It’s one of those days. Last night Mike brought me a box. He very thoughtfully separated Kiki’s ashes so Larry and I could have some. I so love this man who has become my son. We grieve together.

But I had been having flashbacks all day as it was. It’s funny how shock works. It acts like anesthesia—dulls the sounds, the smells, the sights—but they come back. All to soon, I wake up to my new normal. I don’t like it. Don’t like it one little bit. I walk to the freezer, and I think of the machine that pumped cool water around my daughter to lower her body temperature in a vain attempt to save her brain. I watch a show, and a character goes into cardiac arrest. The beeping reminds me of all the monitors Kiki was hooked up to. I see on the TV guide a show “Jo Frost and killer kids” and say to myself, “I have to tell Kiki! She’d love this show!” Then I remember. I keep looking over at the couch, half-expecting to see her sitting there with her computer.

Now I hold the box that is all that is left of the beautiful, vibrant, joyous person Kiki was. It’s a wonderfully carved wooden box. She would love it.

I wish the shock would return. I need a little numbing right about now. It doesn’t.

I am so grateful that the Lord has continually surrounded me with His grace and peace. Everyday He reminds me that this crazy plan of His (I am so getting slapped by Jesus for calling it crazy!) is one crafted by His love, and that it is beyond anything I could hope or imagine. That’s saying something because I have a pretty good imagination.

I’ve been reading Tim’s Walking with God through Pain and Suffering,” and it’s been tremendous if not difficult to read. Yesterday I read that suffering is used by God to form us into more perfect images of His Son, that through it we become resilient, flexible, more compassionate, more thoughtful, kinder, and more likely not to sweat the small stuff.

It reminded me of something. In order to make wine, grapes need to be crushed. The crushing doesn’t destroy them but rather transforms the fruit so that it can serve others in a whole new way.

I realize there are two ways to approach loss and suffering. It can either make you hardened, caved in upon yourself so that you become an emotional black hole, or it can break you open to make you more able to serve and comfort others. II Corinthians 1:3-7. How do I do one and not the other? I believe it comes down to trust. Even Christ in the garden asked for the cup to be taken away. The answer was, “No,” and so His reply was, “Thy will be done.” Was there another way to save us? Obviously not. I wanted the Lord to take my cup away. “Please, save my daughter!” I repeated this a million times during the week Kiki was in the hospital. I prayed for a miracle. The answer was, “No.” Was there another way this could have gone down? Obviously not. And so I say with my Lord Jesus, “Thy will be done. I trust you no matter how it looks or feels.” Jesus trusted and obeyed the Father and look what happened. So I take up whatever task the Lord has given me today and follow Him. Obey Him. Trust that despite the dark clouds and the rough seas, my ship is on course and will reach Home safely.

A friend of mine, Christina, gave me the lyrics to an old hymn that went along with the picture I painted. It’s called “Master, the Tempest is Raging” and it’s the perfect song for me today. The refrain goes like this:

The winds and the waves shall obey Thy will. Peace, be still! Whether the wrath of the storm tossed sea, or demons or men, or whatever it be, no waters can swallow the ship where lies the Master of ocean and earth, and skies. They all shall sweetly obey Thy will. Peace, be still! Peace be still!

Jesus is in my ship, so this crushed grape is going to take the wheel, follow the Morning star and plow through this day. O Lord, fill my sails and carry me onward.

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