Everyday I am given the ultimate gift – another day to celebrate the life that God chose to give me. Each day the morning sky signals a new beginning and I am given another chance to seize whatever lies before me.
But loss hovers on the horizon. Loss that changes your life dramatically – loss that refines who you are and how you handle difficult situations
Loss that takes your breath away and leaves you panting, wondering whether you you will make it to the finish line. Loss that comes in threes over the last seven years. Loss that brings with it life lessons where endings become oh so glorious beginnings.
Three moments – three life lessons – God’s goodness intertwined, breathing life into my grief-filled soul!
Moment one began with a divorce from my husband of 21 years – a loss of love, friendship and intimacy. The moment shifted abruptly when two years later my ex passed away suddenly and in the blink of an eye, my sons lost their father. The fragility of life became the centerpiece of my story and the table settings changed dramatically. The swiftness and unexpectedness of this loss left me dazed and hurting for what my sons would have to endure. Questions to wrestle with are how will my grown sons model fatherhood for their own children someday and what is my role in providing support when needed.
Moment two occurred a year and a half ago. The loss of a job position changed my identity in the workplace, shattered my confidence and created a sense of disbelief in how the situation was handled. I lost the job based on not being a good fit for the position. What I gained was the true hero of this story. The question I wrestled with was why didn’t I say “yes” to God sooner in other situations in my life.
Moment three is still so fresh because it happened a month ago. This loss has been the most difficult – God knew it was time to call my mom home and in that instant I knew I would never stop needing her. The lingering question is how do I move forward without the guidance of my mom for “in the storms of life, we never stop needing our mom“.
Loss creates an emptiness, an uncertainty and an awareness that life as you knew it has taken a different path. Loss can be sudden or slow and laborious but the result can take your breath away. For me, loss has provided life lessons from my Heavenly Father that have created glorious new beginnings.
All three of these moments have left a void in my heart that will never completely be filled but God has taken this emptiness and turned it into good. He has taught me that living my life for Him everyday is where it’s all at. Moment one allowed God to show me how quickly a life can fade from our lives and in this lesson we need to take our own fragile life and live it strong and courageously for Him.
Moment two taught me the lesson of how God is always with us and in that minute of absolute devastation we just need to say “yes” to what He had planned for us all along. I have a job and God knew that going back to the classroom to teach 3rd graders was where I needed to be. The bottom line is that radical obedience reaps radical blessings. Losing a job taught me that holding onto something with a white-knuckled grip that was not mine to hold onto allows God to step in and freely extend His grace. Letting go allowed for God’s provision and grace to turn my mess into peace.
And finally… God is teaching me gracious grief over the loss of my mom. Picture the gift of friends offering help, co-workers stepping in to share the load of lesson planning for 25 third graders, text messages from loved ones who are just checking in and most importantly the gift of time – this is grace magnified and received from God who extends these gifts as a way to gently put my shattered heart back together. All He asks is for us to openly say yes to the grace and pay it forward when we can.
These are my recollections, my personal experiences, my memoir of a snapshot of time that has so profoundly altered who I am and how God has stepped in to make my story His story!
Prayers for all today that we love well, are blessed and delight in every moment!