Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Hug from Christina

Today, just when I needed it—I received an enormous hug from Christina.  It may seem impossible but here is my story.

This morning, Isaiah was in the mood to watch “mommy” videos.  (My computer is the source of so many hilarious and serious moments in Christina’s life.) 

We watched the “Mommy singing with Bampa in WalMart” video. 

We watched the “mommy falling down in the snow while Jesse records and laughs” video. 

We watched the “mommy pretending to be an old, old woman with a cane” video. 

And then Isaiah wanted to watch the “Christina—one year memorial” video.  Well, this one gets to me.  I watch Christina grow up again.  I enjoy the baby pictures and the pictures with her brother, Jesse.  Fishing, soccer,  beaches, and friends.   Isaiah comments on “Uncle Jesse” continuously.  Jesse is recognizable from about the age of 5 and Isaiah loves to call out the people he knows.  He finally recognizes Mommy Christina by the time she is about 20.  This morning when we finished the video--which ends with a cemetery, an eagle, and a sunset—I was undone.  So, I cry.  It is the best thing to do at times like that.  I love remembering the years together.  I love the fullness of life that Christina enjoyed. 

The moment passed and the day moved on.  Later in the afternoon, I walked into the laundry room and saw “the pile”.  Not dirty clothes but “stuff”.  Christina’s stuff.  Last week, I helped Doug sort through some of Christina’s books and files and keepsakes.  Some of it found it’s way to my laundry room to await a more permanent storage place. I grabbed the first stack of papers and saw an essay that Christina wrote her senior year of college.

  It was entitled,  “Myself:  Here and now…and to the Future”.  It was her personal philosophy statement and was a final assignment at Westmont College.  Well, the title certainly got my attention.  How little she knew about her future.  Certainly, I doubt cancer ever crossed her mind.

I opened it randomly to page 8—here is where her special hug for me enters the picture—I began to read--
“My favorite professional role model is my mom”…

What?  I have never seen this or heard these thoughts.  We had not talked about this.

She wrote a page about how she loved the way I taught violin.  She wrote about the way I loved my students. She wrote about how I made time for her and Jesse in their growing up years.  I had never seen this paper but today was the day I needed to read it. 

If I didn’t think God was involved in every moment of every day, today would have convinced me that He is very present!  I feel humbled and loved and known—not just by Christina, but by the One who made us both.  This paper has been with Christina’s “stuff” for the last 10 years and today was the day that it did its best work.

After I read the page about how she viewed me, I went back to the beginning and read the whole thing.  What a treasure!  Here are a few choice quotes—

“I do know that I feel very small looking out into the gigantic world ahead of me after graduation, knowing I have so much to learn both about myself and the world that I live in.  But for some strange reason I am very excited for this new adventure.  I am excited to be confused.  I am excited to not know what the next month, or week, or day will hold for me.  Waiting in the unknown, according to Andrew Murray, is ‘the highest salvation.  It is ascribing to Him the glory of being all; it is experiencing that He is all to us.  May God teach us the blessedness of waiting on Him!’ “

“Service for others has become one of the biggest things in life that gives me joy.  I love to see people smile.  I love to make them smile.  I know that wherever I go and whatever I end up doing, I need to be working with people in a way that provides opportunity for me to be of service, help, or encouragement to them.  Bringing joy to others is what brings me the deepest kind of personal joy.”

Christina certainly lived what she wrote about.  First she embraced the uncertainty of her cancer diagnosis and 5 ½ years of treatment. She truly did not know what the next day would bring.  Actually none of us knows what tomorrow will bring.  We just think we know.

Then in the middle of all her uncertainty, she never lost sight of bringing joy to those around her.  To her husband and son, to her brother and dad, to me, to her friends, her cousins, her aunts and uncles, and, well, to everyone she met.   Joy radiated from her until the day she moved from here to the presence of Jesus.  I would say joy characterized her life.  My guess is that her infectious joy was one reason people loved to be around her.  Here is another reason people loved to be near Christina.  She wrote,

“As Christians, we are called to show our love to everyone we encounter—even if it is difficult.  Christ’s love was not easy.  We can’t expect to try showing people God’s love, and for it never to be hard on us.  God didn’t call us to an easy life.”

Amen, Christina, Amen!


  1. Beautiful... Truly a God moment ... orchestrated as only our Loving Savior could do...

    1. Yes, I am so thankful to belong to Jesus. He never leaves us or forsakes us.

  2. So wonderful, JoDee. An amazing gift and treasure. Yes... orchestrated as only our Loving Savior could do indeed. Thank you again for sharing... such a blessing to all of us.

    1. Yes, Kris. Such a beautiful gift for today. I see God's hand continuously shepherding and loving and providing hope at all the perfect moments.

  3. What a treasure to read her words--as eloquent as always. There are times I wonder about the New Earth and our roles in that perfect world. Christina will certainly be a writer, a dancer, a bubbly entertainer--and always a joy to be around.

    1. For sure a bubbly entertainer--if she writes, it would have to be with no struggling tears:) Thank you, Karen!

  4. So beautiful. A hug from your beautiful daughter...for sure. A soft, warm embrace from Jesus Himself.