My life with Julia Walter was a life of oneness to the deepest level of our beings. That was possible because of the heart after God that the Spirit of God gave her and what was inspired in me because of her. The foundation of our life together in breathing by God’s grace has blessed this past year for me with growth in grace that I didn’t imagine possible…
Today marks one year since Julia’s homegoing to Glory and some have asked how I’m doing. It’s tempting to hide behind a mask of self-sufficiency and say “I’m fine,” but I’ve learned a better way. I want to say “I am grateful,” and then mention some specific grace that’s been added to my life.
Grief is easier to walk with in gratefulness.
The struggle to think clearly and know what to do with my day opens up on God-given opportunities when I am able to look up and forward with gratitude, breathing by the gentle love and abundant grace in the heart of my Savior.
And so, I am…
- Grateful for reconciliation with loss
- Grateful for the gifts
- Grateful that Julia is in glory
- Grateful for the Holy Spirit making real to me the presence of Christ
Grateful for reconciliation with loss
I know I can be thankful that my soul is becoming more deeply reconciled to Julia’s complete absence from this life.
Reconciling to her absence means that most days now I don’t think about her the first thing in the morning and don’t often hear her calling to me at night, but it also means that I’m reconciling to carrying a deep sadness with me into whatever experience I have, whether it be working shoulder to shoulder with others in some service project or laughing with my grandsons over some funny twist of our lives. It means that I am more completely and deeply reconciled to this life alone as God’s best choice for how I finish the course here.
Grateful for the gifts
I know that a deeper acceptance of life as I’ve been given it is to live it as a gift.
It is not in myself that this is happening but by way of gifts in prayer and kind actions from family and friends – moments that have sustained me and saved me from depression and purposeless days.
And of course, in and above all these things, God is loving me and being immensely present to me in the Stillness of being alone. I am thankful that when I come home to an empty house on Sunday afternoon that I have a little dog who welcomes me and a car that can take us down to the park for a walk with God in the beauty, yes, but also in the longing of his creation for redemption into the glorious restoration of all things that God has planned.
“God’s heart for his people is building toward a crescendo as the generations roll by, preparing to explode onto human history at the end of all things. Our joyous restored humanity will surge forward with such spiritually nuclear energy that the creation itself will erupt in raucous hymns of celebration. This is the party for which the created order is on the edge of its seat in eager anticipation (Rom. 8:19), because its glory is bound up with and dependent on our glory (Rom. 8:21). The universe will be rinsed clean and restored to sparkling brightness and dignity as the sons and daughters of God step into a future as secure as it is undeserved.”In reference to Isaiah 55: Dane Ortlund, Gentle and Lowly: the heart of Christ for sinners and sufferers (Wheaton: CROSSWAY, ©2020 D.C. Ortlund), p. 161
Grateful that Julia is in glory
One year ago, Julia came to the end of her life and let go of everything here and stepped into infinitely good blessedness. She was so perfectly content at the end of her life because the only thing more she desired was to step into the presence of Christ and be gloriously changed forever – changed into the woman that matched her deepest longings and best fit the Creator’s design for her. God gave her the deepest desire of her heart.
And so, like Julia, I put away stuff and do things for the last time, treasuring memories of a lifetime that cannot be repeated. But I not only endure “last things,” but have begun to embrace them more fully as doorways to glory and what lies beyond in God’s eternally good plan for our lives.
Grateful for the Holy Spirit making real to me the presence of Christ
I have been considering again this morning the privilege of choosing to let go of what is so dear to me to receive what is eternal and glorious, in order to give God the opportunity to reveal himself more deeply and completely to my heart. There is coming a day when all I know here will be taken away from me without my choosing. On that day my Living Hope is that I will hear the trumpet call of God and see Jesus face to face – because knowing him is worth losing everything here.
You are in the beginning of everything – including my life without Julia that began a year ago. You are with God as you always have been, interceding and advocating for me and all your children. O Great Stillness in, behind, above, and before every moment, YOU have been WITH me as I have chased the dawn and listened for your voice. In the darkness, you are my light that cannot be overcome. You are God and the source of everything good and holy filling the empty places. You are my life here, and forever.
Lord, how I miss Julia. We stood before You as one, so the grief I’ve walked in is deeper than my mind, deeper than my emotions, and deeper than the loss to my body. My missing her goes to the depth of my spirit where You dwell, O God. Help me, O Lord, to embrace Your presence that spans the distance between me and her.
You are my living hope, the Bridge to life and peace. You, the LORD, give and You take away. Bless your holy name! I bow before Your will, Great Stillness in this awful silence, my Shield and the Lifter of my head. Amen.
Jesus, you are my Living Hope!
- Tribute to Julia – David
- Not to Escape but to Grow – Julia
- Julia’s 73rd & WOW! – David
“Today I want to expect good things from God; not force them or resent their absence. When God works good in my favor I’m thankful, and when He doesn’t I’m at peace and rest. Because I know that God is good, and I am his child.”Roland Walter (Facebook 5/12/2023)
Thanks for the heart-felt tribute and sweet expressions. Julia is truly one of the most complete examples of Christian life well-lived.