Have you ever experienced extreme peace, and almost giddiness in the midst of a complete catastrophe? There were times in the months after my sister, Anna, went to be with Jesus when I felt my spirit rebelled against everything it should be feeling. Instead of mourning 24/7, I felt an extreme urge to throw my arms in the air and sing—my heart was full every time I looked at the faces of the people I loved most. Instead of constantly feeling a gaping void in my heart from the absence of my sister, God showed me the joy that could prevail even, and sometimes especially, throughout times of pain.
Minutes after I initially heard the news of my sissy’s death, one of my dearest friends, Rachel, and her family showed up at our door. At first, all I wanted was to be alone—I holed up in my room with Anna’s favorite stuffed animal, a bunny named Alisha May, tucked in my tightly folded arms. It hurt to hear a voice, a hug made my skin tingle…any kind of communication with other people brought fresh tears and a new sensitivity to my own emotions. Yet through my obstinate insistence on being alone and staying buried in my grief, my friend stayed beside me and did everything she could to draw me out of the pit which I was in. There were many amazing people who ministered to my family at the time—each one was a unique blessing to us and I still thank God every time they are brought to my mind. What precious people He has given us to love and be loved by!
For days and possibly even weeks during this time, Rachel and her sisters, Emily & Lydia, spent much time at our house—catering to our emotional needs when needed, but more than anything they were an amazing distraction from the sadness that could so easily encompass me and my little sister, Cecily. Looking back, I can see what a huge sacrifice this must have been for the family—they practically gave up two weeks of their lives just to help us! Of those days, Rachel and Emily often stayed the night at our house…it was great for me and Cecily to have something to do in the evenings as sleeping often brought back the grief that we had temporarily buried inside of our souls.
I remember one night in particular—Rachel and I loved to have sleepovers in the finished garage about 50 feet northeast of our house. We would drag out a couple of thin blankets, CDs and stereo, etc. and brave the concrete floored building which only held a little Vornado heater for warmth. On this night, either in late November or early December, it was about 35 degrees outside—but of course, when a couple of 11 year olds set their minds to something, a little cold weather isn’t going to stop them. My brother, Jared, always made fun of us because he had no idea how we could spend a whole night without any movies or video games—I guess only girls can understand how fast time can fly just talking.
Our favorite songs at the time were “Mary Did You Know?” by Clay Aiken and “Emmanuel” by Amy Grant. We must have listened to those two songs a thousand times that night! We just kept playing them on loop for hours and hours. Then, finally at about 2:00 a.m. we decided to call it a night and try and get some sleep. We didn’t want to sleep on the floor for fear of spiders, so instead we pulled out a chair that we were absolutely sure we could both squeeze onto and be just fine sleeping there all night long…boy we were wrong. After kicking each other in the head a couple thousand times, and shivering in the cold for a good hour, we knew it would be impossible. After laughing at ourselves for thinking it would work in the first place, we grabbed our pillows and headed inside. As soon as we opened the door, we saw our sisters lying on the floor—cheeks flushed under the warmth of a huge thick comforter. It was a comical sight after our experiences in the bitter cold garage.
I praise God for giving me exactly what I needed in that time of heartache—He sent people to raise my spirits and create wonderful memories with. God cares for our hearts in so many different ways, and this is one of the most potent examples in my life of His working through people. It feels so incredible to be under the wing of my Father’s love!
To read more memories, please visit Lynnette Kraft @ Dancing Barefoot.