I know that’s a hard concept to wrap your head around, so allow me to explain.
A little over ten years ago, I sat staring out the window of my childhood home as the winter wind swirled little snowflake tornados. Hours earlier my mom had taken her last breath, overtaken by ALS or Lou Gerhig’s disease, and my family and I sat silent, not knowing what was next. Life no longer made sense. The future I’d envisioned, dreamed about, and planned for, was swept away in a matter of moments. I felt empty, like someone had hallowed out my soul and I was only a shell of my remaining self.
Grief has a way of doing that. Whether it’s grief over the loss of a loved one or the loss of an expectation for the future in the form of a divorce, loss of a job, complex and special needs children. It doesn’t matter. Grief has a way of forever changing the landscape of our soul.
As I stared into the white winter landscape that day, I couldn’t help hearing the voice inside me that had repeated itself for years.
“Something bigger, something different.”
I had no idea what it meant the first time I heard it, years earlier as my mom faded away, and I surely didn’t understand it as I contemplated a future without my best friend—my compass.
But overtime, I would begin to realize that voice within was God, reminding me there was “something bigger, something different,” planned for the pain that weighed on my soul. Like clay that was heated in the fire of a kiln until it came out a stronger more durable version of itself, God was allowing this pain to strengthen me so He might create the masterpiece He had planned for me.
And I’m here today to tell you—your pain has purpose.
Your struggle is intentional.
Your story of struggle and heartbreak could be what finally unlocks another person’s prison. You could be the catalyst God needs to make a real change in your community, friend group, or the world.
Grief, no matter what type, is a process. Allow yourself to go through the process, but don’t allow yourself to stay in the worst of it. Make a choice to BELIEVE that not only is God in the fire with you, but He is using it and strengthening you into something beautiful.
My mom’s death was a pain I may never have come back from, but I refused to believe that her death was the end of our story. When I changed my belief, my whole life changed, and so will yours.
Sonya Joy Mack is the creator of The LIVE JOY LIFE, an organization that empowers women—through community, mindset, and God— to live in the joy God intended. Her debut book “This Changes Everything: When Death No Longer Has the Final Say,” a true story that brings hope and healing to those who grieve, releases in December and is available now for pre-order wherever books are sold. For more empowering and uplifting content right in your inbox, you can subscribe to The LIVE JOY LETTERS and follow her on Instagram and Facebook. She invites you to remember…Don’t just live life—LIVE JOY!