Sunday, September 29, 2013

in it's time.

This morning, I feel oh-so-tired.  I just got finished telling my runner-man that I feel like all that has been lost over the past year is slowly being renewed.  Slowly.  

I used the only words I could think of in the moment -- that I am emerging from somewhere beneath the muck and mire. 

This process feels so slow, so heart-wrenching.  But it's been a long time coming.  

Some mornings I want to rise up and meet the day.

But on mornings like this one, when the crisp fall air is pushing itself through my window and into my soul, I can't help but want to curl up and forget:

Forget all that has been lost. 
Forget that I'm on this journey. 
Forget that suffering is inevitable.
Forget that life, with all of it's obligations and responsibilities, is always waiting to meet me.

I must welcome it.  Be thankful for the tasks that have been set apart for me.  Find strength to rejoice in this season of life, no matter how much it hurts.

{ But I wish I could forget. }

Or maybe I just wish I could be healed:

Healed so I can remember with grace, forgiveness, and hope for the future.
Healed so I can rejoice with those around me who are celebrating their blessings and triumphs.
Healed so I can be whole.
Healed so I can be holy.

Stuffing the pain deep-down-in-a-ditch won't get me there.  Neither will pretending to just forget and move on.  

I know that I must go into the pain,  
acknowledge that it's there,  
lift it up,
and pray that the Lord does something beautiful with it. 

Most importantly, I must make the intentional, heart-conscious decision that I want to be healed.  That I can wait on the Lord regardless of how long this journey takes.  That I can be patient, yet still have hope.

Henri Nouwen says that "the word patience means the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us.”

{ My patience looks more like pouting. }

And today, although I'd rather try-to-forget and keep busy, I am praying for the strength to live out -- my story, my responsibilities, my life -- to the fullest.  

I am praying for the strength to want to be healed.  To want to emerge.  To want to believe that somehow, something is hidden in this mess that will manifest itself to me.  Something good.  Something beautiful. 

For "He has made everything beautiful in its time." 
{ecclesiastes 3:11}

Saturday, September 28, 2013

on psalm 42 & walking the beast

Exercising has never been the most relaxing thing for me.  I have always had a secret-jealousy towards those, like my runner-man, who can go for five mile runs to "decompress from the day" and then come back with revelations and life decisions already-made-up. 

As I become more comfortable in my own skin, I can admit that there aint no big revelations coming from my runs.  
When I run, I am {for some unknown reason} forced to focus too much on not dying --

Am I inhaling through my nose too much? 
Did I just swallow a bug? 
Are my lungs about to collapse? 
Can I stop now, pleeeaaassseee?
But I love those who can run with serious dedication.  I so admire them.  I wish my lungs would cooperate so I could be them.  Instead, I'm afraid that I'm destined to a life where the back of my car is plastered-all-over with stickers to celebrate all of my "0.0" mile races. 
Now, I know that "not everyone is a runner."  I also know that if I really wanted to be a runner, I could train, and push through my fears-of-dying, and just run.

But I don't know if I want to be a runner.  And I have to remind myself that that's okay

In fact, ever since we adopted the beast, our 2 year old 60+ pound lab mix, by default I have become quite the walker.  {If you have ever been walked by -- or dragged by -- your dog through a squirrel-infested park, you know exactly what I mean.}

Walking the beast is good for me, but it's usually not that relaxing either.  How relaxing can it be to be yanked at a moment's notice at the sight of anything furry and to have to pull random objects out of my toddler-puppy's mouth every-five-seconds?  I love her to pieces, but she makes me crazy sometimes.

On our walk this morning, however, I felt something different; something strangely peaceful and calming.  For the first time in months, I felt like I could focus, and think, and even pray.

As I walked through our local park, I felt -- almost physically -- these words wash over my heart:

Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why are you downcast?

There are a million ways I could respond to this question, but I felt a strange sense that I needed to just let the words be.  Soak them in.  Stop trying to argue with the God-of-the-Universe. 

Psalm 42.  These words were from Psalm 42, a passage I hadn't read in years.  Why was I remembering them now?  It's as if they had been tucked away in my heart, only to be brought out for such a time as this. 
When I got home, I opened up to the rest of the passage, which reads like this:
Why are you downcast, O my soul? 
Why so disturbed within me? 
Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, 
my Savior and my God.
This is me, I thought.  I am here, and God knows it. 
Downcast, downcast, downcast -- but more aware than I have been in a long time that God is somewhere in this muck-and-mire with me.  I don't know all the wheres or whys or hows {and most likely never will} 
but my hope is slowly being restored, 

my faith slowing coming back to life.

And although I'm not there yet, I believe that somehow and soon enough,
I will yet praise him.

I am thankful today for a beautiful, morning walk,
my crazy, furry-beast,
scripture to heal the soul, 
and yes, even the fact that I am not a runner.

Friday, September 27, 2013

remembering M

Yesterday, we remembered and grieved the loss of our dearest M -- the child we never got a chance to hold, or kiss, or even see.

My runner-man and I took the day off from work. We had decided ahead of time that we would write letters to commemorate the day -- a letter to M from each of us.

We painted a wooden chest the most pink of pale-ballet-pinks and I sewed M a baby blanket. 


As I held the blanket in my arms, I couldn't help but think of how small and delicate M was when she went. The questions of why and how and for what purpose flooded my heart.

God did not answer me. He remained silent, as silent as He has been for some time now.

It was a really sad and painful day, with the tiniest {I mean tiniest} bouts of peace hidden far beneath the tears and the heaviness.

Is this a holy struggle, losing M?  Does God have a purpose for this pain?  Will I ever see redemption?  Will I ever feel whole again?

No one one tells you that it's going to be this hard -- following God, being married, having a baby, suffering devastating losses. But I am told that love is stronger than death. That there is a love -- God's love -- that conquers all fear, all pain, all loss.

And though He has been quiet -- seemingly turning his face as I cry out for refuge and new life -- I know better than to believe that He has left me entirely.

He is somewhere in the midst of this, holding me as I remember M.

Lord, let it be so.