Boy, have I got a TREAT for you today. My best friend wrote an amazing blog post that I just know is going to fill you all with some faith and peace. Lydia and I have been friends longer than we can count on our hands. She’s more than a friend, but a sister. I recently watched her go through an unspeakable tragedy with unshakable faith. I am so proud to call her my friend and I am so excited for you to all to hear from her!

We are living in a reality that stretches our faith to a capacity many of us have not been asked to navigate before. For so many reasons 2020 has been a year of great loss in our state, our country, and the world. It has also been a time of great reflection, empathy, and growth. I’ve come to realize that life before March will never exist again… life before an awakening regarding race relations in the United States, before COVID, and before this new economic and political uncertainty. For me, personally, life before my dad died, will never exist again. On March 7, about a week before my state locked down, I woke up on a Saturday morning to the news that my father was tragically killed while riding his motorcycle. This made 2020 the biggest turning point in my life. Because of this valley I am in, the Lydia before this day in March will never exist again. I believe amidst what seems a constant global chaos, this year is a turning point for so many others as well as we tread through various forms of grief.

All of this suffering is too big to name and too inconceivable to make sense of; however, I do believe that if we can collectively hold on to some fundamental truths in the battles this year holds, we will rise from this year as more complete humans. We will rise from this year possessing faith with the capacity to move mountains for years to come. I have compiled a list of truths I am holding onto… truths that were not imprinted onto my heart until I had no other choice but to turn to God to take me through this…

-There is life in death, even if it surpasses our human understanding. Jesus embodied this on the Cross. Jesus’ death was a brutal and unjust nightmare, but because of his stripes, we are healed and we can have faith in resurrection. Because of what Jesus did on the Cross, we get to see the people we love again one day. Even if we aren’t facing the loss of a loved one, we can believe for resurrection after disappointments, setbacks, and all things that are lost.

– God is faithful. He is good. All the time. Even when life is not. Although this is such a simple statement that we hear to a point that it becomes a cliché, it becomes profound to us when we have no other choice but to believe it. In the worst, most unbearable pain, He is the only one who can comfort us in the ways we crave to be comforted. He sees us crying and weeps with us. No tear is unseen or unaccounted for. Our significant other, family, and friends, cannot love us this completely. Only He can.

– Our life is not about us. A lot of people won’t agree with me here, but I try to look at life for what God is trying to do through me, not for me. We are vessels who are designed to be molded, pressed, and poured out to others as a testament of God’s faithfulness and fullness. Although God does not create suffering, He does use what we go through to encourage others in their trials and weak spots in life. We just have to let him! I know that I would not be standing today if people who have experienced unthinkable grief did not minister to me in my time of need.

– Earth is not final. That is why life can feel uncomfortable and uneasy. Even when things are going alright, I sometimes feel anxious and like I want more. Although I could learn a thing or two about rest and finding joy in the moment, I also think this uneasiness is homesickness for Heaven because Earth is not our forever place. I can’t wait to get to Heaven and to be embraced by my Heavenly and Earthly father. When that day comes, although many of Earth will be sad that I am gone, what a beautiful day of rejoicing that will be!

– Grief is constant, but it won’t defeat us. It changes shape and weight with time. There is no end to it, we just have to push through it. I will not pretend to be on the other side of my personal grief yet. I don’t know if there is another side. Believe me, I am still very much in this and I cry big ugly cries almost daily. My dad was my very best friend. I feel like half of me is gone… but that cannot be the end because God has the final say and He always, always wins! We must count it all as joy, take the days as they come, and smile with thanks for even the littlest glimpses of hope… a fun date night, conversations with friends, a captivating book, a bomb workout, a beautiful song, a memory of someone we love, or a night spent with family that is still with us. Life is still beautiful no matter what and a thankful heart is unstoppable.

I mentioned earlier that life before 2020 will never be the same. As I navigate the remainder of this year, I will hang on to the things I’ve learned with unshakable faith. I knew these things before, but they weren’t real for me until I was forced to believe them. I hope these ideas encourage you today and help propel you through these uncertain times.

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