Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Sacred Suffering

I want so much to write words of warmth and comfort to so many that I know that are trudging in the heavy weight of unexplainable pain.  What is this mess we call life, and why in the name of all that is good, does it have to hurt so much sometimes just to live?  If you've ever truly been broken, you know exactly the pit from which these questions rise.  

It feels right to want to run away from pain.  We want to push and shove against all things hard while seeking to live in the gentle, breezy places of life.  But what if those places of most difficulty are really just sacred invitations to know the Savior in ways the gentle breeze could never reach?

There is nothing like brokenness to bring the frailty of life right into the spotlight.  Many things can break a person, but shattered hearts always land in the sea of broken.  We feel irreparably altered.  When your life is broken, it never goes back to the way it was before.  There now exists a line in the sand defining the person you once were and the person you have now had to become.

And broken always forces a choice.

There is the choice to lie down and die in the broken or to fight against it with every fiber of your being.  It never seems right to lie down and die.  But maybe, that is where brokenness is meant to lead us? Please wait dear friend, don't misunderstand my words.  The death that comes in brokenness surrendered to God will always lead back to life.

Will you walk with me for a minute into a bit of my own brokenness, into a page from a very hard day in the middle of many hard and broken years?

March 8, 2014
My world is not made of the same things it used to be.  I decided I need to write, even if were just the honest truth of life these days.  The journey that we have been on has been hard to describe. For some reason, I find a measure of closeness with words.  This story needs to be written because it is a very sacred part of our life.

There lies my best friend, my husband, the father of my sons.  He is so very sick.  Each week, I watch him suffer more and be able to do less.  Each week I see him get smaller and frailer.  I bring him soup.  I rub his head.  I hold his hand.  I cry.  We talk and laugh some.  Sometimes, there is just not much to say.  It gets very quiet.  We get frustrated.  We hug and and I tuck him back in bed.  I call the doctors.  The doctors call me.  Appointments are set. We wonder about options.  We wonder about the bills that will surely come. 

Then, it gets very bad.  This is beyond my rubbed-off nursing training from rooming with my nurse friend for a few years.  I have read the books and googled the symptoms.  I have called the doctors and given the medicines.  I have prayed the prayers and shed all the tears.  I need help.  He needs more than me.  They all agree, and we are back into the quiet hum of hospital security. It is quiet.  A needed quiet.  As the little drops make their way into his IV, I think many thoughts that I haven't had time to think.  I think about this story that God is writing into our life.   I think about all the people that have crossed our path during these difficult years. I think about the strength it takes for us to not get overly discouraged or feel utterly defeated.  It is tempting to be terrified. As I eat yet another cafeteria baked fish, I think about the brevity of life.  How quickly we can go from youthful strength to weakened vessels.  Our days are short, but somehow I know our lives don't have to be small. Even in the hum of the hospital we must have purpose.  This story I am living was written by my Creator, and it is up to me to live out the parts.  Do I cower in fear and worry, or do I step into the plot trusting the Author?  The thing is, I do trust Him, but I have never had to trust like this.  I know He is the one that parted waters for terrified and fleeing Israelite slaves.   And, just as those fearful Israelites stepped into the unknown floor of a suddenly barren sea, I will keep stepping in the unknown sea of this great challenge. 

The honest truth is that I don't know what is next.  I don't have any positive updates or great breakthroughs to post about his progress.  But what I do have is hope and trust.  I hope in the Lord, and I trust that this is part of His plan.  I trust Him with the care of my dearest love.  I honestly don't know when or if things will get better.  But I do believe that He loves us. He keeps showing me that truth, no matter what. I will keep waiting here trying to trust.

We were so fragile, desperate, and quietly treading water in the sea of broken.  All that we knew was shaken.  We watched so many of our dreams and hopes for our lives fade.  We died a death of sorts in the sea of brokenness.

But it was in that sacred sea, that God began to tangibly bind us in His healing grasp.  He was so close, so intimate, and so very gentle.  He invited us into the quiet place of the soul where He met with us and showed us His own brokenness he brought forth on our behalf. That dark sea began to shimmer with the Sacred.  And as time progressed, it felt as though this once lonely place was transforming into an invitation to know and be known in ways we had never been.  His brokenness became givenness, and it poured out over our trembling souls.   

And then, He led us to others that had been given the same invitation.  Through weary eyes and wrinkled foreheads, I began to see the soft glow of life shining from the precious people that knew the calling into that Sacred Sea.  I heard their stories, and they echoed my own.  Though the journey was different for each one that came, they all stated the wonder of life that arises from the darkest pit.  Those that know Jesus and know suffering, they know the Sacred.

There are so many ways to break.  Death breaks us when it robs us of those we love.  Love breaks us when it is betrayed and trampled upon.  Dreams break us when they are left unlived.  People break us when they beat our hearts up with their own brokenness.  And disease, it tramples the life right out of your veins. But when you find yourself drowning deeply in that sea of broken, there is hope.  If you know the Savior, He will stretch out His own broken hands and show you His own broken side from which His own blood ran.  He will take that darkest broken and offer an invitation to know Him, to know the Sacred.  He will lift your chin to life and offer you entrance into His presence.  

This invitation does not erase the scars. It doesn't eliminate the hurt or replace the tragedy.  It will not always bring earthly healing or restoration of the damaged.  But, this invitation to the Sacred allows the broken to see the Savior and to understand in depths indescribable the love of a broken Savior.  And when you see the Savior, new life begins and every moment becomes Sacred thereafter.  And then, your brokenness becomes givenness, and that givenness offers hope poured out to the broken that are still sinking in the Sacred Sea of Suffering.

And in the Broken Sea, life emerges with a sense of gratitude for seeing the Savior in a way that can only be found by way of the Broken Sea.  Gratitude that does not logically coexist with our understanding of pain emerges. It is a rare gratitude for the intimacy and givenness of Jesus.

May you know Him, may you trust Him, and may He bring forth life from your broken heart.


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