A Bittersweet Anniversary

There are all types of anniversaries. Some sweet and some not-so-sweet. Think about it. Weddings. Milestones. Birthdays. They warm our hearts at the memory of them.

But there are also those anniversaries we dread, the ones that creep up on us and bring fresh tears to our eyes each time we land on that unforgettable date on the calendar. Usually it’s an anniversary of something (usually someone) we’ve lost.

My family is coming up on one of those hard days this week. On August 4th of last year, my husband’s mom passed away. She’d spent months in the hospital, deteriorating before our eyes. A dark cloud hung over us all last summer. Her health wasn’t improving. Time seemed to freeze. Life got stuck in a cycle of hospital visits, long calls with countless doctors, and trying to find answers which never came. At least not in the way we expected.

But something incredible also happened. Something that even now brings tears to my eyes. God never abandoned us. And more than that, He showed us His love in unexpected ways over and over again.

I’ve thought back on one of those particular moments so often in this last year. His grace etched it in my heart until I had no choice but to write it down. For Him. For me. And perhaps, for you. Maybe you’re going through your own wilderness season and need this reminder like I did.

The week before my mother-in-law passed away, my husband and I sat on our front porch on a quiet summer evening. Everything outside was peaceful, but the turmoil in our hearts was anything but calm. We’d struggled to find help for his mom for months. No one knew what was wrong and she wasn’t getting any better. We were out of options and running out of time.

Our two year old daughter played on the porch, blissfully unaware of the discouragement we felt. She had no idea what her grandma was facing or what we would face in the following days.

While we sat there, we got a phone call. The decision had been made. His mom would be coming home on hospice. We had known that this would be coming, but still the sadness and surrender overwhelmed us. I held my husband’s hand and we prayed.

“Lord, please wrap your arms around my husband. May He feel your love around him right now,” I prayed. We knew God was the only one who could lift our hurt.

What we didn’t expect was the hands He chose to show us His love.

Literally seconds after we finished praying, huddled there together on the porch steps, unexpected hands wrapped around my husband from behind us.

Small hands — with a divinely guided purpose.

I took this picture right after she hugged him

Our little girl had stopped playing and rushed over to wrap her arms around her daddy.

The love of a daughter fueled by the love of a Father. Our Heavenly Father.

A laugh burst from my heart with tears in my eyes. You know the kind? “Look, honey,” I pointed at my husband. “He already answered our prayer. That’s Him loving on you right now. Do you see that?”

In that moment, our sweet girl became His hands and feet.

We weren’t alone in our grief. The Lord saw us there – the defeat on our shoulders, the discouragement in our hearts. And poured the promise of his life and love back into us. I’ll never forget the strange joy that overcame us in that moment of surrender and acceptance.

Some hard goodbyes still came a few days later, but God held our hand and stayed true to His word. He never left us and never will.

Are you facing your own season of defeat or discouragement right now, dear friend? May you know that our God in Heaven hears your cries. Don’t miss His hands at work in your life. They may just wrap around you in a way you least expect!

 

SavannaKaiser

30 Comments

  1. Voni

    An amazing memory. So precious to see evidence of God’s comfort and presence.

    Reply
    • SavannaKaiser

      Thank you for reading, Voni. Isn’t our God so amazing and kind?!

      Reply
  2. Laura Frantz

    Such a beautiful, honest, inspiring post. Thank you so much, Savanna. I immediately think of how much the Lord loves children and how He can use them in such HUGE ways as you’ve shared here. Praying for your family at this bittersweet anniversary as you miss his precious mom.

    Reply
    • SavannaKaiser

      Thank you, dear Laura, for your kind words and prayers. Hugs to you, my friend!

      Reply
  3. ReviewsByErin

    Beautiful. 💜 Praise God for His grace during our trials.

    Reply
    • SavannaKaiser

      So appreciate you stopping by, Erin! <3

      Reply
  4. Joan Arning

    I think we get so busy with life that we neglect to recognize what God is doing.

    Reply
    • SavannaKaiser

      Definitely! I’m so glad when God opens our eyes to see Him move in our lives.

      Reply
  5. Debra E. Marvin

    You were looking and saw what God gave- that’s half the battle. Sometimes I think we miss those things that might bless us the most.

    Reply
    • SavannaKaiser

      Yes, I sure want to be on the lookout more often. 🙂 God is always working… I don’t want to forget that. 🙂

      Reply
  6. Stacey L Zink

    I love this so much. Thank you for sharing. It’s a sweet reminder that I always need. God has me and is holding me close.

    Reply
    • SavannaKaiser

      So glad you stopped by, Stacey. Blessings and hugs to you!

      Reply
  7. Lois Hudson

    Beautiful reminder of God’s constant care for us. And it’s okay to acknowledge the pain of the anniversary as well. That reminds us to continue to thank Him for all the ways He shows His love and care.

    Reply
    • SavannaKaiser

      You’re exactly right, Lois! Those anniversaries and reminders only bring us closer to Him. I’m so grateful!

      Reply
  8. Cindy

    Such a sweet post. I can remember how completely at peace I felt when my son passed away several years ago. I had no explanation for it except an answer to prayer. I have tried to tell others how God blessed me during that difficult time, but the words are never adequate. You did this so well!

    Reply
    • SavannaKaiser

      Bless you, Cindy. I’m so humbled my words spoke to your heart. I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your son. What a wonderful God we have to meet us in our mourning and renew our hearts. Hugs to you!

      Reply
  9. Betsy

    What a heartfelt moment! Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
    • SavannaKaiser

      Thank YOU, Betsy, for reading!

      Reply
  10. Cynthia Roemer

    Such a touching memory of God’s love. Thanks for sharing this, Savanna. I loved reading it! Hugs!

    Reply
    • SavannaKaiser

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Cynthia. Hugs to you, friend!

      Reply
  11. Jenny Snow

    So beautiful, Savanna. ❤️ My husband’s mom is in Heaven, too. She was the best kind of mother-in-law and became a good friend. I miss her all the time.

    I’m glad our Heavenly Father comforts us so sweetly.

    Reply
    • SavannaKaiser

      Dear Jenny, I was so sorry to hear you’ve lost your mother-in-law too. So grateful for God’s comfort and love.

      Reply
  12. Kate Breslin

    Such a powerful testament to God’s presence in our lives, showing us His love and grace in the most remarkable ways. Thank you for sharing this beautiful memory, Savanna!

    Reply
    • SavannaKaiser

      Thank you so much for stopping by, Kate. I so appreciate your sweet comments. It was a joy to finally share this from my heart. God is so kind and patient.

      Reply
  13. Crystal

    You just made me cry. God showed himself in such subtle and beautiful ways when my Grandma was suffering from a long drawn out death…and again a little over a week ago when we all finally got together for her memorial service. He does love us and show us that love in the hard times and the good. Praying for your family as this day approaches. Hugs.

    Reply
    • SavannaKaiser

      Oh, Crystal, I’m so sorry to hear about your sweet grandma. May God continue to show His love to you and your family. And I really appreciate your prayers for us too.

      Reply
  14. Judy Neal

    Comfort comes in all shapes and forms. May the Lord continue to comfort you.

    Reply
    • SavannaKaiser

      Thank you, Judy. I appreciate you reading my post!

      Reply
  15. Connie Porter Saunders

    We never know how God will choose to show that He is always listening but we can be sure that He hears every sigh, every cry, and every “Why?”. God bless you and thank you for sharing!

    Reply
    • SavannaKaiser

      You said it perfectly, Connie. Thanks for your kind words! So appreciate you!

      Reply

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