I have once again been shown by God how quickly life changes and how I have absolutely no control over my life. He has the steering wheel and though I often do not like where he takes me, he makes me depend on him more and put my life at his feet.
Christmas Day started very early for us. At 2AM we had to make the difficult choice to have to put one of our dogs to sleep. He has been with my husband for 12 years and with me for 8. He is our other dogs best friend and now to hear her whimper breaks my heart. He was a 12 year old boxer and most boxers do not live past 8. He had a good life, he was a great dog, and will be missed dearly. It happened in a matter of a few hours. One day he was good, the next a very sick baby. The decision we made was the best for him because he was in a tremendous amount of pain. But just because we did not want him to go did not mean that God wasn't ready for him to come. I told my husband to tell him when he got to heaven to go find Richard. I have complete confidence that my brother was already waiting for him.
As I was at home waiting for news from my husband as to what was wrong with him, I found myself questioning God. Why would he make our dog sick on Christmas Eve of all days, why would you want me to endure another loss this year, haven't I had enough? I felt so terrible for my husband. I knew the pain of grief and felt his hurt. The loss for me was piled on top of the fact that this was a day I had dreaded most of the year and now I had to bring it in losing another part of my life. I was wrapping gifts, getting the girls stuff together, and complaining to God. Then I heard a preacher that was on the TV say, "God loves you more than you even like yourself." Let me just say how horrible I felt to have been asking God why and telling him how much I didn't really need this right now. God loves us SO much that he sent his one and only Son for us. On the day we celebrate the birth of the one who paid for our sins on the Cross.
I had dreaded this day and I am now sad to see it go. It marks the official first Christmas without my brother. I missed him this morning when he did not walk through my door, I had opened gifts with him for the past 27 years and today I did not.
I did make it through today. I was able to go back to bed, thanks to my husband, after we had Christmas with the girls. I was able to sleep through the time my brother had come to my home for the past 7 years. Always getting there early and just as giddy as a 5 year old.
I think about what Christmas must be like in heaven. I imagine he had the best Christmas yet, spending it with the one who gives us our way to heaven, Jesus Christ.
As the day came to an end and I reflected upon it, 1 Peter 1:6-7 was placed in front of me while I was looking through my Bible.
In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
I continue to hold strong in my faith, knowing that these things will not be wasted. I will continue to grow, continue to learn, continue to struggle, continue to hurt, but I have assurance that God is in control and I am not. For he knows the plans he has for us, and those plans are not to bring us harm. There is a reason for every season in life. And though I do not understand I will persevere. For it is He who gives me strength.