Today’s story is one of deep tragedy, the kind that makes people wonder if there is really a God. It’s the kind of shatter that redefines all of life. And yet, in that redefinition, and in that questioning of God, there is the potential for a pure, raw, childlike faith to be reborn in the heart of one who is willing.
I have been beside this young woman as she has endured this unutterable grief, and I’ve seen her touch the bottom of the depths I imagine she prayed to never know. Yet, day after day, moment after moment, she has allowed God to pick her up and bring her back up and into hope and trust again. Her darkness is still thick and deep, yet she has chosen to hold onto the light of the world, the love of the Father, and the seed of faith that has been given to her in this brokenness.
In truth, my heart grieves with her. But at the same time, I rejoice, because I can see it from the outside – a view she does not have. And I can see the hand and heart of God moving in so close, with purpose so amazing it cannot even be fathomed. It doesn’t make the journey easier or less painful, but it fills the journey with promise. And sometimes, that’s enough to keep us going.
Watching her journey has redefined grief for me, and taught me of the gentleness of God in our pain. It has helped me to realize that most of the expectation we carry in religion really don’t come from God. I’ve joyfully watched this young lady refuse to embrace the “shoulds” and instead become brave enough to just be still and dare to believe that breathing and turning her heart toward God is enough. And it has been!
Indeed, God is near to the brokenhearted, and I know the day will come when she stands, with a backward glance upon these days, and she will be able to say that she has never felt Him closer than this.
I don’t know the end of her journey, when or where it will turn around and begin to bear fruit, begin to bring forth the promises hidden within it. But I am jealous for her to gain all that has been intended in this suffering, because I know that God wastes nothing. And I know that, though He doesn’t bring senseless tragedies into our lives, He surely picks them up and molds them into something golden.
I pray you will be inspired by her story to allow your own pain to draw you closer to God, even when you can’t understand. And I pray you will discover there the same thing that she is discovering: He loves you madly, and He still has amazing plans for you in all of it.
“My name is Brittany. I’m 27 years old, and this is my resurrection story…
On June 8, 2017 my whole world felt as if it had fallen apart. I was 3 months away from becoming a married woman, when my mom suddenly passed away in her sleep. I was in a complete state of shock and my heart felt shattered to say the least. I had never lost anyone this close to me before, so my understanding of grief was limited. A few weeks earlier, I was trying on wedding dresses with my mom. Now, all I could think about was how she wasn’t going to be there for the one day that I needed her the most.
To be honest, I felt heartbroken by God. I couldn’t wrap my mind around why He would take my mom away from me when things were starting to go good between us. Growing up, my life was full of chaos and dysfunction. My parents, like you and I, were not perfect, and they faced plenty of struggles. Like most children that come from such brokenness, I was not only along for the struggles, but I endured pain so deep that only God could heal it.
It wasn’t until my early 20’s, that I realized God was restoring my relationships with my parents. Things were not perfect by any means, but I was finally getting the relationships with them that my heart had been longing for, for years. It wasn’t because one day, they were delivered from their struggles and their lives were radically changed. Although God did do miracles and transformed them in many of ways, the biggest change he made was within me. God gave me eyes to see them and a heart to love them the way that He does.
I had no idea what walking through grief would look like, nor did I know where to start. What I did know was that I had two choices: I could either choose to lean into God and trust Him to heal the broken heart I felt like He had caused, or I could run away from Him and lean on my own understanding. I didn’t understand anything that was going on, so I knew leaning on myself wasn’t going to get me far. I decided to put my faith in God and trust, somehow, that His plans were way bigger than anything I could comprehend. Little by little, I was able to see that my mom was in the best hands that she could possibly be in, the hands of Jesus.
With strength from the Lord and the support our loved ones, my husband and I went through with our wedding day. Although my mom was not physically present, Jesus made sure I was not alone. He sent an amazing woman of God that I look to as a mother figure in my life. She came alongside of me and stood in the place of my mom for the day. We prayed, we laughed, we cried, and by the grace of God I was able to go on and celebrate the beautiful gift of marriage that he had given to me.
I’d like to tell you that everything turned around for the better from there, but the grieving had just begun. One week into 2018, my father passed away after having open heart surgery. To say I was devastated is an understatement. My Dad had just walked me down the aisle, and now I was losing both of my parents within 7 months of each other.
All of life’s monumental moments flashed through my mind, and the thought of my parents not being present hit me harder than anything else ever had. This time around, I not only felt heartbroken, I felt like a complete orphan. I went through sleepless nights and deep depression, and some mornings, I could hardly get myself up out of bed. All I could do was pray, cry, and ask God to heal my heart. Every time I felt abandoned and alone, God would find a way to reassure me how much I was loved, and that my parents were taken care of with Him. I was also reminded that Jesus understands my hurt and even when I can’t see it, He is bringing purpose out of my pain.
God is still healing my heart and walking me through my grief, moment by moment. Some days are better than others, but little by little He’s turning my mourning into dancing. Every day, I choose to place my anchor in Him with full confidence that I will remain secure, even if some days it doesn’t feel like it. We have a God that loves us, Who understands our pain, and loves us enough to not leave us there, stuck in it. That is great news that has become personal to me in this journey!!!
Through the darkest times, I can encourage you, because I’ve been there, to trust that His promises are truly good, and His plans for your life are far greater than what you can grasp. This life here on earth may be short and full of pain and trouble, but the beautiful life He has promised us beyond the grave lasts forever.”
These are some of the Scriptures that I continue to hold on to in my journey of grieving what’s been lost, and clinging to the hope of God’s healing and His promises:
“This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.” Hebrews 6:19 NLT
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” Psalm 34:18 NLT
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28 NLT
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” Revelation 21:4 NLT
I am not through the darkness yet. Some days I wish I was, and sometimes I wonder if I will ever be. But I am learning to live one day, one minute at a time, leaning into God’s love by faith, and trusting that is enough to take me wherever He desires this journey to lead. His love sustains me in that place of moment-by-moment trust. I’ve learned that it doesn’t have to be perfect to be good, and that it doesn’t even have to be good to be perfect. The way God chooses to lead us is beyond our control, and sometimes that way is painful and difficult. But never does He abandon us in that journey, and I am looking so forward to all the good He has promised to bring out of this broken path.”