Well, as you can see from the video, this wasn’t an easy one for me. It had a lot of wrestling, heart-pounding, broken memories pulled out of shadows. But, as we are learning and trusting God, we grow in our ability to see what He intends to do with the shadows.
That was the heart of the conversation we had on the couch several months ago as we discussed Levi’s hand and the moment where I had to say goodbye to my daughter’s physical body. All of these times in life where it would seem easy to walk away from God and say maybe He wasn’t as good as we once thought. Each of us will face that at some point (maybe many points) in our lives; where the pain of circumstance threatens to extinguish faith. I love how Ann talks about this as a growing discipline-a thought echoed in the words of this chapter. We have to build a foundation where we have seen the goodness of God in ways all around us, every day. This is where the growth begins, so lest you start to think that writing down things that seem insignificant has no relation to crises, I urge you to reconsider.
A child blowing bubbles in the back yard, the way he breathes when he sleeps, the fact that it snowed on a day when it wasn’t expected…all small life pieces, yes. But pieces which you have now invited recognition of He Who provides, and in so doing, have opened the door for the bigger, harder moments.
We have all “run to the barn” wondering what we would find, our minds racing with the worst-case scenario. All of a sudden all of these glimpses of God that had made their way to paper were buoying her while she went. She had seen Him in so many other places during her list-making that it seems natural that she would see Him alongside her as the gravel marked her feet.
And yes, Levi was all right. But the other boy wasn’t, and as Ann so eloquently asks, “Does anyone whisper at the dead boy’s house, ‘God’s grace…God’s grace…”
I think it comes back to the issue of perspective that Ann emphasizes in this chapter; the idea that our lens brings each situation new clarity. For me, the constant recognition of God’s faithfulness to me in my everyday life makes the dark hospital moments bearable-not because I’m not grieving or even because I’m not angry-but because I have seen Him too many times to believe He has left me here.
It is the hard eucharisteo, and none of us want to have to face it. In our flesh we would never long for a moment where we could be so dizzy with pain and grief that we would cling to our thankfulness in place of what feels right.
And yet, the reality is we will probably have to in one way or another. And in that running, that closed door, the words you never thought you would have to hear, my prayer is that you will know that the Lord made the gravel beneath you, despite the pain you feel as you go. Can I explain why He does what He does? No. I can’t. But I can tell you as a woman who has invited Him into the place of grief that His presence and His compassionate love for me has made my questioning smaller and my desire for Him bigger.
This week, the seed for me was the notion that my perspective is still hazy in certain areas of my life, and I sometimes struggle to give God the small things. I am seeing the way that compounds itself and steals joy. I am nurturing that thought by stopping myself in what seem like little moments, and consciously giving them to the Lord for His safekeeping. I am praying that the fruit of this will be a steadier foundation and deeper trust in the crises.
Let’s all keep it up this week-the constant awareness and recognition of a God Who loves us wildly.
In light of what Jess said at the end of this week’s video, I invite you to share your shadow moments with us, knowing that we are honored to be your burden-carriers and will be faithful in prayer for you.
Grateful to walk alongside you all as we seek Him~