Broken. That is the only way to describe me. Just when I think healing is starting to begin something happens to shatter all the pieces of my life again. Today Quinn's headstone was laid on her grave.... and here it comes again. My whole world is imploding, crashing in on me. This is real. This is permanent. These moments are like the aftershocks of an earthquake. Just when you feel like the worst is over, there is more to come. I still don't realize how deep the denial runs. A small part of me still feels like I am going to wake up from this. But seeing a headstone with her name on it and my name makes it all too real. Then I look a few stones down and see a birthday balloon for a baby that would've been 15 and I think, "I can't do this... this is too much."
On Sunday I had a sweet quiet time. A time when I couldn't write fast enough for the words that were flowing. Today, I'm not really that fond of what I wrote, it is hard for me to read because it is so opposite of what I am feeling right now, but God is laying it on my heart to write it and proclaim it right now so here it goes...
Jerimiah 32:40-41 "I will never stop doing good to them... I will rejoice in doing them good."
Larry Crabb in his book Shattered Dreams writes,
"There is never a moment in our lives, from the day we trusted Christ till the day we see Him when
God is not longing to bless us. At every moment, in every circumstance, God is doing us good. He
never stops. It gives Him too much pleasure. God is not waiting to bless us after our troubles end. He
is blessing us right now, in and through these troubles. At this exact moment, He is giving us what He
thinks is good."
So it is time for me to examine what I believe is good. It used to be getting what I wanted. But everyone who is a parent or teacher knows that giving children what they want is not always what is best for them. Am I shallow enough to think that anything that feels good is good and anything that causes pain is bad? Working out causes pain- does that make it bad? No. So after I learn about it then I get to change my mind? My reasoning is sounding less and less reliable. But if I admit that God's ways are higher than my ways, then what I view as good or bad for my life is so much more than what "feels" good or bad. Feelings fail us God doesn't. What does God think is best? Being in an intimate relationship with Him.
I will never forget the day I was talking to by dad about his best friend from childhood who had developed Leukemia. My dad was very empathetic for him, but by the end of the conversation my dad said something that forever changed me. He said, "Ali, you know what is the craziest thing in all of this?" Now I thought he was going to say something about how terrible Leukemia is or how great of a person Tom is, but he said this, "I am actually jealous of his Leukemia because of how close it has made him with the Lord." I still think about that statement. Leukemia is the worst possible thing to wish for and yet, it was the means by which one person became so intimate with God that it made others yearn for it. This is so hard for me to wrap my head around and I still can't fully understand what is good and bad in life. How can my only daughter, the joy of my life, being taken from me at 4 months old be good? I don't know, but I can tell you that nothing stands between the Lord and I right now. I have never in my life yearned to be with Him, read His word, worship than I have right now.
I have been thinking about how my relationship with Quinn teaches me about my relationship with God. As Quinn got a little older I started laying her in her crib for naps and bedtime. She would lay in her crib and cry a little bit. It killed me to see this as I was standing right beside her crib, just out of her view. It pained me, not because she was hurt or in danger, but because I knew in her little brain she was crying because she thought she was alone, that I had left her. It pained me so much that sometimes I would cry, even though I knew my purpose- getting her to learn to fall asleep on her own. I wanted to give my daughter a precious gift- the gift of sleep. Quinn did not know my purpose, and there was no way of me explaining it to her, because my brain was more advanced than hers.
I have told many people how odd it is that in an instant I have switched from being a caregiver to needing to be taken care of. I have found myself in Quinn's role, feeling alone, not understanding. But God is here with me, just out of view, crying with me because he knows I don't understand- nor is there any way I ever will- His ways are higher than mine. But I have to believe that he is trying to give me a precious gift in all of this. Larry Crabb states that,
"The highest dream we could ever dream, the wish that if granted would make us happier than any
other blessing, is to know God, to actually experience Him. The problem is that we don't believe
this idea is true. We assent to it in our heads, but we don't feel it in our hearts."
2 Corinthians 7:10-11 states,
"The kind of sorrow God wants makes people change their hearts and lives. This leads to salvation,
and you cannot be sorry for that... See what this sorrow- the sorrow that God wanted you to have-
has done to you; It has made you very serious. It made you want to restore yourselves, It made
you angry & afraid. It made you want to see me. It made you care. It made you want to do the
right thing. In every way you regained your innocence."
-Larry Crabb, in Shattered Dreams writes:
"One way He works is to allow our lower dreams to shatter. He lets us hurt and doesn't make it better...
In fact, what he's doing while we suffer is leading us into the depths of our being, into the center of our
soul where we feel our strongest passions. It's there that we discover our desire for God. We begin to
feel a desire to know Him that not only survives our pain, but actually thrives in it until that desire
becomes more intense than our desire for all the good things we still want. Through the pain of shattered
lower dreams, we wake up to the realization that we want an encounter with God more than we want
the blessings of life. And that begins a revolution in out lives."
Even though I have written all of this, I am still in a world of hurt, and would give all of this up in a heartbeat to have my baby back, the way it used to be. I believe what I wrote to be true, but I am human- It sure doesn't feel like I am being blessed. But I am continuing to trust that God was good 3 months ago and God is still good today. As crazy and as reckless as it sounds, I am choosing to trust that God has my best in mind. That his desire is to bless me, bless me in ways completely different than I think of as blessings but that he is in control. That I am broken to the basic core of who I am, but that he is going to restore me in His way, in His time. This is the darkest time in my life, but I believe that someday, when I get to heaven, I will look back on this time in my life and see that I had it all wrong. That this was not the darkest time in my life, but that it was the sweetest because this is when I met God.