Learning how to walk a journey of grief


I awoke and glanced around the room. The soft purple nightlight glowed over the sleeping children. We were in Maryland staying at the home of the Imran Razvi family, where we had come to spend a couple days to learn more about caring for little hearts who have gone through adoption.

I crept out of bed and carefully pulled back the shade. The scene meeting my eyes brought even a deeper sense of tranquility. Dozens of sheep contentedly grazed in the fields, horses munched their breakfast and beyond were amazing mountains. I soaked in the daybreak beauty.

Austin, my morning bird, was the first to be awake. It didn’t take him long to get dressed and out to the kitchen. He was back in no time with a glowing report, “Mom, they’ve got waffles!”

“Did they know how much we enjoyed their waffles last time we were here?”

“No, but when I saw them making it, I told them I had been hoping we’ll have waffles again at their house!”

By 8:30 a.m. all six children were ready for the day and the beds made.

I stepped into the kitchen, what an amazing treat — a wholesome breakfast was prepared and ready for all of us.

After breakfast the children were off to play. Us adults usually didn’t make it away from the table for an hour or two as we asked questions and enjoyed many good discussions. My natural concept is that children have lots to learn, but then, aren’t we the ones to learn first?

I was amazed how most questions pertaining to children and relationships were answered with simple Bible passages and things they as a family have faced. I sorted, prayed and stored the tidbits as we went throughout the day.

The children romped in the barn, watched the peacock display its feathers, gathered eggs and helped with the sheep. There was not a dull moment in sight. Joshua loved the two litters of baby kittens and kept asking to hold a duckling. Hosanna, who loves taking care of baby animals, was impressed with the vast variety of animals. Then the moment she found out about their youngest daughter’s doll collection, she was occupied for hours. I felt myself relaxing on even deeper levels, the children were happy and thriving in this new surrounding and I wasn’t the only adult in the house.

Butchering animals is the norm at our house, but processing a goat was something I had never done. I watched with fascination as one of the girls skinned a goat from their herd, wondering how it might taste.

We only had a day to find out. The next evening the meat had gone through a cooling and marinating process, then baked. Believe it or not, it was delicious; I went for my second helping.

Each night at 8:30 p.m. everyone gathered in the living room for family worship. Imran led in prayer and read a passage of Scripture then we sung a hymn together. It reminded me so much of the times Daniel would lead out in our home before his passing. Heading for bed that first night it dawned on me that I was actually eager to wake up the next morning; something I have not felt so much since Daniel went to be with Jesus.

Learning how to walk on a grief journey has many dimensions. When the subject came up, I was spellbound, soaking in what was being shared. The importance of facing the pain and being sad was mentioned, right along with the depth of God’s deep provision if we surrender to it.

“Knowing that Jesus loves you will be the biggest key,” Tammi encouraged.

Imran’s statement grabbed my full attention.“You needed Daniel, but you need God more.” Those words stuck like glue. That was it. While Daniel was here, I needed him beyond measure, now I need God even more; God is here and he will never die!

Day three sped upon us and we were soon heading back to the airport. I was ready to face life at home and continue caring for the children God has given us.

Whether we are born or adopted into a family, the One who created us will care for us no matter what. This fruit smoothie is similar to what the Razvi children made to eat on top of their pancakes. It was something new for us, which we found tasty and refreshing. Use your imagination in tweaking fruits to suit your taste.

Delicious Summer Smoothies:

16 ounces vanilla yogurt

3 cups frozen strawberries

1 1/4 cups frozen blueberries

2 peaches frozen, diced

1 1/2 cups grape juice concentrate

1/4 cup sugar optional

Put frozen fruit in a blender.

Add yogurt.

Add optional honey or maple syrup

Add grape juice concentrate

Blend at highest setting for 3 – 5 minutes.

6. Serve cold.

Gloria Yoder is an Amish mom, writer, and homemaker in rural Illinois. The Yoders travel primarily by horse-drawn buggy and live next to the settlement’s one-room school-house. Readers can write to Gloria at 10510 E. 350th Ave., Flat Rock, IL 62427.

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