I have a complicated relationship with the month of April. And, it all revolves around this exact week on the calendar.
April 12th through the 21st marks the anniversaries of both my most agonizing losses and some of my most joy-filled blessings. Within these 10 consecutive calendar days, I’ve experienced the deaths of my Mom, Dad, and Mother-in-law. Yet, these dates have also found me celebrating the births of the three precious girls who first made me a Momma, an Aunt, and a Mimi (Mimi, meaning Grandmother, I just like to think it doesn’t sound as old.). In many ways, I’ve grown up in April.
Although the condensed timing of my experiences is dramatic, it is a picture of life in a nutshell. I’ve come to greatly appreciate a beautiful lesson within these April days. Even when life is hard and your heart feels forever broken, there is always something and someone to thank God for. Life is a gift meant to be celebrated!
Celebrating Life In Every Season
IN THE BEGINNING
There’s nothing like new life. Every glimpse into the face of a newborn is to look upon a freshly formed, handmade miracle by God Himself! So, let’s stop and stare star struck. Let’s allow ourselves to be wooed by the wonder of every wee little nose and wiggly set of toes. Let’s ooh and ahhh and thank God for the gift of new life. Then, let’s bring out the balloons and birthday cake every year after, reminding the birthday girl or boy in word and action that we are grateful for the gift of them.
IN THE END
While not easy, celebrating well the lives of loved ones when they’re leaving (and have left) this earthbound world is vastly important. Besides being a lovely way to honor them, it does our own hearts good.
When I’ve been gripped by the merciless talons of grief, I’ve learned the value of purposely thanking God for any and all good memories I have of the loved one I’m missing, as well as for the gift of loving and being loved by them. I’ve learned that good memories are like manna from God. They are food for grieving souls and they should be relished with gratitude. Yes, they may bring some messy tears your way, but they also bring healing and joy. So, share their funny stories and words of wisdom with others, smile at their photos, and thank God for the gift of their life. Loved ones are worth being missed and celebrated.
IN THE IN-BETWEEN
In general, we do a pretty good job of celebrating people when they come into the world and we try to honor them well when they leave it. It’s the much longer and everyday middle of life that we often miss celebrating. In the midst of making a living, running errands and conquering our To Do lists, we run right past God’s promptings to stop multi-tasking and pay true attention to the person He has placed in front of us. To listen without interrupting, ask their forgiveness when needed, enjoy a favorite activity together, tell them what we appreciate most about them, and say the words “I love you” while they can still hear them.
Growing up in April has taught me that when those you love leave this earth, you will want to know with full confidence that they felt outrageously loved and enjoyed by you. And when you leave this earth, you will leave hurting loved ones behind whose pain will be made sweeter if you have left them with a treasure chest full of memories of good times together.
So, let’s celebrate this everyday life we’ve been given and the opportunity to share it with each other. Don’t wait for the Fourth of July to crank up some homemade ice cream and share a bowl with someone special. Invite your neighbor over for tea or coffee. Sing off-key at the top of your voices when you take a spontaneous road trip with a friend. Hold hands with your husband and tell him you’d marry him again. Take the afternoon off to color with your granddaughter or whisk your kids away to the zoo. Thank your parents for the things they did right and call them often just because you can. Life is a gift meant to be celebrated!
Meet the Author!
Bible teacher, author, inspirational speaker and disciple-maker, Vickey Banks is passionate about helping women connect the dots between God’s Word and their everyday lives. She loves serving as Women’s Ministry Director at Council Road, celebrating her people, playing with her puppy and getting lost in a good story.