When I was sixteen years old my life dramatically shifted. Though it was almost ten years ago, I remember it all very vividly. It started out as a normal Wednesday morning, I got ready for school, and before leaving I took my dog out for a walk. While outside I checked my voicemail and heard a message from a frantic guy, but I was only able to make out a few words “your mom.. accident.. I’m sorry.” I didn’t recognize the guy’s voice or the phone number so I just assumed that it wasn’t a message that was meant for me. I deleted the voicemail and went about my morning. When I got back inside of my house the main phone line rang and it was my aunt. At this point it seemed bizarre to have all of these calls coming in early in the morning. I knew something was up, and my world shattered when the news finally hit me. The guy from the voicemail, was trying to tell me something, but it was my aunt who was able to translate the news — my mom had died in a car accident the night before.

I remember weeping for weeks, not wanting to do anything but cry in bed. I couldn’t understand why this had to happen. I was in denial; there had to be some sort of mistake. It felt completely surreal, and it took some time to accept this as my new reality. At the time I was so angry and confused, especially since there were four other people in the car but my mom was the only one who didn’t survive. I had so many questions and I wanted answers — instead I found comfort. I had a relationship with Jesus at this time, and I remember just weeping and asking for peace, for strength. I knew without Jesus I would just go about life being angry and bitter, and the pain I felt in my heart was too great to bear on my own.

It was through this experience that I truly experienced peace that surpasses all understanding in the midst of pain and hardship. I had no answers, no closure, but by grace I had peace. I knew that even though I was hurting that God was holding me together, enabling me to process through the pain.

I do not remember the words I spoke at her funeral, but it was that day that my cousin turned his life around and rededicated his life to God. My cousin’s life decision reminded me of how God works all this out for His glory, even when our hearts are broken.

It’s been almost ten years since I heard her voice and felt her loving embrace. As I have gotten older there’s so many questions that I realize I didn’t ever think to ask my mother, and so many milestones that I wish I got to share with her. I have chosen to believe that God is working it all out with purpose for His glory, which empowers me to be strong in the grace.