Today isn’t an edification day. It’s a sharing-of-a-human-hard-moment day.
I miss my parents. I am 46 years old, but I still feel like a child when I think of my mom and dad. By all earthly standards and definitions, I am an orphan.
I lost my father when I was twenty. It was a sudden, very unexpected death. At the time, it felt like he was cut short. He was only in his early forties. I learned a bit about shock and a lot about anger after that. He was a great dad and I do miss him dearly.
Mom passed away after battling cancer quite bravely just under three years ago. Mom was not just mom to me – she was my dear friend. She was THE person I looked up to most in the entire world. I always say that I want to be like her when I grow up, but it’s looking like I may decide to remain a child forever, ha ha. Some would think of her life as having been cut short too. And in a way, that is true.
Although I miss them both, I will focus on my heart sickness about mom in this post, because I miss her so EXTRA MUCH today.
I long for my mom at times in ways that run DEEP. This is a heart sick kind of deep. The grief comes more from the lack of her presence in this world than anything else. I know people like to say this a lot, but this world TRULY was a better place with her in it. I knew the day she went home to be with Jesus that it would be that way, so at least he offered me that insight ahead of time so I could accept that truth before she even left.
Today I had one of those moments that I’ve decided to call “shadow shocks”. The shadow of grief came upon me very suddenly after I took my youngest daughter on a shopping trip to the mall. We had so much fun together!
Julia was only ten years old when mom died. She is now thirteen, and that is a LONG time when you are young like that – lots of things change in three years. Mom would have loved to see her and my other two children now. She was always in love with watching her grandchildren and her children at every new stage in their lives.
Those shadows come over the mountain of life’s happy moments and set upon me at times that I don’t expect. In the midst of the brightness, the laughing and the fun, the grief sneaks in and starts to envelop me. And it takes me by surprise almost every single time.
I was driving home from the mall with Julia and it hit me pretty hard as to just how much mom would have enjoyed going along with us on that shopping trip. And I started to feel pretty sad about it all.One moment I was laughing and thinking about fun little earrings. The next, I was thinking on things about life, death, eternity, cancer, lives cut short, and orphans. Whoa.
I was reading in A.W. Tozer’s book last night, Preparing for Jesus’ Return, and I love this statement he makes about how we have to guard our hearts from how this world can impact them in detrimental ways……….
“Man is always upside down, and a Christian has to be always correcting his own heart and translating what he hears into the language of heaven so that he will not be carried away by the world.”
I agree. It is normal for us to grieve the loss of loved ones. It is understandable that we miss them dearly when they pass away and even for years to come. Yet for me, it has been imperative that I translate that shadow of grief into the greater picture of what lies behind it all. If I don’t, I will get carried away.
What is the glorious thing in God’s voice that he would have me hear in this shadowy situation? What is the majestic thing that God would have me fix my eyes upon once I move past the returning storm of loss? What part of himself is he wishing to reveal to me as I brace for the impact that I know is about to come?
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted. He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” Psalm 34:18
It’s okay to miss my mom. But feeling like an orphan long-term is not okay for me. It’s okay for a moment – but then I have to remember what the truth actually is: I am not an orphan. God has rescued me from that.
One of the things the Lord did for me through my mother’s death was to help me to step closer to him and further away from the ties of this world. This is not because I am so grief stricken that I hate my life…quite the contrary! I have a ton to live for here still, namely, a beautiful husband, three gorgeous and God-given children, and other wonderful family members and friends that I dearly love. I also have good news to share with others throughout this planet, and I am excited to do that in the name of Jesus! But losing mom’s presence really did cause me to press even deeper into my relationship with Jesus than I had before she passed away.I should have been doing that anyway, but God works in mighty and mysterious ways (especially when we don’t listen when he makes things plain and clear to us right from the start).
Let me make this crystal clear: I am not saying God took mom from me to teach me a lesson! But faithfully, he did teach me some valuable things through the loss of my mother. He is still doing so today.
A lot of people don’t find comfort in this, but I do: The Lord can take the worst of things and bring about new growth and goodness from it. This doesn’t mean that the thing that we started with stops being one of the worst things we have experienced. It means just what it means….that he can still make something good result even from the bad. I believe that with all that I am. I seek that through all that I experience.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
When we search for God’s truth and his light in the muddiness of things, we receive a fullness of peace and joy that we cannot fully explain. It replaces the dark that is deep with a light that goes even deeper, filling every crack and crevice within us. All the sad or tough feelings we are experiencing may not fully dissipate and they may even attempt to return (like today for me) but God can then use that to show us something of himself anew.
The shadow shock of momentary darkness then morphs into something we can live with and learn from. It becomes a beautiful back-lit painting in God’s gallery of glory that we will be allowed to feast our eyes upon in full once we enter into eternity.
“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven”. Ecclesiastes 3:1
The time I get to have with my parents on this earth has passed. But I will get to see them again one day. I am sure they will have great things they wish to show me in our new home in heaven. And we will share the same Father then that we shared while we all walked this earth together. Because they accepted Christ as their Savior and Lord too, and that makes ALL of us his children. God does not forsake his children.
“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6-8
He shows Himself to me if I seek Him. And He dispels the darkness when He deems it to be the season of unblocked light. When the buds on the branches of life need sunshine, he provides it without limit. When it is time for shade, he allows that to enter in as well. God knows the seasons that are needed. He decides when they shall be made manifest in our lives.
I miss my parents. I miss them DEEP. But I am no orphan. Not by any means. And as far as being cut short? They were taken back to their eternal Father…to their forever home.
I ALWAYS have to remind myself that I need to look at that one right side up!