This past year, 2013, has taken a toll on my heart, has left me sweetly broken, and has drawn me to a deeper intimacy with God in the midst of all the questions I now have for Him.
I have experienced His nearness and His love for me in new ways.
And I have found myself with a deeper longing for Heaven then I have ever known.
This past year has drawn me into deeper, more authentic relationships with friends, family and most significantly, my husband. We have fallen in love with each other in ways we never knew possible. The deep joy of welcoming your first child into the world and deep pain of having to bury your first child has forced us to draw near to the Lord and to each other, to learn how to love and how to communicate in ways that has not broken us, but has only served to strengthen our young marriage.
In the midst of all God has walked us through, all we have gained and lost in 2013… I am convinced it will be the year that we look back on as the best year of our lives. It has been a year that has deepened a foundation of faith and trust in our great God that will ripple through generations of the Dennis family to come and will be a marker for us in living out Psalm 145: 4 “One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.”
Yet, in the still freshness of our grief as a new year begins I find I am so tired. My defenses are down and my emotions are up. If you ask me how I’m doing (a genuine, yet often quite overwhelming question for a mother who has just lost her child), I may say “ok” or “fine” or if you’re lucky “good”. But the true answer would be “I am deeply sad, missing my little girl always, longing to live out the role of mother in a very practical way and simply trusting God (sometimes well, sometimes not) to walk me through each moment of this day… and this conversation.” So, in my tiredness, sadness and hope as I look to this year, thinking what do I want to trust the Lord for, my first response has been filled with desire that this year would bring more joy than sadness and that we may welcome another baby into our lives. And that is where my fear can begin. For anyone who has walked through tragedy… you know. Tragedy can strike at any time, at any place, to anyone. There are no guarantees for us. God held us this last year in profound ways and you’d think that would translate into a deeper trust in whatever we walk through this year… and in some ways it does and in some ways it doesn’t. I cannot control what this year brings or doesn’t bring, I can only trust the one who IS in control and IS good. And that can be the war within my heart. Will I fight to control what I cannot or trust the One who controls all things?
So what is my hope for 2014? Yes, it is more joy than sorrow, yes it is to bring home a baby… but more than that as I’ve thought about this the past few weeks, my greatest hope for 2014 is not that I would set my gaze on things that are not guarantees but that I would set my gaze on Jesus, finding my greatest hope in Him as I lay my deep longings at His feet and walk in new surrender.
Jesus, He is my only guarantee (and he’s a pretty darn good guarantee).
He is the one I’m praying would be the direction of my gaze whatever this year may bring.
And amidst all the longings that may be running through your heart for this year, I pray that He alone would be the direction of your gaze as well!
I love this song and often imagine Sophie and I singing it together hand in hand next to our great friend and Savior, Jesus. She knows, more than I do, that Jesus is the only true place to cast our eyes.
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