7 years ago two State Troopers came to my door and asked me to sit down. I was wearing my Little Miss Sunshine shirt. I never wore that shirt again. They put their big hats on my coffee table. I just stared at their hats while they told me my husband had died in a motorcycle accident in Morganton.
7 years ago, with my teeth chattering and my stomach flip flopping, I never thought I’d be able to get through the pain and grief. Here’s 7 things I learned in these 7 years…
1. Life is fragile and fleeting. We need to focus on loving and encouraging and comforting. Life is so precious.
2. HeeJun is not an angel. I did a little research and studies on Heaven (Chip Ingram’s Heaven study and Randy Alcorn’s book on Heaven) . A lot of people say “God just needed another Angel”. First, God doesn’t need anything. Ever. He desires an intimate relationship with us and for us to follow and obey Him. He doesn’t need it. The Angels were created separately from Man. We were created in God’s image. Saying that we become angels after death, is actually de-valuing who we really are. We are God’s children. HeeJun is now in Heaven face to face with His Savior.
3. In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28) That doesn’t mean HeeJun’s death was good. My word, it sooo wasn’t. Bad things happen because we live in this worldly little world. God doesn’t want bad things to happen and He hurts with me. But it will get better. It did get better. It was a fight, but Joy returned. God’s good came out of a very bad thing.
4. The cliche that “God does not give us more than we can handle” is a lie. I can pretty much guarantee you that you will face lots and lots of things you can’t handle on your own. The Bible is filled with stories of people facing things that they absolutely could not handle. We’re supposed to surrender all of it to Christ. He will be our strength. He will heal us, and restore us and redeem us. We can’t do any of it without Him. I recently read a post that said exactly what I’m trying to say. It’s beautiful. http://natepyle.com/confronting-the-lie-god-wont-give-you-more-than-you-can-handle/
5. After you know that life is fragile and tragedy can happen, everything changes. My whole way of thinking changed. I can easily get trapped in waiting for the next bad thing to happen. My mind is always thinking of the “what ifs”. I catch myself often thinking through the steps of what I would do when something else happened. Those thoughts can trap me and weigh me down with anxiety. That’s where faith and God’s Hope come in. This can also be freeing. When bad things happen, I know God will give me the strength to face it. I buried my husband. I kissed his face laying in a casket. God was with me during that time, and He’ll be with me again. (Ah, but good gracious, please Lord, keep my family and friends safe.) Also, since I’ve known grief, I have a deep compassion for others who are grieving. I recognize the look of numbness and the fake smile. Sometimes it just helps to hear “you are not alone.” BUT I can also say you will be able to breathe again. And laugh again. And love again.
6. I still hate doing the dishes. A lot. I know I said I would give anything to have someone else’s dishes to do. I know I said I missed having someone to cook for and clean for. But I really, really still hate doing dishes. Death taught me to not worry or stress about little things. I learned to not stress out about the color of our walls, or the way our yard looks. Even though I learned that, life still takes over sometimes. My sinful selfishness takes over and I get anxious about our landscaping or furniture! Come on, Erica! I already learned that this stuff isn’t important.
7. Dr. Pepper is amazing. HeeJun loved Dr. Pepper. I stayed away from it because I was always worried about my weight. I’m a little addicted now.
So, on this day I’m going to drink a Dr. Pepper, snuggle my precious toddler, love on my family, do the dishes and eat some Korean food in HeeJun’s honor!