winter comes…

I pulled my jacket tighter around me while out for a walk this afternoon.

It’s cold outside. Last week, it was seventy degrees. Today? Somewhere in the upper 40’s. Not too bad if the wind wasn’t blowing, but it was. I thought I was adequately prepared, but I wasn’t. And so, I pulled my jacket tighter around me, dug my hands a little deeper into my pockets, and cursed the winter for catching me by surprise.

As it goes with the weather, so it goes with my heart.

It’s cold inside. The wind is blowing, and I am not adequately prepared for winter’s arrival.

Death has reared its ugly witness… again, claiming the earthly tenure of my precious friend, Juliana. She had a heart transplant three weeks ago. On Tuesday, she had a massive stroke. On Wednesday, she died, and none of us were prepared for her departure.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. She was supposed to live long enough to raise her five-year-old twin sons and to grow old with her beloved, Patrick. Instead she went home to Jesus, and she took a part of our hearts with her. We are the ones in mourning, not her. We are the ones left behind to hold and to manage an eternal ache that shouts, “This should not be; not yet.”

To love is a great thing. To grieve, a direct reflection of that love. I just wish that love didn’t have to hurt so much. I just wish that I could take the pain away for all of us. I just wish that God would peel back the heavens long enough for us to see Juliana there, dancing with her infant daughter, knowing that one day soon, their steps will be ours. Their joy, ours. Their peace, ours. Their forever, ours.

But God keeps a few secrets… keeps the heavens hidden because he knows that should we catch a glimpse of glory, we would no longer need our lives here. We’d only want to be there, with Him. With her. With all the other saints gathered together around the throne. A peek into glory wouldn’t be enough to satisfy the soul cravings within.

To see that and then to stay here? Well, I don’t think we’d ever recover.

And so, we live with the mystery. We pull our jackets tighter around us and do our best to block our hearts from the howling wind. We curse the winter for catching us by surprise. And we think about home. It’s warmth. It’s shelter. It’s protection. About how long it will take us to get there. About how many more deliberate steps of faith will be required of us before we see the welcome mat and the faces of loved ones who are glad to see that we’ve made it home safely.

Yes, it’s cold today. Winter has paid us a visit. I can’t see Spring. I can only imagine it. It won’t be long in coming, but for now, right now, I pull my jacket tighter around me and keep walking forward. I cast my eyes to the horizon, searching for any signs of home. And I look down at my bracelet, and I read those two words that I’ve promised to remember for 2012.

Movement wins.

And I keep moving, even on a winter day.

May God keep us all focused forward and forever tethered to our forever. And may he grant each one of us enough hope, comfort, certainty, and peace for the journey ahead.


28 Responses to winter comes…

  1. My heart hurts knowing your pangs of loss Elaine, and for the pain that Juliana's loved ones must be feeling at this moment. Cling to the knowledge of that season yet to come Dear Lady, and the bliss she now enjoys in the company of our Savior.

    Have a Blessed Day!

  2. what pain and confusion ya'll must have; losing precious friends is so hard, words never seem to be right. will continue praying for their family and for your loss, too.

  3. If we lived in the same town and I would come and just sit and be quiet. May God come around those little boys and protect their hearts.

  4. "I just wish that God would peel back the heavens long enough for us to see Juliana there, dancing with her infant daughter, knowing that one day soon, their steps will be ours. Their joy, ours. Their peace, ours. Their forever, ours"….

    How well you have said this ELaine, and how our hearts hurt for this family.

    You've worded comfort into my own heart tonight by this tribute, and the heartfelt longing that we feel when this happens.

    Thank you my friend. Praying for God's comfort.

  5. Thank you, Elaine. Peace is indeed a person not a concept. Blessings to you – Marsha

  6. Elaine, my heart goes out to you and to Juliana's family. Love how you said "I keep moving, even on a winter day." Now that's faith, friend. May we all keep moving during our own winter days.

    Sending hugs!

  7. You're right that death is difficult for those of us who are left behind, but what a beautiful reminder that this life is not what it's all about. Praying for all those who love Juliana.

  8. You have voiced the cry of so many of our hearts when we lose a dear loved one. This was beautiful, Elaine. God's peace to Juliana's family and friends.

  9. Giving you my scripture for this week…Let your eyes look forward; fix your gaze straight ahead. Carefully consider the path for your feet, and all your ways will be established. Don’t turn to the right or to the left; keep your feet away from evil. ~ Proverbs 4:25-27 (HSCB)

    Keep looking forward at our Savior and Lord, especially during this time of grief.

    Beautifully written words for your friend.


    Living Out Loud~Pamela

  10. I so get this. How often I have looked toward Heaven, especially when I see sun rays bursting from behind a cloud, and I wonder what Missy and Mom and my grandmother, and others we've lost along the way are doing. You are right…if we ever caught a glimpse of Heaven, I don't believe we could tolerate life here anymore, and tolerate we must until He calls us home. I recall vacations where, as we begin our journey back home, I find myself looking back, trying to grab as many memories as I can before they have slipped behind the horizon, but then, the closer we get to home, the more anxiously I watch for it to appear on the horizon. I cheer when I see the Welcome to Kentucky sign! At 64, I'm drawing closer to Home, and my eyes are set, waiting to see the Welcome to Heaven in my Savior's outstretched arms. Even the thought of it stirs tears.

    I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. You've experienced a great deal of loss of late. But I still believe that out of it all is coming a new faith…a new voice…new words.



  11. I know what you mean about "movement", and I know it's your word for 2012….and I know that Holy Spirit has spoken and will continue to speak it to you.

    But maybe, just maybe there is a place for "hibernation" in our winters in the sense of "passing the winter in a torpid or resting state."

    I don't know for sure. Just thinking here.

  12. I'm so sorry for all of you–her family and friends who were there for her praying her on.
    I also want to say how beautifully you expressed this loss.I never have the right words to express what I want…but you do and bless so many.

  13. Sending love and holy hugs with praise to Him and thanks to you for sharing yourself with us. We are so blessed to share the ministry of grieving with you.

  14. My heart aches reading of your loss. Praying that the warmth of His love will comfort you and Juliana's family and bring you peace as you weather this unexpected blast.


  15. Dear Elaine,
    I am so sorry to hear of your loss and the pain that you are experiencing.

    I am right there with you, having lost my cousin last month. He was only 46 years old.

    Doesn't this loss make you long for our heavenly home and the day that Jesus will wipe all tears from our eyes? Where there will never be any more goodbyes? Thank God for Jesus.

    I will be praying for you as you navigate the days ahead.


  16. You are so eloquent even in grief. My prayers are with you dear one. Hang on tight, the Lord weeps with you.

  17. I am really liking "movement wins" because its not about the exact type of movement, or the pace…but rather with Him you are moving! Hugs my friend!

  18. prayers…

    You have certainly had a rough few months. Praying for you and your friend's dear sweet family.

  19. Dear Elaine, this made me sick to my heart to read. Such words that reached right into my heart that I might share your grief and be moved into a deep compassion to pray for you and this precious family. Thank God for Hope and Forever, but in the meantime… it hurts. Much love and praying that Spring arrives early this year.

  20. Elaine, I can relate. Seems the more friends and family I lose to heaven, the more I'm ready to be there with them and Jesus! I've been listening to Debra Talley sing a beautiful song along these lines called "Thinkin' About Home". You can watch her sing it here on a YouTube video if you like:

    Love ya!

    Marilyn…in Mississippi

  21. Sending an extra prayer your way on this Sunday night Elaine, was just thinking of you and I know it's been a very tough week.


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