Conceding Christmas Part Two: The Response

christmas part twoConceding Christmas is the story I wrote about our Christmas in 2004, less than two months after Kyle was diagnosed with leukemia. This blog is one of my favorites.

Here is Part Two. 

Conceding Christmas

I curl up in a ball. Think about that verse from Matthew 11. “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Do I believe it? Can I live it?

Release him. Trust me.

Every moment I don’t let go, fear eats away at me. I live in bondage to the terror that Kyle will die and leave me. I can’t hold out any longer on the tugging of my heart.

“Okay, Lord. Okay. Your ways are not my ways.” Deep inside, where I cling to Kyle, I force myself to relax. I imagine picking him up, kissing him softly on his cheek, and walking over to Jesus. It takes me a moment to offer him up and hand him over. His weight leaves my arms and my heart stutters. Kicks into overdrive.

I almost grab him back.

Outside my mind, in the reality of Kyle’s dark room, I tighten my grip on the pillow that still smells like him. “He’s Yours.” I tense. And wait. For the phone to ring. With news that Kyle’s lost the fight and he won’t be coming home.

No sound comes other than the hum of the ceiling fan above me. I breathe a half-sigh of relief, knowing the call could come tomorrow. Or the day after that. Or any time during this long battle.

Another quiet whisper tugs at my heart. Something remains. Something I need to do. Will you love Me? No matter what? Even if I take him home with me?

My gut burns. My heart speeds up. I want to yell, “Yes, Lord, Yes.”

But I can’t.

I roll to my back. The fan blades spin around the neon light and throw dancing shadows on the wall.

Let it go. The whisper comes again.

“Isn’t it enough that I gave You Kyle?”

Give Me everything.

Kyle’s Awana verse from last week, Proverbs 3:5-6, flashes across my mind. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

I’ve already come this far—the burden almost gone—but these words are harder to say. Acid rises in my throat. These words may change everything. I close my eyes. Breathe in and out. Find the strength He gives me. “If You take him, tonight, tomorrow, next year, I will still love You.”

It’s done.

Peace fills me. Everywhere. Not the kind of peace that comes from knowing nothing bad will happen, but the kind of peace that comes from knowing you are shielded even if the very worst does happen. The peace that passes understanding.

Exhausted, I let my eyelids close and drift mercifully off to sleep.

The next morning, Alek and Maddy sit on the bar stools at the island in the kitchen eating pancakes and drinking orange juice. I unload the dishwasher and turn to clean the sticky syrup off the counter.

The phone rings. I hold my breath. It’s my husband—with news I didn’t expect. Kyle will be home for Christmas.

God has handed him back to me. At least for now. The fever gone, the blood counts rising. I slump against the island in relief. “Thank you, Jesus.” Happy tears slide down my face. I grin at the kids and pull them close. “Let’s get ready for Christmas. Who wants to bake cookies?”

7 Comments

  1. Okay, got all mushy again thinking about you at that moment in your life, Lori.

    It took a mountain of faith to turn it over. And Jesus send Kyle home to you to celebrate His birthday.

    I too often prayed only when I wanted something. I even bargained: “If you do this, then I promise I’ll…”

    There was a time when I took credit for all things good in my life and blamed God for all things bad.

  2. These posts are wonderful and heart-breaking all at the same time. :)

  3. I’m in tears. That was beautifully written. I can’t imagine what you were going through then, but I can sense the pain…the agony.

    I cannot tell you how many times Jesus and God have pulled me through some very rough times. It’s amazing what happens when you hand over all your love and faith and let God take the reins.

    Thank you for touching my soul tonight.

  4. Wow! That’s all I can say for now. I also experienced this sense of loss during my dad’s ilnes. I prayed as hard as I could, but God had other plans. My father was in the ministry for over 60 years. In my selfishness, I wanted him to outlive me. His absence however, has drawn me closer to the Lord. Thank you so much. Your story allows us to be aware of God’s love for us. He takes care of us, no matter what the circumstances. Blessings.

  5. The peace that truly does pass all understanding can only come from one place. In your listening and surrendering you received the peace of Jesus. Praise God!

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