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It is tough to let go. It is tough to move on.

And by “tough” I mean nearly impossible.

How do you truly move on from tragedy? I believe that the answer is that you don’t. Not truly. How can you? When you’ve been affected so deeply by a person and then all of a sudden that person is gone, there isn’t a way that you will ever be able to truly let go or move on. After all, as my pastor Rick so eloquently pointed out at Lauren’s Celebration of Life, we weren’t created to let go. As Jesus was ready to go to His death he distressed so much that he actually sweat drops of blood — all because He wasn’t ready to let go of His Father. And I sure as hell know I’m not ready to let go of Lauren.

But what does “let go” mean in the context of this Biblical reference? After some consideration, I think the most accurate way to describe the nature of Jesus’ non-desire to let go of His Father was to say He wasn’t ready to BE WITHOUT Him.

I feel that I should clarify what exactly I’ve meant when I’ve been taking about “letting go” and “moving on” in the context of Lauren’s death and my decision to delete the Facebook group.

I don’t mean that we all need to BE WITHOUT Lauren. That is impossible for me to do and I wouldn’t expect it of anyone who knew her. I see her in every sunset, I feel her in every breeze, and most of all, I see her in our two babies each time I look at them and each time I feel their gentle embrace. I don’t believe that God wants me to be without Lauren. After all, she is the person who most impacted my life for Him. She is my greatest reminder of Jesus. Why would I want to be without that? I shouldn’t be without that. It’s not right to be without that.

When I say that it’s important for all of us to keep living and to let this mean something positive — to let go and move on — I am referencing the grief and negative emotions which make us want to wallow, which make us actually want to be miserable. It sounds weird to say that, because who would actually choose to be miserable? I believe there is a subconscious desire in humans in situations like the one in which we find ourselves that does actually strive for misery, whether or not we are aware of it. It’s a weird paradox and, quite honestly, an aspect of our broken natures.

Read this part carefully: it is okay to grief. It is okay to be sad. Hell, it’s even okay to yell and scream. Please don’t beat yourself up when you have those moments. I have many of them. But here’s the thing, we can’t let those moments immobilize us. We can’t let them keep us from living each day in a way which honors Jesus and the memory of Lauren. We must choose to keep going. The first part of Hebrews 12 puts it quite well, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”

So yes, while we let go and while we move on, we will never be without Lauren. And more importantly, we will never be without Jesus.

And for that, dear friends, I am eternally grateful.