Friday, November 22, 2013

My Grief Letter

Well, he's gone. We were there with him at the end of all things, but that doesn't change the fact that he's gone.

My heart is broken. Simply aching with grief.

I know, I KNOW that he is heaven with Jesus. I know that he is healed. I know that he is whole and happy. I know God has a plan. I KNOW!

But what people don't seem to comprehend is that he. is. gone. He's not here anymore. He can't read his paper every morning and do his Sudoku. He's not here to cut out interesting and well-timed articles and the leave them on the corner of the kitchen table for me. He's not here to share a tidbit of wisdom about vikings or the civil rights movement or the scripture that says not to get tattoos. He's not here. He can't argue with me or turn his cheek up for me to kiss or tell me that I'm doing a good job. He's not here. And my heart is broken.

So, when someone tries to comfort me by telling me about Bill's present reality, they miss the point. I'm not grieving on Bill's behalf; I grieve for me. For my husband and my children and my wonderful mom-in-law and my brother-in-law. I grieve for all the people who knew him and will feel his loss.

I don't know how to accept the absence of his presence.

So...

Tell me you love me. Or that you loved him (if you knew him). Tell me you're sad for me or that you wish you could make it better. Or just hug me.

But don't tell me things that mistake my grief for unbelief. Don't tell me that he wouldn't want me to cry or that he's in a better place. Don't tell me how happy he is... in this moment, my heart is too tender and too raw.

 


I love you guys. I know people love with cakes, pies, meat trays and croissants. I eat them and am grateful. I know you hurt with us. I feel your prayers. And I am so, so, so thankful.

This season will pass. God will bring healing and my heart will not be so raw. God is very good that way. His mercy is new every morning.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Come, Lord Jesus

Ten Things on My Mind Today:

1. Just when my faith is low, God sends His love to me in a tangible way through His people.

2. Grief makes me feel like no one really understands how important Bill is to me. He has been a true second father to me. He has raised my husband with such love and faithfulness. He has always been so solidly present, foundational. How can my heart accept his absence? I cannot force my mind to imagine it.

3. Joy and sorrow can co-exist. My life is living proof.

4. Proverbs 27:6 says, "Faithful are the wounds of a friend..." This is how I think of my friend Amber. God always gives her the words to say. She says them even though they cut me to the quick, but they come from such a loving place inside her that I can't be offended. I could give so many examples of this, but I'll just give one. I was mad about something one time, a long time ago. I was mouthing off about it and she finally looked at me and said, "Are you listening to yourself? Wow." In that moment, the Holy Spirit showed me my sin and boom, I was humbled unto repentance. I am thankful for her friendship.

5. Living in the house with someone who is waiting to die is a horrible and humbling thing. Every noise, every interaction, every smile is profound. Every moment is significant.

6. Comforting my husband is something only I can truly do. Others can hug him or speak the same words, but when I do it, he sorta melts into it.  And vice versa.

7. I am not good at sharing the gospel with selfish people when I am in the depths of grief. At all. I think I need to apologize to someone.

8. I am so thankful for my sister. She's got my kids and I know that they're being loved and taken care of the way I would do it. She's homeschooling them and feeding them and making sure all the rest is done. I am thankful she lives so close and loves so well.

9. I am thankful for my Christian family. All of them. Our home church in Moody and our congregation in Springville, plus my believing friends who don't go to my church. They are loving us well, bringing meals and sending prayers up to the Father. They are sending me verses of encouragement. They are feeding my cat and dog and cleaning out my nasty fridge to make room for the food that is coming. They are comforting my children. They are setting up my booth at By Hand Boutique and selling all the things the girls and I have worked so hard to make. I am blessed in a thousand ways.

10. I talked to Brad tonight. He reminded me of eternity. Ecclesiastes 3:10 says, "He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end." God has put eternity into our hearts but that doesn't mean he explains everything to us fully. I am reminded that this life I live is not all there is. There is more, a much bigger "more" that is unending. This eternity is WHY I lay down my life. It is why I follow Christ. It is why I do everything I do. There is more... it is a "more" with no tears, no pain, no goodbyes, no sorrow, no death. It is where Christ will be the very light by which we walk. It is where we will hold hands with our favorite person for ten thousand years and sing in harmony, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come."

Come, Lord Jesus.

Monday, November 11, 2013

My Sin Is Ever Before Me

Sometimes my sin overwhelms me. As King David lamented, "My sin is ever before me!" so I lament over my sin. As the Apostle Paul, cried out in frustration "The things I don't want to do I keep on doing and the things I want to do, these I don't do..." so I cry out.

Sometimes my sin is like a sleeping dragon. I tiptoe around it, manage it, assuage it and it seems to stay under control. I smell it's stench, but if I hold my breath...

Sometimes my sin is like a stalker, peeping in my windows and pursuing me relentlessly, turning all my vegetable cans the same direction to freak me out. (that's a Sleeping with the Enemy reference, btw)

Sometimes my sin takes the form of a beautiful, helpful, shiny new toy. It will fix things. It will help me. It will be my precious.

Sometimes it's like a dead body tied to my back. Think on that image presented at the end of Romans 7 for a second. The older, "more holy" I become, the more real that dead body becomes to me.

Sometimes my sin is like a freaking ninja that whips out a dagger and a samurai sword and fights me until I'm bone-tired and frustrated. And so I cry out.

I cry out, "Who will rescue me from this body of death?!?!?" I am sickened by my sin. By my lack of faith. By the nagging sense of hopelessness. By my frustration with myself for not being God. I am sickened and exhausted by my fear and my desire for my idols.

I used to despise the Israelites for their weakness. How could they see the fire by night and the smoke by day and still doubt? How, oh HOW, could they look to the top of the mountain, see the lightning, hear the thunder, feel the earthquakes and build a golden calf? How could they be so stupid? So blind? So... like me?

The closer I get to God, the more unmanagable I realize He is. His holiness bewilders me and my flesh cries out for something easier. Something more comfortable, more on my level. I do stupid things that accomplish nothing except to take my eyes of God. He overwhelms me and terrifies me and I forget...

"Do not be afraid."

"I will be their God and they will be my people."

"Fear not, O Zion; let not your hands grow weak. The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing."

"I am yours; save me."

Sometimes repentance is hard and grace feels cheap. Sometimes it feels like to repent AGAIN is to cheapen the Cross, when in reality, it proves the vastness of Christ's provision. How can He forgive me again?

How? Because He is beautiful
...and merciful
...and gracious
...and faithful
...and forgiving
...and loving
...and good

He is God and He is mine and I am His.

Then, finally, I cry out for fogiveness and mercy. I throw myself in His lap and weep.

And I find relief and rescue.