One Year Today

This week will mark the one year anniversary of my mom’s death.  A day that will be forever held in my heart as sacred, the end of a lifelong relationship.   The day I said good bye to my best friend, my spiritual mentor, my co-worker, my mother.  There has not been a day since that I have not had her on my mind, wished I could see her again or longed to hear her voice.  How do you go on from a loss like that?  I’ve told you more than once that I didn’t think I could live through it, didn’t think I would survive.  But, here I am a year later, still breathing, still getting up day after day and facing each one with all the energy I can muster.  That fact alone is a testimony to God’s faithfulness.  He does not leave us even when we want to be left alone, he does not run when the times get tough.  I am living proof.

I have been told time and again that it gets easier after a year.  I am not entirely sure I understand what that means, but I do know that I don’t cry every single day anymore. And lately, I have more good days than bad ones. Not long ago when I was thinking of her, I laughed out loud at the memory, without crying.  I’ve turned her picture back up on my dresser, seeing her face doesn’t hurt so badly.  I find that I want to see it in full color more and more these days.  I walked into her bedroom the other day, at my dad’s, and just stood and soaked in the memories.  I stepped into the closet where her clothes  still hang, and cherished the feeling that she stood in that exact spot on more than one morning wondering what to wear.  I think of that now and I am moved deeply by her fight to live.  But, earth wasn’t what God had for her, it was her time to go home.

When I think of what she must be feeling in heaven and I feel sadness creep in like an old blanket. Happy for her, sad for me.  Just as I am ready to bury myself in the sadness, I feel the voice of the Holy Spirit speak to me in the depths of my heart.  “She loves it here, she doesn’t want to come back.”  Call it what you want, self-comfort, learning to cope, whatever makes you feel comfortable with the idea of a voice in your inner being; but I know it was the Lord.  He comforted me at just the time I needed it.  She is okay, better than okay, waiting for us to join her.  That helps me to face each day.  I’m feeling happiness more than sadness.  Living my life in love and joy with her in mind, instead of allowing the sorrow of it to keep me paralyzed in grief.  I know that is what she would want.

I guess what is happening in my heart is the realization of hope.  Fresh hope for better tomorrows.  I feel like my flame of hope was dimmed over the last year and even the two before as she fought for her life.  It has been a long three years.  But, something has happened this month.  I cannot explain it, and I don’t understand it, but the hope within me is being rekindled.  My flame is starting to grow.  Oh, my heart still aches, I think it always will.  But, the warmth from the flame of hope has begun to wrap itself around me once again.

Hope is such a powerful emotion. I actually took the time to look it up to see exactly how to define what I feel.  The Google definition says “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.”  Yes, an expectancy to see my mom again, but that explanation just didn’t seem to totally fit what I was feeling so I kept reading.  The next line really resonated with me, “a feeling of trust.” I have struggled with trust issues most of my life and the passing of my mom just seemed to reinforce my feelings of mistrust all the more.  When I read this second half of the definition, I felt like bells went off in my mind.  THAT is how I feel, like I’m starting to trust again, actually more than I did before.  Learning to trust on a deeper level that can only come after facing what feels like the deepest betrayal or let-down; trust after loss.  This kind of trust is at the core of my issues; being left behind or alone.  What I’ve learned is that I’m never really alone, never.  God has proven himself to me, he did not have to, but he chose to. And now I’m learning to trust, to really trust in the deepest places of my soul.  This place is only the beginning, I know that.  Again I am reminded of the verse he gave me at the start of the year “I am doing a new thing…”  and , oh, he is!

