Continuing Without

Tomorrow November 22nd, 2017 marks the nine-year anniversary since I lost my mother to an accidental overdose. The word “accidental” means that she should still be here today, she could still be here today but she is not. She is gone and I will never hug her again, never utter the words I love you to her or sit down at the dinner table with her again. Memories of her are all that remain. Nine years later I still get the question, “How did you move on” or “How have you gotten over losing your mom.” The answer is simple, you don’t get over it and I haven’t moved on. You never really “move on” after the loss of a loved one, you simply learn to continue this beautiful, yet heartbreaking life without them. I remember when my mom promised me that she wouldn’t leave me until she was 100 years old. I remember being a 14-year-old kid who thought his mom would be there forever and the next day she was gone in the blink of an eye. I remember the heartbreak. I remember the devastation and the sorrow. I remember it like it was yesterday…that’s because it was yesterday, 9 years later but it was yesterday that I missed you, it was yesterday that I felt the pain. Yesterday I continued without you but not a day goes by that I don’t think of you.
I asked myself this question, “If you never move on after the loss of a loved one what does it look like to continue without them?” God gave me a new normal and that was a normal without my childhood hero. The internal battle is learning to allow God to be greater than my grief. Going from grief to greater doesn’t happen overnight, I have come to realize that grief to greater is a lifetime journey. Some days the pain feels like a prison. How could I ever love again when the person I loved most left me even though they promised they never would? How can I break the chains of anxiety, depression, grief, and heartbreak? The easy answer is Jesus and utilizing the encouragers in my life. Jesus is the answer but a life with Jesus is also a journey. As I begin to shift my focus to what I have gained from the loss of my mother rather than what I lost I begin to find healing. Some days are more exhausting than others but I know I am getting stronger every day, I know there is light at the end of the tunnel even though some days the darkness seems suffocating. Mom if you’re reading this I want you to know that I forgive you for leaving me when I needed you the most. I love you. I miss you. I want you to know that I am on a journey from grief to greater and I promise you that I will be greater than my grief. I am learning to continue without you in my life even when it hurts. For all others who have taken the time to read this, I want you to know that you are NEVER alone in your pain. Grief is a mountain. Let’s take a hike together.

NO PERFECT PEOPLE ALLOWED!

Have you walked into a church, or another environment full of Christians and thought, “Wow I really don’t fit in here”, or “These people have it all together and my life is just a mess!?” If you have I assure you that you are not alone, many people feel this way everyday. The truth is that having a relationship with God and going to church is even more critical for those of us who are broken or struggling. Many people in society today have this illusion that church is a place where everyone has it together and no one is going through any major struggles. This illusion is just that…an illusion and it couldn’t be further from the truth. Many of us will come across hypocritical Christians who like to pretend everything is perfect. Many people live a life that is similar to a Facebook page that shares nothing but good news.. We post all of our victory and triumph but we never share our struggle, depression, or weakness. I believe Church is a place where NO PERFECT PEOPLE ARE ALLOWED! Quite frankly if you believe that you are perfect or have it all together then you are doing everything wrong. We are ALL broken and in need of a Lord and Savior. Accepting Jesus into our hearts doesn’t make life easier, it doesn’t make things perfect. Having Jesus in our lives does mean that we don’t have to struggle alone, having him in our hearts means that we have a Savior who was tempted like we are tempted and struggled that way we struggle and that is a simply beautiful truth. Jesus invites ALL the poor and powerless and ALL the lost and lonely into a relationship with him. Amazing doors will begin to open up when we push our pride aside and admit that we are struggling. Look around and realize that every smile has a story of pain underneath it. Every life has ups and downs and NO ONE “has it all together.” Next time you are feeling like the odd man/women out remember that our imperfections are what make us beautiful. We are all children of God and he wants to take us as we are. Nothing more and Nothing left. I used to think that I needed to have my life “on fleek” before I could come to Jesus and develop a relationship, then I realized if I wait for that time my whole life would slip by and I could have never gotten to know how amazing that relationship with Jesus could be. Remember that we are all fearfully and wonderfully made in the eyes of the Lord. No one should feel left out, no one should feel ashamed, and no one should make the mistake of thinking they are not good enough to have a relationship with God. Jesus died on the cross so that we could bring all of our imperfections to God and he could make us whole. Please comment with feedback or any prayer request but please remember, NO PERFECT PEOPLE ALLOWED!