“For five years my life looked like so much darkness with bursts of light mixed in.”

“For five years my life looked like so much darkness with bursts of light mixed in.”

My name is Audra and this is my story of grief. 

229074_1037722581284_4019_n Dad.  He was my best friend.  He had such a natural way about him that made his presence comfortable, easy, and loving. My relationship with him was one of laughter, song, life, faith-building and nourishment.  He was the best person I knew.  He was my person.

 When I lost him, it was like I went into a thick, dark, unknown woods to look for him and became lost myself.  I would try to go down one trail and it would lead me to thorns. I’d go down another and it would lead to thistles. Then I’d try to go down another trail and it would lead me to fruit, water, and light. There’d be a Man (Jesus) there with a smile of love and acceptance. It would become a place I’d never want to leave. But, alas, I’d wander into the darkness of the woods and begin searching again. 

 For five years my life looked like that analogy- so much darkness with bursts of light mixed in. I got into the rhythm of finding anything that would help me feel anything but my true pain, all of which would fall short.   I’d then run back to faith, to my Jesus.  I would then push him away and go back into my unhealthy grief. 

 Somewhere within that fifth year of grief, God started to prod me to see a counselor. My pain had become overpowering. The first two months were extremely hard. My river of tears had been frozen for years. As I faced the pain and began to look it in the face, that river started to thaw. I began to feel again. I began to cry. I began my healthy journey of grief. 

 It’s been seven years since my dad died. His death has become a part of me. This grief will always be woven within me. I’ve just recently been able to think back on the life I had before the storm with joy instead of pain. This is not done, though. But it’s so much more bearable. 

 My friends, Jesus has brought me out of darkness and into His light. He was always waiting in that forest for me.  He was always ready for me to eat from His fruit, drink from His water, envelope me in His light. I still struggle, but I struggle with Jesus. I still fall to my knees in grief at the thought of not experiencing my dad’s delight in his grandchildren or that he will never meet my husband, John. I can’t bear the thought of wishing him back in this broken world, so instead I’ll look forward to my future and cling to the hope of seeing him again. Because that hope is enough. 

 I used to blame God for what happened to my dad but as the years have gone by, I have realized that He would never wish this pain upon anyone. It’s the result of the sin in this world that my dad passed away. God is using the ashes of dad’s death to form something beautiful.  If you have experienced loss and you’re in the depth of your grief, please know that the unconditional love and peace of God is healing and freeing.

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14611095_10210484697411678_1207847882707491071_n A little about Audra~Hey y’all! My name is Audra Arnold. I’m a wife to my husband, a lover of all things birds and a nanny to three adorable boys (I love my job). Most of all, I’m a daughter of Jesus. If you would like to continue to follow my story or would like to get in contact with me, feel free to add any of my media links that are listed below. Thanks for taking the time to read my post!

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E-mail:   audey4@gmail.com

“After my losses, everything I was sure to be true about God came into question, and that’s really painful when you’ve been a Christian for over 10 years.”

“After my losses, everything I was sure to be true about God came into question, and that’s really painful when you’ve been a Christian for over 10 years.”

“It was too perfect to last,’ so I am tempted to say of our marriage. But it can be meant in two ways. It may be grimly pessimistic – as if God no sooner saw two of His creatures happy than He stopped it (‘None of that here!’). As if He were like the Hostess at the sherry-party who separates two guests the moment they show signs of having got into a real conversation. But it could also mean ‘This had reached its proper perfection. This had become what it had in it to be. Therefore of course it would not be prolonged.’ As if God said, ‘Good; you have mastered that exercise. I am very pleased with it. And now you are ready to go on to the next.”

This quote by C.S. Lewis from his book, A Grief Observed, is a perfect summary of my journey with the Lord through my grief.

After my losses, everything I was sure to be true about God came into question, and that’s really painful when you’ve been a Christian for over 10 years. Often times I asked God, “what was the point of loving them so much only for it all to be taken away in an instant?”. In my pain, I spoke the language of someone pained and say things like, “I would’ve guarded myself against loving them that much had I known” and “you let me love them and you tricked me”. In my pain, I began to believe God wanted to rip the “rug” out from under me to teach me a lesson that he alone is God and I should not love anyone else more than him.

 

Fast forward this grief journey to today and I have a new understanding and certainty of what I am to do with this loss and who Jesus is to me, Maria. 2 Corinthians 1: 4 makes it very clear what the purpose for these losses were for me, “…who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” and I have been comforted by him, in the most tender and intimate of ways. Through the most darkest days of my life (to date), I got know Jesus in the way that his word became real to me, and I got to experience (first hand) just how true his words are, which is intimate. Instead of just telling you it was intimate, I’m going to share with you through one of my journal entries …

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Maria,

You believed me to be a tyrant King who is going to show you that it’s my way or the highway. You translated your losses to be a personal attack on you. You took my very words, in Romans, that say I work all things for the good of those who love me, to mean somehow your parents’ death was good for you. Death isn’t good. Your parents’ death was not good. Death is not what was intended when I created this world (Genesis). Your parents’ death wasn’t good for you, Maria, but I am going to work for your good and those do not hold the same meaning. Trust me, Child, because I died for you and I know…In Matthew 26, you see that I was in such great sorrow over my death that my sorrow felt like physical death. I get it and I get what this pain means for you. I knew what these losses were going to do to you and, child, I can handle it. I can handle your hurt, pain, and questions. I created you in your mama’s womb and I know your innermost places (Psalm 139). There is nothing you can do or say that will hurt or offend me so bad that I’ll leave you (Hebrews 13). I know this is painful and I hate it for you. I hate it for you so much that I died on the cross so you will never have to experience this again when you get to come home to me (Revelation 21). I needed you to see me in my true form, so you could know me and I could then heal the most broken areas of your heart, to heal the broken beliefs because you have three little ones I have given you to disciple. Your parents came home to me because “this had reached its proper perfection. This had become what it had in it to be.”

I grieve again but this time, I grieve not for my parents but to see Him more because I’ve missed so much of Him. I’ve missed so much of his love for me because I didn’t know it quite yet. I didn’t know He loved me like this, in such a personal way. My parents’ death amputated me, but it’s been His love that has changed me. I’ll never be the same and it’s marked by the night I heard “Maria, your parents are dead” …