Whew, we made it! Sound familiar? Recently, these are the words I heard from countless others who were grieving the loss of loved ones over the holidays. I can totally understand where this comes from, but oh, how I wish it weren’t so.
Instead of Whew, we made it! I long for the day when we can say, “Whew, wasn’t that a beautiful holiday! Or, Whew, we had such a wonderful time gathering together this year!”
With that thought, I began to ask myself, how do we get there? I think the answer may be simpler than we can imagine.
One step, one breath, one holiday at a time.
After Christmas I called a friend who had lost a second child this past year. She was on my heart and I just wanted to let her know she was loved and being thought of.
As we chatted our conversation segued into how we were really doing. In our effort to be sensitive to one another’s feelings, we paused then admitted we were actually surprised by how well we were doing. We were truly even afraid to speak the words out loud.
Let me clarify and say, we were not out partying and having a grand old time celebrating. But, for us – mothers who had lost children – we were not overcome with the overwhelming sadness we had previously experienced, sobbing uncontrollably and feeling like a two-ton weight of heaviness was laying on our hearts.
As we dug a little deeper she shared with me that it was her faith that was keeping her strong. Since her first child passed away her faith had grown so much stronger, and she realized it was that faith which was sustaining her now! It was this realization we came to:
We can grieve but with hope!
The hope we will see our loved ones again one day. We know our children are happy, safe, healed and loved in heaven. One day when we see them again, we might just say, “Whew, we made it! Thank you Jesus for taking care of our children until we got here and could all be together again.”
While I realize we are all in different stages of our journey, my heart’s desire is for everyone to be in a place of peace and comfort. My heart’s desire is to have the kind of faith where we can simultaneously live with both sadness and joy, and not feel guilty for it.
My expectation of God is that He will keep his promise to us in Psalm 34:18, “He will heal the broken-hearted and save those who are crushed in spirit” and as we walk this journey, our load will become a little lighter.
The timing on this is as individual as a fingerprint, and we know it can change from one moment to the next, but as we venture into a new year I believe He is beginning to do that right now.