Being Ugly

September 24, 2014 § 3 Comments

I never wanted to get anything out of losing my child. No lesson. No higher calling. No meaning. Nothing. I never wanted to be able to think “I’m at peace with what happened because now I can:
1. Help others in similar situations
2. Appreciate my future children more
3. Have a better relationship with God because he brought me through a great trial
4. Any other lousy “try to feel better” answer.

Now, I still feel that way. There is no equation where the solution ends up making me feel thankful for this experience.

But.

It’s happening anyway. Against my wishes and all my will, there is good happening. And I think, somehow, because I really am am so against it, that it almost makes it ok.

When I pour out my heart through this blog, I’m really not looking for anyone to read or care. It’s just an outlet, something tangible and non-destructive for me to center my thoughts with. The fact that people are actually listening and responding completely blows my mind. In the moments where I talk about feeling so broken, people are telling me that my words bring them comfort and hope. What? People are telling me that the God I feel so far from is using me to speak to them. How? I didn’t understand it. But what I have come to realize, is that people just want someone to tell them it’s ok. It’s ok to be hurt and have feelings that aren’t all blue skies and sunshine. They want to know that it is entirely possible to follow Jesus, love God, and feel like life isn’t worth living another day, simultaneously. They want to know that you can be a follower of Christ, and a human being at the same time. Depression, anxiety, rage, sorrow, bitterness, jealousy – they are all real. They aren’t a secret or shock to God. The bible is filled with stories of men and women more holy and godly than I could ever hope to be, who struggled and often gave in to the curse of human emotion.

I don’t know when people started believing that following Jesus meant having all of your crap together, all the time. I don’t know when the “Church” stopped being a place for struggling, hurting people to come and be ugly together. I don’t know when all these misconceptions and faulty belief systems came in. I don’t know. What I DO know, is that it’s time to tear them down. Because as far as I know, my Jesus didn’t willingly crawl up onto a rugged cross and give His life for people who were already perfect. People who didn’t have an overwhelming, desperate need for His redeeming, gracious and life changing love. Jesus died for ugly people, with ugly crap so that when we go through ugly times, His grace can manifest in our lives and turn our ugliest into glorious.

So be ugly. Be a hot mess. Be rough around the edges. Be unfinished. I know I am. I know I will always be needing Jesus to redeem me in some new way. Because I’m weak and He is strong. Because He loves my ugly.

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Broken Pieces

September 22, 2014 § 2 Comments

A week ago, I didn’t care. It didn’t matter if the sun was shining or it was pouring rain. It didn’t matter if we we had money in the bank or were down to our last dollar. It didn’t matter if I lived another day or closed my eyes and never opened them again.

I didn’t care.

There’s something so healing in being able to say that out loud. To admit to that kind of weakness takes a measure of strength that I didn’t know I could ever again poses.

Grief is so strange. Some days, it’s almost an afterthought. Some days, you can forget about the pain, the longing and the sweet, tiny face that is the source of all your heartache. Some days, it devours you. Some days you want to die a thousand deaths so you can

Just.
Stop.
Hurting.

That’s grief. It’s where I’ve been existing lately. And yes, I do mean existing. You can’t really call what I’ve been doing “living.” Surviving might be a better word, but that almost makes it sound like I’ve been putting forth effort, which just isn’t true. I’ve certainly been doing all the right things – Going to church, taking my vitamins, working out, eating organic, drinking less – all while trying to care. My husband would tell you that I’m doing much better because I haven’t tried destroying my sons nursery in a drunken rage for almost 2 whole months now. I’m not crying every day anymore, and I can actually sleep through the night without drowning myself in a bottle of wine. My first and last thoughts for each and every day haven’t been, “why couldn’t You just let me die, too?” for at least a month now. So, sure. Better.

Most of that has been replaced by this listlessness for life. I have adopted Ecclesiastes 1:14 as my mantra. “Everything under the sun is meaningless.” This was my reality. My personal buffer and defense mechanism against the pain of life was to simply stop caring. Then my grandma died, and in my searing, soul shattering sorrow, I realized that my buffer was really just a dam that had burst wide, wide open. All the pain of loss that I had been hiding from came flooding back. All the self loathing and blame and deep, dark hopelessness were waiting for me right where I had left them.

