A Gift, a Loss, and God’s Story

“…weeping may go on all night, but joy comes with the morning. You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give You thanks forever!” (1)

A song sung on a different note

Today is Michael’s birthday; he would have been forty-two. His life and death are part of my story. Every story is delicately brushed on a tapestry with a variety of colors. Some are bright and vibrant; others are brushed with heavier tones…each stroke being a vital part of the picture, displaying its particular beauty. My story reveals both the beauty of life and the darkness of death because my son was my joy and I was a happy mom, until the dark clouds shrouded over my life from his death. This is my story.

“Our grief cannot mar the melody of our praise: they are simply the bass notes of our life song: To God be the Glory.” (2)

Family – The most priceless gift that I take pleasure in is my family. I value my husband, three children, and four grandchildren which have enriched my life immensely. All of my children and grandchildren are uniquely special. The loss of just one of these precious dear ones brings grief, and pains me. I know….my heart was broken over the loss of my precious son, Michael.

Homage to Michael

Michael was born January 5, 1973. I hold the sweetest sentiments of Michael’s life. He was an adorable baby and I was a proud mom. When I brought him home from the hospital much joy and excitement filled the air. His sister couldn’t wait to see her new baby brother. To hold such a little one was a big task for such a little girl, she being only fourteen months older. I loved watching them grow together. Then seven years later, another baby brother was introduced to the family bringing completeness and wholeness to our family. All of my children played an important role in our family but for Michael he tenderly protected his younger brother, and became his sister’s best advocate. We will always remember his love for his family.

It was my pleasure to watch Mike’s valorous play. He was so cute, especially because he always became the hero. A mom’s delight! His clear sense of moral uprightness spoke volumes to everyone around him, even in the formative years. When Mike would play he was always the good guy…and ready to defend a worthy cause. Those years were filled with fun as I watched him grow.  When he started school he became a natural leader with his peers. He was popular and influential. Two things occurred after Michael graduated from school first he married his high school sweet heart. He and his wife were a happy couple and admired by their friends. They radiated a glow of fulfillment and completeness in their relationship and were an inspiration to those around them. Second, Mike refined  his artistic skills as he worked as a graphic artist with expertise in color and design. He was successful, advancing quickly in status, a hard worker and well liked.

Cherished friendship – My son was a trusted friend and reliable source of help. As he grew, my confidence increased more and more in his abilities. He was bright, alert, and had a keen sense of discernment, staying positive in stressful situations. As a mom, I cherished his authentic and vibrant lifestyle. He was witty, with a great sense of humor; parties were always fun with Mike present. He entertained with his humorous antics, keeping us smiling, laughing and thinking all the time. Michael had innate gifts too, that conveyed love and acceptance.

Michael impacted his world

Mike made an authentic impact on others by a tender touch of recognition. His spontaneous way of esteeming others conveyed their significance to the world. As his passionate enthusiasm would dare others to go beyond what they felt they were able. I recall a sternness in Mike’s eyes as he would say, “just take the bull by the horns and look him in the eyes and say ‘move on over.'” A confident thrust ahead to succeed was his credence. It left a standing mark of individual growth to those who experienced success from his gentle encouragement. Mike set an example of virtue and exhibited kindness to those around him. He had a gentle way with his relationship with God. His walk with God was quiet, trusting and sweet display of dependence. I have confident hope that lies in God’s promises that I will see my son once again. I look forward to that day when we will spend eternity together.

Our Loss – Michael died suddenly and violently by murder on February 24, 2004 . Bewildered, I wondered about life, its purpose and its meaning. Why was his life taken away? Very precious life, our gift, our joy! Weren’t we to live happily ever after?

Will I partake in God’s story?

Our lives display the GREATNESS of our God, our Savior and Redeemer and how He came to rescue us. Our stories tell how He brought salvation, life and newness. I’ve come to ask myself, will I submit to God, or will I resist sharing my story? Will I share with others how the Lord sustained me through this tragic event? Will I tell them how much God loves them, to the point of dying for them on a cross. Will I tell them He is coming again? I have a choice whether I will share my story and God’s goodness, or hold on to the pains of deep affliction. Why should I lose heart when I know God works all things together for my good? A gift, a loss, and God’s story demonstrates His grace and glory when the joy and beauty are given in exchange for ashes. (3)

Footnotes:

1. Psalm 30: 5b, 11, 12 It’s Alive nlt
2. Charles Spurgeon http://www.spurgeon.org/morn_eve/m_e.html
3. Isaiah 61:3

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