I am not going to go through my entire life story telling you about all the bad things that have happened and the trials I've been through. This isn't about my story.I'm sure there are many people out there who have lost a lot more than I have. We all have our own stories, and our own heartbreaks. We aren't going to compare stories right now. Who or how much you lost is not the topic here. But rather how loss changes us. In whatever way, something is different now. This is about what God has taught me through grief and suffering. Here are five things God taught me about life...
-The pain doesn't go away, but it does change.
In the spans of four years I lost three grandparents, and an equal number of close friends. And time hasn't completely 'healed my wound' as they say it should. With every new accomplishment I make, there is a renewed sense of sadness that three of the people I loved most won't be there to see it. I couldn't show them my drivers license when I first got it. I didn't get to tell them when I got accepted into a good college. They knew me as a girl, but never got to see the grown up me. Would they be proud of me? Would my Grandpa give me a big hug, and would his face still feel scratchy on my cheek? There is so much I wish I could tell them, and show them. Still, in the middle of all these 'if only's' I can cry happy tears over the good memories I have of them. Like when my Grandpa would press his face up against my car window and make me laugh. Or when my Nanny would listen to my stories and tell me about growing up in the 40s. Those memories are priceless to me. I wouldn't trade them for any other grandparents that could have stayed here for ever.
- Heaven feels more real now.
I knew before that heaven was real, but knowing that people I love are there... It's difficult to explain how close I feel to heaven now. It's not just a fairy tale land and it isn't something man made up. My God created it, and I have loved ones that live there.
-I appreciate the people I still have more.
I loved them before, but I didn't realize how important they are. They could be gone in an instant just like the people that I lost. It's important to tell people that you love them, and spending time with them is golden. You will never wish that you had spent more time watching TV or playing video games. But you might wish you had asked your grandparents more questions, and listened to their tales. Learn to cherish the people you have, and really get to know them.
-Showing emotion isn't easy.
As a general rule, I don't cry in public. I have broken that rule more times than I care to mention, but it remains a rule nonetheless. I don't like crying, because I don't like pity. I had resigned myself to shedding a few tears, but most of the time I was trying very hard not to become a wailing spectacle. Until I lost my Grandpa, I didn't know it was possible to cry as much as I did. But I did cry, and I learned not to feel ashamed about it.
-God's peace is real.
I know that now, because it's what held me up. It kept me from falling apart when I really thought I would. I had never felt such comfort and understanding like the peace that God placed in my heart. God didn't choose death for my grandparents, our sins makes death inevitable. God made a way for us to live again, way for us to be truly happy, a way for us to know Him. He gives us hope, and that is what keeps me going.
God doesn't choose to make us suffer, we suffer because of sin. But God does use our sufferings to teach us and bring us closer to Him. Pain is inevitable, and because of sin people will die. But there is something more to it. Jesus tells us about suffering in Luke 9: "The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day. And He said to them all. If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it." Losing our life doesn't always mean literally dying. It could simply be surrendering control of our lives fully to God. God will never give us undo grief. There are reasons we may never even understand. But God is faithful. He will rebuild you when you're broken, and you will be broken sometimes. But God is always there.
If you are dealing with present or past heartbreak, my friend Alysa Davis has written a book called "Then Sings My Soul: How to Handle Heartbreak" which I would highly recommend. Not only is she a talented author, she is an amazing person whom I have personally learned a lot from. Her book touched my heart because I could tell that she put her heart in it. You can't fake passion, and she has it. I'm so thankful that God brought her into my life. You can buy her book on Amazon by clicking through this link: