Friday, February 6, 2015

Overturned

Oh my, this new year.  So much happens this time naturally for our family. Of course we celebrate the New Year with all the usual hopes and dreams. Once the fireworks have all erupted, we then pack in an anniversary and my birthday.  A lot takes place right away in our average new year.

But this has not been average.

When the Christmas season was rolling in, we were still trying to find balance under our feet from the heavy days of Kevin's extensive surgery and battle with infection.  There are a million things I could write (and probably should write)  for my own soul about those days.  To even put words to a piece of it is somewhat difficult.  The journey of our lives these years of his illness is one paved with tears, fears, love, faith, hope, disappointment, and many other emotions.  People from all corners of our lives reached out to us in those darkest hours and demonstrated a love to us that can only come from God.  Oh, how tender He was with us.  Boy, did we ever need it. I am learning that we will probably always need it.

Even still, in the early moments of the new year I felt a deep sense of change.  Maybe I was so tired of the heaviness of the year behind us, maybe I was desperate for something fresh and hopeful, but I felt so empowered to usher in a sense of newness and renewing.  I made some personal deals with myself.  I took care of things long-neglected that once were very important to me.  I leaped forward with a spring in my step and hope in my heart that this year, this year, would be momentous. I scoured scripture, took walks alone, and breathed deeply the hope.

Then, I received news that a distanced but deep connection in my life was slipping away very unexpectedly.  "Cancer", they said.  Sudden, sweeping, and swift were the moments of knowledge and then goodbye.  I hardly had a moment to absorb the news before I found myself driving to the funeral. Overturned.  That is the best word I know.  Overturned.

Maybe, I felt the connection because we were dangling so close to the edge ourselves just days before at the hospital.  Maybe the memories of a past life with her and her family were too much in my heart, maybe the ache of understanding how delicate this dance of life really is... and maybe a million things I could utter. But really I was overturned.  Buckets of tears and miles in the car I cried trying to put words to understanding the pain this world can yield.

How is it one family limps away with life and another never gets a chance?  How is it that one family suffers years and one suffers days?  Why does a human body one moment seem like a miracle of a million mystery parts all working on their own, and then another day it seems like a heap of sand slipping rapidly through the cracks? There are rarely any lasting answers this side of eternity.

I battle my own private wars of personal grief.  Knowing that life for my husband and I will never be what it once was is a grief of its own. Understanding that our present and future will forever be altered is difficult.  Coming to grips with the life that is presented takes a daily perseverance.  Some days, I make peace with my own heart on the matter and other days peace is elusive.

But now this...this dagger of a loss changes so much.  How am I to view this all?  How do I process my heart?  How do I hug my sweet friend's neck and weep together over this tragic loss of his wife?  How do I speak a single encouraging word to her mother I love dearly without cracking from the weight of it all?  This is too much, too weighty, too difficult.  Those children... how do we bare this pain for them?  How do I grieve for all that is wrong in this life? How do I grieve my own losses when compared to other's deeper losses?  How do I put two feet forward with what is left when my friend must take his children and go on alone?

I am overturned. I know only to do what I can barely accomplish.  I show up...really that is all.  I go one more time before the throne of God's grace and I just sit.  There are no adequate words for expressing what this God of the Universe already understands.  I imagine that those darkest moments of Jesus suffering unanswered fills every gap of every question I could conceive.  He knows the pain of the perfect being destroyed.  He sees the world as it should have been, yet suffers for what it has become.  He knows I am merely sand slipping.  He knows that all that separates me from eternity is a single breath or one last beat of heart.  He already knows, and I sit.  I sit like Job's silent friends -yet  all along aching as Job for a whirlwind of the Glorious.

One breath, one beat at a time this Creator God of perfection takes my silence and rubs a balm of hope in my soul; hope that knows there is more.  There is more, we are not finished, and He can be trusted.  This present grief, this desperate ache of heart, is only a drop in the vastness of the more that awaits.  I must trust Him. He knows...even when I am overturned.

When I am renewed in His strength I begin to see glimpses of that whirlwind of Glory.  It comes calmly. The hug of friends near and far, the card in the mail, the generosity of the body of Christ. Tears shared, songs sung, and strength in numbers of believers.  I see the photos of this family going forward.  They are irrevocably changed, but God's grace is plastered over every inch of their resolve.  I even see it in my own home.  The deeper love, the gratitude, and the beauty of Jesus all around our aches and disappointments.  I cannot help but be drawn to the lyric, "What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy? What if trials of this life, the rain, the storms, the hardest nights are your mercies in disguise?"

What if the pain of being overturned is the gateway to the whirlwind of Glory?  The book of James reminds us to count it joy when trials come.  The Refiner's fire is working to the good of them in the melting fury.  After all, Jesus said that blessed were those that mourn, for they shall be comforted.  He also assured us that blessed are the poor in spirit, for they shall see God.

Can I take this fiery-melting-dripping heart and hold it out to the Creator and trust that it is for the good of my soul?  Can I go a little deeper in my faith and open my clutching fingers and release this same heart to the Refiner?  Can I walk willingly into the whirlwind of Glory?  Can I trust that overturned is really the grasp of God's Divine Hand drawing me nearer to the image He has in mind for me?

I sit in silence.  I long to be a soul on fire.  I ache to drip with this molten grace that I hope He is working into my soul fibers.  I do not want to take myself out of the flame if the flame is burning His glory on my heart.  It is painful often and full of tears.  It is revealing so many imperfections and failures.  It is uncomfortable and leaves me heart-searching.  But I know...I know it is for my good.

I am overturned, and I will wait.  There is more, and He is not finished.



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