Why You Are Still Here

It could have been a birthday celebration. Happy Birthday to our middle daughter.

Instead, we went to the cemetery.

Why are you still here

A Thousand Little Deaths

If Kali had lived her first day, and the day after, and the day after, I would have been more eager to live those days, too.

But instead, when she died on Day 1, November 13, born premature and with severe problems, part of me wanted to die, too.

Don’t we all die a thousand little deaths throughout our lives? Don’t we all collect bruises on our souls?

The author of Psalm 118 certainly had his own little deaths. He knew about prisons and enemies and destruction. He (and the Hebrew people collectively) had been pushed hard.

But at this point he had not been handed all the way over to death (Psalm 118:18).

Others had died. Why not him? Why not me? Why not you? Why not yet?

Resurrect One Slow Breath at a Time

It took me awhile to understand why I was still living without my baby to care for.

Resurrection is sometimes instantaneous. But sometimes resurrection only comes one slow Spirit-breath at a time.

For me, resurrection was one small thing at a time—a friend bringing dinner after my C-section, a sympathy card in the mailbox, a flower left on Kali’s grave.

And resurrection was one person at a time—a gentle hug, a conversation mentioning Kali by name, an empathetic ear.

Each small thing reminded me I had big reasons to still be here.

  • I had my husband Jeff who loved me (and was grieving too),
  • my 4-yr-old daughter Morgan who needed her mommy, and
  • a God determined for me to know joy again.

(And unknown to me, another reason to still be here was on the horizon: a third daughter, Jenna, later to be conceived, born, loved.)

It is for the living we stay. For the loving. For the Lord.

You Still Have Purpose

If you are here reading this—as I am still here writing it—the Lord still has purpose here for you, too.

Even if you’ve come to the very rim of death, or are in crisis of a little death even today, know that God kept you from falling over the edge for now, for a reason.

You still have . . .

  • living to do
  • love to give
  • praise to proclaim

God can empower a thousand little resurrections over your thousand little deaths.

So even though I am sad today that Kali has not been here in the flesh for 26 years, I can proclaim with confidence along with the psalmist in Psalm 118: “The Lord is powerful!” (Psalm 118:15 CEV)

Even when I don’t understand death, I can trust resurrection.

I have lived to tell what the Lord has done.

* * *

Do you know why you are still here? You are here to love somebody this week. Someone is here to love you. Please share in the comments.

Updated from the archives

41 thoughts on “Why You Are Still Here

  1. Summer

    Lisa I am so sorry for your loss. I work in the floral design industry and have helped plan funerals for many families who have lost babies and young children. It is hard and even harder to understand. I think we all have to come to the place that whether we can grasp the situation or not, we believe that God’s ways are perfect. They may not make sense now, but He knows what He is doing.
    Living a guilt free life afterwards is hard too. It seems wrong for you to be here when the other person can not be. I think you said it best at the end…”I have lived to tell what the Lord has done.” Amen!!!

  2. blankCindy Burgess

    Lisa,
    First, I want to tell you how much I love you, Jeff, Morgan and Jenna!!! I think of Kali often when I watch our precious girls together. I am thinking of and remembering with you today our precious niece, Kali, that we will one day meet in heaven!!! You have a beautiful gift of sharing your personal walk with the Lord. He has used your words to reach so many of our hearts on different subjects!!! I love you sweet sister and friend!!!
    Cindy

  3. blankbill (cycleguy)

    I’ve never experienced personally what you have Lisa. Only as a pastor have I stood beside gravesides and in hospital beds feeling my heart come out of my chest. My closest to this is when I, myself, almost lost my life in February from the bike wreck. Jo shivers. I relived it this morning in fact how close I came and how God’s hand was so vital. But your words are kind and filled with empathy, empathy I can’t experience. Thanks for your thoughts. And I pray God’s peace & joy for you today.

  4. blankSusan Nowell @ My Place to Yours

    “Don’t we all die a thousand little deaths throughout our lives? Don’t we all collect bruises on our souls?“ Oh yes, Lisa, we certainly do — and they come in many different forms. I’ve never experienced the loss of a child, and I can’t even imagine… But there have been other tragic losses I never dreamed of facing, and God somehow coaxed one.more.tiny.step forward from me, as he did from you. I’m so thankful you were able to share this story today with its real-life grief AND its hope and encouragement.

  5. blankAndrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Lisa, I am so very sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine how hard this must be.

    Don’t know why I am still here. I have had theories, but the physical pain is just too great to even think about it now. I’ll find out someday, and in the meantime all I can do is my best.

  6. blankLinda Stoll

    Dear Lisa … I read this post earlier this morning and am back to let you know that God is keeping you on my heart today.

