A Return

Today I stood at the graveside service of a dear friends mom. We were surrounded by her family and precious friends. Honestly, if I did not love this friend so much, I might have backed out. When her father died, just a few months ago, I did not go. I have not been to a funeral since my own mother’s service. Would grief crash me against the rocks again and would it be like starting over in the whole process? All I knew was my God is faithful and my friend needed me as I set out. Courage comes as you begin doing what you know to be right.

IMG_5203There were familiar things like most funerals, but there was also a peace that you could almost touch. The words spoken about this dear women were beautiful. The praise my friend and her sister received for how they served their mom and dad, were such a tribute to the God we know. They honored their parents in how they physically took care of them. What a privilege to return help when needed to the ones who raised you. Something seems to be planted in woman that drives them to take care of others. It baffles me when this is not the natural response.

I remember as my mom was dying, feeling so helpless. What could I do to care for her? To show her how much I loved her? I put together a care package and sent it to her. She was a great gift giver and always selected each item with such thoughtfulness. I tried to do the same for her. The last note I ever got from my mom was a beautiful thank you note for this box. What a treasure it is to me now.

My mom and I talked often by phone the months of her decline. Never really diving into big issues or questions I had, but just talking about the day. Looking back, I am actually glad we didn’t waste words on things that do not really matter now. So much time is wasted on the past, when it is the now we are living and have hope of a future. My questions and heart issues have been entrusted to the Lord.

I will give you a glimpse of what this entrusting has looked like for me. I do not know how the Lord might lead you. For me, I held all these broken pieces in my heart and I was a bit uncertain as to what to do. Then one day I knew. I took them all and let them fall on His feet. I was bent low for them to flow. I added my tears to the pieces and left them there because where else was I to go? He accepted my pieces, my tears and my heart lovingly. He then began to create in me a new heart. Within this new heart, He has had complete access to shape it and fill it as He sees fit. It is now filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness and faith. You might know them as the fruit of the Spirit. Also, repentance comes much quicker now. For that I am thankful.

With this new heart, I have also been given eyes to see differently.  I see people as made in the image of God and that we all have a great need to known and be loved. I recognize people who know grief, suffering and sorrow. They are easy to spot. I see people who are filled with joy that only comes from God. They make great friends. I pray differently and count it such a privilege to be asked to pray for others needs. To talk to God on another’s behalf, such a gift.

This journey has been just that, a long, slow process. When even more losses hit, I wondered if breathing counted as an act of worship. It seemed the only thing I was able to do. A little further down the road, I can actually say that I praise God for the treasures that have come from each heartache. Only God can take what looks hopeless and redeem it all with such amazing love. I will never be the same.

Today, as a bagpipe player played “Amazing Grace”, I looked up and beheld a display of such beauty. An enormous cross was in the sky right above us. Yes, He is a God of amazing grace and will not hesitate to show His children they are seen and loved, especially at the grave. There is no God like our God!

*Picture by Andrea Danley

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