Have you experienced any kind of loss in your life? How did you take it? How did it affect you? In the short 18 years I've been here on this earth, I've experienced a lot of loss. Let me just tell you now, it has not been very easy. When I was nine years old, my grandma was diagnosed with liver cancer. It wasn’t long after she became sick that she passed away. Being so young, it came as a shock to me. I didn’t understand at that point in time that when you have cancer and become very sick, that there is a high chance of you passing away. So the morning I woke up excitedly searching for my grandma because I saw her car out front, only to find out she had gone to her eternal home the night before was very confusing for nine year old me. She was my best friend at that point in my life; I did almost everything with her. Finding out that I was never going to be able to cook, shop, build lincoln log houses, or have sleepovers with her ever again was nothing I wanted to go through.
About a year after all that happened, we got some very devastating news. My uncle and aunt were in town visiting and we were all at their hotel room hanging out. Suddenly, my uncle got a call and he disappeared into their bedroom for a long while. After getting off the phone, he called my brother and me into the room with him and told us that our papa had passed away while working on a church project. I was in so much shock to the point I can hardly remember what my initial reaction was. He had just been visiting us the week before and he was 100% healthy, so how could this be? What happened? Why did this happen? It was so weird going down to Georgia for his funeral and him not being there to greet us when we arrived. It was so hard to see our family in a state like that, and get used to the reality of us living our lives without him any more.
If that wasn’t hard enough, we added one more loss on top of that. The night we got back in town from my papa's funeral was the last time I told my mom goodnight. It’s such a clear image in my head. I woke up the next morning to get ready for church, only to hear my mom struggling to breathe. My dad, sitting next to her side, praying and listening to worship music - I can't even imagine what was going through his head. I knew that this would be the end for her, but I didn't want to believe it. I walked back and forth from my room, watching her drift away, just praying and begging God to not take my mother away from me, but He had different plans for our family. After my mom's last breath, my dad called my brother and me into the living room where she was lying. Tears running down his face, he told us that our mom fought her hardest until she reached the finish line.
Going through so much loss at a young age, in the short span of two years is nothing anyone should have to go through, but unfortunately I did. It can affect someone's life in tremendous ways. In my experience with all of this, I've gone through many emotions and struggles. I’ve felt alone, empty, anxious, depressed, confused, and many other things. As I was getting older, I always felt like there was something missing in my life, almost like there was a hole in my heart I needed to fill. I tried filling that void with many things - friends, boyfriends, social media, money, parties, and much more. Nothing was working. I would be happy in the moment, but in the long run, none of it was filling that huge hole in my heart. I would feel emptier by the end of it all, and on top of that, with many other regrets.
When you go through so much loss and hurt, I believe that you have a decision to make on how you’re going to let it alter your life. For years I let it hinder me in negative ways. I went through many phases of negative emotions and actions. I used it as a crutch, I felt bad for myself, and I was mad and questioning God on why He would do this to our family. I would look at other families and see how full and happy they were and be angry that my family would never be able to have that again. I would watch other moms help their daughters get ready for competition and it would make me incredibly sad that I didn’t have a mom doing that for me. All these negative things would affect my life daily, because I let them. I made a decision to go down the road of self pity and depression instead of running into God's arms and turning it around and using it for good. I was at the lowest point in my life, feeling like I would never be able to turn my life around from this at all. I felt alone and had no idea what to do.
Over the last year or so, God started pulling me out of situations I knew I wasn't meant to be in, but wasn’t strong enough to leave on my own. He started bringing into my life new people, new opportunities, and new thoughts. I was feeling some kind of stirring, but I didn't know what it was. One day, I decided to start reading my Bible again. I was getting more and more interested in learning, feeling, and doing more. It just kept progressing from there. It was almost like I had a switch go off in me. I wanted to turn my life around, and I wanted to stop feeling the way I felt on a daily basis.
Ever since the day that God put that stirring in me, I have grown so much in my faith. I had a breakthrough because I broke out of the darkness. I have pulled myself away from every negative person, situation, and thought in my life. It hasn’t been easy, but God gave me the strength to push through it all. In the Bible study “Breaking Free” by Beth Moore that I'm currently studying, something stood out to me in lesson 2. She said that the hardest thing that you’ve ever had to go through is the thing that will give you the most healing and bring you the most out of your life. To me that means that the hardest thing I've ever had to go through, which is losing three of the most important people to me, will be extremely hard but something so amazing will come out of it.
I ran away from that for years. I was so wrapped up in the loss and hurt in my life, that I didn't even begin to think about what positive things could come out of it. What are the positive things that did come from it? In my eyes, it gave me the testimonies to help heal people who have been through similar situations. It pushed me away from God, but brought me back to Him stronger and made me so much more thankful for His love and grace. I made a decision in my hurt to not see the good, and to only see the bad. I chose to let it affect my life in ways it never should have, but then I made a final decision. I’m not going to let this push me into the darkness any more. I know I have a purpose. I know I have a story. I know I'm going to make a change, and God showed me that. He pulled me out of the darkness, gave me the right people, right mindset, and refocused my eyes on Him.
Here’s how I will wrap this up; let me ask you a question. How are you going to let the loss in your life affect you? Will you let it drag you into the darkness, like it did to the old me? Or will you let it push you closer to our Father God and seek his peace and guidance in your life? My loss, my decisions, and my experiences have been some of the hardest things I've ever had to go through. Maybe if I had made a different decision in the past and not gone down the dark path, I would be in a different place in my life, BUT I truly believe that God had a plan for me. If I hadn’t gone through those things, if I hadn’t made those decisions, if I didn’t have the experience of pulling myself out of those dark places after the losses in my life, I wouldn’t have the testimonies I have today to share with you and help you remember that you’re not the only one in this. There are so many people around you who have been in the exact same place, and they’ve found that strength and peace in the end of it all. It’s ok to be in those dark places sometimes, but God wants you to know that He’s always with you and will always pull you out of it. He reminds us of that in Isaiah 41:10 “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” Never forget that. Always seek Him in your time of darkness and loneliness. Turn that loss and hurt into something good and glorifying to Him, and don’t let it affect your life in negative ways.
What loss have you come face to face with in your life? How did you handle all of it? I would love to hear about how you handled it and your story. Contact me on any of the social media pages under Girl, You’re Not Alone, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to healing with you! Remember that you’re not alone, and you never will be. God is always with you, and I will be here too, to always remind you that girl, you’re not alone! Go out and be a world changer!
~ Check this song out for some healing today! ~