It was around this time last year that we learned that our beloved Christopher Ryan Smith had his life brutally ended by an evil, greedy individual. The hearts of our family and hundreds of his friends were shattered. We experienced despair, grief, and many questions for God.
As I wrote in previous blogs ( Christopher, Aug. 2011, We said Goodbye for Now, Oct. 2011, and the Uniqueness of Grief, 2011) losing Christopher is the deepest grief I have ever experienced in my life. Ever. Through this grief I have learned a great deal.
I have learned that God remains faithful in the darkness of night when questions flood my heart. I have learned that I don’t understand all the ways of God; but that my role is to trust Him even in the midst of deep sadness and unanswered questions.
I am reminded of Christopher in a song, a picture, facial features of a stranger, a smell or even a memory that sweeps across my heart at random and inconvenient times. Thoughts of my precious nephew are simply a heartbeat away.
I now have a very eternal perspective; one foot on earth, one foot anxious to be in Heaven. I hold a short list of offenses recognizing that life is short and uncertain. I filter my calendar to be sure that I spend time with precious friends and family; never assuming I will get the chance “tomorrow”.
I will never have the perspective that Christopher was taken from us and that all the lessons are “worth it”. NO, I would rather have the chance to make memories, laugh, and discuss the mysteries of the world with that precious young man.
But–God is faithful to give us small opportunities to find “beauty for ashes” in the midst of great grief.
It’s been quite a year.
Perhaps you, too, have gone through grief points this past year. I pray you find, as I have, that God is very very near to the brokenhearted. May you find “beauty for ashes” as you navigate that sadness’s you have faced.