The question I’m being asked daily is “How are you doing?” followed by “No but, how are you really doing????”  (and I so appreciate the love and care and concern behind the question).  Depending on the person and situation my answer varies but the most honest thing I can say is that I’m terrible and wonderful.  I marveled at this strange coexistence after Mikey died and struggled to reconcile myself with the truth of it.  And here I am again in this achingly familiar place…

Anna Pullano 1/27/95-3/2/13

Anna Pullano 1/27/95-3/2/13

The fog and shock of early days is gradually lifting and is being replaced by a reality that is vivid and real and unescapable.  We are going about our daily lives because that’s what you do but the world is tipped a little on its axis.  It just doesn’t feel quite right.  And then moments come that knock the wind right out of my barely flapping sails and it’s all I can do to move on to the next moment.  It seems like everything around me should shift into slow motion somehow.  I’m almost surprised to realize every time that precisely nothing stops or slows down.  In fact no one around me or in the entire world could have any idea of the inner horror of those moments.  I miss my first-born daughter in a way no one else could possibly miss her.  My relationship with her was unlike anyone else’s.  The void in my life and in my family feels vacuous at times and it’s a very lonely and isolated place to be.  The disbelief that the accident actually happened and resulted in Anna’s instant death washes over me again and again.  How can it possibly be true?  What are the chances?  We had no warning. No goodbye. No second chance.  She’s simply no longer here.

In those moments I am terrible.

No matter what truths I know and hold dear the terrible moments rise up and they are beyond my control.

There are a few things I can control however and in those moments I call on the power I have been given to choose a course of action.  I very literally call on the holy name of Jesus and beg Him to come into my present moment.  I get on my knees.  I get on my face.  Not my will but yours be done.

I Surrender.

I offer myself and my pain and every ounce of terrible to the Lord and ask His grace and mercy in return. His gifts can’t be received without surrender though.  Only when I am empty can He fill me.  When I have nothing He reminds me that He has everything I need in every single moment.

And when I come to that, again and again,  I am wonderful!  I am amazed and inspired by the power of Christ within me.

The past memories and the future what-if’s fade into meaningless-ness and the glory of the real future we have is made present.

“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.  But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3:13-14)

When I surrender, God restores my strength of will to stand in the present moment and accept it for exactly what it is.  If I’m truly honest the present moment is not terrible. I can count my blessings and my gifts.  I know He is present and at work within me and in my life.  I can trust Him and who better to trust than the one with the Power?  I know the promises He has given me and is fulfilling despite the present sufferings.

 He reminds me of the reason for my Joy and I am wonderful.


14 thoughts on “Surrender

  1. Oh, Karen, I know you probably don’t remember our meeting once at the beach with Brian and Kirsten. I have tried to keep you and yours in my heart and prayers without thinking too much about your tragedies because frankly they are so crushing even to think about. Reading your words here puts an arrow in my heart and I barely even know you. But I am a mom of a beautiful almost 17 year old daughter. I am saying this because I want you to know that I love you in the Lord and I thank Him that you know Him. I will continue to try and carry your burden in some small microscopic way as I pray and shout out to God to lift you up and give you miraculous amounts of grace and consolation. I will remember to ask your gorgeous Anna for help in my life. She was an artist and I am an artist. You are so lovely. You are a miracle. Peace be to you. Your sister in Christ, Kathy Harum

    • Kathy of course I remember our day at the beach and your beautiful daughter! It is a great consolation to know you are praying for us and remembering Anna. I count you and all my faithful friends in the body of Christ among my many blessings!!

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  4. Karen,
    Your messages here are profound to me. Your strength is inspiring. I pray for peace for you and your family. My son, Jared, went to St. Margeret’s with Anna. He has been so affected by her death and has taken the message of her life to heart. He called me from the Westhill vigil just to tell me he loves me. Thank you for writing.

  5. Karen, your writing here is both terrible and wonderful. Terrible when I try to even go where you are. When I consider what it would be like for my wife, I find it kinda crushing. But your witness is towering and wonderful. You have provided Me needed attitude adjusted that should carry me for a while. Thank you for writing and God Bless you and your family.

  6. I’ve been following your blog ever since Anna’s death. Your daughter was so beautiful and that picture of her is amazing. I also have a daughter named Anna–it’s a beautiful name, isn’t it?

    I keep you in my prayers during this very difficult time. Your faith is amazing.

  7. Karen, thank you for your inspiration and true understanding of the role that Christ plays in our human history. Being with you and your family and friends as we all said good-bye to Anna were changing days for me. Your example of deep spirituality has helped me to reach out to Him more and pray for his guidance. You are in my thoughts and prayers everyday xxxx

  8. Karen, I just read a quick story from the Acts of the Apostles 9:10-11 and the question at the end of the piece asked, ” Who has been instrumental in helping you to draw closer to God?” Without hesitation, your name came to mind. Thank you again!!!

  9. I know I’m late on reading this, but–big hug!

    I was struck by what you said about “the holy name of Jesus.” After my sister died in a car accident at age 10, my Mom would have panic attacks. The only way she could calm her racing heart was to say, “Jesus,” over and over again. His Name is powerful and can do all things.

    You are in my prayers.

  10. My heart goes out to you and your family. This is my first time on your blog and I can only tell you that I will pray for you and for God’s mercy on us all.

    I want the type of faith you have. God, please help me have this kind of faith.

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