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Just Stand With Me

Jesus crafts intimate lessons for our family daily. Countless memories have been created in our kitchen while simply working together.

I treasure each in my heart, while pondering how God entrusts me with such simple, yet essential and momentous points in time.

Turning points aren’t always grand, yet they carry tremendous value. God’s gifts are often wrapped in trials.

Our family washes dishes by hand (after our dishwasher stopped working several years ago). People actually get anxious when I admit that we didn’t run out to replace this appliance immediately. They say they couldn’t imagine living without a dishwasher. Do I miss it? Sometimes.

I definitely do on the days we are in and out of the house with just enough time to eat and spread dirty dishes everywhere. Most days, no. Why?

I cherish the time spent with my family while completing chores together. We have a system.

Usually, I wash and rinse dishes, and Marissa dries and puts them away. Many times, my husband will join in to help dry and put the dishes away, too.

While we take care of dishes, Brooklyn folds and puts away the laundry we washed that day (she brings it to the kitchen to work on). May I share that she doesn’t just fold it. The items look professionally pressed. She “hand irons” pieces as she folds, lovingly forming soft creases in the fabric that express her deep gratitude for us, her beloved family.

My mother’s eye observes and treasures special qualities God blessed us with in our home, and they way we commit their use to one another in His honor. We usually have the best discussions while everyone is gathered together without distractions. Often, we sing and dance while music is played and we always find something to laugh about. Even the dogs join in. Can you believe our Mini Schnauzer loves us to sing to her?

One day last week, the girls and I were listening to a variety of songs as we worked. Naively, I chose one that I had not listened to in years. Instruments sounded the opening chords of a piece I used to enjoy with my oldest daughter, Jaime in her teen years.

A realization pierced me.

I have officially lived twice as long as Jaime.

My age is 58 years. My beloved daughter died at age 29.

Then, another thought occurred. Jaime was born when I was 18. It has been 10 years since she passed away. That means I have now lived a total of 28 years of my life without her.

Now I have lived a little over half of my life without her.

My heart seized at the realization. I wept.

My pain wasn’t expressed in a loud, sobbing cry, but with a quiet, resigned sadness that understands I cannot change anything, yet accepts that sorrow will always line my soul with the painful loss only God has carried me through. Soon, the years will begin adding up so that I have lived more and more of my life without her.

It’s not supposed to be that way.

Children are supposed to live longer than parents.

The imperfections in this world could rip apart our relationship with God. Yet, He doesn’t desire it to. “He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge.” Psalm 91:4

He created us to desire Him. Not only in the good times. A best friend cradles and carries you. They never leave your side in the hardest moments. That is Jesus. My best friend.

“Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed. Because His compassions fail not, they are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23

As my silent tears exposed my grief, Marissa tightly hugged me. We shared the longest embrace I can remember.

Wishing she could erase my pain, yet understanding that I had to embrace this season of it, my daughter simply and bravely stood with me in it. She acknowledged my grief and loved me in it.

Just like Jesus does.

Our broken dishwasher was a catalyst for the continued work the Lord was crafting in my personal journey, as well as in our family connection.

The multi-faceted mystery of God is so much more than we see or imagine. Faith continues growing in our home. In our lives. In our hearts. In the actions of my children.

I am immensely thankful for the love we share each day. I’m also grateful for the tears.

“Jesus wept.” John 11:35

Just like me. Just like you.

“You number my wanderings; put my tears into Your bottle; are they not in your book?” Psalm 56:8 Jesus is so concerned about our pain that He lovingly keeps track of what we do and what happens to us, storing our tears in a bottle, personally and intimately caring about every single event that occurs in our lives.

Beautiful examples are modeled for us to follow for others.

Marissa couldn’t store my tears or pain in a bottle, but she could stand with me.

In the pain. No words needed.

Just like Jesus.

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