Finding Joy Through My Tears

This blog is to share my journey with God through the heartache and pain of losing my son, Chandler. An outlet for me of sorts. Follow me on my road of grief to healing through the Lord.

What Are Greg and I Giving Our Girls This Christmas?

on December 24, 2014

This past week, The Trent’s have found ourselves at a complete stand still. The culprit…. THE FLU! L We didn’t even get to slow down gradually. We came to a complete halt.

I have had a lot of time to think as I have been in the bed for days. I have been at a place of prayer and just thinking.

I have really been trying to keep focus and be diligent during the Advent season this year. Last year was our first Christmas without Chandler and I can hardly remember what we did. I do know that it wasn’t good. The words that come to mind when I think about last year would be: horrible, awful, sad, empty. These are just to name a few of the emotions that this family felt.

Over the last year I came to an adamant decision. I have told myself and everyone that will listen that this year will be better. My girls deserve better. I have thought about Christmas all year long.

Last year, I did minimal shopping online. I don’t remember what I got or what my girls even thought about it. So…. In my heart, I have been steadfast and determined that Greg and I would make this Christmas much better. Well thought out gifts. Decorations. Baking. (And, those who know me know that I do NOT bake!) Greg and I have even joked throughout the year that we would light this house up like the 4th of July and all of our neighbors would think the Griswold’s had moved in.

I was ready. Standing firm. Greg and I owed these “littles” the best Christmas ever and we were going to provide!

As the Christmas season grew closer, I still stood resolved. We had our tree up BEFORE Thanksgiving…. (We are usually mid-December people…)

But, then, God started tugging on my heart. In small ways. In conversations that I have had with friends. In songs that I have heard. In my Advent devotionals and blogs that I read. All these things led me to this question….

What are Greg and I going to give our girls this Christmas?

A good friend and I were talking this past week and something she said has echoed throughout my heart over and over again. We were talking about being intentional about Christmas. To focus on Christ entering this world as a helpless, little baby. She said, “You know, Brandi, I feel like I have been the inn keeper. That my heart hasn’t had room for God. I want that to change.” Wow….. What a statement. I have never thought of it that way. I am an inn keeper as well. I wonder how many of us walk around as the inn keeper. Are our hearts open to God this Advent season?

So, the first thing, I want to give you girls is this. Please do not walk around doing life like the inn keeper. Don’t be so full of all these worldly things that you don’t have room for the living God. The God that came into earth as a baby boy. Vulnerable. For you. Girls, he was born in that barn for you both. Focus on that sweet girls. He was born for you.

Secondly, I have also been very intrigued by Cloverton’s “Hallelujah Christmas” version this season. It puts me in my place every time I hear this song. This verse, girls, it is all about this verse. It says, “I know You came to rescue me, this baby boy would grow to be a man that one day die for me and you. My sins would drive the nails in You, that rugged cross was my cross too. Still every breath You drew was Hallelujah.”

Don’t you precious girls ever forget that His cross was our cross too. All of us. It saved us from eternal death. This baby’s birth set the wheels in motion for all of us to be saved from death. His birth was our salvation. Never, ever forget that.

Thirdly, sweet girls, I want you both to know that choosing to live in Christ will not be easy. It will be one of the hardest journeys you will ever travel. I have been thinking a lot lately about the conversations that your brother and I had over the years. I keep asking myself, “Did I show him what truly mattered?” Did he know that the baby boy born was the greatest gift that we could ever receive? God has been so gracious to me. I am remembering these conversations that Chan and I had and girls, he knew. And, I want to make sure you two know as well. Nothing matters in this life but Christ. He is your hope. He is your source of TRUE joy.

I want to talk to you both about the hard places in life. Kara Tippetts describes these times as “our hard.” We have walked in our “hard” together over the last year and half. I want you both to remember something. Even in the midst of this devastating hard place, God is still good. He is still Sovereign. He will always be faithful. He keeps His promises. Even though it seems so impossible, and you have to try and work harder than you ever have in this place, look for the blessings right in the middle of your hard. Lives touched. Changed. In your pain, you have blessed others around you. I know you have already been to a place in your young lives of asking, “What blessing? What good can come of this?” God is good. Fight hard to see the blessings. It’s the only way you will get through the hard.

I constantly have a dull ache in my heart. Sometimes, it’s not so dull. This week, I have felt the dull ache rising. It is a full blown ache now. An ache knowing that Chandler isn’t here with us again. As I wrap, I cry. I have nothing to wrap for this precious boy who isn’t here to receive my gifts. I know this time is hard for you girls as well. Not only do you miss him, you watch Dad and I grieve for him. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. I know.

Dad and I have given all three of you the greatest gift we know to give. Christ. Chandler is with Christ celebrating Christmas. Because, of this baby born, Chandler is living eternally with our Father. Because of this baby born, we will see Brother again. Remember that. Let that comfort you when you miss him the most.

I am going to leave you with something I read from Ann Voskamp. I pray that you take these words with you as the years go by. I pray that every year you stop and remember this baby boy. Not just at Christmas. In everything. This was taken from Ann’s book, “The Greatest Gift.”

“I don’t want a Christmas you can buy.

I don’t want a Christmas you can make.

What I want is a Christmas you can hold.

A Christmas that holds me, remakes me, revives me.

I want a Christmas that whispers, JESUS.”

~Ann Voskamp

I love you both very much. I’m about to get ready to spend Christmas Eve with you littles. We are going to reflect on what matters most. Christ.

Merry Christmas Alyssa and Sara!

Merry Christmas and many blessings to all!

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3 responses to “What Are Greg and I Giving Our Girls This Christmas?

  1. Lost says:

    FrIend I just have a question because your blogs are what makes me realize I am not a lone in my grief. My question is how do you know gods real ness in this situation. My husband committed sucide three years ago. And I feel like God is no where to be found. It changed me for the worst, I have lost my faith, myself. How do you deal with the anger. I just want someone who understands my hearts cry with this. I feel one emotion anger. I don’t cry, I am upset at my self cause I lost my spiritual side.

    • branditrent3 says:

      Oh, sweet one. The very first thing I want to say to you is this. You cannot be so hard on yourself. Anger is an emotion that anyone would feel in all that you have been through. For me, there was no other choice but God. I had to grab hold of everything I knew to be true about God and base my decision on the things I knew to be true. I had to remember his faithfulness to me. In that moment, sitting in the ICU with Chandler, He was all I had. I think sometimes we forget that God can handle our anger. Our whys. I have been angry. God can handle it sweet one. And, we all lose our way. But, here is the beauty of God. You are never too far away. You are never too far gone to turn around. It doesn’t matter how we have handled our grief, He longs for us. Our hearts. He longs for us to trust him with our grief and ALL of the feelings that come with it. He can heal the broken places. I can’t promise you that you will get all the answers you are looking for. You may not this side of heaven. But, I do know that you can trust Him. I am praying for you. Please let me know if I can help you. Thank you for reaching out to me. That is a very big step in itself.

  2. Lost says:

    Thank you for your reply I write as tears role down my face and I took to heart what you said. It’s just so hard to believe that God is sovereign in this with Isaac. I never felt so broken and alone.the pain I feel is brokenness and darkness. A whole that can never be filled.why is God not with me. I sorry to do this to you on Christmas but the holidays are more than I can bear. Merry Christmas

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Brandi Trent

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Finding Joy Through My Tears

This blog is to share my journey with God through the heartache and pain of losing my son, Chandler. An outlet for me of sorts. Follow me on my road of grief to healing through the Lord.

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