One of my favorite verses is found in Matthew 11:28: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."
There are so many times in my life when this verse has been there for me. I remember when my brother died, my grandparents, my parents, .....and then there was Mary. I can remember my cell phone buzzing at 4 in the morning....I knew it would be bad....no one calls me that early. I sat there and read the text in horror and disbelief. The first thought in my mind was NOOOOOOOOO! How could she leave me? How could she be gone? We had so many plans! We were planning to drive Route 66 this summer! She was the picture of potential. So much going for her. She had been through so many challenges and had come so far...I remember the gastro bypass gone wrong....and chuckled. Then more shockwaves rippled through the core of my heart followed by a landslide of sorrow. I woke Frank up in tears and he silently held me as we both felt the enormous grief permeate through us. Mary was gone! All who knew and loved her grieved. In our homes. On social media. In our conversations. In our prayers. In our hearts. We grieved deep with a pain that stings fierce.
We grieved for Bill, the boys, the grandkids, for the empty seat at their dinner table, and the empty gape in their hearts and home. We grieved for her friends, BRHS, and our community. We grieved because death hurts.
As we gathered in the community to celebrate her life many stories were shared. I struggled to breathe. She was my soulmate. She was my sister from another mother. I hated cancer. In the sacred sanctuary of God’s presence, we were reminded that God is the healer of the broken and as I looked at her family I saw brokenness. We were reminded that death is not the end for those that place their faith in Christ. We were reminded to cherish those we love and to keep our eyes wide open to the needs of those around us. I stood on the stage to sing and could not breathe. I hurt. Even today, five years later the weight of it all still sits heavy on my heart. I remember pouring my heart out to the Comforter and sensing His peace in the middle of the grief. The burden remains, but the pressure of it is lightened in His presence. And I’m reminded that God’s strength comes to me as I yoke myself to Jesus and allow Him to share in the carrying of my grief. In doing so, I am locked into His power that walks with me step by step through every struggle. I found myself wondering....when life is jagged and darkness taunts us like a bully, how can we see beyond the despair that grips us? I did find in the depth of my pain that... when grief runs deep God’s comforting love runs deeper still. The peace I was longing for and the rest that I was desperate for would always be found in the arms of Jesus. And those arms are constantly reaching out to us. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29). This is the invitation Jesus gives to each of us. Will you accept his invitation?
To Joey, With Love....WINNER!
6 months ago