In the tired moments, take joy

I looked both ways and pulled out onto the road.
The kids were buckled in.
I had my purse, AND phone. My mental check list.
I took a deep breath and felt accomplished, for a moment.
Then I caught a glimpse of myself in the review mirror.
I did a double take.

Was that me?
Tired. I looked haggard.
I glanced at the road and then back at the mirror.
I smiled. It helped, really it did.
But that shock stuck with me.

I’m tired.
Life as a mom is just exhausting.
Never off call. Ever wearing the pager, which goes off at all times.
Nursing through the night, helping a restless teething baby at all hours,
wiping bottoms and settling squabbles.
Sometimes I just want to sleep.

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We pull deep from our resources to mother.
We want to do a good job, and we pull harder. We dig deeper.
We put all we have out on the counter, with the pile of dirty dishes and toast crumbs.
We nearly tumble into the washing machine with the armloads of smelly laundry.
We catch a glimpse of the weeds pushing up stubbornly through the freshly laid mulch,
and we look away.
We feel life real.

We snuggle a little one close, and smell deeply of the sweet tousled hair,
and get caught off guard by the rank, depths of a nasty diaper a few inches below.
It never ends.

But neither do the smiles from that six year old boy who catches that sigh that escapes,
and wraps a gangly arm around you.
He plants an unexpected kiss on your cheek and the tiredness from the morning starts to fade.

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You see, we DO pour out a lot. A LOT.
But there are these moments of heaven where God wants to pour right back into our soul.
To bear up our tired heart with joy.
To see we aren’t just giving, but being richly given back to.
As moms, we are loved and touched and cared for all day long. In so many ways.
We just need to see it.

God speaks love to us by our children’s glittering eyes. By that smile.
Through the “thank you” as we hand them a plastic cup of water. Let’s not miss it today.

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When we are weak, He is strong.
And when we feel like we have nothing to give, let Him pour joy into your heart.
Through His word. And through the free love of your children.
Drink deep. ‘Cause it is rich and sweet.

Your Kingdom Come…

I was recently asked to write a bit about motherhood.
Ahhh, yes, this is such an every day, in the trenches subject for me right now.
So I was grateful for the opportunity to sit still, to ponder what God has been teaching me.
And most of what He has taught me, He used my children to be his little teachers.

Feel free to hop over to the daughters of promise site to read “Your Kingdom Come,” or read it below…

Your Kingdom Come
 
I rolled over and turned my beeping alarm off.
Soft morning light drifted in the window, and in spite if it being Saturday,
I shook my husband’s shoulder. “Wake up, Honey. It’s six.”
We are not morning people, especially my six-year-old son.
I knelt over him and whispered, “Remember the race? Gotta get ready.”
His eyes flew open.
It was surprisingly cool for a morning in late May,
and as we crawled out of our car at the park, I wished I had brought a sweater.
The runners lined up for registration, pinned on their numbers and warmed up their legs.
A tall man pushed a jogging stroller to the line, and I noticed his son was special, very special.
The marks of Downs were clear, and I knew I would have to meet this little guy.
I knelt in front of him, smiling into his sleepy face.
“Nick isn’t much of a morning person,” his daddy smiled.
“Hey, I know the feeling…”
I looked into his sky blue eyes and rested my hand on his knee,
“I’m gonna be cheering for you, Nick!”
He faintly smiled and nodded, his blond hair glowing in the morning light.  
The horn went off and my husband along with the throng of other runners flooded out onto the track. 
Nick’s daddy held back till there was a bit more room and joined the tail end of the group. 
Nick leaned back into the stroller, and settled in for the ride.
It was a perfect morning for a run.
I bounced my eight-month-old baby and chatted with the others who were waiting to cheer the returning runners. 
I kept scanning the track, and finally I heard someone say,
“Here comes the first runner!”
Sure enough, that thin guy, wearing all black, with that beautiful stride. My man.
The little girl in me came alive and I bounced over to the finish line,
“Come on, Honey! Your amazing!”
He came flying in, beating his race record time by several seconds.
More and more runners came through, my sisters, cousin and a friend.
I cheered for each one of them. But I kept looking for that blue jogging stroller.
I knew he would be near the back, since he started out last. 
And finally he came, his sweaty dad pushing that familiar stroller. 
The finish line filled with people and we waved and cheered,
“Good job, Nick! You did it!”
Here I was, screaming my heart out for kid I’d never met until today.  And He was all smiles.
A few minutes later, they handed out the medals.
One by one, the best times and names were called. And for his age group, Nick did the second best time. 
He crawled out of the stroller and ran up to the medal table. 
As he was handed the red ribbon and the shiny medal a huge smile spread over his face.
Instead of going back to his seat, he twirled the medal high over his head and
danced around the pavilion.
We screamed. We cheered. We laughed.
His eyes glittered and his face glowed. Tears stung my eyes.
We all watched this little guy dance in sheer delight, and we tasted heaven.
I had to think about the story in Matthew 19, where Jesus and his disciples had been teaching and healing the thronging masses. 
Everywhere they went, people were pressing, shoving, reaching for that healing touch. 
Then came the children, full of energy and mischief, brought by eager mothers. 
I can just imagine the disciples’ exhaustion as they began to intervene.
“Not today, not these kids…”
But Jesus pulled the children close, and looked reprovingly at the disciples,
“Let these little ones come to me, don’t keep them away;
my Father’s kingdom belongs to ones like these.”
He touched them. He held them close. He blessed them. He saw their worth.

