Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Queen of Denial

Jesus was very clear in Matthew 26:32 that he would die, be raised and see the disciples again on earth... specifically, Galilee.

In their shock and grief, did the disciples forget that He said that? There had to be so much swirling in their heads that weekend. PTSD was not yet a thing, but I'm certain they had it after Christ's crucifixion.

When He said those words, they didn't want to believe Him. They remained in their denial even as He was trying to prepare them for the days ahead. They chose not to believe Him. They chose not to hear Him. Maybe "chose" is not the right word. Their brains didn't want to believe Him. Did they subconsciously block His words?

I think I totally did that when my mom was dying. She tried to prepare me. And it wasn't just words. She was so sick--she was dying right before my eyes and my selfish brain could not deal. So I blocked it. I even told someone it was "all in her head." I can't imagine what they must have thought. What a selfish, spoiled little brat.

I'm so grateful that God allowed me to see my sin, confess it and be forgiven. From that point on, though my default is still denial, I work really hard to see things for what they are, to work through them and obey the Lord in them. I still fail... often... but I am better. And I am more thankful for His grace than ever. That's my unswerving hope.

Monday, March 7, 2016

The Gift of Grief Revisited

I wrote most of the following entry about five years ago. As I pray for another mom who has a milestone to get through today, I am reminded of it. I made a few edits, but this, for me, is probably my most memorable post.

As I woke up this morning, I had a picture in my head of grief being like a gift. (The image above doesn't even come close, but it's the best I could do.) I know that sounds strange, but it’s true. It’s a gift that no one really wants, but we all receive at some point. Some of us receive it earlier in life. Some receive it more often. But if you ever love anyone, chances are, you will receive the gift of grief somewhere along the way.

My grief is wrapped up in a beautiful box. Early in my grief journey, I carried it with me everywhere I went. It was heavy and it consumed every moment of every day. It invaded every decision, every action, every move I made. I couldn’t escape it. I couldn’t go into Wal Mart without carrying this giant gift with me. It was heavy and cumbersome. I felt like everyone was looking at me and my conspicuous package. I felt like I had “Grieving Mom” tattooed across my forehead. I would think, “Yes, I’m the one… the mom of the one you read about in the newspaper last weekend. She was my sunshine and my delight and now she’s gone. I am her grieving mother.”

As time went by, I was able to leave my gift at home more often. It was still there. It was still mine, but I didn’t have to carry it with me everywhere I went. Now, almost seven years after my daughter’s death, (it's almost 12 now.) it’s like I keep my gift on a shelf. Every now and then, especially on holidays, birthdays, and what would have been milestones in her life, I take my gift down off the shelf. I open it up and take out my grief. I hold it in my hands, turning it over and over. I feel the weight of it, the hardness of it. The coldness of it. I know this sounds crazy, but I also admire its beauty. I cry a little—sometimes a lot. I blog about it some, but not as often as I used to. But then, I put my grief back in that box. I tie the beautiful bow around it, and I gently place it back on the shelf.

Then I go on with life. Seven years ago, I never would have believed that I could go on with life without my daughter. But here I am, functioning, parenting again, serving, living. And my gift of grief remains… until the next time I take it down off the shelf. My grief has changed my life, but it no longer consumes my life. Because of this gift, I have found a Hope that I otherwise would never have known… a true Unswerving Hope.