I was inspired by a post I saw on Instagram written by a very well known lady in a very sad situation that I would never in a million years want to go through. It read “beauty comes after the storm.” Obviously that caught my attention considering that my blog name is Beauty in the Storm! I totally am not knocking where she’s at in her grieving journey since we all grieve and experience life differently, but that made me wonder if the statement that my blog was making was true. I commented on her post about it. Beauty isn’t just on the other side of the storm... although we may only see the beauty in the storm afterwards.
Ok so first, “a storm?” You may ask. A storm is just a poetic type word that I am using instead of saying ‘Beauty in the Tribulation’, ‘Beauty in the Havoc’ or ‘Beauty in the Grind of Everyday Life’. I thought it was a word that stayed relevant to life even if you aren’t in a storm. Life can be busy without it being messy.
Now beauty... well that was brought to me because I wanted to see beauty in a painful story. I wanted to be able to pull apart the little details and see how God blessed me in the hard parts. I found a three entry journal that my mom started and promptly forgot about once and she had written in there about how seeing a certain bird one time had turned her day around and how God had blessed her with that bird sighting. Her choice to see beauty and blessing in the simplest things really helped her see joy in the midst of suffering.
It’s hard, I get it, our human tendency is really to focus on the bad, the wrong, the injustice. I am currently working in a job where the injustice of this world is constantly thrown at my face. I actually purposely keep my eyes open for “bird sightings”. (Sometimes it literally is a bird!) When I went through my season of time at home this summer I would get lonely at times... all of a sudden I noticed one day that my moms favourite bird was hopping around on the grass. I took note and thanked God for His little blessing upon my day. But then a flock of these birds actually came and made our yard home for weeks on end! God does things like that! I would venture to say that there is always some blessing to see in each circumstance in life, although some may be harder to find then others.
Quite honestly I really don’t like summer thunderstorms. I would actually get bad anxiety during them in my early teen years, I slowly have grown out of it since taking meteorology in flight school... understanding storms makes you appreciate them a bit more. Since learning how they move and work I have started seeing the beauty in them! (Yay for over using the words beauty and storm in this blog post!). The different colours of clouds. The sheets of rain. And if you get a storm intense enough then you get to see ———-! God places His fingers all over every part of His creation not just then nice easy-to-swallow parts. We go through valleys and come out wiser for it. You can’t not learn something in a hard spot in life. I love how God created us with hindsight and not foresight, that way we can see how He has been there for us in the hard parts of life and not be scared of things to come, because all we have is the knowledge of the experience of His faithfulness. So its important to see beauty in the storm but also very important to see beauty after the storm.
Funerals are really something that has been apart of culture from the beginning of time. You get together, have food and remember the deceased. I find funerals a mix of happiness and sorrow most times. People tell fond memories and sometimes they include a laugh but it feels wrong because this is supposed to be sad! It brings out a weird rollercoaster of emotions that some may find hard to deal with. For the christian we know that Jesus mourned the death of his friend, yet we do not mourn as those with no hope as Paul told us.
When my mom died someone that I didn't really know gave me a book on how to grieve. I still haven't read it five years later. It was a kind gesture but I felt it a bit intrusive at the time. I felt as though I had started grieving two years earlier when my mom got sick. Grieving the loss of my carefree childhood. grieving the loss of my physically active mom. Grieving the loss of having a normal life without people seeing you and thinking about the poor child who has a terminally ill mother. Grieving the loss of my sisters carefree childhood. SO did I think I needed 10 steps on how to grieve, no. I wasn't bitter at God. I knew that he was working His plan out for His glory and my mom made sure we all knew that.
Yet the emotions that death and the funeral brought were unlike anything I had ever experienced in my 15 years of life. The ups and downs. What felt right and what felt wrong. I got awkward talking about my mom after her death because I could tell that the people I'd talk to about her got awkward and wouldn't know if I'd just start bawling on them or something. They didn't know how to handle it so I didn't know how to handle it.
When you encounter someone, especially someone younger, who has lost a parent let them talk! They may tear up but it is really good for people to talk about their deceased parent(s). Its healthy to not forget their legacy, some may want to forget but for those who don't let them talk! I had a few people who would listen as I would talk about my mom and actually engage in the conversation and not just be waiting for it to end. One that particularly stands out is my brother in law. He was awkward at first but actually communicated that to me and asked my questions about how I felt talking about mom and if it was hard. I felt very cared for. He didn't shy away but engaged and now it isn't ever awkward if I mention my mom. Jeffrey has always been a super good listener when it comes to that to but thats on a different level.
