I still remember the last things my grandma said to me. It’s been a long time since she passed and I still have moments when I hear a song, watch a movie, or simply experience a simple moment that sadness creeps in and I miss her. She had a strong faith and, honestly, I never saw her question her belief. That’s not to say it didn’t happen; just, I never witnessed it. My grandma wasn’t perfect, as none of us are, but she loved my brothers and me with a fierce love. We were MawMaw’s Boys, holding a special place in the family dynamic.
I miss my MawMaw. And that’s okay. It’s alright to miss the ones we love. Death isn’t the end after all. I’ve no doubt she went to Jesus when death came knocking. I believe she’s up there, praising God and having a good ol’ time. But sometimes knowing that isn’t much help. Humans are selfish creatures and, I’ll be the first to admit, there are times I wish God had kept his mitts off for just a wee bit longer. Maybe it stems from how much of her last year I missed. Maybe I cling to the guilt because, even this, is something to remember her by.
Most of my faith’s foundation originates from my parents and my grandma. Jesus loves me, this I know. For the Bible tells me so… Does anyone remember that little ditty? How about Zacchaeus was a wee little man? The story of David? Sampson? The Apostle Paul? How about the first Christian martyr, Stephen? My mom and grandma told me about these things. Now, years later, my niece gets to know Jesus because my mom sings these same songs and reads these same stories. The kiddo gets to witness God’s love through mom- her MiMi- and, as she grows older, will have the foundations to walk her own course with God.
1 John 4:19 (CSB) tells us “We love because he first loved us.” I can miss my grandma, can love her memory, love my wife, my parents, my niece, family, and friends… I can love all the people I cherish because first, God loved me. He is the one love we don’t ever have to miss. The one love we don’t ever have to regret when it passes. Because God’s love doesn’t pass. It cannot be missed. Oh sure, we can choose to deny it, but God still loves us. We can choose to walk away from it, but it won’t miss us- there’s a bullseye right on us. We can hate him. We can live like the prodigal, the heretic, the hypocrite… even the monster, but God loves us and His arms are always open if we choose to come. Romans 5:8 (CSB) says it all man: “But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
We’re never going to have it all figured out. We’re invited- I’m inviting you- to keep returning to scripture when questions and doubts arise. Pray, whether silently or at the top of your lungs, when you are angry and bitter, as well as when you are filled with those happy emotions. When those regrets rear their heads, toss them on God’s doorsteps. If He could transform the cross from an agonizing execution device to a symbol of everlasting love, don’t you think He can handle what we give Him?
You don’t have to let other people see your struggles, but God does. He isn’t ashamed of those cracks. He won’t shun you for those weak moments. He loves you. And that’s a love without regret.