Saturday, November 29, 2008

An Evening of "Joy, Peace and Realizing the Beauty of Trials"

I'm a little bit behind with my posts so bear with me. So, going back a few weeks....I attended a women's tea/fellowship at Grace Community Church. If you remember many months ago, a pastor at Grace helped us through the muddy challenges of the mourning process. He has been keeping us in his prayers and invited me to attend this women's gathering. The speaker for the event was Toya Tyler...she is mom to Kiara, the little girl who occupied a room next to Elyse in the BMT Unit. If you remember back in June, Kiara also went to be with the Lord. Despite how much she must miss her little one, Toya remains strong in her faith in our God. She is not only unwavering in her faith in the Lord but she is so grateful for so many opportunities for her to share the gospel. She's not shy about sharing how God lovingly carried her family through their trials.

When I arrived there, there were many ladies greeting all the attendees. There were unique mugs to fit every personality for tea. There were mini macaroons that were calling out to me. I probably had far too many of these but oh well...when do I get the opportunity to chat with some ladies and munch on goodies all evening. So, I got up and got another plateful, sat down and chatted away with the ladies at my table. We introduced ourselves and quickly discovered that one of the young ladies (I happen to sit at the single ladies' table)is a nurse at CHLA's BMT. She told me that she started working there right around the time Elyse was admitted. She also said that she had been praying for our family all this time since Elyse passed. I was moved to tears. I really am so thankful for all the love that surrounds our family. It truly warms our inside to know that there are people who not only remember us but pray for us.

We sang "As The Deer" and "You are My Hiding Place." It was the first time in a long time I heard these songs. When Toya took the mic, she really was exuding joy and peace that can only come from her faith in the Lord. She explained that "True joy is the experience of well-being, not because of circumstances, but because of the deep down confidence that God is in charge of everything and that it is all moving for my good and His glory." (Grace to You - "Fundamental Christian Attitudes:JOY," John MacArthur). And "Spiritual peace, the true deep-down peace is the confidence that everything is right between myself and God. It is the presence of a calm assurance built on the knowledge that my sins are forgiven, God is concerned with my well-being and Heaven is ahead. It is the peace that God gives to His beloved children." (Grace to You - "Peace in Every Circumstance," John MacArthur)
She quoted a verse from the Bible: "My peace I give unto you, not as the world gives I give unto you, neither let your heart be troubled nor let it be afraid." (John 14:27). Regarding trials, she said, "God uses them to prove the genuineness of your faith and increase your joy and spiritual endurance." (Grace Today Devotional, John MacArthur). She also gave us this verse: "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance." (James 1:2-3).

Toya held my hand and took the time to encourage me. She is a great source of encouragement and strength. I suppose we connect on a level that only BMT parents who lost their little ones can. Thank you, Toya, for your inspiration.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Visit to Rose Hills





We finally made it Rose Hills on the 8th. Faith and Erin spent the morning with grandparents while Tim and I had a rare day out alone. The air in the car as we drove to Rose Hills was of quiet anticipation. Very few words were spoken but we both knew exactly what we were feeling as we were nearing the place where her physical body was laid to rest. Random memories constantly circled my mind as I tried to keep my composure in the car. As much as I know that this is just a temporary separation, I was overwhelmed with the numbing reality that I cannot hold her, feed her, or care for her in any way as I do for Faith and Erin. This was the first time we returned here since her funeral/burial services so we had a bit of a tough time finding the grave site. We didn't want to waste any more time trekking up and down the hill so we asked a guide for the exact location. When we finally found the site, we both stared down at the headstone and read what was on it. "Little one, we will see you again in heaven." We cried a little, put the flowers in water and sat in silence for a while. Tim, always wanting to comfort and encourage, gave us both some words of hope for now and for the future. We had lunch, just the two of us, and went to pick up our girls. We were happy to see Faith and Erin in such good spirits...enjoying their time with grandparents. That day I wondered how and when we'll tell Faith and Erin about Elyse. I suppose God will grant us wisdom when it's time.

