From an article originally posted January 26, 2014…
How do you live well when the living you’re living isn’t the living you expected?
This is the question I’m living with every single day. This is the question I think most of us wrestle through—if we are honestly looking at our living. Tonight I started a new book. The main character was a grandma, and I immediately was jealous of her. Once she started to complain about her life I put the book down. Here, I’m reading of a fictional character, I’m dreadfully jealous of her, and I find myself absolutely hating her.
I’m 37 years old, I’m desperate to one day be a grandma, and I’m not living the life I expected. I never expected to wonder at my years at this young age. I know the truth of the gospel, I live in grace and forgiveness, but I never, never expected to be living in the tension of my end so soon. It’s very hard. Suffocating.
Today I told my little one I was struggling for forgiveness for my unkind morning. I told her I was cloudy in believing it. She was so soft and gentle and shared the moments she struggled knowing forgiveness. It was beautiful.
I could not sleep in the suffocation of this hard. I came to make myself buttered toast with raspberry jam and salty butter. It felt like a grace. Toast and tears. I needed to cry about this painful new tension in my reality.
I want my days to spread out before me without fear without limit. I want to go on an amazing family vacation in two weeks without the fear that it’s my last. I want to not be in a rotation of bloods draws, doctor’s appointments and scary snorts. I want, oh how I want, the old gluttonous days before me that never felt like they had an end. When a headache was just a headache and not the return of more cancer.
Tonight I read an article in the Huffington Post that was my undoing. It was a young mom writing about living her life without her mama by her side for navigation. It was beautiful and it was awful. I don’t want that to be my daughters, though I know many beautiful daughters that have walked the same story. I just don’t want them to navigate the hard of this life without a mama. I don’t want them to be able to know that story, write that story, feel those pains. And yet, I don’t get to number my own days. These are the desperate hours of faith. The clawing, begging, gut wrenching nights of prayer where you pray—please, oh please show me. Show me the redemption of this story. Reveal the goodness of yourself in this hard. Help me see, help, oh help me see Jesus.
We left a play this afternoon. I walked away and thought, they will remember today. Then I was sad at the counting of moments. The hoping to be emblazoned in their forever memory. It’s exhausting. Exhausting to hope your love is being remembered. Known. Present.
So, I’m living a life I didn’t expect. I’m living in the unexpected tension of the unknown future. We all are. We all, in our many different ways, are living in the desperation of not living what we expected of our days. My story is cancer, but perhaps yours is singleness, unemployment, a marriage you didn’t expect, or parenting isn’t what you expected, friendships aren’t what you expect. Fill in the blank. These desperate, raw, painful places that leave us hoping for something more, something to be redeemed, leave us longing.... Ultimately, leave us looking for Jesus. Where, oh where are you in this mess, this terribly ugly, this painful beautiful: Where are you?
Are you looking for Him? I am. Through tears, heartache, pain, and despair, I’m looking. I’m looking. Join me won’t you? I head out Sunday morning looking. My heart needs to be reminded that my life truly has no end, and my love certainly does not. I need to be reminded of redemption, and the greatest story ever told. I forget. I need to taste and see His goodness. I need to be reminded of forgiveness and grace I cannot earn. We all need community. We all need reminded, because toast and jam is certainly a grace, but it’s not the grace of hearing God’s word, singing His praises, and tasting the bitterness of what He had to endure to bring me to Himself. It is so good to be near to God and His people. This living is so hard. So very hard. I’m so thankful for the hard living I do not have to do alone.
Here is one of my all-time favorite people/ singers ever. I love how he shares his struggles in the tensions of living. I love his need, but he’s now free from that tension. I miss him, but he certainly isn’t missing me. He’s gloriously free and with Jesus. Listen to the truth and be blessed.