His Nearness is my Good

This is my first holiday season after losing a very close loved one.  Since he passed away mid-August, I’ve celebrated his birthday, my own, and Thanksgiving without him for the first time in my life.  The loss of his life dims the once joyful anticipation of Christmas and New Years.  I have pieced together, bit by bit, what hope and restoration can look like for me in this time intermingled with celebration and heartache. Maybe some semblance of understanding or peace will be hidden in what I know to help you as you navigate the holidays.

My hope is in God; He is the One who is faithful.  My loved one can’t be a phone call away anymore but God is near, and His nearness is my good.  God is the One who made a way for me to be together with my loved one again for all eternity; He is so kind.  Eternity seems like a fairytale sometimes.  I have to remind myself that I’m not convincing myself of some make believe story to ease my pain.  I’m setting my mind on things above and choosing childlike faith.  One day I, along with every believer, will be face to face with God living a beautifully whole and perfect life.  I will get to know Him like I’ve never known Him before.  I’ll have more understanding and endless peace.  My hope is in the eternity He created me for where I’ll be endlessly wrapped in His love, in Him.  Until then, I have to endure.  My hope can’t be dependent on people, on understanding, or on healing.  Those are gifts from God that will never fully satisfy because I wasn’t made for those things. I was made to be loved by God.  I find peace in placing my hope in God who can settle my uneasiness, calm my fears, and mend back together my broken heart.

The process of restoration has been equal parts painful and exciting.  I’ve been learning to let go of old dreams like my loved one getting to be a part of my wedding someday or see the kids I may have when I’m older.  But I would be missing out to ignore the opportunity for creating new dreams in this transitional stage of life.  Grief took a toll on my spirit and body.  I’ve struggled with getting out of bed or showing up to work. I’ve had to live through the embarrassment of unexpected breakdowns and the inability to eat.  Restoration is what I trust God will bring in time and what I will participate in until I see the fullness of it.  I choose to believe my excitement for life will be restored soon.  My health will slowly but surely return and I’ll be able to sleep through the night.  I’ll have less and less moments of feeling disconnected from the people around me, and more and more moments of being genuinely happy for the people I have close while I have them.
I don’t think I’ll ever stop caring that my loved one passed away but I believe my perspective of his death will grow from painful to bittersweet to grateful remembrance of his life.  Making things go back to how they were before is out of my control. It’s not really an option.  But making the best of what I have is a power I do possess.  I can let this event of my life change me into a stronger person.  I can embrace the qualities he and I shared as a memorial to the influential life he lived.

To those of you who can relate to loss, I’m sorry.  I know it’s hard.  My hope is that you will know God through the holidays as a generously loving Father.  I hope all that you are lacking from the loss you’ve sustained you can find in His friendship.  I hope you are supported by people who are still in your life and that you give yourself the grace to feel what you need to feel.  Restoration is coming for you.  I pray that you endure with me until then.  Your pain, your heartbreak, is significant.  You can let it take you over or you could let it numb you.  But Jesus gave you another option— to let Him comfort you through it.  Your love, your faith, is precious.  He won’t take it for granted and He won’t make you earn your healing.  Rest in Him and He will make all things new.  It’s gonna get better. He promised.

There is a time to be born and a time to die, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up.  God has made everything beautiful in its time and has set eternity in our hearts, but no one can fathom what He’s done from beginning to end.  There’s nothing better for us to do than to be happy and do good while we live— this is God’s gift to us (Ecclesiastes 3).  Throughout the holidays, check the time.  Know what each moment is for.  Heal when you need to heal, laugh when you need to laugh.  Mourn when it’s time to mourn and refrain from embracing when it’s time for that, too.  Eternity is in your heart and though it’s hard to understand, it’s true.  Enjoy the gift God has given you to live.  Happy holidays.

