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"On the other side of grief" by Laura B. Nelson (CatholicMom.com) Image created in Canva using free elements.[/caption] It’s been a year since my mom died. A lot has happened in that year. My father-in-law passed away less than two months after Mom’s death. My husband and I sent our oldest son off to college. Two brothers-in-law have battled life-threatening illnesses. My elderly father, now a widower, ended up in the hospital twice and moved to an assisted living apartment as a result. Babies have been born. Couples have married. And we’ve grieved. It was hard. It still is hard. But not as hard as it was. There were times this year when the grief was overwhelming.  Tears seemed to be my only expression of what was going on inside me. I almost gave up wearing mascara entirely since so much of it ended up on my face instead of on my eyes! But through the process of grieving, I’ve grown and learned more about myself and my relationship with God than ever before. I prayed often for healing this year. I rested in God’s arms. I let God love me through the pain. And He did. He healed me, gave me rest, and loved me. He didn’t do it alone though. God loves to work with and through others to bring His healing and love. For me, He worked through prayer, Scripture, family, friends, and through the skills of an excellent grief counselor. Am I done healing yet? No. There is still healing to be done but instead of an open wound of grief, my wounds are now a lot more like skinned knees that have scabbed over and are slowly revealing new tender skin to the world. There were times this past year when I wished I wasn’t struggling so much. I tried to pray away the pain instead of praying through it. And then I heard a song called "Struggler," by Brother Isaiah. The lyrics say, “You keep telling me that you’re struggling. I just don’t know if that’s such a bad thing.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmiKD3mkNbw As I listened to this song over and over I realized that Brother Isaiah is right. Struggling isn’t fun but it’s not necessarily a bad thing. From struggle we become stronger; we work out what’s truly important to us because we have to fight for it. Jacob wrestled with God and after his struggle, he received God’s blessing. So, I began to let myself struggle. And I prayed through it. Now I see that God has blessed me with His love and His healing.  Am I done struggling? No. But I think that’s true for most of us. Our life on earth is a continual struggle.  Sometimes the struggle is intense and other times it’s seems superficial. But the struggle is real and it’s constant.  The good news is, we’re not alone in our struggle. God is always with us and He works through others.  We just have to let them in and accept their help. In the end, we won’t struggle anymore. We’ll meet God in heaven and the struggle will be over and the joy will be boundless. Just like the old hymn says, “The strife is o’er, the battle done; The victory of life is won. The song of triumph has begun. Alleluia!” Until then, we’ll keep struggling. But I don’t know if that’s such a bad thing.
Copyright 2019 Laura B. Nelson