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Jan 21, 2010

When Songs Give Place To Sighing

Earlier this week I got a phone call from my cousin, Joy. She and I have one of those relationships that runs deep. Very deep. I remember writing her a letter when I was in the second grade. My dad was pastoring a church in PA and it was my first experience with real snow and 3 foot icicles. (There wasn't snow like that where we were from.) Joy lived in the South, the Deep South. She still does.
Because my dad was a “church planter,” we lived all over the map. Joy was a constant in my life. She still is.

When she called me the other day, she reminded of the song I have sung many times,
“His Eye Is On The Sparrow” (written by Mrs. Civilla D. Martin in 1905). The version I sing combines parts of the second and third verses. Joy’s church sang the full version last Sunday.

She shared this line (unfamiliar to me) from the third verse, “When songs give place to sighing…”
Joy said when she saw that phrase she thought of me. She has never had a child pass from earth to Heaven, although the shadow of death came close to her first born a few years ago. She and her family have seen more than their portion of hardship. To protect her privacy, I will not be more specific.

Last Sunday Joy united with me in grief when she sang, “When songs give place to sighing…” because she has experienced the sound of her own sighing in a sorrowful place.

The Psalmist, David, writes, “I am feeble and severely broken; I groan because of the turmoil of my heart. Lord, all my desire is before You; And my sighing is not hidden from You. My heart pants, my strength fails me; As for the light of my eyes, it also has gone from me” Psalm 38:8-10.

Every night I sleep with Andrew’s fleece robe in my arms, holding the sleeve in my hand. Every morning, I kiss my son’s picture and I tell him, “Good Morning, Son. I miss you and I will see you soon. Very soon, I hope.” When that day comes my sighing will turn to singing. The refrain from

“Oh, I Want To See Him,” comes to mind this morning.
“Oh I want to see HIM, Look upon His face, there to sing forever of His saving grace. On the streets of Glory, let me lift my voice. Cares all past. Home at last. EVER TO REJOICE” (written by R.H. Cornelius in 1916).

Thank you for praying for my family...my son Avery (15) and my daughter, Audra (20). Thank you for praying for my husband and me. I am having a hard time with the images of Andrew in the last 24 hours of his life. They are very painful. I would ask that you pray specifically that I would not recall those sights. It breaks my broken heart all over again.


  1. If I came over here and left you a comment every time the Lord brings you to my heart I would definitely fit the "stalker" category. :) Melanie, your faith and faithfulness to God has moved me in such a way I'm not sure I can even express it through the written word. Thank you for sharing your journey through the valley with us for I know I speak on behalf of many when I say, your trial, your pain and your son's life now with Jesus cannot help but move me closer to Christ. I'd be crazy if I tried to deny my heart from seeking to have the faithfulness you have. Your love for Jesus is incredible and contagious. Keep seeking Him in your darkest of days Mel, for your love for your King is moving hearts as well as expanding His Kingdom. And please keep telling us about your boy...he is one to brag on forever. And I promise you, we will never tire of you sharing your heart about Andrew. Never.
    I will pray. :)
    Love from Nebraska....

  2. I am praying specifically that GOD will remove those images and fill them with beautiful ones.
    Storming the heavens on behalf of your entire family,

  3. Oh Melanie I know I have never met you, or spoken to you, and yet you have had such a profound effect on my life I wish there was some way I could express it all to you. Your love and faith in God is so tangible and real that there is no doubt in my mind it is reaching so many for Him you will probably never know, as who would not want that kind of comfort and faith in their life in the midst of one of life's biggest sorrows. I can't begin to imagine the pain of losing a child. Don't want to imagine it. Hearing that you hold the sleeve of his robe in your hand while you sleep broke my heart. And yet you can see and feel the presence of Almighty God in your life in the words you write. I pray for you every night. I will pray VERY specifically about those images. We lost our young daughter in law a few years ago to cancer as well and I know some of those final images well. But they really do fade in time and are replaced with sweet memories of her laughter and smiles. I for one know I will never tire of hearing about your great love for Andrew, and the sweet memories of his life here on this earth. Love to you, Debbie

  4. Joy connected with your feelings in song. I know God gave her that. I will pray specifically for what you requested.
    I just had an image of you writing a book. Love you B

  5. Melanie: I will pray what you have requested. You are loved. Martha

  6. praying as I look at the picture of your sons sweet face

  7. i can only begin to imagine the pain.....I hope the heartache will heal soon. Thankfully you know he is completely healed and whole again.....and praising Jesus.
    Take care,

  8. I am always so glad when you write something because I think of you and your family daily. And pray for you. I know these are such hard days for you. But you still are clinging to God's strength and grace. Melanie, I know it is hard to even imagine, but there will be joy again. Maybe not tomorrow or next month...but snippets of it will come. It has to, it is another gift from God. When I was diagnosed, I though I would never laugh, never sing without crying, never dream for the future...and it took a while....but gradually, the cloud would move for a moment and real joy would come in. The hurt never leaves...it just moves aside. And I am so thankful for that. God is so good. Be strong my friend.

