You Will Never Truly Understand {until it happens to you}

There are some things you just can’t know until you experience them. You think you know, but really you do not. Ultimately, you have to go through the journey yourself to truly understand.

Losing my mother has been this way for me.

I have walked alongside many friends who have lost their mothers. I thought I knew what it might feel like but, until my mom died suddenly only three weeks ago, I had no idea.

I wish I could describe my feelings to you — but, to be honest, I’m not there yet. I still cannot, for the life of me, believe she is gone. I mean, how do you wrap your head around the fact that your mother, the one who carried you and loved you before you were even born, is gone?

Our good God, in His extreme grace, allows us the time to let it all sink in. I am so grateful for His mercy and love. As the only daughter, I have had to immediately step into my mother’s shoes and take care of a great many things — most of all my sweet, brokenhearted dad.

As my eyes open every morning, I ask myself if I am dreaming. Has this really happened? Is she really gone?

My heart sinks when I realize that yes, it is really true.

But then, before my feet even hit the ground, something happens! Almost immediately, my mind is full of the promises from His Word. I am reminded of the fact that He is sovereign and that nothing is a surprise to Him. I recall His faithfulness not only in my own life, but my in mother’s life too.

So, the emotion that drives me is not sadness or even grief, although I am experiencing them both.

The emotion that is overriding all others is JOY.

My life changed in an instant. I have had the rug pulled out from under me. But yet, in spite of the bottom falling out of my life as I’ve known it, I find myself standing on the solid rock of my Savior. I can actually feel His firm ground beneath my feet.

It is hard to describe, but it is there.

My ‘trust muscle’, which I have exercised for a long time, is keeping me upright. The Scriptures I memorized long ago instantly come to my mind when I am fearful or overwhelmed. Paul explains this to us in Romans 15:

“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures …we might have hope.” 

This truth has been ingrained in me since I was a young woman.  Thank you, God!

Please understand this — we can’t conjure up knowledge of God and His Word in the moment — we must know it and believe it ahead of time. I am so thankful He has prepared me “…for such a time as this…”

Sadness and joy can coexist, but joy will always win if we stay close to the joy-giver.

I have been given eyes to see God working throughout this entire ordeal. I praise Him for this perspective.

Even in the middle of the shock and disbelief of what was happening, I saw Him. He was there.

And not only was He there — He had been there.

He has met and continues to meet me at every moment. He has gone before me to prepare the way — and I am able to rest in His care.

Sisters, there is nothing that compares with discovering that your faith, though tested and refined by fire, is REAL.

That is where the joy comes from!

It comes when you fear you are falling and suddenly you feel that solid rock beneath your feet. It comes when you are afraid of your ‘new normal’, and He rescues you with the promises from His Word.

While I am not surprised, I am so grateful to understand, in a much deeper way, that all that I have learned and taught over the years is true!

How can I not be joyful? How can I not have peace?

Our God is real. He can be trusted. He is not someone we make up in order to cope!

Heaven is not just a nice thing to believe, but, in fact, a real place where my mother lives today.

Jesus really did die and then rise in order to save us.

It is true. 

Losing my mom is a temporary separation. Although my heart is broken and I cannot imagine my life without her, I have confidence that God’s promises for her have come to full fruition.

She has begun her real life in her real home. I will see her again — and that, my sisters, gives me true joy!


“I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world, you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.” John 16:33 (MSG)

28 thoughts on “You Will Never Truly Understand {until it happens to you}”

  1. So beautiful and real. Thank you for sharing your heart, and the joy that is only found in Christ. Your mom raised an amazing daughter! love YOU.

  2. What a beautiful post, Laura! Thank you for sharing your heart, and the beautiful photo of you and your precious mom. I love “Sadness and joy can coexist, but joy will always win if we stay close to the joy-giver.” Powerful!
    Sweet blessings to you, friend!

    1. Thank you, Cindy–Thank you for the encouraging words. I don’t know what we would do without Jesus. I am so thankful that even though we grieve, we grieve with hope. xoxo

  3. Thank you Laura for sharing God’s promise of “joy in the midst.” Thanks too for the reminder that while we are standing on the Rock, and all around us is moving and changing,we have the assurance that He is there with us and has His hand on us. He is faithful.

    1. Donna–I learned SO MUCH of this from you.I am so grateful for the opportunity to have watched you and Mike stand on the rock together. Thank you.

  4. Annette Grzybinski

    Ok – so the eyes are overflowing right now! What a beautiful testimony Laura. The tears come not because of sadness (although this is a sad time)but because what God has done for you and IN you and the clarity to see it and express it in this testimony. What a gift for you but for me and many other daughters as well. Daughters of mothers who are getting older and may soon be on that same journey. No, I can’t prepare myself – none of us can but you remind us of what we CAN do and that is to rest on His assurance and let Him carry us. Your honesty is so appreciated Laura. Thank you!

    1. Annette- Thank you for sharing my post on your FB page. I know our lives are in the same “season”. I hope that it gives you comfort to know that He will come through for you just as He always has. Love you.

  5. Thanks Laura for sharing this experience with us! Your words are encouraging. I totally agree that we must know Scripture ahead of time so that in those unbelievably difficult, dark moments, truth fills our minds. It’s truly the only way we can have joy.

    1. I’m glad you were encouraged Angela.So many women before me, taught me that the Word of God truly is a “strong tower”.I’m grateful for their example ( Titus 2) xoxo

  6. What a blessing to see such true and pure faith. I’m so glad your trust muscle is holding you upright through this difficult time. It has been an honor to meet you as your neighbor in the #LifeGiving Linkup. Your words have indeed spoken life to me today. May God richly bless you and continue to pour out His comfort and peace upon you!

    1. Janet- Thank you for responding. I am so happy my post spoke to you today. 🙂 I visited your beautiful website and will return–I see you are attending She Speaks! I attended in 2012 and 2013. Loved it. Thank you again!

  7. “Sadness and joy can coexist, but joy will always win if we stay close to the joy-giver.” I love this and can attribute it to areas of my life. Thank you Laura for being so transparent and sharing your heart. Continuing to pray for you.

  8. I can tell you wrote those words from your heart! I love the picture you shared. You and your Mom have the same eyes! A Mother’s Love Never Dies; our faith and joy will continue to guide us as we continue our journey…Hugs, Betty

    1. Betty- My mom and I never had ANYONE say we look alike because I look so much like my dad! I love that you think we have the same eyes. 🙂 Thank you–and yes, a mother’s love never dies. Thanks for commenting on my blog. Sending hugs.

  9. Laura your words are beautiful and true. I love how God’s promises immediately flood into your head when reality sets back in. I too, agree with the need to have some scriptures buried in our heart to equip us when the valleys of life come. He is faithful and it has been so encouraging to see his provision for you in the midst of this loss of your mom. I love you and am praying for you. Love, Meg

  10. I’m so sorry for your loss and will keep you in my prayers as you grieve. God’s promises offer us so much hope and this is such a reminder to me to commit these to memory. I struggle to do that like I should. Thanks so much for all of your encouragement; so inspiring even with all of this going on!

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  12. “Sadness and joy can coexist, but joy will always win if we stay close to the joy-giver.” Such beautiful words from your heart, Laura. I’m so sorry for your loss, but so glad that the Father is holding you close, bringing His precious promises to your mind, and being that portion of comfort and strength in you time of need. Thank you for sharing you love for Him and for your mom with us. Blessed to be your neighbor today at #coffeeforyourheart.

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