Tear stained pages: MY STORY OF UNEXPECTED GRIEF
I woke that morning with such expectation. It was finally here! The day when I have something to get pretty for; somewhere to go. Those beautiful faces to greet me. Those tender hearts to love on me. I did my hair and picked something cute to wear. All the while, unaware of what was simmering just below the surface. Something that had been left undone had lay dormant, but was now ready to pounce when I least expected it. As we sat around the table the conversation turned, as it should, to new life. And as we tarried there, on the new life to come, my heart began to ache for the two lives I had recently lost. This is not the time for grief! I pushed back. It is the time for celebration and smiles. But as anyone with experience with grief will tell you-it will not be denied. Pushed down, sure. Ignored-for a time. But it will always rise up and when it does it will demand attention.
So there I sat-inner conflict raging. My grief on one side-my pride on the other. Or was it fear? Fear that if grief won my heart might shatter. One of my favorite C. S. Lewis quotes is from his book, A Grief Observed. Lewis's words, "No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.", speaks to me in my pain. In my grief I am afraid. Of what, I am not sure. Maybe never being OK. Maybe never feeling "happy" again. I am desperate to be fine and am utterly surprised when I am not.
Well, finally home I began to wrangle the 2 year-old for his nap. Our usual game of cat and mouse, where I am the cat trying to corner my 2 year-old "mouse", was cut short when he did not flee. Having "caught" him so easily today, the 6 year-old remarked, "Mommy, you won the prize!". I laughed, yelling over my shoulder as I ascended the stairs, "Yes. I have indeed won the prize! I have the most special kids in the world!". And in that moment, through my grief, I was blessed. Not just because I have 3 beautiful children. Or because I am privileged to be home with them or that I am tasked to teach them. But because my life has been changed. My Lord died to set me free from my sin and shame and I now have peace-that is absolutely undeserved. Death is not the end and I do not just grieve-I also have hope.
But, friends, I long to grieve well. Not perfectly or "right"-but in a way that honors God. I'm still figuring out what that looks like. Today it looks like sitting in my favorite chair writing through my tears. And like texting a friend that I'm not OK-I'm in pain. But mostly it looks like crying out to my God that I still don't understand but still drawing near to him. Today is hard. Tomorrow might be better. But even if it isn't-I will still have hope. The hope that comes from being redeemed, and that my friends, (as I always say) is everything.
Loving and praying for you all, today!But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him,
on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,
to deliver them from death
and keep them alive in famine.
We wait in hope for the LORD;
he is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
May your unfailing love be with us LORD,
even as we put our hope in you. Psalm 33:18-22