The scariest part of losing someone is realizing the reality of the situation which is that your life must go on without them. I can’t begin to even express how many years I went feeling like I just couldn’t. Grief was a large part of my life in my teenage/ young adult years. Grief and I go way back. We were homies. Grief greeted me every morning and rocked me to sleep every night.
I didn’t lose a friend. I didn’t lose a relative. I lost my mom. The woman who gave birth to me. The woman that fed me everyday. The woman that taught me my first words. Actually I can’t really picture any of my “first’s” without her in them. There was not a moment in my life that she was not there for me. The hugs after someone hurt my feelings. The pats on the back when I needed a push. The kisses on the cheek when I was missed or just because. And who could forget that smile…That smile that I’d see when I made her proud. That smile that would tell me everything was okay.
The night of the day I found out my mom passed was the scariest night of my life. Not because I wondered where she was. My faith in God during that time was unreal. I knew she was in heaven. I can remember writing little prayers in my diary like, “God, tell my mom I said hi.” But the idea of going to sleep and knowing I’d wake up without her there scared me to death. Knowing I had a life to continue to live, continue to go to school, continue to grow up, continue to become A WOMAN, put so much fear in my heart. How could a girl, 16, literally the prime age a daughter needs a mom, learn to maneuver through this life. Everything was scary. My room became scary. My house became scary, and eventually even my mind began to scare me.
While lost, I found faith
Throughout those years I lost so much faith in God. How could a God that loved me cause me so much pain. How could a God that said he would never leave me nor forsake me, leave me feeling all alone.
It was hard to see the good in anything in life. I lost faith in the church. How could all these people who promised me my mom would be healed be no where to be found now that she wasn’t. Where was all this “supernatural power” that everyone preached about?
Grief is a silent killer. It’s defined as a keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss. Initially the world goes quiet and you’re drowning in sorrow but eventually your life goes on. Even when you think you’ve accepted it and moved on, it’s still there somewhere in the background. Somewhere interfering with your life. Somewhere causing you to lose sleep at night. Somewhere causing you to question God, as I did. The long term effects of grief are so real. It always evolves. And for me it evolved into anger. My questioning of God, evolved into a hatred for God. A hatred for my family. A hatred for the very people God placed in my life to help. I’m not talking about a type of hatred where I was walking about cursing people out but a hatred where I couldn’t really stand the idea of them. I felt numb in relation to them. I didn’t really want to be in anyones life. I didn’t want anyone to call me just to say hi. I didn’t want to recreate any relationship that I could potentially lose like I lost the one with my mom. My goal was to literally be as invisible as I possibly could. So I continued going to church, going to school, etc so one could see what was really happening. It only got easier to be invisible as I got older, but grief was still there, just running in the background.
Anyone reading this: maybe you’ve lost a loved one, maybe you know someone that has but please take this message to heart: Grief cannot destroy you, nor is it intended to.
As I write this blog, almost 11 years later, I’m a living testament that grief isn’t going to destroy you. You may feel trapped. You may not know how you will face tomorrow but take heed of these scriptures:
Matthew 5:1-4 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
We serve a God that wants to be our hero by whatever means necessary. He wants to set the stage for his glory. In your misery, in your sleepless nights, he wants to be the one to fill your heart with comfort and peace. He wants to be the one that rescues you so that you can share your story with the world and change lives.
The summer of 2006 when my mom got really ill, I literally spent every single day in the hospital caring for her. It was tough. Seeing someone you not only love, but someone you depend on for your very own well-being, fight for their life is hard. Most would say it was traumatic. What do you do when the one who usually makes everything okay is the one who’s NOT okay. There was nothing my dad or brother could say or do that could change anything about the situation. The common phrases of “everything happens for a reason,” or “it will all be okay,” no longer worked. But that summer, I learned God.
The God that I had spent years hearing about in church met me in my sorrow. I now knew what all the fuss was about. I learned of the peace that surpasses understanding. I learned of a love that was unconditional. I learned what people in the bible must’ve felt like. GOD MADE A LASTING IMPRESSION IN MY LIFE THAT I COULD NEVER EVER FORGET.
And mom, she was so in tune. Despite her illness and everything going on in her body, she knew what was going on. I can’t describe it but every single person that walked into that hospital room to visit could feel it. How could she still have these hugs that would make it all better. The pats on the back that would give you a push. The kisses on the cheek that just lifted your spirits. And that smile…That smile that told you everything was going to be okay. All from a hospital bed, how could this be? God became so real to me.
There wasn’t a moment that passed by that I wasn’t praying and asking God for her healing. I got to know God in such a way at the ripe age of 15. That peace I witnessed, I still can’t wrap my head around to this day. I lost something I never thought I could live without and gained something I could live for.
Throughout the years, although I may have been weak in my faith. Although I may have fallen short, I have never lost faith. Right when I’m close to the edge, I remember that summer, I remember what I experienced.
People expected me to lose faith. To lose hope. I could feel when people would look at me they felt like I had every reason to give up on God. I can remember my dad asking me,” Are you sure you want to go back school?” I remember people saying,” You sure you still want to go to vacation bible school?” Something in me wouldn’t let me give up.
Psalms 34:18-20 The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit. 19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the LORDdelivers him out of them all. 20 He keeps all his bones, Not one of them is broken
You are lost to be found
You see, we’ve got it all messed up. Our response to things like grief has to change. Losing a love one reveals so much about us. Honestly, losing my mom make me realize how selfish my family and I really were. Everything we missed about her was because of the things she did for us, not because of the things we did for her. It’s kind of harsh to say but it’s true. The things I’d hear my family say after her passing disgusted me at times. Their actions once again reminded me that things were so much bigger than grief. I knew I needed to get a grip and get in my purpose. I began to understand what the writer of Hebrews meant as he wrote about the people of great faith of whom the world was not worthy of.
Hebrews 11:38 of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
It can’t just all be pain
You have every right to morn. You have the right to feel lost and hopeless. But I am telling you don’t let it stay there. God is interested in being your hero and saving your day. Your circumstance can be used to reveal his transformative power.
Psalm 30:11-12 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!
He needs your tears to turn into dancing. He needs your sorrow to turn into joy. He needs your grief to show the world his glory. That’s exactly what he did with my mom. Her life was all about the unseen. She gave my family and I, a masterclass in the eternal. We got a glimpse of the bigger picture.
So fam, please be encouraged. This message is for everyone because everyone will lose someone at some point in their lives. It won’t be easy. It won’t feel good at all. It will make you want to give up on life..but it won’t break you. Don’t let it break your faith and don’t use someones death as an excuse to. Use it as a opportunity for you to meet God. To learn of his peace that surpasses understanding. To learn of his comforting spirit. To learn that although he is sovereign, you are in his plan.
Happy Mother’s Day to my mom Annette D. Allen, the most beautiful, delightful, angel the world wasn’t worthy of.
To hear more on the topic of grief and suffering be sure to check out the Real Church Matters podcast. Our episode “Why do bad things happen to God’s people” touches on this topic: