(Written mid-March 2015)
I awoke again to thoughts circling my mind as I feebly try to wrap my heart and mind around all that has happened in the last 14, almost 15 months.
Have you ever seen a dog settle down to take a nap? The dog picks his spot them circles and circles and circles before settling into place. At the first noise or distraction the dog pops up investigates and then picks a new spot repeating the process. Circle, circle, circle, settle. That’s pretty much how my brain works – restless fidgeting – circling around and around in an attempt to wrap my arms around all the facts so that I can process them and finally be done with them.
But there is no resolution – there will be no resolution – and maybe that’s the hardest thing of all to come to terms with.
Which leaves me with this truth . . .
My problem is with God. Not the impotent prosecutor. Not the foolish judge. Not the ignorant man-child who placed me in this situation. No, my problem goes straight to the top. To the highest authority in all the world. My problem is with God, Himself. And how do I feel about that? Well, this picture captures my current relationship with God quite well:
My hand extended before my body in the classic signal for “Stop! Don’t come any closer!” I haven’t walked away from Him, I simply cannot beckon Him closer.
I know God loves me, know He wants to comfort me, and know that I want His comfort and yet, right now, right now, His love just hurts. His plans hurt. His ways hurt. His love for the lost hurts because He has allowed my children to die, He has allowed this pain, and will allow me to suffer again in order that my faith is refined and revealed, so that the lost will be saved, and that He will be glorified, all at the expense of my fragile, already broken heart.
It’s easier to mentally attack the humans involved than go rounds with the Lord Almighty. After all, God is always right. His plans are always for my good and even the bad things He allows work for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes. There is no arguing your case or winning an argument with the Lord God Almighty, as Job discovered.
And so I fruitlessly continue the canine nesting ritual in my mind. I continue shuffling through the events of that tragic day. I continue circling round and round the behavior of the prosecutor, the judge, the man-child who swaggered into court. All before turning my attention to the Lord in a conversation that goes something like this:
Me: I’m mad at you. You hurt me.
God: I know you’re hurt. I know you’re angry. I want to help you. I want to comfort you.
Me: Stay back! You will just comfort me and then allow me to be hurt again.
God: The hurt I allow leads to your ultimate healing.
Me: I don’t want healed. I just want my life back!
God: There’s no going back.
Me: I know that. I hate that! I don’t want to be here anymore but I can’t leave Gracen. She’s burdened by that knowledge. She wants me and doesn’t want me at the same time. She loves me and resents me. Only time and maturity will change that, but it hurts me to experience it and I’m afraid she might never quit resenting me – that we will never have a good mother/daughter relationship.
God: She feels about you the way you feel about me. You want me and don’t want me. You love me and resent my authority in your life. Time and the Holy Spirit can and will fix the brokenness within you, but your terror of the personal cost of discipleship and spiritual healing wars with your anger over the direction my sovereign authority has taken in your life. You want to feel my love and presence but at the same time you are terrified of me.
Me: I don’t know what to do to change that.
God: First, you can’t do it by yourself. You were never intended to. But you do know what to do. You do know what steps to take.
Me: Study Your Word and pray.
God: Yes, but your anger and hurt leads you to resist and you also know those things are not enough. You know you can’t fix your problems with a formula. You know that you have to allow the Holy Spirit to do His work within you and you know that doesn’t happen overnight.
Me: I don’t know how to release the anger and hurt, especially knowing I will be hurt again. I feel as if I am standing in the middle of a fast moving stream and the current is forcing me in a direction I don’t want to go. I’m resisting yet I keep getting pushed forward.
God: That fast moving stream is my will and I’m fully aware you don’t want to go where I’m taking you.
Me: I really, really don’t want to go there.
God: I’ll be with you.
Me: That doesn’t make it hurt less.
God: It does, it’s just that you no longer know what desperately alone feels like because I’ve been with you for so long. To truly be alone feels much worse – you’ll have to trust me on that.
Me: I still don’t know how to surrender my will to yours. I still don’t know how to let go of the hurt and the anger.
God: I’ll help you with that. I’m already helping you with that. It’s a deep wound. Deep wounds take a long time to heal. You just now found words to express what you are feeling. It’s a step in the process.
Me: The process sucks!
God: Yep, fortunately, I have perfect patience. You on the other hand, not so much!
Me: A sense of humor? Now you show a sense of humor?
God: Hey, laughter is a good medicine, I designed it that way, and my timing is perfect. You would have resented it if I had displayed it earlier . . .
(Feel free to call it my imagination, or call it God speaking with me. Draw your own conclusions, but, I will say that things were revealed in my thoughts above that I was not consciously aware of prior to this time.)
Flash forward to December of 2015 and you will find that my hand is no longer extended before the Lord demanding that He stay back and give me space. I have resigned myself to what I knew all along; that God alone can help me through this living nightmare. We never stopped speaking, but there were things I refused to bring before Him. There are still things I hold back. I’m far from healed, far from OK even. Over the last two years I have repeatedly asked the Lord, “What do you want from me?” And instead of silence I hear a quiet, one word response. “Rest.”
He’s not once reminded me of His sovereignty, as He did Job. He’s never scoffed and told me to quit throwing a pity party. He’s not demanded that I stop grieving and count my blessings. He’s never once told me not to be afraid. He just quietly encourages me to rest which I’ve found much harder to do than one would expect. Resting requires more than slowing down and sleeping in. This rest seems to include finding a way to be completely still before the Lord. So the canine nesting ritual continues and I try to learn to rest. But, even now, there is no condemnation from my Savior, for which I’m profoundly thankful.