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

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