Because I went through the trauma of losing my mom—someone so dear and precious to me—you might be wondering how I’ve managed to keep going. Well, friend, it’s not always easy.
There are moments when the grief comes flooding in, and to be honest, I think it’ll always be that way, to a degree. The grief is nowhere near the enveloping condition it was right after my mom died. You see, I didn’t have a choice about losing my mom, but I’ve had to make the choice not to lose my joy.
But how can anything good have possibly come out of this? Friend, if you’ve experienced the recent loss of a loved one, it probably feels impossible to entertain this idea right now. Right after my mom died, I couldn’t do anything. Not really. I was barely making it through each day. But decisions had to be made, life went on, and I found myself going right along with it.
I would forget to eat. And when I realized I needed to because I felt sick and my head ached and I was shaking all over, my stomach was not in the least bit interested. My chest ached way too much. The pain of loss was so intense that I didn’t feel hunger at all. I could barely sleep. And most of my dreams were not pretty.
Grief is a reality in losing a loved one. It’s something we have to deal with, and it takes time. Please don’t expect yourself to heal immediately. Because you won’t. And that’s okay. It’s an open wound. But rest assured that if you receive God’s grace for your grieving heart, someday you will be healed. But there will be a scar. And that’s okay too.
Being 5 years out from the trauma of my mom’s illness and death, I’m thankful I can say that I now have a scar. But oh friend, it’s a huge honking one, okay? But it is a scar and not a gaping, raw wound any longer, praise God!
If you read Part 3 of this series, you know that when my mom died, I struggled with my identity. I was so close to her and got her opinion on nearly every decision or situation that came up in my life.
Now please don’t get me wrong, my mom dying was the absolute worst, ever. If I could have her back with me—if the whole thing could be erased somehow and have never happened—I’d have her back with me quicker than a heartbeat. And to be honest, I don’t believe it was God’s intention for her to ever be sick and die with cancer.
But here she isn’t.
And when we lose a loved one, we have a choice. We can surrender our joy, or we can look for God’s works of goodness in the aftermath. God tells us plainly in His word that He will take every situation—even a heartbreaking, terrible one—and bring something good out of it (see Romans 8:28).
And He has and will continue to bring good from this tragedy. And I’m thankful that I’m able to recognize a few ways He’s doing this in my own life.
Because my mom is not here for me to run to with every little concern, I now go to God first.
That is huge, friend. HUGE. That’s not to say I don’t discuss things with my husband or a trusted friend, but I’m not going to them for the solution.
I was way too dependent on my mom for guidance. And truth be told, I should’ve been taking a lot of it to the Lord instead.
And now that my mom isn’t here for me to seek an opinion on every little detail of my life, I’m finding out more about who I am as a person.
Instead of acting based on her feedback, I’m making my own decisions. And I’m learning that I can make them for myself. And that so many of the small things I used to dwell on and fret about before really don’t matter. And. It. Is. Freeing.
Something else the Lord has worked for good despite the circumstance is that I’ve learned some things not to do. I love my mom and can’t wait to see her again in heaven (and give her the most ginormous hug!), but my loving mama could be super stubborn, and I’m learning not to follow suit in that area.
Challenging yes, but I’m open to the Lord’s operation in this area of my life now. Plus, sometimes just realizing that something is an issue will win you half the battle.
God will be glorified, no question. And I want to make sure I’m submitting to that truth regardless of the situation. That means I have to trust that God will work good out of this thing in my life, and that He’ll ultimately use it for His glory.
God deserves honor regardless of circumstance. And regardless of our feelings. Period. And we are entitled to nothing other than submission to Him in recognizing that His ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9), and He. Is. In. Control. Of all things.
And you know what? God did heal my mom. Wholy. Bodily death (for the believer) provides the ultimate healing. That event is the gateway to not only heaven but also permanent healing.
And I have to admit that, even if I don’t fully understand how God will be glorified through my mom’s death, or even if I never see it here in this life, I can know with certainty that He will do it.
Beauty for ashes
Yes, I lost my mom, but not my joy, because God has removed me from that place of mourning and has given me beauty for ashes (see Isaiah 61:3).
Believe it or not, my faith has actually increased because of it. Because God has sustained me through this heartbreak.
And now that I’ve been there personally, I can help encourage others who’ve been through something hard in their lives. Whether it be the loss of a loved one, dealing with an addiction, being abandoned, or any number of other sorrowful struggles.
Since losing my mom, I’ve been more willing to share the saving news of Jesus with others. I’m not quite sure why that is. But I’m thankful for it. There is truly nothing more important in this world than knowing Jesus and making Him known.
I get asked to sing a solo in church once in a while, and my mom was in the congregation during one of those times when the song I sang was “It Is Well with My Soul.”
I looked out as I was singing and I saw my dear mama, and I wondered to myself if I would continue to be able to sing that song throughout the rest of my life, and truly mean it.
And today—even though I lost my mom—I can sing that song again, and I can truly say that by the grace of God, it is well with my soul.
When peace like a river attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
“It is well, it is well, with my soul”
My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part, but the whole
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, oh my soul!
P.S. If you’ve never had anyone share with you the straight truth about who Jesus is and how you can know Him personally, or the no-holds-barred truth about what exactly happens after you die, this is for you.
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