You know it’s that time of year again when Christmas rolls around and you’re bringing out the decorations and turning your home into a festive wonderland. You find yourself listening to the cheerful peppy tunes on the radio, but somewhere deep inside your heart is aching. You may be able to fake that “merry and bright” attitude, but within you feel a heavy weight tugging your heart down.
Although it’s been over 18 years since my dad went home to be with the Lord on that dark November night, every year I still feel a heavy weight nagging at my heart and competing with the joys of the season. When family gets together I somehow always leave feeling like I’m missing that one important piece of me that seems like it will never be fully replaced. Something I see others blessed with, and often take advantage of, and I’m left with an empty heart longing for it to be filled with that same happiness.
People often think that time heals all wounds, but in my experience it definitely doesn’t. Within time we canheal, but like with all wounds they are sensitive and can easily be reopened. The tiniest memory can open up that deep dark wound we thought mended years ago. Any loss of a close loved one causes heartache to follow, not just immediately after, but depending on our love for them, it could last a lifetime. Even down the road when we experience another similar loss, all those same memories come flooding back in allowing us to pull up those recollections from the past. Even the happiest of memories can cause the deepest pain because we are quickly reminded that we can never enjoy those cherished moments with them again. They are gone, and it hurts to recall the good times knowing they aren’t here to reminisce.
Others often think the pain of losing a loved one is best to be left unspoken. They try to avoid any remembrance of the pain it might cause. They don’t know what to say. They don’t want to feel awkward. They don’t want you to become emotional or upset. Although by ignoring your loss, it sometimes deepens the pain. You feel alone and the one you love has been forgotten as well. That part of you that was so deeply touched by your loved one has been silenced. Since they are no longer here, it feels like their memories have been nullified as well. The deep pain your heart feels weighted down with is left unseen and unheard. If only they knew that you’ve been craving for someone to ask about them. Your heart has been holding onto the pain and everyone else has so easily moved on.
I have heard that how much you grieve displays how much you love. The deepest of wounds on our heart often are caused by those we love the most. Over the years it often has seemed like those whom I grew close to were either taken away or God took them home to be with Him. It was difficult knowing God knew what was best when all I wanted was someone who would remain by my side without doubts arising whether they would be sticking around for long.
I can honestly say that even amidst the grieving, many funerals and pain, I have come to realize that even though God blesses us with friends and family, we shouldn’t be come too dependent on them for our satisfaction. I remember many seasons of my life feeling like God had stripped everything from my life and I felt so alone. I questioned what God was doing. I didn’t understand how it could be His will to leave me so empty handed and heart-broken. Looking back I can see how God was using those darkest of moments to strengthen my relationship with Him. Because I didn’t have those relationships with others I went to Him with my worries, problems and tears. Unlike everyone else whom I questioned their commitment and acceptance, I was able to fully open my heart up to God and rest assured He would never leave or reject me. Even through the darkest of nights and the endless questions of my past, God has provided me with hope of an eternal home where I will spend eternity with Him and also see all those who have gone before me where we will live pain-free and not be limited in our time with one another.
Even amidst the pain and heartbreaks you have faced, you can rest in the promise that God works all things together for good. He’s got an amazing plan for your life and every step is perfectly planned out. Nothing is being overlooked or misguided. There’s purpose to those darkest of valleys God has led you through, and He’s been by your side all the way. God could be using those deepest wounds to influence and prepare you to provide comfort to others who are enduring similar struggles. Let God use your broken heart, shattered life and find joy knowing He is strengthening and using you to display His power and glory!