The kingdom of heaven. Jesus Himself taught us to pray:

Our Father in heaven,
May Your name be honored as holy,
May Your kingdom come, and may Your will be done,
here on earth as it is in heaven.
God’s kingdom, here on earth.
It’s a breathtaking thought. No sin. No grief. No loss. No sadness.
I saw it, there after the race as Nick danced and jumped on legs that wouldn’t straighten perfectly. 
He limped, in fact. But he was jumping for joy with sheer delight that was marred by nothing -
not even his handicap.
The kingdom of heaven is not far away.
For us mothers, it is right here in our arms.
I had no idea when my first child was born, that he was sent from God to teach ME.
The mother was now the student.
This child, who could do nothing for himself,
was an instrument in God’s gentle hands to teach me about myself and my Maker.
I learned about rest as my baby slept so soundly in my arms.
I learned about trust as I cradled him in the shade by that roaring riverside,
waiting for the body of my brother to surface after his drowning accident.
I learned about complete dependency,
as I was the only one that could comfort him when he was hurt.
I learned how holding him was comforting to me,
even in those moments when I didn’t realize I needed comfort.
I’m learning now, the vital importance of honesty, of telling my children that I messed up, again. 
Amazed at how quickly they forgive, I find my breath caught away again by these little teachers.
Thing is, it’s so easy to miss. Children are a gift. A miracle.
An opportunity to see life through pure and untainted little eyes. “Mommy, look!”
My daughter bends down over a teeny tiny purple flower I hadn’t even noticed.
I pause. Here in the stopping, in the learning to see, the embracing of a new perspective,
we get to taste life in its sweetness.
Life as it was meant to be.
It only takes one trip to the store to be reminded that motherhood is such a huge ‘chore’.
“My,” they say, “You have your hands FULL.”
I only have three little ones in my cart. I smile back, “Oh, we have lots of fun!”
They look at me oddly.
But it’s true, we are embracing today, with all its joys and trials, for today is a gift.
Oh, I know. It IS hard.
Pregnancy is not a walk in the park. And birth? Wow. 
The teething baby won’t be settled, the challenging attitudes, the outright disobedience we face. 
Not being able to go on dates like we used to, or even join the prison choir that we helped start, 
because you can’t take a nursing baby in behind bars- these are sacrifices. Salty ones.
I’ve tasted the tears.
But it’s about this calling.
The invitation to experience God’s kingdom on earth.
To choose to dive into the beauty of today.
To be intentional about taking time to look deep into these little eyes, these windows of heaven.
To see. To listen to their hearts, 
and build towers of colorful blocks and relationships that will last through adolescence and hard questions.
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And it’s about joy. It doesn’t just happen.  
As mothers, we mold and shape the way our children will think.
About themselves, and the world around them.
We can create a negative atmosphere, nagging and discontented.
Wishing for the next season, a better house, more perfect and comfortable circumstances.
We can subconsciously teach them to live for themselves, selfishly wanting everyone to cater to their needs. 
It’s terribly easy. ‘Cause its what feels good, here and now.
But you know what? Life isn’t about us.
Sounds cold, I know. But honestly, my life is just a speck in eternity.
One wave that comes crashing into the shore, in and then out, and forever gone.
Let’s look at ourselves through God’s eyes. Let’s see today like He does.
Meet those hard moments with a thankful heart,
“God, I thank You for what You want to teach me through this…”
Not only will you find your heart more at rest, you will notice the sun shines brighter. 
Your baby’s giggle is contagious. A tea party on the porch is too much fun to miss. 
That these times are not ones of lost careers and other important things, but of finding for the first time how beautiful life really is. 
You have traded the temporal for the eternal.
You will be shattered.
You will have hard days.
Your children will see you cry.
You will need tissues and burp cloths and diapers, 
pacifiers and cardboard books and moments alone in the bathroom (just for those two seconds of solitude). 
Those long hours of uninterrupted reading or journaling will give way to snack time and legos, 
to teaching simple addition and coloring inside the lines. But instead of resenting their ever-presentness,
celebrate the opportunities that these little people create.
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Like James says so well,

