Monday, August 21, 2017

The Ebb and Flow of Grief

August 7th: 12:21am

If there was an ocean out my back door I would walk right into it and let myself sink. The weight of this sadness would lead me straight to the depths and it would make no difference. For I am already there, in the depths of the darkness, in the pit of death surrounded only by the bones of those gone before me. I cannot feel the light within me. My arms are weak, my legs unstable. Piece by piece I shut down until what is left is just the shell of me. Consumed by fire I am just ash and dust. Yet I still have to walk, and breathe, and pretend that I am truly alive. But life is no longer in me. Nor hope or joy. I am but dry bones and I am forgotten. 

There have been a lot of days in this process when my journal has looked like the entry above. Strength in hard times is a many faceted thing and sometimes, it just isn't there. A lot of people have told me to feel whatever I feel in the moment, to let myself process. For me this means writing it down. I have always processed through writing, but I also want to remember the ebb and flow of this process of grief.

As it happens, in strong days we forget how our grief ever consumed us. On hard days we forget that we have ever felt strong. In seasons of loss, sadness, or hardship we simply have to be ok with experiencing both. 

The strong days are the ones in which God gives me rest. They come when I need them most. Just when I think I am about to under, when I have decided that I have no strength left and I just want to be left to die, God wakes me up with a day of strength.

Strong day journal entries sound more like this:

August 9th

It has been a dark battle against despair these last few days. Yesterday I felt defeated. My enemies had won, satan's lies were overwhelming, and I had nothing left. I had no fight within me. It felt like the darkest and most lonely ending. 

And then I went to sleep and God gave me joyful dreams. I don't remember what they were, but they made me smile. And I woke up to strength. 

I have rested my head against Aslan all day. This is a battle and it will continue, but for today there is a rest in the fighting. I have prayed for God's guidance, I have prayed for His help, and I have felt rest. The turmoil in me has been great these last few days. Sleepless nights, many many tears. But God has given me a chance to gear up. 

The battle against the evil one is not over. It will rage on. But just when I feel defeated, He gives me rest. He provides a chance to build up my arsenal and my weapons once again. 

He is good. He is so very good to me. He protects me. He lets me be challenged but when He sees me fall He says enough is enough. You will leave her alone for today. She will rest in hope and in My provision and love. You will not touch her. 

Sometimes I think hope is futile but it is not. Hope is not futile, it is not foolishness. It is what pushes us forward. It is the sword with which we fight. And I know that God's armies are fighting with me. I know that He will be victorious, even if that victory looks different than what I had in mind. 

Oh to rest against Him today. Oh to feel strong for just this moment. There will be hard days to come but He will again provide rest when I need it most. He always protects me, even if I still have to fight. And we do have to fight. God does not take us out of the battle. I don't know why. But I do know that even though we teeter on the edge of destruction, He does not let us fall. 

_______

My dear reader, whatever you are going through, have grace for yourself in the depths of the ocean as well as in the shelter of our Savior. Know that He will not let you perish. Though you may feel a shell of your former self, He will not let you crumble. He will build you back up, slowly and piece by piece. He will not keep you from the fight, from the wounds, but when it becomes too much He will roar like a lion and for a moment you will be sheltered.

Believe that the good will come and be ready for the days that seem to bring you back down.

You will survive. This battle will not last forever.

Be strengthened.
Have patience with the ebb and flow of grief.

You are not alone. And there is so much grace.

Monday, August 7, 2017

To Share our Pain

I think that it is a stupid symptom of our society that we think we need to hide our pain from each other. We think that no one else wants to hear it or perhaps that they will not love us anymore if we show them. We think that their life is probably perfect.

That's ridiculous. 

God's love is shown in mighty ways when we trust each other with our pain. There is so much healing in vulnerability.

But it is not an easy task.

My confidence has been shaken. I apologize for everything. Anything that maybe I possibly did wrong at one point in time, I now apologize for. Because I feel bad. And I worry that I have done wrong by people that I love. Its a twisted symptom of the situation. I have lost my confidence. It is temporary but it is difficult.

Temporary. 

I think of my life as a tapestry. It is made up of threads. "Time heals," they say. I believe that, but only because I believe that with time, more threads will be added to my story. What has happened in these last few months will always be a piece of me, but it is not the whole picture. Though it is painful, it can be woven together with the other threads of my life into something beautiful.

Imagine that. Pain becoming a part of something beautiful.

I like the sound of that.

My wise and wonderful friend just reminded me not to focus on the "better" but focus on the now. God is not waiting for me to be better. God is here now, in the middle of the pain. And my job is not to just get through each day hoping one morning I will wake up and feel fine. My job is to feel what I am feeling and seek God in that. For He is present and He is loving and He is totally ok with whatever I throw at Him. He is weaving my story and I can trust Him in the process.

Isn't that lovely? I like that it takes off the pressure of healing.

I know that one day things will get better. But I also know that this will be a long road.

So I will have grace for myself in the process.

And I will not hide my pain.