I clutched my mother’s hand tightly as a tear rolled down my cheek. I could hardly bear to look at her. My jaw tensed as I tried to hold back from crying. The room seemed to be spinning. I noticed the breathing tube lined across her face and the medical devices keeping her alive.
How did it come to this?
I tried my best to tell her to keep fighting, that I loved her and needed her. I held on to the thought of her getting healthy again and coming back home and inspiring our whole community. I held on to the idea that God wouldn’t put us through anything more than we had already faced.
Two weeks later, she passed.
“God wouldn’t put you through anything you can’t handle.” The words stung. It seemed as if I saw it everywhere; from Pinterest quotes to Hobby Lobby’s decor. We hear other people say it and even try to think it ourselves. But, is it true? What good could possibly come out of what just happened?
For awhile, I thought I couldn’t handle the passing of my mother or any of the baggage that came with it, but things began to change. The thing about God is, He is always Good, and He always has a plan.
Fast forward five years, and that moment in the hospital still haunts me, and probably forever will. It almost feels like a bad dream. I think about who I was when my mom was here on earth and realize I was just so young and still her baby. What hurts worse is thinking about the future. She won’t be here on my wedding day, graduations, heartbreaks, celebrations. She won’t be here for the little moments when I just need to vent and cry, for the boy talk, girl drama, encouraging texts, or fun jokes. She isn’t here anymore.
But I am. And I am holding on, refusing to let go. I am holding on to the faith, strength, and courage she instilled in me. I am holding on to the letters and advice these women wrote to me. I am holding on to my father, friends, and family. I am letting go of what I can’t change, moving forward, but never forgetting. I am allowing the pain to build me and grow me. I am blessed to be alive and fighting the good fight.
I have the opportunity to create a better life, to make an impact on those around me, and live out my mother’s legacy. I hope to encourage you to do the same. When I feel envious of those who seem to have it all, I remember that they struggle too. Our struggles and battles might be different, but everyone has them. Every family has dysfunction, everybody feels pain, everybody hurts others sometime in their lives. We all mess up, and we all fall short of the glory of God. But we do all have power—the power of kindness and love. It’s a decision we can make every day to love the way Jesus loves us and to offer forgiveness, a helping hand, a shoulder to cry on, and a listening ear, all without our own personal judgments. We can always appreciate those around us and say our “I love yous” and “thank yous.” If I had a second chance, I would make sure that every day my mother knew how much I loved her. When we truly give to others in that way, when we choose love over animosity, it not only makes those around us feel cared for and appreciated, but it also develops our own inner peace and happiness. If you really want to be happy in life, be thankful. Life is precious.
Your problems may feel insurmountable while you’re in the middle of them. Sometimes your emotions might even take over, and you’ll lose your sense of self. But remember, there is no event bigger than your ability to respond to it. You have power in your response. You have power in your choice. You have power in you, and even more power from the kingdom of God within you.