When we were led to form Sufficient Grace Ministries in 2004, I had reached a place of restoration. God had spent eight years healing my grief...carrying me. He still carries me, but my wounds were not so fresh in 2004. I was able to begin to start reaching out, offering comfort and hope to others. And, He led me to do so...drew me, pushed me, stretched me, and equipped me every step of the way.
But, in 2006, my mother breathed her last breath.
My foundation was shaken. It's a foundation built on Solid Rock, so it did not crumble or break. But, I shook under the weight of the blow. I've shared before how difficult it was for me to watch her suffer and slip away, and how agonizing it has been to ache for her these four years. I am still healing. God is still faithful.
After she passed, I felt what I have referred to over the years as an Ecclesiastes moment (those moments in life where we wonder "what is the point...everything is in vain"). I felt like a hypocrite offering hope to grieving mothers, while I wept on my face every night, begging Jesus to help me see. I only shared those feelings with my pastor and a couple close friends. But, when my grief was fresh and the pain so great, I didn't want to get up and speak pretty words about the hope we have. It seemed so trite, so inconsequential to reach out with small gestures of comfort and hope in the face of such terrible pain. I still believed God's promises, knew they were true...but in those moments all I felt was the pain. In the midst of that great sorrow, I wondered about the purpose of our ministry. Could we really even do anything to make a drop in the bucket to comfort hearts that hurt this much...brokenness that feels this broken? My words tied up in a neat bow seemed to paint a different picture than all the ugly we had to walk through to come to that point of grace and healing.
But, I did keep writing and speaking of the hope we have in Him during that time. As I said the words, my heart remembered the truth of those words. And, they didn't seem so trite. After all, our God is bigger than the greatest canyon of sorrow.
This morning, I am here again...in this place of great sorrow and loss...fresh, raw grief. I just watched one of my closest friends, my second mother, my mentor...a woman who has walked and prayed with me through my marriage, sat beside me at the grave of my babies, wept with me as I missed my mother, laughed with me, and loved me as one of her own...die the same way my mother did. Monday, I will sing at her funeral about His amazing grace, while Tim plays his guitar. My beautiful, larger than life, snarky sweet, horse-loving, dog-loving friend.
I know she is laughing and having a big time in heaven with her beautiful, sassy mama and probably my mom and babies, too. I know she is free from cancer, and the images of her suffering still fresh in our minds are forever erased from hers.
In this moment, I will continue to proclaim His grace and the hope we have in Him...knowing that it's true...knowing that those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. I've both sowed and reaped again and again. But, I also want to give a full, honest picture...because I know there are others on their faces weeping...asking Jesus to help them see...torn and weary. What it really looks like to cling desperately to the hem of His garment cannot be wrapped up in pretty words. It is a gut-wrenching sight...the faith that clings from desperation. I'm going to share what fresh grief is like for a moment as I'm in that place right now. The purpose? Not for pity or to wallow in the sorrow (for we have great hope), but to be honest...to be honest and so that you who are walking this beautiful-ugly path will know you are not alone. Please know, there is a blessed assurance, an undercurrent of steadfast truth girded at my waist, even in the brokenness. I know He will carry all those who grieve the loss of our sweet Dinah, just as He has faithfully carried us through every other good-bye.
But, what it feels like...
Waves of sorrow
Weeping that comes from the depths and heaves the body with it's force
Aching, missing, agony....
Poured out and exhausted
Grateful...for the precious gift of life...for the faith of those who go before us
Joy and laughter remembering a life well lived
Tears mixed in
What it looks like...
On our face in the wee hours of the morning, in the middle of the night...
Dreams we'd rather not dream
Consciously reminding ourselves that He has already had victory over death...even as we feel the sting of it brushing close
Tear stains on bible pages
Prayers that hurt too much to grace lips...but moan out in cries that cannot be uttered.
Clinging and letting go...
Please pray for Dinah's beautiful family and for all the people missing her...and clinging to Him.
And, please pray that His grace will fill us, carry us, and meet us there as we honor her beautiful life the next couple days...and beyond.