Tuesday, July 18, 2017

When the unimanigable is a "filter," a new normal, the "picture" is still there... Hold on to hope!

Today I pray a glimmer of God's light will shine through my brokenness, the many cracks held together only by the Spirit of God. He is my glue. I'm learning that there's always a new filter through which we see life. Each painful experience, changes the way we filter past pain as well. We see everything differently.  With the unimaginable, there can come unimaginable strength as well. At some point we get to the place where this filter, though unwanted and always with us, allows us to see a new kind of beauty. A beauty from pain.  There is no time table for this...

On my drive home last night I saw the sun setting on the horizon of a beautiful Kentucky farm.  I snapped the picture through my dirty car window.  All these thoughts came crashing in.  The window changed the purest beauty of the sun setting, but the sun was in the picture,  and its beauty was still there.



A new strength slowly sprouts from beneath the cement, it's tender and needs nourishment, but a change does begin.  Hope does return.  Memories and belly laughs and big bowls of ice cream come sneaking in.  Isaiah said that Jesus would come to heal the broken hearted in Isaiah 61,  I've always loved and believed this.  But oh how the "filter" has made this truth all the richer:

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
3 to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,"

Jesus quoted that passage about Himself in Luke 4:18-21,

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.”
20 And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 And he began to say to them, 

“Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”


Jesus is always and forever, the true bookends to our measured days.  The truth of His mission was foretold and then announced in the present time, and now is the truth of the cross of over 2,000 years ago that we can cling to for strength for today.  

I did not think I would ever have a flicker of light return.  In fact, there were many days that I thought maybe God's light was snuffed out... I chose to wait in silence.  Not just wait, I pursued healing, but it was so dark.  But, I held onto hope that God would not abandon me.  There is a song, "He will hold me fast."  Those lyrics put me to sleep countless nights.

Brokenness is talked about a lot.  I've been broken before, but never in such a paralyzing way.  In the 15 months since my brother Joel's death I have smiled outwardly, as the shell of my soul hid beneath the hopeless unending questions.  It's not over.  3 weeks ago I had one of those days.  A day of beating myself up for the weight of the pain and its power over me. 

There is no set time or pattern to grief, and the grief of a suicide is a complicated grief, and mixture of tragedy and loss combined.  All grief is different.  And spouses, children, parents, and siblings all grieve differently as well.  But pain is pain and we do not compare, but encourage each individual journey.

My aunt recently reminded me that diamonds are formed in the dark.  John 1:5 talks about the light shining in the darkness.  I claimed that verse for years, and it says that the darkness is not overcome.  But "would I be overcome?"

I have felt God nudging me to look for the hidden treasures in life.  A picture of the geo-cashing that I got to do with Joel.  I felt God saying, your going to keep hurting, but "now I'm giving you the strength to look up and out.  Just keep following me a day at a time."  

I'm learning not to look ahead.  I'm working at being present in this moment.  Another practice that is spreading, but there is real meaning, especially when I can practice His presence...the knowledge that God is with me in this very moment.  I'm beginning to ask for glimpses of Him daily, a practice I once did routinely.  And you know what? God shows up.  Or actually, I see that He is there!

This past week, Steve and I got away alone for a week, a first in 31 years.  Yes, it gave room for the tears to flow, time slowed enough to remember that God says He collects our tears in a bottle.  A time to remember that Jesus wept, that Jesus suffered on this earth so one day our pain could be gone and we will be overcome by Him in all His glory.

On this trip I had this crazy impulse to chase joy in something I would normally fear.  I went para sailing.  This moment made a benchmark in my life.  A moment in time when I chose to allow myself to have fun,  like Joel would want.  A time to mark my smile as real.  



Yes, we've had joy this year;  Kristen and Tyler got married, Kristen graduated from college, Josh and Eliza got a puppy...he named her Zoey after Joel and Tammy's dog.  But I needed a moment, a moment where I could "feel," and also say to my family, God's got this mama and she is going to be OK!  A moment to see that there is life after loss, a life worth chasing so that your broken places are not wasted, but used to come along side others.   But also to realize that there is not a clock for this process.  There is a freedom in that. 

I've been blessed by a precious group called survivors of suicide.  If any of you in the group read this, please know that you received me and my tears, and shared your tears.  Together you were/are an instrument of hope to my soul.  And as new broken souls join, we can together carry one another and point to hope.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I know that we all have different beliefs.  I am sharing my personal journey as I blog.  It used to be about knowing God while dealing with and overcoming anxiety and depression.  But the "filter" has changed.  And as life is fluid, so are anxiety and depression.  But I have found God to flow with me in this river of life.

I have always been very moved by Scripture and lyrics of worship music.  Most recently I've been deeply touched by Hillsong United's album, Wonder.  I've shared some lyrics and links below.  Yet this past Sunday, I had to leave church during one of my favorite worship songs.  It's OK.  I tell you this because the big smile I posted on FB while para sailing points to a moment in time.  A moment when the tide is beginning to change.  The tide is always changing.  And sometimes it brings joy and other times, not so much.  

