Can it really be that long ago that my life was severed in half? With. Without.
While my heart fights to believe the truth, my head reminds me of the facts. Eleven years ago my eighteen-year-old sister’s life ended. Wow…that is hard to type.
Eleven years ago, my family and I began a journey of grief. Grief that truly cuts like a knife. Grief that screams “Why?” over and over…and still a decade later…over. A grief that is desperate for answers, closure, and someone to make sense of the agony.
While I will never understand God’s plans and thoughts (Is 55:8-9), He gives me “kisses on the cheek” to make it more bearable. The story below is one of these kisses. Below is a two-part blog story which I pray you will take the time to read and then share my personal story of God making beauty from ashes.
Sometimes it hits, and it hits hard.
Smacking me on the face when I least expect it. When I think I am “healed” and “doin’ well.” Wham!
Today was the day. I woke up from a round of horrific dreams. The kind that feel so real that you spend the day thinking your dream truly occurred the day before. Unsure if this caused them, but one week from today will mark 11 years. Eleven years from the date that my first life ended and my second life started.
Sounds a little freaky but it is so true.
I think of my life as two lives put together – the 18 years with my sister and then the 11 years without. At the very moment that my Dad told me the heart-ripping news that my sister was gone, the Grand Canyon swooped in and cut my life in half.
As I journey through this second life, I never know when it is going to hit. Grief. Will it be something that someone says? Tears. Will it be something that I see that reminds me of my little sis? Pain. Maybe the heaviness will occur because of some graphic dream that causes me to hope sleep doesn’t come for a long time.
For this and that reason, I am really dreading the 11 year anniversary. In all honesty, the ten-year anniversary came and went, and by the grace of God I was okay. This year it has been different. I am holding my hands up to the calendar trying to ward off April 19th from approaching.
After a rough morning, I called my sweet friend begging for prayer. She lost her mom to cancer just a few years ago so she gets it. Immediately she prayed with me, listened, and encouraged me. In her understanding, she asked how I was feeling. Angry? Scared? Fearful?
Then she named it – vulnerable.
Grief is making me feel vulnerable. Vulnerable that I can and will lose it at anytime. Vulnerable because my feelings are unchecked. Vulnerable because my heart breaks and I fear it will feel this way again sometime. Vulnerable wondering what God is doing with this weepy mess.
Today in Women’s Ministry, we continued the ninth lesson in Beth Moore’s Living Beyond Yourself: Exploring the Fruit Of The Spirit study. This lesson focused on gentleness. I learned that gentleness is a submission to God – an “inward grace of the soul, calmness toward God. It is the acceptance of God’s dealings with us considering them as good in that they enhance the closeness of our relationship with Him.”
True gentleness means that I accept the death of my sister as good knowing that God is using it to draw me and others closer to Him.
I do not have true gentleness.
Just the fact that I can type that sentence is huge. God has brought me a long way through grief. But the “fruit of the Holy Spirit is …gentleness.”
In the video Beth Moore talked that we all have wounds and scars. We have to allow God to flow His grace through the deepest parts and bind up our wounds. We have to trust God that through our grief, glory will flow on the other side.
A wound was created on April 19, 2000. It was huge. With time I am realizing that God is binding up the wound. But, He is not removing it. Simply healing it. There are times like today that the wound is opened and bleeds a little. Sometimes a lot. But, praise God that I can run into my Abba Father’s arms and He holds me.
On most days, my wound looks more like a scar. And, God is using my scar. I hear from many who are encouraged by my story. For that I am grateful as it makes the scar easier to live with.
But the scar I wear is one of grace and love that maps a path where God carried me through the valley of death. The scar is a poster of someone who loved, had someone suddenly taken, and made it through – all to draw closer to God.
Six hours later…Unbeknownst to me, God continued this story. Please read “God Uses Pain for His Glory – A Personal Story.”