I’m not sure the human heart fully understands love until it’s lost. We know what it’s like to feel love, to be fully aware of the deep burn inside our chests, and we know we would do anything, anything in the world, for the people we truly love. But there’s something about a loved one vanishing from this earth forever, which actually solidifies and sanctifies everything we’ve ever felt.

When forced to say goodbye we finally comprehend love.

 Even as I write this, the familiar burn in my chest deepens, but this time with pain. It manifests physically into my shoulders and sends impulses of sorrow throughout my entire body. I ache because I loved.

Human love isn’t fairy tales or perfection; it’s commitment through the worst. It’s a whole lot of laughing and probably a whole lot more crying. It’s anger mingled with compassion, and an overflow of saying I’m sorry.

From mother to daughter, brother to sister, husband to wife, friend to friend, neighbor to neighbor, we have opportunity to love wholly holy. It can cross borders and empower nations. Love fixes the broken.

So what happens when one, unique, particular love is gone?

Yesterday, I read this passage from the book of Hebrews where Messianic prophecy is quoted:

“I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.”  And again: “I will put My trust in Him.” And again: “Here am I and the children whom God has given Me.”

-Hebrews 2:12-13

The words And again: “I will put my trust in Him.” as well as “here am I…” came to life for me.

I closed my bible, turned my face towards the sky and said, “Okay, here I am. And again, I will put my trust in You.”

Finding grit inside grief is a continuous process requiring continuous action. Every day I place trust in hands I cannot see, while forcing my broken heart to believe beauty will once again rise from ashes.

Tomorrow, January 18th is my mom’s birthday. Mine is the day after. We always celebrated together, and this year I feel like I’m standing alone. Much like I felt the day I walked the long hallway at the funeral home to make her arrangements. I know I have my husband, children, and others who love me, but a daughter living in a world without a mother is lonely territory. I’m learning how to navigate, and there are days I do a horrible job at it.

There’s a lot I cannot control, but I can control trust.

I choose to wave the white flag of surrender, allowing every piece of me to be made whole. I choose to believe my healing is possible through trust in the depth of God’s love. And, most importantly, I choose to believe He is real, even when I question His existence.

And, yes, I’ve questioned.

I choose to believe my foundation will not be cracked even though it’s quaking with violent force. If you want to know the truth, I’ve felt betrayed by God even though spiritual logic tells me I’m wrong. It’s the enemy who whispers those thoughts inside my head.

Forgive me for being a rambling writer these days, but here’s what I really want to say: I finally understand love. It often takes death to experience life. With all of me, I will not stop inside the valley of the shadow of death. I will continue walking through it. I have life to live and my mom is living in the promise of her eternity.

I choose to allow my spiritual logic to supersede wrong thoughts.

It’s all about choice, and I choose Jesus.

To all of you grieving, keep walking through the valley, keep surrendering, keep on keeping on. There’s grit to be found inside grief. Go find it!


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