See Step One

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. Colossians 3:16

Have you ever had a time in your life when you were like,”Wow, heavenly Dad, I finally think I am ready to scrape this one mound of crap off of my very full plate! Ahhhh…finally I will be able to breath!” aaaaaand then he gets out His majestic squeeze scoop and plops another lesson on your already crowded plate?

That’s kind of the way it felt when Taylor and I were processing our first major holiday. We were reflecting on our expectations, the highs and lows, of not only the special day, but the journey of grief from the onset.

I completed my second round of Grief Share. The first round my head and world were spinning like a tornado and I felt with each step forward, an unforeseen object/bill/person would fly into me, knocking me my off of my feet. Over and over, swirling objects, my hand in front of my face as the dust was so thick it was hard to see and breath. I was never sure if my staggering was moving me forward, sideways or if I had been twisted in the cyclone and was actually walking backwards. Gray, hazy, whirling gusts, and all the while my body exhausted and achy. Those are my memories.

Taylor and I were reflecting on our expectations with our initial loss. Heartfelt Creations has far exceeded any support I could have envisioned, bringing food to my door for the first couple of weeks when Taylor and I were unable to move. They ensured a roof over my head through collections and a fund raising, fixed my plumbing so my sink wouldn’t continue to drain into a bucket, cried with me and gave me freedom to grieve the way I needed to, no rules to follow or break.

The ones closest to Archie instantly fell away. The church was silent.

Archie’s work was bogging him down and he felt like he needed to pull away from small groups, as he didn’t have the energy. Since the “two became one,” he took me with him. When he went home, there were no groups of people from a small church/groups to lend an ear…or heart. My world was mute.

My second go round in Grief Share we talked about how our journeys began. The pastor in attendance shared that the church is very careful about how much involvement they have with loss because they do not want people to depend on them and not God. I received a call from the church around 30 days after Archie went home, I contacted them once or twice for information. I was told they have a schedule for when they contact widows and widowers, I contacted the grief pastor at 5 months (since I had not heard from him since the 30 day appointment), knowing that the next scheduled contact was probably the 6 month mark, and asked him to remove me from the widow contact list. I did not need a calendar to remember Archie was no longer with me and did not want my loss to be a scheduled event on anyone’s calendar.

When Taylor and I were returning from our Chicago Thanksgiving we were reflecting on the mindset of not getting involved with people, fearing they will depend on us instead of God. My question was,”If we are suppose to be God with skin on, and we choose not to ‘show up,’…how can He?”

If we all go according to a list of rules as to how close/involved we get with people, isn’t that like setting up a pre-nup before you get married: making sure the split is going to go smoothly before you are willing to commit…which isn’t committing at all…is it?

What my heavenly Dad was whispering about was how to walk with someone through a difficult journey. I’m going to slip into the passenger seat and let Him drive:

-Be willing to show up and stay

-Remember, it’s not my job to fix anything/anyone, I don’t have to have all of the answers. I need to direct them to the One who can/does and not take credit for a job well done by my heavenly Dad

-I cannot control anyone, just like a parent cannot/should not control a child. We direct/redirect, correct, and equip them to one day be self sufficient, not codependent.

-Be willing to walk with them until they are ready to let ago/fly then excitedly encourage them as you watch them soar.

-If their first attempt at flight ends in a crash landing, I need to be the rescue squad, all the while reminding them how amazing the wind was beneath their wings, assuring them the next attempt will be successful. I need to remind myself not to dwell on their mistakes or failures because they have never flown before.

-I need to be willing to find a more experienced flight instructor and be willing to let go of the keys, with excitement and encouragement, if my heavenly Dad nudges. This is his child, not mine. I trust and obey…or I don’t.

MOST importantly, see step one.

Until tomorrow: Blessings!

 

Author: Tracy Cook

Widowed one week before our 27th wedding anniversary, Heavenly Dad continues to carry me, now blessing me with a second chance for love.

4 thoughts on “See Step One”

  1. You are such a blessing and uplifting! As I said before I love your blog, you have a gift I can’t describe. Love you Sis!!

  2. For the record, I find it tragically sad that the church fears getting “too involved.” Perhaps if we all got more involved with one another on a personal level, we’d know each other’s actual, personalized needs from the get-go, rather than merely adhering to an arbitrary schedule. Truly, the church should feel compelled to find and meet needs- to GET involved! (Like in Acts 4:32-37). Jesus did not call us and equip us to “play it safe;” to just sit on the sidelines, twiddling our thumbs as we wait for people to come and beg us for help; to wait idly for the turkey timer to ding before we poke our noses around, stirring the potentially already-burned proverbial pot. I love The Church, or Jesus with skin on in the form of individuals, but I must admit: I’m becoming more and more disillusioned with the organized “church.” … But I digress.
    You know, your post today reminds me of Casting Crowns’ song “Love Them Like Jesus” in that “you don’t need the answers to all of life’s questions, just know that He loves them and stay by their side; love them like Jesus.” 🙂 I sincerely hope that’s a lesson I’m learning to apply in every aspect of my life and walk. Thank you for the reminder! ^_^

  3. I am blown away by your gift of writing. I want to apologize for the way you have been treated by the church. I like what you said about “remember what the wind was like beneath their wings. ” that means they tried to fly and for some reason came back to the nest. Thank you for reminding me to help them give it another try. When you know someone has your back you can fly higher than you ever thought you could.

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