Glimpses of joy

This week has been one of the hardest for me.  It has been a can’t-stop-crying-please-don’t-make-me-get-out-of-my-pj’s-I-can’t-accomplish-anything week.  The closer we get to April 18th, the bigger the difference is between my dreams and my current reality.  I thought at this point it would feel like we are three months out from the loss.  Instead, it feels like it all hurts even more.

Part of the hurt is from my perception of some of my prayers being unanswered.  For 21 weeks, I had no idea that there was anything wrong with the child inside my womb.  I prayed each day for a healthy baby.  That did not happen.  With any loss, there are prayers that we feel are unanswered.  It is easy to question if we have been forgotten or simply ignored.  In these situations it is hard to reconcile what we know to be true from the Bible with what we are experiencing.

Tuesday was a particularly terrible day.  I remembered one of my friends had told me to listen to a specific song the day before but I hadn’t taken the time to do it yet.  I pulled it up on spotify and enjoyed it.  Then the next song came on, “Sovereign” by Chris Tomlin.   One of the repeating lines: “God whatever comes my way I will trust you.”   As I listened to the song, I realized I recognized it.

For our rehearsal dinner almost four years ago my amazing mother-in-law had put together a photo slideshow.  As the song played, I started seeing the photos in my head.  This song played at the end of the show as photos of JR and I together flashed on the screen.  I remember sitting in that moment – in a room full of people that I love, the night before my wedding – thinking, “Yes, God has worked everything for good.  Whatever comes my way I will trust you.”  It seemed so clear then in a moment of joy that everything in my life up to that point, including past heart break, had led me to that moment marrying JR.

As I sat crying listening to the song God seemed to whisper to me, “What you believed about me in the best of times, is still true about me in the worst of times.  As you trusted me then, you can trust me now.”

Prompted by the song lyrics, I came to a point of surrender.

All my hopes.  All I need.  Held in your hands.

Two daughters close in age, a healthy pregnancy, a big belly this spring.  Peace, joy, energy, good health.

All my life.  All of me.  Held in your hands.

My health, my well being, my blood.  My desires, my thoughts, my faith, my passions.

All my fears.  All my dreams.  Held in your hands.

This repeating again, no more kids, miscarriage, depression, problems getting pregnant, being forgotten, never feeling joy again.  A big family, a loving family, intimacy with friends and family, feeling healthy in ministry.

God whatever comes my way I will trust you.

God and I have wrestled this week.  It has not been fun.

Emerson and I made plans to go to the zoo today with a good friend and her son.  For the first time in awhile, I felt free this morning to ask God to give me glimpses of joy today.  I am so tired of being sad.  There hasn’t been joy here in awhile; not in me, not for others.

And this happened today.

Feeding birdsWe were randomly asked if we wanted to do the junior ranger program for free so they could train new staff.  We had a backstage pass to feeding animals, petting animals and setting up their habitats.  For a few hours as I watched my daughter and her friend enjoy their special treatment, I forgot about my pain.  There were glimpses of joy.

Junior rangerThis grief stuff is messy.  Some of you know it so much more intimately than I do.  It’s a heavy backpack that you are carrying regardless of what you’re doing.  It steals your energy and your laughter.  It puts you on edge.  It makes sadness, anger and apathy your best friends.  It makes you wrestle with God and with scripture and with what you’ve always thought to be true.  It can convince you that there will never be good days again and you will always feel this terrible.  It tries to tell you that God doesn’t hear you or see you or remember you.

But today I’d like to call grief a liar.  In little ways, God is reminding me that He seems me.  He has heard every prayer.  He will not forget me or cast me aside for another.

toddler plantHe sees you.

He has heard all of your prayers.

He will never forget you.

He will not cast you aside for another.

Toddler hands

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