This I Know

It’s been 5 years today. FIVE crazy years! In some ways, I can’t believe it’s been that long. In other ways, it seems like an eternity. I still think of her daily because my heart loved her so much.

Five years ago today, February 21, 2013, my mom made the tragic choice to end her own life.

Gail

Gail, Evan and Lauryn

Life changed immediately for me. I was suddenly thrust into a horrible situation that began to unravel me in ways I could never have imagined. All of a sudden, I found myself on the most insane roller coaster that has seemed never-ending.

Grief has to be one of the wildest journeys known to man. The ups-and-downs of the grief journey have taken me to the lowest valleys in my life yet also to the highest peaks in knowing God’s love and grace. I have been forced to “hang on for dear life” to the truths of Scripture or else be thrown off the coaster into the depths of despair and sorrow.

I still have a hard time believing it all happened. It seems crazy and bizarre that my mom would make this choice. It feels so uncomfortable and shameful. Never in a million years would I have dreamed this would be my story today.

But it IS my story. It is the story that God knew would be mine one day. It is the story that God sovereignly planned to draw my heart to His in unexplainable and unimaginable ways. My story that would shape my heart to become more like His. My story that is helping me make different choices today with my own children, my own mental health, and my personal need for true Biblical community.

While I still have unanswered questions about her death and depression (and probably always will), God has revealed so much truth to my heart in these past 5 years of grief and healing. He has whispered His grace into my life in ways that have forever changed me. He has brought incredible healing to my heart and mind through Himself, His Word and His people.

Copy of Gail and Lauryn

I am in a very good place now (on most days). I’ll be honest and say that I thought I would never emerge from the darkness and sadness of my heart in those first few years following Mom’s death. But as I reflect back, I clearly see that God’s heart has always been good towards me. He has always been faithfully working in my life even when the clouds seemed so gray and were spilling out buckets of rain. His presence has never left me even when I “felt” He was nowhere to be found.

I know that my God is full of grace and truth. In the good and the bad. In the sunshine and the rain. In the answers and in the questions. In the exhilarating joy and the extreme pain. God’s heart is gracious and kind.

One of my favorite songs is “Sovereign Over Us.”  I listen to this song almost daily because it points my heart to truth. Each time I’ve sung this song recently, my heart fills with incredible praise and hope because I KNOW these words are so true! At one point in the grief journey, I wasn’t too convinced I could trust His sovereignty. I wasn’t sure His heart was good and His intentions were to bring beauty from the pain. I questioned everything about Him.

Yet in these years of grief and loss, I’ve personally experienced His strength in the sorrow, His beauty in my tears, His presence with me in my mourning. I’ve known His love that casts out fear, His working in my waiting, His sanctifying work within me, and His teaching me to trust Him.

During these past 5 years, God has taken truth that I knew “in my mind” and has firmly rooted truth “in my heart.” I KNOW that God’s plans for me are good. I KNOW that He doesn’t forget me. He KNOW He never leaves me but is with me in the fire and the flood. I KNOW He is faithful forever and perfect in love! I KNOW that He is sovereign over my life.

I KNOW that Jesus is wisdom unimagined, His ways are beyond my understanding, He reigns from His throne on high yet reaches down to me in endless grace. Jesus has whispered His grace to me on a daily basis! I KNOW He lifts the lowly, gives amazing compassion, shows incredible kindness, and He surrounds and upholds me. His promises are now truly my delight!

I KNOW these things about Jesus because I have experienced His faithfulness in the deepest valleys. He has given me incredible joy in the midst of extreme darkness. Jesus has tenderly held my broken heart during intense sorrow while revealing His compassion and grace in numerous ways. Only Jesus can do these things!

You see, grief has changed me. Loss has profoundly impacted me in every way. I am not the same girl today as I was 5 years ago. Through my greatest earthly loss, I have truly found my greatest gain . . . a God who is EVERYTHING He claims to be! And so very much more!

I am a girl who now fiercely loves truth, firmly believes His Word, and faithfully seeks His heart. I am the girl who fully seeks to be known by Him and others, fervently preaches truth to my own heart, furiously studies the Word, and will be forever grateful for His faithfulness, grace, and love.

Friends, even what the enemy means for evil, God works it for our good and His glory.  Even in the valley, He is faithful.You and I can trust Him with our pain and lack of understanding. You and I can cry out to Him for strength and wisdom. You and I can confess and run to Him for grace. You and I can experience His love and kindness even in the midst of incredible heartache and longing.

This I KNOW . . . my God is one of endless grace! His grace never ends. His grace always gives more than we can imagine. His grace always wins. He loves to show us grace!

2 Timothy 1:9 “For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was His plan from before the beginning of timeto show us His grace through Christ Jesus.

FamilyThanksgiving

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