Consumed

So I came home to Florida, to my family, to my momma. Broken in more ways than one, believing that the sole purpose of this life is to suffer alone and try to hold on until the end. What I found, is that I was wrong. Though the circumstances that brought me here are not what I would have wished, I am grateful non the less. Stepping off of the plane and into the arms of my family and church family, was like having a searing heat wave shot straight into the winter wasteland that was my heart. For the first time in months, the weight of my soul wasn’t crushing the life out of my spirit, and I felt like I could breathe again. Just being near all of them, enveloped and hidden in their loving support has been the most healing and uplifting time I have ever experienced. I have seen and felt the heart of God in more ways, from more people than I can count on two hands. If I could name each and every one of you, and gather enough words to express my love and gratitude, I would. I came here shattered, choking and suffocating on all of the fragments of my broken life. I’m leaving with a new heart, filled to overflowing with hope and healing.

I’m so thankful to belong to a God that finds beauty in brokenness. I’m thankful that while there is great pain and great suffering in this broken world, there is a GREAT reward waiting for me at the end of this life. I’m thankful that when I am broken, I can cling to the One who will put me back together again.

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I Loved You First

September 14, 2014 § 2 Comments

In the past 3 months, my thoughts have often turned to Job. I’ve pondered the silence in which he endured his suffering. I’ve wondered if perhaps, the reason he was silent was not for lack of words to express his grief and despair, but because he was experiencing the silence of God.

Was he quietly waiting, alone in his own world of sorrow, for a word of comfort, explanation or reassurance from the the Almighty? Was he hoping to hear the still small voice in the wind? The voice known by the mountains, the wind and the waves? I believe he was. It’s exactly what I’m doing. Listening. Waiting. Hoping.

Just over 3 months ago, I lost my baby for reasons unknown to man. Less than 12 hours ago, I lost my grandma to cancer. And today I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt, “answers” do not mean a damn thing. There is no magical explanation button you can push to ease the pain of grief. Knowing that cancer is the reason my grandma is dead does not make it ok. I am furious. I am broken. I am human.

Our humanness, the very thing that makes us all at once detestable and precious, compels our hearts and souls to demand answers when the unimaginable happens in our lives. When the innocent and the righteous die long before their time. Those moments, when the promises of God feel like a lie and we are left wrestling with our all consuming need to have some kind of explanation for our suffering.

I have to believe that the God I know and love understands this need. He has to know that my soul is weary beyond anything I could ever imagine. He has to know that once again, my heart is broken and so very disappointed that He did not intervene. He has to know that my flesh wants to deny His very existence in the aftermath of such great destruction. He has to know, I can’t. Because as much as I want to deny Him in this moment of humanness, my spirit knows that without His love and truth in my life, there is nothing.

I can’t say that I understand, or tell you that my heart is at peace. What I can say, with great confidence is that God is good. He is sovereign and He is holy, and He is worthy of all my praise, my hope and my trust. When my world is shaken, when I can’t see His hand in my life, and even when I don’t believe any of the words I just spoke, I can take refuge in the unwavering truth of His great love for me.

The title of this post, “I Loved You First”, are the sweet words that my grandma always said at the end of our time together, to which I would always counter, “I”ll love you longest!” Words, that will remain truer than true for all of my tomorrow’s. She called me Sunshine, taught me how to be brave and was everything I could ever hope to be.

As deeply as my heart is hurting and longing for just a little more time, I can’t be sad for her. For even in the midst of MY great and momentary suffering, I take great comfort knowing that she is not. I know that she is basking, as I long to be, in the eternal glory of THE Sonshine with her son and mine. If there was anyone who could deserve such a priceless gift, it would be her.

Grandma,
You already know, but I have to tell you again. I’ll love you longest. Always, always and forever.
Lovelovelovelovelove,
Your Sunshine

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