I woke up this morning with a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, knowing that today was the day I would be attending this funeral. I went to be there for my kids. I went to show them that I love them and I'm here for them always, through the fun times when we're playing games and watching the Superbowl and acting stupid on Sunday nights AND ALSO through the darkest days of their teenage years, when they have nothing to offer but their tears and their brokenness. When they don't understand...when they feel like God is only giving them enough light for the step that they're on in that very moment. When life is so wonderful that you just have to stop and close your eyes and thank Jesus that life is truly beautiful and so worthwhile. When they are ashamed, burdened, weeping, broken, hurt, and lost. The Lord led me to Edge Park for "such a time as this..." in every season that they encounter.
Though I would have done anything to be there for them today and I'm so glad I got to go and just be there with them and show my support and love for them, it was extremely draining. The last time I woke up and got ready for a funeral was August 7th, 2009-the day we celebrated and grieved the short lives of my aunt and uncle. Everything about today brought me back to that day, almost a year and a half ago.
It's hard to be a good friend to friends who are grieving if you've never experienced grief. It's hard to be a good friend to friends who are grieving if you HAVE experienced grief. I've never lost a grandparent. I don't know what they are feeling or what they're going through. I just know that it's got to be painful, that grieving is really hard, and that healing is a process.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in ANY trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
I attended a few sessions of a grief and loss group at my church a few months after my aunt and uncle died, and I found these verses from 2 Corinthians as a result. I love that the God who created me is abounding in love. I love that the Maker of the Stars hears my breaking heart. I love that the God who knows how many hairs on my head is the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort! He KNEW that grieving would be terrible, and it would hurt, and it would weigh our hearts down. But He gave grieving to us as a beautiful gift, because (like my sweet mama says) if we had to deal with all the emotions that death brings all at once, we would not survive. He gave us the grieving process so that we could let out our hurt, anger, sadness, and bitterness a little at a time. Though it hurts, and sometimes it feels like a huge weight is on our hearts because we miss them so very extremely much, the Lord uses that. He redeems it for His glory!
I am thankful that the Lord uses the hurt in my past to help others. He gave me a heart to love on other people with everything that I have, and to be there for them. Even though it's not fair that my aunt and uncle didn't get to see their 5oth birthdays, even though it makes no sense that they were taken so stinkin' early, though I would do anything to hear one of his stories or get one of her hugs or help him clean house on another Saturday morning or hear her laugh...He uses my pain so that when other people are drowning in their own sorrow, I can say to them: I don't know how you feel, but I know that it hurts. And I'm here for you, and I can show compassion to you because the Lord held me at my weakest point, when I was so angry at Him because my aunt and uncle, the people who half-raised me, the people who my mom told me years before would take me in if anything ever happened to her, the people who wiped away my tears and doctored my cuts and scrapes, the people who took me in as their fourth daughter, didn't get to see me turn eighteen, graduate from high school, or even get accepted to the college of my dreams. Because HE is the God of all comfort, I can be there for other people. I can serve because of what He's done in my life. He gives us strength when we have absolutely nothing to give.
Life is hard. But it is beautiful.
God is good. And He is so worth trusting.