Love and Tears on Mother’s Day

Posted on May 11, 2014 in Faith | 69 comments

IMG_4132For this Mother’s Day–and with May 12 & 13 the eighth anniversary of the birth and death of my son Ben–I was all set to write you a note of encouragement, sharing some of the “beauty” that has come from my “ashes” (Isaiah 61:3). I wanted to offer hope to anyone who might be hurting. I wanted those with broken hearts to know that the beautiful promise in Scripture–“Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy”–is true (Psalm 126:5). And then, on Tuesday night, April 29, 2014, after letting my three beloved dogs outside, only two returned.

With flashlights to aid us, my eldest son William and I began calling her name. Amid howling wind and increasing snow, we searched and searched. Bella was the precious puppy God had given me during my pregnancy with Ben. My heavenly Father knew how painful it was going to be for me not to have a baby to hold after nine months of carrying him within, so He’d graciously provided me a darling Beagle pup. Sweet Bella had loved me all these years, and I her; as any dog lover knows, she’d been like a child to me. Especially with the loss of Ben. Now, in the pitch-black night, Bella wasn’t responding to her name. William and I had been looking for at least an hour; I could almost feel my heart breaking. It was horrible not knowing where my baby was.

Eventually William, who adored Bella too, went to bed. I tried, but as I lay praying, I couldn’t bear the thought my little girl might be alone and hurting, cold in the snow, suffering somehow and needing me. I got in my car and started driving around my neighborhood. Bella loved to run; who knew how far away she might be. “Heavenly Father… Jesus… You know where she is. Please lead me. Please let her not be suffering.” My headlights provided vastly more help than our flashlights, but to no avail. I drove and prayed and cried, looking for any white fur in the dark night. But I saw none. I don’t remember crawling back into bed, but at some point I did. Because in the next several hours, I awoke from two different nightmares.

In the morning I did what I always do: meet with God. As I kneel before the bay window in my guest bedroom upstairs, the mountains He formed are to my left, and His glorious sunrises are on my right. Because my house sits on a hill, what I mainly see is sky. I don’t remember what I prayed that morning, but whether it was in words or thoughts or tears, God heard my heart’s cry.

My three oldest children had left early for school, but my youngest Joey and I put leashes on Bolt (Bella’s son) and Pebbles and started searching. Soon we were in the yard below ours, where we’ve been countless times to retrieve a tennis ball or basketball. In soft, green grass, I was horrified to see a dark red pool of blood, about 10 inches in diameter. And then on a rock nearby… were those… intestines? A bird flew away. I couldn’t believe what my eyes were taking in. Then Joey and I saw her collar. Bella’s pink collar. Where was she? Everything was happening so fast. Every second a new, unspeakable shock was overloading my brain, my very soul. Where was Bella?

I looked around and saw a faint trail of blood, about four feet long. About 30 feet beyond, in a grove of trees, another bird caught my eye, and I saw the red inside of an animal, a white spine sticking out. To think it was Bella was unimaginable, except that I was holding my dog’s collar, and I didn’t know where she was. I’m not sure what part of a person takes over when your heart feels ripped apart, but something in me didn’t want Joey or my dogs seeing this–if “this” was Bella. My beautiful Bella. That I was just petting last night.

With tears streaming down my face, Joey, Bolt, Pebbles and I headed back up the hill. After my husband took Joey to school, I went back down, leaving my dogs at home. I didn’t want especially Bolt to see his mother like this.

Passing by every part of the awful scene, I stepped carefully into the trees and around the remains to be able to see the other side. My sweet little girl’s face and pretty ears were just lying there, as if she were sleeping. There wasn’t a drop of blood on what was left of her, which was just the front third of her body. Everything behind her two front legs was gone. Just gone….

At some point I found myself on my knees, on that sacred mound of dirt. As “Jesus wept” for His friend Lazarus, I’d been weeping, too, for my dog, one of the best friends I’ve ever had (John 11:35).

Looking up at her face, I noticed the beams of light. Somehow, through the trees, coming down over my Bella, were rays of sunlight. God’s lovelight. My heavenly Father was with us, touching Bella, shining His presence into my pain. That God would transform the scene and give me this lasting image makes me cry different tears… of worship.

I know Mother’s Day–like any day where celebration is expected–can be difficult for many. You may be missing someone. You may be hurting for a reason you think no one would understand. Know God cares… more than we can fathom. He is Comforter who wipes our tears, Healer who collects our tears, and Redeemer who turns them into songs of joy (see Isaiah 25:8, Revelation 7:17, 21:4, and Psalm 56:8, 126:5-6). With the resurrected Jesus, we always have hope. “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

A few days after Bella died, on Sunday, May 4, when I was meeting with God before dawn, I realized I could see from my bay window the grove where my little girl had lain. My Bible was open to Lamentations 3: “I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me” (vv. 19-20). I was amazed how precisely God’s Word matched my grief. I missed Bella so much and was still so sick a predator had killed her. I cried and cried again. “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” (vv. 21-23). When I looked up, I couldn’t believe what I saw: pink, pink, and more pink! I’d never seen a sky so pink. Immediately I felt God had painted His morning canvas in honor of Bella. Even more astounding, spanning most of the northern sky, was a gigantic pink cloud shaped like a sprinting Beagle, with wings.

Bella was free, experiencing the fullness of joy, doing what she loved to do. And God was with me, letting my heart sing.

“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.”

We have an awesome God. There is no darkness He can’t find a way into. Hold on to His promises, because He is faithful. On this Mother’s Day, I pray you’ll see Jesus’ lovelight… for you.

For the glory of the One and Only,

Laurie

2 Corinthians 1:3-5

~ In loving memory of one of the sweetest, funniest, and most loving moms I’ve ever known: Bella Geisz ~

2 Comments

  1. I’m so glad I didn’t miss this one, Laurie. What a moving tribute to Bella and to God’s unending love for all His creatures. May He comfort you now and in the days to come.

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