I feel that if God could tire out-I would tire Him out. Seriously. My mind goes and goes constantly. Never really fully fixing on Him or any one single thing. Bouncing from here to there and there to here. At any given time, I have multiple situations I am thinking through, multiple decisions I am contemplating, multiple feelings and emotions I am processing. And when I stop long enough, I think, this is crazy. And it makes me feel tired. And if God could tire, it would make Him feel tired. Be still. What is that? I am a restless creature. Spinning in all kinds of directions.
Contemplate. Rest. Reflect.
I have to force myself to do this. See, I can remain busy and distracted and think that a day like today does not bother me. However, although it will not momentarily be in the forefront of my conscious state of mind-it will be there in the background. It will be there in the subconscious and will - and it did - affect my moods and emotions over the last few weeks. So, whether or not I think that in the moment it's important-I have to choose to stop to give it importance. To process, to reflect. I have learned this. It's the best way to be emotionally healthy in all situations. Stop, reflect, respond.
It's been 8 years since my father died. Life looks very different. In many ways, I don't recognize my life then-I barely recognize myself.
I still grieve the loss of my dad. I miss him. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he would be crazy proud of me. The determination and tenacity that he passed on to me is still there, but there is a softness where it used to be hard. The deep abiding faith and love in Christ that he taught and lived out is still there, but it has penetrated to the deepest recesses of my heart and soul and there are no real words to describe the depth of trust and faith in Christ that is now there. Where I once was uncertain of who I was, I am now confident in how God has made me. I am learning to love and care for myself. As a result, I have a better understanding of God's love for me. And, as a result, I can love others better.
So much good has come out of that horrific day. That feeling...the phone calls...the car ride home..the arrival at my parents house. I can still vividly remember my mom walking-no stumbling-out to meet me. Falling into my arms. The surreal feeling of walking into my house which held a tangible air of death and sorrow -filled with friends and family members that had gathered to be present with us. The absurdity of my uncle walking into the house with my dad's clothes and boots. Staring at them thinking-he is supposed to be coming home-not his things-him. He will come home any minute. This must be a mistake. The days following the accident thinking my dad would call and it would have been a horrible dream. The hours of longing to know how it happened, why it happened. Was he in pain when he fell? What was he thinking and feeling? It was HORRIFIC. Walking through the trauma of suddenly losing someone who was young and healthy...is just not right. 8 years later and I still long to say the words "my dad" in the present tense. Or say "hey dad". That is no longer in my vocabulary and it hurts. Deeply.
There is no reason. There is no purpose. This is what caused me to be fed up with the Christian cliche's. It caused me to dig deeper, to understand better. Suffering and God's sovereignty. When life changes...when loved ones die...when illness is diagnosed...when things don't get better. There are only two choices. Detach or attach. Walk away and mask or dig deeper. Those are your only options.
How crazy often I wanted to walk away. How often I masked. How often I detached.
The worst day of your life will change you one way or another. It broke me. The sudden death of my precious dad at 47 yrs old shattered me into a million pieces. It ripped my faith to shreds. And it tore down my view of God, life, and the world. I thought I would be broken forever. I thought that even if I was pieced back together -even a little bit -that I would be so marred that it wouldn't be worth it. As life continued and more trials came - my mom's cancer diagnosis, her death, and too many that can be mentioned here-I just broke more. And it got harder.
So, fast forward 8 years later after the death of my dad, the death of my mom, and so many other losses... and my first thoughts are "how miraculous, how incredible is Christ's love for me". See when there is a death of anything, there will always be a resurrection. Beauty from ashes. Restoration from the ruins. That is just what Jesus does. All I can think is "grace". Glorious, unfathomable grace. I am redeemed, I am restored. I am still broken in many ways, and in many ways I will always deal and face the fallout of that day and the days and years following. There will always be a fight for my soul. There will always be a presence of grief. A pain filled hole from that day.
But God. Through it all, He has been there. I am better now than I was before. I have changed. I have been brought to life. I have been made new. I am a work in progress. Forever dependent on His grace and strength for each day. I have learned many things. But I have learned this one thing. I am whole. I am a whole being created in the image of my Heavenly Father, and not only have I come to understand that I am created as a whole being-I am learning to BE whole. Body, soul, and spirit until the coming of Christ. Physically, emotionally, spiritually. Healthy and whole. This is what God can do if we allow Him to work in all areas of our life.
Please understand the joy I have isn't based off of my today. The struggles I face are as real as the next person. Every day. The struggle to stay out of depression and anxiety is real. Every day. But that's the thing...I still have joy. I still feel whole. I am content. I have Jesus.
It has become my story. It has become my passion. My burden. My calling. What the enemy has meant for evil, MY God has and will ALWAYS make good.
My world changes constantly. But He is the anchor for my soul for He never changes. He is constant and steady. In the ever shifting patterns of this world and life, I cling - I attach - to the one that will never change.
Do you get it? Do you see it? His love and ability to redeem and restore?
Even when the struggles don't disappear.
There is hope. There is hope. There is hope. Always. Don't give up. Don't lose heart. Don't grow weary in well doing. Resurrection and life will always come after death. Cling to the One who never changes and allow Him to "make all things new" in your life. And we will shout together, "Look what the Lord has done in me"!