Saturday, February 16, 2008

blessed be the name of the Lord

i am feeling such a gamete of emotions. yesterday was the memorial service for beatrix and i braced myself for it the entire week. i've been trying to call maggie every day but i feel so conflicted about how it might be received, im sure im being paranoid. (which is also weird because i know she's probably going to read this.) i dont want to overwhelm her, because there is a blessed parade of supporters trying to comfort and support them daily coming to the house. i want to be whatever she (they) needs. so do i call and "get right to the point" and ask how her day was? or do i try a distraction approach and talk about stuff, because no doubt that is the topic of every conversation, card, phone call, email, IM, etc. some days i simply talk with austin & i dont think he realizes what a comfort to me he is being. just knowing that he is weathering the storm with my best friend in the world, and knowing what a Godly, passionately-in-love-with-maggie man he is helps me to sleep at night. i made it through the memorial with the help of an ativan, a handkerchief soaked through by services end, and my husbands strong hand on mine throughout. the entire service i gripped the program as if someone was about to snatch it from my bloodless hands. no conscious relaxation technique would end that iron grip. i couldn't open it. couldnt bear to read the words austin had written on the inside until the wee hours of the night when i was alone laying on the couch.

Dear Loved Ones,

We love our Beatrix Clementine. She was so special. And we will never, ever forget her. Her life has already had so much meaning and purpose. While we only got to enjoy her for a little while, we got to enjoy her nonetheless. She was a gift. She was never ours to keep, even if she had lived to be 100, she would have only been a gift that our generous Father allowed us to cherish and enjoy. We are not bitter. We are not disillusioned. We are grateful. We are thankful.

We are thankful for every moment of Maggie's pregnancy, and the joy and anticipation we felt, and the way that drew us closer together. We are thankful for Maggie's labor, and how easy it went, and how much fun we had during the birthing process. But at the same time, we have been hurt. It hasn't all been good. In fact, losing Beatrix has been the most terrible thing to have ever happened to us. Yet we have already seen so many wonderful things come from this sad time.

We are blessed that this has drawn Maggie and I closer together. And we are blessed that the words of Christ have come true that, "by this all will know you are my disciples, if you love one another." So we thank you for loving us, serving us, and praying for us. We are glad that God has been honored because of our response to this tragedy, and we pray that people can see that it is the risen Christ in us that allows us to see with such clarity. We also pray that we will always find ourselves in Him as we continue to grieve.

-- Austin and Maggie Baxter

clarity indeed.

the service was as comforting as it could have been. julia pickerell was amazing, truly ordained to speak the truth that we all needed to be reminded of. that beatrix was the fulfillment of God's purpose for her, that through her God is being glorified, and that she is safe in Jesus's arms now. all of God's creation speaks of Him, glorifies Him, is made by and for His Glory and that is as much as we can hope to be comforted by. this road will be long. this road will be dark. this road will be hard. i continually pray that encouragement will come into maggie & austin's life in indescribable ways and illuminate that darkness even if momentarily. part of doing life together is grieving together and i feel we have all been in no short supply of that. neither i nor anyone else can pick up this cross from their heavy shoulders and that pains me.

we sang two songs at the memorial that i thought my break me. it is well with my soul and then blessed be the name of the Lord. i keep listening to the latter on repeat. over and over. over and over. i need it to drill into the depths of my heart. when i walk through the wilderness. blessed be your name. when the darkness closes in, still i will say blessed be the name of the Lord... you give and take away. you give and take away. what struck me about that song, and i had never heard this before, surely it was God revealing a tiny bit more of Himself to me, is the phrase within that song that "my heart will choose to say, blessed be your name". not "my heart will want to say..." or "my heart feels like saying..."


to steal a phrase from an excellent book of the same title, i feel i am walking in the dark night of the soul. my arms are made of lead right now, i am struggling to praise His name because i do not feel like rejoicing. i am joyless, sucked dry, and hearsick beyond words. and yet... and yet i still have to say it. the Lord is good! bless His name forever! He does give and take away. sometimes love is a choice, there are some seasons in our life and walk where the foundation of our faith must take over our emotions. our hands still need to grasp His, in fact now more than ever! maggie said that she couldnt face the future without Jesus. (amen on my part as well) one day all will be revealed and our tattered hearts will be renewed.


Anonymous said...

Have you ever heard the story behind how "It Is Well" was written?

It Is Well with My Soul is a very influential hymn penned by hymnist Horatio Spafford and composed by Philip Bliss.

This hymn was writ­ten af­ter several trau­matic events in Spaf­ford’s life. The first was the death of his only son in 1871, shortly followed by the great Chi­ca­go Fire which ru­ined him fi­nan­cial­ly (he had been a successful lawyer). Then in 1873, he had planned to travel to Europe with his family on the S.S. Ville Du Havre, but sent the family ahead while he was delayed on business. While cross­ing the At­lan­tic, the ship sank rapidly after a collision with an­o­ther ship, and all four of Spaf­ford's daugh­ters died. His wife Anna sur­vived and sent him the now fa­mous tel­e­gram, "Saved alone." Shortly afterwards, as Spaf­ford traveled to meet his grieving wife, he was inspired to write these words as his ship passed near where his daugh­ters had died.

-Jeney (friend of Karen James)

Amber said...

I know I already said it in my email...but thank you for being so amazingly has been life altering...thank you.

Sarah Moseley said...

i really admire and thank the Lord that you are grieving right there along with your friend, rather than keeping a distance because of the awkwardness of not knowing what to say most of the time. i really think that the reason people often don't come their friends aid in time of tragedy and loss is not because they don't love their friend enough and want to help them in calamity, but rather because they are at a COMPLETE LOSS as to what to say to comfort their friend and are afraid that their blankness will make things worse. being there, even if you're silent and staring dumbly at the wall, can make all the difference.

Alia said...

I can understand not being able to read the service program until you left.

I'm sobbing here, at my desk.

Abby said...

Grieving comes to us many times in life. When the Lord allows losses, especially deep ones, he stands ready to comfort us. I couldn't face my future without Jesus, either. Where would I be? Completely incapacitated, paralyzed with fear and full of hate. Where am I? Sad, but at peace, knowing how much He loves me, knowing He is with me. He lifts the burdens that could be mine, lifts me up out of I world I never dreamed I'd know. I don't have strength for the life that is mine to live, but that's how I know - He's carrying me. Gratitude isn't nearly enough, that he not only bore the weight of my sins - but of my sorrows too. My life won't be what I imagined - I can let it go. He will make so much more out of me than I ever could, even with all eternity and endless resources at my disposal. He will.