April 23, 2015

What am I doing as we anticipate Grace's 2nd birthday in Heaven?

I started and finished this book in two days this week.


Was it good? Yes, very. 

And also no.

I have a very vivid imagination. I have my entire life. Which means words and images really stick in my thoughts and mind. I've also developed certain convictions as I've walked with the Lord about what's "permissible" for me. 

Which means I'm usually very stringent about what I read and watch. It doesn't mean by any means that I only read Christian books and authors; quite the contrary. I read a broad array of genres and authors. I'm just cautious. 

And on a normal day and week I would've picked up this book and read the first few chapters and discerned that there were waaay too many F-bombs and sex scenes for my imagination and it would be in my best interest to find another book.

But this isn't a normal day and week. Because my Grace's second birthday is in 3 days. And the same as last year, I feel anxious and angry and deeply sad and like I'm on a slippery slope into a dark hole.

And what's been my escape my entire life? A well-written book that makes me forget about my life for awhile.

So that's what I've done the last two nights. I've felt the wave of grief and sadness coming and done what Old Sara used to do. Gotten lost in a story. 

Even if it had been a great book, I was still escaping. Or trying to. 

I just hate April. I don't even try to be spiritual about it. I dread April 1st because then the countdown begins and then I dread the passing days and weeks because the countdown becomes less. 

People who haven't experienced loss probably don't get this (or at least I definitely didn't) but anniversaries and marker dates are just awful. I probably used to think in my pre-loss days that they were a celebratory day, a day for remembering and honoring. But instead it's a day for the should-haves and almost-was(es) but never-will-bes. 

Our Thursday Bible study group is part of a larger study group and every week we all meet together for food and a devotional and prayer and then we split into our smaller groups. I had thought maybe I'd share with my group about how (terrible) I was doing and that I was trying to escape (and into a not-good book for that matter) and I just really needed prayer. But there's this side of me that just hates being weak, is just tired of it quite frankly. I'm tired of being needy and crying in front of people and asking for prayer again. Even though I know that's exactly how and where Jesus wants me and, really, is the sweetest place of communing with Him and others when I get there (or admit that I've been there all along). 

Today, as the Lord would providentially have it, a woman from another group shared for this week's devotional and it was from 1st Kings 19. 

Of course it was. 

Probably my favorite story in the Bible and one that breaks and awes me every single time I read it. 

Go ahead and read it. Probably read 1st Kings 18 and 19 for context. Go ahead. I'll wait... 

Yeah?

Bueno. 

Elijah does a great thing with great faith and then Jezebel threatens to kill him so he runs for his life into the wilderness and tells God he wants to die and God shows up and meets his immediate needs (food and rest) and then says he's going to pass by Elijah. BUT. He's not in the mighty wind, the great earthquake, or the raging fire. But then a low whisper comes and Elijah finally hears God's voice. 

God asks him what he's doing there. 

What he's doing.

Because sometimes we just need to tell someone what we're doing. 

Sometimes we just need to crawl out of the cave we crawled into (a book that's not good for our soul, a relationship we shouldn't be in, an addiction that controls us, an anger that destroys us) and tell God what we're doing. Tell a friend what we're doing. 

Today was my what-am-I-doing moment. 

I heard the soft, compelling voice of the Holy Spirit calling me out of the cave of grief and anger I'd crawled into and directing my next step (the same as he did for Elijah). Directing me to share. To humble myself. To ask for prayer. To confess my anger and anxiety.

So I did. It wasn't pretty but I did. There were tears and anger in my voice and words like "hellish" and phrases like "I don't want to talk about it but I do need you to pray but I don't want to talk about it" and frustration and and and...but I did it. 

And then the beauty of the why. Because then there was the being prayed for and the arms wrapped around and the head leaned against and the foot cradled and their tears shed. 

I didn't feel it at that very moment but it wasn't very long and I did feel it. The burden lifted. The tiny sliver of joy. The hope of a better day. The renewed strength to face April 26th. 

Isn't God so kind? He could've come in his awesome power (the raging wind and earthquake and fire) and scared me into obeying, but he didn't. He came in a gentle whisper. Compelling that leads to conviction that leads to restoration. 

So what are you doing? And who can you tell? 

And since I've already laid myself bare, would you please pray for us as we mark another year of our Grace and her loss?

Thank you, friends. I so appreciate each of you readers. You make this worth it.