This photo is hanging in my kitchen. I smile/cry every time I look at it for more than three seconds.
You know how you have those defining life events that, after they occur, divide your life into two categories?
Before College. After College.
Before I was married. After I was married.
Before I had kids. After I had kids.
This one seems to be one of those moments. Before my mom’s birthday. After my mom’s birthday. Last year at this time, I would never (could never) have imagined the heartache that would follow in the coming months. Yes, my mom was battling cancer, but she was doing well. Up and about. Smiling. Herself. Life was good.
But after her birthday, things went downhill at an impossibly fast speed. Even now, it just seems impossible. This last year (following her birthday) has been one full of heartache. Not just in my mama’s death, but that was (is) certainly the source of sharpest pain.
I want to tell you, though, that amidst the pain…there have been blessings. I want to tell you that I have leaned into the Lord and trusted Him in ways I didn’t know I could. I want to tell you that God has, and continues to mold my broken heart into something stronger, something for His glory. I want to tell you that I am a completely different person than I was a year ago today. More full of compassion. Less prideful. More trusting. Less stressed. I want to tell you that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope. I want to tell you that those words have been ringing true in my heart for three hundred and sixty-five days.I want to tell you how grateful I am to YOU for following me throughout the last year. For sending virtual hugs and real words of encouragement. For your prayers. I want to tell you that I appreciate this community more than you know.
But really, I just want to tell you that I really miss my mama. I wish I could give her a hug today.
Happy birthday, Mama. I bet the birthday cake up there is amazing.