Gathering

Beauty reminds me of God's good gifts.
Beauty reminds me of God’s good gifts.

It’s been a quiet week for me – I’ve had a hard time doing normal life, getting out of bed, and even being around people. It may have been more than three decades ago, but vivid details of Nick’s birth and the following days fill my mind when I least expect them.  I remember the sweet weight of him in my arms; such a precious memory.

When we lost Kalkidan, there was so much to do. I was physically broken and unable to care for myself, but life swirled around me. There were people in our home surrounding us with love, food, prayer. Our children gathered around us and we cocooned one another, staying close.

There was an obituary to write, a service to plan, friends and family arriving from out of town, friends dropping in to love us, feed us and bring flowers. I sat in the recliner, receiving hugs, sleeping with the help of pain medication, eating only when somebody brought me food. Strangely, the first food I remember really tasting was from my friend, Susan, who brought me homemade Lebanese bread covered with spices.

In contrast, we learned of Nick’s death four days after he was gone. There was no memorial service to attend, no reception where we could gather and mourn together – there was nothing to do.

But in our own way, via Facebook and email, we are gathering. We’re coming together as another branch of Nick’s family, sharing stories and the weight of our sorrow. In August, when Nick’s sisters can be here, we’ll have our own memorial service.

Nick planned to visit all of us in the near future; now we’ll gather without him, but I think he would be happy to know that he’s brought us all together.

I am deeply, down to my core, heartbroken that I didn’t get to see him one last time. To hug him again, hear his voice, and share his life – I wish those opportunities weren’t gone.

This is hard – very, very hard. I’m telling you, if I didn’t believe that God is loving and good, and that he is far wiser than I am, I would be a mess – an angry, bitter, wallowing mess. Two children in six months – how can that be?

I’m reduced to the core of my faith. Yesterday I asked God to hold on to me because I’m having a hard time holding on to him. I’ve got nothing, no strength at all, but I trust him, and I love him. He has seen me through so much in my life, and he’ll see me through this.

He’ll do the same for you. No matter how painful, ugly, sorrowful our lives may be, Jesus is with us. He journeys by our sides.

Friend, whatever your life holds, you do not have to live it alone. God is faithful and trustworthy.

For this is our God forever and ever; He will be our guide even to the end. Psalm 48:14

Lisa

This post may contain Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

22 Comments

  1. Luann Yarrow Doman
    July 6, 2015

    I'm so, so sorry for your losses, but I deeply appreciate you sharing your pain. "I asked God to hold on to me because I’m having a hard time holding on to him." My fearful, broken heart needed to hear that today. I am standing with you, begging God to hold us tightly.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      July 6, 2015

      Luann, I'm so thankful that God is strong enough to do that for us. Blessings to you today.

      Reply
  2. Chantelle
    July 6, 2015

    ((((((((hug)))))))))

    Reply
  3. Jaimee
    July 6, 2015

    Lisa,
    I don't even have the right words to express the sorrow
    You are feeling at this time, but I have a card
    that found to help me. If you get a chance
    Could you message me your address, so I
    Might send. I also pray that someday Gretchen
    Heart will be opened to meet me someday. I also remember holding
    her sweet body in my arms thanking God for this
    His beautiful creation. I would once again love to
    hold her again. It is a longing that never
    leaves a mother's heart.

    Reply
  4. DFNY
    July 6, 2015

    Lisa, I am so sorry for this new heartbreaking loss. I admire your faith–I don't that I would be able to say or feel those words of faith, belief. I'm so glad you can. God's blessings to you and your family.

    Much love being sent your way,
    Damaris

    Reply
  5. Susan Patterson
    July 6, 2015

    "I’m reduced to the core of my faith. Yesterday I asked God to hold on to me because I’m having a hard time holding on to him."

    Oh, LIsa, these words remind me of Psalm 63:8 – "My soul clings to thee; thy right hand upholds me." May you be strengthened and comforted by the knowledge that His right hand will always be there to uphold you,

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      July 6, 2015

      Thank you for that verse Susan, it's just what I need. I'm looking forward to seeing you later this month.

      Reply
  6. cathylank
    July 6, 2015

    I have cried many times for you over the last months reading about the loss of Kalkidan and all you have been through — and this brought me to tears again. So thankful we have the love of God to hold us and surround us in our deepest need, but so very sad as well for all that you have experienced. Praying for all of you and sending strength and light.

    Reply
  7. Carly
    July 6, 2015

    I love you, my Friend.

    Reply
  8. Lori
    July 6, 2015

    These verses have comforted me many times as I despaired of, as you said, "holding onto God". He does ALL the holding!! Praise the Lord!

    My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one.” John 10:27-30

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      July 6, 2015

      That is so encouraging, Lori. Thank you.

      Reply
  9. Elizabeth
    July 6, 2015

    Lisa, I bless you in the name Jehovah Rohi, "I am The Lord your Shepherd." May your spirit be protected from the enemy and open to our Great Shepherd.

    Reply
  10. Annie McIntosh
    July 6, 2015

    So so sorry, Lisa. I am praying for you as you cling to Jesus.

    Reply
  11. Carmen
    July 6, 2015

    Thank you, your words brought me comfort tonight.

    Reply
  12. Joelle
    July 6, 2015

    I am so glad you will be able to gather together with Nick's sisters and take time to remember his life. I feel so empty just thinking of you having no tangible way to mourn his going, I can't even imagine how hard this must be for you Just know that you are constantly in my thoughts and prayers. Hugs.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      July 7, 2015

      It does feel so sad, Joelle. Isaiah wanted to go visit Nick's grave, but there isn't one…there is no place to go to remember him, so we need to create our own. We're going to plant a big, tall tree near Kalkidan's garden to represent Nick. He was so tall and she was so tiny.

      Reply
      1. Joelle
        July 7, 2015

        I love that idea of planting a tree. What a lovely way to remember him. Next time we are able to make a trip to the northwest I will spend some time in Kalkidan's garden.

        Reply
        1. Lisa Qualls
          July 7, 2015

          Joelle, you can help us plant it 🙂

          Reply
  13. Emily
    July 6, 2015

    I have found such comfort from the Dietrich Bonhoeffer quote, which comments on Luke 9:23, "Self-denial is saying simply, 'He goes ahead of us; hold fast to him.' " I was reminded of that when you said that no matter what our sorrow, he journeys by our side. It is so true–even when it feels like we are alone, his truth keeps our feet on the path we cannot see. Praying for you–that Immanuel would comfort your heart with the knowledge that He has gone ahead and holds you fast.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      July 7, 2015

      Such good words, Emily – "…his truth keeps our feet on the path we cannot see." thank you

      Reply
  14. Kathleen Kinman
    July 7, 2015

    As always, my prayers are with you and your family. Why? I have asked that during my lifetime. It always brings me back to God's ways are not our ways. His love is greater than any earthly love. It does not erase the pain, or the memories, but it does offer a soft place to rest in. All we can do us trust Him. I am heartbroken for you and your family. My prayers will continue for you and I pray that your heart will heal.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      July 7, 2015

      Kathleen, you are so right, His love is so great and His ways are not ours. I just have to cast myself upon him and know he will catch and hold me. Thank you for your prayers.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

I accept the Privacy Policy