As I was thinking over the last few weeks, I realized that so much has happened. Some has been good. A lot has been hard. And I’m learning what the best medicine for it all is.
First I want to tell you about the good…family camp! A few weeks ago we had the opportunity to go to Pine Cove Christian Camp outside of Tyler, Texas. What a blessing for us. It was a full week of activities, hearing God’s Word, meeting new families and sharing our story. Seriously, every family needs to do something like this. The kids shined with smiles from morning to night (okay, maybe for the first half of the week and then they started to get grumpy from being so tired but it was worth it!).
I will admit, the first day for me was filled with emotions. I was so overwhelmed because we were going to family camp without the whole family, without Bennett. In fact, the very first mom that I met asked, “How many kids do you have?” Wow, talk about opening the flood gates of tears. I was not intending to blubber my way through that day.
But then came Wednesday at camp…it was the first day I didn’t cry since April 28. It was one small day of relief in the sea of many tear-filled days. I didn’t even realize it until my head hit the pillow that night. But it was good. The whole week was just plain good for all of us.
We were loved. We were encouraged. We were challenged. And we treasured our time with Davis and Reide. So many great memories. One night we were being crazy in the cabin before bedtime and Davis was climbing on the bunk bed and said, “Mom, when can I go to heaven so I can share a bunk bed with Bennett?” He is always on our hearts! We missed him at camp with us, but it was still a great week.
Now, the week after camp…it was hard and it slapped me in the face. I wasn’t expecting the low after a week of high at camp. But it came and it came with intensity. But just because it was hard, doesn’t mean that it was bad (that’s why this post isn’t named The Good, the Bad and the Grateful!). The Lord takes us through these times of trial to teach us, to strengthen us, to draw us closer to Him…and that’s not bad at all.
So the hard for me started after church on Father’s Day and continued for a week. Tears, tears, tears and more tears. Many times the tears are sprinkled with joy, but this was a week of tears overwhelmed by pain and loss. I could barely catch my breath because I missed Bennett so deeply.
I just didn’t grieve Bennett at camp like I normally do at home. Mainly because we were so busy and also we shared the same cabin with the kids so there wasn’t a lot of alone time at night. But it was a good lesson for me…allowing myself to grieve each day makes it easier on the heart overall.
And thankfully Ben and I started grief counseling right after this week. I was comforted when the counselor said, “You need to give yourself permission to make C’s in life right now. You don’t have to be a straight A student.” That is hard for this perfectionist! But a good thing to hear and live by right now in this season of grief. So one way to help this…I’m staying off Pinterest! Ha, we all know that it’s the place of “I wish I did that” or “I need to start doing that” or “Why don’t I do that.” Too dangerous for this heart!
Now as hard as the last few weeks have been, God has been teaching me some of the best medicine for the good and hard days…a heart of gratitude.
I remember sitting on the couch one afternoon while the kids were in their rooms napping or playing, and I was just sad. I missed Bennett’s laugh. I missed how he twirled my hair. I missed how he hugged all of us. I just missed his presence. I missed this face…
But in the midst of this burden, I felt like God reminded me how much I still have to be grateful for. So I literally walked around the house and thanked God for our cup of blessings. And in that cup included all that we went through with Bennett too. We truly have so much to be grateful for! And it’s amazing how that little act of gratitude completely changed my attitude.
I love this quote from the book by Max Lucado, You’ll Get Through This…
Gratitude gets you through the hard stuff. To reflect on your blessings is to rehearse God’s accomplishments. To rehearse God’s accomplishments is to discover his heart. To discover his heart is to discover not just good gifts but the Good Giver. Gratitude always leaves us looking at God and away from dread. It does to anxiety what the morning sun does to valley mist. It burns it up.
What about you… Is today a good day? Or is it a hard day? Or is it a little bit of both? Regardless of what kind of day we have, it’s important that we always remember to, “Give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20).
So do it. Put down the phone or the computer. If your kids are near you, grab them to join in too. And start walking. Walk around where you are and tell God thank you for everything in your cup of blessings! And trust me, even in the hard days, there is still so much to be grateful for.