I'm really missing Caroline today, partly because it's Christmas and I was planning to have her here with us, and partly because it's just sinking in that she's really gone. My Caroline bunny has gotten a lot of use today. I had to just curl up in bed and have a good cry. I let God know how much I was hurting, and I asked...ok, begged...Him to help me. I really can't deal with this on my own. I need His grace and mercy or I'm going to crumble. It's just that simple. I honestly don't know what I would do without Him.
Today has probably been one of my weakest days to date in my journey with Caroline. My heart is just rebelling against the reality, wanting things to change, wanting my little girl back, wanting God to make things different. I don't want to go through this pain. I don't want to make all these plans. I don't want to feel like crying anymore. I don't want to think of the eternal, because the right now hurts too much. It's really, really hard.
As I've said before, I know the truth, and if I can just manage to look to the truth, my emotions will follow. That is very difficult to do today. I know the truth is that Caroline is better off where she is. She's whole and healthy, spending her days worshiping Jesus, without fear, without pain, without sadness. She knows only joy and peace and awe of the Lord. I know the truth that someday, I'll be where she is, experiencing the joy she is. I know that eternity with her in Heaven will be amazing, and that this temporal life on earth will seem like a blink. I know the truth that God will get me through this difficult time, that His faithfulness will never end, that His grace and peace will sustain me when I feel like I can't go on anymore.
I know the truth that God knows how I feel because He lost a child, His Son, too.
And today is the day before we celebrate the birth of that Son.
I wish it was easier to focus on the eternal. I wish it was easier to focus on the truth. I wish the present reality wasn't so painful. But...I know it's not worthless. Another truth. "Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." -Romans 5:3-5. I'm not really wanting to rejoice in my sufferings right now. But I'm doing my best to hold on to the hope spoken of in the later parts of this excerpt. If I suffer well, I will learn to persevere. If I learn to persevere, I will gain character. If I gain character, I will learn what true hope is. That true hope is perfect, and won't ever disappoint me because it's tied up in God's love through the Holy Spirit. And what does the Holy Spirit reveal? God's love, which led to Jesus's redeeming sacrifice, which leads to my own forgiveness, so I can live in Heaven someday, with the Lord, and with Caroline, and all the other believers who have gone on before me.
As wonderful as that truth is, and as much hope as it brings me, I still struggle to live it out. I'm still learning how to suffer well. I'm not very good at it these days. I'm very glad that God is patient, gracious, and merciful. I'm so grateful that He forgives me when I screw it all up. I'm glad He can understand my hurt so He can comfort me.
Because I do hurt. A lot. And nothing but God's grace and comfort can make it at all better.
So while I struggle through this holiday, celebrating Jesus's birth and the beginning of redemption while still hurting and missing my sweet baby girl, I will cling to Jesus. I will trust that He's going to hold me when I weep, catch me when I fall, and comfort the deepest hurts I have. I will learn to hope as I struggle to persevere. I hope His glory will shine through my pain. I hope His grace will touch someone else's hurting heart because they can see it in me. Not because I am some amazing person...Ha! I'm not. But because God is good, He is powerful, He is loving, He is gentle with our broken hearts, and He longs to meet us where we are.
Right now, that is all I have. No earthly thing, person, place, or idea can help me. Nothing on this earth makes the pain bearable. The only thing I can rely on to make things a little better is the eternal. Only the eternal.
Thank you, Jesus, that you came to earth to give us the eternal, through your ultimate sacrifice. Don't let me forget that in the midst of my hurt. To God be the glory. And thank you for my Caroline, even as I miss her terribly.