    As ever, I am sorry for your loss. Sometimes there are no words …

    Hugs instead. Prayers, too …

  7. blankMeghan Weyerbacher

    Lisa, no words can quite convey.. I thank you for sharing your story. It inspires us to live fully despite and in the midst of, hardship and trial. I am truly sorry for your loss. Praying for you, and thank you for continuing to encourage others. God’s light and hope are shining through you friend. xoxo

  8. blankLynn Severance

    A beautiful posting on this anniversary day, Lisa.
    Thank you.

    “You still have . . .

    living to do
    love to give
    praise to proclaim”

    And so we do. He gives us the insights of loss so we can fill the void with encouragement for others and recognize that He has more for us to do in this well worn world – gives us reasons to rejoice.

    Hugs – Lynn

  9. blankPam

    What a gift you have given all of us to share this loss in such a gentle, insightful, and powerful way. Thank you! A loss such as this of a child that is carried but never known to the rest of the world can too often be overlooked or ignored by those around us. I am so glad that some reached out and you have invited us into this very intimate place in your heart.

  10. blankBarbara H.

    My heart goes out to you, Lisa. Of all losses, I think losing a child would be one of the hardest. I know people who are stuck in that loss – who are still living but haven’t found a reason to, if that makes sense. I’m glad you found a reason to and trusted God both for his taking your daughter and for allowing you to remain, though the pain is still there. God has worked through you to speak to me many times.

  11. blankTrudy

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Lisa. Anniversary dates and special days must still be so hard. I love that God’s purpose will always stand, even when we don’t understand His ways. Because you experience this pain, you can comfort others in this loss with the same comfort God has given you. It can be hard to remember sometimes that we still have living to do, love to give, and praise to proclaim. So thank you for encouraging us in the midst of your heartache. Love and hugs to you!

  12. blankBarbie

    I cannot imagine this type of hurt. This is a timely post for me today as I’m hurting emotionally, so much, and some days I just want to give up. Thank you for reminding me that there is still purpose in my living, even when I can’t see it.

  13. blankBetsy de Cruz

    This is a beautiful word for me to read, Lisa. I’m so sorry about your daughter. This encourages me today because we got word that an old friend of my daughter’s took her own life, the second girl in her former skating team, a group of just 20 girls. I just may share these words with my girl. We still have living to do, love to give, and praise to proclaim.

  14. blankMary Geisen

    My heart hurts from the pain you must have felt. I love the words you write about resurrection. What a testimony to how God led you through your time of grieving one slow Spirit-breath at a time.

    Thank you for sharing something so personal but also words that others can relate to on many different levels.

  15. blankBeth

    Yes, in that resurrection, what a joy it will be to hold and see you dear sweet Kali whole and more alive than ever! I’m also grateful that you shared your private and painful story of loss with us, Lisa. I didn’t know you had faced such a heart-wrenching loss. I’ve never lost a child, but I can imagine that it would remain a deep wound for the rest of my days. We had a woman in our church who lost her 44 year old husband recently to cancer. I have let busyness get in the way of sending her a card. So your post reminds me of how important those small gestures are at a time of great loss. I will get one in the mail today thanks to you, my friend!

  16. blankfloyd

    So sorry for your loss. We carry the scars of constant reminders of this fallen world. Till we meet our loved ones again we carry their memory… and love.

    Wonderful perspective and encouragement despite the pitfalls. Thanks, sister.

  17. blankAlice Walters

    Dear Lisa, our son would have been 40 last March. After a very easy pregnancy with no warning signs, the doctor discovered a congenital birth defect when I was 2 weeks past due. A death sentence had been passed over our child. He also died on day 1. The circumstances of his short life impacted subsequent pregnancies and births. Satan tried to rip our two children from my body, but God had other plans. I’ve always called them our miracle babies. God did what only He could do, He brought healing and new life where I thought only rejection and loneliness could be. Prayers and blessings as we share this unique journey.

  18. blankDebbie Wilson

    Lisa, I lost my mother when I was a teen. That loss left a hole in me. But I can’t imagine losing a child, and especially one you didn’t get to spend time with. Thank you for sharing your testimony of faith and hope.

  19. blankJean Wise

    wow you touched hearts with this post today, Lisa! First of all so sorry for your loss but what a witness with this encouragement. Just today a friend shared with me a friend of hers just lost their full term baby. so sad. I will share this post with her. Yes time to share some love.

  20. blankCarol

    What a beautiful tribute to Kali and the life-giving breath of our Creator! I so look forward to the resurrection and I thank you for the grace of this post – it brought tears to my eyes.

