February 3rd . . . a day that changed my life forever. It was the day my Mom went to be with Jesus. It’s hard to believe it’s been over three months now. Her passing was very much unexpected. Though none of us know when we will breathe our last breath, with some deaths, you have a little bit of a “heads-up.”

Not this time. Not for my family.

I still, on occasion, have to remind myself to breathe as I realize I have not yet exhaled. Can I just say, it’s been a hard, rough few months that I honestly hadn’t thought of having to journey through any time soon. But here I am, walking this path, holding on so tightly to my Savior’s hand.

The loss of anyone is difficult. I’ve lost family members before but this one . . . this one is different.

I find myself sitting staring into nowhere, tears streaming down my cheeks as I think of the simple tasks like making up a store list for my dad. Remembering how I’d call and talk with my mom each week and place their order. It’s the simple things. The things you end up taking for granted most of the time, that you find mean the most and stay with you the longest. At least for me, it is.

Or . . . seeing her favorite color and smiling as I remember how much she liked it. Trying to be strong and carry on and celebrate her life and the memories, love, lessons, and advice that she’s now left behind. It leaves me breathless at times, struggling to keep my thoughts in order before they run wild, leaving me to yet again find a tissue. I’m sure some of you know exactly what I’m talking about.

RELATED: Everything I Do is For My Mom in Heaven

My mom loved the Lord and was a prayer warrior. She was a giver. She loved with her whole heart and spoke her mind. She had a hunger for the Lord, even in her last days, always waiting to be in His presence. Back in January, I’d asked her if she had any prayer requests for this year, and this was her reply: “That the Lord use my talents.” It was then that I’d shared with her the scripture the Lord had placed on my heart in the first week of this new year, 1 Peter 5:7, which says: Cast all your cares on me, for I care for you. I remember telling her it made me a bit concerned for this year and for what was to come. We’d laughed together and talked about how no matter what the days ahead held, He’d guide us through them. If I’d only known how much I would be holding onto that scripture a few short weeks later.

There are a million things I would have done differently in the last precious time I’d had with my mom if I could. But I rest in knowing that she knew I loved her. We’d never end a conversation without saying it. I’m so thankful for that.

Though I imagine Mother’s Day is going to be a bit rough this year, I’m praying that I’ll be able to wear a smile, full of pride and honor, as I think of her. A bit of me went with her when the Lord called her home, but a bit of her lives on in me and her grandchildren as well. And that truly makes me smile. The world, my world, was a better place because of her being in it, and I thank the Lord for that.

So, this Mother’s Day, I’d like to encourage everyone who still has their mom in their lives to cherish the time you have with her. To let her know without a shadow of a doubt that you love her. To thank her for loving you, even through those rocky teenage years, am I right? Whew.

And for those of us who no longer have our moms this side of heaven, I want you to know you will be in my thoughts. I want to encourage you to keep putting one foot in front of the other. No matter how many years have passed, continue to take one day at a time (or one minute at time, as is my case right now) for as long as you need, because it’s OK. It’s OK to grieve. It’s OK to cry. It’s OK to not be OK sometimes. And it’s also OK to smile. It’s OK to laugh. And it’s OK to move on, too.

RELATED: My Mother’s Love Will Never Die

Jesus holds His children, whatever road they’re on. He never leaves them. He wipes their tears and mends their broken hearts, and in time will replace the mourning with joy.

Be comforted, sisters knowing our compassionate Jesus is taking each step with you, however small the step may be.

Kelly Hagen

Kelly Hagen is a wife of almost twenty-one years, mom to three children, and a Christian fiction author. She enjoys spending time with family, rainy days, and cuddling up with her Australian Shepherds when they’ll let her. She hasn’t always enjoyed writing and reading, but that has changed over the last fifteen or so years. Now, all her bookshelves are full, not to mention her kindle! Kelly enjoys sharing her stories with others, in the hope of helping others see they are not alone in this journey.