Magnolias & Mourning

A week ago today, I was sitting on my parents’ front porch making homemade wreathes made of magnolia leaves with my mom.

While the moment was a nice bit of cool weather craftiness, the heartache we were all feeling could not be ignored.

Saying goodbye to a loved one is never, ever easy.

I sat on the porch floor surrounded by magnolia branches, listening to the kids run around the yard. Each moment made us smile, but tears still inevitably stung behind our eyes.

Realizing life is short is never, ever easy.

I punched a hole through another leaf as I strung it on the metal hoop. Mom arranged another brown leaf to create a contrast against the bright green leaves, and we chatted.

Talking about loss is never, ever easy.

Four to six weeks left turned into almost three months. God showed up.

In the midst of the mourning, I have seen the faithfulness and amazing hand of God. Prayers that sometimes felt like they were hitting a glass ceiling were working in more powerful ways than I could have even asked or imagined.

Seeing God in the midst of pain is never, ever easy.

But while I strung together my wreath, and thought about everything that whirled around in my brain, I remembered that life was never meant to ever be easy, but we don’t have to do it alone.

Because although our family came from all points of the country to gather together to remember and cry and mourn, the key is that we were together. We didn’t have to do any of it alone. We didn’t have to be strong by ourselves because we were strong for each other.

Admitting that I’m not as strong as I think I am is never, ever easy.

But God is
always strong
always faithful
always holding us
always answering prayers.

And while I’m never, ever going to understand it all, God is always and forever going to be there, working when the never evers seem to take over.

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