Wednesday, October 30, 2019

It was normal... normal anyways for a a missionary family living overseas.   We don't always go to our international church, but on this morning for whatever reason-- we wanted to be surrounded by people.  And sometimes it is just nice singing in your native language.  As the message began, my phone buzzed and I saw my brother had tried to call several times, and my sister- in-law.  Immediately, I noticed the words: Heading to the hospital.

My mom had been diagnosed with cancer,  a rare type and just finished her first round of chemo.  She had been doing well, but the night before my mom had been sick.  As I spent the next 20 minutes talking my brother down, assuring him chemo makes everyone sick-  everything would be okay.  "It would be okay." I assured him as the nurse entered and said the doctor would be in shortly.  Convincing him enough to hang up the call, my little brother promised he'd call me with an update.  I walked back in as the worship continued to play, whispering in my husbands ear and his hand reaching around mine. 

An anthem from my heart, with open hands held high declaring to my God, "I've seen You move, come move the mountains, And I believe, I'll see You do it again,You made a way, where there was no way And I believe, I'll see You do it again."  

And then, then it all stopped.  My phone buzzed and I moved outside, and as I answered that call expecting the best...the next 8 minutes and 3 seconds shattered my present and every day to ever come,  as my brother stuttered the words.  

"She's gone."

"What do you mean she's gone?"  She is 54. She was suppose to be fine. She was going to make it through this. My mind raced to find a sensible answer, but it just went blank...

"She's gone, sis"

I felt my body give way and legs hit the pavement, and my heart moaned from my inner most being.  And it wasn't a no, but the groans out of places deep within of pure heart pain, hearing the sound of the church and hearing the sound of my brother.  My head grasping to cling to whatever reality was spinning around me and feeling completely alone as time spun like a sickening merry-go-round where you can't see the images, all the pictures are a blur.

Finding the words in those first few minutes, reaching through miles and countries, through pain and the unknown.  Hanging up with my brother, managing to stumble back in to the church. I remember the numbness and the hugs from the man I love, this man called to stand in the good times, and in this moment "the bad."  He promised to get the kids.  How would I find the words... I made it to the prayer room, whispered the words, "My mom just died." and still to this moment I can feel the arms going around me.

Do you remember those faith falls you do as a child, where you close your eyes and fall backwards-- that's what it's like the moments after a  death.  Falling blindly, and just like I needed most-  I felt the hands of those God positioned for that moment to catch me, cover me, and surround me.  It was HIS CHURCH in its most perfect moment, living out what it was suppose to do. 

The days ahead are a haze, traveling stateside alone- going through funeral plans, bringing together a family and tying our threads together to create something that could hold through these times.  Every step of the way-- I step out and feel it.  I know he's there.  

There are days my heart can't quite listen to "Do it again." I'm sure Elevation Worship will understand, and God does too.  The lyrics hurt too deep, and although my head knows, my heart isn't strong enough to sing it.  It's not strong enough yet to say, "And You never failed me yet, I never will forget" but  that's okay.  God gets our grief, and he walks with us.  The thing with grief is that we must keep moving forward, we must keep pushing into him. We must keep pressing into him, and in time God will give us the song to sing in our heart again.  He will help to heal our broken hearts.  He just needs us to keep moving.

It's okay to be real with yourself and others that grieving takes time, and healing can be hard.  Healing when good-byes aren't said, when brokenness is not restored, when we aren't ready-- healing is hard.  I'm not going to disappoint God in my prayers, because he already knows my heart.  He already know that I stand beside him, not because of what he gives us, but because of who he is.  

So what words speak to me? What words give me what I need to move on each day....  On the hard days when the world around me reminds me of so much loss?  




Even on the worst days, I'm reminded of those times that we shout, "Jump" to our children. We whisper, "Trust me" with an outreached hand and I can see him.  I can see my God with his hand, with his arms and I fall.  Fall because I know his love encompasses me, covers me, and I'm safe.  Even when the world spins, and I don't understand his faithfulness-- I can lean on his love.

Unconditional love. 

And when I can remember his unconditional love for me, showering me- pouring over me, squeezing me tightly

I can fall because I have unconditional trust in the one who is my God.

Today might be a hard day for you too, so let me say it again




Now you say it... maybe a whisper.  Now a little louder and remember you can fall into the arms of his love. You are safe- surrounded by his love.

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