“Count these moments of testing as opportunities for joy. 
For you know that after you have chosen to walk through it with a joyful heart, 
God will work unwavering faith deep in you. 
And as God perfects it in you, through these days of sacrifice, 
you will be made perfect and complete.”
You will lack nothing, here in this place of agreeing with God.
Of embracing today.
Pull your little ones close,
smell their hair and feel the warmth of their skin.
Catch the sparkle in their eyes.
Laugh deep and hard with them.
Look up and smile.
God has sent these beautiful little teachers into your life.
Grasp their small hands, and dance to the beat in your heart.
Can’t you hear it, that heavenly song?
The birds, the wind and the glittering creek,
and you and your children together join in that beautiful melody.
Of God’s kingdom here on earth.
It is the most beautiful place to be.

When He says to beg…

“But Mommy, pleeeeeeeeeease?!”

I looked down into his eyes, feeling the frustration rise. We had already talked about this.
He already knew the answer. I could see the pleading mixed with a touch of defiance in his eyes.

“Don’t beg,” I told him. “You know it doesn’t change my answer.”
Age old scenario. You beg, I say no. Period.

But then he landed the big one.
“But the widow in the Bible begged. God says keep asking!”

How to throw Mommy back to square one.
We sort of think that we are here to teach our kids basic things, like don’t take “no” for a “maybe.”
When I say no, that is supposed to mean no.
We think we have the right for our authority to never be threatened.
But here he is, bouncing the ball back into my court.
It is a good throw, and smacks me between the eyes.
This kid has a head on his shoulders.

God DOES say to keep begging. Pestering. To never let up.

Buddy, if you thought of this at six, what will you be saying at sixteen?
I’d better learn how to play ball.

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So this morning, I opened my Bible to this passage.
It’s always been a bit baffling to me, this hard and unjust judge coldly ignoring the poor widow.
Why would God depict Himself as cold? Hard? Distant?
And why does He portray Himself as a Father, when so many dads are poor examples?
Some are abusive verbally, emotionally, or even physically. Some walk away.
And some, as in my case, are simply gone through circumstance beyond their control.
My dad didn’t choose to die.
When I think of a dad figure in my life, I have these foggy, smudged memories of my kind father.
Good memories, but they are ever so far away.
Why would God allow circumstances that make Him feel far away from me?

He dares to do this, because He can see the big picture.

I smooth the cream page in front of me.

“And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
Luke 18:2-8

How does God dare to threaten His own reputation, or our understanding of it,
by seeming to be hard of hearing?

Or indifferent? It comes back to my human tendency to think,
“If you love me, you will give me what I want.”
It’s life on my terms.

Life isn’t on my terms. And I am called to believe more than what I see.

There are times when God seems to not hear.
Like when we asked God to heal my Dad from cancer.
Or rescue Isaac from the swirling waters of the Lempa. Or to spare Marco’s life.
Why does God say “Ask” if He already knows He will say no?

But today God says beg.
Beg for more of Him.
Beg for the impossible.
Believe that He can do it, even if He chooses to say no.

Today, I am grateful for a six year old that asks questions that makes me uncomfortable.
That makes me dig for answers.

I am grateful for a God that can withstand hard questions and has the answers even when I don’t understand. I
am grateful that I can trust Him, when I don’t see.

So today I’m gonna beg.

This Place of Honesty

It was an unexpected moment.
She didn’t know this was the last time she would see them before the big move.
But suddenly they had to say goodbye. She smiled bravely.
But they came, those hot unwelcome tears.
They burned down her cheeks and dripped onto her blouse.
She blinked hard, but on they came, insistent on betraying her.