From my experience, which can be different for each person, it is really good to tell the family memories you have of the deceased. I have heard many stories since mom died that I didn't know about but I cherish them so much! Let them talk but also talk to them! Emotions are crazy when it comes to losing someone you love but you still appreciate the thoughts of people who take time to be with you and care for you.
! Thessalonians 4:13 " But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope."
As much as I love the prairies and see the amazing beauty in them and enjoy being able to see the sunset and sunrise all the time there is just something about the mountains! I am blessed to have newly acquired family that live in Alberta and I now have a very good excuse to head west at least once a year. ;) I love the prairie but oh how I love the mountains!
Jeffrey and my Christmas holidays were pretty much all booked and determined by mid November. As much as we were looking forward to seeing family we didn’t get a single full day at home and our introvert hearts ached for some down time. We didn’t consider it holidays because we didn’t get a break. That said though we enjoyed amazing food and a good times with our relatives in Manitoba and in Alberta. Jeffrey and I both contracted the stomach flu while celebrating Christmas with his family which definitely put a damper on our time with them, but is was a blessing in disguise to get sick at their house since we literally would have had nothing at our house because we had tried to empty out our fridge knowing we wouldn’t be eating at home for over a week. We were taken care of nicely and were well on the mend by the next day. Thankfully we got sick before we had to leave for our 12 hour road trip west… that would’ve been really rough if we had all been throwing up all the way to Alberta.
We rang in the new year with our new extended family and it was really nice to get to know our step-cousins a bit more. We stayed at one of their houses the four nights so we became closer with that family. We did something that actually had been on my heart to do for a while and is kind of my bucket list for the new year. We attended three different churches while in Calgary, an alliance church, an evangelical church and a Pentecostal church. Since unity in the church has been on my heart for the past few months I was convicted of how I really haven’t made an effort it visit other churches in my community. I can’t expect other people to do something that I haven’t done. So my goal for 2019 is to visit at least two churches for a Sunday morning service this year. (Two but hopefully more! I teach Sunday school so it will most likely have to be a summer thing.) To be honest it is definitely something out of my comfort zone, which surpasses me a little! I love meeting new people! But I also love the comfortable feeling of my home church family and knowing everyone. So here’s to stretching myself to practice what I believe! What a rebuke that can be!
The word that has been on my heart as of late is anticipation. To anticipate what God is going to do is a state of longing and hope. Like you are at the edge of your seat listening to a story just anxious to see what comes next! Thats how I feel with life right now. Like a big adventure is just around the corner. Maybe years around the corner, who knows. I’m excited to see what God does in 2019!
Since Christmas is around the corner it tends to bring up the fact that we are missing a person. I have recently been reminded/grateful for the way I was raised. So here are I’ve things my mom taught me about life.
2. An imagination will get you so far. I am so sad when I see kids these days with their eyes glued to TVs and when told to play outside they just stand there not knowing what to do! Technology has stolen the simplicity of life from us. It’s not like we didn’t watch movies growing up but I always watched more movies at friends houses then at my home. Movies were for rainy days and snow storms definitely not sunny days, that was basically a sin! If you had time on your hands read a book or play outside or both! Plus we had dial up internet till I was 13 pretty much so its not like we could waste time on the computer.
3. Christian fellowship is very important. My mom served. My mom was one of the best examples of a open heart I can think of, and she got that from her mom! I remember my mom saying many times to people she’d just met, “You are more then welcome to come over for lunch! All we have is peanut butter and homemade buns but we would love to have you over!”. The house didn’t have to be perfect, we cleaned once a week on Saturday, the food was simple but good, but it was the fellowship that was the most important! From that we hosted people from the USA, Israel, Toga, India and many many places! It was actually abnormal for us to not have someone over on a Sunday! I so badly want to continue this into my home!
4. How to vacuum properly. Haha for years my mom wouldn’t let us kids vacuum because we wouldn’t do a job that was up to her standards. When we finally were taught the art if we didn’t do a good job we would have to redo the whole thing until it was up to standard. If you don’t do a good job vacuuming then it makes washing the floor harder. Just a fact.
5. How to be a tender person. My moms heart was very sensitive to Gods conviction. I remember her telling a story about how she had judged a new person in the church on Sunday morning because of all his tattoos and piercings. God convicted her of that and she went up to that person and engaged him in a friendly normal conversation. A few years later, after she had passed away, we found out that she was a big reason that he accepted Christ!
She loved outwardly because she new she was loved inwardly.I miss her but it is such a blessing to be able to say that Lisa Wiebe was my mom!