My granddaddy passed away December 13, 2016. Since November, I have been waiting to get the news, so it was not a surprise, but it did not make it easier. He filled the role of dad in my life and I loved him more than I can express. They say little girls grow up and marry someone like their father-and I think that is true for me. Ahmet has the same gentle nature, fierce protectiveness, and unwavering loyalty. Sometimes when I hug him, he even smells like my grandddaddy.
For years, I assumed I would be there when my grandparents pass away. I wanted to be the one taking care of them. I wanted to be at the funeral. Any cooking, cleaning, packing, or moving would be done by me-and whoever else wanted to chip in. Where this idea came from, I have no idea, but it was just something that for years and years I assumed would happen. Then, God called us to the mission field and plans changed.
When we left for Thailand, I thought I had prepared my heart for that possibly being the last good-bye. Let me just say, it does not actually work that way. At all. Grace is given day-by-day, moment-by-moment, and you do not borrow from tomorrow for today. The reality hit, and it was still incredibly hard, and I wanted to be there. I asked the Lord so many times to let me go back “home” and just be a part of the end, but He patiently and gently answered “no” each time. He did, however, lead Ahmet to send me back last July, and for that I am grateful. It was to be my last goodbye, and a time filled with precious memories, and it has made not being there now much easier. Yet, staying here has been one of the hardest things God has asked me to do.
Last night (my time) was the funeral, and I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing during that time. Do I go to bed? Read? Watch a movie? Fast and pray? Seriously?! When my family talks about the funeral, how will I feel if I respond with, “Well, I was sleeping, so….” If it had been day time, I probably would have continued about my day, doing what needed to be done, but 10:15 at night? I was anxious and extrememly frustrated. So, I wrote (I’ll share that one later), Ahmet and I talked, and before I knew it, a sweet sister-in-law texted me to tell me it was a beautiful service. Just like that, it was done and over, and I let out the breath I had been holding. She also sent pictures and a videos of the service (I am so blessed), but I waited until this morning to watch the videos. I cried my way through them, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. We will have our own little memorial service for my granddaddy next week. At the moment, we have a family of seven staying with us, which makes things…different. The distraction has been good, but I know the kids need a chance to pause and process this loss.
God has been so gracious and I have learned so much during this difficult time. For now, I need time to finish relfecting and thinking on all He has done, but I want to share in my next post how He has worked in my heart and done all that He promised. Thank you for praying for me and my family. The prayers mean so much.
Well, that wonderful time of year is finally here! Christmas Carol season! I’m not talking about being home for Christmas, jingling bells, or reindeers with red noses-I’m talking about the real deal, change your heart, reason-for-the-season carols. Let’s start with “What Child is This?”
Around 1865, William Chatterton Dix wrote a poem called “The Manger Throne” which was very shortly after used to write this famous hymn set to the tune of “Greensleeves.”
Like silver lamps in a distant shrine,
The stars are sparkling bright.
The bells of the city of God ring out,
For the Son of Mary is born to-night.
The gloom is past and the morn at last
Is coming with orient light.
Never fell melodies half so sweet
As those which are filling the skies.
And never a palace shone half so fair
As the manger-bed where our Saviour lies.
No night in the year is half so dear
As this which has ended our sighs.
Now a new Power has come on the earth,
A match for the armies of Hell:
A Child is born who shall conquer the foe,
And all the spirits of wickedness quell:
For Mary’s Son is the Mighty One
Whom the prophets of God foretell.
The stars of heaven still shine as at first
They gleamed on this wonderful night;
The bells of the city of God peal out
And the angels’ song still rings in the height,
And love still turns where the Godhead burns
Hid in flesh from fleshly sight.
Faith sees no longer the stable floor,
The pavement of sapphire is there.
The clear light of heaven streams out to the world
And the angels of God are crowding the air.
And heaven and earth through the spotless birth
Are at peace on this night so fair.
Can you feel the awe of the author over the birth of the One who would one day die for him? It is as if he is somehow looking back through time and experiencing the wonder of that night through the knowledge of what is to come.
Is this where your “magic of Christmas” comes from? Wonder over the gift of Jesus? A shining star? Angels filling the sky? Perfect love born in a manger? The light of Heaven coming to earth? Or is it from the big tree, special recipes, and new traditions?
This same feeling is carried over into the actual hymn. Words have been changed, and it is sung to the hauntingly, beautiful “Greensleeves,” but the wonder of the birth of our Saviour is carried through each word and note.
I asked Sarah Grace why this is her favorite Christmas song and she replied, “Because it is the whole story in one song. It goes from His birth to His crucifiction; it has the shepherds and wise men. It is just the Christmas story in one song.”
What Child is this who, laid to rest
On Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom Angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and Angels sing;
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.
2. Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.
3. So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh,
Come peasant, king to own Him;
The King of kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.
Raise, raise a song on high,
The virgin sings her lullaby.
Joy, joy for Christ is born,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.
I pray that as you celebrate Him this year, you would feel the same awe, wonder, and joy. I pray your voice is lifted in praise and your heart and life are the gifts you put before Him!
Hi! My name is Rachael and I am a child of God. I was saved from sin and all its bondage at the age of 21. I am married to an incredible man. He constantly challenges me to grow closer to my Saviour. We have three beautiful children that love the Lord. Currently, our family is preparing to go to Thailand as missionaries.