Healing and grief seem to peel away in layers. Like an onion. And it comes in waves. Big, giant, crashing waves. And, you never know when the next crashing wave is gonna hit or when the next layer is going to peel away. For example; At the kids Christmas program at the elementary school. In a room full of hundreds of kids and parents, I couldn't stop myself from crying for at least 20 minutes. I didn't expect it and I couldn't stop it. I am fairly certain people thought I was crazy. Or, like yesterday, when I was at the Dr.... God bless that man and his sweet, precious nurse. I couldn't stop crying. Dealing with loss does a lot to a person. My family has experienced a lot of loss, through death, the past couple of years. A number of my friends have experienced loss the past year or so, and, we as an immediate family have experienced the loss of a child through a failed adoption.
I have found that all of this loss has stirred up fear, anxiety and a lack of hope that I have never experienced before. I am grateful that the Lord has been faithful to bring these things to light for me. So I can walk through it and continue to heal and grow day by day.
I have found that my anxiety comes from the fact that these losses are completely out of my control. Anyone else struggle with wanting to control everything? No? Just me? Mmmm k.....well I struggle with wanting to control everything. Which then takes my trust and eyes off of the Lord. Crap. When I take my trust and eyes off of the Lord, I then become fearful. When I have no trust and I am afraid, I then lose hope. What an ugly vicious cycle. I am grateful to recognize the cycle so I can choose surrender. Daily. Daily I have to surrender.
MLK had a sermon about being strong of mind and soft in heart. (https://thevalueofsparrows.com/2014/05/04/sermon-a-tough-mind-and-a-tender-heart-by-martin-luther-king-jr/)
I have to daily be of strong mind to make the choice to have a soft heart. The truth is, all I want to do is build a huge, giant, strong wall around my heart. Because somehow that seems safer to me. To make it so hard nothing can disappoint or hurt me. But, the TRUTH is this. If I build that wall I am keeping it from the Lord, from being loved and from ultimately being protected. Not only that, but I am finding that it physically takes a toll on your body. Stress is a crazy thing full of self-destruction. I am learning too, that it is ok to take care of yourself. To say no when you need to. To take care of yourself and to take moments to be quiet and alone. To let the laundry go, eat leftovers and spend full weekends in your pj's. To realize that everyone grieves differently and in order to heal we have to let go of what others think and do what helps us heal. I've needed these moments. To be quiet and allow the Lord to show me how to heal moment by moment. To learn to let go of control. To chose to be hopeful by trusting in HIM with EVERYTHING even when it feels terrifying. If you think about grief as a huge physical wound it makes more sense to people. If you have a giant hole in your heart you don't try to fix it on your own. You don't just move forward and pretend like it isn't there. If you do, you'll die! You go to the Dr., the one who can heal you and teach you how to take care of the wound until it's fully rehabilitated. It is the same with an emotional wound. You have to take it to the one who heals. Who can then teach you how to care for your wound and walk you through rehabilitation. Right? We have to take that time to take ourselves to the Lord and stop trying to do it on our own or we will emotionally die inside. You can't stop the world from hurting you. But you most certainly know where to go for healing and hope!
People often say that life as Christians is easy because God is on our side. WHHAAAATTT??? I have come to find that life is hard as hell. Life on this earth holds no promise of ease. God doesn't promise an easy life. Not. One. Single. Bit. What He promises is that He is on our side. This means that He will love us perfectly. He will comfort us perfectly. He will guide us perfectly, and He will work all things for our good and His glory. When I remember that, it makes it much more bearable to walk through the trials. It even gives me hope and peace even when there seems to be no reason to have either.
These two songs have been breath to my lungs.
This week as I still get hit by crashing waves of grief from the loss of a child that was never mine..... This week as I approach the anniversaries of losing my grandpa and 10-month-old cousin....I will take away some wisdom from the legacy my grandpa left and my grandma is still living out. I will follow the example of my cousin who unfairly lost his son. I will choose hope. I choose hope by trusting God. I choose peace by being strong in my mind and soft in my heart. I choose joy by letting go of the reigns and letting the Lord lead. Hear me loud and clear. Choosing these things doesn't remove grief or the need to cry it out. Choosing these things doesn't make pain go away or make it easy. But, it brings breath to my lungs and hope and peace to my spirit. It brings endurance to finish the race.
If God is in it, then I am in it.