"How has your mom's death changed you"?
I think at the time I answered her the best I could with what I truly believed. This question has popped back in my mind throughout this past year and in the fall I think I started to gain some clarity on at least one way my mom's death changed me. I can't remember what I told Lacy at the time so I could be repeating myself, but hopefully my thoughts are more clear this time around.
My mom's death changed me as death changes anyone who experiences it closely and 'too early'-though when is it the 'right time' or 'late' to lose someone. Through my mom's death God shattered my view of the world, life, and His Sovereignty. Through the years I have learned that death happens and hurts because we live in a fallen, sinful world. I learned that this world and life is not my home. Because of Jesus my home is in heaven and I really am an 'alien and stranger' here right now. I learned that all the expected patterns of life: marriage, stable family unit, children, grandchildren, security, and loving relationships, are not 'rights' that I 'deserve'. The only 'right' that I 'deserve' is hell, but God sent Jesus to take that 'right' from me and give me his 'right' of sinlessness and unity with God that he deserved because God loves and has mercy on me. I learned the reality of hopes deferred and dreams that don't come true in this life. I learned that I am THANKFUL that my hope isn't left to rest here in this life and world, but I have eternal hope in heaven with God where there is no pain, suffering, disappointments, or despair.
Before my mom's death, I was pretty naive about life and this world. After my mom's death, I became aware of and embraced this 'reality' that life is hard and we don't always get what we want and that is ok because God has better for us.
I think I have embraced the 'reality' a little too well, because while it is so good for us to realized the temporary-ness of this world, life, and our dreams, the sinful reaction of this 'reality' is bitterness and self preservation.
Through this trial of waiting for pregnancy and children I have been encouraged to 'Hope in the Lord'. While sometimes I can clearly see this truth and hope in him, there are times when this phrase feels impossible and trite. I realized that I believed that I couldn't hope in the Lord because I didn't trust him. He had hurt me and disappointed me before so why would it be a good idea to hope in him now? I really believe(d) that God is not for me. That God's love for will only be manifested in his discipline towards me, therefore my life will always be hard. I believed that if it seemed like God was possibly giving me a desire or answered prayer that he was only teasing me and wouldn't actually come through for me. So, I started to 'guard my hope'. I knew the world wasn't a friendly place for it, but I didn't think God was a friendly place either so the only option left was to 'guard' it for myself. I guarded my hope by facing 'reality' that I may not have children or get to 'grow old with Neil' or always be financially stable or any other fears and possibilities that come across my chaotic mind.I believed that by guarding my hope this way I was keeping myself from the crushing blows of disappointment and despair. But the truth is I found myself MORE despairing because I believed these things.
You know what else is true:
'My hope' isn't mine. Hope doesn't belong to me, I didn't create hope for myself. and I can't sustain it in my strength.
'My hope' is from God.
5For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.6 He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.7On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God.8 Trust in him at all times, O people pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.
God gave me hope because he loved me and sent Jesus to die for my sins so that I might know the hope of eternal life with him. God gave me hope so that I would have someone to give my hurts and disappointments to. God gave me hope so that I could have joy and fight for joy in all circumstances. God gave me hope so that I could trust him and believe that he is worthy and faithful to this trust. God gave me hope and God guards this hope in the surety of his Son
God opening my eyes to see that He is the one who gives hope and is hope revolutionizes my current active belief system. It really is hard for me to believe that God loves me and will give me good gifts without a trial attached, but I'm asking him for that faith. I'm choosing today to believe that I no longer have to guard hope alone, God has been faithful to give and guard it from the beginning! God has secured this hope in the fortified wall of His Son's death and resurrection. This hope can NOT be destroyed or stolen. Praise be to the God of our hope!
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13