The quote below from the bible is one of my all-time favorite. I wrote it on a piece of paper and carried it with me for months after Brittany died. When I would have moments where I didn’t think I could carry on, I’d get it out and read it. Or I’d reach in my pocket while at work and just grasp it and know it was there and repeat it over and over to get through the moment.
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted / and saves those who are crushed in spirit” – Palsm 34:18
I came to know and see grace differently after Britt’s death. I don’t think I ever really knew what having grace meant before even after my mom’s death some 18 years earlier. Grace was a foreign concept to me even being a Christian which I know might sound odd.
What does grace look like? It looks like someone noticing you are having a moment and they come and comfort you. They take you by the hand and say “go take a break I’ll cover for you”. You get a card or letter that day that makes all the difference. An email arrives with a message that has been heavy on your heart. It’s all coming from God through others. It’s called Grace.
Recently I heard Andy Stanley speak about “sustainable grace” and it struck me that he could have been talking about my story. Which brings me to the second scripture I carried around in my pocket and placed strategically in several locations throughout my house.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:13
I felt God’s grace throughout the weeks and months after Brittany’s death. A grace like none other. I did not experience after my mom died. So in some way grace seemed foreign to me and I wasn’t sure what to do with it. Grace shows up in various ways and can create this cocoon over your life to help soften the hard blows of grief. Not sure I would have survived my daughter’s death without the grace of God. Grace helped me move forward even when I wasn’t sure I wanted to.
Some days moving forward has meant progress and some days it has meant moving backwards. Just when I thought “I got this” – it all came crashing around me and I felt as though I was fooling myself. I realized at some point that I am a survivor and I am here for a purpose. Although a piece of me is gone forever. The poem I wrote about missing Brittany speaks to that missing part of my heart. That hole that will forever remain. But God’s grace has placed a patch over it and the ache isn’t as bad today as it was in the early days.
I’ve learned that today is a gift and tomorrow is not guaranteed. Some days I’m better at surviving than others, but I am surviving and as painful as that is sometimes it is better because of the grace God grants me each and every day.
Until next time,