When my very dear friend passed away suddenly a few weeks ago, another sweet friend who always has the right words to say gave me a simple little wooden plaque with the word “hope” inscribed on it. She had tied it with a pink satin ribbon which I have chosen to leave on. The soft, feminine drape of this ribbon reminds me of the female friendship I have not only lost, but also enjoyed for too brief a time. And yet this small word, “hope”, stares at me from the hard, raw wood of this piece, begging me to consider what it means.
I’ve pondered this word now for weeks. It’s small yet so powerful. When I consider death, hope to me does not mean I hope for the best that perhaps my friend has gone on to a better place. Not at all. Although I continue to grieve the loss of this beautiful lady’s presence in my life and miss her beyond words, my hope is a confident certainty that she IS with her Savior and that I know without a doubt that I will see her again one day.
Hope may mean different things to different people. As an EDS Mama, I would not have been able to continue on without hope. How could a mother possibly watch her child struggle on so many different levels without hope? How do you bear that the child whom you carried lives in constant pain for years with no relief in sight? How do you manage to care for the rest of your family when you are exhausted from being a full time caregiver and have nothing else to give? How do you go to doctor after doctor knowing something is wrong with your child but nobody can seem to help you? Even after a diagnosis, how do you find any joy in life when nobody can fix things enough for your child that each day is not still a struggle?
The answer, my friend, is because of hope. But what matters is the object of your hope. Hope in anything else besides God alone will disappoint you and make you feel hopeless. Some might hope in their own strength, hope in a doctor or a specific treatment, hope for a good response from others, or simply hope for the best. Some may find it safer to have no hope at all and just experience life for what each moment in time presents. Did you know the bible refers to God as the God of hope? Romans 15:13 NIV says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” In what are you hoping? Are you feeling hopeless? I pray that God would restore your hope as you focus on the God of hope.
Am I convinced?
One of my dearest friends passed away almost two weeks ago. This friend helped me to heal as an EDS Mama. I thought that I needed to connect with other EDS Mamas to heal, but I learned that God can use different trials in life to teach the same lessons. We developed a deep friendship even though our trials were not the same. She taught me to take care of myself and taught me practical ways I could get a break from the load I was carrying. One of her favorite ways was to simply go and see a movie without discussing our burdens. I miss her terribly and I feel frozen in time. I have not felt much interest in Facebook or my blog. Here I have a verse on my blog that says I AM CONVINCED! It says "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39 NIV. Do I really believe that? A week before she suddenly passed away I had mailed out the first of four packages to moms and their EDS daughters, a mission to which I felt called. Now, I'm finding it difficult to move on in a sense. I know my friend would not be happy with me. She would want me to continue to make a difference in the lives of others. I know that what I am feeling is grief and that to heal I have to allow myself to embrace those feelings in order to move forward.
I am trying to read my bible and ask God to heal me. I have been reading on a website called www.shereadstruth.com in their “Mourning and Dancing” series. Today I read a verse to which I cling. Revelation 21:4-5 NIV says “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, 'Behold, I am making all things new.' Also he said, 'Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.'" I thought I had seen my share of life and death as an EDS Mama, but God is teaching me that I have not. He’s asking me to sacrifice more that I hold dear. These verses in Revelation comfort me as I have cried bucketfuls since my friend died. It is hard for me to imagine no more tears and no more pain because in this lifetime, there is plenty of both! But there is coming a day such as this. God is making all things new and as a believer in Christ, I get to experience that one day just like my friend has.
The pain I feel from her loss is indescribable. But my God knows me intimately and sees every tear I shed. When my EDS daughter was facing death’s door, I was convinced. God is reminding me what that feels like in a different scenario. Don't get me wrong...I AM CONVINCED. Nothing can separate me or you from God's love. It is deeper and wider than the ocean. But at the same time that we believe these truths, our human hearts can hurt. I'm trying to take more time picturing what my dear friend must be enjoying in Heaven these days. I hope to be posting to my blog shortly and I know that God will continue the work in me that He began. I would appreciate your prayers as I continue to mourn and learn to dance again and allow God to make something new.