I’m going to describe my experiences. Everyone’s experience is different. I’m still on my journey. Some days are more hopeful than others. Along with all of my blog posts, these are my thoughts at the moment.
Hardship hit when we lost Ginny earlier this year; we were completely heartbroken. How do we get back to a place of hope after that? It has been an evolution. Hope today doesn’t look like what it did in those first moments. In those first moments, hope looked like survival.
It was something we couldn’t conjure ourselves. We could barely live the next minute. How could we look for hope?
We didn’t need to. God was right there immediately. We cried out, and he held us right away. How can I describe it? It was like a warm blanket of love covering us, surrounding us. Taking some of the weight off of us. It was undeniable. It was perceivable. It was a “peace that surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). I never truly knew the Holy Spirit as comforter until that moment.
While sitting with Daniel after we received the terrible news, I remember quoting Psalm 23:4, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” I had never been in the shadow of death before then. I had never felt God with me in this way before. Just to know we were not alone was hope to get through that moment. It was the hope we needed.
That comfort got us through Ginny’s birth and the first couple of days. When it was clear that we might just physically survive this, we had to look to the future – the big empty dark future. Grief was so so heavy. Waking up each day and continuing was exhausting. How could this possibly be okay? God answered that it is not okay, but love is bigger than this loss. Our love for Ginny and God’s love for us is bigger than we knew. Love is bigger than this terrible thing. Love doesn’t make it okay, but love does make it worth it. Our love stays with us. That’s all the hope we needed for those next moments.
As the weeks went by, I spent more time thinking about heaven. I thought about what it’ll be like when I’m reunited with Ginny in heaven. One of my biggest comforts was the thought that our time apart is a small blimp compared to the time we will spend together in heaven. I thought a lot about our understanding of time and eternity. I thought about how small this time of sorrow is in the scheme of eternity. I thought of Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” This isn’t to minimize our suffering, but it is to put it into an eternal context. We are not separated forever; we are separated for now (that’s still so painful).
An eternal mindset is not one that looks forward to heaven one day. An eternal mindset is one that brings heaven to the here and now. Our love for Ginny is not dead; it is here with us now and it will continue to grow. Our reconciliation with God is not for a future state; it is for here, now. Embrace the love, embrace the good news, embrace life that’s yours.
Part of embracing life is to keep your eyes and ears open to what the Holy Spirit is showing you. Throughout my life, I’ve continually been attempting to grow closer to god and hear his voice. I feel like I’ve made small strides through the word, worship, prayer, and relationships. But it is when something big like this happens that you can make huge strides towards God and his will for your life. When my life is flipped upside down, I am finally truly listening. I’ve made real changes in my life and career. My path has crossed with others in unbelievable ways; it is clear God has brought us together. I’m not sure where all of this is going. But for the first time in a long time, I feel like I’m where I am supposed to be and doing what I’m supposed to be doing. It gives me excitement and hope for what’s next. It feels bigger than the plans I’ve made in the past. In my life, I feel heaven got a little closer.
This connection to heaven, this eternal mindset, this realization of love bigger than loss, and this fear-quenching comfort have given me the hope I need to keep moving forward. I’ve never needed this much hope. Now I need it, and I have it.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:35-39