By Lisa Kelley
I love the book of Psalms for many reasons, but mostly because David keeps it real. No matter where he is in life or in his relationship with God, he writes and expresses his feelings from a place of genuineness. The reader goes from joy to suffering in one fail swoop. In Psalm 22:6, David describes himself as a worm and not a man. He goes on to say he is despised by mankind. But then one verse later, he claims that surely goodness and mercy will follow him all his life, and he will dwell in God’s house for eternity. These dramatic twists and turns are very reminiscent of my life and journey with God. In my darkest hour or suffering when grief was trying to rob me of joy and hope, I was searching for God. As always, my Redeemer showed up.
My mother and I were the best of friends. She was my number one fan, and let’s face it, we all need a fan here on earth! I was raised believing that I could accomplish anything I set my mind to doing. Those were powerful words for a pudgy little girl who got picked-on at school. Mom’s words helped shape me into who I am today.
On September 13, 2007, I got a phone call from someone who told me that my mother suddenly passed away while on vacation in Savannah. My whole world stopped in that moment. I felt physical pain from grief that I didn’t know existed. I gathered with family, received a lot of prayer from my church home, and somehow survived the next few days of planning my mother’s funeral. She was cremated and would be buried in the family plot in Ohio at a later date. Due to logistics, I had to drive my mom’s ashes home after her funeral service. Just 2 weeks ago, my mom was in my passenger seat while we drove out to dinner. We talked and giggled because that was our norm. We enjoyed life and enjoyed each other. Now my mom’s ashes were in my passenger seat. I didn’t know how I would drive down I-77 through the endless parade of tears streaming down my cheeks.
I prayed to God in desperation to help me survive this drive, this loss. I turned on the radio and heard “I’m Trading My Sorrows” playing. In that moment, I felt the presence of God and I started singing. I made myself sing those words that I knew were most likely taken from the book of Psalms. David’s message was ringing true centuries after his words were written. I sang this message of hope out loud and said “YES LORD” I’m trading my pain, I’m laying it down for joy. And miraculously in that moment, my heart actually felt joy. It seemed impossible, but it was real. I made the drive home. I experienced the peace that passes all understanding that night. Of course the days that followed were often consumed by grief and sadness and sleeplessness. But I did not grieve without hope. My Heavenly Father was there. I was resting in the palm of His Mighty Hand. He continued to heal my broken heart and fill the empty space that my mother’s absence left behind. But as I kept my eyes on Him through my pain, He took beauty from ashes to create something new in me.
Mom is in her eternal home, planting flowers and helping Christ prepare a place for me. I’m sure it’s right next door to her house, and I’m glad for that. Because of the truth in Scripture and David’s message of hope, I traded my sorrows knowing that I will see her again in glory.