Let me begin by saying that I know each one of us is in a different place on our journey. Each of our stories though similar, is also unique. As I continue walking along this path and moving through the grief journey, I learn something new every day. The Lord continues to heal my broken heart and even on those days when I feel the weight and heaviness from missing my girl, I run to my Heavenly Father. The words to the song, “Run to the Father” by Cody Carnes resonate so deeply within me:
I run to the Father
I fall into grace
I’m done with the hiding
No reason to wait
My heart needs a surgeon
My soul needs a friend
So I’ll run to the Father
Again and again and again and again
I’m discovering when you suffer a loss and the grief is so deep, healing and restoration can seem so far off and unattainable. Walking through the early days, weeks, and months of grief I found it was hard to concentrate on much. Sometimes the only thing I could focus on was breathing – literally one breath at a time.
However, I do believe in healing and restoration. I believe when you lose a loved one you begin to think differently. I know for me my eyes are more focused on heaven and the life after this. As a believer in Christ I have always known this is not our home, yet it never became more alive to me until Melanie died. When my only daughter’s home became heaven the lens through which I viewed things became very different. It pulled my thoughts away from superficial things and took my mind behind the veil. I also found it removed me from my own little comfortable bubble and made me laser focused on more important things in life.
God is a god of healing and deliverance. Is it easy? Not always. Will it take time? Definitely. I didn’t wake up one day with my heart totally healed and restored. He’s restoring me piece by piece, day by day.
As I’ve been thinking about healing and restoration it reminded me of a time about 20 years ago when my mother-in-law gifted my husband and me with two antique pieces of furniture which have been in his family for over 130 years. We were in the middle of building a new house and my mother-in-law wanted so much for us to have these pieces to add to our new home. It was such a sweet and generous gesture, and while we didn’t want to disappoint her, when we saw the condition they were in we couldn’t imagine them in our brand-new home. Each piece had beautiful stained, leaded glass in the shape of intricate diamonds on the doors, however, they hadn’t been properly cared for in many years and the wood had a heavy layer of what appeared as dark black lacquer. Not wanting to offend her we took the pieces home and put them in the garage. After several weeks and many hours of research we decided to try and restore the pieces ourselves. As we tackled the first piece, we spent every waking hour, every weekend for 6 weeks with steel wool in hand, cleaning, stripping, and scrubbing repeatedly. Slowly, we began to remove the black layer that had accumulated over many years of neglect. Around the fourth week into the project, and just about the time I was ready to give up, I began to see some light shining through from the heavy darkness on the buffet. I started getting a little excited as I saw the beauty beneath the surface. Below the thick black covering was a tiger oak wood in beautiful condition. This gave me the incentive I needed to continue scrubbing and sanding. Although the project wasn’t easy and took months of our time and energy the result made it was so worthwhile. If we can take a piece of furniture that was so dark and ugly and turn it into a thing of beauty, it makes me think of what God can do for us, his children. It reminds me of the verse of scripture in Isaiah 61:3 where God “gives beauty for ashes”.
I realize these are inanimate objects which mean nothing to God, but just like the beauty that was hidden under the surface of the dark, black wood it is the same with our Heavenly Father. He longs to remove the heavy darkness that has settled over our broken hearts and wants to bring restoration and healing to us. I miss my daughter so very much, but I’ve never doubted for a moment that she wouldn’t want me to remain steeped in depression and despair over her death.
After the loss of a loved one, it’s easy for our hearts to become so dark like the pieces of furniture which were not properly cared for. If you yearn for your heart to be healed, the first step in doing so is just to ask Him. Jesus is a gentleman and will not barge into your life uninvited. Simply invite Him in and ask Him to heal your hurting heart and begin to restore your joy.
“Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. 29 Simply join your life with mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle, humble, easy to please. You will find refreshment and rest in me. 30 For all that I require of you will be pleasant and easy to bear.” Matthew 11:28-30 TPT
As I continue this grief journey, I am confident there is hope after loss. It’s not an instantaneous restoration, but a gradual healing – at least that’s how it’s been for me. Some days I take a few stumbling steps backward, but I continue to look heavenward, to the place my girl is and know when it’s my time, that’s the place I long to be.