Ann Voskamp said, “Life is full of loss and time keeps charging forward. Jesus said when your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. When your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness . . . count gifts. It keeps your eyes good. It offers you the definite gift of greater joy. It draws open the curtains of night when the sun is going down – when loss threatens to bury us.” (from Ann’s One Thousand Gifts video series, session 2).
So we count gifts . . .
6,041 days of Matthew’s life on earth
A grandson, full of life, born on this day, two years ago
Another grandson, with Matthew as his middle name
Closer to heaven’s reunions
Joy in the morning
Today is a good, hard day. It’s a sad day. It’s a joyful day. It’s a day of beauty from the ashes. It’s a day of hope and LIFE. It’s a day we remember where we were 15 years ago when our son, Matthew Norman took his last breath here and entered the presence of Jesus. It’s a day that temporarily wrecked us and split our hearts.
How could such a dark day turn into a joyful day? When does joy in the morning return on anniverseries of this day? BUT GOD . . . God redeems days. HE alone brings beauty out of the ashes. He IS restoring the years the locust has eaten (Joel 2:25-32). God did not want us to continue to sink in that pit each year on this day. Matthew beholds Jesus. He LIVES in the presence of God and though we miss him with every part of our beings and hate how he left us, God forgave him before he even chose to try what took his life.
And He gave and gives us JOY for this day, one being the amazing gift of a precious life. Two years ago today our grandson, Dante was born, within the same hour our son left this Earth 13 years previously. ONLY GOD could plan that. I’ve wept with my daughter, questioning God how we can celebrate on such a day and yet in awe as we accept the gift of love and life He showed us on THIS day. There is life – here on Earth and in Heaven! To see the sparkle in our grandson’s life – playing with cars, snuggling his mama and eating a donut with sprinkles. His little joys are our gifts.
Tears still come . . . some did today. One daughter brought home a handful of boxes of candy and asked if I wanted one, saying, “Matthew would do this. Ohhh I miss him so much.” (Matthew loved giving out candy.) But these tears are temporary. LIFE is eternal. And we hold and love on lives here, thankful for the promises of eternity, because of Baby Jesus born to later die for us. Joy in the morning will last forever some day . . . another gift.
Yes, it’s a hard day and it’s a beautiful day. And I am thankful. Yes, even for this day. We celebrate life.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights . . . “
If you do not know Matthew’s story, please read it and talk with your children. His death may save your child’s lives.