Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The difference a year makes....

One year ago today, I faced both the greatest sorrow of my life as well as great joy...death and life...loss and gain. One precious heart stopped beating only to discover a new one had started. Not a day goes by that I do not think of my grandmother - the one who was always there to lend an ear or make me laugh. And each day I look into the face of her namesake and remember that God truly does turn our mourning into dancing. 

Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: 
thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness; 
Psa 30:11

One year ago today I said good-bye to my grandmother, who was dearer to me than any amount of words that I might write.  I'd like to share snips of some things that I wrote last year, in her memory:

10/27/12: This past Tuesday, I said "Good-bye" to a very special grandmother. She passed on with a final days testimony of knowing the Lord and being at peace, but there is a hole in my heart as big as the Grand Canyon. I'd like to repost something I wrote for her birthday five years ago. Then continue reading to see the amazing things that God did in those final days!

 ---originally written 2/6/08---
My grandmother... I love her so much that my heart aches when I think of the day I will no longer have her. Her 80th birthday is Friday and the girls and I have put together a big box of goodies to mail. We're also having flowers delivered. As I sat, thinking about why she's so special to me, a sort of tribute came about. Here is what I've written her and why she's so very special.

An 80th birthday is certainly a time to celebrate! In planning for your special day, it has also been a time for me to reflect on all that you mean to me. I have so many wonderful memories stored away that I couldn’t just pick one, so here are some of my favorites!

I remember….
Looking out your kitchen window, into the darkness while you spun tails of the Easter Bunny's helpers watching me from afar. I was absolutely convinced they were out there!

The box of toys, kept especially for me, in the corner of your kitchen. It reminded me that I was loved and wanted around.

Hiding under your kitchen table to ‘surprise’ you (every day!) when you came home from work and the fact that you acted surprised every time!

Taking walks in the woods to look for bunny and squirrel tracks, and how you’d walk slow enough for my little legs, never growing impatient because you had something better to do.

Walking in the fields to the strawberry patch.

Waking up on the morning of my brother’s birth, to find you in my parents bed, waiting for me to wake up. 

Our first morning in Manchester, looking out the big windows at the unfamiliar streets and wanting to go see Grammy.

Summer visits and walks to the beaver dam, playing dress-up; laying in front of the fans together to cool off.

Winter visits of sledding on wooded paths.

Having early Christmases before you left for AZ and missing you the entire winter. I waited eagerly for your letters!

All the help you gave me through my teenage years. Being my lifeline, always listening and never judging, your concern for my safety. You helped me through some rocky roads.

How you always invested in my interests, like when I wanted to be an exchange student to Russia. You were the first to pitch in and help.

I remember….all of your love, your patience, your kindness. I remember how you’ve always been my biggest cheerleader and my strongest supporter. When we had to say goodbye after Christmas, I whispered “I don’t want to go!” and though your heart hurt as much as mine, you didn’t tell me not to leave, you simply said “I know”. Instead of guilt for leaving, you gave me strength to do what I had to do.

For all these things and more, I love you! Happy 80th birthday Grammy!

Little did I know that God was looking down, arranging every aspect of the day in such a way that would bring Him glory and me peace. Please read on....:
Monday, October 22, 2012, my grandmother just didn't seem herself and by Tuesday morning, she was bed-ridden.  My heart hurt so much, knowing that I couldn't be there with her.  God would not give me peace to make the trip from NC to NH.  I didn't know why but maybe it was because of the events that he had planned. God does know what is best for us.

On Tuesday morning, my aunt called me. She just "felt" like she should. She told me how Grammy wasn't talking but she could hear them, as evidenced by the half smiles she'd give on occasion.  My aunt offered to put the phone to her ear so I could talk to her.  I took that opportunity to tell her how much I love her and thank her for everything she's always meant to me.  Then I got back on the phone. Literally, within minutes, my aunt whispered, "Karen, she's gone."  I could hear other family in the background saying, "she was waiting for Karen to call."  and I believe she was.  My grandmother and I have always had a special bond. She used to say that we shared the same heart.

After hanging up with my aunt, I looked at my phone and we had not even been on the phone a full ten minutes!  I would never have called Grammy's room at 8am!   GOD did that - He knew how badly I wanted to be with her and in that small window of time, He saw fit to put it on my aunt's heart to call.  I am amazed.   I don't know how many hours I spent on the floor with my children, grieving her passing.  

At some point, I began thinking of my life verse:

Isa 61:3  To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified

I began wondering how God was going to take this situation and bring any beauty out of it or add any joy to it.  To make a much more detailed story shorter, about 8 hours after Grammy's death, I received this beautiful gift:

Coincidence? No! That's GOD.   I don't know why He chose to unfold His plan this way - why my grandmother was never to know that she'd be a great-grandmother once again, but I do know that He orders each and every one of our steps.  She'd have loved her newest great grandaughter.  How I miss her!  I love you Grammy - forever and ever - to the moon and back.

Christmas 2010

© Adorning Grace 2013

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