We live in a time when everyone is expected to be on top of everything at all times, never allowing anyone the ability to just be human. The reality is, we are human. We all have times where we aren’t going to be on top of our game or when we aren’t going to have it all together. That’s life, we’re constantly thrown curve balls from very direction dictating what each day looks like. Reality is, we all need a little grace. We need to offer ourselves grace and be willing to extend it to those we come into contact with, whether we know their story or not.
Life for me hasn’t been completely normal for 5 months. 5 months ago, I lost my best friend, my grandma. She wasn’t perfect by any means, but she loved people (no matter what) with abandonment. She was a giver and encouraged all of my family to be the same. The days (really months) following the passing of my grandmother, I didn’t cry much. I am confident that my grandma is walking with Jesus, but there are still moments where grief creeps in and I can’t help but cry. Let’s take for example Sunday afternoons; those were my favorite moments to talk to my grandma (I talked to her everyday, but Sundays were different). Sundays I would call her on my way home from church and in typical grandma fashion, she’d ask what I learned. I would tell her my meal plans for the week and ask for advice on how to cook whatever concoction I had come up with and she would gladly share with me her cooking advice. I loved learning from her, she was a wealth of knowledge and so humble about it. This past Sunday, all I wanted to do was call her; I didn’t cook anything spectacular, but it was the fact that she was always there to listen to my stories. She loved me and loved me well, she showed it through her actions, words and time. It didn’t matter what she was doing, she almost always had time to stop and talk to me. The months leading up to her passing were months that the Lord truly prepared me for what was to come. I went from talking to my grandma 2-3 times a day to 2-3 times a week, it was so hard, but the Lord knew I needed that for when we were no longer able to talk at all. I thank him regularly for those months, even though it was hard to watch her create this new normal.
I also thank him for the last moment I had with her. I truly believe my grandma was hanging on just to see me (maybe that’s selfish, but I don’t know; we had an extremely special bond). I remember telling her one of the nights I was staying with her in the ICU (we never left her side, she was never alone during those days), “I love you”. She hadn’t spoken in a few days (mainly just eye contact) and she repeated it back to me “I love you.” Those were her last words, three simple but yet extraordinary words. That is a moment I hold so dear to my heart and will never forget. I couldn’t be more honored to be the last person she spoke to before the Lord took her home. Completely honored.
Over the last 5 months, I have cried out to God; both praises and hurts. Thanking him for the time I got with my grandma, the legacy she left behind, but also the heartache of losing someone so extremely close. It hurts o lose someone you life, it is painful, there’s no way around it. The truth that continues to stand out is that I’ll see her again; for that I am eternally grateful.
I read a quote in my devotional today that stated, “Living authentically has unimaginable power. When we wrestle with the perplexities of life…openly and honestly before God…it places us in the position to be amazed by God. I’m constantly amazed when He responds to my heart’s cry in a real way. Moments when he brings clarity, wisdom or understanding in the midst of our confusion or difficulty. Moments when the light bulb will click on in our hearts or His word leaps off the page and speaks right to our struggle Moments when we glimpse His glory in some tiny detail–and we will know it’s from Him because we have shared the details of our struggle intimately with Him.” (Lysa Terkeurst, First 5) How true this has been for me. It was just this last week that the Lord used my devotionals to speak directly to my heart/my hurts. Friends, he knows our needs. He is there in the midst of our hurts, even when we don’t feel him; whether that’s through scripture, song on the radio, or a sweet friend.
Speaking of sweet friends…I totally hit the friend jackpot, both near and far. Walking this journey with my family at a 1400 mile distance wasn’t easy, by any means. It was friends that Jesus has placed in my life to walk this journey with me that made each day a little easier. It was each and every text message, phone call, Facebook comment that has held me together, kept me from completely crumbling. I could go on and on about the people Jesus has so strategically placed in my life, but it would take forever. So, for now I just want to say thank you. Whatever way you were connected to me in this hard season, THANK YOU, from the bottom of my heart.
I know that grief will sneak back up from time to time, but I am finally at a peace. A peace that only the Lord himself could place on my heart. I know that Lord will continue to use the tribe he has placed around me to help me to continue pressing on for the days to come.
I truly believe this season has allowed me to be more of a grace ([n]: “the exercise of love, kindness, compassion, mercy, favor, disposition to benefit or serve another”) giver. That’s my prayer as I continue to move forward and take on each day.