It’s Thanksgiving week. Some are busy packing suitcases, some are busy making grocery lists, and some may just be wondering how they’ll ever make it through the day.
Giving myself space to grieve can feel like every raw nerve gets exposed. But lots of hard things end in good places, and grief is one of these things.
Death is not a delicate process and it takes some Holy Spirit help to stay centered in the midst of it all.
Bring the habit of hope straight to your inbox.
I wasn’t born with a habit of hope but I'm slowly learning what that means. When I discovered my precious daughter had been sexually abused by her biological father, the anger, panic, anxiety and grief completely overwhelmed my already somewhat pessimistic outlook on life. Though he was convicted and sent to prison, the conviction did nothing to heal the heart wounds he left in his wake. Years later, when my other daughter could hold her own painful story in no longer, I learned that she too, had been abused by their father. You know, trauma is like a shoddy vacuum that spits debris all over everything. The harder you work at cleaning up the mess, the worse it gets. When detail after horrible detail kept emerging, I didn't think I'd ever be able to see the good in life again. Abuse colors everything--every memory, every motive, and every dream I'd ever had for my daughters and for our family. There were days I did not know if we'd survive it. Life closed in on each of us in different ways and for different reasons. As a single mother, I tried to stay connected to God and His Word but there were days, no-- months, that I could not breathe a prayer let alone read a word of the Bible. Faithful friends and well-trained counselors stood with me and tried to hold onto hope for me. Sometimes I was open to their care, but when the pain was too great, I shut everyone out. Eventually, I realized healing includes letting go of, or at least learning how to interrupt, the mental habit of constantly circling every awful thing. Healing includes creating a little bit of space--a crack in the door--for a bit of light to shine in. Instead of viewing everything through a lens of misery, shame, and fear, I wondered if I might start seeing life through a lens of hope. Amazingly, we do tend to find what we're looking for. When we are intentional about looking for grace, we get better at noticing it. When we practice turning toward forgiveness, we get better at extending it. My mother's heart will always have a deep well of grief from the trauma and abuse my children endured. I wish I could say I've always responded well to the pain, but I have not. Still, I am learning our lives are more than what happens to us or our broken responses to it. The love of Jesus, his life and mercy, really is strong enough to bring us through the darkest times. The same God who spoke light into darkness at the beginning of time speaks light into my darkness as well. He is recreating every dark thing for a beautifully redemptive purpose. He makes our hearts big enough and strong enough to hold grief and grace and the same time. Regardless of the pain we endure by our own hands or the hands of others, God gives us what we need to live each day in a habit of hope.