September 13, 2016

Good Grief

That's what my bed looks like right now. And no joke, that's what it will look like when I do to bed soon. Pretty sure that's what it will look like when I go to bed tomorrow, too. I'd like to say that it just looks this way because it's CBC Yard Sale for Missions week. I've been at church all day the last two days and am exhausted when I come home. Thus, my bed looks like this.

That would not be the truth. My bed looks like this every night. It has looked like this every night for the last six months and three days. It keeps me from having to sleep in an empty bed. And keeps me from having to get up to get much. And somehow, makes me feel a little less lonely most nights. It also keeps God's precious word close for those times I wake up early and can't get back to sleep. Or those nights I just can't seem to get to sleep in the first place. Honestly, there's really no explanation for it, but it never looked like this before Kevin passed away. (Which is probably good because he would have been irritated at having no place to sleep!)

I know that this is a product of grief. One of many products of grief. I am so tired of grieving. In all practicality, I've been grieving since Kevin's first trip to the ER last April. I am so ready to be done with it and move on. I feel like I can't fully serve God or others because doing so causes so many emotions and near panic attacks. It's tiring and annoying and I am ready to be done with it! Unfortunately, it doesn't really work that way. In the last year and a half I've lived through many stages and faces of grief, each one just enough different from the last to keep me from knowing what to expect. Yet, each phase is similar enough to the last to know it's not my life ending, just changing. I suppose that's good!

But, I am starting to see that grief, while it does often keep me focused on myself and, at times, makes so many things in life hard or nearly impossible, does so much good. It helps me to be thankful that I even have something or someone to grieve over in the first place. It makes me grateful to have experienced a sweet, wonderful love here on this earth. So many don't ever get that. This grief, that I never expected, has drawn me closer to my Savior and given me a much deeper love of His Word. This grief has taught me to trust God more than I ever thought possible. My prayer life has blossomed like I never dreamed. I would have none of this if it weren't for grief.

Our worship ministry has been discussing hope and grace a lot lately and I am coming to love, even if I don't fully grasp, those two words. HOPE. GRACE. Those are two words that have really begun to stick out in our story. Neither one really has anything to do with me. It's all my Savior. My God. My HOPE. My GRACE. There's no way I can look at my story, any stage of pain or joy, and not see God's grace all over it. Which gives me hope for the moment and the days to come. Even the pain that has come my way is grace. Grace upon grace. The darkness led me to closer to Him. That's grace. The darkness brought His people to my table. That's grace. Friendships have been deepened. That's grace. Truth has been revealed in a new and deep way. That's grace. My heart is at peace and my husband is with his Savior. That's grace. And hope. Hope that a brighter day is coming. Hope that what was broken will one day be restored. Hope that the God who created my children loves them and desires relationship with them and will bring salvation to their souls the moment they accept His grace gift of salvation. Hope that one day, sin and death and tears and sorrow and pain will be no more. Hope that JOY will conquer doubt. Good will conquer evil. GOD WINS! Hope that one day the enemy who today steals, kills, and destroys will be seen no more.

So, no matter how up and down my emotions are or what a hot crazy mess of grief I may be on any given day, God's grace pours over me. Hope can flood my soul on my darkest of days. Not because I deserve it, but because God freely gives it. Oh, Father, open my eyes each day to see the GRACE in the grey. To see the light in the dark. To choose Your hope and joy over grief. Each day. Father, use this pain for Your glory. Use this grief for Your glory. Move the cloud and the fog that fight daily to steal my joy so I can see Your hand, follow Your path, and show You to all I meet. Teach me how to to lean into the grief while still holding on to grace. Oh, Father, help me resist the urge to let my life be all about the grief when it should be all about the grace. When others see my life, don't let the grief be what sticks out, let it be pictures of grace upon grace that they see. Grace upon grace! Hallelujah!

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