Eunice Johnson-Strickland - Grace to Grieve
Grace to Grieve…..During morning prayer last year, the Lord told me that this would be mom's last year with me. My prayer time was around 3 am almost every morning. God often talked to me as I walked down my hallway. Nothing could prepare me for what He said that particular morning. Imagine the shock to my soul for the audacity of God to tell me that her time was coming to an end. The audacity for God to even think that I could handle Him telling me something so heavy. Looking back now I’m grateful that He thought I was mature enough to handle such heavy news. God thought I was mature enough to hear His voice and harden not my heart. When God gives you heavy news, that means that God Himself has approved your growth and maturity in Him or He has chosen to take you to the next level at that moment. God actually cared enough for me to give me time to process that soon and very soon she will be going to meet the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. The God that she forsook all others for and He honored and showed Himself so strong in her life. Proving over and over that she was indeed a good and faithful servant. How do I even argue with a God that has given me a grace period to get myself together? Abba cared enough for me that He allowed me to get my mind right. Honestly, without this warning from the Lord, I wouldn't be sitting here today grieving and yet pushing forward to inspire someone else.
Psalms 116:15 says,” Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly ones. I know you give us all these scriptures to warn, protect, endow, comfort and so much more… but it seems like it would feel better if you’d let me control this particular section of my life. You can have all the other stuff but please let me control this. Honestly, I have said this more than once, if He did allow us to control just one outcome, which one would you choose. This is why God sits high and looks low because it would be impossible for us, as finite beings to choose which outcome we would alter. Would I keep my dad alive to be here to see my sixteenth birthday, or do I choose not to get kidnapped and raped in college? Do I save my grandparents because my father was an only child and they were the closest thing to Him which didn't help me cope with his loss because I was using them to be able to keep my father alive? If God gave us one chance to alter His plans for our lives. Would I choose to have my first child born problem-free or save the life of my 3rd child? You see God knows the end in the beginning. Jeremiah 29:11 says,” For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” He knew He would take my father home to be with him. He also knew my father was given 6 months to live and he lived for 4 years! What a servant my father became for the Lord! He knew the years He promised my grandparents and their time had come due. He knew my incident that stripped all my innocence would help heal other women. God knew I would make it through. He knew that I would believe the report of the Lord for my children’s complete healing!
Having such clarity has not made not one day of grief easy. I am still in denial. I'm okay with that. I know my God to be a comforter. The same God who heals is the same God that will give me the comfort of the Holy Spirit. I have to trust that. And while I’m trusting and depending on the Holy Spirit to comfort me….some days I can’t breathe….some days the cries are so loud and uncontrollable that I lose total control…I can sit and tears stream like a river and I still trust Him. Total vulnerability helps with total healing. We were aware of the brain tumors for about 8 years. That’s when the journey began.
I can look at this spiritually and say the number 8 means new beginnings! God what new place are you going take my family, you have taken your Saint home to Glory! What is my next assignment! I can also petition God as to why did you let this take 8 longs years and then add an additional disease on top of all of this! I thought your latter days would be your greater days! This sure doesn’t look like and it definitely doesn’t feel that great! She is supposed to be the grandmother to my children! You took my confidant! You took my friend! You took my MOM! Why God! I can’t breathe without her! I’m not strong enough to survive without her! I AM NOT MY MOTHER!
Even when I cannot breathe, He can, where I am weak, He is strong. The days that the Lord gives me peace, I take it. I won’t punish myself for having a good day. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 says,” All praises belong to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he is the Father of tender mercy and the God of endless comfort. He always comes alongside us to comfort us in every suffering so that we can come alongside those who are in any painful trial. We can bring them this same comfort that God has poured out upon us. And just as we experience the abundance of Christ’s own sufferings, even more of God’s comfort will cascade upon us through our union with Christ.” God, I thank you for the grace to grieve. . .
When God gives you heavy news, that means that God Himself has approved your growth and maturity in Him or He has chosen to take you to the next level at that moment.