Sunday, February 24, 2013

Choking on Words

These are the most ordinary pictures in the world, but they were taken on a terribly extraordinary day: December 14th, 2012.  The day the Sandy Hook shooting occurred.  I'm not normally given to emotional reactions to the news, but I think it was a day that every person - and certainly every parent - suffocated in horrified possibility.  I took these pictures just a couple hours after hearing of the events, just to feel the weight of this thing called normal that those parents haven't grasped since their babies were silenced.

I've been writing blog posts in my mind every day since, and time and toddler and baby steal my opportunities.  Or it's just too big and too much to speak to.  But I'm choking on words that beg to be written - so tonight I choose words over sleep.

My heart is beyond heavy tonight.  The weight of heavy discussions and questions this week press on me.  The cracking of a precious mother's heart in grief over a fractured relationship with her child presses on me.  The bitter rage of a mother who unexpectedly lost her toddler - a mother I don't even know, but social media is weird like that - presses on me.  Seeing how tender my own son's heart is.  All of it.  It is so easy to ask.... long, O Lord?  How long?

Our days, they are so fleeting.  Oh Lord, teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Several weeks ago a dear woman at church testified to the anxiety that has crippled her for years, confined her to her bed some days.  She was loathe to speak of the time it took from her children, and for her children to have to see her walk that road.  The fear that something - that huge unknown - would happen, and she wouldn't be there for her children, was unbearable.  And it locked her in and owned her.

Today this tiny minute of a woman stood before us, testifying again - this time of her release from her self-inflicted captivity.  The joy, the freedom that has finally settled upon her.

But her freedom did not come in a way that you may expect....

She is staring her worst fear in the eye, confirmed without expectation only a few weeks ago.  In just as many weeks, she may very well be standing in front of her Lord and Savior, and her good work here will be finished.

But we do not grieve as though we have no hope.

Like Paul, she rejoices BECAUSE of her chains, not in spite of them.  The worst has happened.  She no longer has to worry.  It came to close her in, but thanks be to a perfect Savior who already conquered death, who is her final hope and plea.  Cancer may take her brain and her body, but her joy and hope rest in the One who created her brain and body, who never topples off his throne wondering what will happen next.

Friends, I don't know what I would do if I didn't have the promises of our God.  I can't bear up the burdens of the people around me without knowing that they ultimately aren't mine to bear.  If I didn't have Christ to fall upon I would be *nothing.*  NOTHING.  A crushed, wrecked pile of ash.  I would not be able to handle the news on days like December 14th.  I could not bear the heartache of a devastated mother.  I just could....not.  My marriage would be a disaster and my parenting a joke.

Oh, I long for the freedom that this dear woman is experiencing right now.  The Proverbs 31 woman laughs at the days to come because no fear stands by her shoulder.  Do you laugh at the days to come?  No matter what they may bring?

I guess I really have no point in this post except to say...all of our days are few. We have no guarantee that our families will be safe, our health will be secured, our children will make wise choices, our worst fears won't happen.  But thanks be to God who is on the same throne He was on the day His Son died.  We do not have to live as though we have no hope.  There is still freedom and life to be found in our worst fear coming true, even.

I need to go to bed.  I still feel burdened.  And like I wrote a blog post that has no real point to it...but I will wake up tomorrow morning reminded that this IS the day the Lord has made and I WILL rejoice and be glad in it.  I will clean my house and feed my babies and be grateful - so grateful - that it is another normal day.

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time....Ephesians 5:15-16)