My copy of Ann Voscamp’s book, A Thousand Gifts, arrived yesterday…
Turning each page and uncovering the journey of a Canadian home-schooling mom reminds me that all over this world stand women just like me.
And thankfully, discovering……………
Job 31 arrives in my daily Bible reading and the words, “Let the Almighty answer me. Let my accuser write out the charges against me. I would face the accusation proudly. I would wear it like a crown. For I would tell him exactly what I have done.”
Did Job really say that?
Have I said that in my grief?
Yes, I humbly admit that I have.
The fear that losing two children somehow shouted to the world that I needed punishing catapulted me to stand up and scream, “I am innocent. Why did this happen to me?” Not just once, but many times I’ve asked in different ways how the God I live for and love so much could send me down this road of pain.
Then I remember who I am and I remember Who He is, and I am silenced.
Like Job, I finally say,
“I am nothing-how could I ever find the answers? I will cover my mouth with my hand. I have said too much already. I have nothing more to say.”
And in the silence, I hear God whisper,
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
So the question rises, “If I believe these words are true, then what?”
What do I do with my pain?
What do I do with my questions?
What do I do with my fears and insecurities?
What do I do with everything I do not understand?
Once again, I know that the answer is not easy, but it is a choice I have to make daily.
Leave them unanswered and trust Him.
And in that simple trust, thank Him for being there in my dark, unanswered places.
So, I rise from reading a little Watchman Nee, a little bit of Job, and a little bit of Ann, and I determine that looking for answers must be replaced with looking for ways to say, “Thank you.”
So, like Ann, I grab the tool that helps me see more clearly than my glasses, and I begin walking around the very room that surrounds me. And I am thankful……….
For books that fill me up when I am empty……..
For stacks of laundry that remind me “I am blessed.”
For a basket of medical supplies that continue to help me heal and for the hands of those who use them to help me……..
For random cords, pans, gifts from a friend who has traveled to another country, and even more medical supplies that try to cover the words “And they lived happily ever after” but can’t cover the truth we’re trying to live…
For Christmas cards that still sit out near February reminding us we’re loved.
For my never-boxed up Nativity set that reminds me of my friends who gathered round me after losing Nick to present me with this gift and to remind me that even the pain of the cross began in simple beauty…….. For the touch of ocean that I keep nearby to remind me of the waves that still crash against shores I cannot see….crashing as faithfully as God’s love…
I remember walking on the beach just a few months after losing Adrienne and being struck with the thought that God’s love for me had never changed…even in my pain…even in my screaming reality that Adrienne had died in her sleep, the ocean had been lapping at the shore….it never stopped because my life did.
God never stops loving just because we cannot feel His love.
Oh, ocean, always speak to me of His faithfulness even when I cannot see you.
For memories locked behind glass…..Todd and Nick freely flying down a coaster, Olivia bolting down the basketball court, Aunt Earlene inspecting a stranger’s dreadlocks, Great-grandpa’s water source that surely moistened many a dry farmer’s mouth…….
For words on walls that remind me of what I need to do today…….LIVE.
For family pictures from a time when everything seemed “perfect,” yet the crooked plaque holding “love” underneath reminds me that in this world “perfect” will never happen…… For the story of Nick’s life, written briefly on a card, but impossible to contain in even a book…….
For memories of India stuffed in a bag……..a bag that holds Olivia’s heritage, her story….so we can share it with classrooms and churches and with Olivia when she wants to look back……
Today, I rise up thankful.
I hope that you do too.