  9. Oh Melanie, I will pray for you that those images will be replaced with better times in Andrew's life. I'm so glad you have that special relationship with your cousin Joy. It's amazing also how music can be such a source of comfort. May you also be comforted by the prayers of your blogging friends.

    Blessings and love,

  10. I think of you guys very often throughout the day. Thank you for the updated prayer requests.

    Please consider yourself hugged tight....

    Love and prayers,

  11. Melanie,

    Your words go straight to the depths of my heart and I know it has to be so healing as you share your heart with us.
    i have those same images of Daddy so I COMPLETELY understand this request. I cried myself to sleep in unbelief that he is gone and just tried to picture him this summer instead of the images of his final days. They are just so hard to see in our minds but I know that I know the Lord will help you just like HE will help me with all of that. May you experience HIS mercy and grace and may your Faith continue to go deep as HE ministers to you every second of the day....HE is holding you in HIS arms Melanie....ever so tightly

    Bless you,

  12. I am praying for your eyes today, Melanie.
    I lift up my eyes to the hills— where does my help come from? Psalm 123 today. love you

  13. Thanks for giving us something specific to pray for for you. I will be praying that those images would leave you & be replaced w/those of happier, healthier times.
    I have been praying for Audra & Avery, knowing that they too are going through grief, yet have to go on w/life. It is hard to know how to process grief sometimes, especially for young people, even those who are strong in their faith.
    And husbands grieve another way too, wanting to provide comfort for their wives/children & still "performing" in the work place.
    I'm praying that you will be able to comfort & strengthen one another in the power of the Holy Spirit (no other way you COULD do it!)

  14. Melanie-words cannot begin to express my grief for you and your family. I will certainly pray for your request. Please remember God doesn't see him as he was on his final days here on earth and I'm sure He doesn't want you to remember him that way either.

  15. Dear Melanie,
    I will pray specifically for what you asked. I continue to pray for you and your family. My heart aches and my eyes still fill with tears, when I look at pictures of Andrew. But I know he has a smile on his face. I smile also when I see his handsome little face, knowing he is with our Lord. I remember when he was little at church, he would be sitting with you, eventually falling asleep on the pew. I'd think, he would rather be with his mama...how precious, and what a good boy! You are strong, and I pray that God will comfort and strengthen you and your dear family with His strength, as you continue to serve Him, until He calls.
    Your sister in Christ,

  16. Dear Melanie, Praying that those images of pain and suffering will be overshadowed by sweet images of the wonderful and most happiest moments that you and Andrew shared! Praying that God will wrap his loving arms around you and shield your eyes and thoughts from any upsetting images, giving you peace. Focus on the overwhelming JOY and happiness that Andrew is now basking in! You are one day closer to being with your sweet child! Hope this gives you some comfort! ~love & big hugs, Rhonda

  17. I have read your blog many times and have followed the chronicle of Andrew as you shared. I know from first hand experience the loss of a son - my oldest son. I have never left a comment as words escaped me each time. Today I share... I share your pain, I share your grief, I share the sorrow of things past, I share the loss of what might have been.

    Just as the Bible tells us "mourning lasts for a night but joy comes in the morning" and it does - eventually. There is no time frame and there is no order to the process of grief. Each of you (husband and children and you) will have a different path through this valley. Allow each other those differences. Draw close to each other; but, more importantly, draw close to God.

    My youngest was 14 when his brother passed away. He did not cry but buried his pain deep inside. It hurt me to watch. I finally was able to encourage him to express that pain through his creative leanings - through poetry and art. It helped him!

    I will pray for Avery and Audra to find their special way of dealing with their loss.

    God bless you, dear sister, and your family as you walk through the Valley of Death. I know it is not easy, but God's peace will be with you - the peace that passes all our understandings!

    I will pray for the images of those last days to be overshadowed by happier memories for all of you!

    Walking with you,

  18. These precious ladies have said it better than I ever could. I feel like Lelia C., heard the words deep in my heart. Your love for Jesus is contagious.

    I find myself seeking the Lord in a deeper way than ever before. At church, where I was more reserved during Worship, not anymore. I worship with my arms open wide, lifting praise from the depths of my soul. Usually, with thoughts of you and Andrew on my mind.

    I will be praying specifically about the images. I lost my sister in law/best friend (car accident) when we were both 22. I carried the image of her final moments in my mind for a time. Thankfully, in time, the vision changed to one of her laughing. I can't wait to HEAR her laughter again. Just waiting on Jesus!
    Love and prayers,

  19. All I can say is I'm praying...especially for those images to be erased. (((hugs)))

  20. Melanie, will be praying for you and your family. I've never been through anything like this, so I have no idea what you may be going through, except to know it has to be painful to lose a child. Each time I come and read your posts, my eyes tear up. I can sense your missing your son so much. Mothers are usually so close to their children and I know you are that kind of Mother.

    Praying God will take the images away from you and every memory will be a happy and pleasant one of Andrew.

