Have you ever found yourself in an unfathomable moment? A moment when you had no idea how life would or could go on? An appointment when you learned your loved one has cancer? Your hopes of holding your newborn baby crumble at the sound of a silent ultrasound? The day your child suddenly and unexpectedly died? A day when all your future expectations and dreams unraveled in the blink of an eye? I have found myself in every one of these moments. Maybe you have too, or maybe your unfathomable moment looks a lot different than mine. A spouse who walked away, the prodigal child who won’t come home, the sudden death of a dear loved one, a death of a loved one after a long illness, a fire that swept through your life and you lost everything or mounting medical bills that you have no idea how you’ll ever pay? It’s safe to say that millions upon millions of humans are devastated, heartbroken, lost, hurting, confused and longing for the days and life they had before their unfathomable moment. There is hope beyond this very painful place in time.
Christmas Eve 2020, will be the 500th day since my son went to Heaven. 500 days! That number just baffles me. Some days it feels like just yesterday he called me on his way home and gave me a big hug when he got there, and other days my life with him feels like a whole other lifetime ago. One thing is for sure…that number reminds me that I have not made it this far alone. Before he died, I thought I knew what it meant to depend on Jesus, but sadly I had no idea until I found myself in utter desperation of his mercy and grace. As the unwelcome days of being a bereaved mother went on and on I realized that if I had any hope of healing, I had to be completely dependent on him. My heart and soul were running to him for help, strength, guidance, mercy and grace. What has that literally looked like for me? Sitting in the corner of my sectional couch reading books on child loss and grief, crying for hours and journaling about my broken heart while trusting him to bring comfort. It’s looked like driving in my car screaming out in anger to God, to Caleb, to myself, to this world and releasing some of the trauma that is trapped inside of me while trusting him to bring me peace. It’s looked like soaking in a hot bath of scented epsom salts with candles burning and a meditation playing and trusting him to speak truth to the lies in my head. It’s looked like whispering, “God, please help me,” as I open my eyes in the morning and close them at night and trusting that he will do so. It’s knowing that reading the Bible is so very hard and the lens in which I do so now is completely different than it was before August 12, 2019, but when I do read it I am strengthened and comforted. It’s realizing that praying is harder than it’s ever been and I often wonder, ‘does he even hear me,’ but he has shown me many times over the last 500 days that he does hear me…the realization is not instant, but does it come. I run to him, cry out to him and experience a peace that surpasses understanding. I climb into a strong refuge and hiding place. I’ve gotten to know him as “Immanuel,” God with me. I’ve learned that I have been able to depend on him when I needed him most.
My daughter recently sang, “O, Holy Night,” at her Winter Recital and the words, “A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,” have been playing over and over in my head so I decided to do a little digging and find out what the phrase, “A thrill of hope” means. A quick Google search revealed that I am not the only one who has pondered this. I love this explanation from www.maryandmartha.com…
Thrill: Piercing and Penetrating (Webster’s 1828)
Hope: A desire of some good accompanied with at least a slight expectation of obtaining it, or a belief that it is obtainable (Webster’s 1828)
The Thrill of Hope, a piercing penetrating desire and expectation of an obtainable good.
Hope. True hope, can only be found in one place and one place only. Jesus.
“A Thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn’
Fall on your knees…”
In my weary state, there is rejoicing! Why? Because there is a new morning coming. Does this remove my pain, despair and grief? No..grief and joy will forever coexist in my soul until I’m reunited with my son in heaven.
The steadfast love the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I will hope in him. Lamentations 3:22-24
Whatever you faced yesterday, today or tomorrow, you have hope, and his name is Jesus!
What are you facing as the year closes? What are you longing for in 2021?
I’m facing the close of an entire year, 366 days, without my firstborn child and only son. I’m facing another day, month and year of grief and sadness. What am I longing for in 2021? That I will continue growing in my faith, depending on the Lord to carry me through and the strength to keep honoring my son by healing. I long for a bit more joy to return to my heart and soul with each passing day and I long to become a little more of the mom and wife I was before losing Caleb.
How can Jesus be your (and my) true hope in the worst of times? He never changes. His grace, love and mercy is steadfast in all circumstances.
After my unfathomable moments, God stepped into my life and put action behind his promises. I’ve not asked him to remove my sorrow, but to help me see how I can learn, grow and produce good from my tragedy.
A thrill of hope, my weary soul rejoices. For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn’