Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4
I know. That’s a “funeral” scripture. But, what if it weren’t. What if this scripture was an everyday scripture. What if I could use this scripture when I’m battling depression, going through a difficult time in a relationship, feeling lonely, feeling afraid of the future or my health, sad to hear a friend passed away, broken… What if I allowed a simple scripture to change my life? What if I allowed God’s written Word that was written for me change my life any time and any day?
If you’ve known me for more than a minute you would know that my mother died when I was 17. Three days after my birthday to be exact. I had exactly 6,212 days with her and that’s it and for some reason this mile stone of living that same amount of time without her has proven to overtake every waking moment of my life. I had no idea that this 17 years with her and 17 years without her thing would be so difficult.
I’ve been angry with myself since October 18th 2013. Angry for not being “over” this great loss. Angry for allowing it to cause depression. Angry for allowing grievance to steel smiles, laughter, and time and angry for not being able to stop the tears that have flowed at the mention of her name. It got to the point where I was so over it… which is exactly where God wanted me to be.
You know that hymn that says “I have decided to follow Jesus… I have decided to follow Jesus… I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back.”? That song comes to mind when I think about my journey. I have decided to follow Jesus forward knowing it’s ok to miss my mom. It’s ok to cry because tears bring healing. It’s ok to allow Him to heal my broken heart and it’s ok to be happy! I choose to follow Him, His promises, and His word rather than sadness.
For the longest time I have kept her pictures put away. I refused to go to the cemetery because she’s not there and it kinda creeps me out a little too. Then, it dawned on me a few weeks ago that I have been trying to keep myself from really releasing the pain and the blame of her not being here which is absolutely crazy. I have no control over anyone’s number of days on this Earth. It’s not my fault she had a heart attack. It’s normal to miss someone you care about dearly that you won’t see again for a long time, that you can’t call up and laugh with or fight with, and who won’t be at your most important life milestones. It’s ok to go to the cemetery if I want to and it’s ok to hang her picture on the wall and answer questions the kids have. It’s ok to cry… even after 17 years. It’s ok to give myself permission to move on… finally!
What’s not ok is letting the death or loss of a loved one consume your every being. First of all, mom would never ever ever want that to be the case in my life. It’s ok to have a wonderful life without her… in fact, that’s exactly what I have to do and that’s what I’m going to do. I have to do this for myself and for God’s plan to fully work in me. Enter Mother’s Day:
Well, since I’m not ready to go there just yet for several reasons, I had to make a call of action. First on my agenda was to turn the radio UP and SING! It relieves stress and makes me happy! Studies show that just 10 minutes of music a day can help reduce stress. So, I sing praise and worship music and I do it with thanksgiving at the top of my lunges. I don’t keep asking the Father why he took my mom. It’s a done deal, no turning back… no turning back. Time to just worship. Check! Second call to action was to purposely put all of my Mother’s Day focus and attention on ME and my Mother-In-Laws and Step-Mother. Why? Because we’re still here and by golly, I’m a darn good mom! If home is where your mom is then “home” for my babies is right here in my lap with my smile and my warm hugs. I deserve to enjoy my day. My kids deserve for me to enjoy my day and not be a grouch and not smile b/c I miss my own mom and my hubby deserves it too. I had to shift my focus. I had to, for once focus on me. Third call to action, KEEP the music UP and Keep SINGING really loud and SMILE!!! My poor hubby has been married to me for almost 12 years and It’s always been so hard for me to smile back at him… not anymore! I am smiling at him and the kids. My voice is happy again and I am joyful.
Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10
I don’t know how long I have left on this Earth before I make it up to Heaven. But, I will tell you this, life has gone by fairly quickly so far. My babies aren’t babies anymore. They’re not even toddlers anymore. I have back pain, I’m chunky, and my body has been stretched out for miles carrying two precious lives that mean everything to me. Things just aren’t the way they use to be… nor will they ever be again. So, I’m going to enjoy every second of it. I will not waste another moment. I will not end up old and alone and say that I can’t remember one thing good that happened in my life because my mind was focused on loss and whys and what ifs. What’s done is done. So, I will cry when I need to without apology and then I’ll get up and go on and be joyful. Will you join me in the “Joy Movement”?
Father, I thank you for all that you are and all that you do. You are worthy of my praise. I honor you. I seek your plan over my own. I want your will to be done rather than my own. Father, help me to allow you to change me, grow me, and heal me because that’s what you want for me. Renew a right spirit in me. I want to be pleasing to you in all I do. I thank you that I am filled with your joy and that your joy is my strength and that with your strength I can do all that you have called me to do. I can stand tall and strong without wavering or compromising my faith. I can rest in you knowing that your ways are not my own and that your ways are the very best. I thank you Lord for my many many blessings and I thank you that everyday you help me find the joy in the little things. In Jesus name. Amen.