It seems that one of our questions about the future was answered this week.
And while, 3 weeks ago, I was perfectly happy with this path when we had voluntarily decided it: somehow the finality of it, the reality of it, hit me harder than I expected.
At first, I didn't quite know what it was. Sensing something was wrong, JT asked me about it. And I told him: "I'm just scared about the future."
He told me I shouldn't be, and I knew he was right.
But as the evening wore on, as I slipped down the stairs to spend some time processing it all; I realized that I had misjudged my own feeling. It wasn't fear at all.
Just a deep and shockingly penetrating sadness.
The kind you feel deep into your bones, that has you looking for a chair.
Over the years, I've discovered that hearts break upwards, and you feel it mostly in your throat. Like you've swallowed something way too hot that gets stuck. So that it breaks into a million liquidy pieces and then drips out of your eyes.
That's what it feels like when your heart breaks.
And it's weird when it happens all of a sudden. When you don't even see it coming, and you're feeling pretty strong and resiliant, and optimistic. But there it is.
And there are 2 things I've learned about dealing with a broken heart.
1) Let it fully break.
Don't try to somehow stop the bleeding. Don't distract yourself or minimize your feelings, or get falsely Pollyanna about things.
2) Once it's broken- once you're in a shattered heap and wondering what you're going to do:
And there's only one way I've found to get up in these instances.
Last night, coming to the end of the first stage, letting my sadness collide with my body, I looked up and said: "God? I'm just so, so sad."
I could see myself curled up in a ball on the bed. Feeling small and helpless and utterly at the end of myself.
And then I saw Him reach down, with both hands. and He didn't yell at me to get up and stop feeling sorry for myself. Didn't demand to know where my faith had gone.
He just held me and said these words, and He said them in a way that I could feel His own heart breaking:
"Oh, if only you could see. If you could just see what I see."
And I got up.
I know that sometimes God's will doesn't seem to make any sense, and sometimes it shatters our entire perception of who we thought we were, and the life we thought we were made to live.
I also know that not everything that happens in our lives is the will of God.
We do live, after all, in a world enslaved to sin, surrounded by people (not to mention ourselves) with a free will to do the wrong things as much as, or more than, we do the right.
And so, of course, I remember Romans 8:28
"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."
All things. Even the things that don't make any sense, and seem very unfair.
Even the things that break out hearts.
And often, I am reminded of Joseph. The wrong choices started with his father picking favorites (sin), and then Joseph rubbed it in a little (more sin), and then his brothers faked his death and sold him as a slave (wow, that was a big sin).
And, long story short, when Joseph meets up with his brothers later, this is what he says to them:
"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." -Genesis 50:20
Sometimes, that story is a great encouragement to me. And sometimes I still hate it.
Because, I think, "Well, I never asked to save any lives. I never even asked for that fancy coat. I just wanted to live my quiet little life."
Be honest, we all feel that way sometimes.
Sometimes we don't want to be anything special. Sometimes we just want to fly along under the radar and just be comfortable instead.
Some things that happen are clearly the result of sin in this world, and not the will of God.
And some things that happen are God's provision for a future that we just can't see yet.
I still don't know what God is doing here. And there's still something hollow or heavy close by that's slowing me down a little bit.
But I found great hope in His words to me.
Oh, if only I could see.
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
For now, it remains unseen. And there's a reason for that too. A growing and deepening that I wouldn't want to be denied.
It's hard, I'm not going to lie. It's really really hard.
But sometimes life is that way. And we just get up, and keep going. We hand it over because it's too big and too heart-breaking. We take all of our pre-concieved notions and cultural, even "Christian" cultural ideals, and we lay it at the feet of the God who IS working in this messed up, beautiful world.
Your will, not mine.