Making Peace With What He Gives…

Once again, it has been a very long time since I have written down anything. I have been hiding and frankly, that’s the way I like it. Hiding. It’s what I do when things get tough. Hard. Too much to handle. But, I must admit, when I hide I am alone and I live in what seems like total darkness. Just existing. Going through the mundane tasks of everyday life without having to deal with anything that I do not want to.

I have been hiding really well since last November. Since, that awful, dreary morning when my Mama drew her last breath on this earth. And, I must add, the final breath that I missed. I knew it was near yet I missed it. Guilt raises high when I think of that moment. I was with her night and day for 13 days after we brought her home. And, I missed the last breath. Why? I was hiding. I didn’t want nor could I deal with that truth. She was leaving me and going Home. To the eternal home where so many people that I love live. One in particular, my son. It was too much. Feelings of grief, sadness, and the word I am still afraid to say… Jealousy. I was jealous of her going Home. I felt like she could do life way better without me than I could without her.

On that dreary November morning, I went into hiding. Completely shut down. Done. I clenched my fists tight and I would not allow anything to pry them open. So, here I set, on this dreary September morning almost a year later with clenched fists but I feel them loosening. Very little, but loosening slightly all the same. Why now?

I think it’s because the last month has been devastating for me. I have hid to the point that my grief is spilling over. You cannot run and shut down grief forever. It will come out. It has to. My grief started showing itself by feelings of being so overwhelmed. By sheer anxiety and nervousness to the point of being physically ill. Fear consumed me and the tears were pouring out like water hydrants bursting in the street. I could not stop them. I would try my best to talk myself out of the tears like I had since that November day.

I started gaining a little sense about two weeks into this. I knew I had to get this under control. All the while, God speaking straight to this hiding soul letting me know that I couldn’t hide forever. He whispered gently but stern nonetheless that I was not in control of this. I could NOT control this. I have a problem with trying to control everything. Even though, deep down, I know I cannot. I still move right along trying to control the emotions. I will choose what I will and will not grieve. Me. The girl who missed the last breath of the sweetest woman she knew.

I knew I had to do these things: Quiet time with God. Listening. Settling in, getting quiet and being still. Praying. Being intentional on allowing Him to grab these clenched hands that are bleeding from gripping them together so tightly. This all came with the high blood pressure on the holiday weekend of September. Three days at home. Checking the blood pressure. 158/106, 164/112, and on and on. It wasn’t going down. The hiding and the darkness were coming to an end and there was nothing I could do to stop it.

So, I got quiet. Still. Started listening. And, I started learning things that I hadn’t wanted to hear since that dreary day in November. The day I missed the last breath of the one who witnessed my first breath.

I read these words a friend sent me that Ann Voskamp penned. She said:

“Pieces of your broken heart mend when you make peace with what He gives.”

Seriously? This is the worst thing I have ever heard. Ever! I would never make peace with what He has given me, hands start clenching again, this time harder. But, these words were repeating in my head like the words to my favorite song. I heard them all the time. Then, on the deck, quiet one morning I read:

“Though He brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is His unfailing love. For, He does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone.” ~Lamentations 3: 32-33

Hmmm…. “Pieces of your broken heart mend when you make peace with what He gives.” “Though He brings grief, He WILL show compassion, so great is His unfailing love.”

I need compassion. I need someone to see these torn places that are gaping wounds all over me. “Pieces of my broken heart…” Those pieces are everywhere. “mend when I make peace with what He gives.” Peace. It eludes me. Hiding, darkness surrounds me.

Then, Isaiah introduces himself to me on the deck in my quiet time. I read:

“Why should I be beaten anymore? Why do I persist in rebellion? MY whole head is INJURED, MY whole heart AFFLICTED. From the soles of my feet to the top of my head there is NO SOUNDNESS, ONLY WOUNDS AND WELTS AND OPEN SORES, not CLEANSED or bandaged or SOOTHED with olive oil.” ~Isaiah 1:5-6 (emphasis mine)

I hurry to look up all these words in the Strong’s dictionary. I pause at injured. Strong’s Definition:

“malady, anxiety, calamity: disease Grief (is) sick(-ness)”

Grief is a sickness. I am sick. And, the “pieces of my broken heart mend when I make peace with what He gives.” I am wounded. “From the soles of my feet to the top of my head…” I sit in total silence on the deck. This is the deck that they took my Mama’s lifeless body out of our house to the car that carries coffins.

Am I going to unclench my fists? Am I going to ask the One and Only Great Physician to start cleaning, bandaging, putting his healing balm on these wounds, welts, and open sores? Am I going to “make peace with what He gives?”

Yes. I have to. There is no other choice. The pulse slows. The blood pressure decreases. The heart stills and quietens as I look at the steps that took my Mama away. My fists relax. I open the hands just barely that are bruised, bloody, and full of welts… And, I hold them up to God. Straight in the air. And, I say…. “Father, help me to make peace with what You give.”

See, in my own way, I have determined that to grieve my Mama would be diminishing, taking away my grief for my son. I cannot do that. My grief for him has to be at my forefront at all times. Otherwise, the guilt rises. I relive the pain. Shutting down the pain from the dreary September day and putting the hot, sunny June day back in my sights. I cannot do both. I will die. Then I remember:

“Though He brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is His unfailing love. For, He does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone.” ~Lamentations 3: 32-33

Compassion. Healing. Soothing. Cleansing. Soundness.

I open the clenched fists all the way. For today. And, I will pray for the days to come that I continue to leave them opened. Maybe, one day, I can even take the bandages off?

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