Tomorrow is 5 months. In many ways it’s as fresh as yesterday. In other ways it feels like a lifetime ago. It has been a long, excruciatingly painful, and incredibly stretching time in me and my family’s life. As I was reflecting on what God has been teaching me, there are too many things to list, but here are a few…
I may be the only person that struggles with wanting to know the future and plans God has, but I highly doubt it 😉 In fact, the Bible says that “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man…” ~ I Cor. 10:13. So, it’s one more reason why I have chosen to live my life out loud, so to speak, because I know I am not alone in my struggles, thoughts, and emotions. Paul, in the Bible, also did this! “We have spoken openly to you, our heart is wide open” ~ 2 Corinthians 6:11. Paul had poured his heart out to them of his struggles, his burdens, his concern for them, his hope in God even when things looked so bad and “(they) despaired even of life” ~ 2 Cor. 1:8, etc. Throughout this process, I have desired to live my life in a way that pleases God and causes the devil to wish he’d taken me too! I am beyond ticked, for lack of a better word, that we were a target and I desire more than anything for God to use my pain to be used to help others see Jesus more clearly and know they don’t have to be alone in their place of pain and loneliness. We so easily get off track…even with “good” things though! But, my hatred for satan can’t be my focus! My desire to bring beauty from ashes can’t be my focus!
Fear also threatens to overwhelm me. C.S. Lewis said, “No one ever told me grief felt so like fear”. But, fear can not be my focus.
Worry about how others may be judging my grief walk threaten to take me under. Do others think I’m crying too much, not enough? Do they think it looks like I’m having fun or look “happy” in a picture and moving on without Clint? Some think I need a job. Others think I should put my children in school. Some tell me I’m being strong — which can feel like a put down…I never wanted to have to be strong! When the thought of losing Clint would cross my mind, I imagined never getting out of bed again. I imagined laying down and just dying without him. In fact, I told him that I COULD NOT do life without him! He would smile, look me in the eyes and sincerely tell me, “Oh, Darlin’, you’d be just fine! You are strong and capable!! And, God would be with you!” So, when people think I’m strong, I struggle with guilt because I never wanted to be strong without him…I just wanted him!! There are zero feelings that “feel” right. This is par for the course with grief, I’m told. But, this worry cannot be my focus.
I have a particular song artist that is one of my favorites! Her name is Steffany Gretzinger. She has a song that has been one of my favorites for a very long time. I shared it with Clint before he passed and we talked about why it was my favorite. I’m going to attach the song on here, but here are a few of the lyrics that speak what my heart feels: “Stir in me a love that’s deep, a love that’s wide, a love that’s sweet, and help me, Lord, to NEVER keep it to myself! And, if my heart should dimly burn, and if my feet should fail to run, just call my name and I will run right back to you!…Cause’ there’s no fear in love!”
I liked that song then, and I love it now!! I am so grateful that I had a love affair with Jesus long before I lost my sweet man! I honestly don’t know how anyone navigates life in general without Jesus, but I know I would not be making it now, in this place, without Him!! So often, we are tempted to think God is responsible to bring us all that makes our little hearts “happy”. And, sadly, when He doesn’t deliver, we walk. Who needs a God like that! He didn’t give me what I wanted! I’ve faced that temptation more times than I can count in the last 5 months!! It’s comforting to know that being tempted is not sin! Even Jesus was tempted! All Christians are in a fight…the temptation isn’t the problem…it’s whether or not we give in to it. When I prayed with a groaning that can not be explained in words while in the hospital with Clint, that He would please give us a miracle and allow me to keep Clint here with me/us, this is what I heard over and over, “Dear one, this isn’t going to go the way you want it to.” I had that playing over and over in my mind! I’ve walked with my Savior for quite a while. I know my Father’s voice! But that weekend, I did not want to believe that was His voice!! I was sure it was my own worry and fear speaking to me. I kept asking God to forgive me for any worry or doubt and that I KNEW He could do anything and nothing was too hard for Him!! But, as I look back, it was in fact my Father’s voice. He was preparing me for what He knew was coming. Even in that, I knew I wasn’t alone…I know He does speak to me…and I knew He would NEVER leave me…even when I felt more alone than I have EVER been my whole. entire. life! So, when I am tempted to “walk” because of not getting what I so desperately wanted, I could NEVER…because I KNOW Him!! As sure as I knew Clint, even though I can not see him now, I also KNOW God…even though I can’t see Him! You can not “unknow” someone! I KNOW God! How amazing that we can KNOW the God of the universe!! So, I am equipped to “walk” in TRUTH…rather than “walk” away. Truth does indeed set us free!!
Why do we take this “genie in a bottle” view of God? We don’t apply that thought process to anything else in life. Jobs, parenting, marriage, friendships, etc all fail our expectations, to some degree or at some point. But, we continue pushing through, knowing we don’t get everything we want in this life. We parent knowing we can’t give our children everything they ask for, yet we think we know better than God. Sometimes our children may hate us for it…thinking they know what’s truly best for them…but good parents continue doing what’s right and loving their children regardless of how they may feel about us.
So, after all that, what is God teaching me to focus on? No matter what difficulties I may face that I SOOOOOO want the roadmap for; no matter whether my story EVER helps anyone; no matter how He decides to use this pain; or who else I may have to lose again down through my life… HE. IS. MY. PRIZE!!
Nothing else matters!
HE IS MY PRIZE!!!
No one else can be my focus! Nothing else can be my focus! No matter how good or “worthy” or right it may seem or how much the lie that I need to worry or fret feels true…it’s all about Him! Because He gave His all to me!! Willingly! Without abandon! Oh, that I would come running back to Him each and every time my feet should fail! There is a peace in letting go and surrendering to whatever it is He wants to do and trusting Him in it through it all. I’m too tired to fight it and it has been in this “giving up” that I am continuing to find a peaceful surrender…even in my pain.
“Now thanks be to God who ALWAYS leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place” ~ 2 Corinthians 2:14
“…while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” ~ 2 Corinthians 4:18
“For we walk by faith and not by sight.” ~ 2 Corinthians 5:7
“For the love of Christ compels us…” ~ 2 Corinthians 5:14
“(His) grace is sufficient for you, for (His) strength is made perfect in weakness” ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9