Hello, sweet friends!
It’s been a year since my last post. For various reasons I took a break, but I’m so glad to be back to writing. It’s my passion, my lane. And I’ve missed connecting with you.
As a writer, sharing an authentic Christian life and being real is a must. So today I’m opening the pages of my journal and giving you a peek into some personal stuff.
My mom passed away just a few weeks ago, ushering in all the messiness of grief. Ours was a complicated relationship at times (but seriously, aren’t they all), but we always loved. Journaling has been a source of comfort, helping me sort through doubts and questions that come with loss. I wrote this entry two weeks ago, and honestly I’ve struggled with posting it. But the Holy Spirit keeps impressing me to share. Grief touches all, and perhaps something here will be of help. Whether you laugh or cry, I hope you are encouraged.
Hey Mom ~
Remember when I was little and asked countless questions about heaven? Like, if that mean woman (you know, the neighbor with the green apple trees) would get in. Or if my pet collie Rowdy would be there. Or if it ever snowed. Guess you know the answers now. I’m thinking, though, you just look at Jesus all the time and stuff of earth doesn’t even come to mind. I miss you more than I thought possible, but knowing in one breath you were there, healed and whole and free of this world, is everything.
Everything…in this life has changed now. This grief stuff is no joke. It is raw and random. I’m good at stuffing the feelings down and pretending to be stronger than I really am. You always knew that about me, though. So I’m pretty sure you have asked God to give me extra help these last few weeks. He sure has been gracious and comforting. But still, this process has been harder than I thought.
Thought…about so much. Journaling and sorting through pictures while listening to all your favorite Reba, Garth, and Waylon music has been good for my soul. The best memories? Goofy Christmas gifts and softball tournaments…and Jim’s favorite…that time you pulled a pistol out of nowhere and killed a copperhead in a single, long-range shot! Regrets have been stirred up too, but I refuse to let them take root. Not one single bit of that matters now. Never did, really. Forgiveness and grace are beautiful healers when allowed to do their work. You always understood that far better than I did. And now love is all that remains.
Remains…that word took on a new meaning after you died. You were always bigger than life, left people laughing and loved a good ending. So when your cremated remains rode out Hurricane Irma (only the strongest storm in Atlantic basin history) in a surge-prone funeral home in Fort Myers, I had to laugh and just pray for the best. You definitely saved the best exit for last and it mirrored your reality. Writing has helped me see how brave you were, facing down your own destructive storms with strength and determination throughout your life.
Life…thank you for this amazing gift you gave me. It’s such a good one, filled with laughter and love. Whatever years I have left on this earth, I want the many good parts of you to live through me and bring glory to God.
God…you are with him. You are home. Tonight I looked up at the starlit sky and wondered what you were doing. And as a song you loved says, I can only imagine.
(photo credit: Shari Thompson Ancelet)