They finally came, four weeks to the day that Kara went Home. After checking my phone when it dinged while I was getting ready, hoping it was her asking me to come sit. Then the letdown remembering it wasn’t her. It couldn’t be her.
After holding them in the week after she died, afraid that if I let the dam break, I could never stop the gushing grief and I couldn’t get the practicalities of her service taken care of. Or I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed and care for my family. Or I would be tempted to despair.
The dam was shored up the next week with company in town to host. And then retreat talks to prepare. I was like the little Dutch boy with my finger in the dam; if I pulled my finger out, surely I would be overcome by the flood to follow. But instead of pressure mounting, I became an expert at compartmentalizing; I could talk about Kara, pray for her family, write about her and not shed a tear. My heart seemed to have grown cold with fear.
Seemed. I knew it was impossible to have grown cold. Everything about walking with Jesus through grief should melt my heart. I began to pray: Jesus, show me where the Grace is. Remind me I am safe. Tell me it’s okay to cry and scream and sob. Show me joy. Show me hope.
Simple prayers for the most basic of emotions.
My sister sent this from Paul Tripp:
The delights of the physical world were carefully crafted to point to the One who alone is able to give your heart eternal delight. God alone is able to bring the deepest of joy and contentment to your heart. He alone is able to give you a reason for getting up in the morning and a purpose for living. He alone can infuse your heart with hope, no matter what is going on around you. So in amazing grace, he welcomes you to surrender all your hopes and dreams to him. In love, he beckons you to follow.
Of course. Oh, God, infuse my heart with hope!!
So I sat alone in church yesterday, my sister-friend caring for babies in the nursery and Aaron leading music up front. I watched Lake’s yo-yo drop to the floor and roll an impossible distance before stopping. I saw the delight on his face and was reminded of God’s closeness to his children, his faithfulness to the motherless. Story cuddled her daddy, snuggled in his lap, the entire service. A perfect picture of a father comforting his daughter. A reminder that my Heavenly Father loves me just as tenderly and I am safe in His arms.
The voices around me sang out, shouted out:
Jesus has done enough
Our hope cannot be shaken
Because God raised Him up
We cannot be forsaken
And the dam broke. The tears came. Four weeks’ worth. Three years’ worth. A lifetime’s worth. When Aaron sat down, I whispered, I’m just so sad. And he knew and held me, and the tears didn’t stop coming until I woke up this morning, my eyelids glued shut with tears cried in the night. With tears came relief, hope, joy, and the reminder that I am met with Grace in the darkest, hardest places.
What darkness plagues you today? What fears creep in your heart, threatening to come out? How is God meeting you in Grace? What scriptures remind you of His love for you? Who around you needs comforting? How can you bring comfort and love to them today?