Waking before dawn today at 3:50 am, my first thought was "on this day three years ago my life changed dramatically." It was the last day I saw Josh’s face and held his hand. It was a ridiculously sad day.
It’s hard to return to sleep after waking to such thoughts. So many more things ran rampant in my mind from there. I did eventually sleep again, waking to a conversation via text from a friend who thoughtfully referred to the day as “Happy Josh’s Day - the day he got to see our Savior face to face” - that is an encouraging thought for sure.
Now hours later, as I am reflecting on this busier-than-expected third anniversary, my mind is still wired up. This week particularly, has been packed with life, work projects, and preparing to share part of my grief story at a women’s retreat this weekend - of all weekends!
It's crazy to look around at life today and realize how many people don’t know what my life looked like three years ago. Sure, there are plenty of dear friends that do, but there are many new friends and acquaintances who don't have any idea. Additionally, there have been many new wonderful unexpected adventures since then.
Often as we experience deep heartache and grief - through the loss of someone dear - it is hard to believe that there could even be a good next adventure or season. Even IF we think it’s possible, we debate if we really want it – the past was so good, can we just stay there a little longer?
Trust me I get it. I’ve had all of these thoughts, but keep trucking along. As I do, I keep finding goodness and beauty. I will never tell you there is a timetable on your grief journey - or a time to stop crying - it varies so much with each person and story. But I do know that hope comes with embracing each new day and seeing what good God might have to share with you. There is hope to be found, there's sun shining on the water, and healing that is in process – even now, within our stories.
For me, on this third September 30, my heartache mended a bit more as I enjoyed God’s creation paddling down a Missouri river soaking in the beauty of this world with a loving friend. And then a little more this evening as I sang out praises at a park and laughed playing goofy games, building friendships with ladies from my church. I wouldn’t have pictured this three years ago, but God did – that’s definitely an interesting thought.
This day, is still special because Josh was/is special, yet I know I can also honor him by continuing to trust God daily and by embracing the day's joys and challenges as much as possible - with honesty.
In preparing for the women's retreat, I found a song that has been echoing through my mind every day this week – on the water, on the road, and as I practiced the guitar outside the “glamping tent” I stayed in yesterday, where I retreated to spend time resting and not ignoring my grief process.
Here are a few lines that seem to perfectly fit this season, words I think Josh and his artistic mind might have also enjoyed. He always talked about God’s goodness. Always.
You make all things work together
For my future and for my good
You make all things work together
For Your glory and for Your name
For my good, for my good
When I doubt it, Lord, remind me
I'm wonderfully made
You're an artist and a potter
I'm the canvas and the clay .... you're not finished with me yet....
Listen to the full song below:
9/30/2022 11:27:57 pm
❤️🙏❤️🙏 I love that you share your grief in the great outdoors. Floating slowly down the beautiful river has to be so soothing to you. And you bless us with your pictures and words. Thank you. Love you Jennifer❤️
10/1/2022 05:30:56 am
Thank you for sharing Jennifer. Through these grief blogs, you have helped more people than you know. God has his plans for you and I for one, am thankful that you are so open to God's Amazing Love for you and let him use you. I know so many people who have turned completely from God because they are blaming HIM for their grief.
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Hi! It's Jenn Brown, writing my story that is now slightly different as we enter a season of new grief. On September 30, 2019, my dear husband Josh passed away after battling brain cancer.