I have been awake since 2 am this morning… I never sleep anymore. The heaviness on my heart is too much for my mind most nights. I wake up with bad dreams and can’t get back to sleep. That’s more tolerable when it’s just you you have to worry about I guess. Pre-kids, I would have just binged Friends on Netflix all night, grabbed a venti Americano on my way into work and hopefully taken a cat nap in the car on lunch break. Now, with kids, I get a bit of anxiety which doesn’t help the back-to-sleep process…. Because it’s not just me I have to worry about during the day. They will be there, needing me and my attention all day long, and I am nervous about having the patience they need from me in the midst of my exhaustion.
I can’t sleep because the burden of loss hangs heavy over me tonight. The past year or so my life has been an alarm, followed by some chaos, then smoke, then flames, then the house was on fire… Completely on fire. But now there isn’t even a fire anymore. The house just burned down. There isn’t much left but the smoldering flames of that which was… And I don’t even know how to recognize life anymore.
There has just been so much loss. Loss of home, jobs, love, friends, and some family. Maybe even some faith. I have wandered around in hurt and despair… I feel like I’ve gone from place to place saying “can you help me with my hurt? Can you?” And people have. For a time. But it’s overwhelming I know. What do you say to someone with so much loss? What do you say to someone who is stuck in the middle of their grief and can’t see past it and to the hope you keep trying to tell them? How do you hold on for someone who doesn’t know how to hold on for themselves?
I have tried. I have tried hard to find the right way and the right answer. I keep thinking maybe this is the plan or this is and then it will get better.
But it never does.
SO many times this past year I have thought of the words of Job’s wife, “just curse God and die.”
And if I am honest I will say I wanted to…. I hate that I feel that way but I have. I have said to Him, “You’ve forgotten me. You’ve left me. You have let me go through this all alone.”
I have wanted to curse God and die.
But then the second part of that scripture comes to mind: He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” – Job 2:9 niv
Can we not accept the trouble? Can we not accept that He will see us through? Can we not believe that even if we don’t feel like it, He is still there and this too has a reason and a purpose and there still can be hope and dreams that will rise up from these ashes?
I preach about being brave and yet so many days I am not. But it is the Spirit that is inside of me that keeps going. And keeps believing.
Yes, the house has burned down. But I have to flip my perspective. Yes, I can mourn the loss but I can’t be the loss.
I have to look at this slab of concrete, these gray ashes and think how can I rebuild?
What do I want this new house and life to look like? Better yet, what does God want this new house and life to look like?
Maybe it’s a good thing He is letting me start fresh. Maybe it’s a good thing He’s saying, I am truly your foundation and let’s build this life up again.
Maybe this is my message for life: “Though He slay me, still will I hope in Him.” (Job 13:15 niv)
Maybe this is what I can say to you who feels like your house is on fire too…
When you want to curse God and die, still believe. When you want to yell and scream and say “you left me”, do it but then know He didn’t and He understands your pain. When you want to let go, still hope in Him.
Because right now I have to believe in the beauty I see more than the storms that rock me. And over time I know I will see beauty in the storms as well because they brought me closer to Him.
And so I will try again to build this home. Brick by brick. Choosing the paint colors. Putting in as many windows as I want to see the sun again.
There is goodness in that.
I wanted to curse God and die. But I didn’t. You won’t either.
“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” – Psalms 27:13 niv