I've had a bit of grief in my life.
Actually, by some standards, I've had more than a bit. To me, it is too much. To me, I live every day with grief.
Grief is the kind of emotion that strikes you unaware. Out of the blue. You can never be prepared for the deepness of it or the raw, tearing harshness.
Grief does dull over time. But the maxim "time heals all wounds" is laughably false and just isn't true. Time does blunt grief and sadness, but the reality of it is that the scar will always be there. This I have found from experience.
Too much experience.
It has been over 8 years since Janie was stillborn. And yes, that wound is now muted, most of the time quiet...but there are days when I look at Sara and Kellie and I see how Janie might have been the third muskateer in their group. But it was not to be and can never be, and then, my heart shouts at me.
And I cry.
Next month, on the 19th, it will be two years since Olivia went to be with Jesus. I don't say we lost her. I don't say that because I know where she is and I have the assurance that one day, I will go to Jesus, where she is, and I will see her.
But my heart is still broken. Shattered. It hasn't been put back together all the way just yet. There are days when I am sure my heart will bleed forever and that I will die from the sharpness of the grief. There are moments when I feel the physical pulse of the anguish of her leaving. There are times when the agony of knowing there could have been two of her causes something akin to despair to rise up in my soul.
I used to beg God to take away the wound. I used to plead with Him to please just make the gaping sore go away. I have asked why. I have wondered at God's goodness to give us two at once and then, I have railed at Him and shouted at Him for His harshness of taking one away. I have tried to harden my heart against Him. I have tried to ignore and block out and turn my face away from Him. I have even shaken my pathetic fist at Him and clenched my teeth and spewed at Him the hot, raging vitriol that I knew better than He does and that He just didn't know what He was doing.
These things I used to do before I realized that the suffering of having a deep and desperate pain drives me to Him. I have learned that there is nowhere else I can go, and nobody and nothing else who can help me. I have come to know that the scar, that horrible, ugly scar, will never go away. I will bear the scars for the rest of my earthly life. It serves to remind me of my desperate need of Him.
And I don't mind so much anymore.
The Lord says that blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted. He says that He will make the Valley of Baca, or the Valley of Tears, a place of fertile greenness. He makes many promises in His word concerning grief and sadness and mourning.
I have not experienced, thus far, my valley turning to lushness. I have not noticed rivers of joy or praise and song rising from my chasms. But here and there, I have found a single flower. Or a brilliant blade of grass. I know I am having better days when I can talk about my babies in Heaven without breaking down sobbing.
I see these blades of grass or these beautiful flowers when I minister to another who is walking the same path.
I ran across some wisdom this morning on the subject of sadness. I want to share it here with you. Forgive me for not making note of the author of this pearl of wisdom. It came to me from Women of Faith in an email that was in my junk folder because I just don't usually read those from WOF anymore because they really don't contain anything I can use....but this one hit home for me:
"On a list of emotions that we try to avoid, sadness tops the list~~yet not only is sadness normal, it is a gift from God. Sadness prompts us to pray, reminds us that we need others, calls us to be honest with ourselves and God and creates compassion in our hearts for others."
This was fresh knowledge for me. It gave me a new perspective on grief and sadness and what I was to do with these emotions. Job was referenced, and I was enlightened.
I am hurting. At times I am suffering. At times my affliction gets the best of me. But I am now assured that these feelings are normal on my journey and that I am not condemned for them. The Bible speaks volumes on the valleys and grief and sadness and mourning....but I now know that I can glorify God even in the midst of my most desolate of days.
And that is truly what I want to do.
I want to live out the faithfulness that He has shown me. I pray that I can gracefully bear this burden that He has asked me to bear...and maybe He asked it of me because He saw that I was strong enough.
With His strength, I am.