Life After Loss

 

Today I ran across this picture on my Timehop:

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It’s not the type of picture that would normally elicit memories from the entire day because I probably posted a million similar pictures. This picture however brought with it an array of unexpected emotion.

2 years ago today I sat alone in my living room with my ridiculously pitiful pup and wrote the last blog post I have had any desire to write. I sat for hours with tear stained cheeks and typed my heart out in my Microsoft Word document. I hit saved, exited the program, and never posted it.

So here it is, the last blog post I wrote on January 13, 2015. Take heart half way through, it gets a little better toward the end

Dear 2015, 

I wish I had nice things to say to you, but I can’t think of any right now.
So far you have brought pain and bitter heartache.

I want this to be a letter about all about the positive things, the things you have in store, the secrets to come, the adventures to be had, no negative and no bad…

but it can’t be. 

Because with all of the things that are in store and all of the adventures to be had, there is still a bitter ache.

2015 will never be what I thought it should be.

Every happy thing that happens, the things I will want to shout from the rooftop,
the things that make me want to pick up the phone and call home,
will immediately remind me
that 2015 will never be what I thought it should be. 

And when the days get hard and I feel low,
when I am in the grocery store and I can’t find the right aisle,
when I have more kids in my house and need advice or just an understanding ear
I will again remember
that 2015 will never be what I thought it should be. 

No matter what else happens, 2015, when I look back at you it will sting.
Along with the good memories will come the heartache
Along with the adventures will come a sharp pain
2015 will never be what I thought it should be.

It’s 2015 and 10 days ago my mom died.

2015 will never be what I thought it should be.

Don’t stop reading yet though, because the good part is coming.

For me, 2015 has been heartache and pain beyond what I have known before
but 2015 is not what my mom thought it would be either.
You see, my mom was battling Leukemia, she had been battling it in one form or another for over 2 years. She had undergone extensive chemo, lost all of her hair, had a catheter in her chest, been through a bone marrow transplant, and lost her life as she had previously known it to be. She didn’t have the energy to work, or the immune system to spend time around many other people.
Her life had become something that she never thought it would be.

But she didn’t quit.
She persevered, she ran the race and she finished well.
She loved to the end.
She loved the people that others took for granted.
She loved the downcast and the overbearing.
She knew the love of Jesus and she gave love from Jesus.

Her life had become something that she never thought it would be,
but that didn’t matter,
because Jesus was still the same.
He was the same for her
and I know
that even though 2015 will never be what I thought should be
He will be the same for me too. 

and 2015, even though you bring me pain,
I know you brought my mom peace

I know that right now she is Singing With the Saints.
So even though I am angry enough to throw things at you, and I am extremely conflicted about my feelings on the next sentence… on behalf of my mom I will say,

And for one reason or another, I never wrote that last sentence. I have no idea or memory of what I was planning to put there. Today I sit in a different living room typing once again with tear stained cheeks while eating crackers to curb the nausea that has come with the pregnancy of my second child and trying to my keep my first child from chewing on my toes with his brand new, really sharp teeth (babies are gross).

In September 2015 I found out I was pregnant for the first time, and I realized in that moment that this letter was accurate. For the rest of my life it will never be what I thought it should be. There are still so many happy days, and the years have looked much brighter than the end of 2014 and beginning of 2015 looked for my family, but the ache that comes with loss never really dulls or goes away, you just kind of learn to live differently.

I have also learned that while the first half of the letter is accurate mostly on the days when big things happen, the second half of the letter is even more accurate every single day. Jesus is still the same, and He is enough. He doesn’t take the pain away, because pain is part of life on this sin riddled Earth, but He holds us through it, He gives us the strength to continue, and He gives us joy even in the hard times.

So I want to encourage you this year, if you are or find yourself in a place of loss, depression, shame, guilt, fill in the blank, look to Jesus. He is the author and perfecter of our faith, He is there in every season, and as I have seen over and over again the past 2 years

HE MAKES ALL THINGS NEW

*Sorry my first post in 2 years was sappy and full of tears, hopefully in the years to come I will fill these pages with much more upbeat words.*

Part 2: Being There

Excerpts from my Journal while Traveling

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12/13/2014
Day 4

“Lord, You are the master craftsman. You have made everything I have seen and been in awe of. I know that You can heal mom and give her a long, full earthly life.
I also know that mom is tired, and that she is looking forward to her long, full heavenly life with You.
Whatever she decides through this process, help us to be understanding and at peace.

Please teach me to be humble and obedient. Help me to really listen to Your words and to be sensitive to go where you lead.
Give me a longing for ‘the least of these’ and a heart so full of compassion that standing still simply isn’t an option.

I know your timing is perfect, though it makes no sense to me.”

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12/16/2014

Day 6

“… when we got back to the village our hosts wanted to hear more about the Living God. I got to share about how Jesus was born, how he lived, died and how he rose again so that we could live with Him forever. I got to share about how this news took away my fear of death and gave me hope for a future.
And then it was like someone else started talking even though it was my voice, and they were sharing about things in my life that felt far too personal to be sharing with total strangers whom didn’t even speak my language.
I started talking about mom and what my family is currently walking through. I shared about how mom is not afraid of the possibility of death and about how I have hope and peace despite my sadness because I know I have an eternity to spend with her after death.”

I never had any intention of sharing my situation, but obviously God had other plans. It felt so weird to say those things out loud, and even as I was saying them I wasn’t really believing that things were going to work out the way they did.

We went to a lot of villages and came home with a million stories, but this will always be the one that I remember the most. It taught me about vulnerability. It reminded me that, even though we often times feel like we need to hide the hard parts of our lives and only let people in on the good, that is not how God intended us to do life.

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It doesn’t do anyone any good for me to pretend like I am not sad when I am. The beauty of doing life with Christ is that there is joy even in the pain. I am thankful that God gave me an opportunity to share what was going on in our lives with people on the other side of the world who have never heard of a hope beyond this life, or a peace that surpasses all understanding, or joy regardless of circumstance. So I will end this blog the same way I ended my journal that day,

“Lord, I pray that the words You gave us today would take root in the hearts of the people we shared with.
I pray that they would have an unquenchable desire to hear more
and that You would send someone to tell them more.”

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