Friday, June 9, 2017

The gift of 'Today'.

Our life came to a crashing halt. And it was the worst of the worst of the worst...yes, of the very worst... of all of my fears combined.  And...nothing could be worse. It was it.

All we did was take the necessary one step at a time...sometimes choosing to just keep breathing to survive it.

But this week I've been thinking...in hindsight.  Woah.

What was horror then...was only the beginning.  And had I known then...what I know now...? I may not have survived it.

While I wished at the time I had known it all immediately...I have to be honest with myself and acknowledge there's no way I could have handled it all then.

The horror multiplied. And then again.  What we didn't think could ever get worse...did...indeed.

But this makes me think how looking back...the gift of one day at a time...saved me.

If you are like me...and like to at least feel like you are in control (silly...silly me) then you want the full view right up front. Tell me what's coming, tell me all the bad, the good...just lay it out on the table. I'm a realist...I can take it.

No...no...I couldn't.  And though that part of me still struggles with not having known it all right up front...it was God's grace that we didn't.

Could it be that the slow unravelling of all we once knew to be true...is one of the core reasons we've survived...?

Today.  Today is all we've got. Each stage along the way...I've only had 'today'.  I had no idea what would unfold 24 hours later. I had what was right in front of me...today.  And now only a tad bit removed from the situation...I can see that was one of the greatest gifts along the way.

God only gave me 'today'.  One day to chew off at a time. One day to process...feel...hurt...forgive...love...at a time.  Just one.  I could have never handled even two.

We all know stories...people...who have perhaps been diagnosed with cancer.  The first time they fought with everything in them. Gave it all they had...and they survived.  A few years later...the horrible news came again. It's back.  And they pick up their fight and go for it.  Every day being a choice to survive.  And how many times do you hear those stories of people that have fought 2-3 times over their life? Had they known with the first diagnosis that there were 2 more coming in the future...do you think they would have fought as hard as they did?  Or was it the gift of one day at a time?

We think we can handle the future...but we cannot.

I cannot.  I could not.  And here with my head finally above water more than one inch...I can see that.  I can see looking back that though my 'need to know', 'ultimate realist' personality hated never knowing what was around the corner...in large part it's what kept me breathing.  I only had one day to get through.

One day to fight my hardest for what matters the very most. One day to love 100%.  One day to be intentional. One day to laugh. One day to cry.

Just one.

Thank you God...for the gift of a day at time.




Sunday, June 4, 2017

Mourn with those who mourn.

Early in the journey of our past year...with a broken, shattered heart...I cried out to God.

I remember it so clearly.  I could barely catch my breath between sobs.  And my question was not "why?" it was a deep longing to know that Heaven cried.

I stood in my bathroom looking at my swollen, blotchy, mascara-stained, notably sleep-lacking face...and sobbed.  All I wanted to know is that God Himself wept.  Did Jesus cry...? Did Heaven mourn as the worst of the worst had occurred?

I think far too often we awkwardly tip toe around people that are grieving. We don't know what to say...so we (wrongly) say nothing.  Perhaps try to distract them and talk about happy things.  No. No one is looking for you to solve their deep pain. No one expects that of you, so why do you expect it of you? In fact...most of the 'wisdom' you have to offer is going to come across as trite at best.

Want to know what we want? We want someone to mourn with us.  Though you could never fully enter in to someone's pain...you can for a moment...try.  You can cry with them. There is an odd comfort in knowing that someone is crying with and for you.

Don't worry...your tomorrow will be cheerier than theirs.  You'll get up and go about your day. It's momentary for you. It's ok to go there. And honestly? It's all we want.

Not your words. Not your wisdom. Not anything you are afraid you don't have to give.  Just someone to say "I'm so very sorry".

My dad had reminded me that Jesus did weep. At the death of His friend (even when He knew He was about to raise him from the dead...) He allowed Himself to go there.  To enter in to the pain of His friends...and weep.

And that's what I needed to know.  I actually longed for rain.  I wanted the sky to wail and lament with me.  I truly did. I hated that I woke to beautiful blue skies and sunshine as if all was well in the world...when in my world...? It was not.

The very best advice I could give...please take it from someone who has lived through unthinkable grief...is in Romans 12:15. Rejoice with those who rejoice...mourn with those who mourn.

I remember calling my friend and we both just sat on the phone and sobbed.  She said nothing that I recall. I could just hear her sobs.  And somehow that lessened my pain.

Can you be the one to cry with your friend who is suffering? You don't need the gift of words, lots of money or anything else...you just need to be willing to enter in to their pain and...weep. Mourn.


My friend sent me this song today...



https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nfXwzMi1FxA&feature=youtu.be

Friday, June 2, 2017

Just look.

She was laying on my lap. The kitchen was buzzing with kids. The puppy laying in her kennel not far from us.  She was fussy. Eyes going all over the place. I was leaning over her...6 inches from her face. Then...it happened. She caught my eyes.

And everything changed.

Her legs settled...her face softened...and whatever was frustrating her moments before seemed to disappear.  And then those little eyes squinted and her smile took up her whole face.

She's only 10 weeks old.  I was emotional.

I said out loud to her..."ahhh...this is just like your mama!"

In my own world. My mind racing a million miles a minute. Tormented. Down hearted.  Panicking about the future.  And then...I look up.

Ahhhh.

He's right there.  Just waiting for me to catch His eye.

Whatever it was...I don't even know in that moment. When I catch a glimpse of him.  And I like to think my smile takes over my whole face just like little Topaz.

She stayed smiling at me for several minutes. Locked eyes.  And then...she got distracted and looked away and started fussing again.

It made me think...we can be right there...He can be right there...but we are so internalizing that we just don't see. I never backed away.  I was still looking at her eyes. I was still smiling.  She looked away.

Today...whatever you are going through...I hope you just take a moment to look up.  See how He is faithful. He's never left you.  Not in the worst of the worst of the worst that you have experienced.  I can say this from just surviving the ultimate fire that life could ever bring.  I'm so thankful I had friends that would constantly remind me that He was right there. Because there were many more moments that I couldn't see him than what I could.

Hang on.  You are still being held.