I know this isn’t the sort of image you want to see this weekend. It might not be the popular choice, but I hope those who need to read this type of encouragement, especially during the holiday season, will find some comfort in the thoughts I am about to share.
Grief is definitely a journey and one that doesn’t really have an official road map. All of us, when faced with emotional pain, want to find the quickest way through it to the other side. But these things do take time and there are no short cuts. My thoughts here are only a meandering through what might have been some of my feelings in the earliest stages after my Mother’s death.
In those earliest days after her passing, I can only describe my feelings towards God as a sort of “white out” effect. Try as I might, I just couldn’t feel his presence in my life. Looking back I can see that my emotions were raging so loudly that I couldn’t hear God over the noise. During my prayer time I felt a sort of static white noise interference. And yet a lifetime of belief could not be suddenly cast aside and so I soldier on in my devotions.
At the same time, everything that surrounded me reminded me of my mother. I had taken on so many of her things.. Her cloths, her pictures, little things she had bought me for Christmas, things that we had bought together on trips. I felt the need to have all these things around me. In some small way, they gave me comfort but it wasn’t enough. I still wanted to talk to her…to hear her voice. And I knew that the only way through this was to begin to lean on God as my rock and my comforter. I thought maybe I should put all these reminders away. Maybe these things were getting in the way of God somehow.
Gradually, I believe that God came to me through these carefully preserved items. I began to hear and see God’s presence in all of the treasures that represented memories. I suddenly thought “God is here!” God is present in all the memories because God’s love was expressed through Mother. She had loved me because she had experienced the love of God and that in turn gave birth to her love for me. Yes! God’s loving presence is here and all these treasures are symbols of how He has blessed my life through my mother and many other loved ones too!!
Looking at this painting reminds me that sometimes the trials of life can dim our view of God. Sometimes the storm of our emotions can cause us to drift away…to doubt in God’s care. But seeing this I am strengthened because the Cross is still there!! and everything and all that it symbolizes is still standing on one firm foundation–God is Love!!
Dear Lord, I pray that you comfort those who are grieving this Christmas season. Those who have lost a close family member, a parent, a spouse, a brother or sister, a child…a friend, a mentor. There is so much love that you placed in each and everyone of these dear hearts. Each person contained the fullness of your love and those of us who are left behind are left with a huge hole. Fill us up so that we can continue to spread your love. Give us the courage to move out into the unknown and embrace the next chapter– not on our own– but living fully in your presence. In Christ alone our hope is found…