Healing bit by bit, step by step


“Mom, don’t close your eyes,” said an anxious little voice by my side.

I was taking advantage of several quiet moments after lunch with thoughts of catching up on lack of sleep.

“Can you tell me what bothers you about me having my eyes shut?”

There was not much of a response, I puzzled over it. “Does that make it look like I also died?”


My heart melted. Surely there are many dimensions of grieving. Surely my sleep could wait, but waiting to care for little hearts could not.

Days flowed into weeks, still seeing Mom close her eyes unnerved the innocent little fellow.

“Here, you hold my hand, do you feel how warm it is? Is it moving?” I asked as I squeezed his little hand. “Could Daddy move his hand in the coffin?”

A smile spread across his face. It made sense. As little Yoder’s heart is healing bit by bit, we find the same to be true for all of us. An aspect that made a giant difference for me was when it really became a reality to my heart that when I surrender to this stage in life and embrace it, I am not in any way pushing Daniel back, or saying that we no longer love him. There are no words to really describe it, but somehow a capacity of joy for the moment opens up.

In the midst of it all, we still wipe tears. Many times, the bigger the trial of missing Daniel, the deeper the peace or blessing is about to follow. Like last night, I was getting everyone ready to go to the hymn singing at the school house, and I couldn’t help but think how it would be if I were not by myself to get the children ready and walk the short distance through the chilly dark evening. As we made our way down the path through the woods one of the children commented on the beautiful moon beams. “I think God made these beams shine down, right on pour path,” she said. She had no idea of the struggle I had just committed to God.

I was captivated by what a friend shared with me last week when we took hot lunch to school without Daniel. It was something like this: our faith needs to be shaken to grow.

I wonder how much ‘shaking’ a person can handle. And I think of many of you who have much harder difficulties right now than we do.

A year ago Daniel had told me a song he’d want to be sung in his funeral if he’d ever die. It fits in well with our conversation here. I’m deeply touched by its words “What an endless day of perfect joy …then we’ll be glad we lived for Jesus, singing and shouting and praising his name…”

Let’s keep taking only a step at a time and surely we’ll be glad we lived for him!

I’ll wrap up with a very special recipe for you to try- maybe for Christmas? My dear cousin, who knew Daniel would usually make a cheese cake for my birthday, stopped in on the day of my birthday with this most tasty cheese cake, decorated with miniature roses which she found in the garden under the snow.



1 1/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon lemon peel

2 tablespoon powdered sugar

1/2 cup butter, chilled and cubed


4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

1 1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

1/2 cup sour cream

2 teaspoons vanilla

4 eggs, well beaten

10 ounces white baking chocolate, melted and cooled

2 teaspoons grated

Lemon peel

Place a 9-inch spring form pan on a double thickness of heavy duty foil (about 18-inch square) and securely wrap foil around pan. Set aside.

In a small bowl combine crust ingredients until crumbly. Press onto the bottom and one inch up the sides of the prepared pan.

Place on a baking sheet. Bake at 325 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, flour, lemon juice, cream, sour cream and vanilla until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beat on low speed just until combined, stir in white chocolate and lemon peel. Pour into crust.

Place pan in a large baking pan; add 1 inch hot water to the larger pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 65-85 minutes or until center is just set and to appears dull.

Remove the pan from water bath. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

Carefully run a knife around the edge of pan to loosen sides. Cool one hour longer. Refrigerate overnight. Remove from sides of pan before slicing.

Yield: 12 servings

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