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Trusting The Healer In Grief

The first of every month, I am usually prepared for what I will say. I have it ready to send to the Web Designer, and I am so confident in the published work, but not this month. You see, Momma J, my mother-in-law, but my mommy, passed away on November 8th at 5:05 am. My daughter then was married November 11th at 5:00 pm.

Grief is complex and funny in that we can say the word, and we have all experienced it because it is so universal; our bodies instantly know the feeling of loss, and yet so individual because of the intimacy between the loss of two people. Oftentimes grief occurs even during role transitions or moving. To make this season even more complex, in spite of all the blessings in my life, I am letting go of the children’s childhood home. 

So, as I think of what He would want to say to me, or what I would want to share with you it is this. He still sees. He knows. He is close to the brokenhearted. He promises this in Psalm 34:18-19. I hold onto the truth that Christ has been better than good to me. I remember He healed me, saved me, and has blessed me abundantly, but in moments of grief it is hard to remember these truths. This I know. 

I think one way we begin to heal and move through grief is to remember the legacy and the lessons of what we are leaving behind or who is leaving us in this life. So I thought I would share what my mommy taught me in hopes that it might help you. I think of what I would want to tell my daughter, and heaven knows she has listened to me way longer than she wishes to remember, but the lessons would be the same. And, at the close of the blog is the dance we danced at her wedding. Praise be to the Father for healing me. I also included the poems I wrote to honor momma at my wedding and at her memorial service. 

Things to Remember from the life of Momma. Things I want girlie to remember: 

  • People are People; there is good in everyone. 
  • Humor makes the hard times easier. 
  • Every conversation is better on a patio.
  • Desserts should be eaten first.
  • Find excitement every day. Every day has a treasure to be discovered. 
  • Red nail color is the best. 
  • Yellow is a beautiful color, but wear red and hats as often as you can.
  • There is always time for friends and neighbors…always. 
  • Time is precious and should never be wasted. 
  • Be you. That is all you have to be. As you are, you are enough. 
  • Notice People. Always thank those that serve you. 
  • Don’t worry about the grumpy people in your life. Nothing pleases them; and that is about them, not you.
  • Cry. Cry as much as you need, but get back up and fight again. 
  • Love. Love all. Friends can be family. Your mother-in-law can be mommy. 
  • Always let guests in, let them stay as long as they need. 
  • Some wounds and scars don’t heal, but you can experience Joy anyway. Share the hurts when it could help another.
  • Be the light; some people only have darkness; shine your light. 
  • Love with honesty and integrity even when those around you failed to do so.
  • Pick up. Move on. Live. Never stop Living. No. Matter. What.
  • Love and trust again even when it hurts. 
  • When you see the best in someone, they are capable of becoming their best. 
  • Pray and Sing. Praise often. It helps. 
  • It is okay to speak your mind. Just add a laugh and a smile at the end. 
  • Love is not defined by DNA; neither is family. Love them all.
  • In all things remember Christ, and place Him first. Faith above all.
  • Serve. Give. Love; that is what the Christian faith is all about. Be sure to pass it on. 
  • Smile. Live. Laugh and love. The greatest of these is love. 

Finally as we Carry on her Legacy…I used her name to remember the most important points:

Joyful: Romans 12:12 NIV “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” She was always so happy…just maybe not on Tuesday mornings with Joe’s 8:00 class…But may we always be mindful, no matter the circumstances, to seek joy, have hope and always pray.

Overcame: Joyce overcame a lot in her life. Revelations 12:11 says that we overcome by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony. 1 John 5 says that we overcome this life in our love for one another and our intimacy with Christ, and we know Joyce did these things. May we remember these points and do the same. We are overcomers through Christ Jesus. 

You: You matter to people and you matter to Christ. (John 3:16)

Celebrate: Celebrate people. Conversations matter. She noticed the least in this world. Matthew 25:40 speaks of when you have done to the least of least, you have done unto Christ. May we remember her example and do the same. 

Eternity: Joyce is in eternity in heaven with Christ, and it is our prayer that each of you if you have not accepted Christ will do so. And, we have the hope of Eternity that she is not lost, we will see her again, and she is a part of our great cloud of witnesses cheering us on. In Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV, the Bible encourages us: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” In this life, it is not about how we start but how we finish. Joyce is a perfect example of this. 

I know Momma is cheering us on…So, Run on Honey, Run on.

May God Bless and Keep You,

Abi 

MOMMA

(Poem written by Abi and read for our wedding 10.14.23)

Momma couldn’t be here today. The crowds just cause too much anxiety these days. 

Momma couldn’t be here today. That mouth of her’s just has no filter on the fly these days.

It’s okay Momma you know I have that issue sometimes too. 

Momma couldn’t be here today. Her walking isn’t as steady as it used to be.

It’s okay Momma, we will keep holding your hands and walking slowly when you come home. 

Momma couldn’t be here today, but the man standing before you carries so many of her qualities.

Just look at him and you will see her legacy. 

That stride walking in, such determination and grit, just like hers before she became so frail. 

Those shoulders, carry such a heavy load for those around him, just like she did all those years as mom.

Those eyes, tell such a story and give away his mood, just like hers even now. 

The smile, it warms a room and hearts all around, just like hers all those years.

The mouth, shares such comfort, grace, and peace, just like the memories we hold of her speaking to us all the many times.

And the laugh, he doesn’t always belly laugh like her, but when he does, Momma can still be heard.

And in humming of the hymns, we can still hear her melody. Yes, she knew every song.

Momma is here today in the beauty which we see, she can be found:

    Like, the yellow in the lotus flowers at the pond. 

    And in the beauty of the lace and sparkle that’s all  around. 

    But most all, she is here in that Wonderful Man Waiting Around. 

MOMMA

(An adaptation of the poem for her service on 11.14.2023; I was not expecting her to pass so soon.)

Momma was called home early Wednesday Morning. 

Momma’s in heaven worshiping around God’s throne. She left this earth listening to her favorite new song…

Touching Jesus, and we know she is today. 

We will miss so much about Momma and we know:

Momma isn’t here, but the man standing before you carries so many of her qualities.

Just look at him and you will see her legacy. 

That stride walking in, such determination and grit, just like hers before she became so frail. 

Those shoulders, carry such a heavy load for those around him, just like she did all those years as mom.

Those eyes, tell such a story and give away his mood, just like hers before now. 

The smile, it warms a room and hearts all around, just like hers all those years.

The mouth, shares such comfort, grace, and peace, just like the memories we hold of her speaking to us all the many times.

And the laugh, he doesn’t always belly laugh like her, but when he does, Momma can still be heard.

And in humming of the hymns, we can still hear her melody. Yes, she knew every song.

Momma is here today in the beauty which we see, she can be found:

    Like, the yellow in the lotus flowers at the pond. 

    And in the beauty of the lace and sparkle that’s all around. 

            And in the joy of laughter and humor shared in her grandchildren and with those around. 

    But most all, she is here in that Wonderful Man Standing Around.