I remember as we were heading into the new year, two months after my daughter, Becca, died. I was horrified at the thought of “leaving her behind.” It felt like going into a new year without her was another finality of her death that I just wasn’t ready to accept.
Who can possibly celebrate the future, when my daughter would not be with us? “Out with the old and in with the new” brought heaviness and panic attacks, not excitement.
God knew that. He knew how heavy my heart was. He knew I didn’t want to continue with anything new. He knew I wasn’t ready to let go in a way that would allow me to see hope in a future without Becca. He knew I was deep in suffocating grief, and it didn’t shake His faithfulness to me one little bit.
As I closed myself in with Him day after day, crying buckets of tears and sharing my hurt and pain with Him, He sat with me. He stayed with me in all of my sobbing, ugliness, confusion and depression.
And in my moments of brokenness, when I wanted to hear what He had to say that would bring a measure of healing to my completely shattered heart, He was always ready to comfort me and speak to me.
Sometimes it would be through a song that came on my CD player that I kept running 24-7 or on the radio. Sometimes it was a chapter in the Bible, or as little as half of a verse, as I would pick up His Word and search for help. Sometimes it was through an act of kindness from a family member or friend. But most of the time, it was that still, small voice that spoke to my heart as I sat in my brokenness.
I spent lots of my time journaling. I wrote my scrambled thoughts and asked Him questions. And quite often, I found myself writing what I heard God speaking to me in my heart in answer to those questions.
You see, something I had come to realize in a much deeper way than ever before, is that God isn’t just “out there” somewhere. He is actually inside me. Because I have invited Jesus to be Lord of my life, the Spirit of God dwells in me. I don’t have to wait for God to come to me from somewhere out there. I can quiet myself and listen to His still small voice from inside of me, speaking peace, bringing comfort.
Whatever I need, He is already inside of me to meet that need. The amazing thing is that He is also sitting on His throne at the exact same time. And I can come boldly to that throne of our gracious God to receive His mercy and find His help which I so desperately need (Hebrews 4:16).
So as I found myself struggling so deeply with the horrific thought of getting further and further away from Becca, I asked God to help me by giving me His thoughts. He so graciously showed me that the truth is actually something totally different from what was in my thoughts.
Every day I live on this earth brings me closer to my own departure date, and closer to Becca, not further away from her! Wow! That truth set me free! I still have moments when I have those thoughts, and they can still make me cry. But I am not overwhelmed by them, as I now believe a truth that is deeper than my pain: I am getting closer to her, not further away from her.
Here are a couple of scriptures that have also helped me continue moving forward.
Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14 NIV).
This doesn’t say we are forgetting and leaving our children behind us. That will never happen! I see it as an encouragement to “press on toward the goal,” which to me is learning how to live a full and meaningful life again, with the “prize of the upward call” being eternity with Him and with my child and others I love who are patiently waiting for me to join them.
We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV).
I am SO thankful for this, and constantly remind myself this world is only temporary. What a relief!
It is so hard to believe, but this will be my seventh new year without Becca. God has continued to comfort and strengthen me, putting the pieces of my heart back together in a way that I am complete, and yet forever broken. And I’m okay with that, because I will be one year closer to being with my Becca forever!
How about you? Is there a scripture that you have held on to within the grief that has been a comfort or an anchor of hope? Please share it with us in the comments.
In my book When Tragedy Strikes: Rebuilding Your Life with Hope and Healing After the Death of Your Child, I share some of my journaling and what God spoke to me. To receive chapter 11, The Pillar of Your Thoughts and Words, just provide your name and email address and we will get it right to you.
Expressions of Hope is written by author and speaker Laura Diehl to bring hope, light and life to those struggling in darkness after a tragedy, especially bereaved parents. If you would like more information about Laura as an author or a speaker for your next event, click here.