My grief is growing up. This week, on Tuesday, March 8, it turns four years old.
I happen to be familiar with four year olds. A few years ago I persuaded my teenage daughter and son to help me lead the four year old class at our church. We are with them two Sundays each month. We love them.
It is quite amazing how similar a group of four year old children are: potty trained, increasingly confident, generally cooperative- they understand not to hit, and that it is nice to share, and when the teacher is talking it is time to be self-controlled. They are unique people with distinct personalities in little bodies.
Those little people have come a long way from the tiny bundles who were placed in their parents’ arms four years ago.
Right next door to our classroom is the three year old class. Peeking in there is a reminder of the amazing growth that happens in just a year’s time. That class has a very different tone.
Potty trained? maybe, maybe not.
Sharing? not fans.
Listening to story time? sitting still is hard.
Happy to be there? not really. Being with mom and dad is always better.
It is a room full of emotions those little ones can only express in tears and limited words. Three year olds are absolutely adorable, but they are definitely high maintenance. My kids and I aren’t brave enough to take on an entire class.
But I can identify with them. And I am glad to be turning four.
If you have been in a delivery room, then you know the holy, stunning reality of birth. The process isn’t pretty, but miraculously life perseveres, even though it is messy and howling. For each of us, our Day One begins the long process of figuring out life.
We are welcomed by grace.
Grace cleans us up. Grace comforts. Grace hushes.
Grace holds. Grace kisses. Grace smiles.
Grace whispers love. Grace embraces.
Grace expects little of us and gives us much.
And grace is there ready to do it all over again when we wake up each morning.
The graces continue as we grow.
For me, the last four years began with a sudden c-section birth into an entirely unfamiliar world: a world where death permanently changed reality for my husband. For me. For our four children.
I was reduced to an infant. Needy, messy, undone. Nights and days confused. Unable to eat solids. Crying was my native language.
Grace embraced me.
And, I have been growing up the past four years through the early days of grief’s bewildering, needy infancy into the growing confidence and awareness of toddlerhood.
All along the way there has been God’s presence and grace for my lack of understanding, my yearnings, my confusion, my over reactions, my insecurities, my bad days, and good ones.
There has been grace for tantrums and inconsolable days.
There has been grace to love and care for four people who needed me to wake up and lead the way forward.
There has been grace as the songs of His love surround me on Sunday mornings.
There has been grace given as the sun still shines, ocean waves lap shores, birds sing, and seasons change. All of it gently, continually coaxing me to see joy and recognize hope.
And there has been grace expressed through the people who have helped, listened, reassured, and loved. Patiently. Willingly.*
And, as we arrive at year four, this is what I know: in the embrace of grace, my grief is growing up. Grief’s infancy and toddler days are becoming memories.
I feel four.
My grief will always be part of who I am. It is my story, but we are growing up together.
“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy
and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
Reading friend, if there is grief in your life, may you also find His tireless, gentle grace helping you.
thank you for being here with me~ listening as you read,
**thank you my dearest, closest family and friends. You know who you are. I love you more than I ever imagined, for reasons I never thought I’d know.