I have grieved the loss of my daughter because I love her. And at times, this has tempted me to believe that my grief and love are coextensive. But actually, my love for my daughter goes far beyond my grief.
The Freedom to Grieve or Not Grieve
As the intensity and frequency of my grief experiences have lessened, love has continued to persist. In love, I am set on my daughter’s good—and because of heavenly glory, I have the unshakeable hope she already has all good. Remaining here, because I do not equate grief and love, I now have no conflict of love when experiencing new joys in this life.
God has been faithful to lead me forward. For none of His guidance contradicts—no calling He puts on my life in one area causes conflict for how He has designed for me to live in another area. He has given my first daughter for me to love. As He has given me new breaths and days for me to move forward here. To live seamlessly between these two callings is a demonstration of the trustworthiness of His ways. I can love, and I can move forward.
Resolving the relationship within me between grief and love has been vital to gaining the peace to move forward in life. For I am called as God’s redeemed to love well—especially love those so dear as my own family.
The Freedom to Love God by Receiving
As this inner conflict has been resolved, God has shown me that receiving good gifts from Him after loss is part of loving and worshiping Him. To freely receive all of the goodness that God gives means I also have no conflict between my love for my daughter and my love for God.
If, conversely, I felt resistant toward new good gifts of God because they seemed to negate my love for my daughter, in what state would my love for God, my Maker, Creator, and Redeemer, exist? Instead, because I know that love for my daughter is not contingent upon experiencing sadness, I also know that I can joyfully receive new gifts that God does desire to give.
Receiving, and Loving Him More
When all I have is considered, God gives countless good gifts to me. James 1:17 teaches, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” In grief, I once had difficulty remembering the beauty of God’s goodness. Now, five years later, perceiving it without feelings of grief or sadness is overwhelming—evoking within praise that never did God change. Though my sight was shadowed, never was there a shift or shadow within God. How good He is—and how glad I am that I worked and waited for the day I could perceive so without the grief-veil before my eyes!
Now, as I receive the “yes” of new gifts from His hand, He helps me do exactly what I desire—love Him more in response.
I affirm God’s goodness. In being willing to receive good gifts from God after my loss, I acknowledge that death came through sin—sin with which God cannot be tempted and cannot tempt. Instead, God is the Father of lights who cannot change. Receiving good gifts from His hand that He does decide to give—and receiving them with decided joy—is an affirmation of my trust in God’s goodness.
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and He Himself tempts no one.
I help keep myself from sin. The more I love what God loves, the more distasteful sins become to my desires. I was not born holy—I must continually learn the beauty of holiness and righteousness. Dismissing the goodness of God’s Word, people, promises, and continued purposes in this life is no way to train my desires toward the goodness of His light. Being content with all of the good gifts He does decide to give reminds me of how kind He is, and makes me desire to reject sin.
But each person is tempted when He is lured and enticed by His own desire.
I grow in humility. Insisting upon my own way for my life is only a legitimate aim if I am in charge of my life. But God is the Father above me. By His will I was created and reborn in Christ; I belong to Him. Receiving good gifts from His hand that He does decide to give in this life—and not only insisting upon the gift(s) I sought—brings me closer to Him through submission.
Of His own will he brought us forth by the word of truth
I love God’s glory. As much as selfish thinking prompts me to live with myself as the center of my world—God and His glory is the center, the point. I have been created and redeemed to serve Him. God is glad to give me good gifts that I enjoy because He is a good God. He is honored when I receive with thanksgiving. So when I do welcome from the hand of God what He does decide to give, I promote His glory.
…that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.
When God has not given me, presently, the life with my first daughter I desired, will I receive from Him what He does desire to give? Yes. In order to do so, I first worked to resolve the tension I felt between grief, love, and moving forward. That opened my heart toward fully receiving from the Lord.
Now, as life continues to move forward, I will continue to receive because God is unchangingly good, because by this I am kept further from sin and closer to Him, because my life is not my own, and because His glory is the very focal point of living. As I have done this receiving, I can also testify that God has been faithful to draw me near in the “yes” of new good gifts from His hand, even as He walked with me through the “no” of loss.Read More