Sunday, April 28, 2013

Just Enough

This week has been a hard week. I know I am making progress, but it feels like one step forward and two steps back and this week has been a week where it feels like we have taken two steps back. I still feel stuck in mud & miry clay, stuck in this grief. What makes this so hard is that I believe what the Bible says in Psalms 40:1-3:

" I waited patiently for the Lord; and he turned to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay. He stood me on a rock and made my feet steady. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many people will see this and worship him."

I believe with all my heart that He can lift me out of this pit I am in, but what hurts the most is that He hasn't. And my problem is, I don't always trust that He will. If I am truly being honest, I feel a little let down by God, abandoned by Him. It's really hard for me to believe that He loves me. Because this hand I've been dealt doesn't feel like love. I know how much I loved Quinn and I would never allow her to go through something like what I am going through if I had the power to stop it. I hear of 65 year olds who experience miracles of healing and instead of being amazed, it breaks my heart. Why didn't God choose Quinn to receive the miracle and live? It is humbling for me to write this for the whole world to read, but we are also trying to get pregnant again and it is taking a lot longer than expected and I hear my heart crying out to God, "Haven't we gone through enough? Can't something be easy?"

I was humbled when reading through Numbers 11 this week. The setting is the Israelites whom through Moses God brought out of slavery in Egypt are now wandering in the desert. They have been promised to be led to a land of Milk & Honey but they experience many set backs and continue to camp in a desolate area. There is no food in this area so God provides a miracle for them... Manna. Every morning a grain-like substance covers the ground to feed them.  And they are only given enough for the day. If they kept extra, it spoiled overnight. But after awhile, the Israelites start to complain. They miss the fruits & vegetables they were provided in Egypt and especially the meat. So they start to weep. I think when I heard this story when I was younger I thought that they were selfish. But now when I read it, I'm sure I would be one of the biggest complainers if I lived during that time. To eat the same food for 40 years sounds awful. I think the Israelites were feeling some of my same sentiments... abandoned, let down, questioning God's love and provision, knowing that God could provide more, but he wasn't. And yet, what the Israelites and I are both missing in the midst of it all is the miracle. God provided food for them in a desolate place. And He gave them exactly what they needed to make it through the day. And that is what I have to remind myself this week. That God is daily providing me a miracle of just making it through the day each day. Every day I think how am I going to make it through the next 50 years? And yet he gives me my Manna each day and I make it through another day. So this has been my prayer for the week, "Lord forgive me for my grumbling. Thank you for the miracle of getting me through the day with just enough. I know that many times I want more. But help me to be patient for the day when I will see what you have promised... the land of Milk & Honey."

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Beauty of Storms- Being Still

It started with a routine April rain, something that was supposed to happen. But then the wind started to blow and it got unusually cold. We woke up on Wednesday morning to a winter wonderland of icy trees. And Mother Nature didn't stop there, inches of ice began to accumulate and when She was done our city looked like a war zone. Trees that had been around 50 years were split down the middle, bending beneath the weight of the ice. And to add insult to injury the next night a fresh blanket of snow covered it all up. In all of my suffering these past months, I have been given a gift. I see things like this in a whole new light. Instead of being sad that we lost 3 trees, I see beauty in the way God works, artistry in many circumstances, poems made out of heartbreak. Every circumstance can be made into an analogy to teach me something, and this ice storm is no exception.

I have felt that I have come into a new season of grieving. I can feel that God is healing my heart ever so slowly. And just as the weather was starting to get warmer and the birds were starting to chirp. I could feel the ice that has formed around my heart, the ice that freezes anything good, the ice that burns and runs so deep, starting to slowly melt away. But just like you don't expect snow storms in April, my grief of losing someone so precious to me, sneaks up on me when I least expect it. I know for the most part that spring is coming, but I also know that unexpected ice storms will hit in the midst of this process. See, this wasn't supposed to happen. April is supposed to bring rain that helps trees bloom, not die. We are not supposed to have 3 snow days in the middle of April. Similarly, losing a child so suddenly was not supposed to happen. I am supposed to be spending my snow days with a child who is just starting to walk, not sitting in silence reflecting on life. And it is okay for me to grieve that. 

This storm has also reminded me of what William P. Young wrote about in his book The Shack:

“There is something joyful about storms that interrupt routine. Snow or freezing rain suddenly releases you from expectations, performance demands, and the tyranny of appointments and schedules. And unlike illness, it is largely a corporate rather than individual experience. One can almost hear a unified sigh rise from the nearby city and surrounding countryside where Nature has intervened to give respite to the weary humans slogging it out within her purview. All those affected this way are united by a mutual excuse, and the heart is suddenly and unexpectedly a little giddy. There will be no apologies needed for not showing up to some commitment or other. Everyone understands and shares in this singular justification, and the sudden alleviation of the pressure to produce makes the heart merry.”

If you didn't grow up in the Midwest you might not know that when we say the word snowday  it holds so much meaning. It is an excuse to be lazy. And during these last few days I have felt like God was reminding me to "Be Still." I said in an earlier post that I have started reading through the Old Testament and it has been hard to do blogs about what God is teaching me from reading through Leviticus... BUT when I read through Exodus last month I kept coming back to a verse that really spoke to me. The setting is the Israelites on their way out from hundreds of years in captivity in Egypt, being chased by their captors and coming to the Red Sea, feeling trapped. They say to Moses, "Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die?" But it is not their panic that spoke to me most, but what Moses said in reply to them:

"Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still."
                                                                                                                                -Exodus 14:11-14
"Be Still and know that I am God."                                                                            -Psalm 46:10

It seems so simple, and yet we have such a hard time following it in our culture. Be Still. Yes, our city has been declared a state of emergency (my life is in a state of emergency). But the beauty is that it has reminded me that the Lord will fight for me. All I need to do is to be still and know that He is God.