Our church choir presented a musical called "Blessings" at the Sunday morning service. They interspersed praise songs, hymns, solos and anthems in a beautiful worship experience.
The first song started my tears flowing and they didn't stop. Because the first song we sang was "Blessed be the name of the Lord." Even before we reached the words "Blessed by Your name on the road marked with suffering, though there's pain in the offering," the tears had started. All I could do was to close my eyes and mouth the words "When the darkness closes in, Lord, still I will say: Blessed be the name of the Lord."
You give and take away. I don't blame God for "taking away" Jolene. She took herself away.
But on this day of Thanksgiving, I thank God for giving me Jolene for almost 24 years. More than 24, if you count the months she lived in my womb. He gave me an awesome, life changing gift, and for that I choose to say, blessed be the name of the Lord.
God has given me so much more this year. Love poured out on Mom and me from our church family, my writing family, my work family. It still has, during our recent surgery. Mom was blown away by the words of sympathy and comfort all the way from Australia, scant hours after we learned about Jolene's death. We have literally had an entire world of support.
God has given me more writing opportunities than I have ever had before--and the grace to meet those deadlines. Prayers still needed on that score: I have two manuscripts due by February 1st.
My daughter-in-law will give birth to my first biological grandchild on December 11th--two weeks from today. Tests indicate it's a baby girl. I am excited to see how excited my son is; and of course I'm thrilled. They are going to give their baby the same middle name as Jolene--Elizabeth--and that touches my heart deeply.
God has provided financially during the days and weeks I have been out of work. At the moment, I am accumulating a large scary debt, but I'm leaving that in God's hands.
Through my loss, I have been aware, more than ever before, of God's constant abiding presence and love. Wherever my grief takes me, He is there before me, with me, around me. He carries me when I cannot stand on my own.
My heart chooses to say--blessed be the name of the Lord.