I went into Caedmon’s room early this morning to borrow her comb and spray bottle. She was sleeping, and my attempts at being quiet of course made more noise than necessary. She awoke, but the most amazing thing happened. Not only did she wake up, but when I looked at her, she had a giant smile on her beautiful face. It was a smile that lit up her eyes and lifted my spirit. There was no apparent reason for her joyful countenance, but it touched my heart in a way I haven’t felt in a while. Immediately, her pearly white beam said to me, “Another day! How exciting! I can’t wait!”.
I don’t know about you, but I can assume the vast majority of us do not start our days with that kind of enthusiasm! For the past few months, not only have I not looked forward to the start of a new day, but I have dreaded each start, afraid to feel only anxiety and loss and sadness. I have very reluctantly dragged my broken spirit through every roller coaster of a day; either not feeling at all, or feeling so much I can’t concentrate or even breathe; fighting every invasive thought that enters my confused and angry mind.
Many years ago, long before it had a name, I began ‘cutting’ myself. I would carve tiny incisions into my wrist, just to feel something – to let myself know I wasn’t completely dead inside. For a few days this past month, I wanted so badly to cut myself again, this time engraving words of hate and anger and disgust. Loathe. Hate. Sick. Fear. Hell. Gone. Void. Dead. Fall. Fail. I could envision myself doing it. I contemplated how to go about hiding it from my husband. I imagined what a release it would be to experience the knife in my skin again, shredding away the unwelcome thoughts that trespassed.
A friend of mine reminded me that lamentation is one of many parts of worship. Another friend brought me back to Job, showing me where Job’s relationship with God was purely hearsay before God allowed Satan to destroy everything that was his life, less his beating heart. Job did not truly appreciate the awesomeness of God before he suffered through every adversity imaginable. He learned through writhing pain that because it was from God, it was good and flowing with purpose.
I am struggling without Rhonda. I miss her so much, I think I actually feel my heart ache. Jeremy and I felt so abandoned when we couldn’t be a part of her funeral. Now, it seems Papa Boyd is doing all he knows how to include us. Because of this, we are spending quite a bit of time with him. Wonderful? Yes. Without pain and agony? No. But, we are so grateful for the time he is giving us. Life is just different without Rhonda – she was such a moving force in our lives.
This summer, my family and I have undergone some fairly intense crap. My mother-in-law’s husband of 10+ years somehow decided he was going to come to my house to sleep with me. Ewww. We then found out he had actually invited me via note (which I did not read) to come to his house while Barbara was out of town, and had been planning his visit to my house for quite some time. Needless to say, my kids were crushed, as they loved their papa. That has been the most painful part of this entire drama. That he would do something so stupid, only to risk his relationship with his grandkids he adored? My mother-in-law left him, and is now divorcing him. He is no longer part of our lives, as Jeremy put a stop to that as soon as I told him what happened. Unfortunately, just because he’s not a physical presence, he is the elephant in the room. The kids don’t know exactly what happened, only that it was wrong and we are protecting them. I can still feel him kissing me, touching my shoulder, hugging me, stroking my face…yuck, yuck, yuck.
Life is full of pain. Full of heartache. Full of problems. Trouble. Affliction. Irritation. Torture. Agony. Sin. Only through all of this do we see the beauty of what Christ did for us on the cross of Calvary. The magnificence of His sacrifice on behalf of His creation who sinned against Him. The brilliance of God’s plan to save our souls through Love, not law. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians how important suffering is to our relationship with Christ. Because we suffer, we understand Christ’s suffering. Because we fall, we appreciate the blood that flowed from His sinless veins. Because we hurt, we reach out to those who are hurting, expressing Christ’s love for them through His death. And, as I am going to get tattooed on my hand as a constant reminder, it is the ‘but nots’ of life that give us hope in Jesus :
2 Corinthians 4:8-10
We are hard pressed on every side, BUT NOT crushed;
perplexed, BUT NOT in despair; persecuted, BUT NOT abandoned;
struck down, BUT NOT destroyed.
We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus,
so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.