His Grace is Enough

April 19, 2012

I’ve been looking back at my journal entries from the first few days after Mary passed away. A few entries especially caught my eye, and I want to share them with you. They all have similar themes, like grief, God’s grace, and heaven, but I feel like they together give a pretty clear picture of the spiritual journey I’ve been on the past several weeks (I feel like I’ve been circling these same emotions and thoughts over and over…).

3-8-2012 (the day before Mary was born)

Notes from Women’s Bible Study, Kim Ransleben, Key Verses: 2 Thess. 1:3-12

Suffering is not a punishment–Jesus took our punishment for us. Period.–Affliction is a chisel that makes us Christ-like. We understand our suffering by looking at Christ’s suffering. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18…Trial has been sent to us for one reason–to make us look more like Him, our Savior. So, throw off everything that encumbers us and run the race set before us–it is working in us an eternal weight of glory!

3-10-12

In his heart a man plans the way in which he will go, but the Lord directs his path…Proverbs 16:9 paraphrase.

We welcomed precious Mary Amanda into the world yesterday at 6:48 pm. We spent a short two hours with her, then she went to be with Jesus at 8:50 pm. 

She is everything I’ve hoped for. Now I have to let her go. I’m so afraid to let go. I don’t want to. I want to kiss that headfull of curly dark brown hair for the rest of my days on earth. But I can’t. Help me see your face, Father, so that you may be my peace, my healing, my comfort…so that I won’t grieve as those without hope. I know there is hope–through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He won the victory. Death was not the end for Mary! It’s not the end for me. I’ll see you again, baby girl!

3-12-12, 2:40 am

I need to see her again.

Just had this terrible dream that Steven died, too. I was having to go through all of these things…’I don’t have a casket! Should I bury him when I bury Mary? Will we have enough time to even make one?’ Steven was laying on the ground. He was white. He was gone. Mary was gone. In the dream, I was getting hysterical and my mom asked me something like, ‘Why are you mad at me?’ and I screamed, ‘I’m not! I’m mad because my babies are dead!’ I woke up almost immediately after that sobbing. Racking with tears. Had to go hold Steven and praise God it was just a dream. But I realized, I am mad. I am absolutely enraged at death. I am enraged that my baby girl is not with me right now, nursing from my breast. I am enraged that she is not alive with me. May I be enraged at the Enemy. The Stealer of life. The Awful One who authored death and smiles at our grief. He will die. He will suffer in eternity and I am glad of it. Our Savior has crushed his head. He is victor.

After this dream, I was also confronted with the terrible fear that this could happen again. That I have three other gorgeous, precious babies, full of life and energy…what if God takes them home before me? What would I say of God if he chose to regard me as he did Job? May it never be, Lord! I would die. I would die. Please have mercy on me. Please.

3-13-2012

“Natalie Grant, ‘The Greatness of Our God’

Give me eyes to see more of who you are,
May what I behold still my anxious heart.
Take what I have known and break it all apart,
For you my God are greater still.

And no sky contains,
And no doubt restrains all you are,
The greatness of our God.
I’ve spent my life to know,
And I’m far from close,
To all you are, the greatness of our God.

Give me grace to see beyond this moment here.
To believe that there is nothing left to fear.
That you alone are far above it all,
And you my God, are greater still.

And no sky contains,
No doubt restrains all you are,
The greatness of our God.
I’ve spent my life to know, and I’m far from close
To all you are, the greatness of our God.

And there is nothing, that could ever separate us.
No, there is nothing, that could ever us from your love.
No life, no death, of this I am convinced,
For you, my God, are greater still.

And no words could say,
No song convey,
All you are, the greatness of our God…

Now that Mary is gone to be with Christ, I am asking Christ to please help me see him more clearly. To take away my doubt, my fear and uncertainty of what I can’t see or understand. My faith is so small, so frail–I am so thankful that Mary’s destiny wasn’t dependent on my belief, but on His unfathomable grace and love and power. I’ve said to Kim several times, ‘I can’t do this,’ and her response is always, ‘NO, you can’t.’  Meaning HIS grace has brought me to this point, and it will continue to carry me. But I can’t see beyond this pain. But he will give me eyes to see beyond…”

(listen to this song here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUSxSDY8ddw)

3-14-2012

“Today we buried our sweet baby girl, Mary Amanda. My FIFTH child, a precious gift from the Father. The ceremony was beautiful. It rained for about five minutes before it started, and then the Lord calmed the wind and opened the clouds, just for us. Ruby, Jerry and Steven were there and all kissed and hugged her “crib” before we said our final goodbyes. I asked Ruby this morning what she wanted to give her sister (to leave in the vault with her casket), and she said “Chocolate and seeds”, which turns out was actually chocolate and nuts :). So, we made her some trail mix and she also picked out some toys that she left with her. It’s so appropriate that Ruby would leave chocolate! 🙂

Ruby told Sarah Catherine while they were walking around after the service that ‘Jesus holds me in my heart and never lets me go.’ It’s so true. From the mouth of infants he has ordained praise. He’s using sweet Ruby to point my gaze back at himself. He’s holding our hearts and he’ll never let go…”

3-18-12

“Things I’ve been pondering…

-We’ll never be the same…something like this changes you in an instant. I trust the Lord that he will heal us in his time, but we’ll always be missing a part of ourselves…

-I have this vision of our Mary in heaven with Jesus telling her mommy and daddy to “Press on to know Him! He’s so worth it! If you could only see, could only understand! Finish the race well, Mama! Finish the race well, Daddy! He’s worth it!” Makes me want to know him more. She’s with him. She knows.”

A few days after the above journal entry, God confirmed to me through his word the sweet mental picture that he gave me of Mary with him…Hebrews 12:1 & 2, 22-24 “Therefore since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [Mary Amanda is one of these witnesses now!], let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God…[and vss 22-24 in reference to the heavenly Jerusalem] But you have come to Mt. Zion…and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect [That’s Mary Amanda!], and to Jesus, the mediator of a new convenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.”

Knowing that Mary is with Christ rooting us on, so to speak, makes me want to do life better, to know him more…Christ is, and she is, worth every ounce of my energy and effort pressed in towards God. Things that used to clutter my life no longer seem important, and I pray that this shift of focus will remain. I know it will be a fight–a fight for faith and a fight to the death–but her life and death has made the Reality of Him so much more tangible and imminent to me. I’m so thankful. I am thankful that he has used her to expose and root out a bit more of my self-reliance, fears and insecurities. And I’m most of all thankful that his grace is sufficient to cover it all.

With all my love in Christ,
Amanda

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One Response to “His Grace is Enough”

  1. Tammy said

    This is a beautiful tribute to your precious baby girl. The pain, it ebbs and flows. Time helps build a scab, but the wound goes bone deep. I fear every day for my Kendal and Jack. Once you lose a child and you truly KNOW what the worst pain ever feels like, you fear it for your other children like no other fear. But you are so right. Your words are so much more perfect and beautiful. His Love will see you through it. Knowing she’s there in His presence. He’s holding her, keeping her warm, loving her, protecting her, just for you. The best caregiver, babysitter in the universe. 🙂 That’s pretty special. Keep going Amanda, your journey is worth writing. With love always for ya. Tammy

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