I cannot completely tell you about 2008 without telling you about the spiritual aspects as well.
I wish I could say:
- Everything about saying goodbye to Mama was spiritually life affirming.
- I adjusted my halo and smoothed my choir robe, and gave all the praise and glory to God.
- I agreed that God was good, and that He knew what He was doing.
- In my heart I graciously accepted every word, and action of those around me as the encouragement they meant it to be.
- I did not become hyper-critical of the mothers of my friends and family.
BUT… I can’t say any of those things, without being a BIG FAT LIAR.
Because the truth is that I was changed in all levels of my being. Physically I became overweight, emotionally I had a broken heart, and spiritually I was rocked to the core.
You see… when you believe that someone is in heaven, you REALLY have to believe that heaven is there. When you believe that God is good, you REALLY have to believe His plan is good for you, too. When you believe that God deserves praise and glory in every circumstance, you REALLY also have to believe he deserves praise when you bury someone you love.
Is God really in control?
Is He really good?
Is there really a heaven?
Does God take people to heaven too early?
Why my Mama?
Why not someone else?
Questions like this popped into my head regularly.
I had ALWAYS believed that God was good, that He was in control, that He deserved praise and glory continuously, and that there was a “place” called heaven. However, Mama’s death made me stand on my feet of faith. I couldn’t just believe anymore. I had to TRUST.
TRUST that my Heavenly Daddy really does work all things together for my good. (Rom. 8:28)
TRUST that He really does know the death of everyone, because He’s keeping an appointment. (Heb. 9:27)
TRUST that His ways are higher than my ways. (Isaiah 55:8-9)
TRUST that He really is good. (Psalms 100:5)
TRUST that there really is a heaven. (John 14:2-3)
I also had to view faith differently.
One commonly known passages of scripture on the topic of faith is Hebrews 11. It is often called the “roll call of the faithful.” It lists many miraculous things that God did through people who had faith, and most people stop there. But it also says,
“…Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. 36 Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented— 38 of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.39 And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise”
This is what faith had become for me. By faith Abraham, Moses, Noah, David, Isaac, and Gideon did amazing things, but my name and Mama’s death wasn’t going to be listed with them.
I was going to be listed with those in chains. I’ve worn the chains of grief.
I was going to be listed with those who were sawn. Death had cut my heart in two.
I was going to be listed with those that wandered in deserts and mountains. I have felt the dryness that loss brings to my relationship with God, and climbed the impossible mountains of doubt and emptiness.
I have had the HONOR to be listed at the end. I have been able to see God in the pain. I have been able to watch God heal my Mama, by taking her to heaven instead of healing her here on earth.
I will be listed at the end, not because I did not question, not because I loved every moment of the process. I will be listed at the end, because God was waiting for me in the midst of the heartbreak, and I just kept turning to Him.
My faith was not sea-parting, or battle-winning. Mine was faith-shaking, pain-filled, and reality-breaking.
And that is the whole story of “the year of 2008,” and when you tell it I pray it starts with…
BY FAITH CHRISTINA…