Friday, June 6, 2014

I remember when...

I remember when I used to blog every week, almost daily, in fact. Now, however, I post about once a month (on average) on my private blog, and I struggle deeply trying to come up with something to write about. I remember when I blogged about our days and the daily stuff of life. At the time, I thought it was all so important, so much bigger than it really is. I remember when I cared about the laundry and the menu. I remember when my posts were titled things like: Manic Monday, Tuesday's Tidbits, Wordless Wednesday, This and That Thursday, Friday Funny, Snapshot Saturday, and Sunday Selah.

I remember when I used to think the be-all, end-all of life was line-dried laundry and fresh, homemade bread. I remember when I took complaining about my kids for granted. I remember when I assumed my children would grow up, go to college, marry, and have their own children. I remember when I used to dream about what life would be like in "X" amount of years.

You know what I realize, though? Those posts were all about here. My life revolved around the things that were going on here, on earth. My life doesn't revolve around earth any more. This world is not my home. My life is hidden in Christ.

 Colossians 3:3
"Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, 
where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  
Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.  
For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  
When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory."

Needless to say, I no longer assume my children will grow up or that my spouse will be here tomorrow. I no longer dream about the future because I know it is not a guarantee. I no longer desire worldy conversation. And while I still love the smell of line-dried laundry and savor the taste of warm, homemade bread, I no longer believe it's the epitome of life here on earth. 

James 4:13-15
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.”  Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.”

I remember when my thoughts of heaven went something like, "Oh. That'll be nice. Someday." I remember when my worship of God depended more on my circumstances rather than on who He is. Never in a million years did I think that, in the loss of my son, grief would be a teacher. I've learned a lot traveling through this season of sorrow.

I've learned that grief is as unique as each individual that experiences it. I've learned that grief will always involve forgiveness at some level. I've learned that grief is humbling. I've learned that passive faith, though sincere, must eventually be called into action. I've learned that only hardships, trials, and grief can activate faith. I've learned that grief isn't all about me. It's about Christ working through, and in, the grief.  (Eph. 4:6)

Ann Voskamp said it perfectly this week on her blog. Her post appropriately titled: "When You Feel Like You Don't Really Belong." These words, especially:

"In Christ, you’re a native of heaven right now. You aren’t a citizen of here trying to work into heaven. You’re a citizen of heaven trying to work through here...
When your ethnicity is heaven, then all adversity offers the gift of intimacy, driving you into the home of His heart...Because this is always it: All my brokenness is a whisper that I don’t belong, and every time I don’t feel like I belong, the Scarred and Rejected God whispers, “Come here, my beloved.”
And the longer I live, the more I feel like an exile. This is a gift. The exiled make His extravagant love their home.
We were made for heaven and Him and our heart beats hard for it." 

I know this feeling now. I know it well. "Trying to work through here," as Ann puts it, is what has me frustrated. I've struggled the last several months trying to figure out the balance between grief and joy and what it's supposed to look like. It is foreign territory, this living in the land of grief and joy. I lay in bed the other night asking God what the point is to this life, this world full of death and sorrow. I asked Him to show me, please, because I don't understand and can't seem to figure out the right balance. Then I came across this quote on my Twitter feed the very next morning:

“The point of your life is to point to Him. Whatever you are doing, God wants to be glorified..." 
― Francis Chan

Oh, my precious Savior! My God who is so incredibly intimate with His children. He hears every word I think, every heart cry uttered. He does not leave us alone in our grief. He does not abandon us to this world. He walks with us through it. He oftentimes carries us, too. He has given us His presence, whether we feel it or not, whether we think He hears us or not. He is there. If we bless His name in the midst of tragedy, pain, and sorrow, He is glorified. And that glory is reflected in us. We can't help but shine when we give Him thanks because we are simply reflecting the brightness of Him. I remember life before loss. But I also remember that He has been good to me. (Psalm 13:6)

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