November 17, 2019
Nothing tests a parent's faith more than the loss of a child. Sadly, I have come to know many others these past few years that know it as well.
The loss is like no other. It is the ultimate tragedy. It is a loss that rips your heart open and leaves you with an emptiness, hopelessness and gut-wrenching sorrow. Truly there are no words to describe it.
The crushing weight that hit me on May 14th, 2011 with the sudden, traumatic loss of my beloved daughter, Holly, was too much for me to handle. Life instantly became dark and desolate. My life was forever changed in a moment. In addition to my own grief, I had to watch the pain of my husband Jim and daughters Jamie and Carly. Holly's missing presence was devastating to our family. Our lively home of five instantly became a somber home of four.
Being raised in a Christian family, I knew without a doubt where Holly now lived. She was with God in her majestic, eternal new home. She no longer needed her mom now that she was in heaven. My family here on earth though needed me more than ever. It was comforting to know where Holly was but the "missing" of her in our life was unbearable.
The powerful truth that God has a plan for each of us who believes in Him was embedded in my mind. I obsessively struggled with this truth.
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, "plans to prosper and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
How could this be God's plan for Holly? How could He let this happen to my family? Why couldn't He have taken me instead? How could there be any good in His plan? I hated God's plan and had so many questions for God. I still have those questions today but I am more at peace with not knowing the answers.
It's difficult to trust God through life's hardest trials and unimaginable losses. Knowing God has a plan isn't that comforting when we don't understand His plan. Fortunately, the Bible provides us with God's many promises and principles regarding His will. The most powerful to me is that we are blessed with the promise of heaven through faith in Jesus.
"God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16
In the following months of stillness and prayer, I realized there was only one way I was going to move forward and overcome my brokenness. God was the way. I began to actively seek Him like I had never done before. It was amazing how I began to see and hear Him everywhere once I made Him my focus. He graciously and faithfully provided me the comfort, love and strength I needed. I never knew how much God loved me until I truly got to know Him better.
I learned that building a relationship with God is a daily commitment. It takes time, hard work and removal of distractions. Of course, I still have some really sad days of missing Holly and always will. Those seem to be the days that I reach out to God and draw Him closer to me. I still have a hole in my heart but it has grown smaller with faith and time. It also helps that I have been blessed with a loving church family that has faithfully supported me and my family and continues to do so.
For the past five years, I have dreamed of sharing my healing journey to help others that are hurting from loss. I want to glorify God as well by telling of the amazing and miraculous things He has done in my life.
Hence, I am starting this blog post on this special day in my Holly's honor. Today, November 17th, Holly would be 21 years old. Holly loved Jesus and joyfully lived each day to the fullest. I know she would be excited for me to begin sharing my story.
Happy 21st Birthday to my beautiful Holly Berry in heaven who inspires me each day to live with joy.