Monday, September 30, 2013

Through the Valley's of Shadows

I miss him. There's not a day that goes by that I don't miss him. Outwardly I press on and I see my kids press on. I see our family and friends press on, but we all still ache and will continue to ache for a long time to come. It's like a cloud has made it's home over our heads, and we always know it's there. I have my good days, and I have my bad days for sure.  I have days where my heart is full of rejoicing at the thought of Jay's eternal home, and then I'll have days where I pass by his picture--one in particular by my bed, and I say, "I'm mad at you today". I of course immediately retract that and recognize it as pure jealousy. He got to go home to be with the Lord while I have to stay here and feel his absence. No matter what mood I'm in, God is there. He's reminding me of His faithfulness and He's guiding me through the unknowns as I walk in territories yet to be understood.

Part of this guiding began to take place one particular morning when I would wake up to make a big decision. I had decided, "no". That's right, I had decided "no!". I decided I wasn't going have it; I wanted Jay back and his dying wasn't in my plans so, "no!". As this thought gained momentum in my head I found myself acting out my frustrations in the form of a fit. I smacked every limb as hard as I could into my mattress giving it a good beating. I grabbed my pillows and beat those too! I yanked and pulled on my sheets until I was pretty much tangled in them, and then this time [out loud] I firmly said, "no!".  After all, I needed God to know I meant business. Yup, I threw a fit with God. I honestly haven't thrown a fit like that since I was five! The whole thing was pretty interesting to me and I laid there out of breath feeling exhausted and defeated. Jay was still gone despite my demands and there was nothing I could do about it. I looked up at God huffing and puffing and said--"What was all that about?".

The bible says that God counts our tears. You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. Psalm 56:8 One commentary explains it in this way- "David's point is that God cares. He knows what is going on and He hasn't forgotten His children or lost track of what has happened to them". God was not at all surprised by my fit, and he cares about the pain I felt that led me to it. He's bottled up every tear I've shed because it matters to Him that I'm hurting. I was able to curl up in my tangled sheets with the comfort of knowing that He understands and that He'll guide me through every step of my grief, but I still had fear and pain in ways I had never known, and I wasn't sure if I would ever feel different especially now that my "no" didn't really have much of an effect.

These feelings of uncertainty and fear began to overtake me. I kept my thoughts on God, read His word, and sought His help, but still my anxieties grew and I was confused about it. I was buckling at my core and I needed help; I needed His direction and yet I felt alone. Yes, it was so good to know that God cared about my pain and that he was storing up my tears--but where was He? My body was shaking now for two days in a row and I was having trouble breathing and focusing my thoughts. I was scared, and my body was letting me know it. Feeling at a loss for answers I felt the Lord calling me to come to Him in a face down kind of way-- you know, the full surrender thing. I listened. I felt depleted, and I had to trust that my God could revive me. I went to bed that night doing what most believers do in this kind of situation. I listened to Psalm 23 over, and over, and over again. Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for thou art with me... and yet, I was very full of fear.

That next morning I woke up, dreading another day of the "shakes". Lying in bed I started to follow my usual routine of grabbing my smartphone to listen to some scripture before starting my day. I always go to becuase they have audio and I find it to be a very useful tool. But on this morning, my brain was feeling pretty fried--I thought I'd attempt to jump start it by checking out my Facebook wall first. It turns out that this decision was actually an act of God. He had something waiting in my news feed for me to see-- it was a thought that He'd want me to consider, and a work that He would equip me to begin. It was a quote from my favorite author-- "Fears are facts. There is a danger in saying that because a thing is wrong, it does not exist. Fear is a genuine thing; without it there is no courage. The courageous man is the one who overcomes fear. There are things in life that make us hold our breath, then in faith we look on to the end. "-Oswald Chambers

Through this message God was guiding my thoughts to give me a new understanding in this unknown territory I'm in. I felt a type of renewing happening inside, an assurance of who I am in His eyes, and then He spoke a further direction into my heart. I heard the words "gird up". As I heard these words my thoughts flooded with memories of my past. The valley's, the mountaintops. The long periods of silence, the waiting, the seeking, the hoping--the banking everything on a reckless abandon to Him which at times made no sense in my circumstances--and now He's saying to me, "I have been refining you. You are not who you used to be. Gird up". This was a gentle command to see past the shadows of death and to recognize--"...for thou art with me". He's always been, and He always will be.

"Thank you Lord for your faithfulness. No matter how lonely the valley or how deep it will go, we, your children, will never be without your light". Amen

God is good...
Bebo Norman-Drifting

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