Next Sunday will be my mom's first birthday in heaven. In 3 weeks, it will be one year since she died. Today, I spent several hours itemizing last year's charitable contributions for our taxes, the majority of which were Mom's possessions -- the things I was able to part with anyway.
For the most part, I think I've handled the events of last year pretty well. For awhile I was just in shock. Shock that thyroid cancer could take her life. Shock that it happened so quickly. Shock that she handled it all with such grace.
It might be that the way Mom handled her diagnosis and prognosis is the reason that I handled it all so well for so long. That, and Ben. Ben grieved immediately and openly. For months. Every day. I had to be strong for him. He needed me to get him through.
But now, it seems, it's my turn. My turn to cry. My turn to feel weary and overwhelmed and unfocused. My turn to grieve this tremendous loss. I've been pretty silent about it. Very few people know I've been having such a tough time. But my silence isn't helping me. And it won't help you, if you are grieving, too.
I'll be honest with you. I don't like it. It makes me feel as though I lack faith. It makes me wonder about things that are beyond my control and not my thoughts to wonder. It's hard. I want to run away from it. Is this even normal after a year?
Last night, the pastor spoke of Lazarus and for a brief moment, I wished her back. Unlike Martha, I spoke the words silently, "Lord, if only you had been here, my mother would not have died." Or maybe what I meant is that had I been there, she would not have died. I had only been gone 15 minutes at the most. I left her briefly to get some breakfast, at her insistence. If only I had known.
And then I felt selfish for such thoughts. Why would anyone want to come back to this world after tasting heaven?
Grief is confusing.
So, I search. I search for answers . . . for comfort . . . for help . . .
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:1)
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)
Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows. (Isaiah 53:4)
Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. (I Thessalonians 4:13)
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. (Psalm 43:5)
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die ... a time to weep and a time to laugh ... a time to mourn and a time to dance... (Ecclesiastes 3:1-4)
Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. (Luke 6:21)
You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. (Psalm 30:11-12)
And there they are . . . the words I need to hear. Words of comfort, wisdom . . . love. There is a season for grief, a time to mourn and weep. There is no definition of when that season is exactly. Most importantly, is the realization that I do not grieve as one without hope. Because Jesus died, death has been defeated. The sadness I feel now will not compare to the joy I will feel at the reunion later. The LORD is close to brokenhearted. And even more comforting . . . He carries my sorrows. And He gives me a promise --
I will laugh and sing and dance again. I will be clothed in joy.
Until that time, I will praise Him in the storm.
Are you grieving, too? I created this printable of the verse from Psalm 30 above, to remind me of the joy that is always mine. Please accept it as my gift for you as well. Print it, read it, meditate on it's truth. Be blessed and clothed in joy today.
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