As a family we’ve experienced a lot of firsts this fall: my son’s first day of Kindergarten, my daughter’s first day of preschool, and my son lost his first tooth. And while these have all been happy and exciting events in the life of our family, there has been an undercurrent of sadness that has accompanied all of our firsts.
Because my mother in law passed away suddenly a month ago, my son never got to tell his Nana about his first day of Kindergarten. She would have wanted to know everything, even down to what he had for lunch. When he lost his first tooth, I know she’d cheer and give him a hug while loudly proclaiming how big he was getting. After my daughter’s first day of school she would have asked about every detail and she would have laughed at my daughter’s goofy response.
Instead, I have had to take her name off of the list of people authorized to pick my daughter up from school. I’ve had to walk the halls of my daughter’s school realizing that her Nana will never see her school or pick her up. I’ve had to look ahead to my son’s school schedule and realize that she will never have lunch with him or attend his school programs. She will never walk him to and from the bus stop or see inside the halls of his school.
As I have started living out our fall semester, I realize I have acquired a new companion and his name is Grief. I try to silence him with anything I can think of- TV, a movie, music, chocolate, coffee, food, running, yoga, shopping, reading, etc… But no matter how hard I try, he does not go away. He demands to be felt and heard despite my desperate attempts to ignore him. The only thing that seems to help is to give Grief the floor for a little while. When I acknowledge his presence in my life and I admit the affect he has on me, I feel like I can then take a deep breath and start living out this new normal.
God has also been faithful to step in and put his finger on my heart and his arms around my shoulders through song and Scripture. At church on Sunday we sang “It is well” by Bethel Music. This has always been one of my favorite songs but this past Sunday I had a much harder time singing it. My heart was not believing the lyrics of the song:
“So let go my soul and trust in Him. The waves and winds still know his name… It is well with my soul. It is well with my soul. It is well with my soul,…”
But the worship leader encouraged us to sing, even if we were struggling to believe and agree with the words. So I sang, with tears streaming down my face asking God to give me the faith to believe that His will for my life is indeed good. And then we sang the last few lines of the song:
“Through it all, through it all my eyes are on you. Through it all, through it all it is well. Through it all, through it all my eyes are on you and it is well with me.”
Our pastor talked about how if we just look at our Heavenly Father, He will come running to our side to comfort us and love on us. So as I sang this song, my heart was reminded of where my focus should be: on my Heavenly Father. That as I look at Him and fix my eyes on Him, He will come running to my side to comfort and love me in the midst of this painful journey. And as I look to him my heart can believe these words: “Whatever my lot, thou has taught me to say it is well with my soul.”
I realize you may not be grieving the loss of a loved one but perhaps you are just in a difficult place and have been dealt circumstances that you would not have picked. If that is you, I pray that you can look towards your Heavenly Father and that you will experience His love and presence in return.