Eight days ago, my mother passed over into glory. On December 3rd, she told me she was going to spend Christmas with her mom and dad. Mom suffered through every stage of dementia and for the past month of her life had difficulty speaking sentences. She would also have times when she was not herself, her mind was elsewhere. It was in one of those moments that she said this. I responded, “That’s wonderful, Mom,” because I was so ready for her suffering to end. How did she know? Only God knows. For those moments, I claim Deuteronomy 29:29, “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”
For that past week I’ve been wrapped in grief. Having cared for Mom the past two and a half years, living in her home, I never thought past the day of her death, when this house would be strangely empty, and I’d be left with memories at every turn. I did not expect to grieve, but I did. I’m so thankful for a husband who gave me room to do so and quietly went about his work of taking care of business. I’m also thankful for our three-year-old neighbor-grandson who, because of sickness, spent two of the hardest days keeping me preoccupied.
But you can’t take off the wrapping of grief. It is not an enjoyable wrap. And as I watched the colorful wrappings be torn from the gifts from under the tree, I realized that I needed to ask God to take off the wrappings because only He knows when my heart is ready to live again.
I will keep on grieving, but the morning that shroud began to tear and I could face the day with a glimmer of hope was the greatest gift I received this Christmas. No one would choose to lose a loved one during the holidays, but in some ways, all the festive activities give us a reason to keep moving forward. Thinking of my mom in heaven with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ as well as her family, and not here, lying on her deathbed, creates a swell of thankfulness to my gracious heavenly Father that allows me to come forth like that butterfly who has wiggled out of its chrysalis. If you have ever watched that process, you will understand better the struggle it is to emerge from the grief wrap. It is then that you stretch your wings and for the first time see life from a higher view.
Dear reader, I have no idea what your grief is all about. It may be the death of a dream or the heartbreak of broken relationships. Perhaps yours is just the grieving struggle of living in conflict. Allow the Lord to wrap you, because even though those wrappings look frightening from our earthly view, they are really the precious everlasting arms of our loving Savior!
After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.”Revelation 4:1