Why You Are Still Here

It could have been a birthday weekend. Happy 24th to our middle girl.

Instead, we went to the cemetery.


If Kali had lived her first day, 24 years ago today, 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 several weeks 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?

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

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

Each thing reminded me I had a reason to still be here.

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

(And unknown at the time, another reason to still be here: in another year, another daughter, Jenna, would be conceived and enter our world.)

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

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 (for me) that Kali is not here in the flesh, 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 in 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.

Revised from the archives at Do Not Depart

27 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. Cindy Burgess

    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!!!

  3. bill (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. Susan 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. Andrew 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. Linda 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. Meghan 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. Lynn 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. Pam

    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. Barbara 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. Trudy

    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. Barbie

    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. Betsy 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. Mary 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. Beth

    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. floyd

    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. Alice 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. Debbie 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. Jean 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. Carol

    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. Karen 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.

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