Friday, November 7, 2008

God of Comfort and Strength

After reading our latest entry, our dear friend Song emailed a few verses to us that encouraged me today. I hope you are also encouraged and strengthened by the Word of God today.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:3-9)



Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 5For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. (2 Corinthians 1:3-5)



Psalm 46:1-2
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea. (Psalm 46:1-2)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

1 YEAR - REMEMBERING ELYSE

We thought that everyone would be curious as to how we spent the past year and how we plan to remember Elyse on the anniversary date of her Home-Going. Honestly, we don't remember the details of the past year, but it felt like it was a tug-of-war trying to deal with everything for the first 6 months. We were pulling on an incredibly heavy rope to overcome doubt, emotions and the emptiness of "living-without" one of our little girls. What we know with certainty is that we have come this far by our Faith in Jesus and with the support of close friends pulling with us from behind. On October 6th, our dear friends Tom and Laura invited a few people to their house for a cozy dinner to remember Elyse. No one mentioned Elyse or the reason for the dinner, but we all the reason behind Tom and Laura invitation. Thank you Tom and Laura.

I would like to share a few emails we received in remembrance of Elyse's home-going.
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Dear Susan, Tim,

We wish we could share even a bit of your hearts as we remember today as Elyse's memorial day. We haven't forgotten nor have we words to express our deep desire to be of some comfort to you. We'll be around through our time here, and we'll be around when we all get to go home. We love you.

Tom & Laura

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Hi Susan,

I was just reading over Elyse's story once again and realized that October 6th will mark one year since she went to be with Jesus. I imagine that this is a bittersweet time for you and Tim. The first anniversary of Chloe's death was painful for us, as we were flooded with memories of the suffering she endured. Yet the sweet memories were there as well, as I'm sure they are with you, too. May the Lord wrap His arms around you in an extra-intimate way during these days as you continue to move through your loss. In some ways I don't think we will ever get to the "other side" of this experience of losing a child--at least, not until we're in heaven, in the presence of the Lord. May He strengthen you and uphold you.

Tammy (Gonzalez)

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Dear Tim and Susan,
My thoughts are with you and your family today and everyday. I will never forget your precious baby Elyse. She will forever be in my heart...

God Bless you all.

Love your friend,
Debby
*(Message written on a card from Debby Bradley)
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Thank you for your kind and heart-felt words. Your words have truly given us strength throughout the year. Please don't fault us if we lean on you all for a few more.

Susan and I will be remembering Elyse by visiting her at Rose Hills this Saturday. It will be the first time we will be returning since the funeral. In Korea the saying is that if your parents die, you bury them underground, if your spouse dies, you also bury him/her underground but when your child dies, you bury the child in your heart. There is some truth in this saying since Elyse is remembered in our hearts everyday and for this reason we have not found a particular need to go to Rose Hills. The other reason why we have not visited Rose Hills is that seeing her grave is a stark reminder that she is no longer here with us, whereas remembering her in our hearts allows us to keep hoping for the day will see her again in heaven. Please pray for our visit this Saturday, that the resurfaced memories will not hinder us. We have a lot of growing to do. Though we know that she is in heaven with the Lord, we are nervous about this Saturday. With your help, we will move forward.

Thank you all for keeping up with our post each month. It strengthens us to know that we are sharing our lives with friends that care. We will be posting new pictures of Faith and Erin soon.

- The Yu Family

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Good night's sleep + Caffeine = More Energy

Last night was the first night in a long while that I got a good night's rest. For the past few weeks, both Faith and Erin were waking up crying at odd hours...2am...4am...5am...Sometimes both would wake..some days, they would take turns...some days, one of the girls would wake because of the other one crying. I've been so exhausted not being able to get a good night's rest. I've never been a coffee drinker. Occasionally, I'd drink a frappuccino from Starbucks or coffee with friends if others are drinking. Every morning I'd wake up terribly groggy from all the nighttime wakings so I decided to give myself a caffeine boost to get through the day. Coffee makes my heart beat double time so I tried to curb my intake to a moderate dose. So today, I woke up feeling very rested and had a cup of coffee with my breakfast. With the caffeine surge, I was ready to conquer the day. We badly needed to reclaim our living area as just that....a living area...not a play area for the kids. Until today, almost every toy was in the living room. I moved some of the toys upstairs. I'll have to eventually move most of the toys upstairs. Tim and I also took pictures of baby gear that we'll put on craigslist to sell. It's amazing how quickly they grow and develop into little people. All of our baby gear is like new so if you know of someone who is shopping for used bouncers, crib, boppies, mobiles, walkers, bumbo, bassinet, etc.....let us know ! We'll let you know when we post our craigslist ad. We just need to organize the photos, set prices and post the ad.