Friday, October 10, 2008

In loving memory

Grace & I had a moment this week - a definite must record moment. Wednesday was an exhausting day that began with a 2:30 AM study session for the neuro exam. So Wednesday really began Tuesday. Full day of work with a surprise eval that morning - yes, I was going to study that 2.5 hours, but sure - I'll work Thank God for the opportunity to work. I survived my 1st lab with the human brain. I did fairly well on the exam that followed- after the bonus questions, I squeaked an A. Whew - I headed over to pick Gracie up at the University play place - as we so fondly refer to it. Except she wasn't quite ready to go.
Sitting at the writing center with another youngster, Grace was preparing a note to me. She loves to write. She loves notes. Count yourself special if you've received one of these notes carefully composed by the Gracie girl. I realized there was no getting out of there until she finished. Taking a seat on the low wooden chair, I assisted with colored pencils, glue & feathers - of course, you can't just write a note - it must be embellished with all sorts of pretties (the beginnings of scrapbooking). Finally, she read it to me with a glorious voice & fine presentation. I will never forget this moment.
I love you. I love you. I looooooooove you. And when you get
sick, I will always love you & take care of you. And when you get mad,
I will still love you. I love for always. ~Grace
On the way home, we sang songs & throughout the rest of the week, we've been singing. Yesterday, we talked about our favorite songs. Grace sang her favorite song & it was about loving me. Then it was my turn to share my favorite. I sang Jesus Loves Me, recounting how I often comforted her as a baby with this song.
Without thought about the specific date, I told Grace how my mom sang that song with me when I was little. Gracie's always curious about what happened when I was a baby or a little girl. Then we talked about when Grandma was sick & we sang over her, wrapping her up tight in the arms of our song. It made her feel better. Our song helped her rest.
Here I am again a day later remembering how love sings...remembering He embraces us with song. He sings over us. Isn't that a lovely thought? He sings over us.

Zephaniah 3:17
For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs

Nellie R. O'Neal
April 12, 1939 - October 10, 2005

Jesus Loves Me
Print by Kathryn Andrews Finch
Repost from June 2006:
This has been a big week for us - turning TWO is a BIG deal! Gracie never ceases to amaze me but this week I shed some tears. For weeks, Gracie's belted out "Deep & Wide" - there's a fountain flowing deep & wide; a song she learned in CLC KidsTown about the never ending fountain of God's love toward His children. This week as I was putting Gracie's shoes on & she started singing another familiar tune~

Jesus loves me this I know

for the Bible tells me so.

Little ones to Him belong.

They are weak but He is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me!

Yes, Jesus loves me!

The Bible tells me so.

Though she missed a few of the words, it was by far the sweetest melody. This child's song is powerful when you really think about those words. The declaration that Jesus, God almighty, creator of heaven and earth, loves ME. And I KNOW it! We, as His children, belong to Him; treasured and cherished of our Heavenly Father. Though we are weak, He is indeed strong; strong enough for whatever makes me afraid. To quote an old song, "His strength is perfect when our strength is gone. He'll carry us when we can't carry on. Raised in His power the weak become strong. His strength is perfect. His strength is perfect."

Jesus loves me - it's been a favorite for a long time, holding special meaning for a number of reasons. One of mom's favorite stories to tell from when Tracy & I were kids was the one about Halloween when we were 2 & 3 years old. She took us trick or treating and our "trick" was singing Jesus Loves Me. One lady was so moved, she recorded the song to send to her son in Vietnam. I wonder if two giggly girls singing this Sunday School favorite brought a smile and perhaps reassurance that he was being held by the everlasting love of Jesus. I believe it did.

Jesus Loves Me comforts the soul. My mom was sick, sick, sick in the hospital - I had no idea it would be the last day she lived. While visiting her, Grace persisted in getting a book off mom's nightstand. Thinking it was a Bible, I told her "not for Grace" a dozen times. Finally, I decided we could look at the "book" together. Turned out it was a hymnal. Then I remembered my sister telling me that she & my cousin swiped one from the hospital chapel so they could sing for mom. Mom was a singer when she was younger - lovely, lovely voice. I treasure the memory of her singing to me, with me when I was little and then, mom singing to and with Grace. The words were sometimes jumbled, but charming still.

Mom affirmed she would enjoy it if we sang a bit. I went through the songbook, finding old favorites I hadn't sang in years...Standing on the Promises, What a Friend We Have In Jesus, Amazing Grace and finally, Jesus Loves Me - with all the verses. Mom enjoyed the others, moving her lips to sing as she was able, but when I began to sing Jesus Loves Me, she began to breathe deeply, relax & "rest" in the song. I remember all day mom looked very deeply at Grace & me, like she was drinking us in. I think mom knew that it was the end. This song gave her peace to rest eternally in the arms & love of Jesus.

So sing on Gracie! Sing it 'til that message is embedded in your little soul, because He does indeed love you! Sing it for others so they will know they are loved as well.

PS - the print above by Kathryn Andrews Finch hangs in Gracie's room as a reminder of this precious love. AND special thanks to Christian Life Center Kids Town Children's Program for singing with my little Grace. You'll never know how far your efforts go!


Dutchnic said...

I'm sending you a hug from Holland. That was a beautiful post, Carmen!

Randy Beal said...

I figured out why I couldn't comment. So sorry I missed this day. I'm so glad to hear the comfort you have on this day. Readin/ singing your words wqas great. We love you guys!

Bob said...

Wow! Beautiful post. You should add professional writing to your list of to dos. Or not! ;)