The process of grieving is an emotional struggle with a complete lack of logic. I have no better definition. How else do you explain regular everyday happiness that gets abruptly stopped by overwhelming sadness? Without warning I may add. Looking from the outside life is good. The kids are good. Business is good. Everyone is healthy. Projects are getting completed. All things that produce joy, right? I feel it – there is joy. I also feel heavy, sad, lonely; because for the last four months my mom has not been here to share in the joy. My heart struggles with this fact. My heart is on a search for peace amongst emotional struggle and grief for what I do not understand.
God’s Perfect Timing
I live my life by the belief that everything happens in God’s perfect timing. My God who created the universe and everything in it must know what He is doing. And while we have free will and make choices and decisions, we are ultimately not in control of much that is important. The good and the bad is outside our control, our choice lies in how we react to what is happening around us. What is our next step? Which direction are we choosing? How will this “thing” manifest itself in my life? Difficult questions with multiple answers. Choice. Free Will.
Peace in Retrospect
The peace with God’s timing often comes in retrospect. In the middle of a difficult season, when our minds and bodies are challenged at every corner, it is near impossible to see anything as perfect. No sir, God definitely got this one wrong is more likely our approach. But how do things look in the rear view mirror? When the challenge is over and the difficult season has come to an end, does our perspective on God’s timing change? I know mine does. In many instances in retrospect I see how the challenging season changed me. I see the growth that took place and equipped me with the ability to handle another BIG thing that happened later. But this time is different. Grieving for my mother does not compare to any other struggle I experienced or can imagine. I am struggling to find peace with God’s perfect timing.
Pain of What We’re Missing
People often talk about the fear of missing out. I describe grief as the pain of missing out. We are not done! There are millions of moments of joy, laughter, happiness, sadness, anger, and fear that we have yet to experience together. How can God’s timing be perfect when so much is left unfinished? Forget the big things like graduations, weddings, and babies being born. I want to talk about the little things – Sunday dinner, redecorating a room, completing a project, listening to the detailed story of how life evolves in the perils of 2nd grade. I struggle to find peace with so much missing.
Understanding God’s Perfect Timing
The undeniable truth is while I am still taking breaths on this earth, I will never know with certainty the depth of God’s perfect timing. It is not my place to know, it is my place to have faith. My faith tells me I am not alone in anything, including my grief. God stands beside me as I struggle to understand. He also sends people to stand beside me – family, friends, counselors. God is bigger than my pain. He does not move away from my lament, God leans in closer. God does not fear my sorrow, anger, or fear. He holds me close and responds “I am here ”.
Leaning in to See the Perfect
On days when sadness abounds and I fear peace will never come, I search to see what is true. Fact, my mom touched the lives of many people. She was a loving person and an amazing caretaker. She did not fear being the one to take the lead and make the plans. Mom had a keen sense for need and logistics around meeting that need. By her example, I learned the importance of serving others. Service does not need to be big and flashy either, it just needs to fulfill a need that lies in front of you.
Fact, mom loved us all unconditionally. The unconditional love of a parent is something I cherish every minute of my life and something I strive to show my own children. My mom once said to me, “My children are not screw ups, sometimes they just screw up.” The statement stuck with me. She never defined our being by our actions. She loved us first and dealt with the “screw ups” second. When things go sideways, I hold on to the fact that we are all people first and mistakes second.
Finding Some Peace
Mom lived with great faith and trusted God. She was an example of making the next best choice even amongst lament. So now I will follow her example and make the next best choice. Right now, that choice is to embrace my emotions. I am perfectly entitled to have “good” days. Life is allowed to go well without her. Matter of fact she would want nothing less. She wants nothing more than for us to love each other well and live a life full of happiness. I am also entitled to feel overwhelming sadness, days where I want to be more inside myself and less engaged with the world around me. There is no perfect way to grieve and I need to embrace where I am on a day to day basis. My grieving heart is running a marathon, not a sprint.
I will run this marathon with an open heart. The peace will come – I know it will. I can also say that I will not feel completely at peace tomorrow. The struggle will continue to ebb and flow. Some days will be full of joy and others marred by sadness. I will question and be angered by God’s perfect timing, because my world still does not make sense without mom. God does not fear my sorrow, my questions, or my anger. He will hold me close and help me find my way through the struggle to the next best choice. For today I will just say – I love you momma. I miss you!
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