Friday, March 30, 2012

Finding Grace in Living Lent

I've been a place this past week where I've really had to cling to grace with all the strength I had, and to beg the strength to cling harder when mine wore out. And, without fail, the grace has been there.

Lenten Family Altar

My husband and my oldest son have been gone for nearly two weeks. They went home to comfort and console my beautiful mother-in-law as she flew home in the arms of Jesus. It was an incredible grace to know that they were by her side at that moment. That they shared this profound moment with an intimate circle of family.

Lenten Countdown

We have decided to let our oldest remain there with grandfather for a stretch of time so that his transition to life without his beloved is not so stark and painful. It is hard for this mother's heart to let him go. But there is grace in knowing that God has given him his very own mission of mercy and that he has the faith and wisdom to embrace that call at his young age.

Lenten altar at our Church

The Crucifix at our Church

It is hard to be here in the midst of this loss. To walk without my help meet in this faraway place. To try to absorb all the pain and sadness of four little boys once again grieving a terrible painful loss. It's hard to think of my husband sitting alone in the pew at his mother's funeral. I have shed many, many tears this week. They have ministered to me in my sorrow. There is grace in tears. And there is grace in knowing that my Sweet Savior gathers every one into a vial and counts them all as grace.

Can't wait to put my arms around this neck and kiss this face

The truth is, as hard as this has been, I really thought it would be harder. I thought I would feel lost, not know what to do with myself when I needed something. I thought I would be wary to share this pain with people I barely know, in a language that makes it difficult for me to really express the deepest sentiments of my heart. I thought it would be harder to be quiet for this long, with only my little guys, their river and the presence of God as my true company. It has been hard at times. But mostly, it has been tangibly, profoundly filled with grace.

                                                        Granny and Sweet Saint Bryce --This is what is happening in heaven today!

In these days, I realize that I am truly living Lent. Accepting my cross and following Him. Falling and rising again. Stripped bare and humbled in my vulnerability. Yet not despairing. Hoping. Hoping more. Hoping still. That is grace. All grace.  And that is why I love the life I live. I cannot do it alone. I am acutely aware of that. And so His grace, freely given, is received with gratitude.

Slide show memorial for my mother-in-law produced by my amazing son


  1. So sorry about the loss of your dear mother in law. Your courageous faith is, as always, inspiring Colleen.

    Eternal rest grant unto her O Lord, & may perpetual light shine upon her. May her soul & all the souls of the faithful departed, rest in peace. Amen

  2. Thank you for sharing your grace through the pain...It is a powerful witness. My deepest condolensces to you and your family as you carry another Cross. God bless your sweet son who will be keeping his Grandpa company and all of you as you keep the hope of heaven alive. Your Holy Week is sure to have profound and powerful meaning...may the graces of God, through His most sorrowful Mother, keep showering upon you!

  3. a beautiful & heartfelt tribute...i am keeping you all in my prayers

  4. What an awesome job Quinn did putting this memorial together. Your mother in law had a very adventurous and blessed life. So glad that Greg and Quinn could be with her those last few days. Prayers to you all as you continue to carry out that mission you have been privileged to undertake. In Christ's love...your cousin, Lynnette