The sky is N. Carolina blue with billowy clouds and sparkles as the sun reflects off of the icy snow out the window. A cup off coffee within arms reach, earbuds in, legs straight, crossed at the ankles and a three hour wait with no place to go: I am excited! A date with Heavenly Dad!
“My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?’ These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng. Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God” (Psalm 42:3–5).
Wait…where I have I heard this topic before? Was that in the book of Job or your living room?
Last week Heavenly Dad was speaking to me about my attitude when I get off of my cushy spot and help. I was feeling like I moved forward a bit with each scoop of snow, how’d you do?
Two days ago, however, was the anniversary of when Archie went into the hospital and the cancer journey returned for the final time. Two years ago…grief, that seems like forever ago but yet just yesterday. Honest moment: I thought I’d be further along on this journey. Ever feel like two steps forward, 8 steps back?
On each anniversary of that journey my “default mechanism” is to retreat. Usually I am excited to go to church (you know I LOVE Sundays) but not on January 14th. The alarm goes off and I lay there, memories tumbling through my mind like acrobats across a circus stage . Two years before I was in the ER with my best friend, not knowing what the future would be but “KNOWING” we would get through it together. I am the together reduced to one… .
I didn’t want to get up. I argue with myself about how Heavenly Dad has been there for me and never let me down, the hope of the help that may be on the horizon to move me forward and hopefully make life easier, but what ultimately got me out of bed was that there were around 80 kids that still didn’t know the books of the Bible and I had agreed to help them learn.
“Up and Adam (I still don’t know where that comes from). A promise is a promise.”
I started my “church day” in the regular adult service with the series,”You will get through this”. Fellow broken people who have gone through or are going through tough times gave testimony and shared encouragement, faith, and hope that we will get “through whatever difficulties we are experiencing. “ I listened and in my heart of hearts I know, with out a doubt, it is true, it just doesn’t always feel true. Fatigue, hunger, and even grouchy people around me can affect feelings…along with anniversaries.
I made it through the service and on to the kids and small church. Though I tried, feelings—grief— were a wall between me and the joy that Sundays bring. I just wanted to be home.
I did have one “lightbulb” nugget, but that is for another time. RETREAT!!!
I recognize and embrace that this is a day of grief. That’s ok. I need to think and remember the journey, and allow myself to cry. The important thing for me to remember is to not stay there, as that is not the end of the story.
I am blessed with the opportunity to work with a program designed specifically to help small businesses. So many little stores are the “tiny fish” in the big craft world pond, are being swallowed up, and disappearing nearly everyday. We pour into them monthly with just a little accountability and I have seen baby stores flourish–it’s so exciting!!! In the middle of deep concentration for this program, my phone rings.
On the other end of the line is a new Heartfelt family member with a few questions about products and navigating our website. This led to a conversation with this wonderful 70 something young lady telling me about her life in Florida, her grand kids (those with fur and those without), her work-a-holic son and his lovely wife, and…how lonely she is since her hubby and best friend went home. If you read my blogs on a fairly regular basis, you will notice that I have been receiving more and more of these calls–odd. This call wasn’t a transfer, it was just in the que and it happened to be my “turn” so the system sent it to my phone.
She shared that she doesn’t get to see her family very much and every day feels exactly the same. Since her best friend went home she feels like she has lost her purpose. Her pets sit at the table with her so she doesn’t feel like she is eating alone. She shared that she has had thoughts about going back to church,”but what good would that do?”
“Wow! I’ll bet the church would be so excited to have you!”
“…why?” was her response.
“Sometimes churches just need empty arms to lovingly hold babies so the moms can step into a room with grownups and have adult conversation. Do you think you could hold a baby?”
“Young” lady: “Yes! I could do that. My knees aren’t very good and when I move around a lot it can be a little hard to catch my breath, but I could hold a baby. I’ve thought about calling so many times, I don’t know why I haven’t.”
Me: “That is so exciting! When do you think you will call?”
“Young” lady: “I’m not sure! Maybe today!”
Me: “How old is your son? There are a lot of young moms at home with toddlers who would love to have a friendly voice to talk to during the day. I’ll bet you have all sorts of parenting advice you could share.”
“Young” lady: laughing-told me a story about raising her son and then: “Do you really think so?”
What does this have to do with the verse? There are broken people everywhere, and some the world looks at and says,”Where is your God?”
What I am learning–slowly, as I am extremely hard headed– is that Heavenly Dad isn’t asking us to wait until our trial or difficulty is over before we reach a helping hand. What he said is,”Schooch over and share the life raft.”
I have no idea when I will be “through” this valley (that feels bottomless), but I can still be an encouragement to those around me and help them to see Heavenly Dad loves them with His whole heart and they have value.
“Yes, Dad. I’m moving, I’m moving!”
Until next time: Blessings!