  21. My heart is so touched daily by your words and images of Andrew. I've never had anything affect me quite this much with someone I did not personally know. God is so using you and this situation to reach out to others and He will be faithful to heal your wounds. Like B, for several days I have felt that you need to write a book, not only as a witness to His love and grace, but to speak to literally thousands of moms who find themselves facing the same situation....but may need the source you have to survive.

    I am praying...every day for you and your family. Thank you so much for sharing this very special part of your heart and your love for your family and that special, handsome young man that now stands in the presence of the one who called him.

  22. Dearest Melanie, I am praying for you, your sweet mind, and for His comfort to cover over you completely. My Pastor, Greg Laurie, wrote a book, "Hope for Hurting Hearts", after his oldest son was killed in a car accident. If you feel like reading, maybe this is a book you might want to. I remember him saying how there are days when you feel like you can't even take one more breath, and then the Lord gives you strength to literally take that breath. I'm so sorry for the deep pain and sorrow....I'm praying that the Lord will give you rest in His strong and loving arms, that only He can give.
    You are precious in His sight Melanie, and I will not stop praying for you.
    In His Love,

  23. Melanie, I am praying for you, crying with you, and understanding full well what you are feeling about wanting to be with Andrew. I haven't lost a child, but I lost those that I loved so dearly, all I wanted was to go with them...to think of it being my child makes the pain all the more real.

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful post about the song and your cousin...I will always think of you when I hear it. I think about you every day, Melanie, and the grief you are experiencing, knowing that you have your eyes on the Lord, but the depth of despair in your heart...a difficult place to be. God hears your heart's cry, and knows what you need...He will cover your with His grace and love each moment til you meet Him face to face, and hold your precious Andrew once again.


  24. Just wanted you to know that you were in my thoughts and prayers today. God is amazing how HE brings people to our minds!

  25. What a beautiful song...I don't think I have heard that before. I pray that your bad memories will be placed with the many happy memories you have of Andrew and that the healing will continue.

    God bless you all...still praying for you!

  26. Keeping your family very much in my prayers, love you so much sis.

  27. Praying for God's comfort and peace for you and the family, Melanie ~ And I'm agreeing in prayer with you concerning the images. Love and Prayers ~

  28. Still praying for you & your family. What an amazing God we have. I will pray specifically for this request too.

  29. You are on my mind Melanie. Praying for healing and comfort for you. love, b

  30. I'm also praying for you Melanie. I have thought of your children and your husband also, and am praying for them. Grief is such a random and unreliable emotion. One day you feel a little healing, and then out of the blue, it's sadness again. Now, more than ever, eternal perspective is so healing... To know that in the blink of an eye, when this life ends, you will see Jesus, with Andrew peeking over his shoulder with joy, waiting to
    hug his family. How I thank God for His hope.
    I'm specifically praying for your thoughts and
    pictures' to be changed by God into the sweetness of the images we see on these pages and you hold in your heart.

    Love and prayers.

  31. Hi Melanie. You are on my heart tonight and I am praying for you. I cannot begin to imagine the pain you feel with the gaping hole left in your heart with Andrew in Heaven and not right there by your side. He reminds me SO MUCH of my own Andrew and they are the same age so I just put myself in your shoes and it leaves me breathless.

    Sweet friend. Be right where you are. Just let yourself grieve. Give yourself time and do not be afraid that you won't get back to a better place if you let yourself weep each day. I know your family needs you and I am praying that Jesus will give you what you need to be there for them while also being in the valley of sorrow. Oh, that Jesus would come soon and we could all meet your amazing Andrew in Heaven!

    I don't know what God wants you to do about speaking right now, but I pray that all that He taught you in the past will become lessons you can lean on now in the present - and when you have walked through the valley and begin to come out of the darkness, this is my prayer for you and yours...

    Isaiah 58:8-9 (NIV)
    Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

    Keep holding His hand and trusting His heart my friend.

  32. Dear Melanie,
    As I read your post and think of you and your family often I pause to say a prayer. I am trusting and believing that God will deliver your mind from those thoughts that haunt you and replace them with precious memories only. Amen.

  33. I love you, Melanie. Lifting you up...

  34. I have a friend who lost her daughter to a skiing accident and some of her words come back to me when I read your posts. Things like praying for Jesus' return to be tomorrow, and living life like that, as if she might see her beautiful daughter just the next day. She has pictures of her daughter, full of life, around her office and home. She remembers her daughter in the fullness of life, and that is the part of her life that they speak of often. The gifts, the talents, the impact to their lives and to others. Those are the memories they dwell on, not the last when she was in the hopital.

    You and your family are in my prayers. That the comfort of the Holy Spirit will wrap you in the warmth of His love and peace as you walk through this valley.


  35. I am praying right now specifically that God will remove those images and give you new ones. He is able!!

  36. How thankful I am for the Song that gives voice to the sighing...

    So in keeping with the journey of our Lord.

    peace & prayers~elaine

  37. With tears in my eyes, I am praying that those images will soon be replaced with only the happy memories. I cannot compare your loss to any I have experienced, but I do recall the vivid flashback memories of my mother when she was dying, and I know how badly I wanted those memories to not be my last memories of her. I do not have those memories in vivid flashbacks any more. laurie