I came across an old document today . . .
(from October 2017)
Some things that feel like death aren’t. Life continues regular pace, but the wound
seems to hang open, collecting decay.
This piece of broken cheap pottery reminds me of a
loss. It reminds me of a “last”. It reminds me that something was torn away when
I wasn’t looking -- something that felt holy and ordained, something more
valued than I even knew at the time, something that I was obviously clutching a
bit too tightly. I fought hard, but the gift (and so much more) was taken.
And many rotations later, it still wreaks of death.
Honestly, I just don’t quite know which way to go with what
I’m feeling – this strange, cold deadness that swells up inside me when I least
expect: in the whisper of a quiet and
sunny day, during a building bridge of a familiar worship song in the
gathering, at the precise moment I think I am able to stand up and finally be
done with it all. But no. When I try to live, the death is resurrected.
And again I see the pain vividly before my eyes in all
manner of images dark and menacing. It
drains all the color from the surrounding landscape. Sucks up the life. Plugs up my heart. I attempt a be-a-big-girl rebound, but then I
hear one of my children recount the grief, gather up her own wounds in this
tale. She can’t escape it to save her
life, and I am so angry.
I hold my husband’s hand, and we hunker down in supplication
that God would twist and turn this ordeal to make these children better, not
bitter, as I hear myself silently pray, “Holy Spirit, it’s okay if my own rest
must wait. Just please give me the words
for this child -- truth that would remind her that God is good even when humans
are blind and cruel. Even when her mama
is struggling to pry the bitter daggers from her own prayers for justice. Give me good and righteous words to guide
her.” I desperately want her to walk
away stitched up and wiser.
In the end (and this may be the most difficult part), I am
beginning to swallow the fact that, for some heaven-only-knows reason, God ordained
this season, this pain. He is in
control. I believe that. I know He is sovereign. I want to say that that fact is somehow comforting
– I’m trying. But there are still so
many tears. Maybe I’m close? At times, I am convinced to be comforted in
one breath, but then, with the next inhale, His sovereignty makes it all even
harder to understand.
So I know only He can lift this curtain. Not I.
Not now. He is able. In His time.
In His way.
And the waiting, too, feels like death.
I wrote the words shown above almost three years ago, but I didn't share them. Written while my family was walking in and out of shadows and struggling together to heal from a deeply personal wound. I was fighting with forgiveness in my own heart and watching my whole family, our oldest child in particular, lose faith not in God but in fellow believers. It was a brutal time, and I wouldn't step into one of those days again for anything.
I suppose it finally feels okay to share these thoughts at this point because, well, it's now a "then" a "was". But for every one of us that stands on the other side of the valley, someone else is just beginning to trudge through. It is a well worn but exhaustingly painful path, and it winds on for too long. If you are there right now, please, don't give up. Keep walking.
For our crew, time has now brought some closure, some healing. God has awakened me (again :||) to my own need for forgiveness and so also to my need to forgive. We are in a healthier and (though often still quite cautious) safer space by His grace. My oldest is more than okay now having seen God's faithfulness clearly through the journey.
So I share these words and the ugly nature of my heart in those days to, perhaps, encourage you to "keep going" if you have been hurt, if you are hurting. Hang in there. Hold to Him even in all the raw and rancid ugliness. Eventually, you will notice yourself catch a deep breath of life and find your feet steady, finally planted on the other side of the destruction.