It’s a rainy Saturday morning and I had hoped to sleep in. Alas, my children had other plans. Lucy crawled in my bed sometime in the night, telling me she missed Daddy. Ryan came in around 5 to tell me he’d been up since 2 a.m. and didn’t know what to do. Insomnia and autism are old friends. Go back to bed, honey, after you get a drink and I’ll pray you fall asleep, came my reply. Now I’m awake and three of them are sound asleep. The other one is returning from youth camp as I type.
I got up and made a cup of tea and some oatmeal and went to spend time with God. But while the kettle worked its magic, I turned on a video for a Jamie Grace song—Do Life Big. I inexplicably found tears running down my cheeks. Odd, I thought. I wasn’t feeling sad. Maybe I was moved by the beauty of the simple concept that Kraig and I both wanted to pass on to our kids—Jesus came to give us life abundantly. Live life big. Go on adventures! Laugh often. Embrace the joy in this world until He calls us home.
As my tea finished, I curled up on the coach with my Beth Moore devotional, Whispers of Hope, and today’s made me realize, perhaps, why the tears were near the surface. It was on the battle of Jericho. She talked about tools God has given us to win these victories in life. But the final thought on the page hit closest to home: “These steps don’t just lead to victory. Each step represents a victory of its own!”
Each step as I’ve walked this first year of grief has represented a small victory. Each time I keep moving forward by the grace and strength of Jesus is a small victory. Each time I choose to get back up after a wave of grief knocks me off my feet out of the blue is a victory.
When Lucy this week tells me with sadness that belies her young age, “I’ll never get to ride a motorcycle with Daddy” and it doesn’t obliterate me, it’s a victory.
When Ryan sobs at bedtime because he’s realized whatever wonderful thing we did that day was something Dad didn’t do with us and I find the words to comfort him, that’s a victory.
When I choose to trust God’s leading even though my house isn’t selling and the hoped-for new one sits empty, filled with potential, it’s a victory. When I declare to myself and the kids that God is in control whether we move or whether we stay in this house, that’s a victory.
When I choose to keep returning to my workout routine so that I can stay healthy for my kids, that is a victory! Exercise is not my favorite thing and working out when other things are on my to-do list feels somehow selfish. Fighting that thought and exercising is a victory.
When I choose to search for ways to do life big with my kids, showing them that even after the biggest tragedy in their lives God can send joy, that is a victory! This is the summer when we are going and doing and trusting God to provide as He has since the day Kraig died. I cannot take away the pain but I can show them that life goes on and it is OK to laugh again. I can take them to new places and enjoy new things as we all take time to heal.
So today I will work on my prep for my conference next month and get the kids to sort and put away laundry. I will snuggle my Lucy since she is missing her daddy. I will enjoy the sound of rain on the roof God blessed me with and I will prep for our next adventure as we attempt to do life big. And I will count each step as a God-given victory.