Not once have I heard her complain. The adjustment will be huge.
The move to a country she has never been to, people not her own,
a culture and food she’s not known.
“But God will carry me…” she’s assured me as we’ve talk about all the adjustments.
He will. But even when God carries us, it’s hard.
Salty.
The pain snatches our breath away.

And it’s okay.
It’s necessary, in fact, for the scab to peel off,
for this wound to stand gaping, raw and unhealed in front of each other.
We are all real. Human. Needy.
And yes, we have Jesus to carry us,
and without Him not one of us could take another breath and face tomorrow.
But there is this quiet thing that whispers we must be strong.
Especially when others have seen us in our pain, bravely smiling through our tears.
“You are amazing!” they say, and this pressure grows.
Unknowingly we build these walls,
these impossible, impenetrable stone walls around our hearts.
We must never be weak or honest about how we can hardly make it,
or we will fail all these expectations. We won’t be who they think we are.
We will be a failure.

I felt it when we came back from the overseas,
silent wounds in my heart from what we had experienced…
But I felt this pressure to never breathe a word about it,
since the mission field is such a worthy place to serve.
The expectations on each of us are high, and we find ourself in this gasping place of inability.
Each one of us are here, in this private place of wounding.

I almost didn’t say it on Sunday, in a circle just a bit too big,
describing how my week had been.
Happy, bouncy, optimistic me, but I knew I needed to be honest.
“Depressed.”
There, I said it.
And later, one of them came to me,
“I wouldn’t have guessed YOU would have felt like that. I mean, you seem so happy…”

It’s terrifying to be peeled naked of these walls,
to be honest with each other, to be vulnerable.
But we need it, this thing of true friendship that reaches past our façades and false fronts,
and loves anyway, lavishly, unconditionally in the face of shocking truths and ugliness.

One friend faces living in another country,
surrounded by a culture and language unknown to her until a few years ago,
because of the man she loves.
Another friend faces life without her husband, widowed at the hand of a thoughtless robber,
leaving her a single mother at only 20.
Another is divorced, her former husband told her he was glad when she lost her babies,
shattering her heart, just like that.
Another friend is married happily, has the perfect home and family,
but past family wounds haunt her everyday, twisting her concept of love and life.
Another never thought she would find herself here – unmarried and pregnant.
And yet another waited 41 weeks to meet her much anticipated baby,
only to discover he was stillborn. Dashed dreams. Crushed hearts.
Life is this hard.

This thing of pain is delicate.
It is so easy to cling to those that have also been hurt,
and all nurse our wounds and feel sorry for ourselves.
It can become deadly, a transition from having a wound,
to becoming one.
These marks in our heart are a means to an end,
and if we get stuck, here in our hurt we only become more hurt.
It becomes a bottomless pit of pain and self-centeredness.
So how do we bring to the light these painful places, without becoming obsessed with them?

He gives us an invitation to a beautiful dance, of leaning hard on Him.
Stepping forward when He does, pausing when the music slows. Listening, watching, becoming.

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Hands tremble, but reach tentatively.
Grasp them, welcome these beautiful people around you into a place of safety.
Let friendship become the sanctuary of Christ’s love to those around you.
Not to live a perpetual state of woundedness, but of honesty, of who we really are.
Use the words that we would never say.

Let’s be honest.
I mean, HONEST.
We all break. This dust that we are made of crumbles.

He hung naked.
Exposed.
He was wounded, and so are we.
And there, at His bloody, dripping feet we find healing.
In Him. Here we find Him to be our safest, most honest place.
In the same vulnerability, we free others to experience the beauty of healing.

Here, through our trembling words and hands never strong enough, others taste Jesus.

Today I Remember

I sat at the computer this morning, remembering six years ago today.
Sometimes words flow. 
But this morning all that came were tears.

Instead, my brother-in-law found the words. 
The words my heart was searching for.

Thank you, Michael.
________________
 
“Today I remember…
can it be six years ago?

That camping trip. It was going to be the greatest of adventures.
We were all so young, so strong. So full of anticipation.
So ready to take on anything.

 
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I remember that raging river.

His piercing eyes, looking into mine. The last time.
Those eyes, and that boy. So full of adventure and life.
And courage. So unafraid.
Nothing was ever too big for him to try.

“Come along”, he’d asked me.
“I can think of more pleasant ways to die”, I replied,
hoping he’d catch the warning.
I tried to sound casual, tried not to betray the worry I felt.

