This week we celebrated Celine Gabrielle’s birthday…or as we now like to call it, her “heaven-day.” After all, her name does mean “heavenly.” While it still aches us to think that it has been exactly one year since we’ve held our daughter in our arms, it brings us great joy knowing that she has spent the last year in Heaven with Jesus.
Truth be told, we’ve spent plenty of time thinking about heaven in the last year. We’ve also learned so much about walking with God through grief.
This week we choose to celebrate Celine’s first year in heaven and all that the Lord has taught us here on earth. These are a few of the lessons we’ve learned about loss:
- The pain will probably not go away….and that’s okay. Sure, I cry less now than I did a year ago, but that certainly does not mean it hurts any less. The pain still stings but we’ve gotten used it. It is merely the feeling that reminds us of the truth. The truth is that God’s grace sustains us daily. The truth is that His love has carried us through the last year. Most days the pain serves as a marker of how far God’s grace has brought us. We’ve learned that as we walk with Jesus through pain and suffering, we will never be consumed. Instead, we will bear these scars that serve as a reminder of how loving He truly is.
- There is lots to be gained in loss. The Bible says that the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy but that God came to give us life and life to full! I can only think of a couple of things that could be worse than losing your child. In many ways, it does feel like you’ve been stolen from. However, in looking back at the last year, we realize that we have gained so much by walking through our grief with Jesus. Had we not lost our precious daughter, we would not know God as intimately as we do today. Our lives are fuller now than they were before we had experienced God as our divine source of comfort.
- Eternity is really all that matters. In losing a child or loved one, you end up thinking about heaven a lot. Perhaps it is because coming that close to death reminds us that our earthly lives are temporal and that eternal life awaits. For us, it’s been a humble reminder that the way we’ve lived our lives here on earth has already impacted eternity. Because we chose to have a child, there is now one more soul who will worship God in Heaven. What a joy it is to know that Celine is doing exactly what Jesus created her to do…to worship Him forever!
- There is a battle to be won against unbelief. A few months after I (Chrina) delivered Celine, a lady asked for me to pray for her to become pregnant. I was not prepared for the lies and emotions that came rushing in. Suddenly, I was questioning if I was qualified or fit to pray for her! I knew it was silly but it still crossed my mind. I prayed under my breath for God to silence those lies and to remind me that His power has nothing to do with me. Unbelief and condemnation have come knocking at our door many times, but we continue to refuse to let them in.
- Compassion will flood in if you let it. Losing someone dear to you leaves your heart in a very tender place. You can either become sensitive or you can become compassionate. In the last year, our eyes have been opened to see that there are, like us, lots of parents without children, but there are also lots of children without parents. For us, losing Celine has birthed a unique compassion for orphans or victims of child trafficking and for parents who have endured miscarriage and stillbirth. If we’d allow it, pain and grief have the potential to become a well of compassion.
While many things can be lost on this earth, few of them matter in eternity. Our prayer is for our hearts to always be set on that which has eternal value. We look forward to all that God will teach us in the years to come, with hopes that He will use this pain for His glory.