I haven’t blogged in over a year. For a while I was dealing with so much it was impossible to think about writing. Then came a mild depression, then lots of life changes, lots of busyness and no desire to write. But I’m back. And I hope to start writing regularly again.
This post I wrote last December will help explain my silence for the year. When I wrote it I thought I was ready to share again publicly. But, I wasn’t. I shared it with my family, but that was all I could handle. I needed more time. I needed deeper healing. I needed new life to begin around me. I needed time to pass to prove that I believed my own words. Now I know that I do.
My heart still aches. I wish I could run around and play with this little guy. But I have hope that one day I will.
*please note, the times mentioned in the post were as of December 2014.
Hope is Stronger than Despair
I’m writing this with a heart that is still incredibly broken, but through trust and hope beginning to heal. There is a song that periodically comes on my Pandora station and every time it does I’m struck by the lyric “He’s the anchor of hope for the souls of men.” (you can listen to the song by Ellie Holcomb here). This has been a season of learning what hope is and what trust truly is and how to choose trust even when it’s hard.
My nephew died two months ago. He was a sweet, joyful 4 month old. It was tragic and God very easily could have prevented his death. But He allowed it to happen. In the process He allowed the hearts of my sister and brother-in-law to be shredded, along with our whole family. He allowed confusion to be stirred up in the hearts of my niece and nephew who asked “now that Jesus has had a turn can he please give us Gordon back?” He allowed grief and pain to enter our lives in a way that we could never have imagined.
I do not buy into the idea of the cliché “God won’t give you more than you can handle!” Quite frankly I think this is a lie. Sometimes in life God does allow more than we can handle. The past 3 years has been a season of “more than I can handle.” My divorce was more than I could handle. The loss of my sweet friend Emily a few months ago was more than I could handle. But far more painful and unbearable was the loss of my sweet Gordito. Watching my sister be in so much pain is more than I can handle. Emily’s parents and Gordon’s parents are walking through something so far beyond what they can handle, I’ve only had a glimpse of their pain.
But we don’t have to handle it on our own. That’s where the cliché goes wrong. God won’t give us more than we can handle with Him – that sort of suffering doesn’t exist. So we have hope that one day there will be no more tears! No more pain! No more loss! But for now He promises His comfort. He provides moments of beauty. Moments of joy. Moments of smiling. Moments of laughter. Moments of peace. Moments of love. Moments of hope. Moments where He says “I know this hurts and I hate that you’re hurting. But I love you. I know what’s going on. Please trust me. Rest in my comfort. Please know that I’m in control. You don’t need to handle this on your own. Cry out to me. Cry. Scream. Beat on my chest. I can handle it. I can handle your pain. I can handle your confusion. Come to me.”
That’s where trust comes in. I don’t know the answer to why. My human nature wants to be in a constant state of control and understanding. But that’s not trust. Trust, like love, is an intentional action. It doesn’t just happen. It’s a daily choice, or sometimes a second to second choice. I have had days of doubt. Days of anger. Days of crippling sadness. But the days I choose trust are the days where I can see the beauty and hope that still exist in the world and in Him. I have hope. I’m still grieving, and I imagine I will be for a long time. But as the fog of the overwhelming grief begins to lift slightly I can see how the Lord is working through this. I can see how sustaining the prayers of my community are. How important community is. How the Lord’s provision care and His timing are perfect. How He wants to use suffering for good. How people will be drawn to Him as we trust and hope. I will see Emily and Gordon again. I have that confidence and that hope.
Friends, let me leave you with the beautiful words of my sister as she reflected on her son’s death two months later, “The past two months have been hard. But there are a few things I know now with even more certainty than I did before Gordon died: God is good. God can be trusted. People are capable of an amazing amount of love. Pain is an incredible teacher. And, Hope is stronger than despair.”