Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Grief is a bully

Grief is a bully. He strides in inconspicuously without warning and knocks you over before you know what hit you. He walks with purpose and strength. His one, sole aim is to knock you over, unawares. And he is effective. Oh, so effective. How do you fight an enemy that has perfected the art of ambush? I still don't know. But I am learning to get back up, little by little. And though my attempts are feeble, I know that each time I do, I will get stronger and better at it. To be honest, however, there are times I don't feel like getting back up. Sometimes I'd like to just lie there in defeat. Yet I know that's not what God wants. He doesn't want me to give in to the enemy or allow him a foothold. Yet He also knows I'm not strong enough to fight on my own. He is there waiting for me to take hold of His outstretched hand, to pull me up, where I can stand firm beside Him in His strength.

Not surprisingly, today was tough. The roller coaster of emotions has left me physically and mentally exhausted. After grief has knocked you down, he proceeds to kick you. He is a master at implanting envy and doubt with each stamp of his foot. He taunts viciously, "See all those pictures of everyone else's family? Their families are whole." And you can't argue with him because it's the truth. There is no empty chair at their table, and you can't deny the glaring, barren spot at yours, no matter how hard you try. No amount of wishing or attempts at filling the chair with another body replaces the one who is gone.

Grief continues his assault, spewing hateful things in your ear, planting seeds of doubt. Things like, "So where is God? Where is this Jesus that you are hoping in? He hasn't returned. It's been centuries. You're still waiting, and you're still suffering. Are you really sure Heaven's real? Where's the proof?"

I tried to ignore the enemies lies and taunts, yet hearing Grief's whispers made my heart ache. My son is gone. There is no celebrating the holidays with him. I realized I wasn't escaping the ambush. I've learned enough the past 16 months to know that when I'm pinned, I'm pinned. I cried, "Uncle" and went to my bedroom to cry. After about 10 or 15 minutes, however, the incessant banging by our three year old on the door coerced me into getting up. It was a good thing, anyway, as company was due to arrive within the half hour, and I still had a lot of meal preparation to do.

I realized I needed some praise and worship music to help deflect the blows of bully Grief. Christian music is a powerful thing, enabling the truth to speak quietly into a hurting heart. The lyrics lifted my eyes back to the Author of life, the giver of all good things. And as our company arrived, I was reminded that we are not alone, that the troubles of this life are only overcome through faith and trust in Christ.

God's grace is sufficient and got us through the day. However, the reality is, as author Isabel Fleece said, "...grace is not an anesthetic."(Not By Accident) The LORD uses the painful things of our lives to turn us toward Him, to remind us that we need Him. It seems to make no sense, but after all, I am the created, not the Creator. Then just when I needed it tonight, God spoke to me about today. I cried once again reading the homeschool devotional in my email inbox, and though today's struggle didn't have to do with homeschooling, the LORD had a message for me.

Daily Focus - A Christmas Love Letter

I see you sitting there tired, worn out, and empty. Another year of homeschooling has used you up. You feel helpless like a baby. That's OK. I know all about being a baby. I was born one for you many years ago. I know the ache you feel to be held and loved, and that is why I came. I knew you would be sitting there in the future, praying and asking me to hold you, and I am, dear one. Let me give you a special Christmas gift of love as I breathe new life into the center of your soul.

Do you know that I think of you every moment of every day? I watch you patiently homeschool the children I gave you, and I know how badly you feel when you fail and lose your temper. I forgive you, my child, just as you forgive your children when they make a mistake. "It's OK. We'll try again," you say to them, and I'm telling you the same thing. I'm so proud of you and how you've followed me when I asked you to teach your children about me at home. Your sacrifice says that you love me. I know all about that, too. I left everything that was mine when I came from heaven. I know how you feel when the Father asks so much of you.

Look at me, my child. You may feel beat up, but do you know that you are still beautiful? I see that smile. Yes, you're still as beautiful as the day I created you. I love who you are, and I'm whispering your name. Can you hear me? Remember, my child, this is not your home. You really belong here with me in heaven, but I want you where you are now to love this family I gave you. Don't give up. I want you to trust me. I won't let you down. Every promise I've made is true, and someday, I'm coming back for you. For now, rest in my love, and tonight and even tomorrow when you wake up, I'll be here watching over you. I love you. Merry Christmas.

"Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities" (Hebrews 4:14-15a).

Jesus, thank You for the best Christmas gift I could ever receive, Your forgiveness and love. My heart sings with praise to You for understanding my every need. I love You, Jesus, and offer You my life again to use however You choose. In Your name I pray, Amen.

God sent His son at Christmas to save us, to redeem all that was lost; His Creation, the world, and everything in it. A day today filled with grief, yes, but still a blessed Christmas.

Toby Mac - Get Back Up


1 comment: