One cool Saturday night in September 2015, my mama hung the next day’s church clothes on her closet door. She placed a cup of water on her nightstand next to my novel and climbed into her plush bed. Sometime during the night, while my mother slept, her soul went to be with Jesus.
I watched my young father die of a heart attack when I was eleven, and when my mother passed away, I suddenly felt like an orphan. I felt like a 34-year-old orphan. I was so utterly lost and alone and without any roots. I didn’t know how in the world I was expected to live a lifetime without my mother because she had been my rock, my friend, my spiritual mentor, my everything.
I knew my mother was resting at our Savior’s feet, without the cares of this world, but I couldn’t even find joy or peace in that beautiful truth. I just so selfishly wanted her here with me. I needed her advice. I wanted to hear her laugh. I wanted to feel her fingers running through my hair. I wanted her by my side. I just wanted my mother.
As the months passed, I was still unable to get out of bed many days. I was unable to cook dinner for my family or attend my children’s ballgames. Not only was I devastated at the void in my life, but I was angry. While spending so much time in my bed sobbing and hiding from the world, I mourned my father’s death all over again. I didn’t foresee my joy ever being restored.
My mother was a great, godly woman and raised me on the promises found in the Word of God. I knew all the Scriptures about hope and restoration and how Jesus was near to the brokenhearted, but still I was utterly broken.
Finally, worn and weary and heavy-laden, I could no longer bear the burden. I was exhausted physically, mentally and spiritually, and in a moment of sweet surrender, as tears fell from my eyes, I gave it all to the Lord. I told Him,
God, I cannot do this anymore. I cannot continue living in this dark pit of grief. I need You.”
When I finally let go of the rope ‒ when I finally surrendered the hurt, the ache, the void ‒ my Savior was so gracious to catch me. He came to me right where I was and gave rest to my weary soul. He gave me peace that passes all understanding. He gave me light in the darkness. He restored my joy.
The Lord has revealed great purpose in my pain. I’ve been able to show the comfort that He has shown me to others, just as we are instructed to do in 2 Corinthians 1:3-7. I’ve drawn closer to Him and relied on His sweet grace and mercy, and in turn, He’s called me to do things I never thought possible. He’s called me to speak His promises of life and hope to those who are grieving. He’s called me to point the hurting and the broken to Him. He’s called me to use my writing for His glory – and that’s what “Can’t Make This Stuff Up: Finding the Upside to Life’s Downs” is all about.
Jesus was battered and beaten and bloodied. He was mocked and ridiculed, and then He hung on an old, rugged Cross to die for our sins. What incredible pain and sorrow He went through! But the purpose, the beautiful purpose, was revealed three days later when that tomb proved empty.
Like Jesus’ pain, our pain has great purpose, too.
I still miss my parents daily. If Mama was still here, though, I wouldn’t be commissioned to point others to the Great Comforter. I wouldn’t have experienced His agape love and been proved time again that He truly is near to the brokenhearted. I wouldn’t realize how our Father truly works ALL things together for good.
No matter the pain or sorrow we experience here in our temporary home, if it points us to Jesus, it’s worth it.
That’s the upside to life’s downs.
Written for Faith.Full by Susannah B. Lewis, author or Can’t Make This Stuff Up.
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Are you heavy-laden with grief today? Have you lost someone you love and just can’t move on? Let go of the rope. Jesus will be there to catch you… and He will restore your joy. Come share your thoughts on our blog. We want to hear from you about the upside. ~ Laurie McClure, Faith.Full