What I Learned from Losing My Mother (and Other Lessons of 2017)

Shereena Daniel   |   January 29, 2018 


I sat in silence and contemplation in my small and cozy new home in the beginning of 2017. There were mixed feelings within me, happiness, anticipation, expectations and nervousness, with happiness overtaking it all. After all, I was newly married with my own home and I had all the support in the world. The other emotions were lurking around though because of the fact that I am now ‘adulting’, something I never had to do before!

2017 was indeed a rollercoaster for me. Emotions ran high throughout the year and it is safe to say that the experiences I had in this one year cannot compete with any other in my entire life. As I sat thinking about what I learned throughout this year and as a hundred thoughts flooded my mind, three of them stood out as significant:

1. The Importance of Lessons Learned from Family

Life is liveable and comes with small doses of joy in our everyday lives because of the family God has blessed us to live with. The unconditional love, the memories that are created each and every day needs to be cherished because we never know when one might have to leave and we will be able to see them again only on the “other shore”.

I lost my mother this year and it has truly taught me the amazing blessing and the value of having a good mother. My mother showed me right and wrong and never hesitated to correct me when I did go wrong. A mother who taught me to trust God first and then the family in guiding me the right way. She often spoke of how just having a good laugh with a sister or mother can lighten the heavy burdens of the day.

She never just taught me, but rather lived and inspired me on how to have a beautiful marriage. She showed me how to love your husband unconditionally, how to never ever put him down in front of others but rather talk it out in private, and never to blame him for your mistakes just because he is the first one you find. It is only because of the grace of God and because of her example, I learned to be a good ‘woman’ in every sense of the word.

I’ve seen my family, both immediate and extended as a source of happiness, support, and comfort at all times. They are the ones who we have to catch us when we fall. The Bible talks about how we need to be there for each other. It is a blessing from God to have a family, big or small, and it is a duty and a responsibility of each individual of the family to look out and look after each other. A family (and being close to them) is always, in my mother’s words, "Such a great blessing to have!"

Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!

(1 Timothy 5:8, Psalm 133:1)

 2. Thanksgiving

God showers his blessings on us as we are His children and he loves us. We do thank Him too for His many blessings. Our physical health, spiritual blessings, relationships, material resources and all others, we owe it to Him. But how do we react to the bad in our lives? Though both have opposite emotions, do we mull over the incidents for the same amount of time? Or does one grab our attention more than the other?

In an experiment that was done, the participants were given a significant amount of money for a while and then the same was taken away. What was found out was that the distress that the participants expressed over losing the money was greater than the joy they felt when the money was gained. It is in our human nature to give the negatives of our life more attention than the positives. So what do we do when bad things happen in our lives? A financial debt, the loss of a loved one, physical ailments, personal strife or others? We often tend to question God based on our circumstances. But the word of God says that God knows what He is doing, and so if we doubt Him, we would be sinning.

My mother’s death seemed to take over everything that happened to me in 2017. But I did enjoy a lot of God’s blessings this year like a great job at a reputed institution, a suitable life partner, trips around the country and His protection throughout it all and so much more. But my mind often consciously or unconsciously dwells on my mother’s loss. We need to focus on the many positives in our lives rather than the few negatives. Though this is easier said than done (since we will be going against our innate human nature), we always have God by our side to help us out. Who else better to go for help? Psalm 46:1 reminds us,

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

So no matter what the situation, good or bad, the Bible is clear in its instructions to us at any time. It promises us God’s guidance, blessings, and comfort. Romans 8:28:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

All we have to do is trust in Him and give Him thanks always. 1 Thessalonians 5:18:

. . . give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

3. Uncertainties

Life on earth is never certain. Uncertainty is something that lurks around in the shadows of all human life. We can never be sure of what will happen tomorrow. So we often see people running after fortune tellers, palm readers and trying ungodly practices to take control of their future.

We don’t know our future as well. Our future is as uncertain as anyone else’s. But as believers, what is expected of us? Nothing but trust in our Father. We might not know our future, but we can be certain it is a good one, provided we submit all things to Him. Though things might see dreary now, we can firmly believe it will change for good, because He has promised us a bright future. We can claim those promises and hold on to them knowing that God is in control. God expects us to make all plans, both big and small, after asking Him to lead us according to His will. So let us submit our plans to Him, watch Him fight our battles for us and grant us His peace and guidance through it all. Take the words of Exodus 14:14 and Psalms 40:8 as encouragement:

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.

I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within my heart.

One of my favourite quotes from the movie, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel goes this way: “Everything will be alright in the end. So if it's not alright, then it's not yet the end.” Taking this within the context of God’s will, it is a beautiful saying to consider.

So now, I sit in silence and contemplation in my small and cozy new home in the beginning of 2018. There are mixed feelings within me, happiness, anticipation, expectations and nervousness, with happiness overtaking it all. I’ve moved in just behind my father’s place to be closer to him and I know God continues to be in control. The other emotions were lurking around though because of the fact that I am ‘adulting’, something that I still haven’t got the hang of, even though I started a year back!



Photo by Evan Kirby on Unsplash

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Shereena Daniel

Shereena Daniel is a wanderlust enthusiast with a love for all things sweet. When she isn't teaching English and Literature to college students, she loves long walks on the beach, baking and badminton. She is currently based in Chennai with her husband.

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