Joyful Memories from Sorrow

Join me in "Wednesday's Walk Down Memory Lane".


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.


Sarah said...

Hi Abigail,
Thanks for sharing this very moving memory and writing so openly and honestly about the depth of your emotions. Wishing you and your family all the very best,

Jill said...

Absolutely beautiful Abigail!

Yes, we are always under our Father's wing! Such a magical place to be!

Love you - Mrs. Samter

Who is so touched by how God is showing our family His ways are always perfect - how involved in every detail He really is and how He truly does supply for our every need right on TIME!

Lynnette Kraft said...

As your momma, I'm so so grateful for those friends who gave you moments of joy during such a sad time. God was so loving to provide that for you.

We have been victorious over that pain and heartache and I'm even more grateful for that! :)

Love you.

Rachel Poschen said...

Oh my goodness Ab...I almost started crying reading that...It's so weird how much I have forgotten. Some of my best memories in the world with you happened right after Anna went to be with Jesus...Crazy.:) Thank you so much for posting this memory.:)
I love you. :)

Tanya said...

Well written! I just finished reading your mom's book, thank you for sharing your heart like this. Praise the Lord for friends who stood with you during such a sad time.

Linda said...

Abigail, thanks for sharing your heartfelt memories this morning.

I am thankful for Rachel and the rest of the Poschens for how they ministered to you and your family when Anna went to heaven. Grandpa and I were also blessed by them.

For one so young you sure do have a maturity and special insight. I know you are blessed by the Lord, and a very gifted gal!
Love you,
Grandma Linda

Rachel...finding joy... said...


Thank you for sharing. You write beautifully. I am going to forward your blog to my daughter, Hannah. You too seem alike...writers and artists...

May our Father bless you!



Nutty mom-- said...

what a great memory! you are an awesome writer!

Julie said...

What a blessing to have friends to be there when you need them most!

Such a happy memory in such a difficult time. God is amazing.

Jamimania said...

Abigail, that's a great story. Funny about wanting to sleep in the garage. Sounds like some of Brandon's ideas to sleep outside in the tent and then make it less than a half an hour. ha ha.

It's so wonderful that God puts just the right people in our lives at just the right times. I know because once He put your family in my life (when we moved to Sedgwick) at a time that I was feeling very confused and lonely and in need of love and friendship. Your family is such a joy and a blessing... so just know that you all have been the comforting ones to someone else as well. Ciara and I are scheming to plan a family trip to the Wichita area and see if we can spend a day with your family soon. We would all LOVE it! And as for the cold... it's snowing here, so stay inside where it's warm!! ;) Hugs, Jami

Kristin said...

I love that you write about having joy during that time. And I understand what you mean about time flying when you're with your girlfriends. My husband can't figure out how my best friend and I can talk on the phone for hours about nothing imparticular at all!

Laura Hoekstra-Bettig said...

What a beautiful memory, Abigail. I can see that God has touched you through the death of your sister. You are caring and compassionate and able to talk about deep things. This is a gift. I pray my own daughter (who will be 11 years old in a few weeks) will choose Jesus even in pain as you have!

Thanks for stopping by my blog on today's walk. See you next week! :-)

Pen to Paper; Spirit to Soul said...

What an awesome friend and family! I'm sure there are more memories of sleeping in the garage!!! Can't wait to hear what God is doing in your life now.

Anonymous said...

I sure wish I could give you (& your mom) a hug! Thank you for sharing about your precious friends. I know, just as my children have, you went through a very rough time, and you've been through more than many adults. May God use it and you to bring others to Him!

Lynette said...

Thank you for sharing such a beautiful memory! I love those songs too...
lynette x

Kristin said...


I just wanted to say Thank you so much for your post on my blog.

Last night, I was reading your Mom's book and then I went to her website and was looking at the pictures of your beautiful family and your precious Anna, and I could barely keep myself from sobbing. I just had this overwhelming sadness for your loss. I still grieve deeply for my Mom and for the life that I lost when she died. To see your family be able to still have such joy, it's just so promising to me. God has definitely placed your family's story in my life to encourage me. Words really cannot express how much it means to me.

To know that last night, we were both reading each other's stories at about the same time, and being touched by them, it's just amazing to me.

Thank you so much,

GrandmaKathleen said...

You are such a gifted writer and artist and so blessed to have such supportive friends and family.

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