parents - circa 1940's
Russ’ parents – circa 1940’s

Early Sunday morning, as we were preparing to celebrate the resurrection of our savior, Russ’ dad went to be with Jesus. He lived a remarkable life full of adventure. In every moment of his life, he was looking for ways to serve the Lord he loved so well.

Russ’ parents live in Mexico most of the year, so Russ is on his way to Guadalajara now to be with his mom and help in the coming days.

Earlier this week, Russ and I were talking about evaluating our life again – refocusing and making sure we are putting our hearts into the important – like the people we love. The urgent is always calling, and we don’t want it to control our lives.

Friends, life is short. I’ve lost three people I love very much in the past 15 months. I’m flooded with emotion and feel compelled to live my life in a way that honors God.

This evening I was talking with Mimi, and she said, “I can just picture Kalkidan running up to Grandpa with a huge smile, grabbing him by the hand and saying, ‘Come on! I can’t wait to show you everything!'”

Thank you for the many prayers you’ve offered for our family. Please hold Russ, his mom, his siblings and all the rest of us in your prayers in the coming days.

Hug your family close.

Lisa

Moving Forward but Not Away

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How do we move forward without moving away?

Saturday we took down the bunk beds in Kalkidan’s room. It’s taken us a long time to feel ready.

Kalkidan loved bright colors, which suited her personality. Last summer Samuel painted the room yellow and then Kalkidan picked out the bright bedding. She chose the bottom bunk with the bright chevron striped comforter. Although Claire shared a bedroom with Annarose, most nights she slept in Kalkidan’s room on the top bunk, so Kalkidan picked out a comforter for her bed too.