When you lose someone you love, life gets serious fast. Grief speaks directly to the heart of who we see ourselves to be and our place in the world.
And for a season, we have to lay down tools to give ourselves space to wrap our minds around the new normal.
I am no stranger to this deep life changing pain. In fact, in the past two years both my parents have died – just as they were ready to retire and enjoy that next season of travel, grandchildren, volunteer work and conversations with friends over skinny lattes. They were untimely deaths and shocking to me.
I am one of those walking the brutal road of grief. Some days I am terribly lonely in my pain and tears, and I feel paralysed and don’t really know what to do or which way to turn.
And yet, in the loneliness of my grief, there is my Heavenly Father – my guide and mentor – gently leading me through. And in His own miraculous way He is teaching me about His love.
As I watch and enjoy my young daughter, God has shown me how to come to Him in this season where my heart is heavy, hurting and confused – with childlike faith. (Matthew 18.3)
If you have ever walked through grief, you know it is deeply complex. Often the mind and heart are working at a million miles an hour.
And in those quiet moments with my daughter, He reminded me of how un-complex His and my exchanges could be.
She just loves being in the same room as me
Wherever I am, she wants to be. She loves to follow me in and out of rooms. Even when she is crying or grumpy. I enjoy that she follows me and wants to be with me.
Likewise, I know that God loves it when I spend time with him, whatever shape I am in. When my heart turns towards him, even if I am in the midst of ‘ugly crying’, my Heavenly Father’s heart is delighted as He has always loved me (1 John 4:19).
And it is here I have found a wonderful exchange occurs.
Sometimes it has been a sense of peace and assurance that I am not alone. Sometimes it has been comfort. Other times He speaks with me and reminds me that He sees the bigger picture, and I am filled with hope.
Like I am with my daughter, He is so generous with his time and always knows what I need.
She repeats everything I say. Everything!
Am I speaking what He says about my situation?
I want to repeat everything He says about me and those I love. I want to learn His language, and what He says about my circumstances, and that ‘He causes everything to work together for good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose for them.’ (Romans 8:28)
As I walk through a season my heart desperately wants to escape from, He showed me to repeat everything He says about it. Everything!
She is a gift
While I was crossing the road near my work, a thought fell into my mind which brought tears to my eyes. I believe it was from God.
He showed me how much my life was a gift to my parents.
It’s the natural order of things to think that parents are there exclusively for us. But in this moment of daily grind, He showed me vividly that I was given to my parents (in part) for their benefit, growth, delight, joy and destiny.
Sometimes I feel low and that my life isn’t as ‘world changing’ as I’d like it to be. Yet to think that my existence impacted my parents’ lives as my daughter has mine. Now that is being a world changer!
And continuing to live well honours the gift that God gave to them – me.
She is my joy
It’s the moment when I arrive home and her arms fling wide as she runs towards me. Her little face full of excitement to see me. My heart soars with joy and delight as I embrace her.
And, so it is with my Heavenly Father when I run to him with complete abandonment. He is delighted – there probably isn’t actually an English word that fully captures how He feels towards me – I think we only get a taste of it this side of heaven.
Just me loving Him brings Him joy. That take so much pressure off.
She doesn’t talk much, but we are close
My daughter doesn’t talk much yet. In fact, most of it is a jumble of nonsensical words.
Yet, we share a deep connection.
He showed me that I don’t have to talk much either – if I don’t want to. I don’t need to come to Him with big, long and sophisticated prayers.
When my daughter is ill she will just sit on my lap and allow me to comfort her – no talking.
When she wants some affection, she’ll walk over and climb onto my lap – no talking.
He reminded me that I could just sit and be present with Him – no talking.
Such a perfect and peaceful place to be when you are in grief, believe me!
And the journey of grief continues
Grief insists on a steep learning curve. I’m sure I’ll continue to learn from my daughter and God will highlight new aspects of His love for me through her.
I am learning to show up. Be present. Release myself to be a gift and joy to His heart. Repeat what He says.
Take the pressure off!
In writing this post, He has also reiterated to me that above all else, He loves hanging out with me.
I am grateful for all that God has placed in me, and that I have learned to listen to Him and allowed myself to be mentored by him through my grief.
I believe this is a significant point that has helped me walk through this very difficult time without a sense of despair.
If you are walking through grief or if you don’t know where to start because your heart is so full of hurt and confusion, I encourage you to start little – as a child before the Father – a Father who loves you just as you are. That’s what I did.
Be still. Be messy. Be present. Be you. And wait for that great exchange.