Yesterday was the first day of school for many kiddos…including mine. Davis started 2nd grade and Reide started kindergarten. The time is flying by!
I definitely saw a lot of tears from parents as we were dropping the kids off. Some were probably tears of joy since summer is officially over. But for most, they were emotional moments because their child started kindergarten for the first time and it’s one less baby at home. It’s a major event for sure! I’ve honestly never been brought to tears over it all. I think because my kids have always been so excited for their first day, I get excited with them. And yesterday` I dropped them off and came home to have another cup of coffee…in silence. Yes please!
But I know the day is coming when all of that will change. There will be a first day of kindergarten that I will probably sob over. But it’s not for another 2 years.
It’s the day my son would be starting school.
See, when you lose a child, you think about all of the things you’re missing with them. The events you will never get to experience or take pictures of. And there is a deep sadness on those days.
So this is a letter to myself in 2 years. A reminder of how I will make it through because I know I will need a lot of encouragement on that day…
This is the year.
So far you have sent off two beautiful kids to kindergarten with smiles. But this year is a little different. It’s going to be filled with tears and an empty feeling since Bennett is not here for his first day of school. There will be no jumps of joy to discover what teacher he has, no excitement in buying school supplies, no helping tuck in his shirt early in the morning, no walking him down the hallway to his classroom, no helping him know where to put his backpack and lunch and no hearing how awesome his first day went in kindergarten. There will be a great emptiness.
But I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to find joy in this day. Did you hear me? This day can suck and it’s ok.
“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” (Habakkuk 3:17-18)
The prophet Habakkuk didn’t find much joy in what he was going through either. His people were about to be handed over to an even worse group of people. He knew there was a lot of emptiness coming. A lot of heartbreak ahead. And he speaks into that emptiness and things missing that should be there…no buds, no grapes, no food, no sheep, no cattle. Just like you have no Bennett. And he doesn’t find joy in any of it.
But he does find joy IN the Lord. And you can do that today too.
Today is a day that you need to be reminded that your joy doesn’t come from your circumstances. It comes from God alone. It’s just like when you were fighting cancer…comfort didn’t come from knowing more answers from the doctors. Comfort came from knowing Jesus.
Habakkuk goes on to say, “The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.”
You will get through this, Megan. The Lord gives you the strength to keep going, to climb up out of the valley and onto the mountain top. He enables you to go on. But you can’t forget that there will be many other valleys ahead. Some harder than others.
The reality is we live in a very broken world and God tells us that we will have trouble. Not maybe. Not possibly. Not sort of. We will. But Jesus says…
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart. I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Your peace is not in your finances, in your home, in your cars, in your friends, in your husband, in your successes, in your talents, in your plans, in your kids, in Bennett, in anything! Your peace is in Jesus. And though the heartbreak surrounds you today, He has overcome the world for your tomorrow.
I just saw a friend post this and it could not be any more true…”Somewhere we bought into the lie that if we follow Christ then everything is going to be rainbows, butterflies and unicorns. Not so, my friend…Following God isn’t always safe, glamorous, convenient and easy. In fact, I have devoted the rest of my life to hard. And it’s HARD. But I know that it has ETERNAL value. I may not even see the reward or value here on earth, but I believe I will see it in Heaven.”
Today is definitely not a day of butterflies and unicorns for you. It’s hard and you miss Bennett deeply. But you’re not alone. Your sadness will come and go, but God’s goodness will be constant. And there WILL be goodness today, I promise.
So I want you to sit back and rest, my friend. Grab your Bible, some paper and a pen. Write down the verses that are quoted above in Habakkuk and John, and let them soak into your heart. You’re not searching for joy in this day. Joy is an overflow of gratitude and a choice we are invited to take in Christ. He alone is our joy.
Then grab another cup of coffee…because coffee makes everything a little bit better!