“You’re blessed when you feel you have lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.” Matthew 5:4 (MSG)

I love me. A lot. Me, dom, moi. At least I used to. My joy meter often rose and fell based on the illusion of unspoken expectations being met. Fear dug a hole in my heart where I buried laundered disappointments; my peace clung to the kite of getting my way.

Control, control, control. The tug of war between my will and God’s will left my ego bruised and battered. When I gave up chose to surrender and die to self, erasing me from the everyday equation, life changed.

Me + me = me became God + God = God is everything plus more.

The new arithmetic spun my perspective and knocked my false self on its axis. Lying on my backside enabled our loving God to reach down and lift me into His benevolent arms.

What a blessing.

Every day my children and husband thank me for instituting the death of my pride and prejudice. Well, not with words per se. I see the gratitude in their eyes and often blink back the waft of relief from their exhale. Humility can be breezy.

As for appreciating this Beatitude in regards to the real death of a loved one, I am a novice in the grief department. I have mourned beloved grandparents and a few great aunts and uncles, most of which were peaceful farewells. A signature of God’s blessing and care.

Therefore, I have no authority to speak on tragic death, unexpected loss, or the passing of a parent, spouse, or child. But I am an expert in a different type of bereavement.

Becoming a mom births a galaxy of precious celestial gifts. The vast array of twinkling moments lighting up the skies of parenting serve to inflate a mother’s heart with Divine purpose.

We care for, nurture, encourage, esteem, protect, and love on our children like there’s no tomorrow. Then tomorrow comes, transforming our bustling home into a quiet echo.

The silence creates space for us to count the blessings of our loss; the stillness reveals the enormity of God’s grace along our journey.

“You’re blessed when you feel you have lost what is most dear to you.”

Losing something dear to us means we had something to begin with. I wouldn’t trade the pain of these passings for anything…

Watching my newborn sleep

Nursing in the still of the night

First smiles, first reactions, first crawls, first steps, first haircuts

Hearing “I love you mom” for the first time

Sticky fingers and chubby legs

Heavy and sweaty toddler naps in my arms

J.C. Penny family portraits

Bedtime snuggles and endless story times

Childhood innocence and wonder

First days of school

Sacrament celebrations

Precious Vacation Bible School song motions

John, Jacob, Jingle-Heimer Schmidt marathon sing-a-longs
(his name is my name too after all)

The thrill and pride of cheering at sporting events

Field trips, recitals, camps, award nights, concerts, plays

Hours of adventure and make-believe

Unbridled giggles and belly laughs

Trips to the zoo, museum, park

Swimming lessons and themed birthday parties

Playing Santa, Easter Bunny, and Tooth Fairy

Morning battles and after school embraces

Packing notes in lunches

Nurturing during sick days

Playing during snow days

The stress and strain of driving lessons

The nervousness and joy of first dates

Observing the pinning and placement of boutonnieres and corsages

Giving hugs and wiping tears over heartbreaks

Senior years and graduation parties

The beautiful pain of freshman drop-offs

All these moments come and gone hold priceless worth for a mother; the memories continue to free-flow through our spirit. Inherent beauty lies in knowing our emotional losses are a direct result of our motherhood gain.

Parenting ensures the privilege of loving someone dear to you. Being a mom promises moments, experiences, and emotions gift wrapped in God’s grace.

And the eternal value of letting go is an emptiness which longs for the Savior’s love. He is the giver and taker of all things.

I’d rather have received and lost, than to have never received.

“Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.”

Shelby Spear

A self-described sappy soul whisperer, sarcasm aficionado, and love enthusiast, Shelby is a mom of 3 Millennials writing about motherhood and life from her empty nest. She is the co-author of the book, How Are You Feeling, Momma? (You don't need to say, "I'm fine.") , and you can find her stories in print at Guideposts, around the web at sites like Her View From Home, For Every Mom, Parenting Teens & Tweens and on her blog shelbyspear.com.