I just thought maybe it was time to put another stake in the ground of this journey for anyone following behind.  Hold onto hope.  Life on earth is a time to fall forward into Jesus and share light.  One day we will see face to face Who we now often see dimly... Jesus.  We the broken can link arms and move forward. We can in time give faith, hope and love to each other.  Most importantly love.  Jesus says His perfect love casts out fear in 1 John 4:18.  I'll admit, sometimes I'm afraid to love too deeply, because real love hurts.  But its a hurt worth chasing and a chase worth running after.  

There is a movement called the semicolon movement.  It speaks of hope.  Of moving beyond darkness, pressing on, because there is so much more to give, there is no "period" at the end of the sentence...but a semicolon 


And so we move forward, peace be with you on the journey... I have a picture returning to me;  a tall, strong, loving, giving, caring, brother with the warmest smile and best bear hug you'd ever want!


2 Corinthians 4:6-18
"For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” ...
7But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves;"

1 Corinthians 13:12
12 ...Now we see but a dim reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 13And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love; but the greatest of these is love.…"


"The Garden" by Kari Jobe
I had all
But given up
Desperate for it
A sign from love
Something good
Something kind
Bringing peace to every corner of my mind

Then I saw the garden
Hope had come to me
To sweep away the ashes
And wake me from my sleep

I realized
You never left
And for this moment
You planned ahead
That I would see
Your faithfulness in all of the green

I can see the ivy
Growing through the wall
'Cause You will stop at nothing
To heal my broken soul

I can see the ivy
Reaching through the wall
'Cause You will stop at nothing
To heal my broken soul

Ohhh
Ohh, You're healing broken souls
Ohh, You're healing broken souls

Faith is rising up like ivy
Reaching for the light
Hope is stirring deep inside me
Making all things right

Love is lifting me from sorrow
Catching every tear
Dispelling every lie and torment
Crushing all my fears

You crush all my fears
You crush all my fears
With Your perfect love
Ohh-ohhh, with Your perfect love

Now I see redemption
Growing in the trees
The death and resurrection
In every single seed...

Hillsong United
"Rain / Reign"

Everything starts in You
Made to be beautiful
Nothing could tear Your heart
From the covenant You made for love

Everything moves in time
Played into Your design
Nothing could tear Your heart
From the world You died to save

You fall like rain!
In fire and thunder
The mountains melt
Like wax before You

Everything finds its place
Folding beneath Your ways
Nothing could stand against
Your resurrected Name

You fall like rain!
In fire and thunder
The mountains melt
Like wax before You
Your kingdom reigns!
In everlasting grace and wonder
Your love making all things new
Your love making everything beautiful

My God
Making all things new
Everything turning from ruin to life in You
Making all things new
Everything turning to something so beautiful!..
Your goodness, Your mercy
Your promise crashing down like rain
Your kingdom, Your glory
Your presence breaking out...

Like rain!
In fire and thunder
The mountains melt
Like wax before You
Your kingdom reigns!
In everlasting grace and wonder
Your love making all things new
Your love making everything beautiful

Everything ends in praise
Shining in Your embrace
Nothing could tear Your heart
From the promise that remains

You fall like rain
In fire and thunder
The mountains melt
Like wax before You
Your kingdom reigns!
In everlasting grace and wonder
Your love making all things new
Your love making everything beautiful

"Glimmer In The Dust", Hillsong United

VERSE 1
I was lost in a moment
A glimmer in time
Like a child chasing shadows
My back to the light
I was lost in a fog till
You caught my eye
Through the smoke and the mirrors
A glimmer of life

CHORUS
I know there’s a place I belong
Where I’ll see the fullness of love
A child face to face with my God Lost in
Your awesome wonder While I wait
I will not be afraid
My faith will remain all the same
My hope in the things not yet seen
Found in the greatest of these

VERSE 2
I found love in a moment
Exploding in light
At the cross where the curtains
Were ripped from my eyes
I found heaven in pieces
In glimmer and dust
Broken glass in reflection
Till we shine like the sun

BRIDGE
I know that You love me I know that
You love me Your love never fails
Your love never fails
When all’s said and done
All that matters is love
So let love take over
Not just in part
But in all that You are
Let Your love take over


"Splinters and Stones", Hillsong United
Fate
Holds nothing on the providence I know
No longer bound to things of wood and stone
When all I had to offer was my worst
You saw my heavy heart and loved me first

Your beauty staring down my brokenness
You chose to throw Your heart into the mess
Compassion crashing down upon my debt You were there

All this time
Like a river running through my failure
You carried me all this time
Like the splinters buried in
Your shoulders You carry me now

Hallelujah
If ever now my heart cries hallelujah
If ever now in the wonder of Your grace
A thousand times a thousand years my soul
Will say

Grace
You saw the crushing weight my flesh deserved
You kneeled and wrote forgiveness in the dirt
And one by one the stones fell where they lay
As one by one my accusers walked away
With nothing left to throw they made a cross
And knowing only love could count the cost
You were there

All this time
Like a river running through my failure
You carried me all this time
Like the splinters buried in
Your shoulders Your love carried all my shame
Jesus how my soul will praise You
You carried me all this way
Like a diamond in the scars upon
Your crown You carry me now

Hallelujah
If ever now my heart cries hallelujah
If ever now in the wonder of Your grace
A thousand times a thousand years
My soul will say
Hallelujah
Forever now in the greatness of my Saviour
Forever now in the brightness of Your Name
Jesus on this rock I'll sing Your praise

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