Just recently my husband’s beloved uncle passed away, and with his passing, I had a much needed refresher on some basic truths about God and His love for us in our “becoming.”
For quite some time, I had been struggling in my faith walk. It had been a struggle for me to write because of it. I felt like, “How could I, when I feel this way?” However, God, was faithful to speak to me through the passing of Uncle Kenny, some truths I hope to share with you.
I had been walking through what seemed like a long season of great losses and pain in the past year when Uncle Kenny’s health began to take a turn for the worse.
I am not going to pretend that I knew him as well as his sister, immediate family, or others did.
Did I know him? Yes.
In his last months to days it would seem I began to see glimpses of Uncle Kenny through the conversations that I had with his sister, and my precious mother-in-law, Helen.
I know the “why” now, but I became very inquisitive about him and his life, and would often have conversations with Helen about it. I only knew the bits and pieces. But, through conversations with my mother-in-law, I knew he had also experienced great loss and great pain in his life. I questioned her further about it, to which she had shared that an older sibling had been diagnosed with leukemia at 3 years of age, and died at the age of 13. She was 6 years older than Helen, 7 years older than Uncle Kenny at the time. When Helen and Uncle Kenny were 18 and 17, their mother had fell sick and died. Uncle Kenny’s firstborn child had also died. Helen and Uncle Kenny knew great loss coupled with great pain.
I realized that life is a series of becoming stages; a becoming of ourselves.
We have all experienced suffering and loss. Some experience loss like Helen and Uncle Kenny. Some experience loss of dashed hopes and dreams in their marriages, families, and/or careers. Some experience loss through failing health and physical restrictions. And, some experience loss of their faith and hope in God for themselves due to a variety of the above.
The latter was me.
I could believe and encourage others in their seasons of loss and trial, but I struggled with seeing it or believing it for myself in my season of trials. I had been struggling with expecting the other shoe was going to drop at any moment. The feeling of dread with anxiety as its constant companion was how I felt for a long time.
Each time I would speak with my mother-in-law about Uncle Kenny prior to his last couple of months, I would hear of how he struggled with the pain of his condition and anger. She would explain that she wouldn’t let his reactions get to her because she knew he was reacting out of hurt.
If we could only realize that a person’s anger and frustration often stems from a deep and unresolved hurt in their lives, in their “becoming.” There were countless times that the deep hurt I carried within manifested with those closest to me and with me the most, my children and loved ones. As well, I struggled with self love. I didn’t know how to let go of the hurt and pain I felt.
In several conversations, Helen had expressed her desire to have Uncle Kenny receive God in his heart. She wanted him to have the peace that came with knowing he would have eternal peace. I remember the day that she shared when he finally accepted Him in his heart. She was crying, her heart full with such gratitude and joy. I felt like a dried up plant soaking in the living waters that overflowed from his experience, through her, and into me. I cried tears of joy with her, allowing the living water to reach the cracks and crevices of the broken places of my heart and spirit.
Helen shared how his countenance had changed. His heart had been softened; peace, love, and joy replaced the space where anger, fear, and despair had once been. In the coming weeks she would share about how God had opened doors for him to be cared for not just by her, but by a hospice facility, a close friend, family, and how his children would find the time, funds, and ways to see him on such short notice.
His testimony would shout its truths for me to hear, see, and grasp from afar,
- God never stops working on us.
- He is faithful to the end.
- His love will never fail us.
Uncle Kenny suffered great loss and God, in His mercy, never removed His sister from his life. They were a constant support and love for one another through the thick and thin of their lives. He was never alone in his trials. Although he had gone through trials, he was never forsaken by God. Though he worried and feared, God was faithful to see him through to the end and restore to him peace and joy.
Uncle Kenny, like many of us, wear battle scars. These scars, when shared with others, become someone else’s signs of hope. His scars became that for me. As I began to meditate on these truths of Uncle Kenny’s life, I began to be filled with hope again. God’s love chased Uncle Kenny down to the very end. He was faithful to the work He began in Uncle Kenny to the end.
God was not finished with me, yet; and He’s not finished with you either. He’s not finished with your loved ones. We are all still becoming.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature: old things have passed away; behold, all things are become new.” ~1 Cor. 5:17
My mind is drawn to the vision of a butterfly that was once a caterpillar; it had gone through the “becoming” stages and seasons of life.
Like the caterpillar in the cocoon, life is a blend of the hard and ugly with the raw and beautiful.
Therefore, I had to begin to impart to myself a powerful word in my becoming, GRACE. I hope that it resonates with you too.
It’s okay to be mad,
to acknowledge one’s flaws,
to accept help when needed,
to cry when life gets too hard or when you feel betrayed,
to give yourself space and time,
to be human and imperfect and say and do things that often get misunderstood or, because your heart is struggling with the season you are walking through at the moment;
to not be okay,
But, it’s even more okay to love,
to have faith,
to be vulnerable again,
to acknowledge other’s weaknesses and love them anyway,
to try again,
to want to feel hope, and love, and joy;
to be wholly and imperfectly you,
It’s called GRACE, and I have learned that it’s good to give ourselves some because we are human, we are “becoming new.”
We are becoming, little by little. The measure by which we do this in love for ourselves is called GRACE.
I am grateful for God’s constant love, acceptance, and grace in my becoming. May we all learn to love ourselves, accept ourselves, and give ourselves more grace as we become more and more in Him.
Because of Him,