I knew that river was too much for him.
God, why didn’t I stop him?

I’d long watched this boy. And loved him.
His quest. His thirst, that knew no limit.
For understanding. For something, someone vast.
Who could out question him. 

So alone. 

It was his fight.
Navigating that rugged road from boy to man.
It hurt to watch. But no amount of caring could walk that road for him.

That day I watched helplessly as he disappeared
into the raging torrent. 

We prayed as we’d never prayed before.
We searched. We cried. We waited.
And then we let go.

I’ve questioned. I’ve wondered. 
Why God? How could You? Why didn’t I? What if?
All of that.

God doesn’t owe me an answer.
But he has assured me of his goodness.
And today Isaac is experiencing the fullness of that goodness.

That day in the river Isaac found something that was much too large for him.
His answer. His Father. His river of LIFE!

Today I also remember the journey of his family and friends.

The questions. Pain. Shattered dreams. Letting go. Surrender.
The ache of missing him that has become so “normal”.
That makes us long for heaven.

And today I honor them for making the tough choices.
For facing impossible reality.
For choosing to surrender and let go.
For choosing to believe that God is good,
when all of life is screaming that he is a traitor.
For choosing to trust him in spite of that.
For letting go of the self-protective walls.
For opening your battered and torn hearts to the healing love of Jesus.

Today I want to tell you that He is proud of you. 
And Isaac is too.

Very soon you’ll look into his eyes and again see the familiar sparkle.
And yet with something new.
The search over. The questions answered.
The delight of knowing Him fully.”

Our Endless Hallelujah

This word that follows me, courts me, calls me into its existence.
Draws me into its embrace and envelopes me.
I scour my archives.
Surely I’ve written this before, because it has become a recurring theme,
part of who Jesus is making this person into…
Part of every breath.

It’s called {worship}.

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It all started back on that windy hillside as I stood by Isaac’s grave.
The cold wind whipped around me, tore through me,
turning my tears to ice, my heart throbbing with pain that is beyond words.
Dreams shattered, life lies buried in the grave at my toes.

But He gave me a glimpse of what He saw, this God of mine.
The scene from His eyes, a girl all alone at the grave, and His gentle invitation.
To worship from this place of utter loss.
To say yes, when all I hold dear is ripped from my fingers.

I started on this journey that long ago day, to say yes.
To choose to see from His eyes, how this pain is a gift.
An opportunity to become more like Jesus,
and leave a little more of this flesh behind.

I’ve tasted worship in many ways since then.

Like Friday night at Bible School.
After a week of rich teaching, our hearts were blown away at God’s goodness.
My eyes closed and my heart nearly burst with the glory of heaven.
It was so close, this place where all that matters is Jesus
and pouring our hearts out in praise.
I caught a glimpse of the Throne like never before,
where everything fades but Jesus.

We sang a new song that captured my heart…

“When I stand before Your throne,
Dressed in glory not my own,
What a joy I’ll sing of on that day,
No more tears or broken dreams,
Forgotten is the minor key,
Everything as it was meant to be.

And we will worship, worship,
Forever in Your presence we will sing
We will worship, worship
And endless hallelujah to the King…”

But this morning the call to worship is from a much more painful altar.
It’s the altar of pain and loss. Of letting go.

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Excuse me while I have a moment.
Or two.

Or three.

This morning she packs up the last box and stows it in the trailer.
Shuts the door for the last time, closing that chapter -
the house of honeymoon love, bursting with memories and joy -
and moves back home.
To far-away Georgia, back to her parents home.

We stopped by last evening. Down the old jaunt, our old road.
It feels so much like home, so many many years of driving that bumpy old county road,
always passing Marco’s house, and ALWAYS honking, even at eleven at night.
We could picture Marco and Maryann smiling and rolling their eyes, “There go THOSE neighbors!”

I stepped up into the porch. I stood, trying to smile bravely to say goodbye.
But the bravery crumbled as she and I dissolved into tears in a tight embrace.
This beautiful home was now being put, piece by piece, into boxes.
And closed.
We never wanted this season to end. Their story had just begun.
We felt God brooding over their future and ministry.
This was not how we would have written their story.
God, You know how much we needed them. We need her.
How through her gift of worship, of music, we tasted YOU.
Her spirit radiated your beauty. And yet, your story is bigger. Better.
More eternal.

I know she needs to go “home.” Where else but with her family?
But God, how it hurts, because she became ours. Part of us. Part of Marco.
And now we loose her too.

