It Is Well With My Soul

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We recently had to say goodbye to my husband’s paternal grandmother.  We laid her to rest on a beautiful midwest July day.  I was honored to be chosen as one of her pallbearers.  I will always remember descending the stairs of the beautiful, old church into the warm sunshine and cool breeze that blew my hair.  Once we had her safely in the back of the hearse I walked hand in hand with my husband to the cemetery located behind the church.  Once in the cemetery we as pallbearers were blessed to carry her one final time to her final resting spot.  She lived 100 years and was now next to her husband who passed away some 50 years before.

Saying goodbye is such a tough thing to do.  We say goodbye in so many ways to so many things.  Most always grief then ensues in a variety of different ways depending on the person and the circumstances surrounding the goodbye.

The beauty of saying goodbye to a loved one at a funeral is a way for those left here on earth to have a final moment.  A final pause, a final touch … we get to spend time to celebrate their lives.  To celebrate just who that person was.  To be a community with each other.  It is at this moment that it doesn’t matter what religion they chose or where they chose to worship.  And it doesn’t matter that their choice did or didn’t match yours.  It is a moment where all their friends and family can unite together to have a tribute to one person and celebrate in the powerful image of that person sitting next to our Father in heaven.

However, there are other times of grief we may not have the luxury of those final celebrations.  How about when we say goodbye to a marriage, to a close relationship, to a job/career, or even to a church home we may have known our entire lives?  How are these any less painful to our hearts and souls?  The world always seems to portray when and if it is okay to show pain, sorrow, and grief.  But I say grief is a natural and God given feeling that is okay to experience and feel.  He wants that from us.  If we rest in the power of God, he will hold us in our pain and restore us to something new.

From the ends of the earth I call to you,  I call as my heart grows faint;  lead me to the rock that is higher than I….I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.  -Psalm 61:2,4

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My family decided to go and visit the cemetery this weekend where great grandma was laid to rest.  I’m not sure what it is about a cemetery, but it is such a peaceful and sacred space.  A place to remember all those who have passed before us.  Those we know and those we’ve never met before.

On this particular evening we came at sunset while the church was holding a Saturday service.  Amongst the quiet, we heard the church bells ring, and I was so thankful for the peace deep down in my own soul.   The peace of knowing that I love God so deeply that sometimes it hurts.  It hurts for the yearning for that beautiful place I know that he will raise me up to when my time on earth is done.  A yearning for that beautiful place I know that is filled with only peace and love and relationship with each other.  Something that is lacking sometimes here on earth.

I do know that we may question things that happen in this world – especially in times of grief, sadness, anger, pain, and/or illness.  But we can be assured of the love of Jesus that is never ending and always surrounding us

…God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.  You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  – Romans 5:5-8

I find myself in moments where I am trapped by the why’s, what if’s, how’s, and it’s not fairs.  These are all natural emotions that are okay to acknowledge.  We must lament them to our Lord and Savior because he will help lead us to a better place because of them.  That place is knowing even if we don’t get the answers to any of those questions while we reside her on earth, that we can be at peace knowing it is well with our souls because of Christ’s deep love for us!

Today I leave you with one of my favorite hymns.  It is written by P.P. Bliss/Gloria Roe.  My most favorite version of the song is sung by Joey + Rory.  I call it one of my “funeral songs” as it is a treasure I love to worship with here on earth and want everyone I love to sing it in worship when I’m gone.  The day we visited the cemetery we took a boat ride and this very song came on my playlist.  My youngest was sitting on the seat next to me and I realized we were singing in unison together.  What a beautiful time of worship and when the song was over I turned to her, gave her a big squeeze, and thanked her for singing to Jesus with me!

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It Is Well With My Soul

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,                                                                                  When sorrow like sea billows roll                                                                                          Whatever my lot, though hast taught me to say                                                                                It is well, it is well, it is well with my soul

It is well                                                                                                                                                With my soul                                                                                                                                              It is well, it is well with my soul

Though satan should buffet, though trials should come,                                                                     Let this blest assurance control,                                                                                                               That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,                                                                                         And hath shed His own blood for my soul

It is well (it is well)                                                                                                                                      With my soul (with my soul)                                                                                                               It is well, it is well with my soul                                                                        

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought                                                                                    My sin, not the part but the whole,                                                                                                       Is nailed to the cross, I bear it no more,                                                                                                Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, o my soul  

It is well (it is well)                                                                                                                                      With my soul (with my soul)                                                                                                               It is well, it is well with my soul  

It is well (it is well)                                                                                                                                      With my soul (with my soul)                                                                                                               It is well, it is well with my soul  

 

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