The mug in the picture above was given to me as a going away gift from a dear friend in Indiana. It’s proven to be a nice reminder to not stand waiting and wishing the storm would pass, but to actually strive to make the most of a difficult situation. Though we have been striving to see God’s blessings in the middle of my mother in law passing away, I can’t say we’ve been doing a lot of dancing in the rain. Instead, there’s been a lot of crying, whining, and arguing coming from all of us.
My littles are struggling to function under this new normal with their Nana in Heaven and it’s coming out during our basic activities like meals, showers, and bedtime. And what is probably even more concerning is that my immediate reaction is less than graceful. I’m easily angered and frustrated. I feel like I should be extra patient during this time where they are probably hurting the most, but it’s a struggle at times.
When we can all finally talk about where our frustration with each other is coming from, we realize it’s all coming from the same place: we miss Nana. My son wishes she were here to play legos with him, and my daughter misses Nana’s hugs and laughs. I had a unique relationship with my mother in law in that I could tease her and she loved it! And I find myself missing the teasing, the joking, and the laughter that would always follow.
But as we remember her, the tears and the sadness often follow. My prayer for my kids has been that God will come alongside them in their grief and comfort their hearts. In search of my own comfort I turned to Psalm 23 – perhaps one of my favorite passages of Scripture. As I read it, I was reminded of the Shepherd’s heart of my Heavenly father.
Psalm 23:1-4The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,
3He refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for His name’s sake.
4Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff,
they comfort me.
The original NIV writes “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. Your rod and your staff they comfort me.” I’ve walked through the valley of the shadow of death twice now and it’s dark, scary, and messy, especially when I take my eyes off of God. But then when I gaze on my Savior, I can see His gentle hand comforting me and my family.
Jesus promises us in Scripture that in this world there will be trouble.
John 16:33“In this world you will have trouble.But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
That’s an absolute truth – we will always experience trouble this side of Heaven. But God also promises that He will comfort us in the midst of our trouble. His comfort may take the form of a neighbor watching our kids; or sitting in our neighbor’s driveway on a Saturday morning just talking and drinking coffee with new friends; or it may be in the form of these beautiful stuffed elephants purchased for my kids to help them remember their Nana, or it may be in the form of beautifully engraved wind chimes given to us from coworkers; or being able to enjoy a beautiful hike in the neighborhood with my sister.
Losing my mother in law suddenly has been hard, but I can’t deny God’s comforting hand coming alongside us through it all. Grief looks hard and messy and it can be very frustrating, but I pray I can stop and look for His comfort in this situation. I would bet He’s surrounding us all with comfort – we just have to see it and acknowledge where the comfort is coming from: the Almighty Hand of God.
I pray that you too can see and feel the hand of God comforting you as you go through your difficult situation. I can promise you that He’s there walking alongside you, you just have to look for Him.