I don’t even know where to start. So I guess I’ll start there- just not knowing much of anything. Everything has felt jumbled up. I’ve been so overwhelmed with all the emotions and thoughts, that I don’t want to even start trying to detangle it all. Is it possible to procrastinate processing grief? Probably.
I’ve been tired. Mentally, physically, emotional, heck, even spiritually. I feel like I need a long nap for my soul. The Bible talks about that.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
I guess I’m not the first or the last to be sleepy in the soul.
I had a miscarriage.
I don’t like typing out those words. Not just because of what they mean, but also because I don’t enjoy sharing the intimate details of my life with large groups of people. If it were only up to me, I’d keep this one locked away. But while this certainly feels like a loss, I can’t let the devil win by refusing to let God do something with this.
I’m not sharing this because I want your sympathy. I’m sharing it because I can now speak from a true realness that I have never felt before. My relationship with God has gotten, while difficult lately, more intimate than ever before because the honesty required of my heart is so deep. I can now speak and relate to the person who has prayed and believed, and God didn’t show up like you asked Him to.
My very first reaction, the emotion that sits on top of all the jumbled heap, is anger.
I know that sounds wrong to say, but He already knows my thoughts anyway. No sense in trying to hide it from Him. Holding nothing back.
The way I see it, instead of holding it against God, I’m still going to hold Him to His Word. I don’t know what that means at this moment. I don’t know how He’s going to make this right, but according to the Bible, He has to. Instead of talking behind His back in the far corners of my mind, I’m going to lay it at His feet. The mess. The jumble. The anger. The ashes.
I have a lot of questions. A lot. Lately I haven’t been able to hear any sort of answer. Not to the questions I’m asking at least. God seems unusually quiet. Not silent, though. Because while He hasn’t answered any of my questions, I have heard two things very clearly.
The first I heard audibly, I guess. I had to have surgery to remove all the tissue that didn’t come out on it’s own during the miscarriage. I was put under anesthesia. When I woke up, the very first thing I could hear, before the doctors or the nurses or the beeping of machines, was what sounded like my own voice. Not like I was thinking it in my head but as if I was telling it to myself out loud, “God is still good. God is still good.”
I’d heard tons of people say that to me over the past month. I know that it’s true, and it’s what you’re supposed to say, but it wasn’t making me feel any better. Until I heard my own voice saying it. As if I was confirming to myself that I still believed that. It was reassuring to know somewhere deep down I was still holding on to faith.
The second thing I’ve heard very clearly, I heard more in my soul. Like a knowing rather than a voice.
If it’s not good. God’s not done.
I don’t know how He’s going to make this good. And I’m way too tired to try to figure it out. It seems impossible. Feels like there’s nothing but ashes here. But I also know that’s one of His favorite mediums to work with.
“to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair…” Isaiah 61:2-3(NIV)
Beauty for ashes. Joy for mourning. A garment of praise instead of despair. I’ve heard those words a hundred times, but it’s never seemed so formidable a task. I’m glad it’s not my job to make this good.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28(NIV)
He’s got to be working it for good. And it’s definitely not good yet, so He can’t be done.
And if He’s not done, then that must mean I’m not at the end of my story. But rather just the middle. The peak of the climax. So even on the days that all I want to do is sit here and wilt, I have to keep going. Because if He’s not done, then I’m not either.
I don’t know what He’s doing- not the slightest glimpse of His plan. I have no new information.
But if I’m just in the middle, and He is still good, then I know that I must give Him praise.
It is a sacrifice. This praise comes in tears.
It’s not happy jumping of thanksgiving for what has come to pass. It is praise that He is true when my world has fallen. It is through gritted teeth, and a pure no-feeling-based decision to raise a Hallelujah. I don’t want to. But I will.
Because I know one day it will be morning again, and joy will come. I don’t know how, or when, or what that will look like. But I know that it will come. And when it does, I will have either been faithful or faithless. God is going to be faithful to me either way. He’ll make it good even if I choose to pout. Because that’s Who He is.
“if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.” 2 Timothy 2:13(NIV)
God is not good because our outcome is. Our outcome will eventually and inevitably be good because our God is.
Since God’s goodness is dependable and to be expected, then I know that He has to still be working.
Not only on my behalf, but also yours. Whatever your ashes are right now, they’re only temporary. You can’t stay here. You can’t sit down here. You can’t wilt here. I know you want to. I know the thought of getting up is overwhelming and unbearably painful. I know.
What I’m about to say, you should know I am not saying from a standing position. But from a place that is getting up with you- if God’s not done, then you’re not either. Get up.
Getting up doesn’t mean you’re magically all better and everything is perfect. It is an act of worship, to get up, and proclaim the goodness of God in spite of it all.
Your story, as well as mine, will have an ending. And it will be good. This is just the middle. But I want my story to read that I worshiped in the middle. I want to look back, and be able to say that I stood on the foundation that is Jesus Christ. That even though my world shook, and my heart failed, I looked to Jesus. And He was there to be found.
God is still good. Get up.