Many people have deemed me a strong person since my sister passed away 3 months ago. I’m eternally grateful that God is preserving me and presenting me with His strength to gracefully grieve.
I have to be brutally honest and say there are some days I thank God for that strength and other times I wish people understood it.
I thank God because I know the strength comes from Him. On the other hand, I feel like people assume I’m always ok. Two wise people taught me that it’s ok not to be ok!
Just because I’m hopeful it doesn’t mean I’m ok, it just means that I know I will be one day!
My hope is attached to the fact that I was built for this! It was all part of the plan!
If you asked me 3 years ago what I would be doing in life now, I would have said I’d be a writer and doing some type of ministry. However, I would’ve never guessed my ministry would be about grief. At the time I was in my senior year of undergrad for a journalism degree and working heavily with teenagers in ministry.
Fast forward to 2019 I would not be surprised at all if you told me I would have The Grief Plus Hope Journey now. I wouldn’t be surprised because it was part of the plan. By 2019 I was knee-deep in the process of accepting that my sister would eventually pass away. One night, approximately a year before she died, I was at a church group meeting and the activity was to create a vision board. This vision board was a little different because we were instructed to write or draw what we could see happening within the next year and then what would happen within the next five years.
On the top of my list for the next year was grief ministry. There was no other explanation I put beside it and it was the first time I told people the plan. It was actually the first time I acknowledged the plan. I remember the room becoming awkwardly silent when I presented it and I couldn’t blame them. Without a tear in sight, I told a room full of people with confidence that I knew my only sister would die and a ministry would come from it within a year. It has been 3 months since Kayla left this earth and at least once a week I ask myself and God how was I able to say that so easily and where did that come from.
A few days ago randomly, I realized it was a part of the plan all along and I was built for this. Whatever pain God is allowing in your life, please hold onto the hope that you were built for this. Since God allowed it to happen to you, I’m a firm believer that you are already made with enough strength inside of you to make it. When He created you, He had a plan for you and He knew what life would bring. I just believe that the all-knowing God I serve equips us for what He will allow in our lives. The bible says that greater is in you than what is in the world!
I have used Jeremiah 29:11 in a previous post but it continues to bless me in different ways.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.”
Jeremiah 29:11-13 NLT
So when people deem you as strong or automatically think you are ok without asking, remind yourself: I was built for this. Even in the days when I don’t feel strong and I can feel my heart breaking all over again I quickly remind myself: I was built for this!
You can handle whatever situation comes your way because:
1. God knows the plan He has for you!
2. The plans are good and will not be a disaster!
3. He is listening when you pray and can be found when you seek Him
Now how did I get that answer?
Take a deep breath because this will require a perspective shift!
1 Corinthians 15:54-55 says “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” Then verse 57-58 says, “But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.”
My hope is in the fact that my battle through grief is a fixed fight! I don’t have to worry about whether or not I will have a happy life after this devastating situation because God has already fought the battle for me! Through Jesus Christ I am victorious!
With this, I encourage anyone dealing with grief to not focus on the death! Death is swallowed up in victory! Don’t waste your energy battling something that is already defeated!
In other words, I am not grieving the death of my sister; she has the victory in Heaven. I didn’t lose her; I know exactly where she is!
So what am I grieving if it’s not death?
I’m grieving the life I had while she was here with me. My sister and I were 3 1/2 years apart. I do not remember what life was like before her. In fact, my first memories in life were naming and meeting her. Although I was the oldest, Kayla was the more outspoken one, and even the more memorable or popular one (the introvert in me was perfectly fine with that). I’ve always happily taken on the role of Kayla’s sister. I was her Elsa and she was my Ana. While I will forever be her sister, I had to grieve the old me!
I’m no longer the bigger sister that I was before February 5, 2020. From that day on I had to grieve who I was and discover who I will become without her. Surprisingly that mentality gives me hope! Grieving and focusing on her death will solve nothing and keep me in depression because it is a constant reminder of something that ended. Focusing on the journey of discovering a new life brings hope to an awful situation. I get to focus on my future which means there is more to come! That gives me hope! Remember the plan from God is for a hope and a future!
That’s what my hope and strength are rooted in today.
I pray that anyone dealing with grief can find the same hope and strength through Our Savior.
If you don’t know the Savior I speak of I would like to learn more about Him and accept Him into your heart, please leave a comment below or reach out privately at email@example.com