This morning has been tough.
It was a week ago that I returned home from dropping off my kids at school to learn that my mother in law passed away very unexpectedly. In a matter of seconds, it felt as though time halted and a fog fell over our family. While my pain is deep, I cannot fathom how much harder it is for the others in my family.
This past week has been full of whys and what ifs. As we try to understand why God decided this was her time, I am trying to hold tight to my faith. A few months ago, I woke up with the idea of pain and suffering on my mind. I journaled about it, not really understanding God’s nudge. I am thankful now for my obedience. In this particular entry, I wrote down a few truths about pain. It has been helpful to have because I know my mind knows these things, but my heart is struggling to believe in them.
My grief is coming in waves. I am doing my best to stay strong and to help comfort my family. This morning, my grief poured out. And around the same time I was falling apart, I received a text from a friend asking if I’d like to help her out at the church this morning . . . just to get out of the house. I had another text from a different friend arranging to bring us a meal tonight.
All of a sudden, I felt God redirecting me. Instructing me to find the good. Focus on it.
While this past week has been full of so much pain and heartache, it has also been full of love and support. We have – and still are – receiving texts, phone calls, and messages from people who are praying for us and thinking of us. My father in law’s neighbors are rallying around him, supporting him as they themselves mourn the loss of a beloved friend. My husband had co-workers drive down from Ohio to attend the visitation and show their support for him. We had friends who we have lost contact with as life flies past attend the visitation or sent text messages, showing us that some friendships transcend time.
The temptation to sit and let myself be engulfed by the negative is intense. However, I am going to choose to hold firm to the truth that God has good plans in store (Jeremiah 29:11). I am comforted in the truth that Jesus knows our pain (John 11:35). I know my tears aren’t wasted; God is bottling every single one (Psalm 56:8). God is near us in our heartache (Psalm 34:18). He will continue to my anchor in this storm (Hebrews 6:19).
No matter what tragedy or storm you may be experiencing, look for the good. Hold tight to the truth that the storm will subside. The pain will become less intense (I know this to be truth, though I also know I am very early on in the grief process and this likely won’t happen soon). I will always love and miss my sweet mother in law.
As I drove home today after dropping the kids off at school, I heard a song on the radio and felt so much comfort in the words:
“If your eyes are on the storm
You’ll wonder if I love you still
But if your eyes are on the cross
You’ll know I always have and I always will
And not a tear is wasted
In time, you’ll understand
I’m painting beauty with the ashes
Your life is in my hands
So when you’re on your knees and
answers seem so far away
You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held” — Just Be Held, Casting Crowns
So today, I’m going to fix my eyes on the cross and know God is with me. I’m going to be thankful for my time with my mother in law, and I’m going to pray for God to be my anchor through this storm.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone who has supported us and loved us through this difficult time. We appreciate you, we love you, and we thank God for your friendship.