Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Finding Life in Death

    Psalm 33:22 claims, "May your unfailing love be with us, LORD, even as we put our hope in you."
    Death has been an unwanted visitor too often in my life. Starting at the age of 10, death came knocking on our family's door priodically. All four grandparents passed, my great-grandmother, my cousin was murdered, my niece drowned at the age of two and two friends committed suicide. I have always held onto the notion that death is just a doorway into an eternal perfection with Christ.
      Honestly, until my close friend's suicide I perceived death as natural, almost beautiful, simply a part of life's cycle.  In fact, while I was pregnant with my eldest I hoped he would meet his great-grandmother. Instead, four months before he was born, I stayed with my grandmother and held her hands the last hours of her earthly life. It was sad, yet beautiful. I witnessed her departure to eternity.
     However, when I learned my friend left this world in shame and heartache, I crumbled. I had just given birth to my third child and postpartum depression had already taken its place in my life. As if it happened yesterday, I recall standing at the kitchen counter recounting a memory of this person. When my husband heard his name mentioned he then remembered that a mutual friend had told him the devastating news. Three years before is when my friend had ended his life in despair. We had lost contact due to moving around.
      My sense of life and mortality radically changed in a second. As I heard the news, my mind literally went into tunnel vision. I couldn't see straight. I researched frantically on the internet to find any information on his departure. I had no closure. This open wound festered in my heart for over a year. Daily life was a struggle. I didn't know who I was. I  had no one to seek out for comfort or solace. My entire being was mummifying before my family. Grief was physically making me ill. It was then that my fibromyalgia first peeked out in my life.
      For the first time in my life I questioned God's sanity. Who was He to do such a thing to me? Oh, boy. I always believed Jesus was my Savior, but I didn't know Him as a friend. I would be driving along and grief would punch me in the gut. The air seemed to get sucked out of me. I was suffocating myself.  It was then I cried out to Jesus. He was my Only Hope.
     One of the first verses as a baby believer that spoke to me was Romans 8:28. "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." I was still looking for the "good."
    Talking to God became easier as I was doing it all day, just to get through the time. I realized as people told me to get "over" it, I couldn't. Only God could get me through it. I was going to have to deal with every emotion that came my way, but no longer would I cling onto the grief as I had been. I had been living in fear of losing my memories. As illogical as it was, I believed if I let go of the grief I was letting go of this person as well.
      Christ taught me something completely different. He freed me from the walls I put around myself. I wasn't even allowing my husband to come in anymore. Seven years earlier, before I truly was in relationship with Jesus, a friend shared a verse that I always carried with me, not realizing the impact it would have later on in my life. 2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." As I turned to Christ for solace I became a new creature. I haven't been the same since. Jesus Christ filled the gaping hole in my heart and healed me, filling me with His love that never falters or wavers.
       I still miss my friend, especially on special days, such as when he passed, his birthday, etc. I pray for his family still every night hoping they have grown closer to God as well. It took a couple years for me to even catch a glimpse of God's glory in my friend's departure. You see, if he hadn't left, I may not have turned to God the way I did. God was calling me so fervently during this period of my life, I couldn't ignore Him anymore. I answered His call. My family has become a united family. My children know God because of my friend. That my friends is where God's glory displays itself. In the ashes God brings beauty.

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