Tonight before bed, I’m cleaning. Why? Because tomorrow I don’t want to wake up to a house that is a total disaster and if I can control one part of my day tomorrow, it’ll be the cleanliness of my floors and the emptiness of my sink (at least until the kids wake up). You see, there’s no way my kids are going to listen to me the first time, every time. I’m sure there will be some time in the day when I text Jonathan at work and he doesn’t respond immediately. And despite all my tears and desperate prayers, God still doesn’t seem to be giving me my mom back.
November second, 2013. I was about twenty weeks pregnant with my first baby. My mom was a labor and delivery nurse; and my best friend. Thirty minutes after I called her and she had checked up on me and the baby, she closed her eyes and never opened them again.
I hate reliving that evening in my mind. My heart is overwhelmed with agony to even write about it. There are so many memories she’s missed and questions she couldn’t answer. So many instances where if only my mom was here, she would be the obvious solution. It’s been so long. So long without a mom.
So in the middle of my chaos and my grief, I find myself seeking something predictable. I want to know that I’m not going to step on leftover mac n cheese in the morning. I want to have an empty sink so I know I’ll have a neat place to stack tomorrow’s dirty dishes and room enough to refill my water bottle when the time comes.
I remember that night, face down, on my knees, begging God to wake her up. I know He could have done it. I know He could still do it–He’s made people from dust before, He could snatch up her ashes from Lake Tahoe and breathe life right back into her. I believe that. But He hasn’t done it. And so, the very definition of God causes me to believe that He has allowed her death because, for some reason, it will bring more ultimate Good. Out of the infinite possibilities God had, He chose to bring about a world in which all of the free choices in human history prior to 11/02/13 would lead to my mom’s death. And before it is all said and done, me or you or my children’s children will freely do some things that we wouldn’t have done if my mom had lived to be 100. And those somethings will bring so much honor to God and rescue so many people from sin and death and slavery, that, had she been able to pick, she wouldn’t have chosen stay–not even for these grandkids.
If you’re reading this and you know how much my mom loved me and my family and that baby inside my belly, but you don’t know my God, you’re probably fuming over that last sentence. She would have picked us over anything! She would never choose to leave us like this!
But if you do know my God, you know His goal in this life is not to make us happy on this earth. His goal is to bring us to know HIM because He is the Ultimate Good, the Forever Joy, the Unchanging Redeemer. And He’s the God who my mom worships.
You know how deep my pain runs. So when I tell you I picture Jesus holding my face and saying, It’s gonna be worth it, Whit–you can imagine the hot, angry tears rolling down my cheeks as I’m trying to explain just how good something would have to be to make up for all of this sorrow.
Maybe you’ve lost your mom. Or your dad. Or a husband or a child. Or you’ve seen someone experiencing the same grief I’m describing, or they’re sick right now and you know you don’t have much time left. I’m not making any less of my pain or yours; my goal is simply to magnify the greatness of my God. If you don’t know Him, nothing else matters anyway.
Some nights are darker than others. Like my friend, Leonard, said, Just hold on.
It’s gonna be worth it.