Grief is a funny thing. You can be going about your day and then it hits you out of nowhere. Yesterday morning I stopped to get my favorite drink from Starbucks (the salted caramel mocha, not the PSL ;) ), and it made me so incredibly sad seeing the sign for the pumpkin spice latte because that was Leslie’s favorite drink. Who knew a cup of coffee could make me cry about her?!
I started using the FIrst 5 app a couple weeks ago and I just love the messages that come on it each day. Yesterday’s was so pertinent to what’s going on in my life at the moment.
Isn’t this the truth? God certainly doesn’t promise us a flood free life or a life without sorrow. What he DOES promise is that He will always be with us. “No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Joshua 1:5
We just have to believe that God’s here in the middle of this. I know He is. This sentence from the First 5 excerpt really stirred my soul: “A storm doesn’t mean God forgot us.” How many times have we all felt forgotten? Left behind? Alone? It’s just not the case. I believe you can see God in the midst in every situation if you just take a step back and really examine the situation.
Even in the midst of this storm, we have seen God’s hand in it all. One thing that I find remarkable is just the gift of sweet little Ainsley. It’s my belief that Leslie’s heart was slowing down and shutting down for a long time, years actually. It’s really remarkable that she was able to carry Ainsley and get her here healthy. Leslie didn’t hide the fact that Ainsley came along more quickly than they’d planned on having a second child, but I think that right there was truly God’s handiwork. Had she come when they had wanted, Leslie would have been giving birth weeks before she died. I just feel like God KNEW Caroline would need a sister to go through this life, to walk this hard road with her.
Those months that Leslie spent four hours away from her family in the hospital weren’t easy. But again, God had a purpose. If she had just died one day with Stephen having no “dry run” at being the girls’ only parent, he would have had a much harder adjustment. Her time in the hospital was actually good in that it kind of initiated the three of them into their new normal.
None of this means that the pain is any less. The pain is real. It’s raw. It’s deep. And it hurts. My gosh, does it hurt. But as stated in Psalms 46 verse 1, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”
In the midst of that deep pain, it’s nice to know that there’s a place to turn for comfort. It’s a relief to know that Leslie is walking the streets of paradise. It’s comforting to know that God knows our hurt, our pain, and that He is there to comfort us. And it’s nice to know that one day I’ll see my sister again. And yes. Yes, it IS comforting to know that God will be with us through it ALL!