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Tears are my only language. God, how it hurts…

 I look for comfort.
My hands smooth the cream pages and I look through tear blurred eyes,
blinking as the page swims in front of me.

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride, adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God us with man, He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, or crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:1-4

I kissed his perfect little head. Landon boy.
He slept on, in the sweet rest of a child.
Peaceful in the midst of the chaos of packing.
Surrounded by heartache and tears, he made us melt into smiles.
I’ll miss him. Watching him grow, seeing glimpses of his daddy in him,
visiting with his mommy in the nursery.
Seeing his aunts and uncles, and grandpa and grandma
burst with pride as they hold him.
I know Maryann and Landon will come back for visits. I really do.

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Today is full of tears. Of the rawness of the pain.
But I am struck with the reality that this is not the end.
This life is not the last chapter of the story.
I zoom out, remembering that God is still writing.
And this loss is not the final note.

 Tomorrow… So soon we will be gathered, all together again.
All loss and pain forgotten as we worship together before that radiant throne.
Landon in his daddy’s strong arms, Maryann’s tears all turned to jewels,
our shattered hearts to glittering diamonds.

It’s about seeing through Jesus’ eyes.
About choosing to trust Him.
And worshipping from this place of loss, knowing that soon, so soon,
it will be worth it all.
God will dwell among us, and take us in His arms,
and wipe all tears away.

 And on that day, we will
“…Worship, worship,
Forever in Your presence we will sing.
We will worship, worship
An endless hallelujah to the King…”

(-Matt Redmon)

(Photo credits go to the proud aunt Cheryl)

Trusting, through our tears…

Bare stalks reach for the winter sky.
Clouds hang gloom and press heavy, crushing us to the ground.
Warm summer days and harvest long gone,
all that is left is an occasional dried pod shivering in the icy wind.
Tears burn a frozen line down my cheeks.
Here in this place, the only language is tears.

When life has seemed so full of promise, so full of hope,
now we stagger in the face of loss.
Empty.
I look at my hands, and I have nothing to offer.
I see in her eyes the agony few know.

He was just here.
His laugh still echoes in our memory,
the grill on the porch where he last used it.
His shoes tossed by the back door, dirty laundry still in the basket.
At twenty, his young widow has smiled bravely.
Shone radiantly through her tears.
But the funeral is over.
And life goes on, at least for everyone else.
She feels her unborn son kick,
and a dagger pierces her heart again because he will never see his father.
At least on earth.

Pain. Heart searing into numbed agony.
Tears. Everything tastes salty.

And in all this, where is God?

I clutch the steering wheel under the white moon
on the way home from the hospital at three in the morning.
Tears drip onto my coat.
We know He is good, but how on earth do we process this?
How can God look on as this young girl is catapulted from honeymoon bliss
to cold widowhood, all at the hand of a thoughtless burglar?
I question. I whisper, even say, the words that burn a hole in my heart.
The cold creeps in around me. I reach for the heat again.

But it’s still there, under all the agony.
Under the layers and layers of gut-wrenching pain:
I know God makes no mistakes.

In the pain, He is good. In the shattered pieces, He brings new life.
From the ashes springs up a better, more glorious story.
Right now we feel the rawness of this loss.
And Jesus feels it too.
He wept when Lazarus died, even while He knew
the miracle He was about to perform.
But He also sees the end of this story,
and the priceless beauty He is working in this precious girl.
In each of us, really.

Once again we stand on the edge of a cold grave,
and dirt slips between our fingers down into the hole in front of us.
A life, so dear to us, is with God. We worship through our tears.
We say, not seeing, just knowing,
“You are good.” We lift these tear stained, mud marred hands to heaven.
And it is a sweet offering to our Maker.
To see hearts bleeding, but trusting.
Job’s words ring in my mind, and become part of breathing, part of living,
part of making it through each day of grief…
“Though you slay me, I will trust you.”
For where else would we turn? We have no one but Him.

The wind still blows cold. Months of winter are still to come.
But already the seeds of spring are sown deep into the earth,
and deep into our hearts.
We water them with our tears,
and God shines his promise of true life onto them…
The seed dies, but soon, so soon,
life will push out of this dead ground.
Soon, we too, will push past this crust of death
and burst into true life.

Because spring is coming.

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For more information on Marco and Maryann, you can go to their FB page here:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Praying-for-Marco/181221638750126?ref=br_tf