Thursday, November 5, 2015

2015 - The Year of Prayer - Catching Up

From my last post (you can read it here), you would rightly guess I consider tears as prayers at the moment.  If Jesus holds out a one-of-a-kind bottle to catch each one of our tears, that He considers them priceless - so valuable to shed His own blood (even tears of blood) - then I will consider them my glorious sacrifice.

Today is a roller coaster.  I woke up feeling great and was a little concerned I felt so good.  I knew at 10 am, my Mom, my brother and I were to meet to put the remaining pieces into my Dad's niche at St. Luke's UMC's columbarium before they seal it. 
Contents of my Dad's niche

This is where his ashes will be and my Mom will eventually be next to him (although hilariously enough, she doesn't remember if it is the right or the left side).  I even forgot to tell Dave about our meeting.  I was to visit a friend after and then have lunch with another, so I focused on the positive and frankly, felt awesome.

Then as I was driving there, I felt the lead ball form in my stomach.  It is real, it is happening and I'm going to have to deal with it.

I could feel it coming as we stood there looking at his cremains.  A small wave of tears broke on the way to my first visit.  Fortunately I was able to get a hold of a friend.  I just couldn't be alone in the car.  I'm so thankful he answered because it got me through.  I held it together until later when I nearly broke down grocery shopping.

That's when the tidal wave of grief hit me full force in the face.

I shouldn't have been driving because I was crying so hard.  In that moment, as much as I wanted to call someone, I knew it would forestall the inevitable.  I knew this pain would pass but I needed to let it in.  I had to hurt for the hurt to pass.

I am sure everyone could tell when I went into school to get Ella.  It's pretty obvious, even with the waterproof mascara I remembered to put on this morning (THANK YOU HOLY SPIRIT), when I cry.  Ridiculously obvious. 

I've said a lot of popcorn prayers for folks today but mostly I just let my tears speak for themselves.  Jesus wept (John 11:35).  He knows.  I didn't feel any tangible presence of God in those moments but the fact that twice today, at my lowest, the Mercy Me song, "I Can Only Imagine" came on KSBJ, I knew He was with me.  He was reminding me where my Dad is and what he might be doing.  That speaks volumes of God's love and care for me.

Really, my prayer today is not very profound: Lord, This Just Sucks.

I know I'm a writer and a prayer warrior and supposedly this spiritual leader, so I should probably come up with something much more impactful (which my brother pointed out when I said it at the grave site).  But for this moment, it is my truth: THIS REALLY STINKS.  This is my prayer, this is what I'm living.

Everyone has moments like this, leaders are not exempted.  Everyone has those moments or days when we just put our heads in our hands and tell God - in words, thoughts or tears - how much something sucks.  Life on this fallen earth just does sometimes.  And we, in the Body of Christ, need to be available in those moments.  We need to have the openness and authenticity to stand by someone at their lowest, wrap our arms around them if possible, and just agree.  Agree it sucks and don't try and make it any better for a minute.  There will be time for that but take me at my word when I tell you, the pain has to be felt so it will subside.

I'm so glad I am surrounded by people who do that and who I can do it for.

As I posted on FaceBook this morning, I will end this day, this not-completely-but-in-a-few-ways-pretty-crappy day, being grateful.  I'll leave you with the chorus to the song I'm listening to, "Shepherd," from Amanda Cook on Bethel's You Make Me Brave Album.

You will lift my head above the mighty waves.
You are able to keep me from stumbling.
In my weakness, You are the strength that comes from within.
Good Shepherd of my soul, take my hand and lead me on.

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