Author | Savannah Ugan





no categories


1 Corinthians 1 Kings 1 Peter 2 Corinthians 2 Peter Aaron Vickroy Abba Abiding Abigail Bradley Abundance Accountability Actions Adam Salway Addiction Adoration Adventure Alafia Adeleke Alex Hinton Alignment Andrew Elder Andrew Smith Anger Anna DiCosty Anna Goellner Anointing Ansley Davenport Anxiety Armor of God Ashlyn Williams Ashton Brantley Asian American and Pacific Islander Month Aubrey Gold Authority Autumn Pressley Awakening Bailey Meyne Balance Beauty Becca Johnstone Becca Morgan Being Uncomfortable Being mortal Beloved Ben Gill Benji Johnston Bentley Clark Bethel Black History Month Blessing Body Image Body of Christ Boldness Boundaries Brad Schiebel Bravery Breakthrough Brittany Futch Brokenness Brooke DeLoach Brooklyn Holloway COVID-19 Caitlin Cooper Calling Calvary Cam Pace Caroline Barnes Caroline Beasley Caroline Newton Carolyn McLain Celebration Change Charlie Knox Child-like Chloe Glass Chosen Christina Hensley Christlikeness Christmas Survival Guide Christmas Claire Jordan Clarity Colorado Comfort Commitment Communion Community Comparison Compassion Complacency Confidence Connection Consistency Contentment Control Conviction Correction Counseling Courage Covenants Creativity Cristina Rosiles Dating Decisions Dependency Depth Desperation Devon Radford Disappointment Discernment Discipleship Leadership Blog Discipleship Discipline Distraction Diversity Division Doubt Dreams Dutch Williams Easter Eat the Book El Roi El Shaddai Elders Elijah Elizabeth Sprinkle Ellie Knight Ellyzsa Valencia Emily Baker Emily Goldin Emily Helton Emily Summers Emma Kate Shelton Emma Whitmer Emmanuel Fortuchang Emotions Empathy Emptiness Encountering God Encounter Encouragement Rooms Endurance Enough Environment Envy Erin Gilleland Eternity Evan Correa Evangelism Exodus Expectation Faithfulness Faith Family Fear of the Lord Fear Feeling Lost Feeling Safe Fernanda Lima Forgiveness Fredom Freedom Freely Given Freshley Friendship Fruits of the Spirit Fun Future Garner Gay Generosity Genesis Gentleness Gift Giving Giving Glory of God Goals God as a Father God is Smart God is with us God's Character God's Heart God's Names God's Plans God's Plan God's Power God's Presence God's Promises God's Timing God's Voice God's Will God\'s Character God\'s Heart God\'s Names God\'s Plans God\'s Plan God\'s Power God\'s Presence God\'s Promises God\'s Timing God\'s Voice God\'s Will God\\\'s Character God\\\'s Heart God\\\'s Names God\\\'s Plans God\\\'s Plan God\\\'s Power God\\\'s Presence God\\\'s Promises God\\\'s Voice God\\\'s Will God\\\\\\\'s Character God\\\\\\\'s Presence God\\\\\\\'s Voice Government Grace Gratitude Guatemala Guidance Haley Blanchard Haley Hall Hallie Turner Hannah Cole Healing Heart Posture Heaven Hinds Feet on High Places Hispanic Heritage Month History of Prayer History of Revival History of Wesley Holidays Holiness Holly Avera Holy Spirit Holy Week Home Honor Hope Hospitality Humility Hunger Hunter MacInnis I Am Ian Burkes Identity Idols Image of God Imagination Influence Inheritance Intention Intercession Interning Intimacy Isolation Jake Stephens Jamaica Jamie Cherf Jealousy Jennifer Daniel Jessie Thomas Jesus John Wesley John Joseph Josh DeRamus Journaling Joy Judgment Julia Baughn Justice Justin Patton Kalli Drake Karla Sanchez Tavera Katherine Burnette Katie Courson Katie Pilson Katie Pitner Katy Smith Kelley Losinger Kelly Losinger Kelsey Parham Kennedy Browning Kimberly Klaer Kindness Kingdom Knowing God Knowledge Known Kourtney Axelberg Kristen Fikse Kyle Pickett Language Latinx Heritage Month Lauren Forbes Leadership Legacy Lia Herrera Life Light Lindsey Conway Listening Living Water Living with God Logic Loneliness Longing Los Angeles Loss Love Languages Love Luke Luvlan Lee Mackenzie Wells Maddie Marsh Madeline Current Madelyn Livingston Madison Davis Madison McManners Makinizi Hoover Mariah Foote Mariah Taylor Marlena Sculac Marriage Martin Luther King Jr. Matthew Maturity Melissa Merrick Mental Health Mercy Meredith Ashburn Messiah Michael Weidner Miracles Missions Morgan Attebery Mourning Names Narnia Nashville Natalie Mata Nathan DeYoung New Covenant New Year Obedience Old Covenant Olivia Beals Olivia Ellis Openness Outreach Pain Partnership Passover Past Paul Peace Perfection Perseverance Perspective Peter Pharisees Philippians Power Praise Prayer Guide Prayer Meetings Prayer Pride Processing Prophecy Protection Provision Psalm 23 Psalms Purity Purpose Rachel Dow Rachel Erin Taylor Rachel Henderson Rachel Jones Racial Healing Racial Reconciliation Rebecca Mejia Recipes Reconciliation Red Rising Redemption Refinement Reflection Reform Refreshing Relationship Remedy Repentance Resolutions Resources Responsibility Restoration Rest Resurrection Reverence Revival Rhythm Righteousness Riley Orr Risk Romance Romans 8 Romans Rosalie Vendrell Ruth Sabbath Sacred Rhythms Sacrifice Salvation Sam Adams Sam Carroll Sam Darby Samantha Forbes Samantha Richey Sanctification Sarah Savoie Savannah Hill Savannah Shaw Savannah Ugan Scripture Seasons Secrets of the Secret Place Seeking God Selah Self-love Sermon on the Mount Serving Shaking Shame Sidney Counsell Simplicity Singleness Sin Slowing Solitude Sorrow Sovereignty Spiritual Disciplines Spiritual Gifts Spiritual Health Spiritual Themes Spiritual Warfare Status Steadfastness Stephanie Seda Stephanie Stewart Strength Stress Struggles Suffering Summer Survival Guide Summer of Psalms Summer Surrender Temple Temptation Tenderness Tension Testimony Thankfulness The Beatitudes The Church The Cross The Gospel The Law The Lord's Prayer The Lord\'s Prayer The Lord\\\'s Prayer The Prodigal Son The Road to Life The Secret Place The Shack The Ten Commandments The Trinity The Word of God Therapy Tori Kramer Transformation Transition Trust Truth Uncertainty Unity Urgency Values Victory Vision Vulnerability Wandering Wednesday Night Recap Who Am I Wilderness Wisdom Wonder Word for the Year Words Worship Worth