For the past couple of weeks, grief seems to role in unexpected. If I were given a warning, that would be helpful. Then again, joy does the same thing. I guess it is just part of having a heart. What has hit the hardest lately is loss. It seems that especially this time of year, I really miss my mom. She enjoyed every single drop of Christmas. She decorated  each room and it was beautiful. She used lots of bright colors and lots of trees. We went to a Christmas party on Tuesday night and the host’s home reminded me so much of how my mom decorated. It made me smile and made me feel at home again. I’ve really missed that. My mom had a gift of being able to pick out incredible presents. We would talk a ridiculous amount of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas about gifts for the kids. She knew them well and saw lots of things they would like. She needed help deciding what they would like best. I miss that.

IMG_0610We also would stock up on Yankee Mistletoe candles and she would always have one burning. I would have one lit at our house and she would have one a thousand miles away going too. I miss that smell. I think I will pick one up tomorrow. She would make the same treats each year and have plenty when we would arrive. I have bought the ingredients and plan on making them with my kids this week. Some traditions bring a smile now instead of pain and I want to pass them on to my kids. The girls enjoy baking and we all will enjoy having extra sugar in the house.

My mom would be the first person I would call when life got hard and no amount of sugar could fix it. I remember when I was single and really low on funds. I called crying one day and she sent my Easter basket early with lots of plastic eggs, each egg was stuffed with cash.  I am not saying that parents should always bail their kids out. But to be shown grace with no strings attached, means a lot and I will never forget her kindness. I miss that.

She was also the first person to call with any medical question. Anytime one of the kids was sick, I called mom and then their doctor. I miss that. For the past two Christmases I wish I could have called my mom when miscarriages began. She would have been sad with us and offered comfort. She would have been heartbroken too because she loved babies. She was the one that would come stay a week with us, each time the kids were born. I think I missed the first week of the kids lives because my mom was always holding them. She would have realized how great our loss was because she knew the gift of children. When you know how precious a child is and all that each one brings, a loss is extremely painful. I missed her a lot during those times.

But even in the missing and the tears that have come, I have found God to be very near and faithful. Just this morning at church we sang songs with words that caused more tears. “Bring your sorrows and trade them for joy, from the ashes a new life is born, Jesus is calling.” Where else can we go with our sorrows and have them exchanged for joy? Only Jesus works this way, I have found no other. We then sang how He is the king of our heart and that He is good. How could I have sang these words, even with eyes overflowing with tears yet smiling, if it were not so? “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalms 34:18. I am able to sing because my God has been very close and is healing my crushed spirit. Sometimes I feel more healed than others and that seems to be okay with Him. He will do the same for you too if you will allow Him.

When I was reading my Bible this morning, I was greatly encouraged. “I lift my eyes to the mountains. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalms 121:1-2. As our family heads to North Carolina and is surrounded by beautiful mountains this Christmas, I will continually lift my eyes and remember where my help in all things comes from. I will be reminded that my mom now gets to see our Creator face to face and so do my precious babies. I see only His creation, but they actually see Him! Now that dries my tears real quick and brings incredible joy!

Friend, if this season has your heart hurting, know I am praying for you. Know you can take your tears straight to Jesus in prayer and let them flow. He has caught each one of my tears and I look forward to the day that He will wipe them all away for good. I have a different kind of heart now because of loss, but I find it to be much more tender, humble and loving than my old one. It was quite a painful exchange, but He has worked it for good and I pray my heart brings Him much glory. He is King of my heart and He is good. As I type these last words, my little girl is calling for me saying she needs me. Yes, He is good.

Merry Christmas!

*The lines from the songs mentioned were taken from “O Come to the Alter” and “King of My Heart”.

*The picture is of my mom and Maggie:)

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