  21. blankKaren Woodall

    We have a dear friend who just let us know yesterday that her cancer has returned. It is a virulent type but when she came through a year of chemo, radiation and surgery we were optimistic. This is a significant blow to all who know her. The older I get the more I realize that I have no idea about why God allows the things He allows, but then I guess that’s the essence of faith isn’t it? Trusting God even when we cannot see or understand what is happening. Thank you for sharing your story. It’s a great reminder that even when “we can’t understand death, we can still trust in resurrection.” Good words.

  22. blankDiana | Diana’s Diaries

    Loss is unbearable and I am so sorry your Katie went to be the Lord early on.

    But thank you for the hope you shared as well. Through Christ our lives and our losses are resurrected again.

    Visiting you from worthbeyond link up .

    Sending you hugs this morning

    Diana

  23. blanknylse

    As we live, we all die a thousand little deaths. Yes, we do!!!
    But these deaths provide opportunities for resurrection, for hope, in Christ.
    I know why I’m still here and I’m sure that you know the same for you!

    Praises.
    Stopping by from a linkup.

  24. blankBev @ Walking Well With God

    Lisa,
    What a powerful and moving testimony to what God can do even in the midst of our grieving that can only offer up groans. I know God has brought me through so many trials, and I’m still here in order to testify to His lovingkindness that brought me THROUGH the trials. I have raised and will continue to raise Ebenezers that affirm God’s faithfulness. I’m here to proclaim that God is the God who never leaves us. Beautiful post!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

  25. blankMartha J Orlando

    Those losses, like that with your daughter, never leave our hearts, Lisa. Yes, life goes on, we are called to live and love in the here and now, but there will always be the memories.
    Blessings to you, and may God hold you close in comfort, my friend.

  26. blankLynn D. Morrissey

    Lisa, this is such a beautiful, generous, and transparent offering. Taking others inside your pain, others who surely may have given up all hope of living after the loss of a precious loved one, and here, a precious baby. Babies, themselves, are full of life and hope and promise. And your beloved child was immediately in the arms of Jesus experiencing eternal life when her life was suddenly ended here. It’s one thing to know that heaven is real, but quite another to experience the anguish and pain of knowing you will not share in that child’s life here and now and in all the moments to come as you would have watched her grow. I just can’t fathom this. I might have despaired of going on (and knowing me that is a reasonable assumption). You, on the other hand, trusted God in your pain, and found purpose in it. You are living that purpose right now as you comfort others in pain with the same comfort of God with which you have been comforted (and for all the other reasons you mentioned). What a special lady you are. I can’t thank you enough for your courage.
    Love
    Lynn

  27. blankTrudy

    Thank you for sharing again your aching heart on Kali’s birthday, Lisa. My heart aches for you. Your words speak comfort to my heart – “Even when I don’t understand death, I can trust resurrection.” Also how “sometimes resurrection only comes one slow Spirit-breath at a time.” Thank you for your encouragement in the midst of your pain. Love and blessings of strength and comfort to your dear Mama heart!

  28. blankLaurie

    What a beautiful, heartfelt post, Lisa. The anniversary of Kali’s birth and death must be so difficult each year. I am sending prayers and hugs to you, dear friend. We all have a mission as long as we are on earth
    ” living to do
    love to give
    praise to proclaim”.

    So much happens that we don’t understand, but we trust that the Lord is good.

  29. blankDavid

    Miscarriages and deaths of little ones are heart-breaking. It is hard to think of anything else when remembrance comes. When such a source of goodness is wiped out, it’s hard to think of the goodness we still have, or that we can still make. Everything seems swept away.

    The trivial knocks and grinds of daily life can end up having a similar effect.

    Thank you for the reminder of the resurrection, and out daily resurrection. I am still here, and I can love and praise, and through that activity I can live and grow.

  30. blankKaren Friday

    Lisa, I’m so sorry you lost Kali. Your words resonate with so many of us who have experienced the death of a loved one. Thank you for not only reminding us it’s okay to grieve, but also how even when we don’t understand death, we can trust resurrection. Such a powerful truth!

  31. blankfloyd samons

    It encourages me, and obviously others, when a person can endure the most difficult of life’s blows and still see the loving hand of God in their lives.

    Thanks for sharing your heart. When we get home Kali will be there waiting… she’ll show you the ropes…

    Blessings to you, sister.

  32. blankTammy L Kennington

    Lisa, I’m so sorry.

    I know your words are a comfort to many women–women like my mother and a dear friend from high school who know the same loss. You certainly do still have a purpose in and through the sharing of your pain and resurrected hope.

    Thank you for your vulnerability and for these raw, real words.

    Peace and grace,
    Tammy

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