Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Closing that door

ok people...that was a lot of pictures. Honestly, I just couldn't leave any out because in every single one of them I see Hope. Smiling, delight, joy, laughter...and it helps me with perspective for the long haul. This is a long, hard road... I need all the help I can get and it seems that God shows me His grace through our pictures and I can see for myself that we are going to be ok. It really was a good Christmas. Of course, we had our moments but overall I was overwhelmed with God's goodness and how once again he carried us through a holiday without Alaina. I was continually reminded that because of what we celebrate at Christmas is the very reason I can keep going....This Savior that came into the world and because of His sacrifice I will one day hold my oldest daughter again...truly, I can think of no greater joy other than seeing Jesus face to face.

The gospel has never been more real to me. One of the things I wrestle with is the fact that Alaina was alone when she died. Did she call out for me? Was she suffering? Did she wonder where we were? Why couldn't I be there to hold her? Why did it have to be like that? It's just horrible all the places your mind goes. Then I stop and think about God WILLINGLY watching his Son suffer on the cross for the sin of the world and I am AMAZED at this kind of sacrificial love. And to think that he died for all the yuck that's in my heart...really amazing.

My trip to Butler wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. The first day was the hardest, obviously. The day we got there we stopped at the cemetery before going to my parents. We didn't stay long...I find little comfort from being there...just deep sadness. A friend here in Cullman shared something at our bible study that helped me during these days in Butler. She said she heard a retreat speaker explain once that when we're distracted in our quiet time with the Lord (like the phone ringing or we can't seem to focus because our mind is wandering) to just say out loud "I'm closing that door." And every time a distraction comes just continue to say "No, I'm closing that door." This was huge for me. All throughout the week, I had the hard memories in front of me and I kept praying over and over..."Lord, help me to close that door!" I saw the place where I stood when my Dad told me Alaina was gone and I said "I'm closing that door." The room where she died "I'm closing that door." The place I was sitting when I had to tell Billy his daughter died "I'm closing that door." And I know those doors will open again but just help me in the moment to close it and not DWELL on the horrible. It was such a good word picture for me. God did help me to close those doors and I really was able to enjoy my time there. I know many were praying and I could sense God's peace and presence. We rested and the kids loved being outside. Holden got to try out his BB gun and he has decided he likes to hunt...see slide show :(

I'm thinking my theme for 2009 will be Hope. Not anything to do with my name, that would be cheesy. But because that's what I feel like God is continuing to give our family. I'm not completely consumed when I think of this new year but have hope in what God can do. I look at Alaina's pictures and stare and think "I miss you so much little girl!" But I have hope that I'll see her again and God will continue to give grace until that time. Many of you saw this on our Christmas card and it's the verse I'm claiming for this year...

"Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord's great love, we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness...The Lord is my portion therefore I will wait for Him.

Lamentations 3:21-25

I leave you with's the little things like this that mean so much to me. The fire chief of Cullman (you know Billy sales fire trucks) brought this to me and said he reads my blog and is always praying. Guess what it says? Stay tuned, I'll post a picture next time.


Anonymous said...

What beautiful pictures. They are so precious. I can't believe Mary Helen is a year old already.
I think Hope is a befitting name for this year. I see HOPE in your pictures. There is a sparkle in everyone eyes, you are all smiling with your eyes, not just your mouths. It is beautiful. Wishing all of you a year full of happiness and HOPE. We miss you all!
Kari Veenstra

The Hannahs said...

I will continue to lift your family up during this new year and HOPE along with you for peace in your heart. I love you dearly and continue to be here for anything and everything that you may need.
Love, Rachel

Amy said...

IT is good to hear your "voice" I thought about you and Billy alot through the holidays and prayed for you often. Reading your heart is always such a time of worship for me because I see Jesus in your heart Hope!!!! Not because everything seems ok - because it doesn't - you are real about that...but because in the hardest times it is HIM that you are clinging to and it is HIM that is carrying you through. His story in your life has truly become a story of His grace, and mercy and of His wonderful redemption!!! I see Him all through your story and He is being glorified and lifted up!! Praise God for the faith and the HOPE that He has given you and Billy!!!

Lindsey said...

thanks as always for sharing Hope. i, too, thought about you guys a lot over the holidays and i'm thankful the Lord wrapped His arms around you yet again. i'm glad to hear and see that even though i'm sure most days are indescribibly painful, you are continuing to live and have joy and hope and laughter. the salters love you.

Shea said...

Okay, I almost posted on every set of pictures because I so enjoyed seeing your smiling faces in each and every one! I see such HOPE! My thoughts were with you during the holidays, as they still remain with you now. My prayers only intensify for you each day! The children look like they had such a great Christmas. HAPPY late BIRTHDAY to Mary Helen!! God bless ya'll. So glad you were able to enjoy your time in Butler and "close" some of those doors. What strength you have; you inspire us all to HOPE! We love you!

Shea and Family

ann said...

So delightful to see your sweet smiling faces. Kari's right - the smiles are in the eyes. God is good. Praying and missing you all.
Love, Ann

Couldn't help but be reminded of this old song of hope:
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Michael and Jennifer Werneth said...

you are a picture of hope for us all! i will pray for your ability to continue closing doors by his grace. i know that going to butler was so important and i prayed for you often while you were there. you stay on my mind and i still pray the words of songs over you and billy when i lack the words myself. i love the verse from your card and will pray it too. love ya
p.s. watched an episode of the office for the first time and was laughing out loud! just borrowed the first season from w.

Paige Kahlbau Thomasson said...

Dear Hope,
I want to say thank you...
When I read your blogs, I am continuously amazed and reminded of our Lord's promises. Again,thank you so much for sharing.


Kristin said...

"And HOPE does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whome He has given us." - Romans 5:5

Love you, Hope. I'll pray for God to "close those doors" for you, too. Thanks so much for sharing the hope and comfort the Lord gives you as you journey on a road I fear. I don't think you'll ever know how much courage reading your words brings me. Thank you...

Michael and Jennifer Werneth said...

A promise that I prayed for you today:
"The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength." Isaiah 40:28,29