I’ve recently learned the real meaning of Joy in a time of mourning. Until June 2015,I had never lost someone extremely close to me, however, my life completely changed June 22, 2015.
Lately, the Lord has been moving in ways that Jason and I don’t fully understand. He has shut doors to what we thought were the best things for us at this point, while at the same time, opening doors for a clearer vision of our future. Getting back into the states has been quite the transition. After leaving for Canada and returning back to Newport, we had a list of things we wanted to do and people and places we wanted to see. We even tried to make some sort of schedule, and I’m sure the Lord was laughing at our attempt to plan our summer months. As we know, and have seen over and over again this past year, the Lord’s plans are always bigger and better than the plans we make for ourselves.
Jason and I had all these great plans leading up to our next big adventure of cycling the Pacific Coast Highway in August, but again… when we plan, the Lord changes those plans. And honestly we love it when He does. Yes, sometimes it’s hard when we don’t see the reason behind Him changing something, but when we sit back and search for the reason the Lord threw a curveball we are always so blessed by what He has in store.
For the month of June, our plans have changed a million and one times. Any sort of plan we thought we had for this month has been completely altered in one way or another, but praise God for those alterations. For He always has better ideas.
A week ago today my grandmother passed away. I have never lost anyone so close to me before, and let me tell you- it’s nothing like I ever imagined it would be. Words cannot even come close to expressing the gratefulness I have that the Lord changed so many of mine and Jason’s plans to allow us to be here in this time. It makes me tear up just thinking about the places we were “supposed to be” instead of being here. I mean really, we were still “supposed to be” in South America, and like I said, we have had a million and one other places that we were “supposed to be” than here in Oregon. But that’s just it, we thought we were supposed to be somewhere because it’s what sounded good to us, it made sense to us, it’s what we wanted to do. But just because we have those feelings doesn’t mean they are actually the best things for us.
I honestly believe that all the times I feel nauseous, weak in my knees, or have tears running down my face, would be me throwing up, passing out, and uncontrollably crying if I wasn’t here to spend my grandma’s last couple days with her. And the Lord knew that. He knows the deepest desires of my heart. He knows what would break my heart and tear me apart inside. He knows what my heart needs. He knows the ways to comfort me. He knows exactly where I needed to be in this time. And seriously Praise Him for that.. Like really take a moment and thank the Lord that He knows what I need and He knows exactly what you need too.
My Grandma Linda was an extremely special person to me. She always knew how to put a smile on my face. She was always there to listen to me vent and talk through things with me. Her doors were always open for a quick stop in and relax kind of day. Although she struggled through many things in her own life, she always put it all aside when I would walk in the door and we would talk and talk for hours.
This last year, I haven’t been able to just stop in and say hello. I haven’t been able to see her smiling face, and feel her gentle hugs. I haven’t been able to call just to chat. This past year I was traveling with my husband. I was growing closer with my husband and closer with the Lord. I was out walking through beautiful cities, and trekking amazing mountainsides experiencing the beauty the Lord has created for us to enjoy. I was doing the things I know my grandma was proud of me for doing. I was seeing the world how she always dreamed I would. And while I’m sad our conversations were limited to hit and miss messages and emails, I know she was so happy and she was living both our dreams of traveling through our pictures and posts.
Unfortunately, when I got back to her side in her hospital room, it was too late to catch up on the ten months that I spent away. It was too late to sit with her in her living room and talk for hours. It was too late to have dinner with her one more time. But Praise the Lord it wasn’t too late to chat for a little until she would fall back to sleep. Praise the Lord it wasn’t too late to feel her warm hand holding mine. Praise the Lord it wasn’t too late to kiss her cheek and tell her I love her. Praise the Lord it wasn’t too late to tell her, “I’ll see you in Heaven”.
Man, it gives me the chills to know she had a relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Knowing that she’s in Heaven makes me break down during worship because I know that my grandma is with the Lord worshipping Him always. Seeing the beauty the Lord has created on this Earth with the sunsets, the trees, the mountains, and the rivers gives me chills and puts a smile on my face because I know my grandma is seeing things far more beautiful than anything here.
Like I said in the beginning, my grandma passing away has been nothing like I would have ever imagined it to be. It is a mournful and joyful experience all at the same time. It’s sad that this ring on my finger isn’t on hers anymore, that her cute feet don’t occupy the shoes on my feet, and her special chair isn’t filled with her warm embrace and soft voice, but it’s so exciting to know that she is at her true home now. She is where she belongs and is out of the pain and suffering this world brings us. She is spending eternity in a place that is full of love, laugher, and everything joyful.
Praise God for the grandma He blessed me with. Praise God that He sent His Son to die for our sins, so I could see my grandma once again in Heaven. And Praise Him for His oh so perfect plans for our lives.
Please pray for my family as we go through this time. Pray for my grandpa as the woman he has loved for so long is no longer the face he wakes up to in the morning. And please, if you don’t know Jesus and want to know more about Him, ask. Comment below, send us an email, or ask someone you know about the Man that made it possible to be joyful in a time of such pain.