My friends, there is something that’s important to me that I’ve been holding back. It’s something that I’ve been hesitant to write about on this blog, for reasons that I am going to try my very best to explain, though it might seem vague.
That something has been the role that faith plays in my life. Most notably, I’m talking about the role that faith has played in my healing after facing the sudden and tragic loss of my mom far too soon.
First, let me start with saying that my hesitation to explore this here has not been out of shame or embarrassment. I am very glad and grateful for the relationship I have with God and the way my faith has evolved throughout my life. I can honestly say there is zero shame attached to this part of my life.
However, I do know that this is an area of my life that many of my readers may not be able to relate to. and my goal with this blog has always been to speak into the parts of each of our lives that I don’t think we talk about quite enough. And if faith isn’t a part of the lives of my readers, I wasn’t sure if there was value in sharing.
The second reason I’ve been hesitant to share this part of my life is that I often find myself reading ‘think pieces’ about faith and religion and cringing. There seems to be a pervasive negative (and unfounded) attitude online that being a person of faith gives you a moral high ground, and I absolutely do not want to come across that way. I know so many wonderful, kind, incredible people from quite literally every end of the faith spectrum, and there is no doubt in my mind that what they believe (or do not believe) does not in anyway impact their quality as a human being.
My concern is that by sharing my story in a way that is not relatable to these wonderful people – many of whom are my closest friends – is that I may alienate my readers, which I absolutely do not want to do. I worry that my readers may think I’m trying to send a message that being a Christian (or a person of any other faith) makes you somehow ‘better’ or superior in one way or another. That is the explicit opposite of what I’d ever want to do, so as I begin this piece, I felt compelled to include this disclaimer of sorts to avoid confusion.
I want to emphasize that this is not a ‘conversion piece.’ I am not trying to convince you of anything. If you are in my life, you are there for a reason, and it is likely because I admire and love you deeply, which is in no way related to the way you choose to pray (or choose not to).
Instead, this piece is an opportunity for me to share how my relationship to Jesus and the faith communities I’ve been a part of have been instrumental in finding my inner strength in times where I’d otherwise be weak. I know this isn’t an altogether common path these days, but it’s one I am eternally grateful to have taken. My goal with this blog has been to write with a spirit of authenticity, and thus I felt this story was important to share.
If you know me in ‘real life,’ you probably know that I was raised attending the United Church of Canada, an experience that I wouldn’t trade for the world. I was taught from a young age that ‘God is Love,’ and we are called to show this sentiment in everything we do. To me, this means not just ‘accepting,’ or ‘tolerating’ others, but truly ‘loving’ and ’embracing’ them. I was taught that being a Christian is about emulating Christ, which to me has always meant honouring friendship, giving generously, loving boldly, and supporting those in need. I believe that being a ‘good Christian’ (whatever that means …) isn’t the secret key to getting into heaven, any more than being a ‘sinner’ will keep us out. The way I see it, the whole point of Christianity has always been that God gave his Son so that we could live freely in this broken world. Our sins are forgiven, and though we must strive to be the very best versions of ourselves, we can rest in the peace of God’s lasting love. Throughout my entire life, knowing that this unconditional heavenly acceptance not only exists, but has been bestowed upon me specifically (and you too!) has been the most powerful form of comfort imaginable.
Now … Let’s talk about the role this belief system has played in my healing journey with grief. The very moment that I got the call that my mom had been in an accident and I got in my car to drive to the hospital, and began to pray. I don’t know exactly what I was praying for, other than that everything would be okay. In the sense that I meant it, this prayer went unanswered. However, looking back in retrospect, I know that it did come to fruition in an alternative way.
Yes, my heart is broken that my mom is gone. This loss pains me in a way I can’t put into words to this day. But in spite of the burden I carry, I also am incredibly grateful. I am grateful that in spite of the pain I’ve had to face, my life is wondrous and beautiful in ways I could have never expected. Today, I am surrounded by so much goodness. I know without a doubt in my mind that I did not create this alone. Things may not be the way I’d hoped for, but guess what? Everything did turn out okay.
I hate when people say that “Everything happens for a reason,” because I truly do not believe that God wanted my mom to die that day, nor do I believe He had a plan for her untimely death. Our tragedy was just that … A tragedy. It was one of those things that just happened without rhyme or reason, and to suggest that God intended for it to go the way it did is cruel in a way my heart can’t handle. What I do believe however, is if that we seek it out, we can find meaning in the darkest of valleys. I believe that when we turn to faith, we can find purpose in our pain.
That is the gift that faith has given me throughout my journey with loss and healing. I’ve been able to rest on the comfort of knowing that there is more to this story than death. I’ve been able to pray in the darkness to discover peace. I’ve been able to put purpose to my pain, which has pushed me and propelled me forward every single day.
I believe that I will see my mom again one day in Heaven. I believe that God gave me my mama’s strength when she left us behind. I believe that there is no doubt someone watching over me, who has put the right people on my path to support, love, and uplift me when I couldn’t hold myself upright. I believe that my life has turned out far too well for me to take credit for it all on my own.
As I continue to write on this blog, I plan to write more about my journey with faith and my relationship with Jesus, as this is an important part of who I am. I know that this may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but just as you would with tea – if you don’t like it, just say no thank you and move along. I promise I’ll continue to include plenty of other content as well, however in being authentic to my most true and honest self, I felt that it was important for me to share this part of my life as well!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this piece, and I will be back with another post again soon. As always, thank you for reading! I love you for it.