Where has the week gone?? Our family’s unofficial “bed and breakfast” has been hopping and I haven’t had a spare minute to post anything…and I actually had this next little post written out and was itching to get typing. sigh. Life just picks me up and carries me away sometimes and I’ve discovered that fighting it just exhausts me, so I just try to sit back and enjoy the ride. (And who said serving the Lord was boring?? :o)
Today I want to talk a little about my sweet Benjamin (you can read a tiny bit more about him here).
Benjamin was born April 27, 1988, in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania. He was our first baby to be born at the home of our Amish midwife, Molly, and her sister Beth. What a wonderful experience!
His baby years were spent traveling with his mommy and daddy and two older sisters, as we traveled around the United States, raising funds to come to Canada as missionaries. When Ben was diagnosed with cancer, our traveling days came to an abrupt halt, and for the next year and a half my hubby only scheduled meetings as it worked out for him to get away. It was a rocky road and he wanted to be home and walk down it with us.
5 years, 3 months and 19 days after Benjamin breathed his first breath, he breathed his last. It was August 16, 1993. Ben was safe in the arms of Jesus.
Three weeks after Ben passed away, the Lord opened the door for us to start the process of leaving our friends and family and move to Canada. And three short months later, we loaded up our moving truck and began our three day journey to northern Ontario. Before we left town, we went to the graveyard for one last goodbye, not knowing when we would be able to come again. When we pulled away, I left a part of me there…but I needed to go where the Lord wanted us to go, and be a mommy to the 5 sweet babies I could still hold in my arms.
Raising a family and keeping busy with our missionary work, we weren’t able to make it back to the States very often. I only got to see my parents about once a year, and sometimes it stretched out to every other year. But we sure kept the phone lines busy, which helped me feel more connected until I got to see them again.
One summer day my mom and I were chatting on the phone and she said her and Daddy wanted to fly me down for a visit. Right away we started making plans about where we wanted to go and who we wanted to see while I was there. Then she surprised me by saying she wanted to take me to Pennsylvania to see Benjamin’s grave…oh how I cried. We had been in Canada for almost 10 years, and I had never been able to go back to PA yet, so I was thankful the Lord was going to let me go!
A few months later – almost 10 years to the day – I walked up to Benjamin’s grave, again. I had asked my mom to drop me off and give me a few minutes by myself. As I stood there and cried, one little, fluffy cloud floated over me and started raining on me. I couldn’t believe it. After running to the car for an umbrella, my mom and I went and stood together at the grave – and as quickly as the little shower came, it passed.
I have to admit I was a little bothered that the Lord would allow that one tiny cloud to come and “ruin” my short time alone at Ben’s grave. I mean, it had been 10 years and this was my first time there! Later when I told my story to a friend of mine (I’m pretty sure she could tell I wasn’t very impressed with the whole thing), she just smiled, tilted her head and said, “Mitzi! That was God crying with you!” Instantly, that annoying little shower became so so sweet to me.
Several years later my hubby and I flew to the states to visit a few churches. Again, I was able to visit Ben’s grave and this time with Benjamin’s daddy beside me.
Last year Joe and I celebrated 30 wonderful years together. Our kids told us we needed to go on the special trip to celebrate…hmmm where should we go?? Because it was so soon after my mom was killed, I knew I couldn’t go on my dream trip to Italy yet. Just the thought of jet lag, planning where we wanted to go and what we wanted to see, not to mention navigating in a strange land with a different language…it literally made me shiver!
Some day – but not now.
That’s when we decided to fly to Pennsylvania…to relax in the familiar…and to visit Ben’s grave and do my “mommy thing.” I know, I know…we heard it over and over again!!
“WHAT??! You’re here in Pennsylvania for your 30th anniversary???”
Yep! and we were loving every minute of it, too!!
You can only imagine the looks we got when folks found out we also came to PA so we could visit our son’s grave (we also drove to Virginia where my mom and dad are buried…I hadn’t seen my mom’s grave with her stone in place yet). Maybe it sounds morbid to some – but I needed to go…I wanted to go.
I’m always so sad when I go to Ben’s grave and see it all grown over and unattended. How I wish I lived closer so I could take care of it better…but I know God wants us in Canada and I am content with that. So I will cherish every time I can go.
As Joe and I were kneeling there pulling the weeds and thinking of our sweet Benjamin, through my tears I noticed one little wild flower growing over Ben’s stone…can you see it?! Oh how it warmed my mommy heart to see it!! Just like the one little cloud and quick shower years before, here was one little flower, planted there by my loving Heavenly Father…because He cares and He knew how much it would mean to this mommy. Oh how I cried.
Just like we talked about red birds, it was sweet to see the hand of God in my life even kneeling at our son’s grave.
Have you had something happen in your life that just doesn’t make sense? Has your world turned upside down? Have you buried a loved one? or two…or more? Are you wondering if God even cares? Are you wondering if He’s even there?
HE IS!! Look for Him!!
Look for Him in the little rain clouds in your life…in the teeny, tiny flower bending over a lonely grave. He’s there!
Don’t let bitterness take root and choke out the goodness of God that is in your life. Hope thou in God!! Get in His Word – He’s there! and He wants to speak to you and show Himself strong on your behalf.
Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness:
he is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.
“Joy is not the absence of struggle or sorrow, but the taste of the presence of God
as He surprises us with His gracious love whatever our circumstances.”
Until we meet again…