Seven years ago today.

February 15th is a day that used to loom in the back of my mind like the {too big} elephant in the room. I was insecure in the early years how to approach this upcoming day with reverence and hope, while allowing the events of the day to slowly replay in my mind like a slideshow. February 15th, 2006 was the worst day of my life, and true testimony that God's strength and grace is sufficient to carry us through our darkest hour. I look back in awe wondering how I even managed to move, eat, sleep or function and know that it was only because I was carried. Because God is faithful. Because God loves us and promises not to give us more than we can handle. He truly brought me through the refiner's fire and held me every step of the way and I am so thankful He chose me to go through something like this
-- not because it was enjoyable or pleasant or not difficult, but because it immensely changed my life forever and my relationship with Him was rescued. The hope I have is that I know I will see my mom and Chase again, and I know this is just a temporary separation. While I miss their every day presence in my life beyond measure, God has covered that hole in my heart and filled it with his presence, and with relationships to support me. 

Now,  February 15th is a day of reflection for me because the pain and the sting is no longer there. My heart aches in remembering the tragedy and the chaos of that moment when we found out that my mom and Chase were gone, but my heart overflows with gratitude when I remember the immense hope and joy we felt when we discovered that Taylor had survived. Words cannot express the juxtaposition of emotions in that hour-- grieving over an unimaginable loss and celebrating a hopeful future at the same time. February 15th is a day of praise and thanksgiving to God for blessing me beyond measure and restoring unto me all that I lost that year and then some. 

I'm writing this today to encourage you that no matter what grief you have gone through or are afraid to go through in the future, there is hope. There is hope in Jesus Christ and in his sacrifice on the cross to bring us into heaven with him eternally if we believe. There is hope in knowing that GOD LOVES YOU, and that nothing in this world is greater than His power. Because God loves you, He is faithful to protect and to deliver you. God wants to bless you, and if that means healing you from grief or carrying you through trials, He will. Do not lose hope. Do not lose faith. Hope is the strongest life raft you can cling to during your darkest hour. 

There is also hope that you WILL heal from your circumstances-- whether that is when you enter heaven, or still here on Earth. Grief doesn't last forever. Seven years for me seems like yesterday. It gets easier. If you've lost a loved one, allow yourself to move in the grief process as wholly and authentically as you know how; don't hold anything back from God. But allow him to heal you. Don't be afraid to heal. Healing doesn't mean forgetting their memory of moving them out of your life. I can promise you with absolute certainty that those you love will be in your heart and thoughts on a daily basis. Celebrate their life with things that they love. Relish in the memories that you have of them and enjoy those times. Honor their memory by carrying on their traditions, or moving in the legacy of character that they left you. Laugh when you need to, and cry when you can as well. Grief never ends, but the hold that it can have on our lives will. 

On February 15th, 2006, I lost my beautiful mom and my 10 year old brother in a horrific car accident that had the power and significance to put me into fear, bitterness and hiding for the rest of my life. I have a million reasons why I could be angry, and 10 million instances that I can point the blame to. But NOTHING and no thoughts of mine will ever bring them back. I was faced with a choice-- a fork in two roads: Either get up out of bed and live the rest of my days honoring their lives, or hide away in bed hating God and letting this circumstance cloud my future. God's strength and power got me out of bed, and my hope in His promises moved me forward. 

So today, I am drinking Starbucks coffee out of the last Valentine's Day present my mom got me: A Starbucks card and a Valentine's Day mug. 

I'm getting a pedicure, because my mom and I used to get them all the time together, I'm reading Psalm 95 which was the first Bible passage that Chase memorized (and was so proud of himself for), I'm listening to my mom's favorite worship songs to remember their truth, and I'm having a fun girls' night with some of my best friends tonight because my mom would definitely have joined us. :) 

Grief does not have to be crippling. As believers, we know that leaving this life means entering a new one. While we wish our loved ones were with us, we can know we will be reunited again in the future. Don't be afraid to move on, because those you love will never leave you. Psalm 22:24 says, "For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him, but has listened to his cry for help." 

You can read more of my story here:

Who Tay has grown up to be now... a blessing to all of us. :)


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