This morning I rose early, 6:00 am, my usual time (though I'm never REALLY awake before 9am), but this time, unaccompanied. My early-riser, Alea, rested well this morning, sleeping soundly... I had some water with half a lemon, listened to my "pray-as-you-go" devotional (prayasyougo.org), did some light stretches, and brewed a cup of coffee. Then I sat in my glider, a coffee in one hand, my Bible reading on Lynn's IPad in another, and rocked.
It is all so familiar still. I can close my eyes and see him, every morning, usually in his running gear, sitting and rocking while it is still dark, a coffee in one hand, faithful to his Bible reading in another. I miss his morning ritual. I miss his presence in our home. I miss the man I lived for.
My walk toward healing does not lead me upward, as I'd foolishly expected. I thought the Way everlasting, path of glory to glory, would rise steadily over the troubles of this world, like a brilliant staircase leading upwards toward heaven... Instead, it leads me lower, to new and deeper levels of brokenness and despair, not just to my knees, but flat on my face, virtually hopeless, abandoned, hurting, alone, and confused.
But this thing I know about the Lord, He has always been a God of paradoxes. The upward Way has always been a downward path. Lose your life to find it. (Matt 10:39; 16:25) Blessed are the poor in spirit. (Matt 5:3) The humble will be lifted up. (James 4:6) In the lowliness of death is the promise of new life. In the wretchedness of weakness is the promise of great strength. In the suffering of loss is the wakening of thankfulness. And In the sorrow of brokenness lies the essence of true joy...
Last night, I read in my devotional, Come to Me and rest... I am teaching you a difficult lesson... regain my Presence...*
As I mourn the loss of my husband, I am mourning the loss of my life. Every part of it is changing and/or gone. The chapter has closed. I know now I will likely move, leaving a blessed life and ministry behind.. Catastrophic loss has left my world unrecognizable, as though death not only stole my husband, but also looted my castle. When I look at my girls, I know we need not only a new normal... but a new life. Before, we lived for Lynn (in the context of living for Christ). What do we live for now?
As I move forward and pursue whatever new life lies ahead... I hear Jesus' words calling, Come to me... regain My Presence...
What sort of things will I seek to lay hold of in this new life ahead? Will I lay hold of a new house? new community? family? friends? Will I lay hold of a new job? a new career? new schools? new rhythm? Or in my loss, will I bow low and be lifted up? Grieve to be comforted? Let go of my life forever to be found only in Him? Will I lay hold of my All in All, my Savior and friend, and come to know the power of His Presence, in all His glorious riches as I have never imagined possible?
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in you, my Lord, I will be joyful in God my Saviour. (Hab 3:17-19, adapted by Beth Moore in Praying God's Word)
*Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace In His Presence, by Sarah Young