By LIBBO CROSSWHITE
Let It Be
The older I’ve gotten the more I have fallen in love with Thanksgiving. I’ll be honest, when I was younger, it was the holiday that had no presents and my grandmother’s weird cranberry goo, but now that I am older and have to pay for my own dang presents, Thanksgiving has become that sigh of relief in the holiday season. It’s the quiet, unassuming day where we have time to reflect on the year that has come, and practically gone, right before our eyes.
I think about my life last November, days away from having a baby—a very pregnant, very hungry, emotional wreck of a person. Worried about having Russell after visiting several specialists for abnormal brain scans, saddened for my brother and sister-in-law, Tommy and Lauren, who were grieving the loss of their unborn child and facing the reality of never being able to have children of their own, anxious about life and feeling stuck. Worried. Sad. Anxious. Not in control.
As I reflect on my own personal year, I am in awe. Grateful for the tremendous joy found in moments like holding my healthy, happy, and heavy Russell man who continues to steal my heart more each day. Moments where God revealed his greater plan to our family. I will never forget Tommy calling me to tell me, “We’re pregnant!” (Who are we kidding? Lauren was pregnant—there ain’t no we in pregnant!) Nine months later, I watched him hold his very own for the first time; a baby that doctors never thought possible, but God knew was coming.
And then there is you. For as long as I can remember, I have enjoyed writing, but my anxious nature has always held me back from sharing my words with anyone. God opened the door for this column—a girl who has no idea what she’s doing about 92% of the time as a mom is asked to write about motherhood. That is certainly a God-ordained moment! Relief. Joy. Fulfillment. Still not in control.
So far, this year has proved to be a year of hope, change, and immense, undeserved favor for me. I hesitate to put that thought into words because I can’t help but know and feel that some people reading this do not want to remember this year. There are people who would give anything to forget—2016 was a year of loss for some of us. Loss of health, life, job, control, status, marriage, friendships, and the list goes on.
For many, this holiday season will be the first without. The first without a loved one, the first without a relationship, maybe even the first without a son or daughter. As parents that’s our greatest fear, and for some their hardest reality this holiday season and every holiday season to come.
It’s been 21 years since I had my first holiday without my dad (My grief is legal!) and every single one since has been a reminder of what I have lost on earth and gained in Heaven. For those that can not begin to think of this past year without pain, anger, questions, hatred, or grief, I sincerely hope that you will find your onion. Crazy, I know, but in my experience with my own grief, it’s helpful to look at grief like an onion. There are so many layers and it seems that in the most random of times our layers get peeled back. Bad moments turn into moments for God’s glory. They become a part of who we are and ultimately point us and others back to our Savior. Our desire for control goes against what God has called us to be—out of control and found in Him alone.
And maybe your onion just really tastes like a raw, nasty, tear-inducing onion right now. Maybe there is no goodness yet and that’s okay—through prayer and petition, it will come. That same pain, anger, questioning, hatred, and grief continue to take us to our never-ending, unrelenting, desperate need for Jesus and His ability to take control.
I think we often find ourselves reflecting on the year as a whole and deciding whether it was good or bad based on one single moment. One challenge I have for myself is to not leave gratefulness to the last Thursday in November. To live in the present each and every day, finding one good thing, even in the midst of the bad—one gift that God has graciously given.
We sang this song in church on Sunday and the chorus has stuck with me as I sit down to write this:
Should I ever be abandoned
Should I ever be acclaimed
Should I ever be surrounded by the fire and the flame
There’s a name I will remember, there’s a name I will proclaim
Let it be, Let it be Jesus.
The good days and the ones where I want to go cry in the closet all have one thing in common—God is in control. When questions arise in my ever-wandering heart, there is only one solution. One answer. One proclamation. Let it be Jesus.
Libbo Haskins Crosswhite and her husband, Clay, live in Brandon and attend Pinelake.They have one daughter, Mary Thomas, who is 2 years old and a son, Russell, who is 6 months old. She is the high school guidance counselor at Madison-Ridgeland Academy.