There is a song that comes on Christian radio, it has been popular for a long time.  After mom died I couldn’t listen to it.  Anytime I heard the opening lines, I quickly changed the station.   But, last week, for the first time since last October, I didn’t reach up to turn the channel, I just sat there, almost defiantly listening to see if I could make it through the song.  About half way through I began to smile at the thought of the truth in the words, then I began to cry at the truth in the words.  Joy mixed with sorrow, the theme of all of our lives, really.  I’ve heard it a couple of times since then, and it almost feels holy to me as I sit and listen, God comes especially near while I allow the words and music to wash over me like a fresh renewal in my spirit.  I understand the lyrics so well, because I have lived the words.  Many of you will have heard this song, as you read the lyrics below, really think about what they are saying and how they might apply to your life…

“Blessings”  by Laura Story

We pray for blessings, we pray for peace

Comfort for family, protection while we sleep

We pray for healing, for prosperity

We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering

And all the while, You hear each spoken need

Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things

‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops

What if Your healing comes through tears

What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near

What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear

We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near

We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love

As if every promise from Your word is not enough

And all the while, You hear each desperate plea

And long that we’d have faith to believe

‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops

What if Your healing comes through tears

What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near

What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us When darkness seems to win We know

that pain reminds this heart That this is not, This is not our home It’s not our home

‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops

What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near

What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life

Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy

What if trials of this life The rain, the storms, the hardest nights

Are your mercies in disguise

Honestly, I have not had a thousand sleepless nights, but I’ve had my share.  I have tasted salty tears caused by tough times, I have lived through disappointments and heartaches, I have loved and lost, but these experiences were not in vain.  They were developing in me a “glory that far outweighs them all.”  Something bigger than my “light and momentary struggles.” Eternity.  The hope of a far better place.  The hope of more to come, both here and in heaven.  So, maybe that’s it, maybe that’s the thing that is making a difference as this first year comes to an end, renewed hope.

I will miss my momma, my sweet momma, until the day I leave this planet and meet her on the golden streets of heaven.   Then we will dance and sing and catch up, and, of course, go fishing.  But, until then, I am going to dance and sing and live my life with HOPE.  Because hope does not disappoint.  It believes and expects and trusts.

Hope is burning brightly, can you see it?

candle of hope

II Corinthians 4:17 “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”

Psalm 27:13 “Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while here in the land of the living.”

Romans 5:5 “and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

Isaiah 43:19 “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

11 comments

  1. Kitty Luttrell · October 27, 2015

    Just wanted you to know that I’m thinking about you today. Hoping your day will be filled with warm memories of your mother rather than sadness. With love, Kitty.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Like

    • sandimcarlson · October 27, 2015

      Thank you, Kitty, I sure appreciate those prayers. It’s been a tough road, but God has been faithful. Much love to you.

      Like

  2. Ronnie Fuqua · October 27, 2015

    Beautiful remembrance of a beautiful lady.

    Like

  3. Joni · October 27, 2015

    Beautiful words Sandi Lou 🙂 Your mom was such a blessing to all that knew her. I didn’t know her long, but the time I did have with her, was a blessing. Now I share my birthday with a very special Homecoming for such a special lady. I don’t think I could imagine sharing my birthday with anyone more special then Mrs. Lanita. Love ya 😚

    Like

  4. Stephanie Walker · October 27, 2015

    Amen.

    Like

  5. RuthParker · November 2, 2015

    It comforts me to share these thoughts with you. I’m sorry you had to lose your mom but somehow knowing someone else “understands” gives me a kindred soul. You say it best. Thanks!

    Like

    • sandimcarlson · November 2, 2015

      Thank you Ruth, I appreciate your comment. These are tough times for sure, but there’s a lot to be learned from them. We were both blessed to have wonderful mama’s!

      Like

      • Carolyn Jordan · January 9, 2016

        Sandi, i have not had time to follow all , lately, but i am catching up! Your Mama is glowing in heaven with pride if, indeed, they can see us. But, i know if she can’t, she would be so proud of your reflections and love for her if she could. You have captured the feelings of all who have lost someone so special. You are special!

        Like

      • sandimcarlson · January 10, 2016

        Thank you so much, Carolyn. Please continue to pray for me as I seek to walk down this road God has set me on. And pray for our broken hearts as we miss momma every day. Sure appreciate your comment and encouragement! God bless.

        Like

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