I used to hate November. It smelled of death.
In November 1994, my friend Melissa’s mom died of cancer. Melissa was only motherless for two years. In November 1996, Melissa died in a car accident, days after the anniversary of her mother’s death.
I had to wait four more years before my friend, Joe, died, this time in another car accident, within the first two weeks of this dreaded month.
Soon I learned to ball up my fists and wait. Who would November kill this year? I cynically asked myself. It was only a matter of time before death aimed straight for that month and took another loved one away.
I felt obligated to loathe November. What choice did I have? Until one day that tiny God voice somewhere within asked me if I wanted to keep hating November. It suggested so audaciously that maybe God didn’t want me to hate entire months or days, that all time belonged to God.
I took the bait. Okay, God. I don’t want to hate November anymore. Give me November back.
I had to wait five, maybe six years. Josh and I were married and we told God, Give us a year without a baby, please. But as soon as the year was up, I wanted that baby.
Nothing. Month after disappointing month went by. No pregnancy.
Then in March the next year, two lines showed up in pink. Pregnant! I calculated the due date date: November 8. Two days before the death of my friend, Joe.
John ended up coming a week later, November 15. And maybe that was better. Smack in the middle of the most worstest time of my year.
And that is how, in 2010, God gave me November back. What was once a time committed purely to mourning and emptiness had been turned into a celebration. A birth where death had lived, stealing and destroying.
Now my remembrance of my loved ones drips with redemption and hope, where before it felt so empty.
Isn’t that so like God, to trade our mourning for joy?
What day or month or season do you need back? All our years and days belong to him. Ask him to give it back to you, to restore beauty and goodness where it’s been stolen. He can do it. And at just the right time, in the best way, he will.